March 11th, 2013
Let me start this review off by saying that these rods are a surprise. Right from the get go I had some low expectations as I am biased against any signature brand. All too often I have seen pros paste their names on sub standard equipment relying on just their name to sell product. The fishing industry is full of these products as well, and I feared that this was just another one of them.
After two years of development with direct input from Bassmaster Elite Pro, Michael Iaconelli, the Ike series of rods have been finally released. Ike said it best when he stated in a recent interview:
“I put a lot of emphasis on actions and lengths that are unique… that deviate from what Abu has in other lineups”.
In the Ike signature series of rods you will find five power graphite casting rods, five finesse graphite spinning models and five delay composite rods for treble hook baits such as crankbaits. Ike explained it best when we met up with him at ICAST 2015:
I have been using the Ike Rods, specifically the Texas Rig/ Jig 7’2″ Medium Heavy, since late august 2015 and it has exceeded all my expectations to the point where I could really see myself using this rod as a go to for certain techniques. so let’s get started, shall we?
Our team tested the 7’2″ Texas Rig/ Jig Ike Series Rod, and this is what we thought:
Ike Rod Features
- 36 Ton graphite for a lightweight balanced design and increased sensitivity
- Fuji® reel seat for greater comfort
- Stainless steel guides with Zirconium inserts
- Mike Iaconelli designed actions
- 3 year limited warranty
From my first inspection of the rod, right out of the box, the paint really caught my eye. The Ike rod we reviewed had some crazy color shifting paint in purple and green hues. Definitely a cool looking rod! Ike called it “flip flop” paint and likened it to the color shifting paint used on custom cars. This rod definitely looks sharp!
When you look at the rod power and lengths that Abu offers in the Ike series, there are some very interesting combinations. It’s clear to me that Ike designed these rods with a lot of forethought and wanted this series to be more than just the usual deal. As he described earlier in this article, there are several models in the Ike signature series that deviate from the norm. This is definitely a plus as the unusual offerings in rod lengths and powers will attract anglers who are looking for something specific to address a niche in their lineup or address a specific need.
The Power Series Texas Rig/Jig rod that we tested was very light and surprisingly had a lot of backbone. This particular rod is 20% tip and 80% backbone and really was stout. We think that it uses the Veracity blank from Abu, but can’t say for sure.
The tip is sensitive, very sensitive and I was impressed! Aside from a stout rod with a super sensitive tip, the rod was lighter than I expected and paired extremely well with Revo3 series reels.
Pricing is surely a pro. At a MSRP of $129.99- $149.99 these rods are moderately priced and have the right features anglers need. This is a potentially great rod for beginners who are looking for something that can be used for a variety of techniques.
Rods that directly compete with the Abu Garcia Ike rods include:
- 13 Fishing Omen Black 2 rods (MSRP $99.99 – $139.99)
- Abu Garcia Villan rods (MSRP $149.99)
- Denali Kovert Series rods (MSRP $139.99 – $149.99)
- St Croix Rod Mojo Bass Series rods (MSRP $139.99 – $149.99)
As you can see, there are several choices in the $150 price range to choose from.
I am not a fan of EVO foam grips. Traditionalists prefer cork handles and I am one of them. I would assume that the use of EVA foam by Abu is a way of keeping the rod’s costs down. To offer this rod at a competitive price, there has to be some type of sacrifice, somewhere…
The Stainless steel guides are a pro, and at the same time a con. Stainless steel guides will not rust and are super sturdy, however do make the rod weigh more making the angler work harder throughout the day. A small thing, but important.
On the Water
I just loved the way the rod looks in the sun and when fishing with it I was constantly admiring the color shifting paint! I found that the 7’2″ Medium Heavy rod I was using was just perfect for swimming jigs through cover and ended up using it for this purpose most of the time. The stout backbone allowed me to pull fish out of cover while the fast tip allowed me to pop the jig free when snagged or fouled with weeds. Although this rod is labelled as a texas rig/jig rod, it is an amazing swimjig rod as well!
During casting, the butt end tended to dig into my palm. The sharp edges of the butt were a frustration and during roll casts the edges bothered me. I don’t know if this is something that other anglers will find, but it’s worth noting.
I paired this rod with a Revo3 STX reel and used 50-lb power pro for this review and I was not disappointed! Being 80% backbone the casting distance wasn’t that great, however I wasn’t trying to bomb my swimjigs far. I was paralleling banks with accurate casts into “bassy” looking areas. This is where this rod really did well for me. I was able to get good hooksets and power bass out of cover easily.
I think that Ike intended to design some unique rods that anglers could use for specific applications and fill voids that perhaps weren’t being met by other rod offerings. Ike said it himself: he deviated from the usual rod offerings, and I think that this has made the Ike rods an interesting choice for intermediate to expert anglers looking for something off the beaten path. The Ike Series of rods are definitely worth checking out for intermediate to expert anglers who are looking for a capable rod that isn’t going to break the bank.
Beginners may want to consider these rods as well. Being a capable rod, the Ike series could potentially be a great first rod, however I would strongly recommend anyone who is buying their first rod get a lot of expert advice so they choose the right model.
About AuthorMore info about author
Grant is the Founder of AnglingAuthority.com. While he primarily fishes for large mouth and small mouth bass, he’s passionate about sport fishing in general and an avid multispecies angler. Learning about new tactics, gear, species and conditions is all part of what makes the sport challenging and enjoyable. Grant also loves to travel, particularly to prime fishing destinations. Grant participates in regional tournaments and is a proud pro staff member of State Apparel, Power-Pole and Gambler Lures. Grant is a member of B.A.S.S, Canadian Bass Anglers Federation and Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.More by Grant Pentiricci