was the first to implement Bluetooth literally into the rod. One may wonder what exactly this Bluetooth ability would consist of. Playing music? Taking a phone call? What good could Bluetooth technology serve while fishing? Quite simply, it tracks your position and has the ability to log your catches with the simple press of a button. So similar to using a fish finder out on the lake. If you want to mark something whether it’s a school of fish or a submerged tree just hit the button built into the butt section of the rod and you’re set. You can even upload a photo to go along with the waypoint. All you need is the “Anglr” app downloaded on a device, and you have the ability to see your waypoints or data you upload.
Firstly, the rod has an interesting look to it; a blue blank, green accents and threads, with black guides, reel seat and EVA foam. Starting at the handle we have a fairly monstrous butt section which is actually where our little GPS device is hidden. Simply unscrew the green bezel and you will be able to see the Anglr button hidden underneath the black foam. If you press this white button, it will have a small red light appear in the middle to show it is operational. The handle section of this rod is almost one of the most comfortable you can get. The EVA foam with a contoured trigger to fit your fingers is unmatched. The one downfall is their rather large click nut they added to tighten your reel. It will have a harder time loosening over time, but that comes at the cost of some comfort.
A little past the reel handle is where we have our hook keeper. It is a wire bent in a “U” shape with both ends attached to the rod at the same point. This style is an open system and is one of the best you can get. Quite simply grab your lure, slide the lowest part of the hook shank over it, and tighten with the reel. There is no fumbling around trying to align a hook point through the keeper, there is no unhooking your soft plastics, simply slide it into place.
The blank material on this rod is a 30 ton graphite. 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. 30 ton graphite is around mid-tier so having it on rods priced from around $80 to $140 is fairly common. The guides are also a stainless steel frame with zirconium inserts and are regularly sized.
The model Virtual rod that I own is a 7′ Medium Heavy with a Fast tip that weighs a surprising 5.8 ounces. Despite the butt section being a little larger in order to integrate the button, it does not weigh any more than other rods out there. What many don’t realize is with more weight in the handle, consequently the tip will feel lighter. The center of gravity on the Virtual rod, at 7ft, is only 15.5 inches away from the bottom cap of the rod. It literally has the ability to stand straight up and down on its own. A few other rods balancing points that I have tested are a whopping 21/22 inches away. If you fish a lot the extra tip weight on those rods becomes VERY noticeable, in comparison the Virtual is a feather and a dream to use. When talking about an object 7′ long, that seems marginal but when fishing, having the balancing point closest to your reel seat is going to give you the best control.
Now let’s talk a little about what I do and do not like about this rod. Firstly, if you haven’t figured out by now that it’s incredibly lightweight and comfortable to fish with, then this is another reminder. Having absolutely no weight on the rod tip has made it much easier to detect bites thus resulting in more fish in the boat. The downfall with this though is that the Medium Heavy rod is in no way anything more than a solid Medium power. Absolutely no way. So, in short, there’s a little false advertising happening there. The user will have to remember to buy the next power up to achieve the usual results. For example a Medium is actually a Medium Lite, a Medium Heavy is actually a Medium, a Heavy is actually a Medium Heavy, etc. I bought this specifically to use as a Senko rod around heavier cover or docks versus a spinning setup. Upon using it I quickly determined it would not be suitable for that as I would not be able to horse a fish out of thick cover if needed. I ended up using it for Texas rigs equipped with a tungsten weight to fish deeper weed edges where a fish would have a harder time burying themselves and it handled that technique really well for a 7′ “Medium.”
Our next issue deserves a whole paragraph of its own. No, I am not talking about the actual rod, it is the Anglr button. It seems like a genius idea but it has one large issue that I cannot recommend it for. None of my waypoints were ever, EVER, where I marked them. When you open the app and start a new fishing trip, you have a blue line indicating exactly where you were WITH a dot showing where you are in current time. It also claims it “works outside of cellular service,” so, if you’re well within service with 5G, it should have no problems, right? In my case, the blue line indicating where I was, never caught up to the actual location dot indicating where I am. After many tests, the blue line always stayed 50-100ft or more away from where I actually was. How is this a problem? When you mark a waypoint, it drops the pin on the blue line, not the dot indicating where you are in current time. I have a 21′ Stratos with a very underpowered 55lb Minnkota (eventually will upgrade). Even at half speed, the blue line never caught up. Many users report great things about this rod but that got me thinking, are they stationary when they are fishing or constantly moving (even if it’s at 1mph) like me? Over many attempts to correct the lag from the app with no success, I cannot recommend this rod to someone who isn’t stationary. For bank fishermen this would be great though especially if you have more spots than you can keep track of in your head.
BFA’s score: 9/10 for the rod. 3/10 for Anglr button and app. I may have just had a fluke, who knows but the rod is identical to a Vendetta; 30 ton blank, stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts, handle, trigger, it’s all the same minus one guide and the false power rating so with that being said if you are not interested in the button, you remove it cost wise and you have a Vendetta at $80. If the app performed flawless, then this would be a very great piece of equipment.
Check out the Virtual here:
Virtual baitcasting rod: https://amzn.to/3siBUTB
Virtual spinning rod: https://amzn.to/39qujK7
Check out the Vendetta here: https://amzn.to/3tK2yro
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