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Enthusiast Tackle: Preview

Announcing the 2006 TackleTour SuperCast Shootout!

Date: 3/9/06
Tackle type: Rods
Manufacturer: Varied - See Below
Reviewer: Cal


Introduction: In 2005, we brought to you our search for the ultimate, enthusiast level, round baitcaster. A title we bestowed upon the Shimano Conquest 101DC in a narrow victory over the Daiwa I'ZE Lite. The natural progression many of you requested was for a similar battle between import market fishing rods. The difficulty was, never before on TackleTour have we held a shootout between fishing rods. Why you ask? Because, unlike fishing reels, comparison points between fishing rods are more obscure and difficult to quantify. Earlier this year, amidst a mixture of fanfare and criticism, we debuted our new rod testing methodology: a series of measures we will use and refine moving forward to establish relative data points between the different rod manufacturers' products. This will hopefully make it easier for you, our readers, to understand how a rod might suit your particular needs before even handling it. Assuming, that is, that you know the characteristics you're seeking in your next stick. But is that all you ask? What else might we have up our sleeves? Maybe something like this?...


Announcing TackleTour's 2006 SuperCast Shootout between four of the top Japanese rod makers, Evergreen, Palms, Nories, and Megabass


Announcing the 2006 TackleTour SuperCast Shootout, a battle between four of Japan's top rod manufacturers. In the coming months, we will bring you the results of our detailed field testing efforts, but for now, let's introduce you to the players and see how they relate to one another in the lab.

Selection Criteria: Our goal in this search is a reliable "all purpose" type stick, but the difficult task with any rod comparison is finding several rods that truly line up with one another in terms of action and performance. This is especially difficult with Japanese Bass Rods as the majority of these sticks are designed with specific techniques and conditions in mind. Our approach was to acquire a couple of pieces with similar lure weight ratings from a few different manufacturers, collect our RoD measurements for each of these sticks, and chart out their data points to see how well they aligned with one another. Our target lure rating on these rods was the familiar 1/4 - 3/4 ounce range most commonly attributed to "medium heavy" in the American market.


Presenting our 2006 SuperCast Rod Shootout Contenders!


We polled our friends at all of the specialized, online, import tackle retailers to get an idea of what they considered to be the top 5 or 6 rod manufacturers in Japan. The results, in no particular order, were Palms by Angler's Republic Design, Evergreen International, Nories by Marukyu, Daiwa (the Battler Limited line), and of course, Megabass. Of these four, only Evergreen and Megabass were consistently in the top of our contacts' lists. We had always assumed Daiko was in this group as well, but our friends informed us that Daiko has taken a precipitous fall out of the top ten over the last five years thanks to a change in ownership and philosophy in producing rods.


The Players: Next came the most difficult task of all - the actual acquisition of our test subjects. Through much patience and perseverance, we were able to acquire rods from five of the six manufactures listed above including rods from Daiko. Daiwa's line of Battler Limited rods were the only ones left out of our equation. We acquired nine rods in all and were able to pull together 4 with somewhat similar ratings.

Megabass F4-610XDti Elseil: We've covered in several articles, the madness that is Megabass, so how could we not include a rod from this tackle giant in our shootout? The Elseil is part of Megabass's Evoluzion line of rods featuring the incorporation of exotic metals to enhance the blank's sensitivity. It is rated at 1/4 to 3/4 ounce in lure weight and 8 to 20 pounds in line test. As with most of the Megabass Rods we've encountered, the Elseil is a beauty featuring a split rear Hypalon grip and multi-colored highlights. We're anxious to see how this rod stacks up against its rivals.


Presenting our Megabass F4-610XDti Elseil matched with a Custom TD-Z 103HL in Metallic Red


Evergreen TXFC 66MR Steed: Of all the rods in our test group, Evergreen was the most difficult to acquire and seemingly, the most mysterious. The Steed sits in Evergreen's Crossfire Temujin line of rods and buyers can expect to wait up to 6 months or more after placing an order with a tackle shop located within Japan. The rod's ratings are 1/4 to 3/4 oz ounce lure weight and 6 to 16 pounds in line test. Through much heartache and expense, we were able to acquire one of these beauties for our tests and a beauty it is. A bit more understated than Megabass and even the Nories, below, Evergreen chose, on this line of rods, a very no-nonsense color scheme of silver and black.


Presenting our Evergreen TXFC 66MR Steed matched with a Custom TD-Z 103HL in Metallic Black


Nories HB680M: Nories is a division of the larger Marukyu Corporation, a company that manufactures salt and freshwater tackle for the Japanese market. Their Nories Road Runner Voice bass rods are designed by Nario Tanabe, one of Japan's premier bass professionals and the first to introduce Japanese anglers to the concept of pattern fishing. These rods are very technique specific. Our HB680M, or Hardbait Special, features ratings of 3/8 to 3/4 ounce in lure weight and 12 to 16 lbs in line test. Built as more of a cranking and spinnerbait stick, the HB680M might have its work cut out for it trying to stack up against our other three rods, but we certainly appreciate it for its cosmetics. This rod features a green blank with purple and blue highlights and is a really eye catching composition.


Presenting our Nories Road Runner Voice HB680M matched with a Custom TD-Z 103HL in Metallic Green


Palms Edge Pride EPGC 664: Palms is a division of Angler's Republic Design, a Japanese Tackle Manufacturer offering both salt and freshwater rods and lures for the Japanese Market. The Edge Pride line from Palms is their top end bass rod. Our EPGC 664 is rated at 1/4 to 3/4 ounce in lure weight and 8 to 16 pounds in line test. This rod is the lowest key product in our group of four. It features a very standard full rear grip and foregrip made of cork and yet, of all the rods in this test, out of the shipping tube, this one has the liveliest feel to it.


Presenting our Palms Edge Pride EPGC 664 matched with a Custom TD-Z 103HL in Champagne


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