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Selecting the right Rod, Reel, and Line for Your Walking Bait Arsenal

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Rod Review


The Search for One : Fenwick's HMG Series (continued)

Sensitivity: Most anglers prefer a fast to extra-fast tapered rod for vertical bait or bottom contact situations because blanks with faster tapers tend to transmit vibrations a little more efficiently. Having said that, the HMG72-MFC's actually does a good job of this despite its slower taper. It could have something to do with the rod's medium power too as lighter powered rods tend to give you more feel for what's going on at the end of your line.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Fenwick HMG72M-MFC agains
t a legacy MBR842C GLX and one of our 2011 WTF baseline sticks.

Power: The HMG72M-MFC is rated as a medium powered rod and charts out as such on our RoD Wrack. On the deflection chart we can see the rod has a really responsive tip and then after about one pound of pressure, the curve flattens out and the backbone becomes a little more pronounced. Out on the water through the handful of fish I was fortunate to land with this stick its power curve felt very smooth and that mod-fast taper was quite forgiving yet not too forgiving making it ideal for moving baits.

"Battling" a schoolie striper out on the CA Delta.

Design & Ergonomics: Fenwick's HMG72-MFC is a very comfortable stick to fish, but one thing bears pointing out is the diameter of the rear grip - it's on the narrow side. I know some anglers prefer a thicker/wider handle to grasp and may not appreciate the grip on the HMG72-MFC as a result. I happen to like the narrow grip as it gives me a better connection with the blank.

The rod's foregrip is integrated with the reel seat locking mechanism.

Fenwick breaks up the monotony of the rear grip with a little v-cut and material change to EVA foam.

The rod's weight is a touch on the high side for a medium powered rod, but it comes with excellent balance so there's a reason behind the small amount of added weight. Thanks to that balance the HMG72-MFC really floats in your hand, especially when you pair it with a reel.

Fenwick advertises the guides as deep-pressed titanium but they do not list what material is used for the insert.


Lab Results for Fenwick HMG72M-MFC

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Fenwick HMG72M-MFC

This stick features an open ended hook keeper.

Price & Applications: One of the best attributes about the HMG72M-MFC is its price. I'll admit, I don't recall the retail price of Fenwick's HMG line of rods when they first debuted over forty years ago, but I'm guessing it was close to the same as today's $99.99 price tag. Back then, this price would have been super premium and today, it's considered entry level for a good quality stick. The HMG72M-MFC is a good quality stick and thanks to its combination of power and taper, it's effective in a wide range of applications from bottom contact to moving bait situations.

Fenwick may no longer be considered a top tier manufacturer, but the HMG is an excellent value at its price point.


Fenwick HMG72M-MFC Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Our HMG72M-MFC was a nice clean build 8
Performance Better than I anticipated given the rod's price point 8
Price Really good price point! 8.5
Features Titanium framed guides with mysterious inserts, open ended hook keeper, split reel seat, 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) If you like thin grips on your rod, you'll like this stick. If not, you won't. Balance is very good. 7.5
Application Power and taper combine for a fun multi-purpose rod 8

Total Score

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:


+ Priced right - Narrow grip is not for everyone
+ Nice combo of power and taper  
+ Good balance  


Looking forward to more good things from Fenwick.


Conclusion: Fenwick's HMG line may have done a one hundred eighty degree turn in terms of market position from top of the line to entry level, but as far as the HMG71M-MFC is concerned, it's still a nice performing stick especially given the price point. Hopefully Fenwick as a brand, will find its way back to cutting edge status. In the meantime, it's good to see there's some consistency within its brands and that the HMG is still relevant and worthy of consideration no matter your experience level.


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