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Rod Review


Not a Follower: The Airrus Stargate ASG721HF-C (continued)

 

Sensitivity:  In the premium price segment, sensitivity is arguably the most important measure of a rod being worth it's high price.  The Stargate ASG721HF-C indeed offers excellent sensitivity worthy of it's premium pricing.  The rod offers keen feel and never makes you wonder what your bait is doing.

The Megaphone handle may seem gimmicky, but it does seem extremely effective in transmitting vibrations to your hand.  The tapered shape of the handle allows for vibrations to travel backwards through the grip and amplify right to your hand.  Couple this effect with the fact that the main grip is not covered by any excess material such as cork or foam, and it's easy to see why it's so sensitive.


The small tip top passes my leader knots just fine.

Power:  The rod lacks nothing in the power category.  There is an abundance of butt and midsection power that will move fish and subdue any oversized surprises.  The use of Buckypaper in the butt section helps strengthen this area even more.  The Stargate is indeed a rod that can move fish with authority and for it's given ratings you won't find it lacking in this department whatsoever.


The butt features a small plastic “button” for a bit of protection.

Application, Warranty, Price:  This stick offers enough versatility to cover a range of techniques.  Because of it's stoutness, this is a super rod for things like bigger jigs, Texas rigs, small swimbaits, and performing light duty pitching.  I also throw frogs a bunch from open water to modest cover and find it to be a pretty good rod for them as well.


Another innovative rod from the Wizard of Rods

At a price of $500, the Stargate does not come cheap.  The rod is certainly a performer, but since Airrus is not a widely recognized name at the moment it may trouble people to fork over that much dough without a big name to back it up.  While the rod is costly, it fishes above average and is loaded with features which helps to justify it's price.  $500 puts it above or in the neighborhood of other ultra premium offerings such as GLX, NRX, Megabass, and Steez.  The rod becomes a tough call when cross shopped with these prestigious offerings, but those looking for something new and different should be curious.  The Stargate is covered under a limited original owner warranty.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Airrus Stargate ASG721HF-C Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Nice build quality but a few small epoxy bubbles were noted in the finish.  Our rod didn't feature them, but the slightly tweaked production rod will have titanium framed guides. 8
Performance Quite sensitive and smooth casting.  I really enjoy fishing this rod. 8.5
Price A $500 Airrus? While this is a good rod this price point is new territory for the brand 5.5
Features This is a feature rich rod with some uncommon attributes that all seem to work very well overall. 8
Design (Ergonomics) Though the rod is a bit heavier in overall weight, it feels good in hand especially with a reel aboard.   The handle length is very good, and I like the lack of a foregrip.  The smooth carbon grip can get a bit slick if oils get on it, though. 8
Application Since the rod is on the stout side, I preferred it most as a bottom contact, small swimbait, and lighter duty frog stick. 7.5

Total Score

7.58
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus

+ Great sensitivity - High price
+ Attractive cosmetics - Minor cosmetic issues
+ Balances well - No hook keeper
+ Feature rich - Grip can get slick at times
+ Fun to fish  


The Stargate is a fun rod to fish both in terms of looks and performance.

Conclusion:  In the premium price segment, the Stargate ASG721HF-C may not be sitting at the top of the heap, but it's a very strong contender within it's segment.  Blending solid performance with an attractive and innovative design, it is an appealing package overall.  I certainly have some high performing sticks sitting on my rod rack, but I often reach for the Airrus simply because it's out of the ordinary.  Part of the fun of owning different types of tackle comes in the personal enjoyment of using gear with differing designs and styles.  While fishing I often found myself looking over the Stargate and admiring it's unique cosmetics.  This is not a boring rod to look at or fish.  Is the rod a little bit weird in it's appearance?  Yes.  Do I like that?  Very much so.  Though this was a prototype stick, Airrus assures us this is pretty much what you're going to get with two minor exceptions.  As mentioned, the guide frames on the production models will be upgraded to titanium.  The reel seat hood will also be lightened slightly to reduce overall weight.  As Airrus continues to tinker with designs and push innovation even further, it is anyone's guess as to what they will come up with next!


 

 

 

 

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