Every time i have picked up an Ugly Stik spinning rod I've always found them to be fairly 'floppy' with little backbone. I hate this in a rod, yet the Kayak rods and Boat rods of the same name have this desired characteristic. Yeah a soft rod is good for doubling over for a cool photo when hooked into a fish but the lack of backbone would have the Pollack and other species i target laughing all the way back into the reefs and rocks from where they came! I needed an Ugly Stik spinning rod with a bit more grunt.
Whilst browsing the fishing section of a local marine chandlery store i came across the new Ugly Stik Elite Spinning rod and to my surprise it had the grunt and backbone i was looking for in a lure rod for kayak fishing! A quick bend of the different length rods (7ft, 8ft, 9ft & 10ft) and i settled on the 8ft 20-50g model being the right one for the lighter lure fishing and light bottom fishing i primarily wanted it for. Its long enough to both fire a lure out a reasonable distance and also get the line around the bow of the RTM Tempo & Abaco from the seating position without needing to lean forward to much. The 7ft model felt a little undergunned in the power department but would have been very exciting with a decent Pollack on, and great for freshwater lure fishing. The longer versions were just too long for a kayak. The 8ft rod was the one for me.
It hasn't quite got the solid backbone found in the kayak rods but this is a spinning rod designed for casting and thus a solid backbone would impede blasting a lure towards the horizon. It has a progressive medium action i.e. the rod bends with a fairly smooth curve to just above the reel seat when a decent amount of pressure is applied. Apply some heavy pressure onto the blank and the bit of backbone that was left in reserve comes into play to put the brakes on a fish if needed! This was looking promising.
Lets take a closer look at the rod....
The rod is a 2 piece (equal lengths) blank that has a 40-50% Graphite content according to the Ugly Stik Website. This does make for a lighter rod and indeed it feels light in the hand and your not going to be feeling the strain of holding it after several hours of use. I am sure the higher Graphite content compared to other Ugly Stik spinning rods is what gives the Elite that bit more grunt.
The 2 sections are joined by a standard push-together overlapping joint, reinforced with a short section of whipping and resin.
It has a Cork handle and butt section!! I love the look and feel of a Cork handle on a spinning/lure rod so this is a welcome feature.
The butt length doesn't feel too long with approx. 36cm from the base of the reel seat to the rod butt, and approx. 56cm from the start of the reel seat to the butt.
In real money that looks like this against a forearm.... It felt about right to me. I certainly wouldn't have wanted it much shorter and definitely not any longer. The rod feels well balanced with fixed spools between the 2500 and 3500 size. I'm sure small baitcasters will feel equally at home on this rod.
An etched in Ugly Stik logo features at the base of the butt section...
Moving up we find a screw-up reel seat...
And above the fore-grip some weaved thread detailing and a hook keeper which is sort of expected on a lure/spinning rod.
The usual decals and logo can be found on the rod above the reel seat...
The rod has 7 'Tuff' eyes that have a solid one-piece stainless steel construction. These have held up reasonably well on my kayak rods albeit with a bit of light surface corrosion starting to show. These eyes can be used with both mono and braided lines.
Eye internal diameters as follows:
1 x 7mm tip eye
1 x 7mm
1 x 9mm
1 x 10mm
1 x 13mm
1 x 15mm
1 x 25mm butt eye
The rod features the characteristic Ugly Stik solid clear glass tip. The rest of the blank has a matt black finish.
and it comes with a bag...
Well... it appears to be the Ugly Stik spinning rod i have always been looking for! The same feel as the kayak and boat rods but in a lighter design that has a bit more play in the blank for casting and playing a fish. According to the Ugly Stik website this particular Elite series has been designed for the European market which seems plausible given the extra grunt the blank has over previous models which have been american models brought to the European market. This rod isn't going to compete with the top end £150+ lure rods but i reckon for the money this rod will hit the nail on the head for me and for others too.
The visual design seems to follow on from the GX2 kayak and boat rod design with the matt black finish, tuff-eyes and the clear glass tip. An added bonus though is the cork handle!
I can see this rod being used quite regularly on my kayaking trips for lighter lure fishing in shallower water, trolling lures, light feathering for baitfish and light bottom fishing with weights less than 2oz. It will be great for the light bottom fishing during the species hunt competitions. I am quite looking forward to putting this rod through its paces and locking it up into a few big fish!
Time to get out on the water and find some fish!
Cost & Where to Buy
The Ugly Stik 8ft 20-50g Elite Spin covered in this blog post retails at only £50 despite feeling of somewhat higher quality than you would expect for £50. Even better you can find this rod online for around £40! Bargain!
I picked up mine for £44 from Looe Chandlery - unfortunately they don't have an online shop but if your in the area pop in as they have a great selection of fishing gear.
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