Newcomers to the arena, 13 Fishing plans to permeate into the domestic bass tackle market place with two new rod lineups. These two series of rods are dubbed the “Omen Black” and “Envy Black” with actions designed with input from FLW Tour Pro staffer Stetson Blaylock. The Omen Black series goes straight for the jugular of the popular and crowded $100 price point. Whereas the Envy Black lineup is a little higher end ($225 – $260), yet still offers more bang for your buck than similar priced offerings. The Omen Black bait casting rods feature unfinished 30 ton Toray carbon fiber blanks, Evolve Titanium Y-Guides with Zirconia inserts and custom design Evolve Hair Trigger reel seats. The more premium Envy Black lineup features unfinished 40 ton Toray carbon fiber blanks, Rec Black Pearl recoil guides, and their Evolve Hair Trigger reel seats.
I was recently given the opportunity to fish with a 6’7” Envy Black casting rod and put my initial positive impressions of this rod series from ICAST 2012 to the test on some of my home waters. The first words that came to my mind appertaining to this stick when launching lures for the first time? Clean, functional, and refined.
In hand, this production rod featured no obvious construction or quality control flaws. Its elegant, custom designed “hair trigger” reel seat is rather interesting as the cutouts facilitate ergonomic finger placement whilst palming your reel. The dichotomy of the cork hand grip and black rear foam grip is a nice departure from the current trend of straight dual foam and straight dual cork split grip designs that currently saturate the market.
The down locking black foam fore grip is topped by a gunmetal metallic ring with angled sides that taper perfectly into the foam just below it. Most noticeable about this fore grip is the accent ring adorned with the script “Make your own luck” which serves as on the water motivation when the bite is tough. This, in turn, compliments the black foam rear grip and elegantly implemented butt cap with cutouts reminiscent of those found on Daiwa’s premium Steez Compile X rods. Nine Black Pearl recoil guides (+ standard tip) with black thread wrap give the upper 3/4 of this rod a nonchalant “stealth” look that’s all business out on the water.
A spoon shaped metal hook hanger sits atop the rod adorning 13 Fishing’s logo. While, just below it, an elegant silver accented wrap encompasses the blank in the reel seat area. This wrap is followed by approximately 6″ of black gloss coating displaying the rod series name and functional parameters while the remainder of the blank remains raw and unfinished (just the way any serious angler would want it)
In my experience “good looking” rods don’t always equate to the best performing. Fortunately for this rod, form and function combine well to deliver a positive angling experience. In hand, the relative balance of this stick is appreciable, yet not over the top where overall product weight gets compromised. This particular model weighs in at 4.36 oz (comparable to a BCR803GLX @ 4.4oz) and has a natural balance point at 4″ from the top of the fore grip. Its length and definitively extra fast action was designed to make this an all-purpose stick useful for a multitude of presentations. With a lure weight range of 3/8 to 1oz this rod delivers as capable of handling many of the usual close target lure presentations including 3/8 oz jigs, stick baits, shaky heads, small Texas rigged plastics, spinner baits, and shallow cranks.
Sensitivity is superb thanks to the 40 ton Toray blank and is on par, if not better than, comparably priced sticks. Inherent flex shows majority of rod displacement in the upper 1/5 of the blank while under load. Castability is excellent and fishing with soft plastics is an enjoyable affair. On the water confirmation of crisp lure connectivity, reassuring power during hook sets, and confident fish control affirmed what I had originally expected from the Toray 40 ton graphite. While its not the “most” sensitive rod blank I’ve ever had the fortune to fish with this blank is worthy of its advertised price point. Compared to my similarly priced Daiwa TDZL691MHXB this rod is certainly more refined and delivers those soft plastic nabbing “ticks” with clearer definition.
Casting with the “hair trigger” reel seat feels quite different than other production rods due to the relatively thin design of the trigger in the pistol grip area. Not a deal breaker by any stretch, but worthy of note. The inherent trade-off of this “thin” trigger design is the excellent palm-ability with modern low profile reels. Lure retrieval with this reel seat is comfortable as it allows natural placement of ring and pinky fingers into contact with the reel seat and rod blank if you like to fully palm your reels. Also, notable of the reel seat design is it actually floats the reel feet slightly off the surface of the blank to mitigate the damping of vibrations sent through the rod further enhancing sensitivity.
Surprisingly enough, I have also become fond of the “bell” shaped rear foam grip. While executing two handed roll casts it became apparent that its curvature was not just there for aesthetics, but served as a natural and functional shape for gripping. The Black Pearl Recoil guides are lightweight, functional, and do not throw off the balance of the rod (note: these guides are smaller in size than those found on my BCR803). Quips aside regarding the durability of recoils, years of abuse on my Loomis Jig and worm sticks have yet to give me issues.
While I still have to put this rod through long term use, after fishing with this rod for a few weeks not I do not have any reason this believe this stick won’t deliver over the long haul (given appropriate fishing rod care). Its worthy to note that the Envy Black series of rods are covered by 13 Fishing’s 10 year warranty against material and craftsmanship. However, if you break the rod due to misuse or abuse you also have the option to utilize their “Oops” replacement program to have the rod replaced for $75 (granted you have it registered through their website and are the original owner).
The Envy Black series of rods by 13 Fishing exhibits clean, functional, and refined design. With looks and performance that will engender “envy” into the competition its easy to see that a lot of thought went into this production rod to make it a serious fishing tool. The debut of the Envy Black line up of rods in conjunction with the initial release of the value oriented Omen Black series of rods should prove successful for this company looking to stand out in a crowded marketplace. It is apparent that 13 Fishing has a winning formula for putting passion into their products and looks ready to take on the demands of the modern and more discriminating American angling market.
13 Fishing’s lineup can be found at Tackle Warehouse
13 Fishing EBC67MH coupled with one of my favorite reels the Daiwa Steez 103HA
The 13 Fishing Evolve “Hair Trigger” reel seat floats the reel off the blank and features aggressive cutouts for ample finger to blank contact
Inverse spoon shaped hook hanger. Stylish, functional, and unobtrusive.
Clean execution of rod model functional parameters
Clean elegant split grip implementation with surprisingly ergonomic rear handle grip
Recessed butt cap logo with “Compile X – esque” decorative cutout ring
Evolve “Hair Trigger” reel seat rear view with thin (comparable to typical reel seat designs) trigger grip area
The Envy Black rods silver and black color scheme pairs well with a multitude of modern bass fishing reels