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Accessory/Tool Review


Jackets or Shields - Choose Your Rod Protector

 

Date: 9/7/10
Tackle type: Rod Storage
Manufacturer: Stick Jacket & McCoy
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: Stick Jacket - 6.92 : Rod Shields - 7.33

Introduction:
The subject of safe and efficient ways to pack fishing rods in cars, boats, and shipping tubes is one of those recurrent discussions not only in the TackleTour discussion forum, but also amongst our own staff. It’s a difficult subject with which to gain consensus and an even more difficult one to resolve economically given how many rods many of us have. But one recent solution offered by two or three manufacturers holds a lot of promise. With materials borrowed from the high tech industry where cable management can prove to be a nightmare without a clean, organized method to route them, McCoy offers up their Rod Shields to help protect and organize rods wherever you need them be stored.

 

Stick Jacket & Rod Shield Specifications

Stick Jacket
McCoy Rod Shield
Rod Types Supported Casting & Spinning Casting & Spinning
Available Sizes For one piece rods from 7'6" - 10'6", Two piece rods to 12'
Colors Black, Blue, Patriotic, Red, Hot Pink, Purple, Neon Red, Neon Green, Yellow Black, Red, Blue
MSRP $7 - $9 depending upon model $10 - $15 depending upon model

 

Background: Most of us have seen this material before used to organize computer cables and even the wiring in our boats and cars. I personally have seen and used it through a different company that’s done a better job of marketing their solution – Stick Jackets. In fact, I purchased the stick jacket product a year or two ago and the very first time I slid one of my rods into their sleeves, I was pretty excited over the prospect of these new protectors. That is, until I tried to slide my sleeved rod into the tubes in my rod locker.

 


These two very similar rod sleeve products can be distinguished in one important way...

 

The rod in question was my Megabass White Python and to make a long story short, what happened was the tip of my rod pocked through the end of the Stick Jacket rod sleeve. I only discovered this after pulling the White Python back out of my rod locker in an effort to reposition it into a different tube. These woven plastic sleeves are so tightly wound, there was no way I was pulling the tip of my $750 rod back out of that sleeve. I had to cut it out. My courtesy email to the company to make them aware of this problem went unanswered. That was the last time I used one of those sleeves in my boat.

 


... and that is in the manner in which they decide to treat the tips of their sleeves.

Impressions: Earlier this year, I was made aware of the McCoy product by a friend, and when I shared my Stick Jacket story with them, they told me McCoy has a solution for this problem. What they do is wrap the tip around some kind of plug and then hold the entire assembly together with heat shrink tubing. This prevents the tips of your rods from poking through the sleeves should you be using them in the same manner in which I was.


Otherwise, they are practically identical.

I was hopeful, but skeptical but contacted McCoy for some samples which they gladly sent in and to my surprise, McCoy’s solution at the tip of these sleeves is a sound one. Retail on the McCoy sleeves is a bit more than the Stick Jackets running from roughly ten to eleven dollars or more depending up on the length you choose to purchase. Conversely the Stick Jacket product retails for seven to eight dollars. The two products are identical save for maybe the available colors, and the tip solutions.


When not in use, both products coil up easily for storage.

Stick Jacket: Another look at the Stick Jackets reveals a metal grommet stamped around a large company label at the tip of each sleeve. This serves as a way for you to hang your rods while in storage in your garage. It’s a nice idea if that’s what you’d like to do when your rods are not being used, but I find what this metal grommet at the end of the sleeve does is put too much weight at the tip of your rod when you’re moving it around making your sleeved rod susceptible to accidental breakage. You have to be a little extra careful sliding it into a rod locker especially, as previously noted, if you’re using the tubes in you rod locker.


Both are made from the same woven nylon material - the same material used to wrap cables and wires in behind computers, in your car, etc..

Rod Shield: As described earlier, McCoy’s solution is more compact providing little to no added weight at the end of your sleeved rod. Sliding in and out of rod lockers or other tubes feels pretty natural and there’s no fear of snapping the rod tips accidentally.


They are surprisingly easy to slide onto your rods.

Overall, since the webbing in both products is identical, other areas of performance are the same. Sliding rods in and out of the sleeves is a breeze and the protection these sleeves provide is about as good as any other rod sleeve product out there. Certainly with the webbing, your rods are not sealed in the sleeves, but that’s rarely a concern. Despite the semi open webbing of these sleeves, they will still catch air if held upright while moving in the boat so be careful.


And provide a good degree of protection.

Another caution is for the growing number of rods with micro guides. Micro guides will poke through these sleeves, so exercise caution when using them on rods outfitted with these guides. They’ll poke through and make it difficult to slide the sleeves on or off. Similarly, it’s not advisable to slide these sleeves beyond any point on your rod where you may have a pre-rigged bait tied on – the hooks will poke through the webbing and make it very difficult to get out.


The webbing is currently too open for micro guides though, so be careful.

One really great thing about either of these solutions is using them to help pack for a trip. On our trip earlier this year to Falcon Lake, Texas, Zander and I packed about fifteen rods into a four inch PVC pipe. We had each rod sleeved with either a McCoy Rod Shield or Stick Jacket, alternated the rods tip to butt, then zip tied the bundle together before sliding them into the tube. They slid in perfectly, nice and snug, and we shipped them via FedEX to our destination. They arrived safe and sound. On the return trip, we merely repeated the process.


After a bad experience with a $750 rod in my rod locker with the Stick Jackets, I personally like the Rod Shield's solution for the tip top much more.

Here again, the more compact tip section of the McCoy Rod Shields made it much easier to stack the rods tip to butt without any extra protrusions that needed to be tucked in before sliding the entire assembly into the shipping tube.

Ratings:

Stick Jacket Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Simple and Effective 7
Performance Except for the tip solution, these work well 6.5
Price Affordable 7
Features If you need to hang your rods while not on the boat, that metal grommet can come in handy 7
Design (Ergonomics) I don't like the weight on the tip of the rod provided by the grommet 6
Application Great for in the boat, in the car, or for packing multiple rods in a rod tube for shipping or travel 8

Total Score

6.92
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
J Really good and fun color selection L Need to be careful sliding these into your rod locker tubes in spaces with a tight fit
J Priced about right  

Ratings:

McCoy Rod Shield Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Simple and Effective 7
Performance Works really well thanks to the more compact tip design 8
Price Pricier than the Stick Jackets 6.5
Features Pretty straight forward 7
Design (Ergonomics) The tip design makes more sense for the way I use these sleeves 7.5
Application Great for in the boat, in the car, or for packing multiple rods in a rod tube for shipping or travel 8

Total Score

7.33
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
J The tip design makes more sense for every application except if you want to hang your rods in storage L Not available in as many fun colors as the Stick Jackets
  L Pricier than the stick jackets

  

Conclusion: These are both such simple products, there’s little more to add. If you’re mindful of the shortcomings I’ve experienced with the Stick Jacket product, they will serve you fine, but if those points are important to you, McCoy’s Rod Shields are a better product overall. Stick Jackets are less expensive, available in more colors, and are more widely available, but one visit to McCoy’s company website and you can order the Rod Shields up pretty quickly. It’s interesting that such a commonly available material can be made into two debatable end products like this, and I’m sure the do-it-yourselfers amongst our readers have their own ideas on how to proceed. Bottom line is if you’re looking for a quick, relatively safe, and efficient way to pack your rods in your rod locker, car, or shipping tube, these two solutions are worth a try.



 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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