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Rod Review


An Entire Combo for the Weight of One Reel Begins with Phenix's FTX-71MH (continued)

Sensitivity: Like its spinning counterpart, the FTX-71MH is a super minimal build that rewards the angler with very good sensitivity. I remarked in the FTX-S 71L's review that I imagined that rod would be outstanding fished with braid or fluorocarbon but I was only able to fish it with nylon monofilament. Well, I can say my predictions were correct. Fish the FTX-71MH with lines that are known to enhance sensitivity and it almost seems unfair. This is also why I enjoyed pitching the Texas Rigged Machete. Fishing soft plastics on a sensitive stick is just too much fun.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our
Phenix FTX-71MH against our baseline, medium powered sticks.

Power: As usual, Phenix is a little generous in the FTX-71MH's power rating. Phenix's medium-heavy is more like a traditional medium, so I would surmise if you're looking for a stick from this lineup that performs more like a traditional medium-heavy, purchase the heavy. Even with a tip rated as extra-fast, the FTX-71MH's power curve aligns perfectly with our baseline medium powered sticks.

The FTX-71MH is rated with an extra-fast taper.

Out on the water, in real world conditions, the FTX-71MH has a really smooth power arch and I was able to control my catches just fine.

 However, it was early in the season and the grass was still sparse, so I didn't really need a lot of power to control my catch or more accurately, steer them away from places they could bury themselves or cut my line. Just know what you're getting into with this particular stick and you'll be just fine.

Some rod manufacturers do not include a hook hangar.

Design & Ergonomics: This is the department where the FTX-71MH really shines - ergonomics. This fully built up, medium powered casting stick weighs in at a mere three point three ounces (3.3oz). When paired with the Aldebaran MGL (4.8oz), we're talking about an entire combo that weighs the same as a Tatula HD - an entire combo!

Phenix supplies two options on the FTX-71MH.

Yes, the stick suffers from a balance point that measures nine inches above the mid-line of the reel seat, but because the stick is so incredibly light, the balancing torque is very average and not in the least bit cumbersome. This stick, matched with a light reel will spoil you.

Lab Results for Phenix FTX-71MH

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Phenix FTX-71MH
2017 MBR842C GLX

Light AND well balanced.

Price & Applications: Just like the previously reviewed FTX-S 71L spinning rod, the FTX-71MH casting rod retails for a mere $149.99. This stick has the look and minimalist feel of a custom rod yet retails for a buck fifty. Sure it's more of a medium power, but if you need more, then get the FTX-71H and you'll likely be in medium heavy territory. I ended up fishing vertical bait presentations predominantly with this stick, but I imagine it would perform equally well with baits like the Vision OneTen or your favorite topwater walker or popper. It felt really good with the small paddletail swimbait rig I was throwing, I just didn't get any bites.

All this for just $149.99.


Phenix FTX-71MH Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A clean and minimalist build 9
Performance Excellent all around 9
Price Another incredible value from Phenix 8.5
Features Solid components and a blank that feels good 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Super light and appropriately balanced 8
Application A versatile medium powered stick 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ So incredibly light for a production rod - Power rating is a bit generous for what the stick actually delivers
+ Solid performing blank  
+ Good grade of components  

The FTX-71MH wins this Editor's Choice Award.

Conclusion: It's still difficult to comprehend how incredibly light this combo I've been fishing really is and that's thanks to the super light build of the FTX-71MH. Manufacturers have been making super light reels for awhile now but production rods hadn't quite caught up - until now. Phenix continues to push the envelope with minimalist builds and is one of the leaders in offering rod series with excellent component to value ratios. These Feather series sticks should be flying out of stores, so if you're in the market or been curious at all about these sticks, don't even wait. The FTX-71MH wins this Editor's Choice Award.


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