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Enthusiast Review


WTF?! : Evergreen International's Fastbreak Alley-Oop!

 

Date: 3/29/11
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Evergreen International
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.00 + ULTIMATE ENTHUSIAST AWARD!

Introduction:
As March Madness takes full effect across the country, I am reminded of one of my absolute favorite basketball plays, the alley-oop. For those not familiar with basketball jargon the alley-oop is an impromptu play involving two players. Player one controls the ball and is usually somewhere between mid court and the top of the key. Player two is on the move closer to the basket, usually along the baseline (the extreme boundary of the court behind the basket). The ball is lobbed by player one in a move that for all intents and purposes, looks like a shot, but is really a pass to player two who is streaking towards the basket and in one fail swoop, jumps in the air, catches the ball mid-flight, and before coming back down, continues his trajectory towards the basket, ball in hand, slamming it home. Timing of the play is critical but if completed successfully, quite often results in resounding cheers and applause by the crowd.

 


Introducing Evergreen International's Alley Oop!

Evergreen International is no stranger to applause receiving similar accolades across the industry in their efforts to deliver some of the most well regarded, high end fishing tackle available to the bass fishing public. When it came time to research their product in hopes of finding a suitable candidate for our finesse themed year, imagine the smile that came across my face when presented with the name of their Kaleido series, TKLS-64LX spinning rod, the “Alley Oop”!

Evergreen International Kaleido TKLS-64LX Alley Oop Specifications

Material Proprietary Interwoven Graphite
Length 6-4"
Line Wt. 3-10lb test
Lure Wt. 1/32 - 1/4 oz
Pieces 1
Guides 7 + tip
Power Rating Light
Taper Extra Fast
Rod Weight 3.6 ounces
Origin Made in Japan
MSRP 75,600 JPY (~$950)

 

Impressions: I had heard the accolades, and tried in vein, to experience the mystique of Evergreen International’s sticks on my own but after going through three or four of their top end sticks, had come to the conclusion they just weren’t for me. For the most part, all their sticks were just too moderate for my liking. Then, last year, in a “one last chance move” during our Search For One campaign, I fished my first stick from their Kaleido series, the Black Raven. Finally, a current production stick with the precision and feel worthy of all the accolades.

 


The Kaleido series from Evergreen is as good as it gets.

 

The TKLS-64LX Alley Oop is a six foot, four inch spinning rod rated between one thirty second and one quarter of an ounce in lure weight and between three and ten pound test in line specification. It features the signature Kaleido series carbon cross weave blank up to the second guide from the tip top where it transitions to a standard looking blank. Though the rod’s rear grip is split, the rod is not lacking in a foregrip though it’s a little difficult to tell where the reel seat ends and the foregrip begins. The handle on this rod is beautifully sculpted.

 


Fig 1: This chart illustrates the deflection characteristics of the TKLS-64LX (red curve) vs two sticks from GLoomis. Note how much the TKLS-64LX flexes with minimal weight at the tip, yet, as more load is applied to the blank, the rod's rate of deflection flattens out. This is a demonstration of how quickly this rod sets up to its backbone.

The Lab: Originally not in the habit of wracking spinning rods, considering the number of spinning rods at TT HQ for this year's theme, we're making a go of it. The TKLS-64LX Alley Oop could not escape the lab. What we discovered is the rod behaves true to form of its rated taper in that the tip is very soft, but as we increased the load, the rate of the Alley Ooop's deflection lessened to the point where it flexed less than our baseline G.Loomis sticks. It transitions quickly and efficiently to its backbone which should translate to very good results out on the water.

Lab Results for Evergreen Int. Kaleido TKLS-64LX Alley Oop

Model
Avg RoD (1-32 oz)
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Evergreen International Kaleido TKLS-64LX Alley Oop
3.63
X-Fast
3.6
6
0.10
DSR820S GLX
3.02
Fast
3.9
8
0.15
SMR822-SP GLX
2.75
Fast
3.7
7.5
0.15

Weight and balance of this stick test favorably as well as the TKLS-64LX weighed in at only 3.6 ounces and had a balancing torque of only 0.10ftlbs. More data points that point to a favorable impression out on the water.


Don't let the ratings deceive you, this stick is powerful.

Field Tests: What better partner is there for the Alley Oop than Evergreen International's own spinning reel, the Opus-1. I had to confiscate mine from Ms Casey's collection in order to complete this review. Luckily she has yet to notice. Once I got it back, I headed over to Hi's Tackle Box in South San Francisco for their assistance in spooling the reel up with six pound Sunline Super Natural nylon monofilament. I've been fishing this new product from Sunline for a few months now and so far, really like the way it handles.


Matched with an Opus-1, rigged and ready to go on Clear Lake, CA.

The Alley Oop and Opus-1 combo were part of our early season lineup during an extended stay at Clear Lake, California kicking off our WTF (What the Finesse) festivities for 2011. Primary duties for the combo was fishing Evergreen International's ball head finesse jigs.


Note the non-too subtle detailing at the foregrip.

Casting: It's rare to run into a situation where casting performance is lacking in a spinning rod. Matched with the right line and reel, it's possible to cast just about anything with a spinning rod. An interesting discovery with the Alley Oop is, for those comfortable with feathering the spool of their spinning reels during a cast, this rod makes an excellent tool for pin point casts.


The TKLS-64LX enables accurate, low trajectory casts - provided you know how to feather your spool.

Thanks to the combination of a relatively short length and an extra fast taper, you can easily make snap, baitcasting style casts with this rod feathering the spool of your reel to keep the trajectory of your cast low and therefore minimizing that big loop you often get when attempting this style cast with a spinning rod. In this application, the TKLS-64LX actually casts like a rod six or eight inches shorter than its actual length.


Part of the secret to this rod's power? The interwoven graphite blank.

Sensitivity: Flip that spool of your reel over, let your bait fall to the bottom and begin a slow, painstaking retrieve and even with nylon monofilament as your main line, you can feel quite a bit through the Alley Oop.


A look at the Alley Oop's reel seat.

The graphite weave blank really made a difference when we first fished it in the Black Raven, and in a spinning rod, this blank design is even more impressive, as if that's even possible. The best compliment I can give it is the Alley Oop delivers almost ultra-light level sensitivity in a rod tested a step or two above that.


You never know what's going to happen when you're messing around... I thought this fish was going to take me into those weeds.

Next Section: Power and design


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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