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Rod Review

Is the New Kovert Series from Denali Really Lighter? (continued)

Casting: The majority of my casting tests with this rod were conducted with Rapala's Shadow Rap Shad Deep. This bait is rated from the manufacturer as being seven sixteenths of an ounce (7/16 oz) which is a hair under half an ounce, but as it turns out, the bait only weighs a hair over three eighths of an ounce (3/8oz) so it was a good bait with which to test the K863JW's lower limit. There was little doubt. Matched with the Casitas MGL, the K863JW was easily able to handle casting duties with the Shadow Rap Shad Deep.

A closer look at that spit reel seat.

Sensitivity: Where the 8lb test nylon monofilament wasn't the best choice in testing out the K863JW was in the area of sensitivity. Nevertheless, I tied on another 3/8oz bait but this time it was a Bass Patrol football head jig tipped with a Reaction Innovations Twerk trailer. I wasn't fortunate to get any hits with this presentation, but I did actually get a good feel of the bottom when dragged over rocks and onto a softer bottom even with the nylon monofilament. Denali stepped it up a bit with this stick's sensitivity.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our
Denali KovertLite K863JW Casting Rod against our 2010 Search For One baseline rods.

Power: Where I was fortunate to get some bites with this combo was during my experiments with the Shadow Rap Shad. The K863JW loads up really nicely on hookset and applies good pressure to your catch during the battle.

This stick has a very classic "medium heavy" power curve and is suitable for a variety of applications. Just don't expect to muscle fish out of heavy cover with a medium-heavy powered rod.

Nice detailing at the exposed ends of the EVA foam grip.

Design & Ergonomics: In the light versus balanced debate, the K863JW comes down on the side of light at the expense of balanced. This stick weighed in at our lab at a mere four point four (4.4) ounces which is excellent for a rod with this power rating. However, the rod's balance is not so great and the K863JW is quite a bit tip heavy. This won't matter if you're using this rod for mostly bottom contact techniques, but for any moving bait scenario where you're fishing with the rod tip a bit more elevated, you will notice this bit of imbalance.

Lab Results for Denali KovertLite K863JW Casting Rod

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Denali KovertLite K863JW Casting Rod
MBR783C GLX2000
TSFO 26 Rod Avg

Same hook hangar as before.

Price & Applications: Another wonderful characteristic of this rod? It retails for only $149.99 representing a very good value in a light, sensitive, appropriately powered fishing rod.

Denali has done a really good job of shedding the excess off their Kovert series while keeping the price down. The K863JW specifically is a classic medium heavy powered rod suitable for a number of different applications so long as you do the smart thing and follow along with the rod's recommended line and lure weight specifications.

The Kovert Lite K863JW retails for $149.99.




Denali KovertLite K863JW Casting Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A very clean build 8
Performance Good caster and above average sensitivity 8.5
Price Probably the most hotly contested price point in rods 7.5
Features Minimal build with split rear grip and reel seat and semi-micro guides though I'd like to know the guide brand and materials 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Light but tip heavy 7
Application A solid Search for One candidate 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:


+ 1.2 ounces lighter than the original - No name components
+ Better sensitivity than the original - Light, but still tip heavy
+ Clean build  
+ Classic "medium heavy" performance  


Conclusion: I wasn't the editor who reviewed the original Kovert series K863JW from Denali back in 2014, but judging from Wolbugger's comments on the stick he reviewed, it's obvious Denali's efforts to shed a little weight in this rod (the original K863JW weighed in at 5.6oz in our lab and was even more tip heavy) has really helped to up its performance.


It's surprising what shaving a little weight off a rod build can do. The new K863JW is lighter, and performs better than the original.


The new Kovert Lite K863JW could be the poster rod for those who argue for the lightest build possible on any given blank. For us, it's simply a demonstration of what can be accomplished when you go through the effort to fine tune your product - nice job Denali.


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