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What a Difference The Blank Makes: The Nories Road Runner Voice 680H (continued)

Sensitivity: What a difference the blank makes. I noted in the previous article where the HB680M was reviewed that the rod had a very dead feel to it. I came to realize, because the rod was intended for moving bait applications, it was intentionally constructed of low modulus graphite sacrificing sensitivity for a slower taper. It works as I recall mentioning that rod was really only suited for medium to large cranks. Having said that, the 680H is everything I wished the HB680M would have been.

A rare sight, Cal using a right hand retrieve reel!

While still not the most sensitive rod I'd ever used or even sensitive enough to justify its price point, taken together with the balance and ease of casting this rod, the sensitivity is more than respectable. I fished this rod in initial tests with a Texas rigged worm weighted with the usual bullet weight and glass bead. I could feel, in six to ten feet of depth, the clacking of the tungsten bullet weight to the glass bead. All hits I received were easily discernable, but the fish were not in one of those light hit moods.

Rod and reel fit comfortably in hand.

One of many fish landed on the 680H with the assistance of a Reaction Innovations Flirt 6.95 worm.

Power: There is no shortage of power in this rod. Though not quite what I'd consider an extra-fast tapered rod, it still has plenty of backbone to move fish away from cover when the need arises. On one trip to Clear Lake, I was using this rod to fish shakey head worms in and around the docks and was fortunate enough not to get into any of those "uh oh" situations I otherwise might have found myself in the middle of had I not been using a rod of sufficient moving power.

The guides on the 680H feature SiC inserts but Stainless Steel frames.


Features: The 680H features Fuji stainless steel framed guides with SiC inserts, Fuji's counterweight balancing system, and a custom designed reel seat again by Fuji. The reel seat features a rubber gasket at the handle end to help hold your reel in snug and secure, and a non-exposed blank design. Missing of course, is the hook hangar, but otherwise, the rod is quite well designed and feature laden.

You can see here, the Road Runner Voice line is designed for balance over light weight

The attractive Nories logo


Application: As usual, after hooking up a couple of fish through the rod's intended application of soft plastics and jigs, I threw the design intent out the window and tied on some spinnerbaits and jerkbaits and had at it. This rod is great fun with moving bait applications as well and is much more suited as an all-purpose type rig than the previously reviewed HB680M. In fact, its overall performance was very reminiscent of the MBR783C GLX it tested so well against in our RoD WRACK only the 680H is heavier and better balanced.

Look how low the reel sits within this reel seat

The reelseat has some custom touches but is furnished by Fuji


Nories Voice 680H Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A very nicely assembled stick 9
Performance Better than expected, about everything I had hoped for after the HB680M 9
Price If retail isn't bad enough, throw in shipping and your pain threshold might be exceeded 7
Features The reel seat remains an attention grabber 8
Design (Ergonomics) Where the HB680M felt heavy and cumbersome, the 680H with a more responsive graphite blank felt balanced and lively 8.5
Application As versatile as the MBR783C GLX 9.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Very well balanced L Hard to come across unless you're in Japan
J Trick Real Seat
J Versatile taper and power  
J Casts and pitches surprisingly well  

What a difference the blank makes. The 680H is a fun stick to fish!


Conclusion: Redemption is a wonderful thing. The Nories Road Runner Voice 680H restored my faith in a product that I wanted to like from the beginning but was just dumbfounded with in the HB680M. It showed me that Nories, as a company, takes the idea of technique specific rods quite seriously and one should try to pay close attention to a rod's intended applications. Of course, when translating a foreign language trying to interpret these intentions, a clear understanding is not always forthcoming hence the trial and error aspect of investing in JDM sticks. Purchase with an open mind, let the rod tell you what it does best, and go from there. If that's just too much risk for you to undertake, and understandably so, just move on and stick with something proven. But if proven isn't enough for you, and you want the potential reward of discovering something special, take the road less traveled and give a rod like the Nories Road Runner a first or second chance. You might find, as did I, that second chances can be very fulfilling.












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