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Fenwick EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F Review

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Specifications
Type Casting
Length 6’9″
Line Weight 12-20 lb
Lure Weight 3/8 – 1 oz
Guides Titanium – Zirconium Inserts
Power Medium Heavy
Tip Action Fast
MSRP $129.95

First Impressions


The first thing noticed about Fenwick’s EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F rod was the green color with gold lettering that really made the rod “pop” in the sunlight.  As with the EliteTECH ESMS63MH-F Fenwick has done a nice job crafting a lightweight rod by using the TAC material as inlay on the reel seat.  The material is very comfortable in your hand and gives the seat a “hidden” look.  As mentioned earlier the lightweight Titanium frame guides and Zirconium inserts are used to reduce weight as well as line wear.  The split grip was a very nice addition helping to reduce the overall weight of the rod as well.

Read Individual Reviews for the EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F

Testing

Fenwick’s EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F was matched with up with a Shimano Chronarch reel and 17lbs McCoy Mean Green mono line, and a Daiwa baitcasting reel spooled with 12lb fluorocarbon.  Our Prostaff members used very different presentations.  One went with 4” JD Lures hand poured finesse worms on a 1/4oz sinkers Texas rigged, while the other used ½ ounce football jigs with 4” craw trailer .  Most of the field testing was done on the Tennessee River and a natural grass filled lake with clear water in Northern Illinois.
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Casting:

The Fuji guides on the Fenwick’s EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F rod makes for a smooth cast.  The line goes through the guides easily without any drag.   Accuracy was good when casting with lures landing in the intended target zone.

Sensitivity:

Fenwick’s EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F F is a very sensitive rod for its price range.  You can feel the most subtle bites.   You really can get a good idea of what’s going on in the water from the end of your line due to the design of the rod.

Power/Action:

The EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F is a medium heavy action with a fast tip.  The action felt appropriate to its rating.  Our reviewers were able to get good hook sets with great penetration.  It definitely has plenty of power to pull fish out of grassy areas with no problems.

Durability:

Again, there’s never really much of a question as to whether a Fenwick rod is durable.  They design well-crafted, high quality rods that you can depend on through years.  The EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F rods were used in various conditions in different circumstances over several months time, and still seemed to hold up as if they were in new condition.

Design/Comfort:

EliteTECH Smallmouth Series
When it comes to design and comfort, Fenwick sets out to try and make the best for all anglers.  The rods are great looking and overall are fairly comfortable.  It does seem though that once again this comes down to preference and hand size.  It is very difficult to craft a rod that would fit into every anglers hand perfectly.  While one Prostaff member found the EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F it be very comfortable, another found it was not as comfortable as he hoped due to his larger hands.  Aside from the comfort of the rod, it would seem the biggest issue came from the reel seat.  The reel seat is wider and can be a problem with a narrow reel.  The reels were not staying in place well and had to be tightened several times.  When fighting in fish, it felt like the reel was going to pop off.   This was a bit of a nuisance, but mostly appeared to be more of a break in issue based on the design and shape of the handle section.  After retightening several times the reels finally stayed secure.

Applications:

The EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F makes for a good heavy cover rod and with worming or jig presentations, specifically Texas and Carolina rigs.   If you happen to like a stiffer rod for spinnerbait fishing, this could make a nice heavy duty spinnerbait rod.

Conclusion:

Overall the EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F is a quality, durable rod.  The item to point here is the reel seat.  The EliteTECH ESMC69MH-F has a wider seat and if your reel doesn’t fit that exactly it just won’t tighten.   Certainly not something you want to worry about when you are out there on the water.  This rod maybe a better fit for those who have small hands due to the shape of the trigger and the small rear grip.   Considering the issue with the reel seat, this may not be the best rod for using with low profile reels, like Shimanos.

Overall Ratings
Construction/Quality: 7.50
Performance: 8.50
Price: 8.00
Features: 8.50
Design/Comfort: 7.50
Application: 8.00
Total Score: 8.00