Froggy Went a Courtin’ One Fine Duh-GULP!Froggy Went a Courtin’ One Fine Duh-GULP!
Pinnacle DHC 7 Rod, Primmus Reel
By John Franchot
I’ve gone on record many, many times detailing my dislike of frog rods. Just about every rod I’ve tried that was billed as a frog rod was either a sissy stick, capable of throwing a frog a mile and a half into the slop, but not to get a fish out these haunts. Or they were basically a gaff hook with a reel seat and guides, perfectly capable of leveraging big bass out of cover, loosening lug nuts on your truck, or defending yourself from a bear attack. Is either fun to fish? Uh, no! Can we get a happy medium?
For years, I’ve just used my flipping stick, and while I love to frog, it wasn’t the most enjoyable way to fish, but it worked. What didn’t I like about a flipping stick? It’s too long and too heavy for walking frogs, and doesn’t really load up well, making casting less than ideal. Never mind cutting off jigs and Texas rigs to tie a frog on, and then reversing the process.
What did I like about it? I never felt like I missed fish due to a weak hook set, or not being able to extract fish from the pads and slop. With all its shortcomings, using a flipping stick gave me confidence.
Enter the new Pinnacle DHC7-731CAH, a 7’3” heavy power, fast action rod, that the manufacturer has denoted “FROGS,” among several other uses, on the rod itself. It’s hard for me to say it, but I actually have a proper frog rod. I paired this rod with the new Pinnacle Primmus reel and spooled up with my favorite 65-pound braid. Some might question this reel choice. It’s too slow, too light, meant for finesse, and really isn’t built for heavy lifting. They’d be wrong.
The Primmus features a metal frame, dubbed X-Bone 2.0 by Pinnacle. That the reel comes in at just 5.9 oz. is truly amazing for a metal frame reel. The side plates are carbon fiber, as is the handle and drag washers. The entire drive train is hardened aluminum, motivating the spool at 6.3 rotations per handle turn. These are the elements required for frogging: a strong frame, a strong drag, and a relatively fast retrieve. Let’s not forget that 5.9 oz. feels like practically nothing when saddled to a rod. The final piece of the puzzle, a simple, “set it and forget it” traditional centrifugal braking system. Braking systems have evolved into complex, though very effective, systems enabling even the novice caster to zing baits into the stratosphere without risk of a backlash. There’s something to be said for tried and true technology, though. This is a case where less is more. Anything fancier might have added significant weight to the package. Plus, six pin brake systems “just work.” This reel has all I need to get frogging.
If there’s any drawback to the reel, it makes a whirring noise on the cast that one who is used to magnetic or hybrid braking systems may be unfamiliar with. Rest assured, it’s just doing its job. As I broke in the reel, the whirring sound diminished quite a bit. This reel can cast even smaller frogs a long way. It’s one of Pinnacle’s Hand Tuned models, so be prepared to use some judicious spool tension, as the start up speeds are pretty fast. That’s nice to have when you want to quietly deliver a frog to an opening in the pads with an underhand wrist flick. I’m pretty happy with this reel. Pinnacle has delivered a refined, super low mass reel that can handle big baits, small baits, and everything in between.
So, what about my frog rod? As light as the Primmus reel is, this rod is silly light. Light isn’t the word. Low mass, balanced, crisp, yet able to expedite jarring hook sets, are a few words I’d use to describe it. As good as the DHC5 series is, these are clearly a BIG cut above. At over $300, they are in big boy territory, and Pinnacle delivers, satisfying all my expectations a rod with this price point demands.
I almost feel guilty using mine for lowly frogs. With a jig tied on, and blindfolded, I don’t think I could tell the difference between this, and my other similarly priced rods. I generally stay out of this price territory, but when I come across a rod I like, I go for it. I’ve fished big spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, plastics, and jigs. The sensitivity of this rod really shines with contact baits. There’s a good argument to be made for this being one of the better jig and worm rods I’ve had my hands on.
So why on earth would I pick a top shelf rod and reel to fish lowly frogs? Because it’s awesome at it. Yeah, not a very clever description, but that is the straight truth about it. I do quite a bit of frog fishing up here. There’s just no better way to fish the matted milfoil that seems to choke up the best spots up here in the Northeast. While it isn’t peak frog fishing season yet, I did put the combo through its paces recently on a shallow lake well known for heavy lily pad cover and big bass.
The DHC7 is almost deceptively light. It features a slightly longer rear grip than a similarly spec’d DHC5, which results in better balance, and a slightly shorter tip. This makes walking frogs easier and less tiring. I’d forget that I was using a heavy cover rod - that is until I hooked a bass. That feather turns into a fish extracting, professional grade power tool.
Nimble, adept, powerful.
Everything I like in a frog rod. A reel that I honestly forgot was there, it worked so well. Pinnacle really upped their game with the DHC5 series. Now they’ve fired a shot across the bow of some top end rod makers with the DHC7. This is a frog rod I’m proud to use.
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