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Rod Review

An impressive and innovative rod design that's superb in many ways, introducing the AiRRUS Co-MATRiX 457

Date: 11/10/03
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: AiRRUS
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 9.08 + Editor's Choice!

Introduction: AiRRUS introduces a new rod with an inventive technology that will change the way you view fishing rods. The Co-MATRiX 457 rod features an aggressive butt section and a fast controlled taper that anglers will surely welcome, all at an incredible price.


AiRRUS Co-MATRiX 457 (AC661MH) Specifications

Material Multi-modulus graphite
Length 6'6"
Grip Length 9"
Line Weight 10-20 lb
Lure Weight 1/4-3/4 oz
Pieces 1
Power Medium-Heavy
Action Fast
Color Black
Weight (measured) 4.85 oz
MSRP $89.95

About AiRRUS: Founded in 2002 by Ken Whiting, AiRRUS has made a significant introduction to the fishing industry by bringing true innovation to fishing rods. By applying a distinctive technology, AiRRUS is able to bring performance to the next level in what Ken calls Co-MATRiX. Today AiRRUS continues to grow its ensemble of rods by introducing an entirely new series that will once again have anglers drooling.


Introducing the impressive AiRRUS, formerly SiRRUS, Co-MATRiX 457 casting rod


Impressions: Having taken Best of Show in the rod category at ICAST for two straight years in a role, AiRRUS has already built its foundation and will continue to produce rods with pioneering designs for anglers.


My first impressions of the AiRRUS Co-MATRiX 457 is that this is a durable casting rod. By the looks of the butt section, it's thicker than others in the medium-heavy fast action class. Then immediately after the first guide from the reel seat, the thickness decreases to the usual diameter we are more familiar with. Mated with a unique grip and Fuji Hardloy guides the rod employs the Fuji's Guide Concept, overall the Co-MATRiX is an impressive work of art.


The Design: What makes the AC661MH unique is its design. We will endeavor to explain a few terms that are used in the construction of the "spineless" AiRRUS rod such as Co-MATRiX, Filament wound, and multi-modulus in a rod design, of course without getting too technical.


Co-MATRiX: You're probably wondering what Co-MATRiX is all about and how it can be used to design a more superior rod. Co-MATRiX is a combination of two or more different matrixes, and as in the AC661MH, it's the matrix of the tip section in conjunction with the butt. The tip section having a multi-modulus graphite design while the butt section applies a process of filament winding. Putting those two completely different sections together is what forms Co-MATRiX.


The Co-MATRiX, filament wound, and multi-modulus design can be seen here.  The lower butt section utilizes the filament winding process, top portion uses multi-modulus graphite, and combining the two makes Co-MATRiX


Filament Wound: The process of filament winding is what creates the strong butt section of the Co-MATRiX 457. The butt section is where the power of a rod is created. Through a winding process that goes up and down instead of being spiral wrapped, this creates a thicker diameter and a thinner uniform wall section which increases the overall rod rigidity and strength.


Multi-Modulus: While most rod manufactures have been using single modulus graphite in their designs, Ken truly believes in applying Multi-Modulus graphite in building a rod blank to achieve the most effective performance. As many of you already know, the greater the modulus doesn't necessarily mean it's better than one that's less. Fact is that the higher the modulus, the stiffer the material is, and less graphite is needed to build a rod blank resulting in a lighter product. The higher modulus can also translate into being more brittle. So to overcome this and to design a rod to perfectly match a specific action or technique, AiRRUS applies the Multi-Modulus process into the creation of the tip section of the Co-MATRiX, where the flex or action of the rod is generated. "By utilizing and strategically positioning these different materials in the construction of our blanks, AiRRUS is able to fine tune our rods to provide the ultimate in presentation for any of the many and varied applications required by both weekender and professional," says Ken Whiting, President of AiRRUS Rods.


A multi-modulus construction allows tuning the action of the rod simply by using different layers of graphite at various locations


Complete Rig for Co-MATRiX 457 Tests

Rod AiRRUS Co-Matrix 457 (AC661MH)
Reel Daiwa TD-X 100HSD
Line 12 lb Maxima Ultragreen


Field Tests: Having heard so much about the design of the Co-MATRiX 457, it was time to put it to our tests. How well does this rod perform on the water and does the design really make a difference? We embarked on days of field tests targeting landlocked striped bass, largemouth bass in popular local lakes, and light tackle rockcod fishing.

Casting: At 6'6", medium-heavy in power and fast action, the Co-MATRiX AC661MH is a great overall rod to cast bass and striper lures.  Either pitching a Senko or double hand casting a larger jerkbait, the rod was able to lob lures with capable distance and control. The solid butt section produced accuracy while the multi-modulus upper section flexed to give a smooth distant cast. To further add to a precise cast, the Fuji Guide Concept is placed in the composition of the rod and does a good job controlling the line as it streams off the spool.


