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Enthusiast Tackle : Rod Review

Megabass Invokes the Spirit of a Dragon to Bring to Life their Fiberglass Cranking Stick : The F4-610GT3 Shiryu

Date: 5/4/06
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Megabass
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 9.33 + BEST VALUE AWARD!

Introduction: The word "Shiryu" as defined by Megabass USA, is Japanese for "purple dragon".
The dragon has significant cultural significance in Chinese, Japanese and other Asian cultures and serves, in many of these cultures, as one of four mythical creatures guarding against invaders and evil spirits from each of the four cosmic directions (north, south, east and west). Dragon motifs can often be found on the east side of buildings, plazas, parks, temples and other public and private areas throughout Asia. But the dragon is also the symbol of springtime and what excites bass anglers and tackle enthusiasts more than early signs of their favorite season? How about a TackleTour review of a potentially legendary cranking stick, the F4-610GT3 Shiryu from Megabass.

Megabass F4-610GT3 Shiryu Specifications

Material TX Fiber Fiberglass
Length 6'10"
Length from Front of Reel Seat to Tip 69"
Length from Back of Reel Seat to Base 10"
Line Wt. 8 - 22 lbs
Lure Wt. 3/8 - 1 oz
Pieces One
Guides Titanium Framed SIC Guides ( 8 + tip)
Power Rating Medium Heavy
Taper Regular
Rod Weight 5.3 oz
Origin Japan
MSRP ~$375

Impressions: In 2005, Megabass completely retooled their Tomahawk line of fiberglass rods with the goal of increasing the lineup's castability and sensitivity. These rods are all built on fiberglass blanks but the film used to roll these blanks has been restructured and reformulated eliminating the majority of what Megabass refers to as the horizontal fiber mesh and instead, reinforcing the vertical fibers. The result is a lighter and even more flexible blank than traditional fiberglass rods.


Presenting the rear grip assembly of our F4-610GT3

Together with the reformulated blank, Megabass has raised the stakes with the F4-610GT3 Shiryu, by employing titanium framed, SIC guides (Fuji), a split rear grip, their own ITO Head Locking System (reel seat lockring), and spiral wrapped guides. The end result is yet another masterfully designed and assembled product that balances well in hand.

The Tomahawk line is Megabass' group of technique specific cranking sticks

Lab Tests: Finding a rod comparable to the F4-610GT3 from within our vaults and that you are likely to be able and handle in your local tackle store is a near impossible achievement. In this case, we've listed two rods with similar average RoD values to try and give you an idea of what the F4-610GT3 might feel like. The trouble is, one of the listed rods is graphite and most graphite rods have an entirely different feel than fiberglass sticks. The other rod we have in our vaults is more comparable to our Shiryu, but it is a custom built cranking stick on a Seeker blank. You're not likely to locate a rod built from this blank in your local store either. Despite the difficulty in relating to this data, here we go.


Average Rate of Deflection (RoD)

F4-610 GT3
Seeker BS 706 S
G.Loomis MBR842C GLX
Load Range 4 - 20 ounces
Load Range 2 - 32 ounces

Rate of Deflection (RoD): We strapped up our F4-610GT3 and went forward with a series of deflection measurements under loads ranging from two to thirty two ounces. We experienced deflection amounts ranging from five and half inches to over forty nine. At each load, deflection amounts were slightly less than our Seeker BS 706 S, with the differences growing larger as the weights increased. The deflection differences between our F4-610GT3 and our graphite stick, a G.Loomis MBR842C were more consistent but sampled over a smaller range (4-20 ounces). Strangely enough, while the deflection in our MBR842C GLX was less than either of our glass sticks, in no way is this rod more powerful than either the F4-610GT3 or the Seeker BS 706 S. It's obvious fiberglass blanks behave quite differently than graphite, and our RoD values are only comparable between similar blank materials.

All we can really say then, based on the above analysis, is that our test subject, the F4-610GT3, is a slightly more powerful rod than the Seeker BS 706S, especially as the load increases. Furthermore, while the powers of the two rods are very different, the flexibility of the F4-610GT3 compares favorably to the MBR842C GLX.

