Spro 2015 – Part 2: Rods

Part two of my SPRO 2015 report (having just got back from Spro HQ in Holland, playing with the whole range of new products for the upcoming year) is all about their rods!

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If I’m honest, I’d never been truly blown away by the majority of their rods in the past. There are some standouts for sure (Mobile Sticks and Micro Shooters to name but two), but there was a lot in the range that didn’t really interest me. I think I’ve said before in this report somewhere that when the 2015 catalogue arrived on my desk I couldn’t have been more excited by what I saw. Everything they lacked for me and the shop before was in there!

Let’s get straight to it!… (in no particular order)

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The Boost Stick is one of their new ranges for 2015 and they cover everything from 7 to 9 feet and casting weights from 12g through to 60g as their maximums.

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I must admit, this is the one range of rods that I wasn’t expecting to much from. I was sure they’d be nice but I was expecting to be more blown away by others in the range and likely end up not stocking them.

Anyway, I was very, very wrong! Good job I persuaded Stu to let me go with him or I’d never have known… They certainly have their own place within the range and after my initial deliberation they could quite possible be the most popular rod of the year with our bass anglers!

Obviously they are not so refined, as slim or as perfect, but I actually look at them as a cheaper version of the Major Craft Skyroad’s. They have a level of stiffness to the blanks (lower down in particular) that will make them exceptionally easy rods to work hard lures with in particular. Surface lures too! The 8 foot, 30g model (MH) will be the daddy for that kind of fishing. For roughly £90 in the UK I expect to sell a lot of these next year. I would go as far as saying that I prefer these rods to anything we currently have or have had in the price range. I still love the softness of the tip on the Daiwa Powermesh X, but these rods will sit side by side with the Powermesh in 2015. They’re different in reality, although I’d likely buy the Spro with my own money given the choice today (if we were talking 30g rated rods). The 20g model will handle it’s rating as well, and become the choice for anglers wanting to fish a lot of soft plastics among their hard lures. If you do a bit of both, and don’t really fish plugs over the 20g mark (most of mine are well below) then this lighter option will be just the ticket! With a lot of 30g rated rods only realistically handling 20g, don’t be put off by the “low” (20g) rating on this one. It will handle it.

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The 9 foot options too will be good for anybody wanting more length. The 30g models will be very popular and the 60g models will come in t their own for rough conditions or long distance.

The casting weights on the rods feel pretty accurate to me. For example, if you are mostly fishing smaller hard lur
es and general soft plastics, the 20g model (M) will be lovely for it. If you’re chucking Xorus Patchinko’s every day though then the 30g model (MH) will be the one. Pike anglers will enjoy them too.

You can find them on our website here: SPRO BOOST STICK

I’ll likely not stock too many of the lighter or shorter models in the range. Not because they’re not good, but because anglers today (in the UK) looking at 12g and 15g rated rods have a huge choice of more refined options. It’s where the “Addiction” comes in to its own!……

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For less money than the Boost Stick, the brand new Addiction range is a superb looking range of very modern rods! With a minimalist design, when you look at the specs in the catalogue the first thing you have to make note of is the physical weights of the rods. Even the heaviest – an 8 footer rated to 42g – only weighs 100g!!!

As a range it includes models from a stumpy 6 footer for the canal through to two 8 foot models. I struggle to pick my rod of the bunch (we’ll stock all of them), but I obviously have a liking for 8 footers as the 16g and 42g rated 2.4m rods would suit me personally.

The Addiction Crank Performance 240 is rated from 3-16g. In reality it’s perhaps a touch over rated, but not far off. It’s not got as much power lower down as some rods genuinely capable of whacking out 16g, but with a lovely fast, forgiving action it’s a perfect heavier LRF/light bass/longer perch rod! It will find very wide applications. This one is perfect with their 2000 size reels like the Addiction or Custom.

The Addiction Hardbait & Shad Performance 240 is a lovely all-rounder. Rated 14-48g you’d naturally think it’s a bit of a beast! Far, far from it, it’s a lightweight rod with a lovely action. It is however, nowhere near capable of chucking 48g. I’d compare it most favourably with an average 30g rated rod to be honest. I’ll need to have a cast with one very soon to get a better idea. As a 30g rod though, it’s an absolutely lovely rod for less than £90! I’d say not so suited to fishing larger surface lures, but ideal with everything else. Despite the high rating it will make a lovely bass rod for fishing with soft plastics even. I’d match this one with their 3000 size reels.

