Fenwick ESMC69MH-F

Fenwick EliteTECH Smallmouth Series Rod Review – Kevin

Testing Conditions:

I fished on a section of the Tennessee River targeting largemouth and smallmouth bass.  Weather was stable and hot.  I’m a jig fisherman so I was using a half ounce football jigs with 4” craw trailer.   I paired the rod with a Daiwa baitcasting reel spooled with 12 lb fluorocarbon.


I thought the rod casts great.  I had no trouble putting lures exactly where I wanted them to go.  The rod was able to cast a ½ oz jig without any trouble.


I found the rod to be very sensitive for the price range.  I had no problem detecting strikes or feeling my jig making contact with bottom structure.

On the water, the rod was very comfortable in my hand, and the action felt appropriate to its rating.  The rod was a MH-F and the fast tip allowed me to get very good hook sets with great penetration.  The “backbone” on this rod was right on as well, giving me plenty of power to control the fish.


I found this rod to be very durable.  Over the past several months and many days out fishing, this rod still looks and fishes great.


Fenwick has done a nice job making this rod lightweight by using a material they call TAC as inlay on the reel seat.  The material is very comfortable in your hand and gives the seat a very “hidden” look.  They also use lightweight Titanium frame guides and Zirconium inserts to reduce weight as well as line wear.  The split grip was a very nice addition and reduces the overall weight of the rod as well.  It would be nice if the rod had a hook keeper for holding your lure.

One of the initial problems I found in this rod was with the reel seat.  I could not get the seat to stay tightened with the reel in place initially.  I would tighten it as tight as I could, and a few minutes later the reel would be loose.  After several attempts, I just kept tightening it every few minutes and eventually it stayed tight. It may have just been slick from being new and took a while to scuff it up enough to stay tight.  The trigger and reel seat did not fit well in my hand, I have large hands and had trouble with my hand placement with the curved trigger and small split on the grip.


I found this to be a great open water jig rod.  Lots of power and backbone, so really it is suitable for most single hook lure presentations such as Texas rigged worms and soft plastics.  If you are a person that likes a stiffer rod, this would make a really nice spinnerbait rod.  The 6’ 9” length gives you a nice in between size for pitch casting and long casting.

Overall Thoughts:

The EliteTECH Smallmouth Series is definitely a sharp looking rod.  Although I must again state that it may feel better to people with smaller hands due to the shape of the trigger and smallish rear grip.  Putting that aside the overall the rod quality is excellent.

Construction/Quality: 8.00
Performance: 9.00
Price: 8.00
Features: 9.00
Design/Comfort: 7.00
Application: 8.00
Total Score 8.16