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Rod Building Article / Blank Review

 

Swimbait Rod Build: A Blank to Handle All your Big Bait Needs and More: Phenix Rods Titan Long Fall (continued)

Sensitivity continued: To give you an idea, I was able to feel the tail thump of JSJ Baits's new soft body big bait, the Caboose and pickups on Megabass's Sleeper Craw were easy to discern as well. Lastly, I even used one of my builds as a Carolina Rig rod and could easily tell what was going on at the end of my line as I dragged the bullet weight trough the base of weed clumps. I could feel the point where the weight would catch, and the point where it was free, and when I was towing a clump back to the boat. Hits were very easy to distinguish.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Phenix Rods Titan Long Fall TJXL710H-B build against the historical averages for swimbait rods we've tested to date

Power: One thing is certain about Phenix's Titan Long Fall TJX710H-B, this is a powerful blank. You can see in its deflection chart alone that it's curve aligns almost perfectly with average for sticks we refer to as heavy hitters. Sticks like Megabass's '17 Onager, Kistler's '20 KLX710XXH, Dobyn's 807MAGH, and Roman Made's Mother Centurion Mind Limited are all on that list, but only one of those options is stout enough to handle casting duties with baits like the Roman Made Mother. That option is not a stick that's enjoyable to fish - quite the opposite with the TJX710H-B.


I was a little surprised to discover, I could actually feel the tail thump of this bait, JSJ's Caboose, during the retrieve

The blank has a really smooth power curve that loads instantly for sure hook sets and reassuring control over your catch delivering the right amount of pressure to keep fish pinned during unexpected lunges. With that moderate taper, the blank behaves very reminiscent of some of my favorite cranking sticks from years past only taken up a few levels due to its power and the size of these baits. That super thin blank is very deceptive in its power and in a good way.


It's a thin but stout blank!

Design & Ergonomics: Phenix Rods's Titan Long Fall TJXL710J-B is rated at 4.6 ounces in weight. My blanks all weighed 4.3 ounces. It has a very good weight to power ratio and I continue to underestimate the stick because of that super thin diameter - it just doesn't look or feel like something as powerful as it is. The only thing I wish were different, or at least an option with this blank is the finish. It arrives with a glossy coat over the entire blank. I'd prefer it were bare, but really that's nit-picking. Wrapping was pretty simple and straight forward though I should have ordered the tip tops after receiving the blanks and verifying measurements. I had to file the tips down a hair to fit the tip tops onto the blank. Side note: my builds came out very well balanced because I used such abnormally long handles.

Lab Results for Phenix Rods Titan Long Fall TJXL710H-B

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
TJXL710H-B 16" Split Rear Grip
0.99
Moderate
6.1
7
0.26
TJXL710H-B 17" Full Rear Grip
0.99
Moderate
7.5
5.5
0.24
TJXL710H-B 18.5" Full Rear Grip
0.99
Moderate
7.5
4
0.15
Heavy Hitters SB Rod Avg
0.95
--
7.7
10.2
0.44

Price & Applications: Cost for Phenix Rods's Titan Long Fall TJXL710J-B blank is $199. It is designed for a saltwater technique popularized in Japan where anglers slowly jig their bait off the bottom with slow, long pulls. The, soft, moderate taper of the blank is key in this slower jigging motion. The action of the rod is somewhat similar to back bounce blanks used for targeting salmon in the Pacific Northwest. That was my first thought when I experienced the way the blank loaded while casting the Roman Made Mother - a back bounce blank.


A lot of anglers these days get caught up on the labels that are attached to their built sticks thinking the listed techniques are the only applications for which the rod is suitable

A lot of anglers these days get caught up on the labels that are attached to their built sticks thinking the listed techniques are the only applications for which the rod is suitable. While handle and guide configuration can make a stick more suitable for one application versus the next, blanks are far more versatile than many may realize. That's the beauty of beginning with the blank and building sticks to suit what you want them to do. For the TJXL710J-B, as far as freshwater bass applications go, while I built it out in a configuration ideal for tossing big baits, I also fished it like a jig rod using Megabass's Sleeper Craw, with a Carolina Rig, a square bill cranking stick with the BX Brat, basically any and every technique I could think of in order to get bit.


