Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Tackle Review : HTO Rockfish UL 0.5-7g LRF rod

I first heard of this rod a few months ago on the lure forum as a couple of members were testing it, formerly known as TronixPro Rockfish UL it has since been re branded HTO Rockfish UL. It instantly grabbed my attention as it was a budget model LRF rod and they are few and far between! So when we were asked if we would like to review the rod we jumped at the chance!

First off the rod specifications.

Length : 6'11"
Casting range : 0.5 - 7g
Solid carbon tip

The first thing that struck us was the overall look of the rod is very good indeed. The red ,black and silver whippings and overall finish were neat and tidy and the join where the carbon tip meets the matt black carbon blank is nice and neat too.The abbreviated handle is a similar length to my Graphiteleader Corto and is very comfortable as well as looking good in a low profile sort of way . There is no fore grip as such but the reel seat is set up so that its easy to rest your finger on the blank in order to feel bites.The rings are good quality and tough enough to handle saltwater and rocks. The carbon tip is ultra fine and finished in  a nice visible white but it is a very fine diameter tip, ultra sensitive but also delicate too so it will require a bit of care when transporting!The rod definitely looks the part so it was onto seeing how it performed. 

We tried the rod in various different scenarios with both fluorocarbon and braid as a mainline. Our first run through with it was exploring some vertical presentations, bouncing lures down into gullies and next to large boulders. The ultra fine tip worked as an excellent visual bite indicator, registering the tiny bites of blennies and sea scorpions very well indeed and bending right over when they grabbed the lure and made off with it.

Next test was casting and seeing how it registered bites at distance, this we did down at St Abbs  with flounder as our target species. It really does cast little jig heads as well as any of my more expensive LRF rods, which was great for getting to the resident flounder. The rod allows you to feel the contours of the bottom well allowing you to differentiate between rock , sand and weed and when the bites come they are transmitted directly to the hand with the fine tip also giving a great visual indication. There were a few flounders where we got to observe the take and we found that they were able to suck the lure into there mouth while we still had tension on the line. This allows the fish to inhale the bait with confidence as there is hardly any resistance, however we could still feel these bites and I don't think any were missed ! Once the fish were hooked the action of the rod came into play, it has a regular fast action when working the lures but a nice soft action when playing a fish. It certainly has more of a through action when compared to my some of our other LRF rods , this however makes playing fish rather pleasant as the through action cushions the light line very well from head shakes and sudden dives and controls the fish in a soft but firm manner.

A lot of flounders were caught on the rod from 0.5lb to 1.25lb and it was great at registering bites and playing the fish in, I also "swung in" all the fish to land them and the rod coped well with it. I would stress however that due to the ultra fine tip it would be preferable to have used a drop net and I would advocate the use of one just to keep that tip safe. It is also a great little trout rod too and before the season had ended I managed to have a quick session fishing soft plastics for trout. The rod casts and works the 1g jig heads well but came into its own for hooking and landing the trout, where the soft action really worked at keeping the trout hooked no mater how they tore about in the current!

Overall I have to say that there is nothing that compares to this rod in it price range. It is a genuine little LRF rod designed for the sea and it does what many much more expensive rods do at a fraction of the price. I think its a great little rod and the highest praise I can give it is that when I recently broke my GraphiteLeader Corto EX tip section, I went to my rod holdall to grab the TronixPro only to remember that Scott had taken it to Jersey. I was gutted! The rod would have done everything my Corto would have and would have kept me fishing.

That being said it won't replace my Corto but it will stay in my rod bag for friends to use and as my spare LRF rod. It certainly is an excellent rod for those that want to sample the joys of Light Rock Fishing but it also doubles as a great rod for trout and perch and there is simply nothing else that comes close in this price range.

Tronix have also informed me that they will be making a "deluxe" version of the rod with Fuji fittings and a slight redesign of the handle, they have done such a good job with this one I for one cant wait to see what the new model is like!

Tight lines, Schogsky.