The Win­ning Sticks

Field and Stream - - FIELD TEST -

BEST OF THE TEST: MUSKIE

OKUMA SCT MUSKY

Se­ri­ous muskie an­glers have leaned on Okuma rods for years. The new SCT (Spi­ral Car­bon Tech­nol­ogy) Musky is the com­pany’s finest cre­ation yet. Its qual­ity is ob­vi­ous the sec­ond you pick the rod up and feel the light­weight blank, which some­how ex­udes power. A car­bon spi­ral he­lix runs through the length of the rod for added strength and dura­bil­ity. Sen­si­tiv­ity is su­perb, es­pe­cially for a muskie stick, and it loads up and casts beau­ti­fully. The SCT Musky was also the best­look­ing rod of the bunch.

BEST VALUE: MUSKIE

OKUMA EVX B-SE­RIES MUSKY

It’s a clean sweep for Okuma in the muskie divi­sion. Our test rod put up stiff com­pe­ti­tion against other mod­els cost­ing twice as much, mak­ing this a phe­nom­e­nal value. All rods in the se­ries are built from re­spon­sive 24-ton car­bon blanks with dou­ble-foot, stain­less-steel Sea Guide frames. Okuma’s blankre­in­forc­ing tech­nol­ogy in­creases tip strength and over­all lift­ing power. All in all, con­sid­er­ing you can eas­ily drop $300-plus on a ded­i­cated muskie stick, the EVx BSeries rods are a to­tal steal at $120.

BEST OF THE TEST: PAN­FISH OR TROUT FITZGER­ALD RODS VURSA

De­signed for fi­nesse bass fish­ing, the spin­ning mod­els of the Vursa se­ries make stel­lar pan­fish or trout rods. With a fast tip and mod­er­ate ta­per, our test model cast a 1⁄8 -ounce weight beau­ti­fully, and was able to trans­mit even the tini­est sig­nals in our test—a crit­i­cal as­set when tar­get­ing smaller species. Amer­i­can Tackle AirWave guides add cast­ing dis­tance and are vir­tu­ally in­de­struc­tible. A nicely fin­ished stick, with a com­fort­able reel seat, the Vursa is well worth its $130 price tag—and then some.

BEST VALUE: PAN­FISH OR TROUT LEW’S WALLY MARSHALL SPEED SHOOTER

You are go­ing to ei­ther love or hate the Speed Shooter’s blue­and-neon-green fin­ish. Cer­mele and I thought it looked sharp and scored ac­cord­ingly. Like the Vursa, the Speed Shooter uses Amer­i­can Tackle AirWave guides, whose spi­ral shape fa­cil­i­tates line flow and helped the Speed Shooter fire a 1⁄8-ounce weight right be­side topof-the-line rods in this cat­e­gory. For $50, the IM8 graphite blank also had very good sen­si­tiv­ity, mak­ing the whole pack­age a killer bar­gain.

BEST OF THE TEST: WALL­EYE DOBYNS SIERRA SE­RIES

This maker has be­come hugely pop­u­lar among se­ri­ous bass an­glers, but many of its mod­els make phe­nom­e­nal wall­eye rods. Our 6-foot 9-inch, medium-light Sierra test rod is one. The whole se­ries fea­tures high-mod­u­lus graphite blanks, Fuji Al­conite guides, Fuji reel seats, and qual­ity cork han­dles. Our test rod tal­lied near per­fect scores in sev­eral cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing cast­ing, sen­si­tiv­ity, blank qual­ity, and feel and fin­ish. And given what you can pay for high-end wall­eye rods, the Dobyns Sierra is rea­son­ably priced.

BEST VALUE: WALL­EYE LEW’S MACH SPEED STICK

At $80, the Mach Speed Stick is not quite dirt cheap, but its priceto-per­for­mance ra­tio makes it a stand­out value. With an in­cred­i­bly light­weight IM6 graphite blank, the rod ex­celled in our sen­si­tiv­ity test. Cer­mele and I both gave per­fect scores for feel and fin­ish, too; the Winn Grips are a huge plus, pro­vid­ing for a solid, com­fort­able hold. The Mach Speed Stick also dons the Amer­i­can Tackle AirWave guides for longer casts, which once again trans­lated into a top score in the cast­ing test.

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