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Rod Review


Evergreen International's Power Finesse Stick, the Gizmo Special (continued)

Of course, when fishing surface baits, sensitivity is moot because all the strikes are visual. In the case of the RCSS-610M-ST, this stick was designed to fish Evergreen's Gizmo topwater bug. Once that bait splashes down, it just takes the slightest twitch or shake of the rod tip to make those limbs of the bait pulse like a water bug rowing forward. It's quite mesmerizing actually and easy to get lost working the rod in conjunction with this bait. It is the perfect pairing.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Evergreen International Combat Stick RCSS-610M-ST against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: Once that bait gets sucked down, that's where the RCSS-610M-ST really shines. That medium power rating is accurate because this stick has more backbone than its svelte 6'-10" length would suggest. Hooksets are sure and battles become more about the concern whether your line might break because you're only using 4lb test line and this stick exerts too much force! Ok, that was my concern. You don't have to use a 4lb leader or mainline but the fact that you can is a nice problem to have.

The solid carbon tip matched with a medium powered backbone make for a rather unusual combination

The RCSS-610M-ST strikes a nice balance of being powerful while not overpowering to the point your line will snap - assuming your drag is set correctly of course. I didn't manage a fish with the 10lb leader, but there's no reason to believe this stick wouldn't be perfectly at home during a battle with even heavier line.

Super clean detailing from Evergreen, even on a more budget minded series

Design & Ergonomics: Some may find the Gizmo Special's length a little short. Spinning rod lengths are following the already established trend of longer casting rods. For some reason, I still favor this 6'-10" length, so this rod felt perfectly fine in my hands. The stick's weight, while a little high on paper, is not something I noticed once I had a reel mounted in the seat. Overall weight and balance of a spinning combo is not as critical as that of a casting combo and is definitely more about the reel than the rod in any case.

Nothing is taken for granted, especially not that detail at the top of the handle assembly

The lack of a hook keeper is of little consequence these days thanks to the availability of this EzKeeper accessory by Fuji

Lab Results for Evergreen International Combat Stick RCSS-610M-ST

Avg RoD
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ft lbs)
Evergreen International Combat Stick RCSS-610M-ST
What the Finesse Avg

That's more like it

Stylistically, the RCSS-610M-ST is built with the same look and feel as all the other sticks within the series with camo patterned EVA foam grips and the x-wrap reinforcement over the first third of the rod. Evergreen relies upon Fuji components for both the reel seat and guides. The guides feature stainless steel frames with Alconite inserts.

Guides are SS framed, Alconites by Fuji

Price & Applications: Evergreen's RCSS-610M-ST also follows suit with pricing for the majority of its siblings within the US Combat Stick lineup retailing for $199.99. All but two of the rods within the series are available for this same price point. Otherwise, once you put the Gizmo Special together with the Gizmo topwater bait, it's obvious what this stick's true purpose is. I liked it better for Ned rigs than I did drop shot. It's a little stout for drop shotting, but that power comes in handy on a Ned rig and that stinger tip is ideal for some of those all too subtle takes that characterize the Ned rig bite.

The RCSS-610M-ST retails for $199.99


Evergreen International Combat Stick RCSS-610M-ST Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Carefully crafted with very good attention to detail 9
Performance ST equipped rods always take a little more time to grow accustomed, but once dialed in, this stick's combination of power and light tip are really intriguing. 8.5
Price Really nice blend of blank and components for this price point 8
Features Solid carbon tip at an affordable price point with a good line of components, what's not to like? 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) The camo EVA grips give the rod just enough edge and keeps it from looking like just another rod on the rack 7
Application Justin Kerr describes this stick perfectly - a power finesse stick 7.5

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:


+ Solid carbon tip is perfect for working the Gizmo topwater bait but also for visually detecting subtle bites - No Hook Keeper
+ Deceivingly powerful  
+ Good level of components  

Nothing like a surprise, rainbow trout to cap off my experience with the Gizmo Special

Conclusion: Evergreen International continues to deliver intriguing builds within this series of rods. The RCSS-610M-ST Gizmo Special is their latest addition and a stick that takes a little time getting to know. It's very easy to assume what it might be suitable for by simply looking the ratings, but if any stick requires a little time out on the water to truly discover its strengths, it's the Gizmo Special. The combination of that light, solid carbon tip together with a medium powered backbone makes this so much more than a finesse spinning rod. I'm not quite sure I've ever fished a spinning stick whose strength was in topwater presentations, but that's exactly where I'd classify this stick - as a stick ideal for topwater presentations not just with the Gizmo, but with baits like Megabass's Grand Siglett, and Bagley's Sunny B Twin Spin and Balsa 1 Wake. Then, when the topwater bite isn't happening, you can tie on a Ned rig or 3" soft plastic stick bait and get them that way. In that regard, the RCSS-610M-ST truly is special.


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