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Rod Review


The Search for One : Ark Fishing's BB73MMHFC Old Faithful (continued)


Power: The BB73MMHFC's results from its session on the RoD WRACK accurately reflects what I experienced out on the water. This stick has a somewhat stout feel as you're fishing it similar to what you might expect from a heavy powered rod, but it's softer than what you might expect from a heavy powered rod once the load of a fish is applied.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our ARK Fishing Brandon Cobb Series BB73MMHFC against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

A look at its deflection curve above demonstrates this as the BB73MMHFC's curve starts out on the heavy side of the curve, but moves towards medium heavy as more load is applied.

The BB73MMHFC has a nice tip for pitching presentations

Out on the water, battling my first catch with this stick, I was trying to figure out two things, the BB73MMHFC's power, but also the reliability of the 10 pound AbrazX I was using as my leader. I hooked into a fish that had an unusual amount of leverage. I didn't want to pull too hard because I could see it swallowed the jig. Its mouth was closed and the line was coming out right where the fish's teeth were. I was afraid if I pulled too hard, the power of the rod together with the abrasive situation would cause the line would snap, so I played the fish gingerly simply applying pressure.

Guide train consists of aluminum oxide inserts with stainless steel frames

Fortunately, I did manage to land the fish and a couple others in less precarious situations but came to the realization that 10 pound leader was probably a bit light for this stick. It was a simultaneous evaluation of how small a leader I could effectively fish inside Seaguar's 50lb hollow braid product, so in the end, the entire setup consisting of the BB73MMHFC, 50lb hollow braid, and 10lb leader came through with flying colors. I just would not necessarily have that same exact setup on this stick again. A twelve or fifteen pound leader would feel more appropriate.

The butt end is a mix of natural and composite cork

Design & Ergonomics: Ark's BB73MMHFC tipped our scales at four point six ounces (4.6) which is right in line with our historical average of all purpose sticks. However, at 7'-3", it's a little longer than our usual Search for One candidate - though that statistic is slowly trending in the same direction. Likely due to this added length, the BB73MMHFC is a bit more tip heavy compared to the average. Otherwise, as mentioned earlier, it features a painted blank and the sticks rear grip is split with the front portion a camo patterned EVA material and the back a mix of natural and composite cork. It's a motif targeted towards a more youthful demographic.

Lab Results for ARK Fishing Brandon Cobb Series BB73MMHFC

Avg RoD
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ft lbs)
ARK Fishing Brandon Cobb Series BB73MMHFC
TSFO >100 Rod Avg


Heavy Power Avg

Open ended hook keeper is in the right spot, but the threads on the reel seat could be trimmed a bit

Price & Applications: Ark Fishing International delivers this entire package for the retail price of $99.89. I feel like a broken record mentioning what a great value this and many other sticks in the manufacturer's lineup are, but when you pair that with the performance the BB73MMHFC delivers, it's difficult not to mention what a great value this stick is. Application wise, while this stick is a very good candidate for a variety of horizontal and vertical bait presentations, because it's so fun as a pitching stick, I feel its best use would be slinging soft plastic baits and jigs in tight to structure. That length of what's considered a good all purpose rod is on the rise again, but for me, anything over seven feet in a medium heavy and heavy powered rod with a fast taper mostly equates to a stick used for pitching.

Ark's Cobb series retails for just $99.89


ARK Fishing Brandon Cobb Series BB73MMHFC Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean build with some nice details 8
Performance Good power and sensitivity and a really fun pitching stick 8
Price Extremely good value 9
Features Components on par with the price point, but a better than average blank 7
Design (Ergonomics) Good weight, but a bit tip heavy... real seat thread could use some trimming 7
Application A good all purpose rod with a lean towards vertical bait presentations 8

Total Score

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:


+ Super fun pitching stick - A tad tip heavy
+ Good Power and Sensitivity - Thread on the reel seat could stand to be trimmed back a little
+ Superb Value  

If you're looking for a fun pitching stick just to get out there with and catch some fish, you might want to give Old Faithful a try

Conclusion: Ark Fishing continues to demonstrate good, functional fishing rods don't have to cost a lot of money. Burgeoning enthusiasts, anglers on a budget, those just starting out don't have the means or even desire to spend top dollar on their gear. Even for those with the enthusiast mindset, the rising cost of those high dollar sticks can be difficult to live with. With builds like the BB73MMHFC Old Faithful, Ark's new Cobb Series offers a nice respite from rising costs without the need to sacrifice too much in terms of performance. Component zealots won't be happy, but those uncomfortably fanatical about their blank materials might. If you're looking for a fun pitching stick just to get out there with and catch some fish, you might want to give Old Faithful a try.


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