Review of "The Marvel Rod" by Graham Verrall, Wayne Petherick YHQLD

Beyond the Experience of Building a Pure Custom

For those that have read previous editions of the Yak Hunter you will have seen my journey to building and buying a Pure Custom Rod by "The Rod God".  Since we last met I have had the chance to try the rod out on the water and have landed a few different fish with it.  

It is one thing to go through the unbelievable experience of building a rod with Graham, it is another thing entirely to not only see this thing in your hand but to land fish with it.

Here is my honest review of this marvellous piece of fishing kit (pun intended).  I call it The Marvel Rod because of the colours chosen.
Price
When doing a review of a custom rod it is difficult to discuss price.  There are a variety of reasons this is the case but mostly the difficulty is in the word custom.

There are not 1,000 Pure Custom Rods coming off the production line all with the same guides, reel seats, rod blanks, winding checks, and other parts.  Even the binding on the eyelets is custom made down to the type of binding used, colours etc.  A rod with standard stainless guides (with everything else identical) will be much cheaper than a rod with torzite guides which are titanium.  

Each.  Rod.  Is . Different.

I chose a blank which is now very difficult to get and as such these are more expensive than other blanks.  In six months time as they become even more rare the price may be 2 - 3 times higher than it is now, so today my rod with identical parts to yours in six months time may be 1/2 the price of your rod.

All of these things impact on price so what I paid for mine will be relatively meaningless as you may want different parts.  Having said that, the price of the custom rod was SIGNIFICANTLY less than I anticipated and not much more than the best stock rods I have bought off the shelf.  In short, for what you get, these are well worth the money.  And the performance!  Whoa read on!'

Check out that arc!!!  >>>
Availability
You cannot walk in the door and pick up a custom rod off the shelf.  That wouldn't be custom!

This means that there is a time factor involved in buying one of these rods.  This isn't something you can order on a Monday and pick up Friday afternoon for your weekend session.

While not a hobby business this is not a full time gig for Graham either, and he has a lot of customers putting in orders.  Again the custom factor adds a wait time.

That aside if you are considering a custom rod, I would say the wait time should be less of an issue.  You are getting a rod you design, from scratch, with parts you chose.  This then has to be put together by a master rod builder and glassed.  Even the EVA grips are custom lathed.

Verdict?  WORTH THE WAIT!
Columns
Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is a harder category to rate for a rod.  After all they are probably all much the same in the use department.  But there are some things that will impact on use and I will discuss these.

Weight:  This thing is crazy light!  As it is lighter than all my other rods this took some getting used to but after a while you don't even notice it.  How light you ask?  It's 301grams.  Total weight including the reel.  So how does this relate to use?  I can cast all day and I literally feel less arm fatigue using this compared to some of my other set ups.

Taper:  There are three types of taper a blank has.  The first is fast where the work is done in the top 20 - 30% of the rod.  Then there is medium where the work is done in the top 30 - 60% of the rod.  Slow taper means that basically the whole rod is arc.  This is a slow taper rod and you can really see this when you hook up.  The bend is insane and this translates into one massive shock absorber to help fight the fish.  I recently landed a 65cm saratoga on this thing.  It was nuts.

If you haven't check out the above video landing a decent dam bass.
Ease of Set Up
One of the things I really like about this rod is that it isn't just easy to set up it stays set up.  What do I mean by that?

The real seat is ratcheted and so when you wind your reel seat down the reel stays attached.  Why does this seem like a big deal?  On some of my other rods the nuts to secure the reel come lose with use where your last two fingers move back and forth while casting, retrieve, or landing a fish.  I've even had the reel drop off a few times because I didn't realise it had come loose.  I don't have that problem with this rod because not only is the ratched at the top so away from my wandering fingers, but you can't accidentally loosen it.

The guides are MicroWave guides, and so the stripper guide (the first guide in the rod) has a smaller eyelet or guide within it.  The idea behind the stripper eyelet is that it focuses the line.  You still feed your line through in the usual way, but the first guide focuses the line producing longer casts, reducing wind knots, and reducing casting fatigue.
Durability
So far the rod has landed some decent fish and has not missed a beat.  It has also taken a few acccidental knocks and doesn't have a scratch.  Compare this to one of my stock rods which took a knock and lost a chunk of glassing, I am happy with the overall quality of this.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of durability of this rod is the strength of the blank.  When I first chose the blank I was concerned about the blank strength.  The rod is rated at 1-3kg, super light for a general purpose rod but I have no fear in throwing anything at this rod.  Seriously.

When I first got it I asked Graham what he felt comfortable putting on the rod.  He said it was one of the few blanks he felt absolute confidence in, and he would rate it at least twice what the blank was rated at, so more like 2-6kg.  The blank is a St. Croix SC5.  One of the best they ever made.

This video was captured about one month ago on North Pine Dam.  The bass was just short of 40cm but was very chunky and gave a good showing.  Once again you can see how the whole rod is arc.
Utility
The rod does exactly what it claims and more.  I had an expectation when I ordered it and that expectation has been blown out of the water every time I have used it.

I really can't rate this rod highly enough, and to know when I put it to use that I selected all the parts and was involved in the build gives you a sense of satisfaction you can't really get with buying a stock rod off the shelf.

I ordered two rods with identical specs.  If one gets busted off I like picking up the second with an identical feel so I don't have to retrain my casting etc.  Sounds silly but it works for me!

Here is a mash up video of some bass catches I did showing the rod in action!
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