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Rod Article


Putting Kistler's New ZBone Sticks to the Test on Falcon Lake, TX

Date: 2/16/10
Location: Falcon Lake, TX
Event Date: February 13 - 14, 2010
Reviewer: Cal




Introduction: As evidenced by the postponement of our anticipated trip to the Amazon kicking off our Search for One festivities, sometimes even the best laid plans can come apart at the last minute. But where one opportunity gets delayed, if you’re lucky enough, another opportunity may present itself. Trey Kistler, owner and president of Kistler Custom Fishing Rods, having caught wind of our postponed trip, invited us out to one of Texas’s most heralded bass lakes to assist him in some rod tests, bending and breaking of prototype builds, checking the integrity of his new line of rods coming to the market at any moment. Join us now as we head to Falcon Lake, Texas where Trey Kistler gives us an on the water introduction to his ZBone line of custom order rods.


Trey Kistler of Kistler Rods is ready to get back to business building custom order rods.

Despite a sometimes controversial image in the fishing rod industry, we’ve always admired Trey Kistler for his avante-garde approach to building bass rods. It’s relatively easy to take a conservative position and build what appeals to the masses, but it takes an entrepreneurial spirit to roll the dice and present anglers with something they might not have seen before. How many of you remember that first Helium LTA rod with the no foregrip handle design and blue zirconium guides? Or how about the Magnesium TS with it’s split rear grip, no foregrip handle? Certainly custom rod builders had been building rods this way for years, but Kistler Custom Rods was among the first, if not the first rod manufacturer in the United States to make many of these features available in an off the rack fishing rod. Obviously this foresight was met with success. How many production rods do you see with similar designs today?

In some circles, Trey Kistler is viewed as a controversial figure. We appreciate his drive to always present something different and innovative to the every day angler.

In July of 2009, and again in our Bass-A-Thon coverage this past November, we showed you glimpses of what Trey Kistler had brewing with his new line of custom order ZBone rods. Naturally, we were pretty excited over the prospect, so when Trey invited us out for an on the water introduction to these very rods on one of the most famous lakes in the country, we couldn’t resist.


Click on window for movie

On the Water: Both Trey Kistler and his son, Kyle, were on hand to introduce us to the new rods in an event that lasted over two days on Falcon Lake. They had on hand for us, built models of both the LE and ST Zbone sticks to fish most of which were outfitted with another new for Kistler Rods component this year, micro guides. As expected, Kistler Custom Rods is among the first to offer a complete series of micro guided rods in their Micro-Magnesium sticks, but they are also offering these guides as an option on the Zbone.

Trey and his son, Kyle, were on hand to greet us at Falcon Lake.

Day one on Falcon was under less than ideal conditions (at least for Falcon) with wind and a bit of cloud cover which put the fish, most of who were staging to spawn, off the bite a little. This actually worked in the favor for the tests however, as it became increasingly evident it was going to take a very sensitive stick to detect the subtle takes and the Zbone blanks were more than up to the task.

Kyle is quite the angler!

At the core of every ZBone rod is a blank rolled by Gary Loomis’s new factory, North Fork Composites. Trey told us only Gary Loomis could build a blank to the performance specifications he needed to make his ZBone line of rods a success. Specifications that include both intermediate (30 Ton NFC Next IM = Zbone ST) and high modulus blanks (40 Ton NFC HM = Zbone LE) rolled with supple tips, forgiving, yet unyielding backbones that will hold together beyond performance specifications together in an overall weight that is among the most competitive in the industry. It’s taken several iterations to get it right, but with Gary Loomis’s help, Trey finally believes they have the final blanks to produce the rods he had envisioned.

Falcon Lake giveth and Falcon Lake taketh away... Trey battling a fish estimated at least eight pounds that got away from us in the brush.

Next Section: Day 2 really puts the Zbone to the test









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