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Rod Review


Going M.A.D. Over Kistler's Helium 3


Date: 6/5/16
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Kistler Custom Rods
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.13 - GREAT

The He3-H711MAD is part of Kistler Custom Rods's Helium 3 series - the third iteration of the rod series that originally introduced me to TackleTour. The drawing power of the original Helium series was their Made in the USA pedigree along with the cool, blue zirconia insert guides. Gone are those guides, but returning to the Helium lineage is the Made in the USA pedigree thanks in no small part to the emergence of North Fork Composites and Kistler's partnership with Gary Loomis's new company.


Kistler He3H711MAD Specifications

Material Hybrid High-Intermediate Modulus graphite from North Fork Composites
Length 7'-11"
Line Wt. 15-35lb
Lure Wt. 3/8oz - 3oz
Pieces One
Guides 10+tip (Fuji K-Series SS/Alconite Semi-Micro)
Rear Handle Length 12
Power Rating Heavy
Taper Moderate
Rod Weight 5.1oz
Origin Made in USA
MSRP $289.00


Quality/Construction: The He3-711MAD is built on a seven foot, eleven inch (7'-11") blank rolled in North Fork Composites's factory with a hybrid of their high and intermediate modulus graphite. The blank is left sanded and unfinished and the grip is a natural cork with a split design. Epoxy work on our test sample was clean and the blank and guides all straight and perfectly aligned.


Introducing Kistler's Helium 3 He3-H711MAD rod.


Quality Ratings for the Kistler He3H711MAD

Finish (1-5)
Grip (1-5)
Epoxy (1-5)
Blank (1-2)
Guides (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The Helium 3 He3-H711MAD features a split rear grip made of cork.

Performance: I mostly fished this stick with a 2013 Shimano Metanium HG spooled with Sunline FX2 braid (blue of course to match the rod). Testing grounds were primarily the California Delta, but also Clear Lake, CA.

Matched with a Metanium HG and ready for some action on the Delta.

Casting: The He3-H711MAD has an unusually broad lure rating from three eighths of an ounce on up to three full ounces (3/8oz - 3oz). I say unusual, but it does seem to be a trend lately for big, heavy powered sticks to be able and support a wide lure rating so they can be used for more than just a singular purpose.

Testing the rod's lower end lure rating with this Reaction Innovations Pocket Rocket.

Case in point? The He3-H711MAD is just as at home pitching an unweighted worm up close to structure as it is casting a glide bait out over a submerged bed of grass. Thanks to its length and moderate taper, the versatility of this stick in presenting a variety of baits and allowing you to fish them effectively is surprising. In fact, there were several occasions where I wish I had more than one on deck to fish so I didn't have to continually retie to "test" the rod's versatility.

Easily pitching into a hole in the weeds.

Sensitivity: We've yet to fish a rod built on a blank from North Fork Composites that disappoints in this department. With a very familiar, and almost old school feel, the He3-H711MAD has excellent sensitivity for both vertical and horizontal presentation baits heightened by Kistler's signature, minimal build.

The He3-H711MAD comes with an open ended hook keeper by Kigan.

Power: This rod presents an excellent opportunity for Kistler to introduce one of their unique descriptions of power. Rated as a "heavy power" stick, the He3-H711MAD has such a smooth, soft taper it really feels like something between a medium heavy and heavy powered stick when under load. Does that make it a true medium-heavy-heavy or a medium-heavy-2 or medium-2-heavy? Well, you get the idea.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Kistler He3H711MAD against
the big stick averages from our 2008 Swimbait Rod Wars.

Looking at the stick's RoD Deflection chart above, you can see how it behaves in line with our big stick Finesse average up to a point, but then softens up even more as the load increases. This is a result of the rod bending more through its length in true moderate fashion as pressure is applied and actually the key to what many experienced punch bait anglers attest to for keeping a fish buttoned when under that thick matted cover. If a rod is too fast in this area, the hooks will pull out. Only a soft, moderate tapered rod will keep them buttoned as you work your way to their position.

Performance Ratings for the Kistler He3H711MAD

Pitch (1-5)
Cast (1-5)
Sensitivity (1-5)
Hook Set (1-5)
Control (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Another look at the rod's standard cork grip.

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