has an iridescent color changing paintjob that shifts from purple to a blue green depending on how the light hits it. There are not very many rods like this on the market, so this gives it a trait that really no other has. Designed by professional BASS angler Mike Iaconelli, they were definitely constructed knowing they would be on camera. There are two generations of this rod with the main differences being cosmetic “teeth” marks and functional finger grip notches in the EVA foam. Otherwise, internally they are most likely identical.
Starting at the butt section of the rod, we have a small accent ring with some notches cut out of the EVA foam. Presumably this flat spot may just be to add a bit of appeal to the rod, but it also provides a spot for the hand to rest comfortably when doing a two handed cast. Between the butt section and the handle grip is also where we can find the specs of the rod. Placing them in this location cleans up the blank of the rod where it is usually located near the hook keeper. The actual handle and trigger of the rod is a fairly basic design but it’s gloss black instead of the typical matte black. High gloss colors certainly catch the eye more than matte colors, so this was a smart decision to go along with the look of the rod. The foregrip nut is also wrapped in a layer of EVA foam so it provides additional comfort versus the ever-popular plain anodized nut.
A little past the handle and we have our hook keeper. Unfortunately, it is an entirely closed loop causing the user to have to unhook a fully rigged soft plastic instead of being able to simply slide your hook into place like other style keepers. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this style, it’s just inconvenient.
The blank material is constructed of 36 ton graphite which is getting towards the higher end of the scale. 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 Ike Rod comes with stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts.
Of the first generation Ike Rod, I specifically own a 7’2″ Medium Heavy with a Fast tip which weighs an impressive 5 ounces on the dot. For its length, power rating and having a whopping 12 guides, it still weighs less than some of the competitors. The addition of all of those guides though makes the balancing point 21 inches away from the butt section of the rod which means it is a little more tip heavy than others. 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. As a result, I noticed fairly early into owning it how much “heavier” the tip feels. Eventually, for me, it would start wearing on my hand and wrist throughout the day.
One pet peeve with this setup though is the use of stainless steel guides. The Vendetta and Virtual are identical rods, one has the added cost of Bluetooth otherwise they cost $80 base and use the same guides as this rod which is nearly twice as much. The Veritas at $100 got upgraded titanium alloy frames so realistically a rod that is more expensive should have them as well, right? Although the difference is minimal per unit, when you have 12 guides, it starts adding up in weight. Coupled with the fact that a 36 ton blank was used to decrease weight and increase sensitivity, it doesn’t really make sense to partially negate those benefits by using lesser guides. Although, they were designed by someone who is constantly on the move and needs their equipment to last (which stainless steel would be the best at), I don’t necessarily think was the best option considering the MSRP.
The Ike Rod is a great investment if you want something more unique than what much of the market has to offer. It is one of those items that catches the fisherman just as much as fish but with a manageable price tag. As mentioned, those 12 guides certainly help to control line a lot better which means more information is transmitted to your hands. Without a doubt it has no problem tossing a jig precisely to a tree, being subtle enough to detect a bite and getting the fish out of cover. One thing that separates this rod from others is the feeling of density. Rods are hollow but the higher quality they are, the more solid they will feel. Some rods feel as though they could be crushed with two fingers, not this one. Overall, if you want a unique rod, definitely check it out. Even though I have the first generation model, and they have came out with a newer model, I don’t necessarily see myself feeling the need to upgrade though for the price.
BFA’s Score: 8/10. To me the components of this rod don’t entirely make sense for the price, also based upon the fact that the rods have increased a little in price.
Check out the newer version Ike Rod here: https://amzn.to/38Ae7Xj
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