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MLXF Pleasant Surprise
As a tackle maker and reseller I can buy from a couple distributors,
although I have only setup an account with one. Anyway, I am constantly
browsing for better deals and rods that fit the bill for certain
applications for less than the big names. Sometimes they are the big names.
I ran across a listing for a Penn Inshore MLXF 7' spinning rod with the same
listed action as the that $249 St Croix I use for dropshot and 4" Club-Os.
The price was pretty good. I could sell them for $50 if I wanted to, but I
was skeptical. I emailed Susan over at Penn and asked here pointedly about
the rod. She gave me the weight, and said the action is as marked. I
bought a few of them. D-Man had just asked me about a dropshot and I
mentioned these to him and he said he wanted to try one too. I bought a
Symetre 4000 series spinning reel to go with it. I happen to like the
larger spinning reels because I feel they cast better and twist line slower
than the smaller ones. My vendor had a deal on those too so I bought a
couple of them.
Here is the comparison.
Penn - EVA Foam Grips
St Croix - Cork Split Grips
Penn - 5.1 oz
St Croix - 4.0 oz
Penn - 7'0"
St Croix - 6'9"
Penn - Balances well with the size choice of reel
St Croix - Balances well with the size choice of reel
Penn - Labled ML XF / Actually M-ML XF
St Croix - Labeled MLXF / Actually MLXF
Penn - Casting 4" Club-O Very very good
St Croix - Casting 4" Club-O Excellent
Penn - Hookset (set not sweep) Excellent
St Croix - Hookset (set not sweep) Excellent
Penn - Sensitivity Excellent
St Croix - Sensitivity Excellent
Penn - Issue: Mentioned in on-line reviews for others that if you pull the
tip down hard to hook your bait on the keeper you can break the tip.
St Croix - Issue: I have broken one of my St Croixs in exactly the same
Comment on last point: Both rods are medium light extra fast. That means
they will not bend in a parabola through the length of the rod. They will
load up fairly quickly near the tip. If you over pull the tip towards the
butt you will break it, and its silly to expect you wouldn't.
Penn - Hook Keeper. Loop in front of reel.
St Croix - Hook type in front of reel.
Comment on last point: For t-rigs or dropshot rigs a hook type keeper is
superior to a loop type keeper. However, both rods have their keepers in
front of the reel where line can hit it when its flying around. A hook type
is more likely to catch the line. A hook type keeper behind the reel would
be superior on either rod for what I typically use them for.
Overall I give both of these rods high marks, but at $200 difference I would
will buy more of the Penns as long as they are available. After a couple
hours of fishing the Penn does feel heavier, but I think if I hadn't had so
many years fishing with the St Croix I would never notice. The butt section
is longer on the Penn so it fishes like the same length rod, and it might
balance a little better. My arm did not feel tired from using it.
I would also point out that I think either of these is unbeatable by
anything else I have found on the market for flinging light weightless
plastics and hook setting power combined, but plenty of folks I know like a
slightly slower rod for dropshot. I do not. I like the sensitivity the
speed of the rod gives me. The only other rod I have tried that came close
was one by Powell that sold for $169 or $189. It was close, but not quite
XF but certainly F. I have tried MFG recommended rods from several MFGs
including Lamiglas, Loomis, and Shimano. Some didn't listen when I told
them what action I wanted, and some grossly mislabeled the action of the
rods. Some like Fenwick and Quantum admitted they just didn't have a rod
with the exact action I was looking for. Obviously I would trust what they
say over what the others would say in the future.
I think this Penn rod sold as a sal****er inshore rod might be a really gem
of a find for a bass angler who might never look at it otherwise.
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