Two months ago I had the opportunity to demo a couple of rods in the current line up from Manley Rods. With that demo, I had the Gold and Platinum series rods, complete with patent pending MRF system. For anyone not familiar with the MRF system, or adjust-a-butt, it is a totally propriety system exclusive to Manley rods that allows the angler literally adjust the rod butt to the personal preference of the fisherman. I had never used the MRF system prior to this outing but I was familiar with the general concept. To be honest, I felt the adjust-a-butt thing was a little gimmicky but I promised to keep an open mind and give the rods a true test and evaluation.
Before I go into performance, I want to briefly breakdown the components of Manley Rods that are different from every other rod that I’ve fished with. First we have the two high quality reel seats that come standard with each series. The Gold series sports a Fuji ACS seat that’s a one piece. The ACS has an opening that allows the rod blank to be exposed for increased sensitivity and a modified trigger for casting accuracy. The Platinum series rods take it a step farther with a SK2 reel seat, also from Fuji. This one is a two-piece seat for greater blank contact and also is 54% lighter. Both reel seats are high quality parts that truly affect your rods performance.
Another component that I am now a huge fan of are the microwave guides from American Tackle Company. This is another example of a product that really looks new and innovative, yet I remained skeptical of its effectiveness. All I can say is that every experienced angler has great muscle memory and touch on their cast. Like every great golfer you know exactly how far that 7 iron will go, and for me the first twenty casts were all in the trees and grass. There was no mistaking that each cast had and increase of at least 20% distance. The microwave guides reduce friction so drastically that the change is immediate and very obvious. Lastly, you cannot have a discussion about Manley rods without mentioning their propriety high modulus blank. Not only did I need an adjustment period to dial in my casting distance but I also had to adjust my own personal biofeedback. What I mean by that is I am accustom to what was a bite and what was a rock or tree branch. These rods are so much more sensitive than what I was used to. I was setting the hook on everything until I actually got my first real bite and was able to distinguish a fish from everything else that I felt beneath the surface.
Terry Manley has also developed the patent pending Multifunctional Rod Foundation (MRF), or more commonly known as the Adjust-A-Butt system. This component is another example of a feature that I have been eyeballing from afar for a while now and just recently had the opportunity to test out in person. For anyone that doesn’t know, the MRF systems allows the angler to extend or shorten the butt of the rod for any number of reasons. I’m sure every angler can see the advantages of this system, however I can only speak as a kayak angler and how this system elevated my fishing experience. I found myself adjusting almost every cast. For example, I love to throw my top water frog but working it from a kayak can be tricky at times because how you are seated and positioned in the kayak. The rod butt usually ends up hitting me in the forearm throughout my retrieve and can decrease the effectiveness of it. As I played with the MRF system I figured out that worked for me was to extend the rod butt all the way for leverage on longer casts, then quickly shorten the butt to allow me to fully work the frog on my retrieve the way I like to without and interference from my forearm. For my style of fishing this is a huge advantage. The MRF systems also allows me to perfectly balance out my rod when switching to larger or heavier lures, so each new bait I tie on I can customize my rod adjustment to tailor fit my needs.
There are countless properties that make these rods stand out as one of the best on the market. The advantage of having of the MRF system and the ability to feel the blank under my reel seat are without a doubt a game changing for me. Terry Manley has taken the time to perfect his product and had found a way to make it affordable for everyone to enjoy. The Gold and Platinum series rods are available now and look for new models coming soon from Manley Rods.