Abu Garcia have a vast selection of fishing rods on the market. As part of Team AbuGarcia both Dag and Lars have gotten very familiar with several of the rods developed for the European market. This review will look into a specific spinning rod in the Hornet Stinger Plus line of rods. Reviewed by Lars.
Hornet Stinger Plus 762ML is the exact name of the rod I have been fishing with for a couple of seasons. Apart from ML this rod also has two extra words in the name, "drop shot". Drop shotting is a very popular technique and I guess this is an attempt from Abu Garcia to create a rod tailored for that purpose.
|Nice looking rod with comfortable front cork handle|
To be honest, I have done very little drop shotting with this rod. Even so, I find this to be a near perfect rod for a specific task. Let us get back to that later, after a quick rundown of the rod itself. As stated by the numbers, it stretches 7 feet 6 inches long, and is a 2 piece rod. The power of the rod is statet at medium light and the action is fast. Lure weight is rated from 5 to 21 grams and somewhere in that range you are supposed to find the weight which this rod handles the best.
|Good ergonomic reel seat with the tension knob on the back part of the reel seat|
The reel seat is marked with "Stinger Plus" and has the locking mechanism at the back which makes it easier to get a good feel of the rod when gripping onto the reel. Note that this rod has a fairly long front handle, but even so it is quite easy getting a finger or to onto the rod blank itself for ultimate feel and sensitivity.
|Fuji reel seat as you find on most rods these days|
The locking mechanism feels light and tight and it sure looks good as well. The cork handle instead of EVA foam is not for everyone's liking, but personally I think it gives the rod extra appeal and it definitely feels nice in the hand.
|Abu Garcia Hornet Stinger Plus with a Revo Ike 20 reel, a killer combo|
Moving back towards the rear section of the rod the Hornet Stinger Plus 762 has what is called a split grip. This piece of exposed blank helps reduce the weight of the rod, which unofficially is 117 gram after deducting my own "weigh-in". The rear handle is EVA foam and at the very end you will find the well known Abu Garcia end cap with logo.
|The Greater coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sweden, a solid staple to put on a fishing rod!|
All the guides on the rod are Fuji K-guides with SiC inserts, where SiC stands for silicon carbide. Without any thorough explanation it basically minimizes the risk of damaged line due to high temperature caused by the friction when line meets guide. Keywords such as low friction, hardness and also lightweight are used to describe the Fuji K-guides.
All the way through the rod the guides are fairly small, or rather short. they are all "two-legged" and seem to be pretty robust. I have not had any issues with my rod, and I am not gentle with a rod I intend to review. I am however not careless as these are a delicate piece of equipment that needs to be treated right in order to perform.
|"Fuji K all the way"|
A crucial part of robustness is the use of material. All rods break if treated badly, but some break more easily than others. Abu Garcia has taken in use a very specific resin to blend with the graphite of the rods to help increase the core strenght of the rod. This resin is called 3M Powerlux, and basically Abu has grouped this into three (as far as I know to this date) groups/levels on their rods. The 3M 300 Powerlux is found in the Abu Garcia Mass Beat II rods, the Veracity line of rods and the highly priced Ike series which are fairly new to the European market (the Ike seires is designed by legendary bass angler Michael "Ike" Iaconelli). The next level 500 is found in the Hornet Stinger Plus and then there is also a 3M Powerlux 1000 used in the Rocksweeper line of rods.
|3M Powerlux 500 composites|
3M Powerlux is said to improve the impact and fracture resistance of a rod, and based on the information I have been given and found the main purpose of this is to strengthen the core of the rod and protect the carbon fibre. Rods are exposed to a lot of things that may cause damage such as sudden drop to the side of the boat, thrown to ground after loosing a fish and so on. Any small crack or dent could cause issues at some point and with the Powerlux resin Abu Garcia aims to improve the durability of the rod.
|Easy to join the rod pieces|
The joint of the 2 piece rods have gotten a small but nice touch in form of arrows on both ends to make it easier to align the parts. A nice feature is the model description on the top section of the rod. Should you misplace the pieces and have several similar rods, you now have a way of joining the correct pieces.
The joint of the rod is a so-called spigot joint which means that the butt section has an extended section of thinner graphite that the top section easily fits "over", making the transition smooth and without building on the tickness of the rod itself.
I mentioned that I have not been using this for drop shotting exclusively, and the reason is that I fish a lot of other techniques instead. I have no doubt this is a great drop shot rod, and I have tried it with success myself. My favourite technique for this rod is simply jig fishing, with a slightly heavier jighead during the colder half of the year. When targeting inactive perch in deep water I tend to use 12-15 gram jigheads with lures in the range of 7-8 cm, such as Abu Garcia McPerch and Berkley Powerswimmer. I fish these super slow on the bottom with gentle lifts every now and then. To be able to do so I need a strong rod with a solid tip that is still soft enough not to rip the baits out of the fish's mouth when they decide to eat my lure. For this I find the 762ML model to be pretty near perfect.
|Nice perch on a powerswimmer mounted to a heavy tungsten jighead|