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Villain First Impressions

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received my two villains this week and logged 11-hours fishing with them yesterday. here are my first impressions of the 6'9" medium-light/moderate-fast and 7'1" medium-heavy/fast casting rods:

1) weight. the 7'1" is far heavier than i expected. according to a previous abu-garcia villain webpage, it was supposed to weigh 4.7 ounces. however, mine comes in at 5.2 ounces, a full half-ounce heavier. even though i know my scale has always been very accurate, i weighed it and some other rods several times to make sure. my 7'2" MH/F cumara weighs 4.2 ounces (with fuji hooker attached), a full ounce lighter. can i tell? most definitely. i had lews tournament pro speed spools on both rods and the differences between them are immediately apparent...in fact, the skinny handle on the villain probably magnifies it. did abu-garcia change the construction of some of their blanks and is that why they kept pushing the release date back and why they removed the weight information from their webpage? the 6'9" villain comes in at 4.2 ounces, within 0.1 ounce of what abu-garcia claimed, so that could just be differences between their scale and mine.

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2) ergonomics. as mentioned above, the handles on the villains are skinny. worse, they taper dramatically at the end. the cumara i fished back-and-forth with the 7'1" villain was more comfortable and i could hold it easier as the handle is meatier, the reel sits lower on the blank and the front locking nut is much smaller in profile.

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3) craftsmanship. when i hold the 7'1" villain up to my eye, i cannot see through all the guides. the guides are not perfectly straight and the blank has a slight dogleg curve to the left at the tip. i can mostly see through all the guides on my 6'9" villian but they are straighter but the blank has a slight bend downward at the tip. by contrast, i can see the tip perfectly through the guides on my cumara and speed sticks. otherwise, the villains and the cumara have epoxy that spilled in the bottom of the last 4 guides closest to the tip. i have three of the team lew's speed sticks and have found their guide alignment, blank straightness, thread wrapping and epoxy work to be consistently excellent.

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4) sensitivity. although both are rated as medium-heavy with fast tapers, the villain is stouter and faster than the cumara. fishing heavy football jigs, i could not discern a difference between them sensitivity-wise.

5) miscellaneous. what is it with abu-garcia and their buttcaps? i have veritas and verdicts and they have unprotected aluminum buttcaps that are easily scratched and, just as bad, are slippery so that when you try to stand the rods on end on a hard/smooth floor, the rods slide out from under themselves if you're not careful. the buttcaps on the villains look like they're rubber (similar to the cumara and lew's speed sticks) but they're not; they're hard plastic and even slippier than the metal caps. sure enough, i stood the 6'9" villain on its buttcap on my wood floor yesterday as i was hurriedly unpacking from the trip and it slid out from under itself and almost crashed on the floor.

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i like the hook keeper on the villain. located on top in front of the reel, it is convenient and works well. the hidden keeper hole on the cumara is fine for single-hook rigs but is useless with anything with treble hooks unless you enjoy grabbing a handful of hooks everytime you reach for your rod. my line got caught on the bottom-mounted hook keep of the lew's rod several times yesterday.

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Thanks for the report! I have several veritas and am generally happy with their performance. Sounds like the is no reason to upgade to Villains.

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Good report - thanks for taking the time to type that up. I know a number of folks in the forum have been waiting for feedback on those rods.

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How do you like the lew's rods? I'm looking to get a new rod and since my reels are all lew's why not match.

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Just wow! .5 oz = "a whole lot heavier"? The original listed weight on the 7'1" MH rod was 4.7 oz, on your personal scale it's 5.2 oz. That's a half an ounce. If that's a whole lot heavier, you may want to limit your activities, social life and adopt a monkey to do your tasks around your home. Second, if you're using Shimano rods, anything is going to feel stiffer to you. There are quite a few other rods on the market with comparable actions to Abu-Garcia sticks. If you think the grips on the Abu rods have a thin diameter, you might want to check out the Daiwa Zillion rods. The grips are about the same or possibly thinner than the Abu Garcia rods.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this topic.

