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Ryan Nichols

High Priced Rods & Sensitivity. Would You Call It Necessary?

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I'm an owner of mostly mid-priced rods. Which I consider about $150 or so. 

 

Has anyone owned and used both really expensive ($300-$600) rods as well as mid priced rods and can compare them on sensitivity? Are they 2-3x as sensitive? I'm not talking about build quality or lightness, just raw fish bite detection. 

 

I'm really looking for an unbiased judgement. I realize there's a ton of good reasons pay for the pricier gear beyond sensitivity, I'm just trying to gauge for myself if I should pay 2x+ the price for my worm/jig/flip rods where I want sensitivity to catch more fish.

 

Owners of the pricier rods, would you deem them essential for yourself and your fishing performance, or a nice-to-be-able-to-afford-quality kind of thing?

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My Bass Pro Shops Cranking Stick has more sensitivity than any other cranking stick I have, including my G. Loomis crankbait rod.

 

Go figure.

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I can't really give you an honest answer about the mid priced rod vs expensive rod but I can tell you that there is absolutely no need to pay 2x the price. If you can be happy with used but not abused, there are deals to be had on high end rods.

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One word answer, necessary? NO! I posted before on another topic, I am neither here nor there on sensitivity. But I find the higher priced rods are usually a lot lighter, and I enjoy fishing with them. My opinion, if you want a sensitive, lightweight rod at a modest price, take a look at the BPS Carbonlite. Awesome rod.

Hootie

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Lots of factors to consider. How you fish is a big part of that. I fish mostly bottom contact baits in often deeper water. So sensitivity is a big deal for me. I used to dismiss the high end rods thinking they couldn't be THAT much better. I had a lot of trouble justifying my first GLX Loomis rod. It was tough to spend that kind of money on it. But it really was a game changer over my older, mid-priced Shimano sticks. Increased my fish catching quite a bit. Fishing with the same guys in the same spots, my catch rate really went up.

 

Now I have no internal struggles at all when buying high end rods. I KNOW they're worth it for me. :grin:

 

The NRX was another step up from there sensitivity-wise. Incredible rods. See if you can find one used. If you fish a lot of bottom contact stuff, I bet it'll be a game changer for you.

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In my experience, yes and no. Someone else's maybe not. My 745 DX is the most sensitive rod I've ever had. Compared to my 160 dollar Crucial, it's only a tad more. Just a tad though. Now compared to my GL2 200 dollar rod, it's night and day difference.

Higher price doesn't just mean more sensitive. Things like better paint, guides, grips, better balanced and better warranties all factor in on cost. Generally the more expensive the rod, the better the warranty.

My 745 balances perfect where as my St. Croix MoJo has good sensitivity but balances like a druken elephant. Now it's actually 1/2 oz lighter too.

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In my experience, yes and no. Someone else's maybe not. My 745 DX is the most sensitive rod I've ever had. Compared to my 160 dollar Crucial, it's only a tad more. Just a tad though. Now compared to my GL2 200 dollar rod, it's night and day difference.

Higher price doesn't just mean more sensitive. Things like better paint, guides, grips, better balanced and better warranties all factor in on cost. Generally the more expensive the rod, the better the warranty.

My 745 balances perfect where as my St. Croix MoJo has good sensitivity but balances like a druken elephant. Now it's actually 1/2 oz lighter too.

 

Have you ever tried / heard of rod butt weights? A guide I went with in Florida showed me a butt cap with some washers in it that he swore balanced out his rod and saved his wrists and tendinitis. I've heard the balance issue talked about a lot on forums, and I'm wondering if some of these folks thought of that when a good rod was out of balance. I've been meaning to try it myself lately since I have a rod or two thats a bit tip heavy.

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I like a quality rod for bottom contact fishing, such as c-rigging and t-rigging.  Is an NRX more sensitive than a mid-range rod by a factor of X2?   I can't without doing a side by side test with similar lines, reels, weights, etc.   But I can say that an NRX or GLX at least as far as the bottom contact rods, are very sensitive and are fun to fish with. 

