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Rod Review

The Best of Both Worlds – The Shimano/Jackall Poison Adrena Rods (continued)

All the new Adrena rods all feature technical actions and lengths that are designed for specific applications ranging from reaction to contact baits and all of these rods feature the same basic look and feel with a glossy coating covering the Spiral X blank. Under bright light you can see the graphite fiber, much like Shimano TC4 based rods. In the tradition of so many JDM rods the Adrena has no integrated hook hanger so I attached a standard Fuji hook hanger above the reel seat for convenience.

The carbon monocoque butt section is coated to provide some tactile response for two handed casting

When examining the Adrena lineup you will find most of the offerings are relatively short in length. The first rod we could get our hands on, the PA166M, is no exception and is only 6’6” in length and features a medium power and med-fast action. This stick is designed specifically for fishing crankbaits but from what we saw in the lab I already could envision employing this stick for some ripbait action.

The Adrena paired with the new Shimano Curado I baitcaster

Real World Tests: After feeling how crisp the rod felt in the lab I couldn’t wait to get it out on the water to see just what it could do both casting crankbaits but also how it felt with a fish tugging on the end of the line. I paired the Poison Adrena rod with a variety of reels which balanced out reasonably well but none felt as good as the Shimano Chronarch CI4. With heavier reels it almost felt like a waste to bog down the entire rig with the extra ounces, whereas the Chronarch felt like just an extension of the rod in terms of balance and feel.

The first fish we caught with the Adrena was a dink. We can surely do better than this!

Casting: I found myself casting one handed the vast majority of the time with this rod due to the overall length of the rod as well as the minimalistic approach to the grip design. The front grip features slimmed out EVA and is comfortable to cast with but clearly keeps you “connected” to the blank versus providing a very soft cushioned grip. When longer casts are required two handed casting is certainly possible and the carbon grip on the back is finished with a soft touch surface that provides enough tactile response to keep your hand firmly planted, even when the grip is wet.

In search of better fish in the California Delta

It was during casting that I began to realize that this rod might be something special as casts were not only effortless with the responsive tip but also very precise. There is no sloppiness here, simply point and shoot and the crankbait is easy to position exactly where you intended it to go. Precision is exactly what you want with a lighter cranking stick when it comes to casting and the PA166M really delivers in this regard.

The Adrena feels smooth and natural when making one handed casts

Retrieving: Our PA166M test rod proved to be an excellent stick for tossing small to medium sized crankbaits but I wouldn’t hesitate to toss medium sized jerkbaits on this rod either. The medium fast taper gives this rod a very crisp feel and the tip is so lively that at first I just wasn’t sure how it would hold up to big fish, but all of these concerns evaporated the second I loaded into my first 3lb largemouth. There is plenty of power in this blank to turn fish and yet the rod is forgiving when it needs to be to ensure treble hooks stay properly pinned. 

Ultimately my favorite pairing with this rod was the Chronarch CI4+

As I fought fish after fish with the Adrena and each and every time I found that the rod was deceivingly powerful for such a light stick. The secret is in the very core of the rod, the Spiral X blank. Not only is the blank reinforced on both sides to reinforce itself but it is built with very high compression, all resulting in a blank with reduced twist. This design enables the rod to recover quickly which not only impacts the ability to load up on a fish but also make a tighter more precise cast.

I found this rod also excellent for fishing flukes and smaller jerkbaits

Performance Ratings for Jackall Poison Adrena 166M

Pitch (1-5)
Cast (1-5)
Sensitivity (1-5)
Hook Set (1-5)
Control (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The Spiral X blank delivers confidence and a surprising amount of power when required

Shimano America Product Manager Robby Gant explains this further by stating that “this unique construction process provides for reinforced torsional and compression rigidity. The design contributes to a lightweight, thin wall blank, one that rejects ‘ovalization’ so rod strength is exceptional under load.” All science aside the rod feels extremely confident under pressure and is also surprisingly sensitive. The same ‘X’ pattern that is used to improve strength and give the rod so much power also bolsters the sensitivity of the rod by helping transfer vibration along the full length of the blank’s thin walled core.

A Delta largemouth caught on a ripbait

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