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Rod Review

Cranking It Up with Phenix's X13 Composite Cranker


Date: 10/4/15
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Phenix Rods
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.17 - GOOD

Phenix rods has really dominated our coverage of late. They continue to pump out good value rods with high end components at very competitive prices. When we were looking for sticks with which to throw our LOUS crankbaits, we knew we had to see what Phenix has cooking in this department. Here now is our look at the Phenix X13 cranking stick.


Introducing Phenix's X13 Composite Cranking Stick.


Phenix X13 Cranking Stick Specifications

Material Phenix Composite Blank
Length 7'-6"
Line Wt. 10-25 lb
Lure Wt. 1/2 - 3oz
Pieces one
Guides 9+Tip Fuji K-Series Alconite
Rear Handle Length 9.5 inches
Power Rating Heavy
Taper Moderate
Rod Weight 5.3 oz
Origin Made in China
MSRP $199.99


Quality/Construction: Phenix Rods's X13 Cranking Stick is a 7'-6" rod made from a composite glass/graphite blank. The lure ratings on this rod are pretty extreme from half an ounce on up to six ounces, but the X13 is not the most powerful cranking stick in Phenix's lineup. There is still the X14 and X15 - a stick rated up to six ounces.


The X13 is a 7'6", one piece, composite rod.


The X13's blank is sanded and unfinished with a split rear grip made of cork and composite cork. Joint lines and transitions between materials in the handle are clean and precise. Epoxy work around the thread wraps are clean and looking down the blank from the reel seat towards the tip reveals a straight blank with perfectly aligned guides.


Quality Ratings for Phenix X13 Cranking Stick

Finish (1-5)
Grip (1-5)
Epoxy (1-5)
Blank (1-2)
Guides (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The rod's blank is sanded and unfinished.

Performance: I fished the Phenix X13 cranking stick while simultaneously testing the new Tatula HD casting reel. I had the Tatula HD spooled with 12lb Sunline Supernatural nylon monofilament.

Two handed casting is possible but not ideal with the short rear handle.

Casting: The X13 is rated from half an ounce up to three ounces in lure weight and handles this range quite well. The blank loads smoothly and efficiently especially with baits in the middle of this range, and energy is released into the cast with little waste. At seven feet, six inches in length, the X13 is long enough to cast for distance, but not nearly as cumbersome as some eight foot sticks can be.

Phenix uses plain and composite cork in the rear handle.

The one difficulty I did find with this stick was the short, nine and a half inch (9.5") handle. I found it a bit short for two handed casting. Just another inch or even two would provide much better leverage for launching baits like Strike King's 10XD or Lucky Craft's SKT Magnum crankbaits.

The buttcap has the same design.

Sensitivity: Sensitivity is not a strong suit of most cranking sticks and the X13 is average in this regard. Considering the blank is a composite of S-Glass and Graphite, that's actually pretty good, but of course there's a lot more to a cranking stick than how sensitive it might be.

The X13's power tested out somewhere between the medium and deep diving averages from our 2009 Year of the Crank.

Power: With a lure rating up to three ounces, and a line rating up to twenty five pounds, you can bet we expected a lot out of our X13 in the lab. The stick did not disappoint. It charts out in between our deep and medium cranking stick averages from our 2009 Crankbait Rod wars. That means this stick makes an excellent tool for fishing medium to deep divers.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Phenix X13 Cranking Stick against
the averages from our 2009 Year of the Crank.

Actual performance of this stick on hookset is just what you'd expect from a rod built on a composite blank. The rod's glass tip is soft and compliant allowing the fish to take the bait in, and the graphite backbone helps give the rod a little extra power to drive the hook points home and keep pressure on your catch.

Performance Ratings for Phenix X13 Cranking Stick

Pitch (1-5)
Cast (1-5)
Sensitivity (1-5)
Hook Set (1-5)
Control (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

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