The Fenwick fishing rod line-up is on display at Red Rock. We started selling Fenwicks in 1986 or so. They were always a nicely made, good quality fishing rod. Back then, they cost a lot more than other rods out there and there were no carbon rods. It was all fiberglass but they were still pretty “up there” as far as the other brands we were stocking at the time. Every year, they tweaked the line. Some years were a little more exciting than other years in overall appearance.
Over time, technology changed and the fishing world fell in love with carbon rods. I remember when IM 6 graphite came out and how expensive those rods were. Then IM7 and IM8 came out and IM6 was significantly cheaper. Meanwhile, like ball bearings in a reel, the higher the IM’s the “better” the rod is – supposedly. You know what? I can’t figure out the whole IM thing. I don’t know what the heck it means or how it translates into anything of regard for the rod. Personally, I think the fishing industry may be splitting hairs to “one-up” each other to sell rods. It does work, because like me in college taking an accounting exam and talking myself into believing that I know this, I get the sense that my customers do the same when it comes to IM6, 7, and 8. They really have no clue but assume the higher IM listed in the features and benefits on the sales tag makes it better, stronger, faster, like Col. Steve Austin.
Yesterday, I had a customer in who bought a spinning reel. Like salting your food before you actually taste it in a restaurant, he looked at the box and said “10 bearings – good, I’ll take it.” In the fishing world with men specifically, more ball are always better. In my never-ending quest to help shoppers think (and I probably should just shut my mouth) about the marketing being used on them, I asked him if he’s ever going to open up the reel and actually count those ball bearings. Plus, I queried about how anyone knows if the reel manufacturer simply dumps some loose bearings under the side plate of the reel and and screws it shut with those extra bearings totaling ten and stuck in the extra grease under the housing. He laughed and bought the reel anyway. Don’t get me wrong. It was a perfectly fine Pflueger President 6930 and they are beautiful reels. But, like bearings in the reels, how does ANY of us know what modulus graphite is actually in those fishing rods? Is there a federal testing agency for verification? Well, we still have two years to go under the present leadership from behind, so with regards to more intrusions into our lives, I recommend we be careful what we wish for. I’m not going with the IM6-IM7- IM8 discussion. Nobody can explain it to me. I have no way of knowing what it really means, so I’m not going to be sucked into that silliness. I shop the old fashioned way. I pick up the rod, shake it and bend the tip. Then, I look at the warranty.
That is what I did to the Fenwick HMG (high modulus graphite) medium light rods we have in stock. Our best-selling, all around size is 6 feet. The first thing I noticed on this rod is how striking it looks. How important is appearance over function? Not very, but I notice fine craftsmanship and beautiful design. In fishing rods, it’s eye candy. But, then, I picked it up and that’s when the goose bumps set in. It weighs nothing. Well, it actually weighs in at a whopping 3.8 ounces!
You notice that without a reel on it, the rod feels “tip heavy” because the TAC handle is tough, comfortable and light. TAC, while they don’t tell us what that acronym is for, translates to cork crumbs in a glue. It’s striking in appearance and tougher than regular cork. They also added some strategically-placed, high density EVA foam that adds to the look, and has the same tough density of the the TAC part.
The features and benefits tag on the rod are pretty limited. This rod has titanium frame guides and it is carbon bound. Carbon Bound is their TM for wrapping the entire rod from tip to butt with a carbon string. Makes the rod stronger they say and I don’t doubt it. The end result for this cool rod is that it feels really good in your hand when you pick it up. The first thing you do when you heft a Fenwick HMG is remember some fish you caught on another rod in your past and try to imagine it on this one. That sends an endorphin-producing rush and you feel compelled to own this rod. At least I did that. Plus, at medium light you have rod that is the perfect general purpose rod for fishing everything from walleyes to bluegills to big northern pike. It will cast 1/8-5/8 ounce lures, is designed for 6-12 lb. line, and has a fast tip for shock absorption and keeping the slack out of your line when playing a fish.
This rod also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Will they cover it for slamming it in a car door, yanking a snag like an idiot, stepping on it, driving over it with the pickup truck, breaking it in a sword fight, etc. – probably not. The really cool thing about Fenwick is that they have a really easy warranty program and you deal directly with them. If the rod snaps inexplicably during the warranty, you email them a photo of the rod (after you make contact with them, first) and they take it from there. We’ve actually had a few customers do this and Fenwick sent them a new rod. Now, will this always be the case? I can’t say, but our past experiences with them has been very good and consistent. It is my assumption that gear with longer/stronger warranties is intended to last longer and be tougher. With regard to Fenwick and their handling of warranty claims, I’m convinced that the HMG is a lot of value for the buck.