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Rod Review

The Kencor SP4HV - This ain't no kid's rod!

Date: 4/03/03
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Kencor
Reviewer: Nature Boy

Total Score: 7.91

Introduction: Kencor Rods is has built a reputation for building high quality, fiberglass, virtually indestructible rods. Their rods are easily identified by their trademark bright orange color, which is in stark contrast to the black graphite/graphite composite rods most of us are accustomed to. These rods are especially popular with trout fisherman, and are a common sight at Southern California and Eastern Sierra fishing locale where they  are increasing in popularity with the saltwater fishing community as well due to their incredible durability.  The secret to these rods is Tenlew Magnaglas, a unidirectional fiberglass that is amazingly strong and flexible, yet sensitive enough for a wide range of fishing applications.    

Kencor SP4HV Specifications

Material Magnaglas
Length 4'
Weight 2.1 oz
Line Weight 2-6 lb. 
Pieces 1
Power Ultra Light
Action Very Fast
Color Orange/Black
MSRP $99.00


The bright orange color trademark of Kencor rods

Impressions: The first thing I noticed about this rod was how tiny it was. It was among the shortest rod I have ever seen. At just 4 feet long, it looks like a child's fishing rod. In addition, it was so flexible, I was literally able to bend the tip into a circle.  But upon closer inspection, you could tell that this rod was no kid's rod, built with great attention to detail and high quality components. Each of the guides is precision wrapped, and then coated with a durable resin coating which blends in seamlessly with the rod blank. The handle is constructed with high grade cork, and the reel is completely alloy, firmly secured by two twisting screws. The rod is an eye catching orange and black color, which stands out nicely from the rest of the crowd.  


At just over 2 ounces, this is one of the lightest rods available


Field Tests:  This rod was one of my trout rods, and has been field tested in a variety of conditions. The short length and virtually indestructible nature of this rod make it ideally suited for backpacking trips, where a fragile graphite rod could easily be broken or crushed by the weight of a heavy pack.  Another favorite use for this rod is for float tubing. The short, yet flexible nature of the rod makes it a pleasure to cast all day long from a float tube. Don't be fooled by the size, it can handle an incredibly large fish if played properly and matched with a smooth reel. I've landed a 5 lb. trout with this rod and 2 lb. test line. Needless to say, it was one of the most memorable and lengthy fish battles ever! Fighting a large trout in a float tube with this rod is an absolute blast, and is one of the most exhilarating experiences one can have fishing.


A demonstration of just how flexible the tip is - don't try this at home with your graphite rods!

Casting Precision:  Shorter than the average trout rod, the Kencor SP4HV allows for unprecedented casting precision. Although this rod won't win casting distance contests, the super flexible tip allows you to fling tiny lures surprising distances, comparable or ever further than graphite rods of slightly longer length. Throwing tiny trout jigs with this rod is one of my favorite ways of fishing for trout, and this rod certainly does the job well. This is one of the few rods that can effectively cast a tiny 1/32 oz. tube jig a good distance without stringing any additional weight on the line. Likewise, heavier lures can be effectively "launched" record distance thanks to the amazingly flexible tip. The only downside to this is a loss in power, and fighting a really large fish can be quite a workout, though this may be seen as a bonus to some. The short length of the SP4HV also comes in incredibly handy when fishing in areas with significant brush or overhanging branches.  You can effectively cast in almost any direction as needed with one hand thanks to the short length. The length of this rod also makes it ideal for float tubing, allowing for rapid lure changes and adjustments as needed.


A view of the metal alloy butt section of the rod

Sensitivity:  For a fiberglass rod, the Kencor SP4V is surprisingly sensitive, partly due to its short length. Fish strikes are rapidly transmitted through the Magnaglas fibers to the cork handle, and setting the hook is almost automatic thanks to the flexible tip. The astounding strength of Tenlew Magnaglas also allows the rod to be incredibly light and thinner than comparable graphite rods, which also results in increased sensitivity. Although not as sensitive as high modulus graphite, the incredible strength and casting ability of Kencor rods have made them the rod of choice for many trout anglers.  

Fighting a hefty Lee's Ferry rainbow trout with the Kencor SP4HV


Kencor SP4HV Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality All components are high quality. Tenlew Magnaglas is virtually indestructible.   9
Performance Amazing casting distance, but sensitivity is somewhat lacking.   6.5
Price Very reasonably priced, compared to other high end rods.   9
Features No gimmicks or fancy technology, just what you need to catch fish.   7
Design (Ergonomics) Rod feels especially light and a pleasure to cast with all day long.  8
Application A versatile rod that can be used in many situations thanks to it's small size and portability. Magnaglas is able to handle larger fish then you would think, but may feel sloppier then tightly wound graphite rods 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                                                             Minus

J Quality construction L Lack of sensitivity
J Tenlew Magnaglas L Short length limits casting distance (to a degree)
J Super lightweight  
J Virtually indestructible  

Conclusion:  The Kencor SP4HV is a short, ultralight rod that is ideal for panfish and trout fishing, and its durability will guarantee a lifetime's worth of service. Although fiberglass is not known for its high sensitivity when compared to newer exotic graphite rods, Kencor has managed to build a fiberglass rod that is both sensitive and durable. High quality components and an attractive exterior make this rod a great value for the money, costing well under a premium graphite rod the Kencor still has a lot to offer. If you're looking for a rod that will make every fish a challenging fight, match this rod with an ultralight reel, and hold on for the fight of your life!









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