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Rod Review

Kistler’s Helium 3 Series Rods Channel the Previous Generation  (continued)

The new Helium 3 rods are very clean looking, and channel the original blue insert motif with use of blue thread wraps on each guide. The Helium logo pays homage to the original and is located on the split grip, giving the entire rod above the soft touch EVA foregrip a very minimalistic clean look. Rather than put any gloss on the blank Kistler allows the NFC blank to be the star, and the fibers are clearly visible throughout under sunlight. Kistler describes this as their signature “raw carbon” look.

We like it raw! Kistler allows the blank to shine with no unnecessary gloss

Fuji components are employed on the Helium 3, including Fuji MACRO sized (larger than micro, smaller than conventional guides) 316 Stainless steel "K" tangle free, Alconite rings and Kigan Z guides, and reels are mounted on a Fuji Graphite Exposed blank reel seat. The hook hanger is an open ended design sourced from Kigan. The Helium 3 rod is pretty light at just over 4oz. and the balance point is right at 8.5 inches, so that when it is paired with just about any lightweight reel the rod feels natural, and certainly not tip-heavy when palmed.

The rod may not have blue rings but it pays homage to the original with blue threading

Features Ratings for Kistler Helium 3 He3-LMH-70F

Grip (1-5)
Guides (1-5)
Reel Seat (1-5)
Hook Keeper (1-5)
Rod Sleeve (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The Kigan open ended hook hanger is easy to use

Real World Tests: We fished the Helium 3 rods for two entire seasons paired with a variety of reels and different line types, but the majority of the tests were conducted using 12lb. class mono and fluorocarbon lines. These 7 foot rods fall in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to power ratings, making them ideal for a wide range of applications, so I utilized the rods for everything from fishing soft plastics to working reaction baits. I fished the rods on a variety of local lakes in Northern California as well as the Delta.

Time to see just what the Helium 3 is made of. This was one of our longest tests to date with over 24 months on the water

Operation: Kistler does a good job rating most of their rods and the He3-LMH-70F proved to be an excellent caster of both light to medium baits. Though the rods are great for light jigs or swim jigs I also found them good for spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and the tip was even responsive enough for some light topwater walk-the-dog or plug work.

Casting on the California Delta

This rod is extremely versatile and it channeled the original LTA by feeling light and crisp no matter what I was fishing. Sensitivity is exactly what we have reported from previous NFC based rods, superb. I was able to detect subtle changes in hard and even soft cover and light bites were not lost. As an example of just how sensitive this rod is came when I was fishing blades in the Delta.

The rod feels pretty sensitive

I was casting and retrieving all the way down levee when suddenly I felt the spinnerbait blade cadence change. I pulled up the bait and it looked normal so I made another cast, sure enough I could detect that the rhythmic cadence of the spinning blade just felt off. I pulled the spinnerbait up for a close inspection and found a small amount of vegetation had worked into the willow blade’s swivel. I cleaned it out and made a cast and sure enough it felt normal once again.

High sticking the rod and boat flipping was no problem with this blank

As light as this rod feels it also has plenty of backbone to crank in mid-sized crankbaits and when you have a fish on the line you can really load up into this rod with no fear that the blank will break. Again this is a typical characteristic of NFC blanks as they handle stress very well, also providing plenty of leverage to drag fish out and away from cover. During our field tests there were many times when I deliberately high-stuck the rod or boat flipped fish just to try and break the Helium 3’s tip, but never experienced such a break, even with all my mis-handling.

Performance Ratings for Kistler Helium 3 He3-LMH-70F

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

I was impressed by just how many types of baits and application types I could fish with this rod

Next Section: A worthy successor?









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