Saturday, 26 February 2011

Tackle review: Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT 8' 15-50g Spinning rod.

I was going to go and and further test this rod but the weather is shitty so I'll review my new rod here for your pleasure.

Lightweight long-casting sexy lure rod.

I am right into my lure fishing but have, for a couple years, been using cheap spinning rods because I broke a nice one when I first started and didn't want to repeat that.   I didn't repeat that so I decided last week to treat myself to a quality spinning rod.  Lure fishing involves a lot of walking and casting all day long so it makes sense to have a rod that is light and fairly short.
I had 2 cheaper spin rods with the heavier of the 2 (20-60g) being an Abu Diamond Crest 9' job which cost £19.  I've caught some good fish on it but its heavy and pretty soft with a crappy reel seat.  Still excellent value for under 20 quid.
After doing my research in the interweb I decided that the 8' 15-50g Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT looked like a good bet at about £70-£80.

Veals in Bristol were doing them at £60 so I popped down there for a look at one.  Veals is a good shop with a huge range of tackle and pleasant knowledgeable staff.  Heaps recommended.

I took the Bushwhacker out of the rack and was sold immediately.  It is light, has a lovely fuji reel seat and rings and is a real pleasure to look at and have in the hand.  I also bought a Shimano Catana 3000 reel to fit as my old 4000 superGT would be a bit heavy for a light rod like this. 

Arriving back in Oxford I grabbed my bag of lures and headed straight down with the 4000 reel to my favourite predator venue on the Thames to see how it casts.  I didn't have much hope of catching as the rain had put the river up high with a nasty muddy colour.

The 15-50g casting weight seems low as the rod is stiff compared to the Abu.  I tried a few lures and found that it was a bit too stiff for the smaller stuff and I got better 'feel' with rubber baits from my softer cheap rods.  But the Bushwhacker is a serious casting tool.  I put on a 45g 10cm Salmo slider jerkbait in flouro pink and went for a 'hero' cast to see how far it would go.

Fucking MILES was the answer.  The lure ended up right at the back of the weirpool about 50% further than I've ever cast before.  There was only a few turns of 30lb power-pro braid left on the reel.
Second hero cast I hooked into something and the rod bent with a nice progression and some serious power low down.  It was only a jack Pike about 3-4lb but I am very much looking forward to playing double figure fish on this rod.
So the extra casting distance put my lure into a new previously unreachable area and got me a bonus pike.  Result.
My cheap rods are both 9' and the loss of a foot could be a pain fishing from the bank as I mostly do.  However it is such a lovely looking quality rod that I shall be giving it some serious use and time will tell.  At the moment I keep picking it up and admiring the sexy 2 piece handle.
Bloody weather.  I want to go for a spin now.....


Since writing this review I have had several double figure pike on this rod including one that was nearer to 30lb than 20.  It has loads of backbone for playing large fish and I am still very happy with it.  The rod has also survived being bent double in a split second by an unseen brute of a fish that tried to snap it in India.

I'm inventing a rating system of 1 to 5 stars right now and I give it....

**** - 4

Its only because its too stiff to use softbaits very well that I don't give it 5 but then it is a great rod for using all hard baits and spinnerbaits 1/2 - 2 oz.  I should probably buy a soft rod just for jigs.  Excellent value for money.


  1. your review was really helpful .... i m planing to buy one for cod fishing in the north sea. i ll let u know how it went!

  2. Thanks for the review. It helped me to decide on the 8' 15-50gr in favor for the 5'6" 20-60gr. Mine is for pike fishing in Sweden.