A Little Powerhouse
When I picked up this rod, the first thing I noticed was how light it was; in the manufacturing of modern blanks technology is moving towards featherlight status.
The rod I was testing is from the Shimano Backbone Elite range: the Colt Sniper jig spin rod. Rated for 20 - 60g weights and 6 - 15lb line, it is 6’3” long, with the rod itself weighing approximately 140 grams.
The lack of weight is noticeable; however the carbon content keeps it strong when bent over on a fish. I had plenty of power in the bank when duelling with kahawai directly under the boat, and I’d have confidence pushing a 15lb line through its guides. It handles the 15lb upper end of its rating easily, but is still sensitive enough for a 6lb line. The tip is sensitive and the butt is suitably stiff for lifting fish.
Casting a heavy jig (90g), I noticed the rod handled it fine; I was able to work it to attract a few different species. The upper grip is a smaller design, which reduces weight; however it wasn’t uncomfortable, and the model is finished with an EVA butt and lower grip.
The rod’s action is fast – probably ‘extra fast’ would be a better description – but not parabolic when lifting heavy fish.
One of the stand-out features I noticed in my first once-over are the XO guides. These stand at 90 degrees to the blank and are single foot rigid guides, an improvement over their counterparts from last year. They bend less, providing more durability, while reducing the incidence of tangling. They are also constructed/pressed to hold the insert ceramic ring lower to the frame and reduce impact damage.
They performed well in my hands with casting and playing fish, and despite the rod feeling light it certainly handled stubborn snapper without issue. I had a rogue kahawai (a decent 2.3kg fish) make a beeline for our berley and the rod responded with a deep curve which had me worrying about it suffering damage, but it handled the challenge without a problem.
It isn’t a long rod, but for working jigs and fighting fish it’s a good length nonetheless. A hook keeper is located at the base of the rear grip, so any lure movement is against a strong part of the blank. It’s ideally suited to a 2500 or 3000 reel, and I’d rate it 8 out of 10 stars.