The CLASSIC has a stiffer, general purpose action that makes it great for a wide variety of fishing. It's got the backbone you need to dig in your heels and stop that big fish's run if you need to, and it really shines throwing heavier lines, streamers, poppers, and clunky foam terrestrials. If you want a general purpose rod that can also cast larger payloads and force fish to the net, then the CLASSIC is a great choice.
The BAD AXE has a smooth, softer action that makes remarkably consistent casts. The rod is no pushover, but the action is more dynamic and makes everything on the hook feel a bit more sporty. It can still handle the bigger fish, but it does so with finesse rather than muscle. You will find it perfect for casting medium and light weight lines, especially the BADGER-LITE floating line that we will be introducing to you soon. If you are looking for versatility, refined casting, and more lively play, choose the BAD AXE.
We have been fishing the BAD AXE for several weeks now, so we put together some trip reports that highlight our experiences with the rod so far. Mike got out and hit a nice Wisconsin bass creek, and I've gotten the rod onto trout in Iowa and North Carolina. Read on to see how it fishes!
BAD AXE Bass
The Bad Axe is named after a river in Wisconsin's driftless region. No one is really sure where the river got its name, but you have to admit that it sounds cool. We also thought we could design some pretty cool graphics at some point, you know like a badger with an axe?
I had the opportunity to test the rod the other morning after working a night shift. My routine for working night shifts has become as follows: work my tail off all night, crash for a couple hours in the morning, go fish for a while then go home to the family. It is exhausting, but it allows me to earn a living, get out and fish and be available to my family. Not sure what I'm going to do once it freezes up.
This week, I went back to the small mouth bass creek Matt and I fished recently. We found that this creek more or less shuts down once the weather cools, so we may only able to fish it for another week or two.
In the next pool, it seemed that about every cast drew interest from a fish. I landed about half a dozen and had a couple other long distance releases. And then something changed. Have you ever experienced anything like that? It was a strange sensation, but I knew I would catch fewer fish after that.
I think this rod is a pretty sweet deal at this price point. One thing you might notice is that it is longer than most other tenkara rods when collapsed. So far that has not been a problem. It still fits just fine in my Zimmerbuilt pack, and even when bushwhacking through the brush on my last outing, I did not feel like it was in danger. So, yes, it is longer, but so far that does not seem to be a big issue. It is still lightweight, well-balanced and easy to cast. Check it out!
BAD AXE Trout
I've fished it at both lengths, on some very different types of water in both Iowa and North Carolina. Its caught trout from 6-14 inches on dry flies, streamers, wet flies, nymphs, and kebari. I've fished furled lines, level line, and 3 different floating lines. The BAD AXE has performed well under every configuration.
I've found the cast to be smooth and crisp at both lengths, but one thing has really stood out to me throughout this process - the rod is extremely consistent. It fishes nearly the same for every line and fly choice I've tried on it. There are always going to be small variations, but I didn't have to adjust my casting stroke very much to make the rod perform well on any given rigging.
The rod really sings with our new BADGER-LITE floating line. It throws it so well, in fact, that a very experienced angler at the Appalachian Tenkara Jam (who prefers furled lines) fished this combo for 10 minutes before realizing that it wasn't a furled line! Stay tuned folks, even though we sold out of BADGER-LITE at the Jam, we will have more available soon.
The biggest fish I've caught so far on the BAD AXE is a 14 inch Iowa Brown Trout (top left in pictures below). He made some really solid runs on me, which is when I discovered how much more dynamic the rod's action is when compared to the CLASSIC. I never felt that the fish was out of control, or that the rod was in danger, but it definitely required more active play than I had anticipated. I am confident that the BAD AXE can handle much larger fish, but I believe it's action is optimal for making the Driftless standard 10-15 inch trout an absolute blast!
We are very excited to offer the BAD AXE for $99, and we believe that the moment you cast it, you'll understand why.