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Rod Review

 

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

Sensitivity: Given it's medium-fast taper, the Mark-56 feels very much like a stick intended for smaller, treble hooked baits like Megabass's very own Vatalion. As such, the need for sensitivity is not paramount because you're essentially fishing oversized crankbaits, and the hits are unmistakable. Just the same, after all the casts to test what this stick can handle, I settled in to fish a bait right within its rated wheelhouse, Molix's brand new GlideBait 140 SS. This is a five and a half inch, two-piece bait weighing two and a quarter ounces (2.25oz). Cranking this bait on a constant retrieve with the Mark-56, I could clearly feel it thumping in the water.


I could feel this Molix 140 SS bait thumping in the water during the retrieve - until it didn't. Signaling to me I should swing resulting in this photo-op

During one cast, about a third of the way back to the boat, that thumping stopped causing me to pause, and then about a half second later, I swung just in case and boom! Fish on! So I'd say sensitivity on the Mark-56 is pretty good - certainly enough to complete the task at hand and that's to detect bites with treble hooked big baits.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our
Megabass US Destroyer P5 F7.5-76X Mark-56 against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: If we're talking pure power, the best way to gauge that on a stick like this is via our RoD WRACK. Processing the data from these tests and viewing the chart above, we see the Mark-56's curve falls right in between our historical average for what we'd classify as an all purpose and finesse big bait stick. For the sake of comparison, the former Mark-48's curve aligned almost perfectly with that of the all purpose big bait rod (the yellow dotted line in the middle), so initial impressions of this stick being softer than the Mark-48 were accurate.


Checking out that tip

What I like about the Mark-56 though, is once you have a fish hooked, that forgiving taper really helps you land the fish without incident. It all goes back to the way in which Megabass of America designed the rod's tip. During a cast, it launches without reverberation, during a fish battle, it's powerful without being overpowering. It is a trait a few Megabass rods have demonstrated over the years, but, at the risk of sounding like Obi-Wan, "one I've not experienced in some time." Sticks that behave in this manner are a signature of Megabass.


Guides are titanium framed SiCs by Fuji

Design & Ergonomics: If you're familiar with Megabass's JDM P5 lineup introduced around 2020, you'll notice the US lineup has the exact same appearance - same grip design, same reel seat, same guides, same thread wrap. The only real differences I can decipher are the available lengths and actions/tapers. The technology behind the US P5 Destroyer line, including discussion of the blank design and components is all broken down in Zander's preview from October 2022.

Lab Results for Megabass US Destroyer P5 F7.5-76X Mark-56

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Megabass US Destroyer P5 F7.5-76X Mark-56
1.43
Med-Fast
5.1
8.5
0.24
MegabassĀ of America F8-78X Mark 48
1.23
Fast
7.8
7.5
0.32
Finesse SB Rod Avg
1.65
--
6.0
9.5
0.29
All Purpose SB Rod Avg
1.28
--
6.8
8.5
0.29
Heavy Hitters SB Rod Avg
0.95
--
7.7
10.2
0.44

What's important to point out for the F7.5-76X Mark-56 specifically, is that this is a 7'-6" stick built to handle decent sized big baits yet only weighs five point one ounces (5.1oz). That's almost a full ounce lighter than our historical average for finesse swimbait rods - sticks that are lighter in power than the Mark-56. What's more, the weight savings does not come at the terrible expense of balance. Yes, the Mark-56 is a little tip heavy due to its length, but it balances far better than average even with a shorter than ideal handle length. It's really a remarkable build especially considering it's a stock fishing rod not custom.


Detailing is subtle yet intricate. Few rods toe the line quite like Megabass, resulting in some very refined and elegant rods

Price & Applications: Megabass of America projects their US P5 Destroyer F7.5-76X Mark-56 with a price tag of $525. It's taken a number of years, but the US Destroyers have now hit, and with some models crested, that $500 line. Of course, the majority of higher end fishing rod options have all seen an increase in price, so we shouldn't be surprised. Remember when G.Loomis GLX could be had for $325-$350? The years go by, prices go up. It is the way of the world.


It was inevitable, that the US Destroyers would approach, and in some instances crest that $500 mark

Application wise, the Mark-56 is a very capable rod for treble hooked baits below five ounces in weight. Yes, as confirmed during our tests, it will punch a little bit above its ratings, but of course, do so at the risk of your warranty. The rod's taper is a little moderate for jig style baits unless you're throwing some smaller paddletails. Just the same, I'd personally prefer something with a faster taper in those situations.

Ratings:

Megabass US Destroyer P5 F7.5-76X Mark-56 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Super clean build 9
Performance Exceeded my expectations after the first flex of the rod's tip - casting performance is outstanding with good sensitivity and power 9
Price I've been waiting and expecting US based Megabass rods to crest $500 for a number of years. It's finally happened 7
Features Very technical blank design, top tier components, custom rod sleeve... everything we've come to expect from this manufacturer 8
Design (Ergonomics) Minus points for the short handle, plus points for overall weight and balance - a remarkable build 8.5
Application Excellent choice for baits equipped with treble hooks up to 5oz in weight - 3.5oz if you're concerned about warranty 8

Total Score

8.25
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:

Plus

Minus
+ Excellent casting performance - Handle is a hair short
+ Buttery power curve  
+ Weight to power ratio is outstanding  
+ Balance to weight ratio is very good  

 

Conclusion: The more I fish this new US P5 F5.5-76X Mark-56, the more I am impressed with its versatility in lure weight and overall casting performance. This is a superior stick to the one for which it borrows its name, the Mark-48. I know Megabass of America invokes the JDM Tequila Baccarac from the P5 JDM line in their marketing description. This is a stick Zander counts as one of his go-to rods in high lighter swimbait arsenal which possess that "magic-spec" - a term I use to describe JDM rods that are right around seven feet in length and rated over three ounces in max lure weight. The Mark-56 does not qualify for this classification because at 7'-6" it is too long.

 


The US P5 Destroyer F7.5-76X Mark-56 has the makings of something special.

 

However, there is one magical rod from Megabass's history that I've been waiting for the manufacturer to re-incarnate. While the Mark-56 is not quite the same as that stick - it's four inches longer and more moderate in action - it does remind me of that legendary rod in one very important respect. The way in which it launches a bait. I remarked earlier that there might be something special about Mark-56's casting ability. It is one of the keys I look for when fishing a Megabass rod, for while not every rod from this manufacturer possesses this trait, the special ones do.

 


The question is, are you ready for it?

 

That long discontinued, legendary rod was a prime example and remains to this day, one of my favorites. I have three copies. The original has been with me to the Amazon and back. The Mark-56 is the closest stick I've fished since. I am referring to the F6-72X4 Orochi X4 Destruction. To me, the Mark-56 feels like an updated version of that stick but with more length and a softer taper. The casting experience is almost identical as is the weight to power ratio. If you missed out on fishing the Destruction, want to re-experience some of that magic, or simply want to familiarize yourself with some of the best Megabass has to offer, the US P5 Destroyer, F5.5-76X Mark-56 is coming. You better be ready.

 

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