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Rod Preview:

Return of “Phenix,” a first look at the company’s new line of bass rods


Date: 5/18/08
Location: Lake Pardee, California
Event Date: May 17th, 2008
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: The original Phenix brand found a devoted following among fans of the company’s boron graphite rods. The brand all but disappeared a few seasons ago, and we were surprised to discover at the recent Long Beach Fred hall show that the company was now under new ownership and on its way back to introducing a whole new series of rods. We hooked up with marketing and sales manager Robert Ip to preview the new lineup of Phenix bass rods in advance of their hard re-launch.


Cal and Robert from Phenix rods head out at sunrise to test the new line of rods

We first met Robert Ip of Phenix at the Fred Hall Long Beach show where the company unveiled their return to market with their own blank designs. Back in 2006 the company all but disappeared and has now been resurrected by Jason Roberts. Jason was actually a huge fan of Phenix and bought the company with the mission to not only keep the brand alive but take it to the next level.

The first rods we test are the Phenix Ultra MBX

At Fred hall Long Beach based on the information at the show we reported that the rods would be wrapped in the US, but we have confirmed the current plan is to now build the rods to exacting standards overseas. The company had previously worked with G.Loomis, who built proprietary blanks for Phenix per their unique spec and more recently with Shikari. To ensure this time around that Phenix will be able to better control their product supply they have decided to control the blanks in house.With the return of Phenix the company hopes to not only build upon their original core audience but expand with a much wider range of rod offerings that make use of premium design and components and still preserve the brand’s existing custom quality look and feel. One of the things that Phenix wanted to execute on the new rod series was an increase in application specific models as well as a boost in sensitivity and a decrease in overall rod weight. Phenix’s designers sought to accomplish this task with an updated split grip design and a new IM-8 blank that actually makes use of Toray scrim materials. That’s right, the very same Toray that is known for their premium lines.

A look at the composite butt

Though the new rods are going to be officially launched at or right before ICAST this year we were able to field test the new lineup on the water and formulate our own opinions on whether or not Phenix was ready for primetime.

Phenix rods will be available with a choice of foregrip or no foregrip
(we prefer the latter)

We planned the trip with Robert who drove up to the Bay Area from Phenix’s headquarters in Los Angeles. It just so happened that yesterday during this preview test we were smack in the middle of a heat wave that put us in triple digit temperatures. Though we were not looking forward to getting roasted by the hot sun, we had hope that the heat would bring the fish up and make for a quality topwater bite.

We put the Daiwa Steez on the Ultra MB-X for a light and balanced combo

We met Robert at 3:30AM and decided to head to Lake Pardee where we could test both the baitcasting and spinning rods on both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Robert brought the rods and we packed the reels, baits, and plenty of water and sunblock.

A look at the no foregrip design, notice the Phenix logo reflecting in the sunlight...
a nice touch

Next Section: How the new rods look and feel









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