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Rod Review


The Search for One : ARK Fishing's Essence ESS73MHFC


Date: 6/8/22
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: ARK Fishing
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.66 - GOOD

ARK Fishing International is a company that seldom rests on their laurels. Since our introduction to the company at ICAST 2017, each subsequent year they've shown us something new and exciting. One of this past year's introductions was the new Essence series of rods featuring a full lineup of three spinning and fourteen casting rods. We got our hands on some of these sticks during the early part of 2022 and here now is our look at their Search for One candidate, the ESS73MHFC casting rod.


ARK Fishing Essence ESS73MHFC Specifications

Material Toray 40-ton HM carbon fiber
Length 7'-3"
Line Wt. 10-17lb
Lure Wt. 1/4 - 1oz
Pieces 1
Guides 8+tip (Fuji SS/Fazlite - micro sized runners)
Rear Handle Length 10
Power Rating Medium Heavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 4.9oz
Origin Made in China
MSRP $179.99

Introducing ARK Fishing's ESS73MHFC

Impressions: How does a young rod company out of Port St. Lucie, Florida make so much noise in the saturated bass fishing rod market? By offering better than expected performance at each price point. They accomplish this with a series of blanks made from high quality graphite and then adorn those blanks with more value driven components. This is the opposite strategy of most other rod manufacturers.


The ESS73MHFC comes with a full rear grip made of good quality cork

For ARK's new Essence series, this means a blank made from Toray 40-ton high modulus carbon fiber (a grade of graphite formerly found in sticks over $200) and guides from Fuji featuring stainless steel frames and Fazlite inserts. ARK then gives the Essence series a more classic look with a full rear grip made of cork and a custom designed, exposed blank reel seat. The ESS73MHFC is a medium heavy powered, seven foot, three inch (7'-3") casting rod with a fast taper.

Matched with a late model prototype ARK casting reel

Real World Tests: Speaking of up and coming product from ARK, I fished this new for 2022 fishing rod with a potential new for 2023 fishing reel. The company is planning to introduce a series of casting reels at ICAST 2022 and sent me a couple of late model prototypes to test before the official release. What better reel to pair with the ESS73MHFC than that? Spooled with some 20lb SpiderWire Ultracast X8 and a leader of 10lb Seaguar AbrazX (connected with an Albright knot), I took this ARK combo out for some tests at our local waterways.

This stick features Fuji SS/Fazlite guides with micro sized runners

Casting: The ESS73MHFC carries with it a lure rating of one quarter to one full ounce (1/4-1oz). Despite all these years fishing "medium-heavy" rods with similar ratings, I'm still old school where to me, rods with this label top out at three quarters of an ounce (3/4oz). Nevertheless, where the ESS73MHFC is concerned, it handled baits within this range quite well. My max lure combo was a half ounce Power Bait football head jig matched with a MaxScent Chigger Craw trailer (0.9oz on the scale), and my lightest bait combo was a mini Power Bait tube with a smallish generic jighead (0.3oz on the scale). The ESS73MHFC handled the entire range perfectly.

The reel seat is ARK Fishing's own design

Sensitivity: Sensitivity on the ESS73MHFC was very good for me. I qualify that statement using "with me" because there are times the fish are in a certain mood and no matter what stick and line combination you are using, you don't feel the bite. Other times, quite the opposite is true. During the handful of trips out with the ESS73MHFC, the fish were in the aggressive mood where each bite was either a very obvious tug or I felt that tell tale, addictive, "tick" as the bait hit the back of their throat or roof of their mouths on the inhale.

That slack line "tick" is addicting

Next : Power, Design and Ergonomics...









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