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Rod Review

 

Getting Straight to the Point Blank... Creating a Custom Rod Build (continued)

Real World Tests: Start to finish, once I had the components I needed, the build only took a couple of days. I experimented with some blending different colored wraps but of course the biggest decision after the build was which reel to pair her with. I was all set to unretire one my 2004 Custom Order Daiwa TDZs - the yellow one, when I had the opportunity to grab the limited edition Daiwa Z2020SHL in the same color. Nickname "Bumble Bee," this reel was made for the Malaysian market and is somehow only offered in left hand retrieve. It is the perfect match for my Point Blank Rods custom build.


Angler's Resource included all the necessary trim items to complete the build

I promptly spooled my Yellow Z2020SHL with Seaguar's entry to the hollow braid world, Threadlock. Choosing the 50lb strength in this line, I then installed a topshot of 30lb Sunline Super Natural.


The finished build matched with a limited edition Daiwa Z2020

Casting: The PB761XXHMF features a moderate-fast taper, but casts like a fast taper blank. It handles extremely well during your backcast loading the blank, and releases energy with little to no reverberation. I'm not sure why the manufacturer spec on this rod shows as up to only 3 ounces in lure weight - perhaps it is a typo - because the PB761XXHMF can easily handle up to at least 5 ounce baits. In fact, I was able to effectively fish the Deps Slideswimmer 250 with this rod and that bait is rated at 6.5 ounces!


Fishing at night, even with a bait like this, really heightens the need for a sensitive stick. With the PB761XXMHF, I was able to feel a couple bass slurp this bait in before ever hearing a splash

Sensitivity: Remember my impression of how crisp the blank felt when I pulled it out of its shipping tube? I was excited about that because it was a very good indication of how sensitive the built rod would perform. I was not disappointed. I built this blank up as a swimbait stick, but it has ideal sensitivity for vertical bait presentations and would make for a wonderful punch rod blank. Build it with a shorter handle and it would excel in flipping, pitching, punching applications so long as you understand the benefit of a slower tapered stick in these situations.


Checking out flex at the tip while at the same time worrying about pulling the tip top guide off the blank

We ventured out in a few early morning, before the sun came out testing trips throwing top water baits. In these situations, you learn the ability to feel a bite is very important because the sound can be misleading. In fact, on several occasions, crawling a waking rat bait across the surface, I felt the fish slurp the bait in before ever making a sound. It was quite thrilling. The same thing happened with some smaller glide baits I was testing in the daylight. Feeling that slurp in contrast to the full blast tug is an eye opening experience with big baits.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Point Blank Rods PB761XXHMF Build against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

 Power:  The PB761XXHMF is rated as a 2x extra-heavy blank  and charts against our historical average just a hair more powerful than what we'd consider to be a general purpose swimbait rod. I'd say it's ideally suited for such applications and certainly did not disappoint even with my mediocre build skills. Each time I was fortunate enough to hook up with a fish while using this rod, the blank performed in a predictable and reliable fashion from hook set to landing. I was genuinely surprised given how light that bare blank felt.   


The PB761XXHMF is a wonderful blank for a big bait stick

Design & Ergonomics: Given this was my very first build from a bare blank, I have nothing with which to compare the unbuilt PB761XXHMF blank against. However, my choice in handle material was not the lightest and still the build stick came in at a respectable 6.1 ounces. Given my placement of the reel seat so far up the blank, balance on the built rod was extraordinary at four and a half inches up from the midline of the reel seat. In general, a longer handle means a better balanced rod anyway.

Lab Results for Point Blank Rods PB761XXHMF Build

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Point Blank Rods PB761XXHMF Build
1.14
Mod-Fast
6.1
4.5
0.19
Finesse SB Rod Avg
1.65
--
6.0
9.5
0.29
All Purpose SB Rod Avg
1.28
--
6.8
8.5
0.29
Heavy Hitters SB Rod Avg
0.95
--
7.7
10.2
0.44


Probably not giving up my day job to start building rods, but there is a certain degree of satisfaction and enjoyment in building your own

Price & Applications: The great thing about starting with a bare blank is you can build up a stick to support whatever application you have in mind. The PB761XXHMF may have a slower than typical taper, but in a stick this powerful and sensitive, that means it can be used in any number of different applications from a flipping/pitching/punching stick for vertical presentations to a stick for deep diving cranks and good sized swimbaits, the application I chose on this build. Prefer a faster taper? I believe Point Blank Rods offers this same length and power in a traditional fast taper too.

Ratings:

Point Blank Rods PB761XXHMF Build Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Blank was straight and true and free from any blemishes that I could spot 9
Performance Any issues I encountered were with my own build, not the blank 9
Price $200 just for the blank will probably scare off a good portion of consumers, but consider this is a blank you'll likely find on a $400 and up built rod, I'd say it's a good value 7
Features Certainly built from good quality graphite 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Unique taper to this the blank is very intriguing 7.5
Application This particular blank is an excellent choice for big baits, but also as the foundation for a punch rod. It just has to be built with a shorter handle than I installed. 8

Total Score

8.00
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Light blank even at rated power - It'd be nice to have a 8' length option in this blank so you have the option to build an 8', 7'-8", or 7'10" stick.
+ Super crisp feel - Manufacturers relying upon these blanks for their builds remains a mystery.
+ Interesting taper  
+ Have it your way - assuming you can source the parts  

Conclusion: There is definitely a new (to me) and legit rod blank player in town. Point Blank Rods product is light, crisp, and powerful. That consistent diameter from the butt to roughly a third of the way up the blank is intriguing and the blank I received was clean and free of any blemishes. The PB761XXHMF in particular can handle a wide range of bait weights and presentations and can be wrapped to support anything from chucking big baits, to flipping and punching your favorite soft plastics. Sensitivity is very good.


Point Blank Rods product is light, crisp, and powerful

The only downside I see is that the blank is only 7'6" in length. Most big bait and flipping/punching sticks these days are longer. Of course, the list of manufacturers relying upon Point Blank Rods's blanks to build their rods remains a bit of a mystery, so if you want a stick with this backbone, you need to contact a custom builder. Perhaps after this article, some of those manufacturers will step forward so those in need of more immediate gratification can play too.

 

Visit the Point Blank Site for more information

on these custom rod building components


 

   

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