We’ve looked at the Quantum PT Smoke casting reel so let’s take an in-depth look at its stable mate, the Quantum Smoke PT Micro Guide Casting Rod. We got these the same time we got the reels and haven’t separated the two since. The reality is that they were made to go with each other and do so very well.
To us, the most important consideration for any rod and reel combo is balance. Even light weight components that aren’t well balanced can increase your fatigue exponentially compared to a rig that is very well balanced. Sorry for being redundant but one of the biggest mistakes beginning anglers make is rushing out to buy a rod and reel that through advertising or endorsement, appeal to them.
Only after they have fished with it for a few days does the lack of balance begin to take its toll and buyer’s remorse sets in. I’m not blaming them for their lack of experience because we’ve all been there. Our recommendation is to find a local tackle shop that you trust and emphasize to the salesperson that balance is a foremost consideration in your purchase. This will save you a lot of problems in the future. Anyway, back to the Smoke.
The specs on the rod are as follows, the blank is made using high-strain HSX70 graphite, a split EVA foam grip, no foregrip, Fuji micro-guides and the actions are inscribed on a band around the butt cap. All these features together combine to provide one of the lightest rods in this price point that starts at $129.99.
We decided to pick up the 7’ Medium Heavy for throwing larger plugs, spinnerbaits, heavily weighted soft plastics, jigs and some swimbaits. Not that this is a comprehensive list of the lures that we have used on this rod but it gives you some idea of the intent behind our choice of actions.
When you talk about a medium-heavy action, you need to look at the lure weight recommendation for the rod. In this case it is for lures ranging from 1/4 – 1 1/2 ounce. We have used lures from every part of this spectrum and haven’t felt as though we over stressed the rod at all. It handles everything within its rating and then some. However, after tossing a 2 ounce bait around, we thought that we had reached the rods upper limits and haven’t thrown anything heavier with the Smoke.
The tip action is a little softer than some other rods with this rating but the taper is predictable and solid when it comes time to set the hook. You pick up line relatively quickly and the backbone takes over before you know it. When fighting fish with this rod, we haven’t had any fish large enough to really tax it. The biggest to date was a healthy 6.5 pounds which the Smoke handled with ease.
Those in favor of these guides say that they increase casting distance, accuracy, provide more sensitivity and of course, weigh much less than conventional guides. Obviously, there is no argument with the weight claim. But what about the other claims? Do the micro-guides really come through?
You have to see the micro’s next to traditional guides to believe the difference in both external and internal diameter. They are less than half that of a traditional guide. This really does cut down on line slap a great deal as well as improve accuracy. We tend to be a little skeptical since we have seen so many claims over the years but this one, we’re going along with. Yes, it does take a little getting used to but very little. Since we’ve been using the micro’s, there is a noticeable improvement in accuracy.
Do they provide more distance? Here again, we wouldn’t have believed it had we not been fishing them for a while now but they do increase distance. Is it an enormous difference? No, but it is certainly noticeable.
Finally, do they increase sensitivity? Again, yes they do. Not by a wide margin but there is undeniably a difference. You can feel more compared to a rod that doesn’t use the micro-guides. I have to say that there is going to be some differences of opinion here. The only way to really get a good handle on this is to take two identical blanks, one outfitted with traditional guides, the other with micro’s, use the same reel spooled with the same line and tie on the exact same lure. If you’re wondering, no, we haven’t done this yet but we still believe that the micro’s do increase the sensitivity of the rod.
The split EVA grip is comfortable whether dry or wet. We’ve had no issues with it becoming slippery or showing undue wear. The Smoke has a small butt cap that took a little getting used to. If you use both hands to cast, this may be a distraction for you at first as it was for us. A little time has cured that though, as we have become fond of using the butt as a fulcrum to further increase our distance.
If we have bone to pick with this rod it is the placement of the hook keeper which is on the underside of the bland between the grip and the butt. When we first got them, it didn’t present itself as a problem immediately. However, it didn’t take long for us to abandon using it altogether in favor of picking up a rod mounted hook keeper. This solves this issue easily but it is a source of frustration.
The only other thing that we would like to see improved upon would be the size and position of the stripper guide which is the first guide out from the reel seat. On the Smoke, the guides are all the same size and distance above the blank. Other manufacturers are now using a slightly larger stripper guide that is higher off the bland for better line flow. We believe that the Smoke would benefit from this modification.
As a whole, the Quantum Smoke PT Micro Guide Casting Rod is a decent value for the money and a joy to fish all day when paired with a Smoke reel. The weight, or lack thereof, all but eliminates fatigue brought on by casting heavy, unbalanced combo’s. The actions are varied enough to fit most day to day fishing conditions and these rods seem to be built to last.
See ya’ on the water …