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What the Finesse No Trigger? Evergreen's Stingray 66 (continued)

Megabass and Evergreen take a different approach. These two JDM giants partner with Fuji to have the component manufacturer OEM their very own custom designs. Can you just imagine Yuki Ito carving a design out of wood, walking over to Fuji across the street and saying, here, build me this? Judging by the fit and finish the reel seats from both manufacturers deliver on their fishing rods, we've no doubt this is exactly how business is conducted!

And then there's Megabass.

But back to the subject of that pesky Fuji ACS reel seat. There is, perhaps no more elegantly designed reel seat available to the masses than the Fuji ACS. The trouble seems to be Fuji got it wrong with the placement of the trigger. Usually when we hear complaints about a reel seat it's with regards to reels coming lose, or the fact there's no cut out so you can touch the blank with your fingers. In the ACS's case, the trigger is placed in a spot that makes the assembly uncomfortable to grasp for a lot of anglers.

Evergreen makes the non-exposed blank reel seat cool.

Well then that begs the question. Why do we have that pesky trigger anyway? Is it so we don't throw our rods into the water on every cast? If you make the majority of your casts one handed, I guess I can understand that concern. But I cast everything two handed so it's not an issue for me. One manufacturer explained to me the trigger is needed to help counteract the rotational force when fighting a fish on non-spiral wrapped rods. Zander, are you listening? I keep telling you why you need to switch to spiral wrapped rods!

But what we're here to try out today, is the new triggerless reel seat of Evergreen's TKDC-66MLBF-Pro Stingray 66.

Our friend, Terry Battisti over at Bass Fishing Archives tells us the first trigger seats showed up in 1975 on the original Fenwick Flipping sticks. Up until that time, guys were rummaging through their silverware and screwing modified spoons to their reel seats to achieve the same effect because there were no standards seats available with a trigger. Imagine that - a casting rod with no trigger.

The Stingray 66 is a finesse tuned rod designed by Yuki Kamiya for Evergreen International and Katsutaka Imae.

It is often said what is old is new again. After close to 25 years, triggered reel seats have become so common in our bass fishing arsenal now that no one has really thought to question their need. Well, no one except for our friends from across the pond that is.

This rod features a solid carbon tip ...

When I first caught wind of Evergreen International's Stingray 66 my first response was "finally!" Finally something different, intriguing, and thought provoking in a reel seat design. I remember seeing triggerless casting reel seats from Damiki back at ICAST 2008 but those were for their prototype peacock bass rods. I'd been aching for someone to do the same on a bass rod to give us something different to think about and finally, Evergreen International has come through. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this stick and get it out on the water. That is exactly what I did when it arrive.

Fig 1: This chart illustrates the deflection characteristics of the TKDC-66MLBF-Pro (red) vs the STZ6101MBXA-SPX casting rod (yellow) and our two WTF baseline rods and normalized for the load range of 2-32 ounces (as opposed to 1-32 with our normal spinning rods). As you can see, the Stingray 66 behaves similarly to the Steez Megatop rod.

Lab Results for Evergreen International's TKDC-66MLBF-Pro Stingray 66

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Evergreen International's TKDC-66MLBF-Pro Stingray 66
Daiwa Steez STZ6101MXBA-SPX Megatop

Field Tests: The TKDC-66MLBF-Pro Stingray 66 is a finesse casting stick from Evergreen International and is the custom tuned design of Yuki Kamiya, a former Top 50 tournament angler in Japan now specializing in building custom solid tip rods for the ultimate in light line sensitivity. Mr. Kamiya actually designed this rod for Katsutaka Imae, of Imakatsu fame.

... but what attracted me to try this stick was that triggerless seat.

The Stingray 66 benefits from this solid tip design - a feature that made me a bit hesitant to try the stick given my past experience with Megabass's Hedgehog Evoluzion F4-69RSDti, but my curiosity to fish the no trigger reel seat won out.

Finally, here is the TKDC-66MLFB-Pro matched with a PX68L SPR from Daiwa.

Casting: I fished this stick with two different reels, but both of Daiwa PX68 lineage. One was the standard PX68L, the other was the tuned, SPR interpretation. Both reels were spooled with five pound Sunline Shooter Metan Invisible fluorocarbon line.

If you typically cast with one hand, you might find this stick a little tricky, but two handed casters will have no trouble whatsoever.

The tip of the Stingray 66 loads well with baits down to about three grams but success with any of these superlight baits on a casting rod is more a result of having all the right components in play. Not only is the rod important, but the reel and line you're using will either aid or impede success depending on what you've chosen. So where our success was marginal, with even lighter line and the same reel, the Stingray's ability to cast light baits will be enhanced.

Make no mistake about it, this stick is all about finesse.

The important thing to remember with the Stingray 66 is the fact it has no trigger on the reel seat so all one handed casters proceed with caution. I rarely cast one handed anymore so the fact this rod lacks a trigger was really no big deal to me during a cast because my back hand is always holding the rod.

The rear trip is a mix of cork ...

Next Section: How about sensitivity?










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