The range in general is just superb. We had the 6 footer (Addiction Micro Bait Special 198) matched up with a 1000 size Addiction and Custom reels and it was just such a precise little tool. You immediately imagine yourself bouncing a little plastic back along the bottom with it. It’s a proper little wand. Particularly for freshwater anglers, you’ll likely find what you need from within this range (when a level of finesse is required). Perch anglers in particular need look no further. Saltwater anglers will love the 8 foot models (heavy LRF or Bass). There are loads of models in between as well. This range will do very, very, very well for Spro this year! I’ll be recommending them a lot in the shop too.

You can find the range on our website here: SPRO ADDICTION RODS

To jump up a level from the Addiction, you’ll find the super sexy Hypalite. I’m sure I’ll be sounding like a walking sales pitch by now, but the rods really are that good in general. I’ve found literally nothing better so far in the respective price ranges currently being discussed. The Hypalite is Spro’s top offering, and even these are still in the very much affordable £120-£125 range.

This range is a bit more traditionally European I reckon (rather than the softer, Japanese rods I’ve become used to). Over the past few years, every European brand has started to look towards the ultralight/LRF market and rods have become lighter and softer. Any pike angler in particular however, will understand that it’s not all about softness and lightness though and agree that you still need a level of stiffness and power to ensure that hooks are set properly. On paper the Hypalite range are physically heavier than the Addiction’s, but the style of the rods is quite different. Components are superior (titanium guides for example) and styling makes them look absolutely lovely, but the rods hold much more power in the butt section. They’re thicker blanks. Throughout the range they blend sometimes soft tips in to the perfect amount of power lower down – either for setting hooks or playing larger fish. Beautiful things! Sometimes I think anglers can and do try to go too light at times.

I’m completely in love with the 5-18g rated Hypalite 76S Ex-Fast/ML. Seven and a half feet long, it is just perfect really if you’re in to any kind of lightweight salt or freshwater fishing. I lovely, light pike rod; an all-round perch model; the perfect bass rod for fishing light soft plastics, it’ll do a bit of everything really. I love the feel and balance of the handle. Not as light in the hand as the Addiction, but it has a quality, robustness about it and is superbly balanced. There’s not a rod in the range I couldn’t appreciate for different fishing situations. Some will even suit our inshore boat fishing perfectly too in the heavier ratings, despite them being designed for freshwater predominantly. Titanium guides won’t rust – which is a bonus in the salt!

The range is on our website here: SPRO HYPALITE

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The other range that has really come in to its own this year is the Insync 2.0. The Insync rods first came in last year and were a hugely freshwater orientated range of models. None really suited our shop at the time. The Insync 2.0 aren’t a replacement for the originals, but bulk the range out very nicely. As far as my bass fishing goes, I’m even more tempted by the 8 foot, 7-22g model of the Insync than I am by any other in the range. I’ve never been the most massive Tenryu fan (although they very definitely have their time, place and fans), but this rod reminds me very much of a lightweight Injection 78ML – my favourite of that range. It would be like a rod that Tenryu are yet to design (and is therefore different) but it has that very quick tip to it, plenty of power in the butt section and a little bit more length than an equivalent Injection. Getting past the “weird” concept of the Microwave guides (which doesn’t scare me personally), this model deserves a lot of success. Again, mostly with soft plastics but also with lighter hard lures in mind – I’m thinking of the 22g, 8′ version here. I would state that I think this model will be better with soft lures than hard
though. The casting weight is probably fairly accurate. It is just a lovely, light all-rounder! In fact, I’ve just run over to pick it up again. Zander anglers will love it too! Anybody fishing jigs from 3g to 12/15g or so (plus lure).

For rougher days or bigger surface lures, the next model up (also 8′, rated to 38g) makes a better choice. Between these two any bass angler would be very content, assuming you’re not fishing in the very roughest conditions. One for the pike angler too!

The range as a whole is quite big. They’re all impressive, and it includes some new travel models too. These were beefy rods, and there is no real “middle” option at the moment (i.e. 8′, 30g) but if you’re travelling overseas and are looking to launch big lures from the shore, the 9 footer rated to 75g is ideal. In reality it’s probably not quite that capable weight wise, but if you need a longer rod with a bit of power then they’re really nice rods!

You can buy them here: SPRO INSYNC 2.0

The Micro Shooter range have been around for a year now. We sell quite a lot already because they’re excellent rods! Suited mostly to salt or freshwater, they cover everything on the lightest end of the scale. Like lots of rods these days, I think the stated casting weights are a bit out (over-gunned), but the ML models in particular are my favourites – having slightly more power but remaining lovely and ‘elastic’.

