Sunday, May 17, 2009

Amp Rods Offer Good Value

A lot of BassFans lately who're frustrated by ever-increasing tackle prices. Let's face it – $200-plus rods aren't for everyone. But there's also a lot of junk out there at the lower price ranges. How do you tell the difference, and what represents a good value vs. a total waste of money?
That's a deep question, and has as much to do with rod components and manufacturing, as it does the warranty.
I can't speak to all the rods out there, of course. But what I can say is that I fished Berkley's new value-priced Amp rods on and off for several months last fall and was happy with their performance.
The Amp lineup includes 11 models in both spinning and casting. Four of them are two-piece models, which some folks prefer – especially those who are buying for kids, or who drive compact cars.
Suggested retail price is $29.99.

Berkley's selling point for the Amp series (aside from price) is sensitivity – hence the "Amp" name. The rods therefore come with modern functional elements like X-Posed reel seats and split-grip cork handles. That means your hand's in constant contact with the rod blank while fishing.
In addition, according to the company, the Armadillo Hide finish "eliminates cut fibers from the blank. Not only does this finish keep the blank free from imperfections, it increases strength and durability ensuring that an investment in an Amp rod pays off for a long time."
I found the rods to be sensitive, as claimed, and they functioned quite well in a variety of applications – from topwater and crankbait fishing to dropshotting.
A few other observations:
In order to seat a reel, you actually screw up the cork rear-grip, which of course is lined with a hard material. The system did appear to me to be lighter-duty, meaning care should be taken not to over-torque it and risk a split in the real seat.
These are lighter-action rods, and medium-heavy is the heaviest they get.
The rods carry Berkley's standard warranty, which guarantees the rods for a year against defect in materials or workmanship, but not abuse.
The finish on the rods is attractive, with a green and silver highlight motif.

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