 

I also won't pay full retail for an NRX or GLX.  Not that I'm critical of those who do, but either wait for a sale, or check E-bay and the fishing site want ads.   You can get some really great deals if you are patient and shop around.  Very important also to get the original receipt or a wild card if you go the NRX or GLX route.

 

As far as moving baits like cranks, sensitivity isn't an issue for me, I just want something that is light, loads up well for a casting a crank that is in the rods weight range, and has a soft tip for hook setting and keeping the fish on.

 

Line type is also important when it comes to sensitivity. 

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the biggest increase in sensitivity comes from line.you can buy a falcon buccoo micro for 130 and put braid on it and have all the sensitivity you need at under 4 oz for the rod.i'm not saying high end rods are not nice but they are not necessary.

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I don't think higher priced rods do have better warranties.  Case in point from 2 manufacturers, probably others as well,  Any Shimano or Star rod with a lifetime warranty is over the counter exchange regardless of the initial price of the rod.  IMO those warranties are the best, quite often the rod is in stock with no waiting and no shipping expense.

I agree about feeling the bite more with the line, although most of what I catch give a pretty good slam.

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I agree! I think besides rod strength line sensitivity is more important because I hold the line with my finger while I'm fishing and feel everything. Honestly the most expensive rod I have is 50 dollars. That works for me.

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I get by fine with mid priced rods. I have fished with high end rods though, and if I had the money or fished professionally I would have a few for bottom contact baits. While they are not necessary, they do make a difference in sensitivity and comfort.

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I have two rods I'll compare, an *** and an champion extreme, both I can easily detect a bite, but where the champ extreme shines over the *** is with feeling what's on bottom, I can feel the bottom pretty good with the ***, but the champ extreme is a lot more crisp. It's easier to tell when you have something stuck on your bait, when you hit sand bar or gravel, little things like that that make finding the fish easier.

But in reality, I think it's more of a mental thing, because my dad can catch just as many fish as me on his $40 walmart special.

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Sensitivity strarts in the hands & continues up to the brain.

I've fished everything from Fenwick's first graphite to the top of the line G. Loomis. I currently fish Shimano Crucial which I find every bit as sensitive as any.

Let me explain it this way!

I could put any high end reel on any high end rod, spool it with braid for maximum sensitivity, tie on a Texas rig & then give it to my wife.

She could not "feel" any difference if I had rigged it up on a Berkley Lightening rod!

Why? Cause what is transmitted up the line, down the rod, through the hands will be lost in the brain.

She doesn't fish & would not be able to interpret what she is feeling.

Even for the average angler a certain amount of "sensitivity" is lost in the brain.

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Sensitivity strarts in the hands & continues up to the brain.

I've fished everything from Fenwick's first graphite to the top of the line G. Loomis. I currently fish Shimano Crucial which I find every bit as sensitive as any.

Let me explain it this way!

I could put any high end reel on any high end rod, spool it with braid for maximum sensitivity, tie on a Texas rig & then give it to my wife.

She could not "feel" any difference if I had rigged it up on a Berkley Lightening rod!

Why? Cause what is transmitted up the line, down the rod, through the hands will be lost in the brain.

She doesn't fish & would not be able to interpret what she is feeling.

Even for the average angler a certain amount of "sensitivity" is lost in the brain.

Couldn't of said it better myself, but knowing that I'm still a sucker for high end rods.

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"Sensitivity" has been discussed over and over and over and over  again, and what we call sensitivity is broken these factors:

 

Measurable

 

1.-  Physical vibration transmiting properties of the materials used to manufacture the rod, here we come to the point where there are materials better for transmiting vibrations than others, ex: graphite is better than fiberglass

 

2.- Rod construction, design and it´s components

 

3.- Not everything is in the rod, we forget that line is also part of the equation and that certain materials transmit better vibrations, ex: FC is better than Nylon

 

Unmeasurable

 

4.- The tricky part is number 4, and that is you, Catt mentioned: it starts in the hands and ends up in the brain. That is the tricky part because there are anatomical and physiological functions which are involved in the detection and interpretation by the brain that are very hard or nearly impossible to measure, you can´t measure perception because it is subjective.

