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Spiral vs Conventional: If you've read this far through the article, you may still have one lingering question. Why offer a spiral/acid/Roberts wrapped rod to begin with? The practice comes from the big game, saltwater world of fishing. Yes folks, there's more to the angling world than black bass and manufacturers draw from all the different aspects all the time. Do you really think the Alabama Rig is something new and revolutionary?

Then maybe the conventional wrap of the Black Python is more your game.

When the guides are on top of a casting rod, and you're battling a strong pulling fish, your line will naturally lean to one side or the other of the rod as the fish pulls. If the fish pulls down hard enough, you'll feel the rod want to twist in your hand. This takes a pretty strong fish which is how this concept originated in the saltwater angling world, but some say they can even feel it when battling a good sized largemouth.

Evidence that the Black Python is more traditional "Megabass" in design...

This twisting force makes both the angler and the rod expend unnecessary energy and in the end, can be a source of fatigue and eventual failure in your blank. By placing the guides in a spiral pattern around the blank, you're directing the line to the bottom of the blank so that when you hook a fish, all the resistance you and the blank experience is a straight down pull. No more twisting and turning which means a more comfortable fight, and a longer lasting rod. This is the benefit of having your guides wrapped in this configuration.

... The signature Megabass cap atop the Black Python's foregrip.

Design / Ergonomics: No matter how many times you explain the benefits of a spiral wrapped guide system on a conventional rod, and despite the benefit, most anglers cannot wrap their heads around the funky appearance. Even our Editor in Chief, Zander, freaks out whenever I hand him one of these wraps. He understands the benefit, he just can't get over looking at the tip of his casting rod and having the guides on the bottom. He also prefers right handed reels - what do you expect?

The FX-711X4 is built for performance ...

All kidding aside, the general population is with him. Why do you think we don't see more spiral wrapped rods on store shelves? They just don't sell as well. So when it comes to the Seven Eleven and Black Python, I'm torn. On the one hand, I understand the possible reasoning behind the Black Python - spiral wrapped rods just don't sell. On the other hand, I'd love a different power option in this same lineup and given the stick's name, I was really looking forward to an X4 version of the Orochi Evoluzion White Python. Can you imagine a spiral wrapped version of that stick? In the end, I guess it's a wash.


Megabass FX-711X4 & FX-81X4 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Both sticks are clean builds 9
Performance Reminiscent of the original F7-711X we reviewed in 2004 only lighter and better balanced 8
Price So if they're the same blank, why is the Black Python $50 more? 7.5
Features Cross weave graphite blank, Fuji SS/SiC guides... spiral wrap for the Seven Eleven, conventional for the Black Python, cork grips on both 8
Design (Ergonomics) If you're into nice detailing, you'll prefer the Black Python. If you want performance, the spiral wrap of the Seven Eleven wins - it's nice to have choices. But could do without the telescopic blanks. 7.5
Application As versatile a pair of eight foot heavy powered rods as you'll find and so much more than just mere flipping sticks 9

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:


+ Spiral wrap or conventional? take your pick - I'd prefer to have two different powers rather than two different guide wrap options.
+ Cast with accuracy on an eight foot stick. - Telescopic blanks are old school. It'd be nice if they had the same handle design as the two piece White Python and STZ802HFBA instead. Sensitivity is not affected, but it's just a cleaner design - something we've come to expect from Megabass.
+ Long but not heavy and unwieldy  


Conclusion: Having fished and really enjoyed the F6-72X4 Destruction, I kind of already knew what to expect with these two rods because they are in the same X4 series. It was good to get a better assessment of the X4 lineup's sensitivity in applications we fish ninety percent of the time and while I did expect a little more, I was still not disappointed. The likely reason for two versions of this same blank? Well, we discussed this above, but wouldn't it have been nice to have an X4 equivalent to the F7-76RSDti?

... while the Black Python has more mass appeal. Both sticks fish the same.

Those looking for a traditional flipping stick with enough power to support punching applications or even something heavier are best advised to move on. Neither the FX-711X4 or the FX-81X4 will hold up under those conditions. In fact, until recently, nothing in the Megabass lineup really would. But in typical Megabass fashion, if you're looking for something even more powerful, more mean spirited, more evil, we can report that yes, there is another. So if the FX-711X4 or the FX-81X4 won't perform the tasks you need it to support in your quest for the ultimate arsenal, perhaps the Black Jungle, F10-76XBJ will. But that's part of another story.

Looking for Megabass rods? Try Hi's Tackle Box










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