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Rod Review

Swimbait Rod Wars Installment #16: ... And That's A Wrap! (continued)

The Line: Another critical component of the big bait combo is the fishing line. Despite our findings in our 2007 Fluorocarbon Showdown, this product is hard for us not to continue using because of the sensitivity this type of line affords. Being leery of the material's inherent knot strength, however, we stay away from tying on any real high dollar value baits - one lost $150 bait is enough thank you. Fluorocarbon is slowly working its way back onto our reels for bottom bouncing and some mid-water big bait applications.


SB Rod Wars Fishing Line Summary

Good for bottom bouncing techniques but be leery of knot strength.
Good all around line choice.
Nylon Mono
Good all around choice for mid and topwater techniques where the stretch is beneficial.
SuperLines (Braid)
Good for topwater techniques.


Copolymers and especially nylon monofilament have been our fall back line products for the midwater column and bottom bouncing baits while we almost exclusively use heavy braid for working topwater baits like the Wake, Wake Jr., Armageddon, and Lunker Punker. It seems you really need this no stretch line to get these big baits moving in the water, especially if you're doing more than bringing them back on a steady retrieve.


Sunline Defier Nylon Monofilament is an excellent choice for throwing big baits.


The Baits: What can we say about the baits? We've been throwing quite a variety of product through the last year some of which have already been revealed, and more of which are still to come in developing reviews. Rest assured our coverage on these big baits is not complete nor is our coverage of big bait rods and reels.


These two Lakewood boxes are full of baits read to review in our continuing coverage of magnum bait madness.


Awards & Honors: With so many rods reviewed over such a long publishing cycle it's not easy to remember which products actually won a TackleTour editorial award. Let's take a look back at the awards handed out over the course of our Rod Wars and also bring up some post-war honors in recognition of some worthwhile characteristics.


SB Rod Wars Awards & Honors

Okuma GS-C 7111MH/XH
TackleTour's Best Value Award
Kistler KBSBS80
TackleTour's Editor's Choice Award
Megabass F7-76RDti
TackleTour's Ultimate Enthusiast Award
Megabass F7-76RDti
TackleTour's Editor's Choice Award
Dobyns Rods 795ML SB
Best in Cast Honors
Dobyns Rods 807MAGH
TackleTour's Editor's Choice Award
Fenwick EDSWB79H-F
Bait Specific Honors

Honorary Mention - Best in Cast: We touched on it in our review of the Dobyns Rods 795ML, but it bears repeating here. This rod is a flat out casting machine. That same, easy loading subtle tip we liked in the DX703C is carried over to the 795ML only in a big bait stick power and we really like the results. So much so, that this stick deserves a special post-Rod Wars honor as Best in Cast.


An honorary mention of Best in Cast goes to the Dobyns 795ML.


Honorary Mention - Bait Specific Choice: With its abnormally short handle and ever more popular open ended hook hangar, Fenwick's Elite Tech EDSWB79H-F is really a rod best suited for fishing the soft plastic swimbaits - especially the paddletail baits like the Basstrix Minnow or 3:16 Lure Company's Mission Fish. For targeting this niche within a niche market, the EDSWB79H-F deserves honorary mention as our Bait Specific Choice for these types of offerings in our Rod Wars.

An honorary mention of Bait Specific Choice goes Fenwick's EDSWB79H-F for its suitability in fishing paddletail type baits.

Best Value: Okuma, of course, ran away with our Best Value Award for delivering pretty much all anyone could want in not just one, but an entire suite of swimbait rods for an unbelievably affordable price point. If you're looking to sample the big bait craze but are on a budget, we'd recommend starting with this line of rods. They're value and diversity is just hard to beat.


The Okuma Guide Select Big Bait rods ran away with our Best Value Award.

Ultimate Enthusiast: To Megabass's F7-76RDti White Python, we awarded our Ultimate Enthusiast Award for features like a unique, Slant Bridge handle for casting and fish fighting leverage, custom reel seat, titanium framed SiC insert guides, and some mysterious, rare metal and graphite composite blank. Oh yes, and it can cast and work those topwater big baits with the best of them. This rod is just flat out sick.

One word best sums up the Megabass F7-76RDti - sick.

Editor's Choice: Several products were given this award over the course of our Rod Wars and each for different reasons. Here's a summary of who won and why.


