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Rod Review

The e21 21 Gold Carrot Stix, an interesting blend to say the least (continued)

Sensitivity: Thanks to the 21CRG781H-F-SBC’s light weight, sensitivity of this stick is pretty good. Granted, the majority of time I was fishing this rod with braided line so sensitivity was enhanced to begin with, but even without a reel on the stick you can tell the blank is pretty decent in this department.

One of the quality control issues we found with this rod. Note how the epoxy on the guide wrap is so thick, it actually overflows into the guide.

Durability: Even though the 21CRG781H-F-SBC appears to be a rather bare bones rod, there are a lot of cosmetic enhancements to this stick. The most obvious of which is the color of the rod itself. These sticks are not orange because of any inherent carrot fibers, but the orange color is simply a finish applied to the blank. This finish is very susceptible to scratches and while the bright orange color may look somewhat attractive new, after a few months of really hard use, the wear and tear is quite obvious.

Naturally, you expect a rod to get scratched up near the hook hangar...

Fortunately for this stick, unlike the previously reviewed 21CRG701M-M-C cranking stick, the SS framed, TiCH coated guides held up during my use. Perhaps this is the case because I tend to fish higher end braided lines like Toray, Daiwa Samurai Braid and some Suffix Performance Braid, all of which have a very smooth coating. It could also be that these lines have less of a tendency to pick up debris from the water (the real culprit of worn guides) because they have tighter weaves. Whatever the case, though I consider these guides unbefitting a two hundred dollar rod, and really more suitable for a one hundred dollar stick, they held up during my use.

... but wear marks like this one, up along the blank, can show up all over if you're not careful with how you place this rod down in your boat.

Application: Price point and component discussions aside, in terms of versatility, this is where the 21CRG781H-F-SBC really shines. At seven feet eight inches in length this rod is well suited for its intended application as a light, big bait stick, but it can also serve in a pinch as a deep diving crankbait rod. Throw in the fact it has a fast taper and a modest backbone and you can use the rod for flipping, pitching, and punching as well.

The grip of the 21CRG781H-F-SBC is decent grade cork - not necessarily the best we've seen, but not the worst either.

Warranty: Each rod from e21 comes with a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner against manufacturer defects in material and workmanship. All claims are handled over the phone during normal business hours and for broken rods, a replacement fee of forty dollars applies. All that’s required in return is to ship a portion of the broken rod back to the factory as proof of purchase. As always, if you have any questions regarding warranty or need clarification, please speak to the manufacturer directly regarding your concerns. The phone number is available right on e21’s website.


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

e21 21 Carrot Gold Stix 21CRG781H-F-SBC Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Could use a little tightening of QC 7
Performance Being mindful of the rod's actual ratings, it actually performs well 7
Price Frankly, considering the components on this rod, this is my biggest problem with this stick 5
Features Contemporary stylings with mediocre components... adjustable balance is a nice plus to bump this score back up 7
Design (Ergonomics) I find the orange paint too much of a gimmick and after it starts to get dinged up, really rather unfortunate. 6.5
Application This rod's best attribute is its versatility 9

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:



J Relatively light L Guides worthy of a much less expensive rod
J Very versatile stick L Sloppy epoxy application on thread wraps
J Customizable balance  
J Able to cast baits above and below the rated range  

So where does that leave us with the 21CRG781H-F-SBC? On the one hand I appreciate the rod’s light weight and the flexibility it affords me to adjust its balance if I should choose to do so. On the other hand, I really do take offense at the manufacturer’s choice in guides for this two hundred dollar rod. Think about it. The Shimano Cumara is priced the same as the e21 21 Carrot Gold series, features a similar reel seat and minimalist design, but comes with industry proven Fuji stainless steel framed, SiC insert guides as opposed to stainless steel guides with a TiCH coating over the chromed steel rings (a coating that can wear off) on the e21.

This eight pound beast put up quite the battle against the 21CRG781H-F-SBC. It was caught on Roboworm's new EZ Shad.

Back to the other hand, I really do appreciate the 21CRG781H-F-SBC’s suitability for a variety of techniques including big baits, paddletails, deep cranking, flipping and punching. But then again, that orange paint on the blank is really unnecessary and does not stand up to long term use. The scratches, nicks, dings, on my 21CRG781H-F-SBC’s finish are many and for someone who tries to maintain a nice, clean look to his rods, this is a genuine sore point.

Conversely, I was able to pull this five pounder right into the boat after it annihilated a Mattlures Hardbait Bass.

So in the end I could really go either way with this stick. It certainly performs very respectably, but there are a couple lingering factors that push me towards the negative end of the scale. The first is the rod’s price. At two hundred dollars, there are just too many other options with more proven components and durability. Remove that single factor and I might be swayed back over to the positive side of the spectrum because bottom line is, it’s still a fun stick to fish.

Reports from e21 shortly after ICAST 2007 were that the original implementation of Cellucomp's carrot fiber technology did not work out. Instead, e21 has reportedly sourced different nano level cellulose "bio-fibers". They would not share with us what the bio-source is for these fibers, yet the claims on all their marketing material still indicate "carrot fibers" - curious to say the least.

But the other issue that is hard to shake is the questionable marketing practice by this company. The original "carrot" technology leveraged by Cellucomp back in 2007 did not pan out in the prototype blanks, so e21 sourced a different bio-material. Nothing wrong with that, yet despite repeated inquiries as to the source of this new bio-material, e21 has chosen not to disclose this information. The term "Advanced Nano Level Carrot Fiber Technology" is still stamped on their rods and is referenced throughout their website, so does that mean they are they still using carrot fibers after all? I would hope so, but then, why not share that news with us when we inquired? Something just doesn't add up. Whether or not any of this really matters is up to each individual to decide for themselves. As stated above, the bottom line is, this is a fun stick to fish, so whatever they're doing with the blank on this particular model, I really do like it. Do I like the rod's components? No. Do I like its price when compared to the competition? No. Is the fact that this rod is fun to fish enough to overcome these and all the other shortcomings discussed in the article? That is something you can only answer for yourself.

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