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Enthusiast Tackle : Rod Review


There Can Only Be One, The 2006 TackleTour SuperCast Shootout (continued) : Revealing the Winner
 

Ratings: Our very last step, in reviewing these four incredible sticks, is to go through our traditional TackleTour Ratings system, so that we can be fair and evaluate each rod against its intended purpose, and give you, our readers, an idea of how these rods stack up within the overall market. We preface the ratings with our final thoughts on each individual rod.

 

Megabass F4-610XDti Elseil: What's left to say? Afterall, it is a Megabass, isn't it? Actually, a lot. Yes, the Elseil is a Megabass, but I'd be lying if I didn't say my initial impressions of this stick were a disappointment. It's not quite as striking as its siblings. A risk you take, I suppose, when you design almost every rod in your lineup, with a different look. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the high-tech titanium DNA wrap and was actually quite skeptical of its true benefit. I still am. All that aside, on the water performance tells the story and the Elseil impressed time and time again. Try as I might to discount the rod, it rose up to each challenge I put forth and showed me it is more than worthy of the Megabass name. Better suited for moving baits than fishing plastics and jigs, you could do a lot worse in your search for a an all purpose import rod than to select the Megabass Elseil.

 

The detailing on the Elseil does not stop at the foregrip. Here, above the foregrip and on either side of the logo, you can see the DNA pattern, titanium wrap

 

Ratings:

Megabass F4-610XDti Elseil Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Top notch assembly - not a thread out of place 10
Performance Casting took some adjustment for accuracy, but once made, it was spot on and very consistent 9
Price Among the most expensive Megabass sticks on the market today 6
Features Loaded with technology and top end components 9
Design (Ergonomics) Not quite as striking as other Megabass rods, but still, very attractively composed 9
Application A very versatile rod, but best suited for moving baits 9

Total Score

8.67

 

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Available Domestically L Not quite as striking as other Megabass rods aesthetically
J Well Balanced L Performs well, but not quite as well suited for plastics and jigs
J Quality Components  
J High-tech Features  
J Wonderful for moving baits

 

The titanium wrap of the Megabass XDti rods extends only through a portion of the rod's overall length then transitions into a straight graphite blank

 

Evergreen TXFC 66MR Steed: Perhaps the most impressive rod in this article out of the bag, the Evergreen Steed is a mean, light, well balanced challenger to the title of ultimate import rod. Unfortunately, as revealed on our RoD WRACK and validated in the field, the rod is a lot lighter in action than one might realize by looking at its specifications. It is a good half or full power lighter than our other three rods and hence, ended up time and time again, in last place when compared head to head. However, if you're searching for a rod well suited for fishing small to medium cranks and can double as an insane drop shot rod, the Evergreen Steed is worthy of a ride. I know it's earned a solid place in my stable of import rods.

 

The guide wrap detail of our Evergreen Steed

 

Ratings:

Evergreen TXFC 66MR Steed Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality We were quite impressed with the refinement of this stick 10
Performance More moderate than we would have liked, otherwise, a solid performing rod 8
Price Factoring in shipping from Japan, the cost of ownership for this rod is insane 4
Features Top end components but at this price range, we expect a bit more technology 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) A wonderfully crafted rod - simple, yet strikingly elegant 9.5
Application A very nice finesse cranking or worming stick 9

Total Score

8.17

 

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Silver and Black - just win baby L Perhaps the most difficult rod in our tests to acquire
J Light and well balanced L Once you find it, can you afford it?
J Quality Components  L Rod specifications are misleading
J Fantastic finesse rod  

 

One of the better fish caught during our shootout

 
Nories HB680M: This rod wins the prize for most eccentric. Wonderfully decorated and impressive out of the bag save for its weight, the Nories HB680M is intended more as a rod for medium to deep running cranks and big spinnerbaits than it is an all purpose type rig. Fished within these confines, the rod really does shine. My primary complaint was the rod's overall weight. Sure, fishing a balanced rig is important, but not when the rod is under seven feet in length and comes in at seven ounces all by itself. The HB680M is a prime example in the theory of diminishing returns. Fished by itself or with other rods of its heft all day and it probably wouldn't be an issue. Put it down and pick up one of our other three contenders, and the HB680M did not see much fishing time. My secondary complaint is the rod's lack of sensitivity. For a graphite rod, this is quite catastrophic. If I hadn't known it was graphite to begin with, I'd have thought it was glass. A glass rod that feels like graphite is a good thing, but a graphite rod that feels like glass? A very good rod for its intended purpose, but just too heavy and dead for its own good.

