A few summers ago a major rod manufacturer came to the table claiming the have the “best bass rod ever built”. At the same time, another rod company with a somewhat unique owner and contentious customer satisfaction history came to the table claiming pretty much the same thing. As a result of such bold claims, and mainly due to my natural inquisitiveness, post ICAST I immediately dropped a significant chunk of change into one of each companies offerings in my favorite flavors of rod action.
My initial conclusions…neither rod was perfect, let alone the “best bass fishing rod ever”. In fact, some of the inexcusable flaws of each companies initial roll outs of their “flagship” products had me perplexed. With the mainstream bass angler rod market at the time continually spiraling toward that $100 price point these two sticks were purposed to be the best bar none. Don’t get me wrong the blanks were, and still probably are, two of best on the USDM market. However the overall quality and attached feature set on those blanks left much to be desired at their particular price point. Since that summer I’ve broken one of the rods and lost the other to the depths of Lake Toho.
After procuring supplanted replacements for each there is one blank that rides with me continually. This rod is born from a series of performance blanks I will recommend day in and day out to any of my serious bass angling friends for its inherent sensitivity, balance, weight, and durability. The only problem I receive after said recommendation is that price is major driving factor for them and they can’t afford such a stick. To which I am forced reply “You want the best in performance? You’re going to have to pay for it.” C’est la vie.
If you haven’t guessed by now the common link for either of these bass rods is Gary Loomis. I won’t go into the details about the progress and influence he has had over the US rod market. I will however like to discuss the new Edge Series of rods currently slatted for release by Edge Fishing Rods. When it all boils down to it, truly serious bass anglers are looking for the right fishing tools. Sure you can call any foreign rolled blank a “bass fishing rod”, supply a list of innovative and sexy features and name drop popular choice components. But as any of you already know that doesn’t necessarily equate to the desired performance characteristics we all crave out on the water. The blank of any true fishing “tool” is its heart and soul, and in my opinion, North Fork Composite blanks definitively have that “X factor” that any truly discerning bass angler would appreciate. The crisp sensitivity of their HM blanks really needs to be experienced firsthand to be appreciated. The only problem is most anglers don’t necessarily want to drop $400+ on a custom fishing rod, buy a rod from a company they feel at ends with, or bite the bullet on the current high end NFC Edge offerings.
Enter the Edge First Strike (EFX). In my mind the new, non pro hyped, non overseas produced, and honestly somewhat ugly, Edge EFX fishing rods encapsulates what a majority of us bass anglers should need and appreciate from a performance based bass fishing rod. These rods are essentially a step down from NFC’s initial high end Edge Series with the black widow handles. The Edge EFX rods are all constructed with NFC Next IM blanks (pending confirmation). However, after handling these rods I cant help but feel that they are performance and value bass tools incarnate. The offset reel seats, tapered carbon fiber grips, titanium minima guide implementation, NFC blank, and non affiliated modis operadi all fit together perfectly. While its grips are not the most aesthetically pleasing that I’ve come across in this industry I was surprised to find that I really liked the lightweight feel and texture of them. Matched with an emulation of the defunct weibe reel seat, and NFC blank, this is a tool that I foresee exceeding current performance expectations of what a $200 should be in the current market.
In short, these rods essentially screamed “Fish With Me!” while handling them on the show floor. Blatantly stated MADE IN USA and came in at a price point that makes sense for a legitimate fishing tool that any serious bass angler doesn’t have to make difficult decisions about purchasing. While much of the competition is gradually going up in price and quietly switching production locales of their high end product lines. It is certainly refreshing to see Edge take an educated step down while simultaneously offering innovation to truly meet the performance needs of bass anglers.
The Bass models listed below all feature Titanium Minima guides and are slated for release soon:
|Model||Build||Lure Rating||Line Test||Power||Action||Price|
|EFX 692-1||Spin||3/16-3/8||6-12lb||Medium Light||Fast||$199|
|EFX 724-1||Spin||3/8-1 1/8||10-20lb||Medium Heavy||Fast||$199|
|EFX 703-1||Cast||1/4-5/8||6-17lb||Medium Light||Fast||$199|
|EFX 714-1||Cast||1/2- 1 1/2||12-17lb||Medium Heavy||Fast||$199|
|EFX 795-1||Cast||3/8-1||10-17lb||Medium Heavy||Fast||$199|
|EFX 767-1 ext||Cast||1/2-2 1/2||20-17lb||Extra Heavy||Fast||$199|
|EFX 767-1||Cast||1/2-2 1/2||20-17lb||Extra Heavy||Fast||$199|