They’re available here: SPRO MICRO SHOOTER RODS

The thing I’ve always loved about the Micro Shooter’s is there “elastic” action. As soon as I first picked one up, literally the only rod I could compare them to were the Nories Slow Retrieve range. The Nories are £400+ worth of perfection and the fact that these are similar in ways (obviously not quite so refined) makes them a standout rod along side any other rod from any other manufacturer. They’re superb! The “L” versions are rated to 12g officially (more like 8g in reality), while the “ML” versions are rated to 18g (more like 12g in reality). Both are really, really, really good LRF or perch rods. A bit soft for specifically targeting pike, but the ML obviously has the power to land them. They actually offer you stacks of length options between 7 and 8 feet to you can kind of buy the rod that really suits your personal preferences. I’d have two for myself and match the lighter 7’6″ model for harbours and lighter stuff, and the 8′ ML for the summer on the local headlands. Freshwater anglers can take their own picks. I highly recommend them though. Not everybody will love the white colour, but coming from a saltwater background where brighter colours are very much more accepted, I love it! It really helps if you’re fishing after dark too (being able to see the rod tip). Freshwater guys shouldn’t be put off.

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After all of that, there is obviously one range that I really wanted to see! The new, heavier models in the Mobile Stick range have massive potential. The Micro Game models within the range are absolutely brilliant rods so I really just hoped that the longer, heavier versions would be as good.

I’m glad to report that they are superb! (I know, like everything else I’ve mentioned so far!). The thing about the Mobile Stick range in general is that they feel just like 2 piece rods when you’ve set them up. I
‘d happily fish with any of them as my rod of choice, and not just treat them as a travel/convenience option.

Spro got the range just right on these. Three length options (7′, 8′ and 9′) in MH and H ratings. The lighter models are rated to 22g and the heavier options to 35g. Again, both are slightly over-gunned (like the lighter models all are) but this leaves us realistically with a 15g+ and 28g options now within the range. Brilliant stuff! The tips are tubular rather than solid like those on the Micro Game models. They actually feel lighter in the hand than most of the two piece rods on offer.

All of the available Mobile Stick’s are available here: SPRO MOBILE STICK

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Phew! Rods over! There are stacks more great options in there too – such as the brilliant Triffic dropshot rods – but those above are just the standout new models for 2015. I saw a bad review about them recently, but with an open and my own opinions I really can’t find a way of knocking them (for £40). They’re the best £40 dropshot rods I’ve ever seen. End of. They feel like they could be £70 worth to be honest. I’ve handled worse rods for more than that. I can picture myself using one of the 8 footer versions for bass after dark. With a 5g jighead and an old, trusty XLayer or something I’d be happy as Larry. I take a few of our customers out in the summer for the odd little taster session and will be having one of these to lend them for the soft plastic lessons. I have a choice as to whether I want to stock things or not. These are great rods and they’re available here: SPRO TRIFFIC DROPSHOT

Oh, I forgot to mention their RUFF range of baitcasters. With a matching reel, you could end up with a brilliant little baitcasting setup for under £100. They’re not available yet but hopefully will be early next year.

Just a quick rundown on their main models:

Triffic: An incredible rod for the money! By far the best of this style in this price range! I’d happily recommend them to anybody on a budget or who is just starting out.

Addiction: Softer action throughout (I don’t mean they’re not fast actioned though) which is what contributes to it’s ambitious casting weights. Pick the right one though and they’re incredible rods!

Boost Stick: These are incredible value. Fast actioned. For soft or hard lures, they fill our range when it comes to bass rods! Pike anglers will enjoy them too.

Insync 2.0: Soft tip and very powerful butt. Lovely for fishing soft plastics in the lighter ratings. Ignore your concerns about the new/different Microwave guides. The rods are worth buying!

Hyperlite: Somewhere in the middle. They look absolutely lovely! More of a modern-traditional freshwater rod. Sensitivity where it’s needed but with the power lower down for handling decent fish.

Think that pretty much sums it up. Like I said somewhere above, I have a choice as to whether I stock these rods or not. If there are better out there I will stock those instead or as well as those mentioned above. From all of the major brands though, I honestly don’t think I’ve seen or
felt better in the different price ranges of those mentioned above. I can’t say any more than for the millionth time say how impressed I am with what they’ve pulled out of the bag this year.

Reels next in part 3, coming soon! There are a few nice surprises there too! I just hope a few of you are finding these reports useful.

  • Part 3: Reels
  • Part 4: Lures
  • Part 5: Other Stuff.

 

If you have any further questions please feel free to get in touch (ben@artoffishing.co.uk).