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piscivorous Pike

Fenwick HMG

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Researching rods, I have read web aticles stating the Fenwick HMG line, a $120 rod series, of rods uses a blank as good as rods 2 and 3 times the cost, that as far as action you really cannot get a better blank. Their blank is a patent process that was originally the graphite standard of the industry, but maybe not any more.

True or false?

I can see how that might be, but as for my experience they seem to be falling in quality. 2-3 years ago they had real cork handles and were using on 7 foot rods 8 guides which were a Berkley guide that used a hard alloy insert, since then last year they switch back to the common Fuji ceramic guide and I can get those on discount and cheap rods. This year they have a handle that looks like pulverized cork. Yes, second choice cork pulverized imbedded in a polymer. Says it is a better grip! Hm... comparing the phenolic stock of an M16 rifle to the hand rubbed walnut of a Classic Winchester, because it is better to hang on to? There is an appreciation sportsman have for fine equipment that goes beyond utilitary uses. Maybe the HMG is no longer is a thing of pride but now a thing of good utility.

What happened to class? I think with Fenwick there is not class at $120 anymore. So what does it buy? Are those features really superior?

I dont know whether to be disappointed or not. I have fished a couple of their HMG spinning rods for several years and have been impressed with the rod's smooth action through out its parabolic curve, sensitivity and response. The cheapening of it may detract enough that I will cash it in for a good rod, something I can respect for its beauty of purpose.

Today I am >;) with Fenwick. No one gives away business so you know they make money even on repair exchanges. They will replace a broken rod, send it in, and get a 45% discount. I broke two when passing by a tree I caught the tips on a branch and bent and broke the rods in two. I sent them in, anticipating the two rods I ordered in return on the exchange. Fed Ex delivered a surprise. Not only were the rods I got made with these lesser accrutrament, Fenwick sent rods that I did not even order. Something they picked out, a verified mistake that will eventually be corrrected. But alas they have to send out another delivery truck, pick it up, recieve it in good order, etc. , before they will even send to me the rods I have purchase. I can't get them to reply that they are taking care of the problem, I must assume the best, they are aware of it and the documents plainly show the mistake.

Am I just sour on their incompetent service or has their idea of quality butted heads with my expectations of quality?

What do you think? I fish with 11 rigged rods, 4 casting, 7 spinning, all rigged for different presentations, some are primary and others are throwbacks for missed strikes and follows. Rods, lines, reels are in each case matched to weight, drag and lure weight. I think I want a set somewhere in that 11 which are for my primary presentations, that would be 2 casting, 2 spinning. Usually for me that is a meduim and heavy rod one in each catagory.

How would you answer this about rods to a guy that would carry a classic pre' 64 Winchester 70 over a stainless steel phenolic stocked Remington BDL in the woods just for a venison dinner?

Thank you for your thoughts on the subject.

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Wow.................I don't even know where to begin. :;)

First of all the Fuji Alconite guides they are using on the latest version of the HMG are far supiror than the Berkley guides used on the older HMG rods. I challenge you to find a set of Alconites on a "cheap" or "discount rod" as you put it.

Secondly..........there was a mistake in which you got sent the wrong rods for your broken ones, and they are correcting the mistake, and your miffed?? Every one makes mistakes, at least they are correcting it. What do you want them to do? Hold your hand every step of the way? No crap man they want the rods back that they wrongly sent you before they ship the right ones out, how do they know your not trying to pull one over on them? Seems fair and normal to me.

I can't even respond to the rest...............as I am not sure it's in English.

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Wow.................I don't even know where to begin. :;)

First of all the Fuji Alconite guides they are using on the latest version of the HMG are far supiror than the Berkley guides used on the older HMG rods. I challenge you to find a set of Alconites on a "cheap" or "discount rod" as you put it.

Secondly..........there was a mistake in which you got sent the wrong rods for your broken ones, and they are correcting the mistake, and your miffed?? Every one makes mistakes, at least they are correcting it. What do you want them to do? Hold your hand every step of the way? No crap man they want the rods back that they wrongly sent you before they ship the right ones out, how do they know your not trying to pull one over on them? Seems fair and normal to me.