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Nice report, thanks for taking the time to write all that up for us to read.

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Nice review 21farms

Relative to the length, power, action, price these rods are a bit on the heavy side. Dont know why that pantera guy has to attack you personally thats uncalled for. All Abu rods to me are on the stif feeling side. How about your 6'9"ML-Mod-F is that stif for its rating you think?

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This is a depressing report for me. I made an impulse buy Thursday night when I found Red's was selling the ML spinning rod for $78 below the suggested retail price. (Price went back up to $179.95 after I bought mine.) You have me wishing I'd stuck with one of the rods on my short list. First time I've bought a rod or reel without first researching it. Guess that'll teach me! :(

Rod won't arrive until the middle of next week. Here's hoping I get lucky, and mine turns out well made. I hope it isn't too stiff as I was planning on throwing some lures lighter than its rating. Would hate to get a Medium power rod, and be forced to buy a 'real' ML rod. That would mean buying another reel. OH NO!! I'd be in :coffee1: (Closest emtiocon I could find for hot water. Is there an emoticon for being in deep sh$$?)

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thanks for the info!

johnny it's just a rod, why the aggression? i know you were a field tester on these, but it's not like he slapped your kid or anything! :huh:

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Nice review 21farms

Relative to the length, power, action, price these rods are a bit on the heavy side. Dont know why that pantera guy has to attack you personally thats uncalled for. All Abu rods to me are on the stif feeling side. How about your 6'9"ML-Mod-F is that stif for its rating you think?

A personal attack? Hardly. It's using hyperbole and humor as a literary device. My apologies for offending your tender sensibilities.

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thanks for the info!

johnny it's just a rod, why the aggression? i know you were a field tester on these, but it's not like he slapped your kid or anything! :huh:

jason, it wasn't meant to be aggressive or nasty. It was meant to be humourous. That should have been apparent with the mention of the chore monkey. I'm not an emoticon type of guy. Again, I probably could have done it without the sarcasm but at least I didn't bring anybody's "momma" into it!

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jason, it wasn't meant to be aggressive or nasty. It was meant to be humourous. That should have been apparent with the mention of the chore monkey. I'm not an emoticon type of guy. Again, I probably could have done it without the sarcasm but at least I didn't bring anybody's "momma" into it!

see, now all i can think of is marlon wayans in don't be a menace......what u say bout my mama?!

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thanks for the info!

johnny it's just a rod, why the aggression? i know you were a field tester on these, but it's not like he slapped your kid or anything! :huh:

Since you brought up my field testing these rods, I'll say the 7'1" MH was probably one of my favorites because of it's versatility. Light pitchin', spinnerbaits, shallow cranks, mid-range plastics, swim jigs. In my opinion, superior to the comprable Steez in both performance and sensitivity. That was with the Revo Premier. When an MGX was added to the equation, it was better than the Steez/Steez combo. I'm speaking purely performance, not aesthetics.

As for the 6'9" ML/MF casting rod, I used it for light crankbaits, down to 3/16 oz, up to Vision 110 jerkbaits and it handled the job well.

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. I think it's a great piece of equipment. I found them to be sensitive, powerful, durable and accurate in description of action and taper. The rods stood up to the rigors of testing and came out strong. First impressions are important but long term use is what should set the grade.

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johnny, i'd say a 10-percent difference is significant, especially nowadays when every tackle manufacturer is working hard to shave off every possible fraction of an ounce they can. i agree with you that 0.5 ounce isn't much...in and of itself. but, i was fishing it alongside my similarly-rated-but-whole-ounce-lighter cumara and going back-and-forth like that, i did notice the difference. i also think that i was squeezing the handle really hard because it is so skinny which only added to my impression. my powell swim jig rod (7'2" MH/EF) is 5.4 ounces and i have absolutely no complaints regarding its weight. honestly, if abu-garcia didn't tout how the low resin content and carbon wraps reduce weight, i wouldn't be saying much about the weight of this rod.

