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Enthusiast Review

Megabass's Own Mutant X-Rod, The Extraordinary and Limited Edition Diablo SB

Date: 5/20/07
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Megabass
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.75
+ Ultimate Enthusiast!!

Introduction: If there is one rod in the Megabass solar system that is universally sought after, it might be the Diablo. Used for everything from topwater fishing for Dorado in Japan to pursuing the ubiquitous black bass in the United States, the Diablo was the very first rod within the Megabass lineup of which we here at TackleTour were made aware. Late in 2005, we caught wind of a special version of the Diablo that was produced in very limited quantities and sold only in Japan. Normally featuring a traditional full rear plus foregrip handle assembly, this limited version of the Diablo featured Megabass's new slant bridge handle. We were lucky enough to procure one of these sticks and had it sent over directly from Japan: Introducing the Megabass Evoluzion F5 1/2-68XFti Diablo SB (Slant Bridge).

Megabass F5 1/2-68XFti Diablo SB Specifications

Material Multiplex Graphite + Transgenic Full-Ti
Length 6'8"
Length from Back of Reel Seat to Base 10"
Line Wt. 12 - 25lbs
Lure Wt. 1/4 - 1oz
Pieces One
Guides 8 Fuji Ti Framed SiC Guides + Tip
Power Rating Heavy
Taper Medium Fast
Rod Weight 5.4 oz
Manufacturing Country Japan
MSRP $496 (Standard Model)

Introducing the 2005 Limited Production Megabass F5 1/2-68XFti Diablo SB


Impressions: Limited production cues aside, the allure of the Diablo, or Megabass's XFti rods in general is the use of what they refer to as transgenic full-titanium construction. Sound like something out of the Xmen comic books? Maybe Yuki Ito is a fan of Wolverine! In a design reminiscent of this Xmen comic book character's skeletal modifications where a futuristic metal was fused to the character's bones, Megabass's XFti rods have a very visible pinstripe of titanium fibers running the entire length of the rod serving to help increase the blank's inherent recovery rate while ultimately delivering a more sensitive rod without sacrificing any flexibility - a very important factor when trying to keep a hooked fish from becoming unbuttoned. So are these Xmen-esque features all marketing hype or do these modifications deliver a tangible benefit? That's what we're here to find out.


Frustrated by not being able to get the Diablo with a slant bridge? Well, the Diablo's little brother, the F4 1/2-68XFti Jabberwock Evoluzion comes standard with this feature.

Shortly after scoring the limited production Diablo SB, we also procured the F4 1/2-68XFti Jabberwock Evoluzion in an effort to gain a broader sampling of the XFti offering. This rod also has the slant bridge handle (as a standard feature item), and shares the same lure rating (1/4-1 oz) yet a slightly lower line rating (8-22lbs) than the Diablo.

The Jabberwock Evoluzion matches up nicely with the Limited Edition Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light.

Lab Tests: We strapped the Diablo and its similarly rated sibling, the Jabberwock Evoluzion, up on our RoD WRACK to see what their deflection characteristics might reveal. What we discovered, was a rather interesting parallel between these two rods and G.Loomis's one two punch of the MBR843C and MBR844C GLX.


Lab Results for Megabass F5 1/2-68XFti Diablo SB

Avg RoD (2-28 oz)
Rated Action
Measured Weight
Balance Point
F5 1/2-68XFti Diablo
F4 1/2-68XFti Jabberwock Evoluzion
Medium Heavy
Left & Right
Medium Heavy

Rate of Deflection (RoD): In the load range of 2 to 28 ounces, the Diablo SB shared almost the exact same deflection curve as our previously tested G.Loomis MBR844C GLX. Similarly, the Jabberwock Evoluzion mirrored the deflection characteristics of our MBR843C GLX. Figure 1, below illustrates the uncanny resemblance between these sticks. However, while these rods may share similar deflection characteristics, it is, at the same time, quite obvious that the two XFti rods have a slower taper than the two MBR GLX sticks, so while the deflection results of these rods are similar, the way in which they behave while under load will be quite different (i.e. the faster a rod's taper, the more powerful they will feel).

Fig. 1 : This RoD Deflection Chart shows the deflection characteristics of two XFti rods against similarly rated rods in the GLoomis lineup. Note the strikingly similar curves.

Spine, Weight, and Balance Point: There were no surprises here in comparing the XFti sticks to their MBR GLX counterparts. We fully expected the Megabass rods to weigh more but balance better than their comparable GLX sticks, and as the lab result table shows above, this all panned out as expected. An interesting discovery on our Jabberwock Evoluzion rod is that it appeared to have a spine on both the left and right side of the blank while the Diablo, clearly, only had one spine. However, none of this really made a difference with how the sticks felt on the water.


The F5 1/2-68XFti Diablo SB under load

The Diablo features eight titanium framed SiC guides plus the tip top

Here, you can see the pinstriping of the XFti blank featuring integrated titanium strands from butt to tip

Real World Test: I fished the Diablo SB for a full year before sitting down to write this review. My impressions, in general, of the XFti blank were accelerated by also fishing the Jabberwock Evoluzion, but the following discussion is primarily focused on the F5 1/2-68XFti. Of course, before fishing any of these rods, we are faced with the difficult decision of which reel(s) will have the honor of breaking in these new sticks.


Complete Field Test Set-Up for Megabass F5 1/2-68XFti Diablo SB

Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light 103L
Shimano Antares DC7
14lb Sunline Shooter
20lb Sunline Shooter

Given the Diablo is almost perfectly balanced right from the get go, just about any reel feels at home on this rod including, yes, the Daiwa Pixy. In fact, I have a supertuned Pixy that may find its way onto the Diablo at some point this coming year, but for the majority of the past year, I fished the Diablo SB with a Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light 103L spooled with 14lb Sunline Shooter. Later in the year, when the annual striper run hit the Delta, I mounted a Shimano Antares DC7 spooled with 20lb Sunline Shooter on the Diablo to help battle these hard hitting, fast running fish.


The Diablo makes a wonderful Senko stick

Pitching and Casting: The Diablo is an excellent pitching stick. So much so that for the entire Spring of 2006, I'm not sure I ever made an overhead or sidearm cast with the thing. Fishing everything from quarter ounce jigs plus trailers to seven-inch Senko's, the combination of this heavy powered, medium-fast tapered, slant bridge handled stick and Type R+ tuned Daiwa Millionaire reel became my go to combo for vertical bait presentations. My only regret? That I couldn't easily get another set up exactly like this!


The benefit of the Slant Bridge is it keeps the butt of the rod away from your forearm allowing for greater freedom of movement

While the Slant Bridge feature on our Diablo was a limited production run for 2005, the Jabberwock Evoluzion comes standard with this grip design

Casting duties finally came later in the year when I relied on this stick to chase after the fall run striper in the California Delta. Matched with the wicked, high speed, Shimano Antares DC7, I had the Diablo SB pulling double duty with LV500MAX lipless cranks as well as LC Pointer 100DD jerkbaits. Both baits were easily and accurately presented with the Diablo despite it's relatively slow, medium-fast taper. Other rods with similar tapers usually take a few casts with which to grow accustomed because they load differently than a fast tapered rod, but not the Diablo SB. Once again, I was left wishing I had more than one of these sticks to help avoid reties and switching of baits.


Cal battles a striper on his F4 1/2-68XFti

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