 

Ratings:

Nories HB680M Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality No real complaints here... a solidly crafted work of art 10
Performance When kept within its intended techniques... very very nice in most aspects though the lack sensitivity is a killer 8
Price Including shipping from Japan and we're just about inline with the Elseil 6
Features The reel seat is this rod's best and most unique feature 8
Design (Ergonomics) Too much of a good thing. Though well balanced, the overall weight of this rod crosses the threshold dimishing returns. It felt cumbersome at times. 7
Application Keeping it within its strengths as a moving bait rod and it actually excels 8

Total Score

7.83

 

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Very well balanced L Far too heavy
J Trick real seat L Not very sensitive - if I wasn't told it was graphite, I'd have thought it was a glass rod
J Solid, powerful feel  
J Great with diving cranks and large spinners  

 

Spotted bass were great fun on all of our test rods

 

Palms Edge Pride EPGC 664: Import rod aesthetics aside, the Palms Edge Pride EPGC 664 is one impressive little rod. I'm confident that if this lineup were more widely available it could really make a dent in a lot of tackle enthusiasts' budget. Light, well balanced, and unbelievably crisp, this is really, my favorite rod out of the four to pick up and cast. What's more, this rod proves to me, that the exposed blank reel seat is all marketing hype because I did not miss this feature whatsoever in this rod. Sure, rods that have it look great, and they feel better in your hand because your fingers don't have to stretch around any excess material, but the seat on the Edge Pride rods is just as comfortable to grasp and I had no impression that I was lacking any degree of sensitivity while fishing this rod. Quite the contrary, the EPGC 664 is a fantastically fun rod to fish!

 

Ratings:

Palms Edge Pride EPGC 664 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Cleanly built rod though the butt cap feels cheaply made 9
Performance A fine casting and pitching rod with excellent sensitivity 9
Price Including shipping from Japan and we're just about inline with the Elseil 6
Features Top line components 9
Design (Ergonomics) The best combo of light weight and balance of the bunch. Subdued detailing, but outstanding ergonomics 9
Application A very versatile all purpose rig for bass fishing 9

Total Score

8.5

 

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Light and crisp L Aesthetically very conservative
J Well balanced
J Quality Components  
J Did I say light and crisp?  

 

Catching a fish like this is a thrill any day of the week, any time of the year. Add to the experience, a bit of Enthusiast Tackle magic, and is it any wonder why we refer to our fondness for tackle as an addiction?

 

..And The Winner Is?: Finally, after all the weeks and months with these sticks, in the table below, is a summary of each rod's average rank over our entire battery of tests. We then, averaged these scores to determine our 2006 SuperCast Shootout Champion, and the winner is...

 

Final Rankings

Megabass
Evergreen
Nories
Palms
Casting
2.4
4
2.4
1.2
Sensitivity & Power
1
3.5
3
2.5
Moving Baits
1.6
3.4
2.8
2.2
Plastics, Jigs & Topwater
1.6
3.6
3
1.8
Ratings
1
3
4
2
Average Overall Ranking
1.5
3.5
3.0
1.9

  

The label says it all "Tuned by Ito", another Megabass gem

 

... Megabass. Interesting how initial impressions can be cast aside when you lay out some actual criteria against which to make your judgment. When I first received my Evergreen Steed and my Palms Edge Pride EPGC 664, I thought for certain the shootout was going to come down to one of these two sticks. While I tried to keep an open mind, the Nories was fighting an uphill battle due to its extraordinary weight. To be perfectly honest, though I do like fishing the rod, the Elseil is the least impressive of all my Megabass sticks when it comes to initial impressions - it's just not quite as artistically composed as its siblings. The Evergreen was sleek and new and felt amazing in my hand. The Palms Edge Pride EPGC 664 was no eye candy, but wow, did it feel light, crisp and responsive. Mount the same reel on all of these sticks with the same exact fishing line, fish them side by side and allow them to reveal their true selves and voila, all thoughts, impressions, preconceptions, and hopes get thrown out the window.

Like the battle between ancient immortals, head to head, side by side comparisons do not lie, and in the end, there can only be one. Judged by the criteria we put forth today, and the trials we put each rod through, the Megabass F6-610XDti Elseil proves that the words "Tuned by Ito" are truly a composition deserving of some serious consideration. The Elseil is our 2006 SuperCast Shootout Champion. Congratulations, once again, to Megabass!

 

 

                                     

 

 

   

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