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Enthusiast Review

The Search for one... Shift to Canada for Rapala's new rod


Date: 6/13/10
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Rapala Canada
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.08 - BEST VALUE AWARD!

When the term “Enthusiast Tackle” is spoken here at TackleTour, it invariably brings up the topic of rods and reels from overseas – specifically Japan. Secondarily there are those tackle products specifically marketed for Europe and even Australia. Of course, there are a few high-end products available domestically that can be considered “Enthusiast” as well, but rarely do we think to look north of the border into Canada. Rapala Canada is making a strong play to “Shift” this perspective and show that when it comes to tackle that inspires enthusiasm, they have what it takes to catch our attention. Presenting our look at their Shift ST65STR71MH1, a freshwater baitcasting rod with enthusiast appeal.


Introducing the CDM Rapala Shift ST65TR71MH1


Impressions: Rapala Canada demonstrates that a high-end look and feel with a corresponding, respectable list of components does not necessarily have to come with an exorbitant price tag. Their “Shift” line of rods, currently their top end freshwater offering, comes with very contemporary stylings and near-top-end components (Fuji stainless steel framed guides with SiC inserts) all for a price of one hundred seventy nine dollars ($179) Canadian.


Rapala Canada Shift ST65TR71MH1 Specifications

Length 7'-1"
Line Wt. 10 - 20lb
Lure Wt. 3/8 - 1oz
Pieces 1
Guides 8 + Tip (SS Frames/SiC Inserts, Fuji)
Power Rating Medium Heavy
Taper Extra Fast
Rod Weight 4.4oz
Manufacturing Country China
MSRP $179 (Canadian)


These sticks feature a split rear grip made of dense black foam, a split reel seat with a styled locking mechanism, a custom rear badge and each stick even comes with a custom black cloth bag bearing the “Shift” lettered logo. These are all nice touches on just about any stick but considering the Shift’s price point, they’re just a little more significant.

Every Shift freshwater rod features a split rear grip ...


Lab Tests: There are three casting rods and three spinning rods in the Shift lineup. We managed to get our hands on all three casting rods and strapped them down to our RoD WRACK. As it turns out, though the ratings vary, the behavior of all three sticks under load is very similar and all chart very closely to our baseline TSFO stick, the GLX2000.


Fig 1: This chart illustrates the deflection characteristics of all three Rapala Canada SHIFT rods as compared to that of our 2010 TSFO baseline rod, an MBR783C GLX2000. Note that of the three, the ST65TR71MH1 (yellow) most closely aligns with the GLX2000 (blue).


Of the three casting rods the ST65TR71MH1 is the longest and predictably, the most tip heavy or the bunch though for a rod with a contemporary split rear grip design, a balancing torque of 0.19 foot pounds is more than respectable. The other two, shorter rods only get better with the ST65TR67M1 specifically comparing very favorably to the GLX2000 considering the two sticks are only an inch apart in length.


Lab Results for Rapala Canada Shift ST65TR71MH1

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Rapala CAN ST65TR63M1
Rapala CAN ST65TR67M1
Rapala CAN ST65TR71MH1
MBR783C GLX2000
TSFO 26 Rod Avg

Field Tests: We took to our backyard waters of Clear Lake, California to test these new sticks from Rapala Canada with specific interests in the ST65TR71MH1 as its specifications spoke out to us the loudest as that “one” stick in the Shift lineup we most wanted to investigate.

... and a split reel seat

Casting & Pitching: : I matched the ST65TR71MH1 up with an old school Daiwa TDZ100ML spooled with 55lb Daiwa Samurai braid tipped with a Seaguar Tatsu 16lb fluorocarbon leader attached with an Albright knot by our good friends over at Hi’s TackleBox. They showed us these little metal loops lined with rubber that they acquired from Japan for use in tying knots with braided line. The strategy is to tie with a modest length tag, then you wrap both ends of the braid with these loops, and use the loops to pull the knots tight. The end result is a connection knot small enough to even glide through micro-guides. It is quite astonishing.

The ST65TR71MH1's manufacturer specifications

Naturally, since the ST65TR71MH1 has standard sized Fuji guides with stainless steel frames and SiC inserts, knot size is not that large of a concern, but I for one prefer to have as small a knot as possible as I tend to find any amount of “ticking” even through standard sized guides simply annoying.

Rapala Canada is looking to add "CDM" (Canadian Domestic Market) to the popular acronyms amongst the TackleTour readership

The ST65TR71MH1 is rated as an extra-fast tapered rod and it certainly feels somewhere in that range when casting although it still loads well enough for respectable casting distances. Thanks to its  seven foot one inch length, however, I really preferred to use this rod as a pitching stick.

A closer look at the attention to detail on the Shift rods with this custom painted trigger ...

Matched up with a good pitching reel like the TDZ-103ML and fitted with bait within its rated lure range of three eights to one ounce in weight, the ST65TR71MH1 makes a very good pitching stick. I fished this combo primarily with a quarter to three eighths ounce bullet weight dressed with a Paycheck Baits Punch Skirt and finished with an Owner 4/0 EWG worm hook.

... the winding checks at both ends of the reel seat threads ...

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