 

That being said, I´m not able to "feel" the difference sensitivity wise between, for example, an IMX and a GLX, a lot of guys may feel the difference but I don´t. So when it comes to "justify" paying 100+ bucks more I don´t think I will, now, would I spend 4 or 500 dollars in a Megabass rod or spend that money in a custom built rod  ? if I have the money then why not ?

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As others have said, a lot depend on how much you fish, experience etc. I can say that my dx's are more sensitive than any 100 dollar rod I've fished, and I have owned most in that range. When I was down in Virginia we were using Carolina rigs a lot. Fluoro wasn't getting bit but my guide was using mono and killing them. I out mono on my dx and could still feel a lot more on the bottom than some cheaper rods with fluoro..they are that crisp and sensitive

To go against the high dollar point, I recently purchased a steez flipping stick and found it to be no more sensitive and much less balanced than my champion 736c but more than double the price. Turned around and sold it almost immediately even though I really wanted to like it.

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Works pretty much the same way as talking with 2 tin cans and a string.  The tighter the string the better, different types of string will affect the quality of the sound as well.  The fish touches the bait, the vibration is sent up the line, the rod does not touch the water or the fish.  Whether it's a slight twitch or a hard jerk a PHD or a degree in engineering is not required to know what you are feeling.  I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

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Sensitivity strarts in the hands & continues up to the brain.

I've fished everything from Fenwick's first graphite to the top of the line G. Loomis. I currently fish Shimano Crucial which I find every bit as sensitive as any.

Let me explain it this way!

I could put any high end reel on any high end rod, spool it with braid for maximum sensitivity, tie on a Texas rig & then give it to my wife.

She could not "feel" any difference if I had rigged it up on a Berkley Lightening rod!

Why? Cause what is transmitted up the line, down the rod, through the hands will be lost in the brain.

She doesn't fish & would not be able to interpret what she is feeling.

Even for the average angler a certain amount of "sensitivity" is lost in the brain.

this 100x  

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You definitely reach a point of diminishing returns VERY quickly when spending all that money.

 

I've said it before but I'll say it again.  My kistler KLX is every bit the rod my Dobyns DX744 is.  I think with a lot of higher priced rods the price has a lot to do with support.  The 60 dollar replacement offered by dobyns is pretty amazing!  

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i jumped from mid to higher end rods this season and while i did gain some sensitivity (10-20%) i don't think its worth it over all. i use braid to fluoro on most of my rigs which adds a ton of sensitivity to average rods.

plus some of the high end rods had major down falls i didn't like ie the guides do not  'work' well with braid=it tangles horribly around the top three guides. i'm surprised they aren't designed to better work with braid.  some aren't balanced well. some high end rods have handles that are just too short. so i prefer to fish with most of my mid range over the high end.

i'm a huge fan of powell's which have the best of all worlds-sensitivity, balance, guides that work well with multiple lines, warranty.  i also really like my fenwick tech smallmouth for $129. its sensitive, ultra light, balanced and love the handle.  it feels better than a $385 rod. i just got a shimano compre off a member and it has really impressed me.

if you want to test 'high end' rods just buy them on sale ie discontinued or when they upgrade their line.  st croix has a bargain room and rods are 40% off when they roll out a new line.  TW also has Dobyns Champion for $185 during upgrades.

i thought i was going to be happy with more sensitivity but overall it's not worth it if the rod is miserable to cast ie isn't balanced, constantly gets tangled and the handle is too short for ur taste.

