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Enthusiast Tackle: Rod Review


A truly exotic flipping rod, the very rare Megabass F7-711X

 

Date: 11/05/04
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Megabass
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.5

Introduction:
Megabass Custom Rods of Japan has an almost legendary reputation and underground following within the United States for insanely detailed, supremely, hand crafted, very exclusive products. Their fishing rods are perhaps, at the peak of this devotion, and it is said that those seeking a brand new fishing rod bearing the Megabass name, cannot simply walk into a tackle store in Japan and pick one off the rod racks. Rather, one must pre-order the rod of their choice, sight unseen and expect to wait up to three years before delivery! Further, there are those who follow the changes in each model from year to year and know the attributes that make certain vintages more valuable than the next. Like collectors of fine wines, the Megabass devotes are truly fanatical about these works of art. We here at TT have not had the fortune of traveling to Japan to verify these legends but what we have managed to do is acquire one of their limited production flipping rods, the Destroyer Series US Tour Entry Model F7-711X and conduct our own investigation as to what makes these rods so special.
 

Megabass F7-711X Specifications

Material HT800X+K Braided Graphite (Megabass Proprietary Custom Graphite)
Length 7’11”
Line Wt. 10 – 30 lb test
Lure Wt. 1/2 to 2 oz
Pieces One - Telescopic
Guides Titanium with Ceramic Inserts (10 total, spiral wrapped)
Power Rating Ultra Heavy Action
Color Carbon Fiber Weave
Action Fast
Rod Weight 5.8 oz
MSRP $450 not including shipping


Impressions:
What more can you say about a rod that comes complete with its very own velvet carrying case? Written on the label of this rod is the sub-name of “Heavy Cover Shootin’ Special” and the rod feels just like a weapon or fire arm of some sort as you pull it out of this velvet sheath.
 

Every Megabass rod comes with an engraved brass counterweight at the base of the rod

Craftsmanship on this rod is excellent with everything down to the guide wraps perfectly executed. Though not exactly a featherweight at 5.8 ounces, the rod’s weight is very respectable for something of this length. Balance, is above average and improved with a worthy fishing reel mounted to the reel seat.

Each Megabass fishing rod comes complete with a dark velvet sheath bearing the company's logo

The Tests: After receiving the rod in the mail, the date could not come soon enough where we’d have the opportunity to test this masterpiece out on the water. For our very first test, we paired the rod up with the equally rare and exotic Team Daiwa TD-Z 103HL Ito reel. What a rare and incredible combo these two collectables make.

Complete Rig for Megabass F7-711X Tests

Rod Megabass Destroyer F7-711X
Reel

Team Daiwa TD-Z 103HL Ito
Team Daiwa TD-Z 103ML Type R+

Shimano Antares AR

Line

P-Line Fluroclear 15lb Test
Seaguar Carbon Pro 15lb Test

For all subsequent runs out on the water, we paired our F7-711X with either a Shimano Antares AR or a TD-Z 103ML Type R Plus. Whichever reel found its way onto this rod proved to be insignificant – the real treat was experimenting with different lures and presentation techniques to evaluate the rods versatility.

The F7-711's reel seat bears a fauz wood finish. The foregrip is made of hypalon while the rear grip is constructed of grade A cork

Casting and Pitching: Despite this rod’s designation of “Ultra Heavy Action” we were able to flip, pitch and cast everything from 1/4 ounce jigs to weightless 5” Senko’s with ease. At one point during our fishing expeditions on the California Delta, I even loaded the rod up with a weightless Zoom Horny Toad and repeatedly launched this bait into the nether reaches of the sloughs! Lure presentation is effortless with this rod as the tip loads easily and precisely for not only on target pitches, but surprisingly, deadly accurate overhead casts as well.

Plenty of attention to detail throughout the rod's construction

Where performance did fall short was in our attempt to cast and fish a six-inch Megabait Charlie swimbait. This bait weighs about two ounces – right on the upper limit of the F7-711X’s lure rating, but was too much for the rod to handle. Conversely, the five-inch Megabait Charlie, weighing approximately one and a quarter ounces, is easily fished with this rod. It’s a well known fact that rated lure weights and rod actions in Japan are about one or two notches below that of their US Market counterparts, and this holds true even for the Megabass F7-711X.