I can't even respond to the rest...............as I am not sure it's in English.

Its English, the comment reflects the author has yet to master the instrument of communications.  If that was a put down man, it is your admission of incomprehension.  I am sorry that you don't get it.  The reply reflects that the majority of the post is not understood: what deductions can be made regarding the understanding of its entirety and therefore the quality of the reply?

Also how do they know nothing is being pulled over them? They sent it, it was not specified on the order and other factors of interaction over the course of time between them and me, they know with whom they are dealing on a more personal level than you thought.

About mistakes.  This is the last in the series of misinformation on their part, they are nice people and sincere.  But it is I that hold their hand. 

I am glad that it is Alconite, the similarity to the other Fuji guides can be confusing, glad some one knows for sure.

I don't have it handy, but the guides that originally were in the HMG were superior to the Alconite, that is why Fenwick went to them, light, smooth, heat disapating, an alloy. If I went into the technical specs someone would just write they don't understand it anyway. Someone let the cat out of the bag, their official release is that it is a manufacturing change which enhances marketing and performance, something like that. Rumors are that the insert was popping out of the ring too often.  So back to ceramics, tried and true.

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can't argue with that..............or ...........no wait........ummmmmm huh??? ;):o

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can't argue with that..............or ...........no wait........ummmmmm huh??? ;):o

You are a cool Dude and we had some fun today! Thanks for playin'!

Now for the biggy.  Do you think for the money there is better value with some other make of rod?

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Over the years, anytime i ever heard Fenwick rods mentioned, it was never a negative. I went to purchase the same rod online at a great price and in checking out, they didn't have any left!

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can't argue with that..............or ...........no wait........ummmmmm huh??? ;):o

You are a cool Dude and we had some fun today! Thanks for playin'!

Now for the biggy. Do you think for the money there is better value with some other make of rod?

Back to seriousness, actually in a bang for the buck department Fenwick HMX's, which are the next step down, feel as good to me, if not better than HMG's, but that was the last generation of each rod (of which I had several of both).

Now that the HMG's are $99 I would take a chance on a new one, other wise look for a Techna AV, they can be found for as little as $100 in some places now that they have been discontinued.

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I have the newer and older versions of the HMG. My opinion is that the newer model is better than the old. I like the new grip material better , it more grippy (if that makes sense.) and also like the reel seats they're using on their newer casting rods. As far as the guides, I like the alconites over the berkley SS3304's, or the Hardloy guides unless I'm using braid, in which I use my rod with the Berkley SS304's. I was alittle hesitant to purchase the newer model, but after using it I'm glad I did. As far as warranty goes I haven't had to use it and I hope your warranty issues get taken care of ;)

Thanks,

Jacob

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Thank you very much, your report is very incouraging. I use almost exclusively braid! That is why I like the Berkley guides best.

I terminate the braid in a bimini twist loop of about three inches. I can tie those so fast you would not believe it. I use a mouth and two hand method that beats the step through it version, :-?I measure a double line on the inside of my forearm to start. Once said, with the loop I can use an off shore knot and attach a duolock snap but mostly I use a 12 foot top shot leader. An adaption from off shore gear. The leader starts with a loop like a fly line, the two join by double cross over loop to loop connection the hollow braid on the start of the leader has a loop, line turned into itself, 6 feet of hollow braid then 10 feet of flourocarbon leader, 4 of that is run up the center of the hollow braid.

This is new stuff to freshwater, especially bass fisherman. More complicated than a palomar but the benefits are really worth it. I can post a how to if anyone really wants to know. ::)

One benefit is braid to flourocarbon leader and no line to line knots to break or clang through the guides, it glides through on smooth stong connections that do not break. :)

I am happy to hear the new handle is good to hang onto. :) My best pike fishing comes with falling snow, late fall or late spring, so grippy it is. I find that a plus. I always balance every rod I have with a lead filled copper pipe counter weight on the butt to help with that grip. Cold arthritic fingers and nerve damage in my neck has led to some hilarious situations as when I cast the entire rod out of my hand because I cannot hang onto it :o, I cant feel it in my hand! The new grip sounds better than using glue, the type that comes in a can they use on tennis rackets and ball bats- ;)

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Good news!  Fenwick, Pure Fishing, is sending the replacements out pronto! Today! So I can meet any fishing needs. With them.   They will pick up the rods at a later different time.  End of story.