A rigid butt section and a precise action allows good control and distant casts

Sensitivity: The AiRRUS Co-MATRiX casting rod is built from two different sections/matrixes. How will that affect the sensitivity of the rod? Through telegraph and field tests, the AC661MH was able to translate each vibration all the way to the hands, even 100 feet below the surface while fishing for rockcod. How AiRRUS assured the sensitivity of their Co-MATRiX series rods was to engineered the two different sections to transmit sound at the same wavelength. The two equal wavelengths are compatible with each other, thus result in amplifying the vibration, and increasing sensitivity.


An exposed reel seat allows your fingers to be placed directly on the blank to detect any vibrations transmitted through the rod


One might worry about the construction of the 4 piece grip in relation to sensitivity. The change in handle material, especially the use of Hypalon, might make one think it would decrease the feel of the rod.  But that's simply not the case. Even by holding the rod at the end of the handle while fishing, I still felt the fish take the plastic worm I was working off the bottom of the lake while targeting largemouth bass. That's not how I normally hold a rod when I fish. My preference is palming the reel with a few of my fingers right on the grip with the exposed blank. If your finger is on the exposed portion while your palm is on the Hypalon, the vibrations have already reached your sensors even before reaching the thick foam material.

Power: The AiRRUS Co-MATRiX 457 does an excellent job in power. Its butt section is incredibly strong and rigid thanks to the filament wound process. The tough wide diameter thin wall of the butt section allows you to muscle in fish expeditiously and bestow a solid hook set everytime.  If you're using braided lines, watch out, because the power of the AiRRUS rod and the non-stretch line can pull the jaws off the fish. While jigging at 100 feet down of the coast of Half Moon Bay using the AC661MH and Power Pro 50/12, many times when I jerked too hard during a hook set resulted in the fish coming off. Thus while using a rig similar to this, take in consideration of the mighty Co-MATRiX rod and learn how to take into consideration its muscle.


Filament winding the butt section produces incredible strength for good hook set and fight power


Comfort: Mated with the Daiwa TD-X 100HSD, the AiRRUS AC661MH feels well balanced while palming this rig. When a lure is tied on, the rod still felt good in my hands, well balanced and allowed me to cast comfortably.  For those who are tossing heavier baits, a useful feature AiRRUS incorporates into the end of the handle will take care of the load balancing at one end. The butt of the handle has a removable nylon cap where you can insert additional weight to counter-balance those heavier lures at the tip of the rod.


The AC661MH features a comfortable handle that uses both cork and Hypalon


Even though the rod is slightly heavier than some of the higher end models available on the market, you can't really do a one to one comparison. The Co-MATRiX is uniquely designed and has a tough butt section that's unlike any other, and to further add comfort to the AC661MH, a "Comfort Grip" design is utilized. This 4 piece grip is made up of quality Portuguese cork portions and Hypalon, composed into a handle that's pleasing to the hands. The Hypalon is a high-density foam that has many benefits in terms of comfort, and AiRRUS uses an all around piece that goes all the way to the blank. Even though the "Comfort Grip" adds slightly more weight, you'll notice that it's centered around the pivot point, your hand that holds the grip, allowing an even distribution of force on either end, which leads to comfort cast after cast.

AiRRUS Co-MATRiX 457 (AC661MH) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality An unique construction that benefits the rod in many ways in terms of durability, power, and sensitivity 9
Performance Performance is outstanding!  The construction of the rod produces a hefty butt section for good casting, control, and power, and sensitivity is still there even with the combination of two different matrixes 9
Price Definitely a great value for an innovative design that performs well and is under $100 10
Features A feature packed rod that has a comfortable grip design, exhibits good rod balancing capabilities at the end of the handle, the use of the exposed reel seat, and Fuji's Guide Concept 9
Design (Ergonomics) Even though it's not the lightest rod out there, AiRRUS uses ways to add comfort such as the "Comfort Grip" and rod balancing well at the opposite end of the tip 8.5
Application Built to handle bass with ease but can be used for other species such as stripers, walleye, pike, etc 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Strong butt section L Not as lightweight as some rods
J Innovative design!  
J Comfortable handle  
J Great value  

Conclusion: The composition of fishing rods have evolved over time.  Instead of using an entirely different material to make the ultimate rod, AiRRUS utilizes an inimitable process in composing the uniquely wrapped graphite blank, forming different sections into one, and additions to enhance comfort to the angler. Through Co-MATRiX, filament wound, and by using multi-modulus graphite to define the action, the AC661MH rod by AiRRUS performs very well for multiple species of fish. The filament wound butt section is exceptionally strong, the handle is luxuriously comfortable, and the "spineless" multi-modulus tip construction is telegraphically sensitive.  The AiRRUS Co-MATRiX AC661MH is a versatile rod that sports innovation, awesome performance, shows superior craftsmanship, and a great value that's almost too good to be true. A winner in other people's eyes as well as ours, making the Co-MATRiX 457 a picture perfect candidate for our TackleTour Editor's Choice Award.









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