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Enthusiast Review

The Search for one... Shift to Canada for Rapala's new rod (continued)

Power: The ST65TR71MH1 is one of those sticks that feels less powerful in hand at the store or in your home than it actually delivers out on the water. Thanks to the rod’s extra-fast taper, this stick is quick to set up and delivers good hook setting performance. It’s been a year of regular sized fish for me so hooking into something to stretch this stick beyond its comfort zone just wasn’t in the cards.

... and the carbon fiber trim ring between the trigger and rear grip

Predictably, I was able to control my catches with this stick rather easily and thanks to the less than finesse line I was using muscling in fish to three and a half pounds was really minimally challenging for the ST65TR71MH1.

Our ST65TR71MH1 test stick was a super clean build

Sensitivity: Though far from the most sensitive stick I’ve ever fished, the ST65TR71MH1 is a very good performer in this category for a sub two-hundred dollar rod. How could it not be given its rather minimalist design. Certainly the fact I was fishing this stick with a top quality superline tipped with a high-end fluorocarbon would skew any experiences to the positive so I should caution my evaluation of this stick in this category is necessarily compensated in the other direction.

Each Shift stick comes with Fuji SS/SiC guides

Even so, I’ve been fishing this line combination for quite some time now so the ST65TR71MH1’s performance by comparison to other sticks in this year’s Search For One is category is very much on par and nothing to be overly concerned about. I will say keeping the overall weight of this combo as light as possible with a quality, light weight reel only helps matters with this or any other combo. The TDZ100ML is a great match for this stick.

As any good Enthusiast rod company would do, Rapala has gone through the effort to trademark catch phrases to describe their rods

Design & Ergonomics: I pretty much touched upon these considerations at the beginning of this article. One point I did not mention was unlike many other Enthusiast level rods, the ST65TR71MH1 actually comes with a hook keeper! It is located right above the reel seat on top of the rod and is an open style keeper popularized by Kistler Custom Rods. It is a very functional keeper that surprisingly never interfered with my very supple Daiwa Samurai Braid.

Rapala Canada is doing their best to institute a shift in the enthusiast marketplace ...

This stick’s grip and reel seat are adorned with very attractive, polished aluminum winding checks rather than rubber grommets only adding to the rod’s attractiveness, allure, and high end feel. In addition, there’s a small carbon trim ring detail between the rod’s reel seat and its rear grip. The Shift series of rods from Rapala Canada have been very carefully detailed – a consideration that is much appreciated by someone like myself.

... and from we've seen, together with what's coming, they are well on their way to providing some much needed excitement in the CDM space

Availability and Warranty: From our understanding these sticks have been readily available in Canada for some time. Each Shift rods comes with a one year warranty. There are no replacement fees other than $10 to cover shipping, but as we always recommend, please contact the manufacturer directly for verification and to discuss your particular situation should you have a warranty concern.


Rapala Canada Shift ST65TR71MH1 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A really clean build 8
Performance An excellent pitching stick 8
Price Very reasonably priced especially considering the components 8.5
Features Rapala Canada doesn't miss much here 8
Design (Ergonomics) Nice touches with polished aluminum winding checks at every turn 8
Application A really nice entry stick into the enthusiast realm 8

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:


J A really clean build from Rapala Canada L Depends on which side of the US and Canada border you live on ;)
J Canada gets their own "DM" designation - CDM! L Only one year warranty
J Good, proven components with Fuji SS/SiC guides  
J A good performing blank that doesn't break the bank  


Conclusion: Canada is one of the last countries I would expect in which to find a good selection of bass rods. Certainly they have a great deal of freshwater fishing destinations and smallmouth bass are very prevalent, but as a destination for largemouth bass, the thought never really occurred to me. How unlikely is it then, that a fishing company better known in Europe and the United States would, out of their Canada office, market and distribute a line of high-end looking sticks that could easily compete in their more popular markets? Then again, maybe they’re just testing the waters and working out all the supply and support chain kinks before going global.

Anyway you cut it, Rapala Canada's Shift rods are a value laden product in a traditionally non-value market

Whatever the case may be, it is clear Enthusiast Tackle is not just about Japan any longer. More and more markets are jumping into the fray with their own tantalizingly specialized products. Rapala Canada is the first we’ve heard of north of the border and we’re hoping they are not the last. For the Shift line of rods, and the ST65TR71MH1 in particular, if you’re in Canada and are looking for an affordable, quality stick with high end appeal – and even if you’re not in Canada for that matter! – you owe it to yourself to check out these sticks. The automobile manufacturer Nissan advertises a shift is coming, but we here at TackleTour are here to tell you the Shift is already here and you can find them through Rapala Canada!









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