See, some folks are trustworthy and there are people who do the right thing.

And my TU partners, thank you for the encouragement, I do enjoy the HMG perfomance and have made a decision of which you had great influence, to make as many of those different 11 rods I fish with in the boat to be HMGs. 

I guess I need a yard sale to sell the jointed swim baits I have on the FS forum, a downrigger, and now a bunch of rods, Oh boy, I can stock a tackle shop... if SHE finds out, and you know who I mean, I may just be livin' in the boat...

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Oh well, if you don 't like the newer HMGs then maybe this could be the answer:

029.jpg

But they are far from $120.  ;)

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I usually dont quibble about cost of gear, I had information that the HMG blanks were about as good as you can get regardless of price.  But now I dont like the appearance of the guides and handles, I read in the thread they are ok as far as performance goes. 

The price is not a turn off.  I never fished with the exposed butt rods and just wonder what they are like to handle.

I usually am well outfitted.  I take with me a underwater CCTV, Humminbird side scan (now have down looking too) Map76 GPS, and the new electric Cannon down rigger.  I got more into the cost of equipment than the cost of the boat!

So the rod is not that expensive by those comparison. lol

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I have 7 of the last generation HMGs (5 baitcast, 2 spinning) and 3 of the newest generation HMG (all baitcasters).

The last generation HMG used Fuji Hardloy guides. The generation before that used the Berkely guides. The current generation uses Fuji Alconite guides.

The last generation rods were excellent. The were light, and exceptionally sensitive. I like them very much. All the medium power rods had medium-fast actions. That made them good for cranks and jerkbaits. The medium-heavy power rods all had fast actions. They were good for plastis and such. I still fish the GT66M and use it for light cranks and topwaters, and jerkbaits. I use the GT66MH for plastics. I used the GT70M for medium sized cranks like Shad Raps. I also use it for ripping jerkbaits. I use the GT70MH for heavy plastics, C-rigs, even frogs. The reel seats are traditional Fuji (can't remember the model). They use full cork handles.

The newest generation HMGs are nice, too, but have some disadvantages over the last generation. First, they feel a bit heavier. Not heavy, just a bit heavier. I think it might have something to do with the new grip material. Second, they use a different Fuji reel seat (again, not sure of the model). I have found it impossible to tighten a reel down on the seat. On every reel on all of my new HMGs, I've had to put a piece of electrical tape on the front of the reel foot. They tighten down appropriately with that. Other than that, they are as sensitive as the older rods. They are darker. The old rods were reddish in color. The new ones are black cherry colorred. The guides on the new ones are nicer, but there is no practical difference in their performance. The handles on the new rods feel a bit stickier and are easy and comfortable to grip. But the foregrip is bigger and shaped differently than the older model.

Either is great. If I was buying an HMG today and could choose between the old and new models, I'd take the old model if I could save a few bucks. Otherwise, I'd go with the new ones.

Old HMGs (bottom 5 rods)

baitcasters1.jpg

New HMG

New_HMGs.jpg

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That's interesting?  The two newer HMG's I have  ( 7 Ft casting and  7 ft spinning.) don't have any issues with the reel seat not locking down all the way.  I've used various brands of reels with these rods.   I wonder if that is common among these newer rods or not?

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Micro,  How do you like that Fenwick Elite tech rod?  I've been eyeballing thier crankshaft rod for awhile now at my local sporting goods store.  Needing a good cranking rod to throw med-deep cranks.

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I don't know, maybe they've fixed them.  But all 3 of mine had that characteristic.  I tried Diawa and Abus on them and they all did it. 