as to the zillion (which i had too and which someone here bought from me), yes, its handle is on the skinnier side too but the 7'0" zillion MH/F is only 4.3 ounces so i didn't notice as much. plus, the zillion's handle is longer and the reel seat has these "riblets" on the side that seem to help with my grip. i will probably end up putting some rod wraps on my villain handles to bulk them up a little bit. but, as far as rod ratings go, i'd say that abu-garcia and the zillions are similar in that they fish more powerfully than you'd normally expect for their rating compared to other rod companies.

i should've added another section to my review on appearance. the villian is even better-looking in person. in the sun, you can see these squiggly ribbons against the graphite spirals that don't show up in photos. they're lookers for sure, especially against the relatively plain-jane appearance of the cumara.

hatrix, i have three of the team lew's rods:

  • 6'8" M/XF casting, 4.5 ounces
  • 7'0" M/F casting, 4.6 ounces
  • 7'2" M/F spinning, 4.7 ounces

i only got them because i got a good deal on them but, as it turns out, they're very nice rods. craftsmanship on them and the quality of the cork is outstanding. two i haven't even fished with yet and the third i only used for a few minutes so far so i can't much about how they fish yet. some people like the fuji ACS reel seats they use and some don't. i happen to love the overall shape of the reel seat for the way it fits my hands but that little hole in the trigger i can feel occasionally with the tip of my finger is just a tad disconcerting and something i've never been able to get used to.

oakleypitbull, the 6'9" ML/MF is a nice rod...that one definitely feels light and it fishes nicely too. i was hoping it was going to fish like a dobyns 704cb or a loomis crb-843 but it is definitely faster than either of those two and am glad for it. i was zinging 1/4 ounce tubes for smallies and 1/4 ounce kastmasters for trout and kokes. it is rated as moderately fast and i initially thought it was much closer to fast until i had a little salmon on the line and i could see the more-progressive taper of the blank in action.

new2BC4bass, congrats on the purchase...actually, i think you'll love the rod.

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johnny, i'd say a 10-percent difference is significant, especially nowadays when every tackle manufacturer is working hard to shave off every possible fraction of an ounce they can. i agree with you that 0.5 ounce isn't much...in and of itself. but, i was fishing it alongside my similarly-rated-but-whole-ounce-lighter cumara and going back-and-forth like that, i did notice the difference. i also think that i was squeezing the handle really hard because it is so skinny which only added to my impression. my powell swim jig rod (7'2" MH/EF) is 5.4 ounces and i have absolutely no complaints regarding its weight. honestly, if abu-garcia didn't tout how the low resin content and carbon wraps reduce weight, i wouldn't be saying much about the weight of this rod.

as to the zillion (which i had too and which someone here bought from me), yes, its handle is on the skinnier side too but the 7'0" zillion MH/F is only 4.3 ounces so i didn't notice as much. plus, the zillion's handle is longer and the reel seat has these "riblets" on the side that seem to help with my grip. i will probably end up putting some rod wraps on my villain handles to bulk them up a little bit. but, as far as rod ratings go, i'd say that abu-garcia and the zillions are similar in that they fish more powerfully than you'd normally expect for their rating compared to other rod companies.

i should've added another section to my review on appearance. the villian is even better-looking in person. in the sun, you can see these squiggly ribbons against the graphite spirals that don't show up in photos. they're lookers for sure, especially against the relatively plain-jane appearance of the cumara.

hatrix, i have three of the team lew's rods:

  • 6'8" M/XF casting, 4.5 ounces
  • 7'0" M/F casting, 4.6 ounces
  • 7'2" M/F spinning, 4.7 ounces

i only got them because i got a good deal on them but, as it turns out, they're very nice rods. craftsmanship on them and the quality of the cork is outstanding. two i haven't even fished with yet and the third i only used for a few minutes so far so i can't much about how they fish yet. some people like the fuji ACS reel seats they use and some don't. i happen to love the overall shape of the reel seat for the way it fits my hands but that little hole in the trigger i can feel occasionally with the tip of my finger is just a tad disconcerting and something i've never been able to get used to.

oakleypitbull, the 6'9" ML/MF is a nice rod...that one definitely feels light and it fishes nicely too. i was hoping it was going to fish like a dobyns 704cb or a loomis crb-843 but it is definitely faster than either of those two and am glad for it. i was zinging 1/4 ounce tubes for smallies and 1/4 ounce kastmasters for trout and kokes. it is rated as moderately fast and i initially thought it was much closer to fast until i had a little salmon on the line and i could see the more-progressive taper of the blank in action.

new2BC4bass, congrats on the purchase...actually, i think you'll love the rod.

