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BFS Rod Review

 

Catching the BFS Wave with Phenix Rod's New Series (continued)

 

Power: If unfamiliar with using such a light powered stick for bass fishing, what most will have difficulty adjusting to is that power curve - or really, lack of any power whatsoever. Finesse fishing is not just about getting the bites. It's also about learning how to properly fight and tire a fish out before attempting a landing.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Phenix Rods BFS-C 68 against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty plus years

When you're using such thin diameter line, pro-hooksets are off the table. As is the practice of horsing a fish in. Instead, what you need to do is maintain pressure on the fish by keeping the rod flexed and trusting that force will eventually tire your catch out.


The ever so flexible tip

The BFS-C 68 has a really nice, smooth curve to it and applies ample pressure on the fish without risking a break off. Of course, you need to compliment all of this with diligent line management (retying often) and a properly set drag allowing the fish to run and lunge and then reeling it back close to you. The BFS-C 68 also had enough power in it for me to achieve proper hook sets with the Sleeper Craw - a bait with a more normal size and gauged hook.


Yes, that's a 5/8oz Sleeper Craw perfectly pinned on hookset into the roof of this bass's mouth thanks to the BFS-C 68

Yet on the flip side, once a fish is hooked, patience is the key. I had small bass tear me up on one occasion while fishing the BFS-S 71, the 7'-1" spinning rod. The fish behaved very much like it was big running out and away from our position for a good while, then it hunkered down and sat at the bottom. Zander grabbed the net and commented, "looks like a good one!" To which I replied, "watch it be a twelve incher - remember, I'm fishing a super light powered rod." While not quite twelve inches, my jest proved to be accurate. Everything is a blast to catch on these light powered rods.


This little guy tore me up sitting on the bottom like it was a 8lber. Regardless of the size of the fish each battle on these rods is intense and exciting

Design & Ergonomics: The BFS-C 68 is a short stick by today's standards but very well suited for the task at hand. In fact, Phenix has plans to introduce two additional models to this lineup that are even shorter, 5'-8" and 6'-3" casting models. The interesting tid bit regarding each model in Phenix's Classic BFS series is that each rod has the exact same rating. The differences lie in their lengths, so if you prefer something closer to today's longer rods, you can get a Classic BFS up to 7'-4" in length. The BFS-C 68 is at a length that was once the most sought after "all purpose" spec in bass fishing. Need something shorter for closer quarters? Those models are in the works. Performance attributes like casting accuracy and leverage when fighting a fish will vary slightly with different lengths, but they'll all handle the task of light line fishing.

Lab Results for Phenix Rods BFS-C 68

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Phenix Rods BFS-C 68
3.87
Extra Fast
2.9
5.5
0.11
G.Loomis 820S DSR GLX
3.68
Extra Fast
3.7
6.5
0.11
What the Finesse Avg
2.94
--
3.9
7.3
0.15

For the BFS-C 68 specifically, this is a very light (just under three ounces) and, thanks to its shorter length, well balanced stick that can actually handle more than just pure finesse techniques. In addition to drop shot and Ned techniques, I fished the afore mentioned Sleeper Craw and some small paddletail swimbaits like the four inch (4") Spark Shad. It's super fun stick with which to wield and do battle and if you're not careful, may just bring a broad smile to your face.


Wait, what? Spinning in a BFS lineup?

Price & Applications: There are five rods in Phenix's Classic BFS lineup, two spinning, and three casting, with at least two more casting models on the way. Each stick retails for $199 and the only real difference between each model, as mentioned above, is their length. Line and lure ratings are the same across each model, so the only determining factor in your decision is your preference in length and configuration.

Phenix Rods Classic BFS Lineup

Model
Length
Taper
Line Wt
Lure Wt
BFS-C 58*
5'-8"
Extra Fast
4-10lb
3/32-1/4oz
BFS-C 63*
6'-3"
Extra Fast
4-10lb
3/32-1/4oz
BFS-C 68
6'-8"
Extra Fast
4-10lb
3/32-1/4oz
BFS-C 71
7'-1"
Extra Fast
4-10lb
3/32-1/4oz
BFS-C 74
7'-4"
Extra Fast
4-10lb
3/32-1/4oz
BFS-S 68 (spinning)
6'-8"
Extra Fast
4-10lb
3/32-1/4oz
BFS-S 71 (spinning)
7'-1"
Extra Fast
4-10lb
3/32-1/4oz
*Future, planned introductions

That's right, I said configuration. Time to address the elephant in the boat. While the abbreviation "BFS" stands for Bait Finesse System with the word "Bait" referring to baitcasting, Phenix has two spinning rods in this lineup. Those of us who are sticklers for things like this will find the inclusion of spinning models in a term used for casting rods odd.


Truthfully, any series of bass rods targeted at finesse techniques devoid of spinning options would be incomplete

However, I also fished the BFS-S 71 and have to say, it is just as fun to use as the BFS-C 68. Truthfully, any series of bass rods targeted at finesse techniques devoid of spinning options would be incomplete. The only real oddity here is the name Phenix chose for the series. Given the choices in rods, the more appropriate name for this lineup would be their "Classic Bass Finesse Series."


The BFS-S 71 is a legit drop shot and Ned rig rod and enabled me to more easily explore other approaches when it came to the BFS-C 68

Otherwise, if your preference for finesse techniques is still spinning versus casting, or if you're just in need of a new spinning rod for your finesse applications, don't discount these sticks because they are in a mislabeled series. The BFS-S 71 is a legit drop shot and Ned rig rod and enabled me to more easily explore other approaches when it came to the BFS-C 68.

 

Ratings:

Phenix Rods BFS-C 68 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A nicely assembled rod and rod series with clean builds 9
Performance Punches a little above its specification which for bass fishing is a very good thing 9
Price I nice entry price point for true JDM BFS performance 7.5
Features Middle grade graphite and components 7
Design (Ergonomics) Hints of a JDM look, light, and well balanced 7.5
Application If using light line is your game, the BFS-C 68 is ready to play 8

Total Score

8.0
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
+ Light and well balanced - No bait keeper
+ Excellent sensitivity - Blanks not available (at least not yet)
+ More versatility in lure weight than specified  

 

Conclusion: If there's one thing Phenix Rods does well, it's light to ultra-light powered rods. In fact, their trout and ultra-light series are among the most popular in the industry, but of course, all those sticks are spinning. The casting sticks in this lineup are their first made to fish with light line. What's more, they didn't just take their trout blanks and turn them around, the Classic BFS blanks were intentionally designed and built for bass. My only question to that regard is when, if ever, will the blanks become available?

 


Not outwardly embraced, but arguably more common or popular than other approaches, finesse techniques for bass flat out work

 

Not outwardly embraced, but arguably more common or popular than other approaches, finesse techniques for bass flat out work. Now with the rising accessibility of casting gear in support of light line techniques, the wave will only grow. Phenix Rods has caught that wave, and judging by this series, may very well become the Big Kahuna of domestically available finesse rods with five and soon to be seven sticks in both casting and spinning configuration intentionally built in support of light line techniques for bass.

 

Looking for a Phenix Rods BFS-C 68?

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