When I seated a reel and tightened it down, I could still slide the reel forward and lift the reel foot out of the back of the seat.   Very disconcerting.   I was almost ready to return them but tried a 1/2" of electrical tape wrapped over the very tip of the front of the reel foot.  That was sufficient for me to tighten the reel down.  They are on there rock solid, now. 

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Micro, How do you like that Fenwick Elite tech rod? I've been eyeballing thier crankshaft rod for awhile now at my local sporting goods store. Needing a good cranking rod to throw med-deep cranks.

I like it.  It's the 7'3" MH/MF model.  It is made for heavier cranks, like DD22s.  The top-half of the blank is glass, and the bottom half is graphite.  It's got good characterisits for cranks, and a lot of backbone, too.   I've pulled up a couple good size catfish on it and it handles the heavy weight well. 

For smaller cranks I'd get the lighter crankshaft, or go with a 7'0" HMG in M/MF.

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Micro! THANK YOU! Experience beats opinion any day.

That was a wonderful review.  I too have had all three versions but not as many HMGs, only a couple of each version and you have confirmed what I suspected. 

To sum it up, the new version is a nice rod, good rod, but the two older models I would have prefered over this one.  I have two spinning rods of the last version.  The berkley guides were lighter, btw. 

I have said I put a lead filled copper counter weight on the butt of all my rods so that they are just a tiny bit tip heavy so as to have some feed back on the momentum of the rod.  With that type of balance it is easy to feel the mass and momentum of a rod.  The berkley guided rods were lighter and the rod was therefore a tad more responsive to motion because of that. 

Again I very much appreciate your evaluations.  That is a well thought out stack of rods.  You know very well the perfomance for each rod and have a good idea what you can and will throw with each.  I can see we have the same philosophy, the right tool for the job.

Look forward to a PM or email, my friend.  I also can see you surely have your own ideas on line applications and I would love to sit down with you and discuss ideas about that too.

Have  you ever looked into using top shots for freshwater use?

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I'm no Micro (that's an impressive collection dude) but I also have 3 versions of the HMG and the oldest one, with steel inserts I believe, is still a favorite; but I'm very happy with the latest model. To be honest, I was skeptical of the new version as well. When I saw they dropped the price, I actually got worried. Fortunately for me, I cracked one of my Fenwick Word Class rods at the end of last season and had to send it in for replacement. No biggie. $15, I think they charged. When FedEx delivered my replacement, it came in two pieces. I was ticked and FedEx were jerks, but the Fenwick folks I talked with (two different ladies) were so helpful and accommodating. They had a replacement for my replacement at my door in days. Needless to say, it was a new HMG. I don't even think they had hit the stores yet. Customer service was great to me.

I really like the TAC handle. It's a bit softer than the previous cork but much more grippy; without being sticky at all. I was also pleasantly surprised by the underside of the new reel seat. It's contoured to fit your fingers and feels great to me. No problem mounting Patriarchs on either of them; as I already have another new HMG. In my humble opinion, these rods aren't just a good buy, they are a fantastic one. Fenwick has done nothing to tarnish their classic and classy reputation with the new HMG; they may have even polished it for me a bit.

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FishCat, it keeps sounding better all along. I was actually contemplating last night (thinking about and planning my gear aquisitions beats counting sheep! ) maybe offering to buy anyone with the older models new ones for a straight accross trade so I could build this collection with all one style. They all are very good rods, but I just think I would prefer to have them all one model. Posts like yours push me more towards writing one or two checks and getting it over with quickly and putting together a tool bag with a substantial collection of the different versions of the new HMG.

I call and talk to customer service at Fenwick, Hummnbird and Shimano reels more than any other. All three of them are great to deal with, same people all the time. I know it was not the cust. service rep. that acually packed the order but it was she that fixed the snafu.

I have written how I balance the rods, I am drawn to keeping the rods and reels balanced and for that reason I fish about 6 Spirex 4000 because they have balanced rotors, rear drag, coarse and fine ajustment and that balanced double handle. The $60 reel does wear out the quick fire trigger though. Shimano is wonderful, they know I can repair a reel and they just ship me the parts I have to replace with just a phone call. Very good sevice and with such a large customer base that is impressive.

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