Phenix Rods Takes Flight With Their Ultra MBX 707H
Real World Test: We took the Phenix Ultra MBX 707H with us to El Novillo Lake in Mexico in anticipation of a jig and plastics bite and were not disappointed. This rod has also served as one of our baseline rods for the High Speed Reel Shootout as well as the rod we're using to field test the Daiwa Millionaire Ringa SSS. It has received quite the workout!
Phenix makes use of the split reel seat popular amongst custom builders and growing more popular amongst manufactured rods as well.
Pitching and Casting: As one might expect from such a long rod, pitching is where the Ultra MBX 707H saw the majority of its duty. Matched with the Daiwa 50th Anniversary Zillion, Shimano Chronarch D, or Millionaire Ringa SSS, the 707H performed flawlessly whether we were fishing jigs or five inch and larger Senkos.
A feisty spotted bass courtesy of the 707H.
With the large, six and seven inch Senko's in particular, it takes a rod with a fairly stout tip to accurately and delicately place these big plastics, but not so stiff so the tip doesn't load when making that swing to pitch the bait out. The Ultra MBX 707H serves this purpose well.
The 707H is also available without the foregrip.
Casting duties came when matched with the Millionaire Ringa SSS spooled with 14lb Toray High Class Fluorocarbon and Roboworm's new EZ Shad paddletail swimbait. Rigged with the assistance of the new Owner Beast series of paddletail swimbait hooks, the EZ Shad sailed through the air when catapulted via the Ultra MBX 707H.
... and of course is just as effective.
Sensitivity: An interesting aspect here was the opportunity to fish this exact same rod in two different configurations namely with and without the foregrip. There is still a large contingent of anglers who prefer to have a foregrip on their rod and advocates of the no-foregrip camp argue that this extra material on the rod simply shields you from feeling all the information the blank is trying to transmit to your hands.
The Phenix hook keeper...
A similar argument is presented for those who prefer the exposed blank reel seats, but after fishing several very sensitive rods with non-exposed blank reel seats, I'm of the opinion it doesn't make a difference for sensitivity. For ergonomics and on-the-retail-rack appeal, yes, but on the water, no.
... is open ended and located on the left side of the rod.
Until now, I haven't had a good opportunity to test this argument same argument with foregrip versus non-foregrip. The Phenix Ultra MBX is unique in that it's available in both foregrip and non-foregrip configuration and we just happen to have both in for comparison during our tests. Our conclusion?
Though very convenient to use and effective, it does have a tendency to catch your line while fishing. We understand Phenix is addressing this issue already.
Without any instruments to truly measure this objectively, I'd have to say that the non-foregrip 707H is just a tad more sensitive than the foregripped version, but not to a point where the difference is night and day. It's a very very slight difference and could simply be a perception based on the fact I can touch the blank with my index finger on the non-foregrip version if I chose. It is far from a definitive difference.
We've been fishing this rod a long time and have been fortunate enough to hook many bass like this on it!
Overall, this is a rod with good sensitivity. Fished with jigs and plastics at El Novillo in Mexico, I could feel my jigs and shakey head rigged Senko's bouncing off bottom structure pretty easily and discern between this feel and that of a fish picking the bait up. This rod is more than competent for horizontal presentation baits.
A nice touch on the reel seat is the embossed "Phenix" name just above the trigger.