APC? More like ATV

APC? More like ATV

As in all terrain vehicle.



This month I test drove an Okuma TCS -C-691MH designed by Scott Martin. According to the Okuma website, Scott spools his with 14 lb. line to fish spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, square bills, lipless, plastics, and jigs. That’s most of what I use for bass fishing – why do I need all these other rods? Here’s the deal with this rod, it’s not perfect, but it’s fishes the above baits really well. Plus, this MSRP is just $139.
   On gear forums I see heated discussions about how expensive gear has gotten. At the $100 to $150 range there is a ton of competition, and there is an equally confusing line up of rod lengths, powers, and tapers. What is right for this bait, that technique, or this cover? You’ll get a lot of opinions without looking too hard, but suffice it to say, a medium taper, sort of fast taper will work for almost everything.
   Yes, I said sort of fast taper will work for most everything.
   We’ve gotten into the habit of more is better. We thought it was awesome when faster rods hit the market. These were not horse buggy whips, and it only took a little wrist flick to set the hook, or yank this way and that to wrestle that lunker out of the weeds. Then came extra fast rods. Oh my…just the tippy top bent under slight pressure! Those rods are great for feeling extremely light bites using light contact baits on a 40-yard bomb cast, in high winds, with someone distracting you. But all you want to do is just grab a tackle bag with a few boxed, and hit your favorite pond, or take the kayak over to that little cove you keep eyeing from your big boat, but can’t get into. Maybe you’re fishing as a non-boater in a tournament and want to keep the number combos down to a minimum.
   “Sort of” fast perfectly covers all of this territory. There is a minimalist trend going on as well. It is more about concentrating on fishing the right spots, and using the right bait – a back to basics ethos. The “APC” taper from Okuma TCS line of rods is that back to basics rod. It’s that rod we fished more than any other back when we had a few casting rigs, a spinning rig, and backpack or small tackle bag. Yet is comes with all the features that modern rods have – light weight, split EVA/burl cork grips, blank exposed reel seats, super light and sensitive 30 ton carbon blank, braid ready aluminum oxide guides in ALPS stainless frames, it even has a lifetime limited warranty!
   I took this rod out to one of my favorite early spring lakes. It was a kayak trip, about a week after ice out, and my first trip for bass this year. I did not know what to expect at all. I packed an assortment of baits that fit in two utility boxes, the Okuma TCS -C-691MH, two more rods – a spinning rod and a swimbait rod - and set out to catch a … walleye! Ha-ha, my first bass trip and I catch a walleye, and they’re not even in season yet. That’s not really important, other than it was a pretty big fish, over 5 lbs., and tested the fish fighting characteristics of the Okuma TCS -C-691MH, which are pretty typical of a bass rod – almost over built for the task. While a little more than a third of the rod flexes on a gentle side arm cast, once you get past that “sort of fast” tip, you’re into fish fighting power. This rod will easily handle most cover and fishing situations you will encounter bass fishing from Florida to Maine.
   Other than that one walleye, I really didn’t get a sniff all day, so I got to cast many different baits with the rod. It’s just as suited for spinnerbaits as it is square bills and lipless vibration baits. I really like the APC taper for casting baits. It’s as easy as casting a parabolic crankbait rod, without losing that fast action for quick, “pop” hook sets I often use with moving baits. It’s also fast enough to pop shallow/fast treble hooked baits off weed tops. That’s always my problem using a specialized cranking stick – baits get stuck in the weeds with no backbone to get them out without making a mess and fouling the hooks.
   I also really think that this is a great rod for anyone learning to use casting gear. It bridges the perceived gap between spinning rods that sling shot the bait, and unyielding heavier casting gear that relies on a trained thumb and lots of leverage and momentum to cast a bait. I remember putting a casting reel on a spinning rod, and practicing in my yard. It was actually easier to get started this way. Now there’s a proper rod, with the backbone necessary in case a fish bites.
   I was able to try spinnerbaits, suspending jerkbaits, square bills, lipless, chatterbaits, and even a 3/8 oz. finesse jig. The only time I didn’t like the rod for what I was doing was jerkbaits. My preference is for a shorter rear handle, but that’s just my style. It handled Pointers, OneTens, and FlashMinnows just fine.
   One thing I really liked about using the rod was the covered threads on the reel seat. Anyone that has followed my reviews knows I’m critical of this, and Okuma does a fantastic job combining the front grip and reel locking ring into a comfortable spot to put your finger when palming a reel. There are rods that cost nearly three times as much that ignore this one little feature that really adds to the value of the rod.
   This is the second rod in the TCS series I have tested and reviewed, and I’m still just as impressed with what Okuma has to offer. They are one of a few under the radar companies that is really stepping up.

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