Fishing with another rod that is in the same power and action range is the key, the .5oz isn't much until you go to the lighter rod, especially if you used the heavier rod for about an hour or so. That is what got me interested in good rods back in the 80's as there was still a lot of glass on the market. I remember my first graphite rod, I always heard about the weight but I was thinking if somebody is saying an ounce or two is a big difference then they really need to get out of the kitchen and in to the weight room. That was until I got my first one, I used my glass rod for about 2 hours and then decided to try my new graphite rod , OMG! That ounce of weight really was an incredible difference, that was the last time I ever owned a glass rod and one of the reasons I became aware of rod weights.

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johnny, i'd say a 10-percent difference is significant, especially nowadays when every tackle manufacturer is working hard to shave off every possible fraction of an ounce they can. i agree with you that 0.5 ounce isn't much...in and of itself. but, i was fishing it alongside my similarly-rated-but-whole-ounce-lighter cumara and going back-and-forth like that, i did notice the difference. i also think that i was squeezing the handle really hard because it is so skinny which only added to my impression. my powell swim jig rod (7'2" MH/EF) is 5.4 ounces and i have absolutely no complaints regarding its weight. honestly, if abu-garcia didn't tout how the low resin content and carbon wraps reduce weight, i wouldn't be saying much about the weight of this rod.

as to the zillion (which i had too and which someone here bought from me), yes, its handle is on the skinnier side too but the 7'0" zillion MH/F is only 4.3 ounces so i didn't notice as much. plus, the zillion's handle is longer and the reel seat has these "riblets" on the side that seem to help with my grip. i will probably end up putting some rod wraps on my villain handles to bulk them up a little bit. but, as far as rod ratings go, i'd say that abu-garcia and the zillions are similar in that they fish more powerfully than you'd normally expect for their rating compared to other rod companies.

i should've added another section to my review on appearance. the villian is even better-looking in person. in the sun, you can see these squiggly ribbons against the graphite spirals that don't show up in photos. they're lookers for sure, especially against the relatively plain-jane appearance of the cumara.

hatrix, i have three of the team lew's rods:

  • 6'8" M/XF casting, 4.5 ounces
  • 7'0" M/F casting, 4.6 ounces
  • 7'2" M/F spinning, 4.7 ounces

i only got them because i got a good deal on them but, as it turns out, they're very nice rods. craftsmanship on them and the quality of the cork is outstanding. two i haven't even fished with yet and the third i only used for a few minutes so far so i can't much about how they fish yet. some people like the fuji ACS reel seats they use and some don't. i happen to love the overall shape of the reel seat for the way it fits my hands but that little hole in the trigger i can feel occasionally with the tip of my finger is just a tad disconcerting and something i've never been able to get used to.

oakleypitbull, the 6'9" ML/MF is a nice rod...that one definitely feels light and it fishes nicely too. i was hoping it was going to fish like a dobyns 704cb or a loomis crb-843 but it is definitely faster than either of those two and am glad for it. i was zinging 1/4 ounce tubes for smallies and 1/4 ounce kastmasters for trout and kokes. it is rated as moderately fast and i initially thought it was much closer to fast until i had a little salmon on the line and i could see the more-progressive taper of the blank in action.

new2BC4bass, congrats on the purchase...actually, i think you'll love the rod.

