Clem Henry / Three Kings Islands - February 2016
Maven’s Pacific and Gulf series of rods recently got a serious workout in what is arguably one of New Zealand’s premier game fishing destinations, the Three Kings Islands.
The Kings is a group of 13 uninhabited islands, 55kms (34 miles) northwest of the northernmost tip of New Zealand’s North Island, where the South Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea converge. The islands are rich in fish life, with an abundance of kingfish, bass, hapuka, bluenose, yellow fin tuna, blue marlin and striped marlin.
The location is an absolute angling mecca, with a range of fishing opportunities for top water, mechanical jigging and bait fishing. It’s a highly regarded testing ground for some of the world’s best fishing rod manufacturers.
The trip for Clem Henry and friends was an opportunity to put the Maven collections through some full-on testing, and also to try out a brand new prototype Maven rod that we’re all pretty excited about.
* In the Maven design room, Clem and design engineer Stephen Pratt, conceived an entirely new class of fishing rod.
The challenge to Stephen was to design and build a rod that could successfully bridge the gap between a traditional jig/live bait rod and a light game rod.
The rod would require the right attributes to jig lures in the 400gm to 500gm range, a sensitive tip to fish live baits and the overall power and durability to tackle light and medium game fish. In addition to this the rod would need to be easy on the angler…quite a challenge.
What Stephen has produced is a perfect combination of power and finesse which provides the user with many options with regard to how it is used. It is quite a challenge to build a relatively short rod, 5’ 6” (1.68m) with a smooth but fast transition from the end of the fore grip to the tip. This specific rod is an overhead design and incorporates an “Acid Wrap” configuration, eliminating the torque often associated with powerful overhead rods.
The new Fuji RV stripper guide was included to provide more space between the fore grip and the line when the rod is under high loads. This was enhanced further by designing the rod with an extremely powerful butt section that extends to the fore grip.
The rod was initially rigged with a Shimano Talica 12, 2 speed loaded with YGK PE8 line and a 210lb Prosele leader (live bait setup). A good sized live bait was hooked up and sent down 70m to the great sign appearing on the sounder.
We did not have to wait long before the tip started to move. The tip on this rod is superb and it was quite obvious that something was about to happen. I was holding the rod horizontal to the sea as it started to load up. The pressure came on slowly initially, the moderate tip allowing the fish to take the live bait undetected. Within a few seconds the rod started to load up fully.
The rod performed exactly how we had hoped. We had approximately 15-16 kgs of drag dialed into the Talica; the tip folded away and the powerful midsection started to engage, the lock up point just ahead of the fore grip. The rod has a lot of power, the blank being tested at 40kg at zero degrees during testing. This gave me the confidence to lock up and power the fish to the surface, a relatively short fight producing a nice Kingfish of approximately 36kg.
After a period of great live bait action we changed the reel out for a Talica 12 and setup for jigging. The jigging action was insane and jigs were out fishing live baits, the blank performed extremely well on a variety of jigs especially the 400gm SFC Messiah. The fore grip on the prototype rod is 100mm longer than the standard Maven jig rod and approx. 30mm in diameter, this combination worked very well, with the cork grip proving to be comfortable in the hand.
The rod was fished by two other people on the trip, each of them with a significant amount of fishing experience and their own great collections of high end rods. Both individuals commented favorably, highlighting the “superb action” and overall feel of the rod. This really is a great rod and one I did not want to put down, Stephen and the Maven team have done a great job producing a superb rod.
Announcement to follow on the launch of this rod!