Whether you’re on a tight budget or you just prefer keeping your tackle selection as simple as possible, I think you’ll fall in love with the Lew’s Team HM85 Speed Stick Casting Rod. I’ve used it with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, bladed swim jigs and Texas rigs and I can’t get over how well it performs. It almost seems like it’s tailor-made for each technique.
- Crankbaits—If you’re a regular reader of Wired2Fish, you probably know by now that I’m a cranking fanatic. The large majority of money I’ve won can be attributed to a crankbait in some fashion. I’m super picky when it comes to my cranking rods and I’ve been very pleased with the HM85 Speed Stick Casting Rod. It loads very well on the back cast to allow for long casts, the line guides are spaced perfectly to reduce line slap and facilitate accurate casting, it loads excellently on the hookset and it’s very sensitive. I can feel every move my crankbait makes and its tip is soft enough to ensure I don’t rip the treble hooks out of the fish when setting the hook. When a big fish digs for deeper water, the powerful lower-half of the blank allows me to have full control for the entirety of the fight.
- Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits—They’ve been chewing spinnerbaits and buzzbaits on my home lakes recently, which has given me a great opportunity to test this rod with these techniques. I can constantly feel the spinnerbait blades thumping throughout my retrieve and this shorter 6-foot, 10-inch rod makes quiet roll casts a breeze. For buzzbait fishing, the HM85 Speed Stick Casting Rod gives the bass enough tip to increase your hookup ratio and it has plenty of backbone to wrench big fish out of vegetation and heavy wood cover.
- Bladed swim jigs—This rod will just about vibrate your arm off when fishing a bladed swim jig, but that’s a good thing. By having the ability to keep constant contact with the bait, you’re able to detect subtle bites, such as when the bass “push” the jig towards you. When the intense vibrating stops, you know you have a bite.
- Texas rigs—I’ve done a lot of flipping and pitching with this rod with weights ranging from 5/16-ounce to even 3/8-ounce and I’ve enjoyed a lot of success with it. I’ve been able to feel very subtle changes in bottom composition when searching for sandy spawning flats and bites have been very easy to detect. You can yank on ‘em as hard as you need to because this rod has plenty of power for the job. Because it loads so nicely on the back cast, skipping my Texas rigs underneath docks has been extremely easy.
Built to last
I put my fishing rods through a bunch of crap—not literally, but you know what I’m saying. Constantly shoving them in my rod lockers, stepping on the eyes on my front deck when landing fish and riding them around in the back of my truck for evening pond adventures quickly shows me which rods are most durable. So far, the HM85 Speed Stick Casting Rod has passed with flying colors.
The line guides are firmly attached to the blank, which has eliminated my constant problems with bent eyes. When things get heated and I’m running around the boat landing a big fish, line guides are usually the first ones to break. With a bunch of rods lying on the deck, it’s not hard to accidentally step on one. I’ve inadvertently stepped on these line guides several times over the past few months and I haven’t bent one yet.
You’ll find a lot of rods that snap, crackle and pop when they’re under a heavy load. I can’t count the times I’ve set the hook and heard my blank making awful noises. Whenever you rod becomes noisy, it’s probably about to break. The HM85 Speed Stick Casting Rod Is extremely quiet when casting and fighting big fish. There’s no “give” or “play” anywhere in it.
Some rods will wear you slap-out after fishing an entire weekend with them. I’m usually on the water for over 20 hours each weekend with tournaments and guide trips, so I need lightweight rods. Heavier rods will work for some folks but I avoid them like the plague.
The HM85 Speed Stick Casting Rod is very light and ergonomic, regardless of the application for which I’m using it. It’s very well-balanced, which leads to a drastic reduction in annoying hand cramps over time. When you’re pulling against a big squarebill for several straight days, ergonomic rods are always—and I repeat—always worth the money in my opinion.
I get a lot of questions regarding versatile, all-purpose rods and I believe this rod fits the bill very well. I’ve had success using this rod for several techniques and I really think you will too. This series is priced starting at $189.99 and I think it’s worth saving the extra money and splurging a bit.
The Lew’s Team HM85 Speed Stick Casting Rod is available at TackleWarehouse.com.