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BFS Rod Review


Abu Garcia's Formula for BFS Success - Part One : The Rods


Date: 3/30/24
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.17 - GREAT

As manufacturers scramble to develop components to participate in the burgeoning BFS (bait finesse system) market, few are as equipped as Abu Garcia is t o address both sides of the combo equation. Most can offer a quality rod or reel, but how many can credibly offer both? Yes, I said credibly. I'm talking about doing more than just slapping a shallow spool into an existing reel platform or turning a blank around and wrapping it as a casting rod instead of spinning. I'm speaking of design with intent. Abu Garcia has been building conventional tackle on both sides of the combo equation for quite some time, so it's only natural that they are one of the first to offer a complete rod and reel combo to address anglers' BFS needs. Today we look at one side of their formula, the rods.


Abu Garcia Zenon BFS Casting Rods Specifications

Material 40T carbon + Powerlux 1000
Length 7'-1"
Model ZENBFCW71-4 ZENBFC71-5
Line Wt. 6-12lb 8-15lb
Lure Wt. 1/8-5/8oz 1/8-3/8oz
Pieces One One
Guides 8+tip Ti/SiN 8+tip Ti/SiN
Rear Handle Length 10.375 10.5
Power Rating Med Lite Medium
Taper Mod-Fast Fast
Rod Weight 4.1oz 4.4oz
Origin Made in China
MSRP $449.95

Introducing Abu Garcia's Zenon BFS sticks

Impressions: Those rods, of course, are part of the top end Zenon line in Abu Garcia's suite of fishing rods. Specifically, two 7'1" sticks - a 4 power built for moving baits, and a 5 power built to fish vertical bait presentations. That's right, technique specific BFS sticks.


One rod is built for moving baits (top) while the other is a more traditional taper for drop shotting and Ned rigs


Both of these rods are built upon blanks featuring a blend of graphite but with 40 ton carbon at the base and Abu Garcia's exclusive Powerlux 1000 resin formulation that is touted as enabling power and durability without sacrificing sensitivity. Guides on these sticks feature titanium frames with silicone nitrate inserts, and the grips are carbon built in the split rear, no foregrip design. The Zenon BFS sticks are stealthy in appearance, relatively light and well balanced off the rack, and intriguing as the basis for some finesse presentations.

Paired with their respective Zenon BFS reels and ready for action

Real World Tests: There is, of course, no better way to indulge in that intrigue than to get them out on the water. For these tests, I paired the 4 power moving bait stick (ZENBFCW71-4) with Abu Garcia's Zenon MG-LTX BF6 and the 5 power, vertical bait stick (ZENBFC71-5) with the Zenon MG-LTX BF8 - the sole difference between the reels being their retrieve ratios. To keep the combos straight, I used different colored lines on the reels. For the BF6 I chose YGK's G-Soul Upgrade PE X8 #2 in chartreuse, topping it with a leader of 8lb Seaguar Gold Label FC, and for the BF8, I used Varivas's Super Trout Advance Double Cross X8 in #0.8 with a leader of 6lb Gold Label FC.

A look at the grip design

Casting: I found it odd that the 4 power Zenon BFS stick had a higher suggested lure rating than the 5 (5/8oz vs 3/8oz). Nevertheless, I began fishing with the 5 power casting a ned rig setup that included a 3/32 ounce Brian Schmidt Ned Dred head paired with a Z-Man Finesse TRD. Total weight of this lure combo (7.5g / ~1/4oz) was right in the ZENBFC71-5's wheelhouse and together with the Zenon LTX-BF8, I was slinging my Ned rig with little difficulty very good distances. In fact, I was a little surprised at how effortless it was to cast this bait setup until I thought about the actual combined weight of both components.

The ZENBFCW71-4 is a wonderful stick for jerkbaits

I started the ZENBFCW71-4 out with some BFS hardbaits from Megabass, notably the Griffon SR-X BFS crankbait and X-80 Jr. BFS Jerkbait. Contrary to the previous combo, I was expecting easier casting results, but what I found was tiny lures like this are actually very difficult to present with casting gear. I took it for granted, but considering baits' profiles and the resistance to wind they present, it actually makes sense it'd be more difficult to cast these tiny plugs. That having been said, with the combo I was using those issues are easily mitigated. You can feel how the plugs resist flying through the air as compared to a compact, lead headed bait, but the ZENBFCW71-4 loads so easily, it stores just enough energy to release lures like this fishable distances. Of note, I really enjoyed working the X-80 Jr. with the ZENBFCW71-4 and tried to force feed a bite because the ensemble was just ideal. Unfortunately, the fish did not cooperate.

I enjoyed fishing the ZENBFC71-5 as a stick for Ned rigs

Thanks to its recommended max lure range, I actually took things a step further with the ZENBFCW71-4. I liked its behavior as a jerkbait stick so much, I clipped on a standard sized lure, Megabass's Vision 110 +1 (rated weight 1/2 oz). Despite the ZENBFCW71-4's rating, I fully expected the need to employ the lob cast as if I were big bait fishing, because the rod is so light in power. Thing is, the stick handled the 110 +1 with zero difficulty. Its lure rating is spot on. Honestly, with both sticks, had it not been for the super light line I was using, I'd have thought I was fishing conventionally sized lures. After one or two casts with each combo, the experience was that familiar.

The blanks are built with Abu Garcia's exclusive Powerlux 1000 composite with a 40T graphite base

Next Section: Sensitivity and Power Zenon style









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