The Dobyns Rods 807MAGH was simply the biggest, baddest rod in our rod wars.


Dobyns Rods 807MAGH: Because throwing the biggest and baddest baits is really what this "war" was about. The Dobyns 807MAGH handled it all with aplomb never really flinching whether we had a ten ounce bait tied to the end of the line or if we had a double digit striper trying to run away from the boat. It is the biggest, baddest stick to participate in our Rod Wars and very deserving of our Editor's Choice Award for this fact.


The Kistler KBSBS80 surprised all of us enroute to the first Editor's Choice Award in our Rod Wars.

Kistler KBSBS80: For delivering truly surprising and solid performance in a product that for once is really uninspiring in terms of appearance, Kistler received our first Editor's Choice Award in the Rod Wars, and in the process provided proof you do not have to be headquartered on the West Coast to build an effective big bait stick.

The White Python might be sick, but the Super Destruction has all the qualities of a serious big bait stick and then some.

Megabass F8-78DG Super Destruction: Because for this editor, it's all about function AND style. If the White Python is sick, the Super Destruction, as its name suggests, has wrought the plague and rest assured, big bait fever that has infected TackleTour and will be here for quite some time. Helping us to fight that fever will be the Editor's Choice winning Super Destruction from Megabass.

Big baits are addictive enough, but topwater big baits are doubly addictive!

Final Thoughts: Three Editor's Choice Awards? But really, in a war, there can only be one, can't there? And what of the other TT Editors? Surely they have an opinion as to which rod is their favorite. So let's have it. Here are our final thoughts and picks as each of the Big Three TackleTour Editors see it.

Cal's ultimate choice in the Swimbait Rod Wars? The F8-78DG Super Destruction, a telescoping, spiral wrapped, slant-bridged, beast of masterpiece from none other than Megabass.

Cal: For me, it's all about the big four of form, function, components, and convenience. Any rod possessing the best in all of these characteristics is likely to stay in my hand the longest. Among our group of representatives, that rod is the Megabass F8-78DG Super Destruction. It can handle just about all the big baits in my arsenal, is a beautiful stick to behold, features the very top end components, including a wicked spiral wrap, AND collapses down to a manageable length to fit within my rod locker with zero issues thanks to a telescopic blank. There's nothing more I could ask for in a big bait stick.

JIP prefers the combination of light weight and overall power in St. Croix's LTBC80XHF.

JIP: I have a tough time with these big bait rods because they are all so big and cumbersome to throw. For me, overall weight is the most important consideration and I really like the way St. Croix has put together their newly redesigned Legend Tournament series of rods. Of the two rods in our Rod Wars, I like the LTBC80XHF for its slightly longer handle and extreme power.

Zander gained a better appreciation for big bait sticks with long handles on our trip out with Don Moorman where he sampled Don's 806ML. His favorite from our Rod Wars is the 806ML's little brother, the 795ML.

Zander: I was resisting the big bait craze until Cal suggested this Rod Wars idea. My issue was the same as JIP's. I just was not fond of how cumbersome the sticks I've used in the past can be over the course of an entire day. Of the rods that we received, I was first drawn to the Loomis. But then I tried the Dobyns 795ML. At first, I wasn't a big fan of the long foam grip, but the more I used it and cast with it, the more I grew to appreciate its unique ergonomics. I now find that it's my absolute favorite rod of the bunch.

TackleTour's 2008 Rod Wars have officially come to an end, but really it was only the beginning...


Conclusion: As with any fishing technique, there are many tools to get the same job done, but unique to the dedication of throwing big baits is the confusing quagmire of products to tie at the end of your line and how that choice affects which rod you actually choose to toss that product. Hopefully, we've helped to clarify some of this chaos for you with our series of big bait rod reviews this year. But of course, just because our Rod Wars have come to an end, do not expect our big bait articles to do the same. Quite the contrary, magnum bait madness has infected TackleTour big time and we have plenty of baits to report on, so stay tuned as we take what we've learned during our 2008 Swimbait Rod Wars and apply it to the pile of other products still waiting to touch the water. In the meantime, if the big bait craze has you curious, we suggest you purchase one of these rods, spool up a reel, tie one of those big, bad baits on, toss it out and HANG ON!


Many of these swimbait rods are available at Tackle Warehouse.










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