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Rod Review


CB Rod Wars Part #3 : New Kid on the Block Damiki (continued)

Casting: As with all moderate action rods, casting takes a little getting used to because rods of this taper load so easily it's natural to overshoot your mark. Throw into the mix, this stick is over seven feet in length and casting for accuracy takes a little practice. 

 
The C761M-CR is passable with shallow running cranks like the Megabass Z-Crank, but it's better suited for baits that dive to about eight feet and beyond.

Fortunately, on the flip side, because of the rod's length, when in tight quarters or when looking for pin point accuracy, pitching to your target is a natural option, and the C761M-CR facilitates easy casting and pitching for baits within its stated weight range.

 
Another look at the seemingly benign but actually very appreciated design detail capping off the rod's grip assembly.

Sensitivity: In this department, it's a bit of a mixed bag. For a cranking stick, the C761M-CR from Damiki has very good sensitivity because it's a graphite rod and graphite crankers are going to have a natural advantage over glass or even composite sticks when it comes to sensitivity.


The C761M-CR comes with 9 Fuji Alconite Guides...

 

But when tested in applications that the rod was not intended for like fishing plastics and jigs, the rod did not deliver as I had hoped. It's obvious this rod is tuned for moving bait applications.

 
...including 4 double footed guides to start things off.

Power: The C761M-CR falls right in line with what I'd expect out of a medium powered cranking stick. It's power curve is smooth through the blank and provides you with enough leverage to move most fish away from cover.


Down in El Novillo Lake in Mexico, I paired the C761M-CR with High Speed Reel Shootout contender Abu Garcia Revo SX.

Did you notice I said "most"? The C761M-CR was one of the lucky sticks to make the trip with JIP and I to El Novillo Lake in Mexico and while I was able to easily subdue the many two to three pound bass I encountered with this stick, some of the larger ones were a bit loco.

 
Guiding fish away from cover with the C761M-CR is an easy task thanks to the rod's length.

While I didn't really get schooled by any of those bass while fishing with the C761M-CR, some of them proved more than worthy to battle taking continued surges under the boat. In each case, the Damiki Dark Angel bent, but didn't break, and eventually came out the victor. It's fun stick to fish with some larger, hard charging fish at the end of the line.


The unique hook keeper of the Damiki Dark Angel rods.

Features: The Dark Angel line from Damiki features Fuji Alconite guides and a very unique hook keeper that serves very well as a drop shot keeper along with a standard hangar. This keeper is positioned as such that I didn't have any problems with my line getting caught in it inadvertently.

 
One of the C761M-CR's double footed, Fuji Alconite guides.

One feature I did find interesting with this stick is that it comes with a non-exposed blank reel seat while as I recall from our introduction to these rods, and this line in particular at ICAST 2008, that all the other rods in the Dark Angel lineup have exposed blank reel seats. The blank on the C761M-CR is not overly thick, so I'm uncertain as to the decision to use this type of reel seat with this specific rod.


The JDM-esque detailing of the Dark Angel rods is capped off at the end by this handsome badge.

Application: The C761M-CR tested out very similarly to the Jackall Light Pluggin' HC-65ML on our RoD WRACK, but fishes much differently than that rod. While the HC-65ML, with its fast taper, felt more like a small to medium cranking stick with good sensitivity for light plastics, the C761M-CR with its moderate taper, is much more at home with medium to deep diving cranks, lipless cranks, and spinnerbaits. It is a true moving bait rod.

 
One last look at the Damiki Dark Angel C761M-CR

Warranty: All rods within the Damiki Dark Angel lineup come with a limited 5 year warranty covering manufacturer defects in materials and workmanship. They company also offers a $50 replacement fee to expedite the replacement of any broken rods. As is always the case, please check with the manufacturer directly for a more detailed discussion of any warranty concerns you may have.
 

Ratings:

Damiki C761M-CR Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A nicely crafted stick 7.5
Performance Nothing overwhelming but overall pretty good 7.5
Price A degree of JDM look and feel for a fraction of the cost 8.5
Features Very good components though it's curious why the use an exposed blank reel seat on their other rods in this lineup and not this one. 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) A good compromise between weight and balance on a stick of this length 7.5
Application Very good for medium to deep cranking baits 7.5

Total Score

7.67
Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

  
Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
J JDM look and feel for a fraction of the cost L Non-exposed blank reel seat
J Good, competent level of components L Not as versatile as other graphite sticks on the market
J Pretty decent warranty  

 

Conclusion: The Damiki Dark Angel line of rods is a welcomed sight in the marketplace bringing a small sample of JDM look and feel to anglers across the globe without the usual costs associated with such an experience. Of course, yours truly is still holding out for the Angel Blade series of sticks which promise to be a bit more refined all around.

 


A long, 4.5lb El Novillo bass brought to the boat, thanks to the Damiki C761M-CR

 

For now, the C761M-CR is a competent cranking stick at a more than reasonable price with a very good warranty. It not only strikes a nice compromise between weight and balance, but also between price, performance, and exotic flavor. We look forward to seeing more from this new kid on the block manufacturer meantime, it's back to our Year of the Crank coverage with many more rods still left to evaluate.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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