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Rod Review

CB Rod Wars Part 1: Mixing it up with Phenix’s X10 (continued)


Real World Tests: To test the X10 I decided to crank it up on the Delta and a few local lakes. I fished the X10 for a span of five months pairing it with a variety of different reels. When it came to baits I fished the complete spectrum of crankbaits both lipped and lipless lures with some weighing more than the rod’s specified maximum.

Casting a wide range of crankbaits on the Delta

Casting: Casting is one of the factors often overlooked when sizing up crankbait rods, as cranks are one of the easier lures to cast. Still casting accuracy and distance are just as important on these rods as other baits. Positioning lures tight against structure definitely results in more strikes, and it is important to have a crankbait rod that can handle a wide range of lure weights as switching baits quickly is critical when searching for fish with cranks.


The Phenix X-10  now features a split grip design, when the rod was first introduced last year it had the same blank but had a solid cork grip

The X10 is designed to handle lures from ¼ -1oz. in weight but I found I was able to cast even mammoth cranks up to 1 1/4oz. in weight with little difficulty. While handling big baits is not a problem casting lighter ones is where this rod really shines. Even baits right at the 1/4oz. weight are easy to whip out over 80 feet with a simple overhand or sidearm cast. The tip acts like a catapult and flings lures out at the end of your casting motion.

With just a 2lb fish on the line the Phenix rod loads up down to the mid section, the transition from the fiberglass tip to the graphite blank is seamless

Retrieving: With even the most subtle crankbait the tip of the X10 will arc at towards your lure putting a constant amount of pressure on your line. The rod feels smooth and confident except when there is an extreme deep diving crankbait in tow. During tests I caught a number of bass on speed traps and lipless cranks, once the fish hit the lure the rod tip would take over and no matter which direction the fish ran the lip efficiently absorbed the shock and keep the fish pinned on.

Under the sun you can see the graphite weave of the main blank

I was curious how this rod would perform for a variety of other lures and started with a jerkbait. I found the X10 was too slow for fishing larger jerkbaits but decent for smaller ones. For topwater the tip is also too forgiving and I either had to set too aggressively or would miss strikes. I then moved onto a spinnerbait and found the X10 surprisingly good. The graphite and carbon portion of the X10 allowed me to feel the blade vibration and the thumps against structure, and the glass tip helped keep fish on, even those that didn’t slam the bait but rather just subtly struck the bait. The X10’s tip also is excellent for slow rolling big spinners and multi bladed baits.

Pretty minimal cork grips reduce overall weight but affect balance

When it comes to the retrieve the X10 strikes a reasonable balance of sensitivity and a forgiving tip action. The rod feels light and comfortable and yet confident when fishing a wide range of crankbaits, and can handle everything up to mid sized deep divers with ease, and can be used for larger lipped cranks if necessary.

A fish caught on the original X-10, we like the look of the updated split grip current version, though the original balanced out well with a wide range of reels

Next Section: Power, Sensitivity and Ergonomics









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