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BFS Rod Review


 

Catching the BFS Wave with Phenix Rod's New Series

 

Date: 9/9/23
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Phenix Rods
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.00 + EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD

Introduction:
Until recently, most bass anglers turning to finesse techniques relied solely upon spinning gear to present their baits. However, over twenty years ago in Japan, manufacturers, third parties, and anglers were tuning their casting gear to do the same. Today, Bait Finesse Systems (BFS), are all the rage with large, US based manufacturers rolling out reels and rods to support the burgeoning approach.

 


Until recently, most bass anglers turning to finesse techniques relied solely upon spinning gear to present their baits

 

With the exception of maybe one or two manufacturers, up until now, those rods have usually been specific models within existing product lines. Just another technique specific model sitting next to that jerkbait, jig, or crankbait rod. Now, one manufacturer has taken the bull by the delicate nose hair and is offering a full line of rods in support the equally delicate task of presenting smaller baits on light line. Here's our look at Phenix Rod's Classic BFS.

 

Phenix Rods BFS-C 68 Specifications

Material 36T Toray Carbon Fiber w/ Solid Tip
Length 6'-8"
Line Wt. 4-10lb
Lure Wt. 3/32 - 1/4oz
Pieces One
Guides 14 + tip (Fuji SS/Alconite Micro)
Rear Handle Length 8.5"
Power Rating None specified - Ultra Light to Light
Taper Extra-Fast
Rod Weight 2.9oz
Origin Made in China
MSRP $199

 

Impressions: Having spent my bass fishing youth using a five foot ten, ultra light rod matched with a spinning reel loaded with six pound line to present my four inch, hand poured finesse worm weighted by a split shot (BB size) - and outfishing all my friends while doing so - I feel I bring a particular perspective to this whole idea of finesse tuned fishing gear for bass. You see, the sticks I relied upon in my bass fishing youth weren't your prototypical ultra light (UL) rods. Most UL sticks are really soft, with moderate to moderate fast tapers. The sticks I sought had the lightest of tips, but fast to extra-fast tapers. One power/taper combination that came to exemplify my ideal combination for split shotting back in the day was G.Loomis's old mag-light powered rods exemplified by their current GLX 820S DSR.

 


Introducing Phenix Rods's BFS-C 68

 

Fast forward to today, when searching for a casting rod to handle finesse duties, faster tapered sticks again are my preference only now I'm mostly presenting drop shot or Ned rig baits. Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed with Phenix Rods's Classic BFS-C 68 is that ideal, fast to extra-fast taper. Only how they achieve this quality is with a very JDM approach of using a solid carbon tip. Phenix matches that JDM tech with a distinctly JDM look. All of their Classic BFS sticks feature a split rear grip of high grade cork and custom turned accent pieces. The BFS-C 68, specifically, is a six foot, eight inch (6'-8") casting rod rated for baits from three thirty seconds to one quarter ounce (3/32 - 1/4oz) in weight.


This is a six foot, eight inch (6'-8") casting rod rated for baits from three thirty seconds to one quarter ounce (3/32 - 1/4oz) in weight

Real World Tests: Turns out the even more difficult decision for me these days is which reel to use when fishing a new BFS stick. For the BFS-C 68, those duties fell upon my Megabass Monoblock Grigio Titanio equipped with a Roro BFS MX30 spool to enable finesse mode. This particular Monoblock was one I purchased and hand carried back from Japan in 2019, so it's particularly dear to me. I sourced the spool from our friends over at JapanTackle as a way to spice the reel up. I spooled it with a fresh supply of Varivas Super Trout Advance Double Cross X8 and installed a leader of Seaguar Tatsu in 8lb test.


Panfish are great fun on BFS gear

Casting: It's obvious from the get go that the BFS-C 68 can easily handle casting duties with the lightest of lures. That tip is very responsive. The only real limitation is your choice in reel. A quick test out on the water through a couple of reties to try drop shot and Ned rig setups verified as much. What I was really curious about with this stick was the upper end. In true extra-fast tradition, that tip transitions very quickly to a relatively strong backbone leaving me to wonder if the BFS-C 68 can do more than just super finesse techniques.


The cutaway reel seat

So for fun, I tied on the wonder bait of this season, Megabass's Sleeper Craw. The Sleeper Craw tips the scales at five eighths of an ounce (5/8oz) so by specification alone, it has no business being at the end of the line of the BFS-C 68. To my surprise, the stick handles the weight in casting duties just fine. That really opens the door on the stick's applications making it a tool not necessarily for finesse baits, but just about any normal sized bait you're comfortable presenting on light line.


Guides are Fuji SS/Alconite


Nicely executed wraps

The rod's micro-guides were not an issue casting even with my use of braided line and leader. Of course, that's finesse braid and an eight pound leader, so even I can tie a very small connection knot (Albright). There does seem to be an excessive number of guides on the blank, but when dealing with lighter powers, more flex, and conventionally wrapped guides, steps like these are necessary to reduce chances of your line rubbing against the blank during inopportune moments.


They are plentiful and micro-sized

Sensitivity: The real reason I chose the lightest powered sticks I could find during my early bassing years is the fact the lighter in power you go, the more feel you are afforded through that fishing rod. I was able to outfish my friends because I was fishing sticks with far better sensitivity and able to feel more bites. However, use of the carbon tip sort of neutralizes that advantage.


JDM detailing at the hood

What it allows instead is a more reliable, visual tell that something is going on at the end of your line. You fish vertical presentation finesse techniques with sticks like this by dragging your bait along the bottom and watching that rod tip. How it loads will tell you if you're hung up in rock or weeds, or if you have a bite. It is a deadly accurate indicator, but requires attentiveness.

Next Section: How powerful should a BFS rod be?

 

   

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