When it comes to catching crappie, you will need a good crappie fishing rod. In this Abu Garcia Black Max review, I will go over the main specs of the rod, the things I like about it and the things I don’t like so much. I will also let you know how I use it and where the best place to find it is. After you read this review, I hope you have a good amount of information to make a decision.
I received this crappie fishing rod as a gift for father’s day last year. Since I own this product and I use it a lot, I feel like I can really speak to its feature, benefits and durability. I own the 6ft 6” spinning rod version so that is what I will review.
OK let’s get started with the specs. This Abu Garcia Black Max Spinning Fishing Combo is a 2 piece graphite rod. The reel gear ratio is 5:1:1 with 4 bearings. I use 6 pound high viz test line and the reel can hold around 225 feet of line. Per the specs it can hold 175 ft of 8 pound test.
It is a medium power rod with 7 stainless steel guards and an EVA handle. It has a max drag of 14 pounds.
Now that we have the particulars out of the way, let’s get into my experience with this rod.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS ROD AND REEL COMBO
First, I have to say that Abu Garcia makes excellent fishing gear. If you go to Academy or Dick’s Sporting goods, you will notice that the brand is usually displayed separately in a dedicated area. You will also note that Abu Garcia products can be a bit pricey – I will get to price a bit later in this review.
I use this rod exclusively for crappie fishing. I use it with live minnows and sometimes for Jigging. I find it super easy to transport because it breaks down into 2 small sections. I can also fit the two pieces together and prepare the pole the night before with a hook and split shot. There is a small metal “hook catcher” (not sure if that is what its called) at the top of the handle where you can secure your hook for transport.
This feature is super convenient since I like to have everything ready to go when I get to my fishing spot. I just unhook it from the “catcher”, hook a minnow and start fishing.
At 6ft 6” it is also small enough to fit in my Toyota Camry. I put it the back seat and it is just the right side to extend just shy of my passenger side window!
This rod is very light and provides excellent sensitivity. When using small to medium minnows, the tip of this rod will bend slightly with the movement of the minnow. It took me a few times to recognize when the tip was moving because of the minnow, or because of a legit bump from the fish.
If I see that the tip is not moving after a while, it is usually a good indicator that my minnow is dead. And crappie don’t eat dead minnows so I don’t waste time with a dead minnow in the water that has no chance at catching crappie.
Another benefit of a light rod is that you can fish with it for longer periods without getting fatigued.
Unlike most crappie fishing reels, the Abu Garcia reel on this pole is not a micro reel. It is a small reel (size 30) but this is a big improvement over micro reels (This is not to say micro reels for crappie fishing are not good).
On micro reels you tend to see a lot of line memory. This means that when you drop your line, especially with a small jig head or light split shot, the line will retain the shape it has on the reel. So it will drop in tight loops. It will look like an extended slinky. Over time the line will straighten.
Having a bigger reel means less line memory. I find that after one drop of the jig, line memory will disappear on bigger reels like this one.
Speaking of reels, this is where Abu Garcia makes its name. They are known for top quality reels and this one does not disappoint. I often fish with two rods side by side and the difference between reeling this one in vs lower quality rods is palpable. You can literally feel the difference. This reel is powerful and extremely smooth. There is no friction to hinder a retrieve.
This rod has some serious backbone too. Occasionally you will get a big bass or a big catfish to strike your bait. This rod’s medium power is plenty enough to bring them up from the water and into your boat (or over the barge railing) without any trouble.
You can see from my review that I like this rod combo. I use it almost every weekend. There is one thing I don’t like so much.
WHAT I DON’T LIKE
First, the EVA handle. I don’t like it. It gets super grimy and has started to deteriorate a bit. Now, it has not lost any of its integrity but the “shiny new look” went away in a few months. After you unhook a fish or bait a hook and take your dirty hand to the handle, it seems like the scales and slime stay on the handle. I prefer cork handles even though they get slippery when wet and EVA handles don’t.
The other drawback is that I wish it had a high visibility tip. I fish a lot at night and the black/dark red color combo of this rod makes it hard to see against a backdrop of dark water. I easily solve this by adding one of those fluorescent small bars to the tip (It comes with the bell I attach to it).
I want to address the price of this rod. This is an example that you do not need to spend a fortune to get a good crappie fishing rod. It retails between $50 and $60 depending on the time of year. For a quality rod and reel from Abu Garcia, this is a very good deal. It is vastly superior to entry level Zebco or Shakespeare rods but not that much more expensive.
Amazon is a reputable and easy place to order this combo. They ship quickly and package the rods very safely to protect them while shipping. Amazon also offers a generous return policy of 30 days. As a bonus, Abu Garcia has a very good manufacturer limited warranty. The reel is covered against manufacturer defects for one year and the rod for 3 years.
I hope that I have given you enough information to make an educated decision. From my review, you can tell that I am pretty pleased with the Abu Garcia Black MaX Spinning Fishing Combo. I have had it for a while and use it a lot. It is a quality product.
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