I was asked by my fishing mate, Paul Smith, to independently review one of a new range of Anyfish, Anywhere (AA) lure rods that are being imported into NZ by Action Tackle Supplies. The brief was to provide an honest, “no holds barred” assessment of the rod that could be used to fine tune the rod for NZ conditions, if necessary. Most of my spin fishing is done in northern estuaries using soft baits and bibless hard bodied lures and I’m averaging around 50 – 60 angling sessions per year. My current spinning rod for soft plastics and hard bodied lures is a Tica SEHA424402 8’ (2.4 m) Medium Fast action graphite spinning rod rated at 4 – 7 kilograms and this will be used as the reference point for comparison.
9’ (2.75 m) two piece rod with a “tip over butt” ferrule. Lure rating of 15 – 40 grams. The rod has Duplon handles and a split rear handle to reduce weight. The winch fitting is screw down style with the front handle being used to lock the reel seat into the winch fitting. There are 9 guides (1 double foot butt guide and 7 single foot intermediates, plus tip) on the rod and the guides are braid compatible. The thread used to bind the guides onto the rod is black with metallic blue highlights. There are anodised blue aluminium bands on the handle to break up the black Duplon. The blank is unvarnished aside from a small section above the handle where the rod details are recorded. A blue anodised hook keeper is attached in front of the fore grip. The rod was supplied in a lightweight nylon rod sock divided into two sections. Analysis of the rod showed that it assumes a working curve at slightly under around 2 lb. of force which is about the crossover point for a soft bait / hard bodied rod. Rod weight was 162 grams. Coincidentally this is 3 grams lighter than the Tica rod which is 1’ (300 mm) shorter.
The rod was matched to a Daiwa Luvias 3000 spinning reel spooled with 17 lb. (7.5 kg.) Nanofil braid for testing. Trialled with a 4.5 gram Nitro jig head onto which a 2 ½” PowerBait shad had been threaded and a 14 gram Yo-Zuri 3D vibe bibless minnow.
What I found:-
The AA rod is an absolute joy to cast. It is so light that it quickly becomes an extension of your casting arm and you almost forget that it is there. The casting distances achieved with lures below the rated rod weight were impressive, roughly 5 metres further that what I regularly achieve with the identical Tica rod set up. I’m picking that because the tip of the AA rod is very thin in the top third, and the taper much more aggressive than the Tica, that this adds more flex and whip to the cast, increasing casting distance. Mending line with the AA rod is unbelievably easy. The extra length means that it is more like scribing an arc in the air with a feather than flicking the rod aggressively. This is one of the features that I liked most about the test rod. The AA rod handles soft baits with aplomb as it is sensitive yet firm with just the right degree of stiffness in the tip.
There was a very slight softening of feel when casting and retrieving the heavier bibless lure, especially when the lure was ripped aggressively through the water. This is most likely due to the dampening effect of the thin tip and does not appreciably detract from the overall feel or performance of the rod. There is no doubt that this AA rod is a rare beast. A tool that can handle both soft and hard bodied lures with ease, exactly as the manufacturers claim.
During the test we were fortunate enough to hook a couple of decent trevally (~ 2 kilograms) in a fairly narrow channel with a decent outgoing tide flow. This is where the AA rod came into its own. I was fishing with around 2 lb. (1 kg.) of reel drag and this, coupled with the 2 lb. of force required to bend the rod into a working curve, was more than enough to put some serious pressure on the trevally and keep them inside the channel marker buoys. It was astounding how much power could actually be brought to bear on the fish from such a lightweight rod. One thing that I really liked was the softness of the tip when playing fish in the shallow water. It cushioned the final strong surges of the trevally brilliantly and there was no sign of the hooks being pulled from soft mouths. On one of the fish in particular I was holding the fish in the shallows for about 5 minutes so that Paul could get some underwater shots with his GoPro and there was a lot of pressure being exerted. The hook deformed slightly but the fish stayed attached. Very impressive.
The fore grip is quite small at 2 ½” (6.5 cm) and I expected this to be an issue for me as my hand is roughly 4” (10 cm) wide. To be honest, it did not cause any concerns during the test session.
The AA rod is lightweight in construction and is a pleasure to use. The casting distances and control that can be achieved are truly impressive. Its lightweight look belies the hidden power reserves. The tip section is almost perfect for soft baits and hard bodied lures.
Overall the rod is nicely assembled. My only complaint would be that the epoxy coating on the guides is slightly variable, ranging from barely enough to generous and that the butt ring rotated. I’m not sure whether the butt ring is supposed to rotate though so this may not be a valid criticism. The nylon rod sock (or bag) is a tad flimsy and it would have been nice to see the rod supplied in a protective tube. If the rod is to be sold without a tube then the gauge of the materials used in the rod sock need to be upped substantially as does the robustness of the ties.
Overall rating:- 8.5 out of 10.
Would I recommend the rod to a friend:- You bet, in a heartbeat.