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Rod Review

Kistler's eagerly anticipated Magnesium TS rod is put through a complete slew of tests (continued)

Power: Though I was unsuccessful at locating any bass over 2 1/2 pounds during our real world test with this combo, I can discern, based on past experience, and the tests we conducted in our lab, that the MgAPSMH66 has very respectable power and is right in line with other rods of similar classification. With a RoD rating better than the MBR783C GLX, how could the rod not be powerful? Even better, we found the rod to still deliver fish fighting fun even with fish in the one to two pound range. This balance of power without being overpowering is what I really enjoyed about this stick. I'd say this rod comes in just right and is more than worthy of its medium heavy rating and "all purpose" status.


The rear knob of our MgAPSMH66



Another shot of the rod's rear knob


Features: Manufactured for Kistler Custom Rods by a factory in China, our MgAPSMH66 sports traditional Kistler features such as the Smart Touch Reel Seat, fine grade cork grips, the innovative hook keeper, and new for Kistler rods, a split rear grip. The stainless steel guides now feature pressed in frames for added durability, and the tip top guide has a flanged ring insert to mitigate against accidental knockouts. Interestingly enough, our rod had one less guide than normal for a stick of this length, yet, during our lab tests, this proved to be no factor whatsoever, at least when compared to our MBR783C GLX.

In this photo, you can get a sense of the new texture coating on Kistler's Smart Touch reel seat.

Our Magnesium TS rod came with a very subtle glitter coat that, when viewed under different light, transformed into a wavy animal print like sheen yet the rod maintains a matt or almost eggshell like finish so as not to inhibit the sensitivity of the stick. A very thoughtful choice in finish. To further test the durability of this finish, we took a cloth soaked in lighter fluid and rubbed it along the portion of graphite exposed in the rear grip. There was no effect. The finish does not come off the rod.


Kistler's Smart Touch reel seat in profile.

A feature that received mixed reviews amongst the editors was the new texture applied to Kistler's Smart Touch reel seat. I rather liked the feel and texture of this coating under hand and during fishing while Zander and JIP were a little less enthused.

While not the label discussed below, our MgAPSMH66 came with some similar text as this but located on the split rear grip

Now one feature I did not like as much was a label we found on the split rear grip of the rod. This was a permanent label under the finish that explained the recommended techniques and applications for the rod. While I understand this lineup is targeted towards technique specific applications, I'd rather see these recommendations placed on the rod via a removable label or in the name of the rod itself. This way, a consumer coming across the rod in a store can still view the intended use for the rod, and make an informed purchase, but they don't have to be reminded of this fact everytime they pull the rod out of their rod locker. For the MgAPSMH66 specifically, "All Purpose Special" pretty much sums it up.

A closeup of the rod's hook hangar and another view at the unique finish this rod possesses

Warranty: As with all their products, Kistler Custom Rods offers a tiered warranty system to guard, primarily, against manufacturer defects. There is a 10 day satisfaction guarantee (for unused rods), a 90 day full replacement guarantee, and a one year, $35 replacement guarantee. All shipping charges are the responsibility of the customer and all claims are reviewed on a case by case basis. After the first year of ownership, customers may be able to obtain a pro-rated discount on purchasing replacement rods but all of this is at the discretion of the factory and such cases are best discussed with the factory directly.


Cal holds up a chunky 2lb bass and tells Zander to hurry up and take the picture so he can get back to "work"


Kistler MgAPSMH66 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Assembled overseas but at a high level of craftsmanship. A very nicely assembled rod. 9.5
Performance A fine casting and pitching rod with excellent sensitivity 9
Price Priced very favorably when compared to the original Helium line. 8.5
Features All the features of many of today's custom sticks yet in an off-the shelf product. 9
Design (Ergonomics) Alone, the rod is slightly tip heavy but this disappears easily with the addition of a reel 9
Application A very versatile all purpose rig for bass fishing 10

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Good Value L Label on the rear grip is unnecessary
J Very Light L Product is somewhat difficult to acquire right now due to high demand!
J Quality Components  
J Unique Finish  
J Very Good Sensitivity


Conclusion: So what does the result of our new lab tests combined with on the water, real world tests mean? Well, according to our tests for RoD and Action, our MgAPSMH66 has a slightly stiffer blank than that of our MBR783C GLX. This is backed up by the fact the MgAPSMH66 had less deflection under the same load conditions as the GLX despite having a slight longer tip. With the no foregrip and split rear grip design, our MgAPSMH66 is certainly lighter though not better balanced than our factory MBR783C GLX and while this article is not an official shootout, you can see the MgAPSMH66 seems to compare quite favorably against our baseline rod at a cost savings of well over a one hundred dollars. Data points, lab tests, detailed analysis aside, I can say I was actually a little skeptical of this rod when I first held it in my hands. I was concerned with Kistler's departure from their "Made in the USA" practice and also with the fewer than standard specified guides. Were it not for this new methodology of measuring and comparing our test subjects, I would not have discovered the MgAPSMH66 actually out performed the GLX in certain respects. The MgAPSMH66 is correctly spined, the rod's guide placement prolongs the effect of line slap even with one fewer guide, and the benefit of no foregrip and the split rear grip results in a rod that is much lighter and more lively feeling than many rods I have fished. During our field tests, each editor picked up this test combo, held it in their hands, waved it around, and immediately wanted to start fishing it. What better testament to a rod can we have than that? It looks like Kistler has delivered another winner with their Magnesium TS line of rods. Now it will be interesting to see how well the new Helium 2 LTX rods stack up.












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