Freshwater bass and muskie rods have a lot in common with back-bay saltwater rods meant for school stripers, fluke and bluefish. Fresh or salt, they need to deliver a knockout punch against powerful gamefish without losing essential casting qualities to throw a wide range of spoons, plugs and soft plastics. The Lamiglas Excel rod series performs these tasks perfectly.
The original Excel lineup included seven spinning and 12 conventional one-piece rods for avid freshwater bass, walleye and muskie fishermen, from six-foot, six-inch models to specialized seven-foot, 11-inch conventional rods with fast actions and several Lamiglas power ratings. Line and lure weights range from light rods ideal for small 1/16-ounce lures up to more powerful actions that can throw lures up to one ounce. Line pound-tests in the original Excel series run the gamut from six- to 25-pound-test, depending on the specific rod model.
AN EXPANDED LINEUP
The Excel lineup was expanded at last year’s ICAST Tackle Trade Show with five new saltwater spinning and five conventional rods specifically designed for saltwater fishing and were an instant hit with tackle shops. The saltwater actions are fast to moderate/fast designed specifically for striped bass, bluefish, redfish and sea trout. One is a seven-footer, the rest are 7-1/2 feet; perfect for casting from a skiff or while wade fishing, or for the growing legion of kayak anglers looking for some extra rod length. Depending on the model, these one-piece Excels cast lures of ¼ to one ounce and handle lines of six- to 20-pound-test.
Also new for 2012 is the XL 704 Glass model based on a Lamiglas high-tech fiberglass design specially crafted for working freshwater crank baits and reaction baits, where a softer rod is the preferred choice of most bass pros and tournament anglers.
Lamiglas uses a proprietary blend of graphite to build the Excel blanks and handsomely finishes them in an eye-catching metallic-copper color scheme with matching guide wraps. Spinning models boast Aero Comfort Touch reel seats while conventional casting rods are equipped with Fuji’s exposed-blank reel seats. The lighter rods in the series sport split grips, a popular feature for freshwater and back country salt. The length of the lower butts, the distance from the reel to the butt cap, is perfect for inshore and back-bay anglers wearing waders or fishing from kayaks. The heavier rods feature full-cork butt and foregrips. Each rod has a hook-keeper eye, a small touch, but very handy to keep a lure tangle free as you travel from one spot to another.
Depending on the individual rod, Lamiglas equips the freshwater Excels with Fuji or American Tackle Micro Lite guides. The Micro Lites are very light in weight for freshwater anglers who appreciate the reduced rod weight and slick casting abilities of these guides. Freshwater Excel rods are labeled with a XL prefix; the saltwater rods are labeled XLS. Rod models ending with C have Fuji guides; those designated with CM are equipped with Micro Lite guides. The saltwater Excel rods are equipped with American Tackle Ring Lock guides.
So, how do they handle on the water? I fished three Excels last fall for school stripers; the XLS 702 S, XLS 763 S and the freshwater XL 704 S, and liked their casting performance, choice of quality of components, first-class construction and fish-fighting abilities. The 702 was a lot of fun casting 3/8-ounce leadheads to school stripers fished in open water over mussel beds, drop-offs and creek mouths.
CASTS LIKE A CANNON
For light-tackle wade fishing, the 763 at 7-1/2 feet casts like a cannon and feels light in the hand. Lamiglas hit a home run with this rod; it’s comfortable while wading or casting from a boat. The freshwater XL 704 has a fast action with a powerful butt. I used it while casting leadheads toward bridge and dock pilings where I had to haul some small but determined 20- to 34-inch stripers away from barnacle-encrusted structure. This is a gutsy rod. The Aero Comfort Touch reel seats are a big plus when you’re casting constantly for two to three hours. The overall butt length was perfect for quick, repeated casting.
Opinions are numerous when it comes to selecting a good rod, but the Made-In-The-USA Lamiglas Excel series has everything needed in action, taper, power and quality. If you’re looking for a new light-tackle rod, this series is worth serious consideration.