Fishing with another rod that is in the same power and action range is the key, the .5oz isn't much until you go to the lighter rod, especially if you used the heavier rod for about an hour or so. That is what got me interested in good rods back in the 80's as there was still a lot of glass on the market. I remember my first graphite rod, I always heard about the weight but I was thinking if somebody is saying an ounce or two is a big difference then they really need to get out of the kitchen and in to the weight room. That was until I got my first one, I used my glass rod for about 2 hours and then decided to try my new graphite rod , OMG! That ounce of weight really was an incredible difference, that was the last time I ever owned a glass rod and one of the reasons I became aware of rod weights.

I've never been a big rod weight guy, within reason, more of a balanced outfit guy. So, half an ounce to me is minimal, which was the reason for my response. We don't know each other, perhaps I shouldn't have come at you in that manner. I don't know if your were around the other place you posted when the reel weight wars were going on, the term "weight weinie" was tossed around at the drop of a hat and mommas were not out of bounds.

I used the 7'1" MH a lot and I guess the biggest compliment I can give it is to say I will be purchasing more out of my pocket. I was using prototypes of quite a few of those rods and I have some of the production models now and there's some refinement but not significant differences I can tell. I will say the more I used that rod, the more I liked it.

Along with the 7'1" MH and the 6'9" ML, a couple more stand outs are the 7'1" M for cranks and topwaters and definitely the 7'3"H for frogs, heavy pitchin' and light boot-tail swim baits.

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I don't know if your were around the other place you posted when the reel weight wars were going on, the term "weight weinie" was tossed around at the drop of a hat and mommas were not out of bounds.

ha-ha, i guess i missed that thread. however, to be fair, even though i've bought a ton of new rods over the past few years, this is the only review i've ever written. if i wrote about them all, people would see that i have issues with every rod company i've bought from, including: g.loomis, lamiglas, dobyns, abu-garcia, daiwa, powell, shimano, cabelas, BPS, lews, and quantum. in fact, i've found that crooked guides, sloppy epoxy work, not-so-straight blanks, etc. are more common than not regardless of price. so, while it may seem like i'm overly picky about the villain, i'm not...it's just that i've never said anything about the others. plus, i just happen to be extremely anal about my fishing gear.

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Balance makes a big difference and I agree with that, it is also why I think the Villian has a little more weight, it was designed to be used with the MGX reel and you put both together and you have a super light combo that is probably balanced well. I think Abu Garcia hit it out of the park on all of the V series rods, I have a Vendetta that was purchased as an all purpose rod for float fishing the river in a small boat, a nice less expensive rod that won't make me sick if it gets broke. But ever since I started fishing it 2 years ago it now goes with me every trip, even on the bass boat and it isn't the lightest rod I have but it feels great and is an incredible caster and that is a trait that all the V series rods seem to have, the ability to cast really well but for distance and accuracy.

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A personal attack? Hardly. It's using hyperbole and humor as a literary device. My apologies for offending your tender sensibilities.

Im very thick skinned to a fault just dont care to see a review that was well put together put down (as I felt) by a biased person (you). Now you say it was in jest so Ill take it as that, just your comment from your brain to the words posted, the meaning got lost in translation, no biggie all's well.

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oakleypitbull, the 6'9" ML/MF is a nice rod...that one definitely feels light and it fishes nicely too. i was hoping it was going to fish like a dobyns 704cb or a loomis crb-843 but it is definitely faster than either of those two and am glad for it. i was zinging 1/4 ounce tubes for smallies and 1/4 ounce kastmasters for trout and kokes. it is rated as moderately fast and i initially thought it was much closer to fast until i had a little salmon on the line and i could see the more-progressive taper of the blank in action.

I have a ML-Mod rod thus reason for asking about yours. And just bought 1/4 tube jigheads and tubes. Its nice to see the rod bend on mod actions adds to the play/fight.

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Im very thick skinned to a fault just dont care to see a review that was well put together put down (as I felt) by a biased person (you). Now you say it was in jest so Ill take it as that, just your comment from your brain to the words posted, the meaning got lost in translation, no biggie all's well.

Well, I'm thick-skinned (and a bit thick-skulled if you asked my wife and friends) as well. I'll say all's well, as well, although you don't know me well enough to consider me biased because if you knew me you know I wasn't.

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