Evolution Rods – Strong but Sensitive
By Terry Wiest
Evolution Rods, based in Florida, recently contacted us to see if their line of rods would fit with us over here in the Great Northwest. I looked over their selection, which is quite broad, and didn’t see anything that stood out for Steelhead, but what I did see was a couple models that caught my attention.
First of all, I was looking for a shorter twitchin rod for fall salmon. The EV-S761M, 7 1/2ft, 12 – 25lb spinning rod looked to fit this bill perfect.
Then, what I was really excited about was their line of rods ideally suited for Ling Cod, Halibut and Tuna! More about these rods in a bit.
Evolution Products, Inc. claims not only do these rods have great strength, sensitivity and action but they have the greatest strength to weight ratio of any graphite rod ever produced and sold in the USA markets. Evolution Products, Inc. is using a Neo-Carbon 100% graphite solid blank. Neo-Carbon is stronger and more sensitive than any graphite used in the production of any graphite fishing rod.
Recently the trend with all Salmon and Steelhead rods have been to go long. BUT, if twitchin is your method, the longer the rod the harder it is to achieve the proper action to the jig. A shorter rod is more forgiving with the twitchin action and when done properly will definitely produce more strikes.
The EV-S761M was a very pleasant break from the longer rods of recent and was actually fun to cast and retrieve. A very thin diameter rod (10mm), which stems from the Neo-Carbon blank, it is very light to the feel and extremely sensitive with the blank running all the way through to the butt.
We targeted Chum on the Skagit River as we all know these fish put up a fight! The Skagit strain of Chum also are known to have some shoulders and we found out first hand they don’t lie. We landed fish after fish and there was never a doubt the rods could handle these bad boys.
What was really impressive though is the sensitivity of these rods. When twitchin the fish hit the jigs on the fall. We could actually feel the fish pick up the jig and telegraph it to our hands so we could set the hook rather than another twitch, feel the fish, and then set the hook which sometimes results in a missed fish. Our hookup ratio definitely increased due to the shorter rod or the sensitivity, but my guess is a combo of both.
Now on to the Saltwater rods! Evolution wanted us to try a variety so we ended up testing three different rods.
EV-CH661M 6′ 6″ rated 20 – 40lbs – Stand Up Rod
- EV-J60H 6′ 0″ rated 65 – 200lbs – Jigging Type Rod
- TBP-C761MHFT 7′ 6″ rate 6 – 60lbs – Casting Rod (made for Extreme Conditions)
I REALLY want to use these rods on Ling Cod and Halibut, but due to the limited seasons I’ll have to wait until May.
To me the EV-CH661M should be a killer Ling Cod Rod at only 12mm in diameter but a Stand Up rod so you can grab them out of the rocks if necessary. The TBP-C761MHFT will be great for inshore Lings but will pull double duty offshore should you need an extra rod.
How could you not look at the EV-J60H and not think of Halibut? Rated 65 – 200lbs this would be perfect for the standard 80 – 100lb braided line that we use in 400 – 600ft of water, and only being 12mm in diameter it has to be much easier to control than the thick rods we’re used to. I’m already thinking about pulling up a monster from the deep and seeing what this rod can handle.
But, being as though we still wanted to give these rods a test before next year, we thought of another tough species… TUNA! These rods went on five separate trips out of Westport to tackle some of the toughest fish around.
My buddy Todd Girtz gladly took these rods and fished some of the toughest conditions and really put a beating to these rods, averaging almost 40 tuna per trip. That’s 200 tuna hitting these rods at reel ripping speeds then putting up a battle until they hit the deck.
Todd reported that all 3 rods performed perfect for Tuna.
The foregrip on the TBP-C761MHFT (left) could have been a little larger to hold on to, but then again the people at Evolution didn’t realize we were going to put them up to Todd’s abuse in fighting Tuna. In all fairness, this rod was designed to accommodate a smaller reel which your hand would hold from underneath, not the large reels used for tuna in which case it was necessary to hold the foregrip instead.
As seen in the picture to the right, the EV-CH661M has a larger foregrip which gives the angler plenty of room for any size hand. Notice in both pics the small diameter of the rods. It still amazes me the power is such a small diameter. And remember, these are solid rods so you feel the fishes movement all the way to the butt.
The rods not only lasted Todd’s punishment, but he said he’d also love to give them a go for both Ling Cod and Halibut.