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Enthusiast Review


The Search for One : Shimano/Jackall's Biwako Versatile X (continued)

Power: The Poison Glorious 173MH is rated by the manufacturer as a "medium heavy" stick despite a lure rating recommendation that would suggest its more of a heavy powered stick. Looking at the rod's data from its session on our wrack, you can see it actually charts out right in line with our two baseline "medium heavy" sticks.


Fig 1: This chart illustrates the deflection characteristics of our 173MH Biwako Versatile as compared against our Search for One baseline rods.

Out on the water, the rod's length affords you just a bit more leverage as well and control of your catch - even with a big 3oz weight in the fish's mouth - is very good. Perhaps it's the way in which the graphite is laid in the blank, but this rod still feels just a little more powerful in hand than I'd expect from one that charted out the way it did.


This stick comes equipped with Fuji K-Series SiC guides with stainless frames.

Performance Ratings for Poison Glorious 173MH Biwako Versatile X

Pitch (1-5)
Cast (1-5)
Sensitivity (1-5)
Hook Set (1-5)
Control (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
4
4
4
22
25
8.8


Branded as the "Perfection Seat SS"...

Features: Speaking of the rod's blank, if you've been paying attention tour JDM rod reviews of late, you'll know the trend in Japan is to build rods - or at least market them - with some sort of cross weave pattern in the graphite where the fibers in successive layers are laid at an angle to one another. Sometimes this is just in the outer layer with a tape, other times it's in the actual underlying graphite.


... The Biwako Versatile X's real seat is made of Ci4.

In the case of the 173MH Biwako Versatile X, it's supposedly in the underlying graphite where the first layer is laid at an angle, the second layer straight up and down along the blank's length, and the third at an opposing angle to the first. So this isn't really a weave, but more of a layering. I refer to this construction with the word "supposedly", because you can see this crossing pattern on the surface of the blank and I wouldn't expect to be able to it if it was underlying but maybe the wraps are made that loosely?


Styling of this reel seat receives high marks.

Otherwise, the rod, as mentioned before is a two piece design separating at the handle. The split rear grip is made of cork, the guides are titanium framed SiCs, the reel seat is a proprietary Shimano design built from Ci4 and featuring an exposed carbon sleeve. The rod comes with no hook hangar, but it does come with a two-piece rod sleeve that's kind of awkward to use.

Features Ratings for Poison Glorious 173MH Biwako Versatile X

Grip (1-5)
Guides (1-5)
Reel Seat (1-5)
Hook Keeper (1-5)
Rod Sleeve (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
5
5
1
2
17
25
6.8

Design/Ergonomics: The rear grip of the Biwako Versatile X measures almost eleven inches from the back of the reel set to the butt end. The two sections of cork are contoured slightly and are large enough to provide a comfortable surface to grasp. I particularly like that the back section of the grip is a good size to grip for two handed casting.


The reel seat hood blends almost seamlessly with the base.

Colors on this stick are a stealthy black and silver with subtle red highlights here and there. Graphics are tasteful and not too large so as to distract from the rod's overall composition. Balance is excellent with the neutral point being just six and a half inches (6.5") up from the midline of the reel seat though the rod's overall weight of 5.1 ounces is just average for a 7'-3" stick.

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Poison Glorious 173MH Biwako Versatile X

Grip (1-5)
Colors / Graphics (1-5)
Balance (1-5)
Weight (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
4
5
3
16
20
8.0


The butt end of the rod features a clean design.

Application: There were several Poison Glorious rods from which to choose when I was in that tackle store on the shores of Lake Biwa and while I was tempted to purchase a rod with just a bit more power, this stick's name, "Biwako Versatile X", together with where I was standing, pretty much made the decision for me. How could I not purchase a stick named after the location from where I was about to purchase it?

Bass Rod Application Ratings for Poison Glorious 173MH Biwako Versatile X

Rip/Jerk (1-5)
Steady (1-5)
Lift & Drop (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Twitch (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
4
5
5
5
24
25
9.6


The Biwako Versatile is worthy of the Glorious line.

The rod has not disappointed me either with its versatility. I knew when I picked it up that it could handle general bassing duties just fine, but the fact I could actually cast and fish big baits with it too and that it has enough power to set hook with these baits, has really delighted me. This stick easily lives up to its name.

 

Ratings:

Poison Glorious 173MH Biwako Versatile X Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality One of the nicest production sticks I've held 10
Performance No disappointments really 8.8
Price Purchased in Japan and carried back over on the plane, the financial impact of having this rod is not that bad, but add $75 or more for shipping from Japan and it becomes less attractive. Note, that cost plus shipping is probably close to the same price if Shimano America Corp brought it over for sale in the States. 6
Features It's the lack of a hook keeper and an odd rod sleeve that hurt the stick here otherwise, it has a nice standard set of features 6.8
Design (Ergonomics) Stealthy, comfortable, well balanced 8.0
Application Lives up to its name... versatile 9.6

Total Score

8.2
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
+ Well Balanced - Not one of the lines Shimano is bringing over from Japan
+ High tech carbon construction fishes really well  
+ Versatile enough to handle larger baits in a pinch  

  

Conclusion: I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to purchase this stick from a store right on the shores of lake for which the rod was named. Shortly after my return from Japan, I learned of Shimano's plans to bring over some of Jackall rods for sale and warranty support in the United States. I was excited by the prospect, but then disappointed the Glorious series was not included as I'd like to try a few more sticks from this line.

 


The review is done, but not my time with this stick!

 

Back to the 173MH Biwako Special X itself, this is a very fine stick and even more versatile than I first imagined. I still need more time with this stick on the water, but it's already proved to me it can handle a wide range of applications and handle them all very well.


 

 

 

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