A close up of the detail at the connection point between the front and rear handle sections of CFX's new swimbait rod grip

Obviously the blank is not designed with freshwater bass fishing techniques in mind, but at the same time it is totally suitable and very difficult to pin point for which techniques it supports best because it did everything I asked of it and did it well. With soft, moderate bend, I wouldn't think it'd work well for jig style baits, but because of its power, hooksets are not an issue. In fact, I can imagine punching two ounce tungsten weights through vegetation using this blank as the foundation for a punching stick. If you don't need all that power and want to save a little weight, there are even a few less powerful options in light, medium-light, and medium heavy. It feels as though there may be several more projects brewing with the other available models in this lineup. I could build an bass fishing entire arsenal!

Phenix Rods Titan Long Fall TJXL710H-B Build Parts List (Split Grip Build)

Handle Length from Butt to back of Reel Seat 16"
Butt Cap Duri Fishing PVC End-Cap E-27MI
Butt Grip CFX FB150
Rear Grip CFX Tapered TG387-UT
Trim between Rear Grip & Seat Duri Fishing Winding Check D-16RSA
Reel Seat Fuji PMTSMOJS17
Tube beneath reel seat Fuji Plain Matte Sleeve SCSPTS17M
Trim ring at top of Reel Seat Duri Fishing SK16 SKSPSN
Hook Keeper Fuji EZ-Keeper installed after build
Number of Guides 8 + Tip Top
Tip Top Essex EUFSLTS7-6
Stripper T2-RVSG6S
Transition Guides T2LRVSGS 6S (x2)
Running Guides Fuji TKBSG-5.5 (x2)
Running Guides Fuji BCKTAG-5.5 (alconite x3)
Build Weight 6.1 oz
Total price for parts (excludes tax, shipping, wrapping thread, epoxy)

~$335

The table above outlines the components I used on the 7'-6" split grip build. Total cost is a rough calculation and does not include tax, shipping, and all the usual add ons, so as usual, be aware that costs will vary depending on chosen components. Pricing for CFX's pending new swimbait handles is expected to land in the neighborhood of $45 - $50.


Phenix Rods's Titan TJXL710J-B is designed for a very specific saltwater technique, but as far as freshwater bass applications go, this is a very capable blank for big baits, deep cranks, Carolina rigs, punching and likely more

Ratings:

Phenix Rods Titan Long Fall TJXL710H-B Blank Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality All three blanks were straight and consistent in tip and butt diameters 9
Performance Really surprising power, good sensitivity, and so very versatile 9
Price Custom builds aren't inexpensive when choosing quality parts... the Titan Long Fall blanks are quality 7
Features Higher end graphite held together by another mysterious "nano" resin - but it works 8
Design (Ergonomics) Thin diameter blank with an excellent power to weight ratio 8
Application If you need a powerful, moderate taper blank for a specific application, you could do a lot worse than these Titan Long Fall blanks 8

Total Score

8.17
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:

Plus

Minus
+ Excellent power to weight ratio - While the finish on the blank is fine, I'm left to wonder how a bare blank would look and feel
+ Opportunity to build a rod to your personal ergonomic and style preferences - Rod builds like this are a fun project but take time and may not be for everyone
+ Thin diameter results in a rod that is super fun to handle  
+ Taper is excellent for treble hook applications but it can also handle single hook techniques  
+ Incredibly versatile and suitable for a wide variety of bass fishing techniques  

Conclusion: I have officially fallen into the rabbit hole of building my own rods. While my craftsmanship could still stand for a lot of improvement, I'm limited by the lack of patience and eyesight I possessed twenty years ago. What I enjoy, however, is tinkering with all the aspects that determine a finished rod's outcome - selection of the blank, components, handle design, guide layout, thread colors, all of it, and then fishing the final product to see how well my build performs. Having several of the same blanks at once to try different configurations one after the other is even more fun. The next step is to build the same blank a couple different ways with different techniques in mind.


Phenix Rods's TJXL710H-B may not be designed with freshwater bass fishing techniques in mind, but I can envision an entire arsenal built from this series of blanks. In that respect, this line of blanks is truly a Titan

Phenix's Titan Long Fall blanks are very intriguing. I'm tempted to build on the other models too and create some cranking, jig, and punching sticks as well as lighter duty big bait rods. Trouble is, the TJXL710H-B is already so versatile, I could make do just building out a couple more of those blanks. I mean, why not? It's only money, right? Seriously, if you're looking for a blank as a foundation for your next big bait slinging weapon with baits up to about eleven or twelve ounces, I'd suggest adding the TJXL710H-B to that list and comparing its specifications next to whatever else you have in mind. This blank's power to weight ratio is very good and the finished rod, depending on configuration, is surprising in what it can handle. It is worthy of its series name as a Titan.

Looking for a Phenix Rods Titan Long Fall TJXL710H-B Blank?
Try the Phenix Rods Website


 

   

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