Pitching, flipping, and even casting with the Megabass 711 is a breeze as the tip loads easily with baits down to 1/4 ounce for precise presentations

Sensitivity: The F7-711X is surprisingly sensitive for a flipping stick. Perhaps it is the HT800X+K proprietary braided graphite, or maybe it’s the spiral configuration of the guides, or even a combination of these and other factors, but given the rod’s length and the thickness of the reel seat, we expected sensitivity to suffer. To our surprise and enjoyment, we were able to detect numerous strikes without suffering the usual percentage of missed hooksets typical of other high modulus graphite flipping sticks.

Note the spiral configuration of the rod guides reducing twisting stresses on the braided graphite blank and increasing sensitivity in the tip for better strike detection

Power: As one would expect, the F7-711X has plenty of power to pull bass out of heavy cover. Unfortunately, during our tests, all the bass over three pounds decided they wanted nothing to do with our offerings dangling from the tip of this rod. We did, however, manage to test this rod against some less discriminating, hard charging and strong pulling striper and can say with confidence, the F7-711X has power to spare.

This rod features titanium framed guides with ceramic inserts and braided weave in the graphite through the first half of the rod

In general, if researching the purchase of one of these exotic sticks, pay close attention to the power and lure weight specifications as most rods will actually perform at one or two notches below similarly rated US model fishing rods. As an example, where the F7-711X reviewed here is rated as a 7 power rod, the actual performance – especially in the tip for casting and pitching – is more like what one would expect on a 5 or maybe even a 4 power rod. The backbone, however, is closer to the stated specification. There is definitely a very unique action to this flipping stick.

Even the graphics fro the Megabass fishing rods are composed with harmony and balance in mind

Features: Perhaps one of the greatest advantages a rod such as this holds for the every day consumer is the simple novelty of owning such an exotic piece of equipment. However, for the serious angler, the pluses don’t stop there. Every inch of this rod speaks of quality and attention to detail. From the perfectly wrapped rod guides to the crack and split resistant brass trimmed hypalon foregrip to the engraved brass counterweight butt cap to the spiral wrapped titanium rod guides, this fishing rod is assembled not only to impress cosmetically, but to perform at the highest level and endure the rigors of tournament angling.

The Megabass 711 is a incredibly refined fishing rod that is just about as exciting to look at as it is to fish with

Price and Availability: Megabass Custom Fishing rods are among the most difficult import tackle to acquire. Even most used rods start somewhere close to $350 US dollars with shipping costs from Japan estimated at over $100. This particular model had a price tag of approximately $450 brand new and, from all counts, are completely sold out. Most rods that have made their way around the world are either purchased in Japan personally or shipped four to six rods at a time to save on shipping expense. This is all assuming the model you seek is even available. The best source within the United States for one of these rods is either through specialty importers or online auction houses.

Ratings:

Megabass F7-711X Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Amazing craftsmanship and attention to detail 10
Performance Very unique and lethal action for a rod of this length – a tip that loads easily for casting and pitching combined with a powerful backbone for muscling fish out of heavy cover. 10
Price The only true downfall of this rod is the huge price tag and availability, but you often have to embark on great quests to find the rod with the perfect action you covet. 4
Features For a rod loaded with quality components, the one thing missing is a hook hangar and an exposed blank in the reel seat 8.5
Design (Ergonomics)

The reel seat is a bit thick, but any rod with this length and power will most likely have that issue. The spiral wrap rod guides are an intriguing offering for a flipping stick.

9
Application For flipping and pitching, this rod excels. Other possible applications include buzzbaits, swimbaits, and frogging. 9.5

Total Score

8.5


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Beautifully Crafted L Cost of ownership is extremely high – IF you can find one
J Excellent tip for pitching and flipping L No hook keeper
J Powerful backbone L Reel seat is a bit thick with no exposed blank
J Above average balance for a 7’11” stick  
J Quality components  


Conclusion:
In general, most flipping rods can be characterized in one of two ways: 1) Great tip for sensitivity and lure presentation but not quite enough power or 2) great backbone but a tip that makes it difficult to deliver your bait with precision and is too stiff for a proper hookset. The F7-711X combines the best features of both these generalizations and presents it all in a package that is both worthy of admiration and entirely functional. Unfortunately, the very high cost of ownership and limited to no availability puts this rod into an almost unattainable category. But perhaps the performance characteristics of this rod can serve as a model for future, domestic offerings. In the meantime, even with its shortfalls, the F7-711’s performance far outweighs these disadvantages.



 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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