This is an interesting little combo to use. Aimed at the micro jigging market, the rod is 6’1” long and rated for PE2-4 line - which indicates some fairly significant muscle for our inshore species.
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Some fishermen may see it as being a bit too powerful for micro jigging while targeting day-to-day snapper and similar species; however for fishermen who handle their gear heavily but still need sensitivity, this would fit into their arsenal quite nicely. If small to medium kingfish frequent your fishing grounds then this rod will cover all the bases. The rod’s jigging action for smaller lures isn’t bad at all and it has a surprising amount of sensitivity in the tip without being soft for its PE rating.
Casting-wise the rod also performs well considering it’s not particularly long and flicks little jigs with ease - certainly far enough to hit the edge of a work-up 40 or 50 metres away.
I really enjoyed the rod action when playing fish; it felt very comfortable, and worked the fish instead of the angler. It’s a perfect length for boat fishing and has a good casting action to cover off other applications like straylining.
If I had a criticism it would probably have to do with the diameter of the top rod guides. I had to use a slim-profile knot to avoid any catching on the guides when casting and I still had the odd fumble; I feel for a spin reel configuration, the guides should be a little bit bigger if you’re going to find yourself needing to cast a lure somewhere.
The rod was matched to an Abu Ora S20 reel. The S20 features a C6 carbon body, which is supposed to provide a strong lightweight housing. I detected very little slop in the gearing or play in the handle through the body even when horsing good-sized fish, so I’d endorse its design as being functional and effective.
It certainly performed smoothly under fire with quick cranks of the handle when fighting stroppy kahawai in close quarters. Abu call their drag design ‘Carbon Matrix Hybrid’; it was smooth even at higher settings and it quickly tamed the snapper and kahawai I was catching. A brief scrap with a kingfish at a marker buoy also confirmed its performance.
There is one criticism I have here though, and that is the maximum drag output. The stated max drag is 5.5kg; however I couldn’t get more than 3kg out of the reel. It may have been the one I had been given to use, but it’s worth checking this in the shop before you buy.
The gear ratio is a fast 5.8:1, retrieving 77cm of line with each rotation. The Rocket line lay and Rocket spool lip design sound like marketing hype but they do actually perform and I certainly think they deserve their ‘Rocket’ label.
As a combo, it was a pleasure to use, but my instincts tell me you should really be using the S40 sized reel on that rod to take full advantage of its ability. It proved to be versatile for its intended use of micro jigging as well as being grunty enough for slinging slabs of skipjack tuna down a berley trail.
Overall I would have to give the combo a 7.5 out of 10. The little niggles of guide diameter, reel drag output and not being matched quite evenly bring it down a little bit. On the positives, its fish-slaying ability is very good – the rod’s balance of sensitivity and power is coupled well with the reel’s aura of being a ‘smooth operator’. I would say it deserves its price tag and would be a good addition to any rod cabinet.