Spro Freestyle Xtender
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: 14th January 2019. We've selected this range of rods as our product of the week for their unique design and problem solving features. With all of this functionality you could expect a compromise or two, but there really aren't. These rods feel great! They're easy to leave made up but pack down really small for easy transport. Read on.
It's not often in this day and age that a manufacturer comes up with something that is genuinely different, but it's what Spro are good at! Access to Chinese, Korean and other worldwide OEM rod factories has given us a lot of great, good value rods, but the problem is that they're really all very similar. At least in the lower price ranges.TOP
So, why are they different?
The Xtender rods look and fish like any normal two-piecer. Where the Xtenders are unique is that the tip section measures around only 40% of the rod length while the butt (60%) is a two-section telescopic piece. When the butt section is packed down this comes to the same length as the tip (so you have two equal length sections for transport purposes).
Why is this a good thing? A slight loss in tip section length has little or no effect on the action of the rod but it does shorten the transport length. With the butt section being telescopic, you simply get to the bank, attach the tip as normal and extend the butt. You now have a full-length and great action lure rod from a smaller package!
Why not just make it 3-piece if transport length is the concern? Like any travel rod!
Three section rods are an absolute pain in the arse to carry around with rod, line and lure attached (plus I don't know of many 3-piece lure rods that exist in the UK). I've done it for years with 13' float rods and don't recommend it in the slightest. The shorter tip and telescopic butt enables you to leave the rod ready rigged before fishing, but then set it up to full length with no complications, unfolding or messy line tangles. This wouldn't be achievable with a three-piece rod. What makes this even more possible is the rubber butt 'thing' that holds the tip section securely while in transport. Even without any rod bands, the tip is held securely with the butt section. This rubber section grip stays attached while fishing, and although this is very different to the norm, more than anything it provides a great counter-weight so the rods feel incredibly well balanced.
Leaving rods made up in the car isn't always easy. Often slightly too long to go width ways in the boot, for me they're treated with a constant level of concern as they're gently leant on to the back of the seats. A hook will always come off of a guide or somehow end up flapping about and catching in the back seat while the mainline slackens itself and wraps itself around the reel handle. Rod sections go in separate directions and end up criss-crossing themselves and jangling around as you hit every pot-hole on your way to the bank. That's me anyway. Rod bands will help but I always lose them so quickly that if I can manage without, I will. A ready-rod case will do the job too but I save those for my match fishing as the bulk isn't attractive when you just want an hour on the rocks or canal.
This may not be a problem that everybody faces, but to sum up the reasons for buying an Xtender model, answer this question.
If you can own a new rod that fishes like your preferred two-piecer but packs down much better, would you? (answer: You'd be mad not to!)
The Xtender Range - 6 Rods
The Xtender range covers six rods in total covering two lengths (6' and 7') and three different casting weight classes.
Designed primarily as freshwater, "street fishing" rods, the range is perfectly suited to anything from a light dropshot rig to heavier spinnerbait or jighead setup.
The 1.8m (6') models pack down to a tiny 74cm in made-up transport. That's a bit like folding a two-piece 4'8" rod in the back of the car. That's tiny! The 2.1m versions fold to just 88cm, so the benefits of these rods from a transport point of view are clear. They fish like two-piece rods but have none of the length when you're not fishing.
The Micro Jig (1-8g)
The lightest two rods in the range have been designed as light all-rounders. They're not specifically dropshot rods, nor are they slower action pluggers. I wouldn't want to fish 1g on them, but if you're using dropshot rigs down to 3g and all kinds of light spinners or jigs, these are lovely little perch rods with a great, absorbing action. They're the kind of rods that will excel when catching 4-12oz perch on a regular basis while still having the power to land a 3lber should it come along. They bend and bend through the butt with little sign of a joint in the blank. The white section at the end of the tip is a nice touch too. This kind of thing is always useful when holding the tip down as you can clearly see the tip about a dark background.
If I were in the market for a light, all-round perch rod in this price range, I would definitely just go for one of these. They're great lightweight rods which feel like the two-piece models. They're just more convenient!TOP
The Versatile (7-24g)
Probably my favourite from the range, they feel exactly as the name suggests. For perch, chub and occasional zander anglers, this rod is light enough to chuck everything from a 5g dropshot to a 10g jig (plus 4" softbait). 24g may be a push unless you're on a streamlined metal lure, but the point is, they're a lovely all-round predator rod. Consider them a 16g rod and you have a hugely versatile light lure rod.TOP
The Vertical Jig (10-30g)
Like a lot of similarly rated Japanese bass rods, I wouldn't actually want to put 30g on this one. Nor do I understand the "Harbour" reference that you see online with it - since I'd never fish it as an LRF rod from one of our harbours in the UK. Consider it a Lovely low-20g+, light lure rod brilliantly suited to jigheads up to 14g+ (more if actually fishing vertically) and spinnerbaits or plugs to 20g+. Great specimen perch, chub or pike rods for all but the biggest fish.TOP
How They Work - The Video