Chuckin’ and Buzzin’Chuckin’ and Buzzin’
By John Franchot
Pinnacle recently sent me a rod and reel to test, a Producer LTE (PRD10LTE) and a DHC5M-681CAM. The rod and reel paired up nicely, but I really like a slower reel for slow rolling spinnerbaits, so I put a Daiwa Alphas reel on the rod, spooled her up with 12# CXX, and proceeded to catch a ton of fish. That is not an understatement. I caught more fish on this rod than any other rod I’ve reviewed. Part of this is because I received the rod at the end of summer to fall transition. Another part is I throw a spinnerbait quite often. Lastly, I seriously couldn’t put this rod down. It went on almost every trip with me and became part of my “starting lineup.” I probably should have put the gold Sol on this rod, and indeed, it’s a better looking pair, but so many of my combos are mismatched socks. This set up fits right in.
There really isn’t anything super special about this rod – lots of manufacturers make a similar rod. It is a medium power, extra fast taper, modern split grip, quality cork, light weight micro guides, on a responsive blank with no nonsense, low key looks. In some regards, it’s almost a dead ringer for several other rods I already own with the same specs and ratings. It’s solidly built, comfortable to hold, and works great for its intended purpose. It has a simple quality that helps me build confidence on the water. I like my tackle to work without issues or thinking about it, especially for the machine gun fishing style I use with spinner baits.
I didn’t just fish spinnerbaits with this rod, though. I like rods that serve multiple purposes. I also tested suspending jerk baits, Lucky Craft Pointer Sp 100, Vision OneTen, McSticks, and X-Rap XR-10 worked exceptionally well on this rod. The extra fast tip, combined with a medium power offered good twitch control and recovery. The medium power flexed enough under load to ensure treble hooks from tearing out. Simply put, this is an excellent jerkbait rod.
Good jerkbait rods generally make good walking/popping topwater rods as well. This rod fits the bill. I did have to adjust my style a little bit, and if you don’t like a longer rear grip, this may not be the topwater fishing rod for you. I found it worked fine with Spooks, Sammys, Pop-Rs, and the like.
So what about buzzbaits? I prefer a bigger, heavier power rod when throwing buzzbaits, and the DHC5M-731CAMH I already have is a fine rod – though I generally consider that a jig/worm rod. That’s not to say this lighter, shorter rod doesn’t sling a 3/8-oz. Cavitron with ease. It does. If you are a casual buzzbait angler, then I think you can easily put that on the list for this rod. If you’re a specialist, you might find a longer, heavier rod suits you better.
This multi-purpose thing is becoming a regular theme in the DHC5 line of rods. That’s a good thing. I think too many rod lines are over specialized when they don’t need to be. I’d prefer they just state the taper and power, along with line and lure ratings, and let us decide what we like for each technique. Some suggested applications are a good starting point, but outside of crankbait rods, I cannot really think of too many baits that require something fancier than a fast to extra fast taper for bass fishing.
So, is this really a spinnerbait rod? Oh, yes it is. In fact, it very much like my previous favorite spinnerbait rod, a Saint Croix with similar specifications. The taper is extra fast, and this helps in two places. First, it helps when trying to fling lighter ¼- to 3/8-oz. baits into cover, where a lighter rod won’t do. When you do get bit, you quickly get into the power of the rod, to drive that big single hook home. Once a fish is on, the medium power blank offers all the shock absorption needed to tease a fish away from cover. You aren’t going to muscle a big fish around with this rod, but it’s got enough to persuade a big girl from cover. Some of my spinnerbaiting takes to toothy places, and I had no problem landing the byproduct 24- to 36-inch northern pike. I always seem to catch when throwing shiny, metal objects around my northern lakes.
My favorite type of spinnerbait fishing is throwing the baits into submerged wood. This type of fishing requires a rod that casts light baits effortlessly and steer fish around and out of dangerous cover. The rod has to be sensitive enough that you can feel when your bait is headed for trouble and feel your way through cover. The DHC5M-681CAM has this covered. It is every bit as sensitive as the other rods in the series that are intended for contact baits, like jigs and worms. This helps when you get a fish that does the grab and run at the boat routine as well. I think sensitivity is undervalued by a lot of anglers. Pay attention to this feature next time you are choosing a spinnerbait rod.
This rod excels at all of these aspects and then some. If you are a shore bound angler, or are limited to just carrying one rod, I would not hesitate rigging up a ½-ounce jig or Texas rig, and fish away. In fact, I have. Is it as perfect as say a 7’ 3” jig and worm rod? No, but it’s better than nothing, and in fact better than many in this department.
After all is said and done, this is a light, capable rod that I thoroughly enjoyed fishing and reviewing. For less than $160 retail, I think you will have hard time arguing against this rod as a serious contender in this segment. Looks like my old favorite just got bumped to the backup locker from the starters locker!
About the writer:
John Franchot is a moderator on BassResource.com who works full time as an IT consultant and is a frequent contributor to our articles section. He has two sons who work as product testing assistants, and sometimes he even finds time to fish!
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