definitely has a classier look to it. Black, chrome/silver and carbon fiber are what distinguishes this rod from the competition. In my experience there have not been too many rods that have incorporated carbon fiber into the design let alone for $80-$90. The Fate Black has approximately 20 inches of a carbon fiber sheet rolled onto the blank around the lower end of the rod. This does two things; adds strength and makes it look unique.
Starting at the handle side of the rod, in the space between the butt section and the reel seat, we have a “snaggle tooth” hook keeper. Moving up to the reel seat it has a ported design which essentially means it has two gaps making almost a skeleton reel seat. I would assume they did this for weight reduction and to go along with the overall look of the rod.
One thing I did notice about this rod almost immediately was how stiff the EVA foam was. They claim it is high density and there is no doubt about that. Having a split grip design there are three sections of foam, the butt section, under the reel seat, and above the reel seat (foregrip). The foam under the reel seat is what I am talking about in particular. It is by far the stiffest foam I have ever felt in my life. Imagine you are laying on your bed, comfortable right? Now imagine you are laying on the floor, that is what that section of the rod feels like. Not necessarily saying that is a bad thing but it’s worth noting. Another thing to take into consideration is EVA foam is not solid which means it dampens vibrations going through it and into your hand. The stiffer it is, theoretically the more vibrations you should feel.
As we move up the rod a little, we have our foregrip which is a large nut to secure your reel to the seat. Foam only makes up about half of the foregrip which means the other half is to a degree, just solid metal which may not feel good against your hand. The whole rod is constructed using a Japanese 30 ton PVG30T blank. For those who do not really understand tonnage ratings, simply put, the larger the tonnage number, the stiffer the graphite becomes which means more intense vibrations will reach your hand. Being as though these fibers are stiffer, that also means less resin or epoxy is needed to essentially hold it together so, theoretically it should be lighter overall. There is one downfall though, it also becomes more brittle. The version of Fate Black I own is the 7’4″ Extra Fast Heavy and it weighs approximately 5.4 ounces. For comparison the Daiwa Fuego I own is a 7’3″ Heavy and weighs approximately 4.8 ounces. Oddly enough the Fate Black feels a lot less tip heavy which is one of its strong suits. The guides are a stainless steel frame with zirconia inserts and is fairly common for this price range. Stainless Steel gives it strength and the zirconia give it better thermal properties against wear and tear.
Now let us talk a little about what I do and do not like about the Fate Black. Firstly, if you haven’t figured out by now, I really like the way it looks. There’s something about black and another color that catches my eye, whether it be black/red, black/white, or in this case black/silver. They’ve incorporated it into the rod in various locations so one spot doesn’t have too much or too little, it’s evenly spread apart. Also being as the version I have is more heavy duty, I like seeing the first few guides closest to the reel seat have a double foot on them. So, in other words they are wrapped on the top and bottom and are also slightly bigger/normal sized guides. The remaining ones on the rod are all much smaller, almost to the degree of a micro guide. So larger guides to let the line have a little wiggle room then smaller guides to contain it, increase sensitivity, and decrease weight. The rod is also true to its ratings. Without a doubt it is a Heavy XFast. Physically the last 20 inches of the rod is the only thing that really jumps when you tap it or a fish hits your lure, the rest is pure backbone.
What I do not like about the Fate Black is the reel seat, specifically the trigger and the hook keeper. The trigger comes out at nearly a 90-degree angle which is fairly common on rods, but in my experience, it starts hurting my fingers especially when using a longer, heavier rod and heavier baits. This is one reason why I have always opted for the Veritasand Vendetta line of rods because their trigger curves upwards a decent amount which in turn is contoured to your fingers better. Comfortableness is very dependent on the specific rod you buy, action and the lure you use because they will vary in weight and each person will differ in opinion. No doubt in my mind if I bought say a 6′ Medium rod, I probably would not have any issues with it because I would use a rod of that caliper for a whole different technique and fishing style. Now onto the hook keeper. Traditionally rods always had the keeper on the section of rod between the reel seat and the first guide. There is nothing wrong with change, but this hook keeper has sharp edges and really likes to catch on clothing. If you also end up with a goofy cast, that sharp corner may land right on your finger/hand. It certainly won’t send you to the ER, but it will hurt if it does happen.
BFA’s score: 8/10. It’s a nice rod with some unique traits but I couldn’t get it to feel quite right with the setup I had intended for it (heavy cover). My hand was often cramping up while using it. As I stated though; everyone is different. The hook keeper is also poorly designed in my opinion, it is too “sharp.” If you own one, run the palm of your hand over it and you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Check out the Fate Black here:
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