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Rod Review


Phenix Once Again Delivers on Maxim-um Value (continued)

Generally speaking, it's easy to find two arms of the rod search triangle : low budget, high power, high sensitivity. However, depending on your thresholds for those qualifications, it's a rare specimen that will align with all three goals. Mostly, the more powerful the stick you choose, the less sensitive it will be unless your budget threshold is high enough. Stated simply, the MAXS-610L is at a very comfortable budget threshold, has good sensitivity, but is lacking in power because it's a light powered stick.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Phenix Rods Maxim MAXS-610L against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: On that note of actual power, if you've kept up with our reviews on Phenix's fishing rods, you'll know by now that their sticks tend to fish lighter than their ratings. The MAX-610L is no exception. Each manufacturer has their own definition of this scale, but the one rating that is really kind of all over the place is "light." Mostly because few rod manufacturers offer very many light powered bass rods. In an era where the image of bass fishing is swinging for the fences on a hookset, surfing your catch across the top of the water on the battle, and flipping your catch into the boat for the landing, light powered sticks simply don't fit the mold.

For as light as this stick is, the taper is still nice and fast

But, if you're a contrarian and actually enjoy challenging yourself with the thrill of the battle and uncertainty of whether you'll land the fish, light powered sticks is where the fun begins. While the definition of what really makes a light powered stick is a bit more difficult to articulate, I feel Phenix's MAXS-610L borders on the power I actually prefer in my finesse applications - that's on that delicate fence between light and ultra light.

I always appreciate when manufacturers place their badge right here

Design & Ergonomics: The original Maxim series from Phenix had a stark black and white color scheme reminiscent of Daiwa's former TDS Series. Because of Phenix's use of the similarly patterned EVA camo grips, this new look Maxim reminds me a bit of Evergreen International's Brett Hite Combat sticks. Fortunately, the blanks have different treatments, but in the aesthetics department, I appreciate it when manufacturers don't borrow defining characteristics from one another.

Lab Results for Phenix Rods Maxim MAXS-610L

Avg RoD
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ft lbs)
Phenix Rods Maxim MAXS-610L
What the Finesse Avg

Perhaps my favorite feature of this rod's design is this emerald green carbon overlay

All that aside, the MAXS-610L is super light and well balanced. Everything you'd expect of a 6'-10" light powered casting rod that borders on ultra-light. The one thing I don't like about the rod's ergonomics is that bulge in the reel seat. It's a similar bulge but in a different presentation as found on their Feather series spinning rods and has the tendency to get in the way for me when I'm fishing. I asked Zander to fish the rod for a day without mentioning my thoughts on the ergonomics, and before the day was done he also conveyed that he felt the arch in the reel seat was a bit too high, and wide, but that he did prefer it to the even more aggressively styled arch found on the current generation Feather spinning rod seats.

I am, however, not a fan of the placement of this hook keeper

Lastly, the MAXS-610L's hook keeper is an open ended style which is great for holding that drop shot weight when the rod is not in use, but Phenix places the holder at the split of the rear grip. I don't know how many times I used this holder to secure my drop shot weight only to have the worm and hook spin around the line coming off my spinning reel causing me to spend minutes at a time untangling that mess each time I reached for the rod. I'm not a fan of hook keepers placed down at the handle section of the rod.

SiC guides on a budget stick? Unheard of

Price & Applications: Phenix re-vamps their Maxim series with a new look and keeps the price point the same. The MAXS-610L retails for just $109 and makes an excellent choice for finesse applications like drop-shotting. In fact, for the way I fish all the way from casting to presentation, to feeling that bite and lifting instead of swinging on the hookset, the MAXS-610L is an ideal drop shot stick.

Phenix delivers maximum value with this series


Phenix Rods Maxim MAXS-610L Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean overall build and high quality components for a rod at this price 8
Performance Super fun to cast, good sensitivity 7.5
Price Tough to beat with this rod's line of components! 9
Features Proprietary components, but still, SiC is SiC and a little unheard of at this price point 8
Design (Ergonomics) Light and comfortable to fish, but that bulge in the reel seat bugs me. Additionally the hook keeper is in an awkward location 7
Application Excellent choice for finesse applications 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:


+ Cool new look for the series and helps give the Maxim a new signature style - Hump on the back side of the reel seat doesn't align with my ergonomics (or Zander's ergonomic preferences either, who feels the arch is just a bit high when gripped)
+ SiC Guides on a ~$100 stick  
+ Super light tip  
+ Aligns well with traditional casting motions  


Conclusion: Having spent the majority of my formative bass fishing years fishing four inch hand pour worms rigged on a #2 light wire worm hook tied to the end of six pound test line weighted with a BB sized split shot, finesse fishing really takes me back.


Sticks like Phenix's Maxim MAXS-610L are exactly the type of stick I relied upon when I learned how to finesse fish, and back then $109 would have pretty much blown my budget. Times have changed and the fact is the Maxim looks, and fishes, like a much more expensive rod.


Now this is a value driven series I can get into!


Phenix's first iteration of their Maxim series spoke "budget stick" simply by looking at them. This refreshed look is a lot more fun and one my young bass fishing self would have likely saved up to buy, budget be damned. Today, given the fact this $109 stick is so fun, affordable, yet is built with stainless steel framed guides with SiC inserts, well, the MAXS-610L wins this Enthusiast Editor's pick as a Best Value.


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