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Ive found a nice medium at the 150-200 mark. I may be losing some sensitivity, but not enough to justify sending another 100-200 dollars. Personally, I dont feel like I could ever justify spending 400 or so dollars on a rod (or reel) if im not fishing to make a living. I catch fish just fine on my current rigs and I enjoy fishing them. If you like higher end rods and you can afford them, great. I know plenty of guys do. Just not for me.

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Lots of factors to consider. How you fish is a big part of that. I fish mostly bottom contact baits in often deeper water. So sensitivity is a big deal for me. I used to dismiss the high end rods thinking they couldn't be THAT much better. I had a lot of trouble justifying my first GLX Loomis rod. It was tough to spend that kind of money on it. But it really was a game changer over my older, mid-priced Shimano sticks. Increased my fish catching quite a bit. Fishing with the same guys in the same spots, my catch rate really went up.

 

Now I have no internal struggles at all when buying high end rods. I KNOW they're worth it for me. :grin:

 

The NRX was another step up from there sensitivity-wise. Incredible rods. See if you can find one used. If you fish a lot of bottom contact stuff, I bet it'll be a game changer for you.

 

I think I definitely would go for a few of the higher priced, better quality rods in my arsenal if I could.

 

Earlier this year I realized that the biggest impact to improve my fishing would be to have MORE rods, than fewer higher QUALITY rods. Right now I'm trying to get better at patterning the fish, and quickly switching tactics and colors with more rods would have the biggest impact for me.

 

So far I've got about 10 rods I rig up and bring with me so I'm starting to get there - now I just need to learn how to use them effectively to figure the fish out! I have a feeling after a year or so of learning to pattern better, I can start looking to upgrade a few select poles with my money. :)

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i jumped from mid to higher end rods this season and while i did gain some sensitivity (10-20%) i don't think its worth it over all. i use braid to fluoro on most of my rigs which adds a ton of sensitivity to average rods.

plus some of the high end rods had major down falls i didn't like ie the guides do not  'work' well with braid=it tangles horribly around the top three guides. i'm surprised they aren't designed to better work with braid.  some aren't balanced well. some high end rods have handles that are just too short. so i prefer to fish with most of my mid range over the high end.

i'm a huge fan of powell's which have the best of all worlds-sensitivity, balance, guides that work well with multiple lines, warranty.  i also really like my fenwick tech smallmouth for $129. its sensitive, ultra light, balanced and love the handle.  it feels better than a $385 rod. i just got a shimano compre off a member and it has really impressed me.

if you want to test 'high end' rods just buy them on sale ie discontinued or when they upgrade their line.  st croix has a bargain room and rods are 40% off when they roll out a new line.  TW also has Dobyns Champion for $185 during upgrades.

i thought i was going to be happy with more sensitivity but overall it's not worth it if the rod is miserable to cast ie isn't balanced, constantly gets tangled and the handle is too short for ur taste.

I do light flipping with my GLX 844, the braid sticks like velcro to my guides, especially when I snap the lure out of the weed and the loose line whips.

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I fish rods from the fenwick elite tech and phenix recon on the low end. A fair amount of Gen 1 cumaras in the mid ground, and towards the higher end megabass orochi xx, shimano cumulus, a few champion extremes and an nrx. I believe that the rods I am fishing suit my needs the best and offer the great performance for the price points each are at. None were purchase at full retail price making them more affordable and attainable.

For the most part the sensitivity moves up slightly as you move up my rod arsenal. Also the level of crispness and blank quality increase. To an extent casting distance is also better especially with the nrx and megabass orochi rods.

I don't have an issue with bite detection with any of them. They all serve a purpose and allow for ease of use for long days on the water.

Is my nrx 2x the rod as my cumara or 2x as sensitive. Probably not. However I can feel the difference. In deep water or very windy conditions sometimes that extra bit of sensitivity gives you an advantage. Always buy the best you can afford, take care of your gear so that when the time comes, you can sell it and use the money for an upgrade.

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