By Brian Demo
It's been a little while since I've dropped a product review on you all. I'm sorry for that. The podcast has taken the majority of the lifting duty for me getting things out to the world, but I can't shake that feeling to write. It's like the violin to my guitar….if that makes sense (it sounded good when I typed it). Anyway, let's get into this sweet new rod. BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT (BLUF): It's friggin' sweet!
Here's the description from Ninja Tackles website:
"The Dagger 7' Spinning "Go-To" Series Fishing Rod: This is a new, unique one-piece rod ready for salt and freshwater applications. We went all out on this rod from research/development, including all the components that make this the "Go-To" Series rod. NOTHING was withheld in the making of this setup. Full FUJI components from the single-footed Fuji K-WAG Alconite guides, Fuji TVS pass through ergonomic reel seat for insane feel and sensitivity to the custom WINN grips and topped off with a purposely placed Fuji hook saver. You get one light, sensitive, powerful setup when you add all these. Our proprietary composite blend of materials making up the blank will bridge the gap between inshore and freshwater fishing. Perfect for Kayak, wading, walking the bank, or boat fishing!" –Ninja Tackle via https://ninjatackleva.com
Total Rod Weight: 5.1oz
Weight Rating: 1/4oz-3/4oz
Line Rating: 8-17lb
Guides: Fuji K-WAG Single footed with Alconite rings
Reel Seat: Fuji TVS Ergonomic Pass Through
Grips: Custom WINN Grips
Hook Saver: Fuji Folding Hook Saver
Get all of that? Ok, now let's dig into this bad mammerjammer. My description is that it's a 7' multipurpose pole that has already proven to handle the little dink pinfish up to a beefcake black drum. The sensitivity of the tip is highly responsive to the little hits from the bait fish trying to get their mouths around your lure. It is complimented very nicely by the Fuji reel seat with the split opening, so you can feel the blank while holding the rod (more on that below). Whether doing bottom fishing or dragging that Fishbites Fightclub along the bottom to make that flounder go nuts, this rod has been knocking it out of the park.
My first time taking it out was to my local causeway to fish with Justin Reed Fishing (as usual…y'all know we are borderline inseparable for fishing) to catch some ladyfish and trout. I paired the rod up with a Shimano Vanford 4K from Half Hitch in Navarre, fifteen-pound braided line, ten feet of fluorocarbon leader, and a Rapala Shadow Rap lure. First cast, smooth as silk. The rod's retrieve and action handled as I expected it to—no hits on that cast. The next cast was a little angrier, and I was rewarded with more yardage. Again, there was a great feeling on the retrieve, and the tip responded well to the pinfish hits. No fish again. Third cast, BIG hit, and hookup of a ladyfish. The rod did perfectly and felt comfortable the entire time.
The next round out was with E6 Inshore Fishing Charters Captain Bill. I went out on a night tournament with him in his boat, hunting for reds and trout. I paired it up today with the same reel and line and changed to a 3/8 oz jighead with a Fishbites Fightclub Dirty Boxer. I wanted to get it far and have smooth action while fishing it. I struck red gold a little while later and hooked up on a sweet red drum hiding in a pocket by the weed line. He pulled drag, and the fight was on! The drag on the Vanford was perfect and quick to manipulate, so the fight was one-sided. The rod helped me maneuver the fish around to the side of the boat smoothly, and I didn't feel uncomfortable at all. Several other hits also came on that lure through the night, including a couple of very hangry bluefish! This rod has the voodoo powers that its big brother 12' dagger rods do: It launches the lure!
The overall feel of the rod is very comfortable. I thought that the reel seat with the openings to the blank and the threads at the top would be a slight hindrance, but I was proved very wrong after fishing with the rod. Not only was it comfortable, but I could feel every hit through my fingertips as they sat in the opening on the reel seat. The vibration from the hit is well displaced through the rod, and you can feel it in your hands. The Winn grips that are personalized are a very nice touch. Even when wet, the grip is not compromised and feels very natural. They can handle a few white knuckle moments and give just a little so have positive control when those palms get a little damp. I did fish the rod with wet hands a few times and felt no slippage or peel away from the rubber. Excellent addition to this already great rod.
In the surf, it has reacted the same way as on my other outings. It throws half-ounce jigs and bait into the zone while not feeling awkward or affected by wind as I would feel with a longer rod. I have not tried to fish it with a set rig only because it's a seven-footer, and I've got it tied up with a lure, waiting for a fish to show me that they are hungry to be caught. That said, it is a great lightweight rod to take out with you to the beach to do a walk and cast session with lures up to (and you're not supposed to exceed it, but I have a little) its maximum ounce recommendation and still be very fishable.
While not locally carried, you can pick up this rod from Ninja Tackle on their website, and it is shipped quickly. All of my rods from Ninja Tackle have come in schedule 4 thick PVC, well taped, and bubble-wrapped smartly to prevent damage. I recommend that with shipping, follow your tracking via the USPS website and when it gets to your post office, grab it from them. Why, you might ask? Those long tubes are one of the first things the postal officer will happily leave behind and slap a "come get your package from us" sticker on your door. Besides, you'll want to open it immediately and get it fishing. I know I did!