Our F4-610GT3's power curve


The F4-610GT3 Shiryu sports titanium framed, SIC guides in a spiral wrapped configuration - an arrangement that makes a lot of sense on a glass rod where the flexibility of the blank lends itself to line rub in a conventional guide arrangement


Action, Spine, Weight, and Balance Point: The F4-610GT3 is rated as a "Regular" action rod according to MegabassUSA. However, visual inspection during our RoD tests suggest more of a Fast taper blank than regular. An interesting discovery during our tests is we found a spine on both the left and right side of the blank. The purpose or benefit of a dual spine? We're not certain. The weight of our F6-610GT3 came in at 5.3 ounces and the balance point is eight and a half inches measured from the center of the reel seat towards the rod's tip. Our custom Seeker BS 706 S weighs in at 5.1 ounces but with a balance point further up the rod, and, as a result, feels heavier in hand than our Megabass Shiryu.

Spine : Weight : Balance Point

Balance Point
Megabass F4-610GT3
Right & Left
5.3 oz

A closeup of the F4-610GT3 exposed blank reel seat



Another look at the F4-610GT3 reel seat

Real World Test: The choice of reel to match with this masterpiece was not a difficult task. We chose, without hesitation, our 2004 SuperCast shootout champ, the Shimano Conquest 101DC. Spooled with 12lb Yozuri Hybrid Ultra Soft, our 101DC fit snuggly and securely in the reel seat of our Megabass cranking stick.

Complete Field Test Set-Up

Rod Megabass F4-610GT3 Shiryu
Reel(s) Conquest 101 DC
Line 12lb Yozuri Hybrid Ultra Soft

The F4-610GT3 sports a combined foregrip, reel seat lockring solution dubbed, the ITO Head Lock System

The "Destroyer" emblem found in the exposed blank portion of the reel seat on our F4-610GT3

Casting: Rated for lures in the 3/8 ounce to 1 ounce weight range, we were easily able to cast lures ranging from the very small, shallow running Megabass Griffon Zero (1/4 ounce) to a large, deep diving Norman crankbait (measured in our lab at 1 ounce), and various cranks in between. The whippy tip of our Shiryu loads very easily, and allows for everything from pinpoint accurate overhead casts to casts for maximum distance, especially with an aerodynamic lipless crank tied to the end of the line. We fully expected this rod to handle baits in the 1/2 ounce and up range, but the ability to effectively cast baits down to one quarter ounce was a welcome surprise.

A closeup of the Shiryu's titanium framed SIC guides



The F4-610GT3, like many rods today, transitions from strong, secure, double footed guides in the first two or three, to lighter, more elegant, single footed guides throughout the remainder of the rod.

Sensitivity: Fiberglass rods are always a bone of contention between traditional crankers who thrive and appreciate a glass blank's forgiveness, and the more modern day crankers who can't do without the light weight and sensitivity graphite sticks afford. The line between these two camps has spawned the plethora of composite sticks out there today but few deny the buttery smooth action of a fiberglass stick when fighting a fish to the boat. For this very reason, the feeling among many is, the Seeker BS 706 S is among the top fiberglass cranking blanks out there today. However, take it from me, sensitivity is hardly its strong point. Does the F4-610GT3, with its predominantly vertical run fiberglass fibers, transcend this shortcoming? Yes and no.


The Megabass Griffon Zero is one of the many 1/4 ounce cranks we tested our F40610GT3's casting abilities against


While our F4-610GT3 is no match for a graphite stick when it comes to sensitivity, we did find it a bit more sensitive than our Custom Seeker BS 706 S cranking stick. In fact, on one trip striper fishing at O'Neil Reservoir in Northern California, the bite had slowed. To change things up a bit, I tied a crankbait onto the Shiryu which I'd been using for lipless cranks, and tossed the bait out over a shallow hump. This area was covered with sparse weeds. On my second cast, I was crawling my bait along the bottom, feeling my way through the rocks and weeds. I could tell my crank stalled in the weeds, so I gave it a gentle tug to free it and wham! A 3lb largemouth grabbed my crank. I don't think I could not have detected this situation with my Seeker cranking stick. While still not as sensitive as a graphite stick, the F4-610GT3 will surprise you with the amount of information it can transmit to your hands. In another test, tossing a Persuader American Pro Assassinator Clacker Spinnerbait, the vibration of that bait coming through the water was very easily detectable.



This Norman Crank weighed in at one ounce and was handled easily by our F4-610GT3 during both casting and deep diving retrieves

Next Section: Let's start retrieving!









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