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Rod Review


 

A Mix of Handling and Power Voodoo in the Witch Doctor Shaman Rods

 

Date: 9/25/19
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Witch Doctor
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 8.33 - GREAT

Introduction: There are a lot of rod manufacturers out there, and while Witch Doctor rods may not be a household name among fishermen, the company does have a strong and passionate following among bass anglers that are looking for a high performance rod that isn’t just another “me-too” mass produced import. For our very first in-depth look at the brand’s offerings we put the company’s flagship Shaman Series to the test.
 

Witch Doctor Shaman 7'6" Extra Heavy Rod Specifications

Material X78 - 54 Ton High Strain Graphite
Length 7'6"
Line Wt. 15-30lb
Lure Wt. 3/8 - 1 1/2 oz
Pieces one
Guides 10 + tip ALPS Black 316 SS
Rear Handle Length 11" inches
Power Rating Extra Heavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 5.4oz
Origin Made in U.S.A.
MSRP $379


The Witch Doctor Shaman is the flagship line for the brand

Impressions: Witch Doctor Tackle is a boutique rod company and brand that offers application specific bass rods. The company caters to bass fishing enthusiasts and tournament anglers that are looking for something different than the usual brands that you find on e-tail sites and retail store shelves, and strives to deliver a more custom and made in the USA rod, versus many of the competing offerings that are mass produced overseas. 


The Shaman rods feature a split grip design and EVA handles

For a boutique rod manufacturer Witch Doctor has a surprisingly robust lineup which range in price from $180 to $400 dollars depending on the configuration and series. The Shaman Series is the company’s flagship line of rods, and ranges in price from $300 to $380, and makes use of 54 ton graphite, ALPS trigger seats, and ALPS Black 316 SS guides.


Not a lot of bling on these rods, if anything the wraps and finishes are stealthy

The Witch Doctor Shaman rods look like a cohesive family with the company’s other offerings, and features a dark grey blank adorned with the company’s logo in green, followed by a description of the rod’s specifications for quick identification. The main handle grip on the Shaman rods consists of a combination of black EVA foam finished with cork composite on the ends, while the rear grip is simply a sculpted EVA bulb. Overall the rods have a clean and rather subtle look and feel.


I paired the rod with a variety of reels, and one of my favorite pairings was the JSM Shimano Exsence DC

Real World Tests: The Witch Doctor Shaman lineup consists of twenty five rods and when the company learned that we wanted to take a look at one of their rods which would be a good overall representative of the series they recommended we start with the 7’6” Extra-Heavy model. This rod features a fast action and has a line rating of 15-30lb., and a lure rating of 3/8-1 1/2oz., all of which indicate that this stick would be a good general power fishing option… a possible “search for one” candidate.


To test the durability of the ALPS SS guides I fished a lot of braid with this rod

I fished this Witch Doctor Shaman over a span of seven months from Winter to early Fall, and employed it for a range of bass fishing applications including tossing jigs, topwater plugs, frogs, and soft and hard bodied swimbaits up to 1 1/2oz. in weight. I paired the rod with a variety of baitcasters, each spooled with either Sunline FX2 braid or Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon lines. 


The reel seat is also an ALPS offering

Casting and Retrieve: I tested the 7’6” Witch Doctor rod with casting plugs, and baits, across the entire lure weight specification, and while it can cast lures down to 3/8oz. it really excels at launching baits 1/2oz. and up. At the upper end of the spectrum I found the tip was surprisingly lively for a pitching rod, and yet it never felt strained when casting swimbaits that were 1 1/2oz. in weight.

Pitching and long distance casts with the Shaman all feel natural as the blank loads up nicely, which is a characteristic of a rod that is spined perfectly. This design also helps give the rod a smooth and confident feel when battling fish, or successfully pulling them out of vegetation.

One of the things that I really found interesting about this rod is how powerful it is versus how light and balanced it felt during casts. It casts with the nimbleness of a lighter rated rod, and when putting that pro-imitating set to fish the rod proves that the power is absolutely there.

Next Section: ALPS hardware throughout...

 

   

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