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Rod Review


 

Could It Be Magic? Megabass's US P5 F5.5-76X Mark-56

 

Date: 11/18/22
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Megabass of America
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.25 - EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD

Introduction:
Pushed back from initial projected debut dates due to the ongoing global supply chain crisis brought about by the pandemic, all indications are Megabass of America's much anticipated, new US P5 Destroyer line is finally set to hit stores during the Spring of '23. A limited run of production models actually landed in the US during the Fall of '22, and we were lucky enough to receive a few models to test prior to the series' full launch. One model in particular that seems to be drawing a lot of buzz is the F7.5-76X Mark-56, cousin to the previous US Destroyer line's Mark-48. It's time to take a closer look.

 

Megabass US Destroyer P5 F7.5-76X Mark-56 Specifications

Material 5-D Graphite System Blank
Length 7'-6"
Line Wt. 15-30lb
Lure Wt. 3/4 - 3 1/2 oz
Pieces One
Guides 9+tip (Fuji Ti/SiC)
Rear Handle Length 13"
Power Rating Heavy
Taper Medium Fast
Rod Weight 5.1 oz
Origin Made in Vietnam
MSRP $525

 

Impressions: Once considered a fringe fishing strategy, swimbaits are now full on mainstream. Large and small rod manufacturers have jumped onto the party barge to serve up their recipe for big bait fishing success. Megabass of America is no stranger to this celebration. With legendary sticks like the White Python, Super Destruction, Onager, and more, the manufacturer has proven they have relevant investment property to draw upon when building a proper stick with which to fish big baits.

 


The new, US P5 Destroyers are finally in sight

 

The new US P5 F7.5-76X Mark-56 invokes the name of one of these previous models, the F8-78X Mark-48 introduced in 2019 during the former US Destroyer line's extension. It's only natural to assume they are the same, or at least similar sticks, but such an assumption would actually be a mistake. The new Mark-56 is shorter, less powerful, and made with a softer taper than the former Mark-48. They are similar in name only.

 


First on the docket for review is the F7.5-76X Mark-56

 

In fact, when I first handled the new Mark-56 and flexed its tip, my impression was the rod is far too soft to fish big baits. I then looked at the rod's ratings and noticed the three and a half ounce (3.5oz) max lure rating. My enthusiasm waned. I was hoping for something similar to the former Mark-48 which is rated up to five ounces (5oz) in lure weight. It's tough to consider a stick true big-bait capable when it's only built to handle baits up to 3.5oz.


The US P5s share the same 5-D Graphite System blank as their JDM predecessors

Real World Tests: I paired the F7.5-76X Mark-56 with my 2020 Shimano Japan Exsence SS DC HG outfitted with a new handle and dragstar from Gomexus USA. It's been a long time since I played the handle swap game, because, as far as I'm concerned, the pricing has gotten out of hand. I'm not prepared to spend more money on a handle than what I paid for a reel. However, I really didn't care for the handle and knobs that came stock on the Exsence (the reel is designed for saltwater applications), and I found the Gomexus options were reasonably priced, so I dove in. So far so good.


The Mark-56 paired with Shimano Japan's Exsence SS DC HG - similar to the '21 Scorpion DC but with a DC module tuned to throw baits used in pursuit of seabass

For line, I spooled the Exsence with my current go to line for big baits, and that's hollow braid. In this situation specifically, it was Seaguar's Threadlock in fifty pound (50lb) test. Top shot (leader) choice for this setup was Sunline's Saltimate Nylon leader in 30lb test. Given the Mark-56's ratings and taper, I had in mind to use it as a rat stick, so I wanted a nylon leader for flotation.


I found the Mark-56 performed extremely well during the cast

Casting: The first bait to have the honor of being fished on my Mark-56 was Illude Baits' Rad-10 Rat. This is the larger sibling to the original Rad Rat Zander wrote up in 2020. Weighing in at three ounces (3.0oz), the Rad-10 felt like the ideal bait to reveal what the Mark-56 was capable of doing. Given how light the rod's tip felt, I thought this bait might be pushing the stick's limits. Afterall, 3.0oz is very close to the Mark-56's max lure weight, but to my surprise, the Mark-56 handled the bait as if it were made for it. The rod's tip loads extremely well very reminiscent of some of the best Megabass has had to offer. There is zero reverberation in that tip. It just unloads all of the built up energy from your back cast into the forward casting motion launching your bait very efficiently.


It can handle baits above its rated range including this 4.5 oz glidebait from Sly Guy Lures, the 9.5" Replica Trout.

But the tale of a good big bait stick is more than how it handles what's expected of it, so the next bait I tied on was the brand new glide bait from Toxic Baits, the Juke. This is a three and a half ounce gill profile glide bait with a similar, thick body style to the previously reviewed WhipperSnapper, just a little bit longer in length and without a bill. Toxic's Juke weighs in at three and a half ounces - right at the Mark-56's rated upper limit. The results? The Mark-56 handled the Juke as if to say to me, what else you got?


The handle features a split rear grip made of cork

From there, I continued to move up in weight with baits like GanCraft's Jointed Claw 230 (4.0oz) and finally Sly Guy's 9.5" Replica Trout, a bait that tips our scales at four and a half ounces (4.5oz). The Mark-56 was able to handle each of these baits relatively easily - it can definitely handle more than what the manufacturer has laid out. The tip on the Mark-56 has the makings of something special the way in which it loads during a cast and unloads once you launch your bait. All it takes is a flick of the wrist to get your bait flying. The rod's efficiency during a cast is really quite remarkable.


But that handle is short measuring just 13" from the back of the reel seat to the butt end

The one downside to the Mark-56 during this part of its tests? Its handle length. At only thirteen inches (13") from the butt to the back of the reel seat, that handle is a less than ideal length. On my swimbait sticks, I prefer a length of at least fifteen inches (15") but preferably more. At the same time, when used with baits within the Mark-56's rated range, that shorter handle is not as bothersome as I thought it would be. That softer tip actually makes up for the lack in handle length. Ergonomically, it is designed just right for baits within its rated lure range.


The Mark-56 matches well with Megabass's Vatalion

Next Section: Hitting that "magic" spec?

 

   

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