The 7’6” H Browning Superlight model number SL76HT is a big stiff stick meant for popping frogs over pads, punching grass mats with 1oz tungsten, and pitchin’ big jigs. It will also handle a swimbait if you're in a bind, but I would never consider this a swimbait rod. It weighs in at just 4.1 ounce fully dressed which is unheard of in the industry at this price range. This model is $120.00. These rod weights are amazing but time will tell whether this weight loss was achieved by compromising the structural integrity of theBrowning Superlight series. I'm up for the challenge with receipt in hand. If they are going to fail on me structurally, they will do so on the first few hard hooksets.
All Browning Superlight rods feature the microguides and I’ll use them until they break which I'll count on. In fact, Tom and I already planned how we're going to re-guide them. Rebuilding a rod of this size with new top of the line guides will cost between $55-70 depending on the type of guide. This guide choice will also have a drastically negative effect on the rods new weight if I don't choose the appropriate lightweight guides to match this featherweight. Re-guiding a 6’ to 6’8” rod will average $35-$50 with nice guides.
I’ll admit I’m a little skeptical of how well these rods will hold up to my normal usage, but I have no risk in giving them a shot. I would not recommend them for the guy who tends to break rods often or who drives around with them in the back of the truck. Many inserts are made of ceramic just like a coffee cup or plate. If you let them bounce around in a truck bed or drop them on the pavement by accident they are going to crack and/or pop out. In the event these do break during normal use, Browning Fishing will repair or replace the rod within one year from the original date of purchase. This can be done through your local Bass Pro Shops as stated in the warranty paperwork. Bass Pro Shops also sells the extended warranty through their “Gear Guard” for $20 for 2 years for rods $99.99 down to $75.00.
Reviews regarding the Abu Garcia Veritas rods are mixed, but I have yet to have an issue with them including the original Veritas and the Veritas 2.0. I do believe they corrected a few original model issues with the newVeritas 2.0. Tom loves the Veritas as they provide him steady repair work throughout the year, and the white blank is a great background for his fancy eye popping thread wrap color options and design jobs. The guys I fish with own many of them also and they have no complaints except for the occasional guide issue. The blanks have been upgraded to new Spiral Carbon Core technology which has increased their break strength 30% with no increase in rod weight. The new ratcheted reel seats are very nice and black EVA split grip handles are utilized on this rod as well. I have no issue with the EVA and I actually prefer it over cork although Tom and I use the new and very popular WINN grips on most customs. I have owned a handful of Veritasseries rods for over 2 years now and I can’t complain. I’ve sent only one of the original Veritas to Tom to re-guide due to insert issues. Below is a stock standard guide on the Veritas 2.0. Abu Garcia also offers microguides on the Veritas 2.0.
Once you break a guide or two or have an insert pop out, you may as well just bite the bullet and pay the $40-$60 to have American Tackle Ringlock or American Tackle MicroWave guides installed with your favorite wrap color and thread design. Longer rods will be slightly more to re-guide as they will need more guides to pass static testing. Fugi has made their own version of "ringlock", and their LN Concept guide feature these deep pressed rings which are super durable. They are used on the K series, L series, and M series. Tom has built several of my customs and re-builds with these and I've been very impressed with no issues. There are many other terrific guide choices but they will cost you as much as the rod your putting them on, and for this reason I will not list them. If you're a microguide fan but hate how fragile they are, we've got a solution. Tom highly recommends you build with the Artus Heavy Duty Micros. Here is aVeritas Tom re-built for me.
If you think with your wallet, you’d buy the Veritas from Dick's Sporting Goods with the $20 off $100 or more coupon which registered Dick's rewards customers receive. If you're happy with just $10 off look at your last Dick's receipt. Follow the instructions on the receipt and go to the website listed and fill out the survey which takes 3 minutes. You can then choose to print your $10 coupon or have it emailed to you. There is no excuse for shopping at Dick's without saving $10 or $20 every single trip. If you have PayPal, I'd suggest Ebay where top rated retail sellers are moving the Veritas 2.0 for as low as $79.99 shipped as of 1/20/16.
Due to the white blank color, new guides and thread wraps can look very nice as the colors really pop out. I predict these rods will continue to have occasional guide issues such as inserts popping out, but for $120 or less, these rods are a great choice. I’ve caught thousands of fish on these Veritas rods and I’ve swung the majority of them over the side of my Ranger’s bow without incident. Abu Garcia offers a 3 year warranty on these Veritas rods and requires you send photographs of the break, model number, brand/model, rod as a whole, receipt, and provide your contact info along with $9.95 shipping and processing fee if replacing a rod older than 30 days. Abu Garcia, owned by Pure Fishing, gets the award for the best warranty out of all three rods here.
Tom states that "the Veritas is a good value and a top choice, despite the lack of nice guides".
Out of the above three, Enigma uses the best materials and components found in a rod of this price range, and they feel and look great. Abu Garcia has the best warranty and replacement cost and I can attest to them holding up for me, yet I know I'll be replacing more guide sets in the future. If Abu Garcia used the MicroWave guides or other high quality brand/model such as the Fugi Ringlock (deep pressed ring they call it on the K, L, and M series) or American Tackle Ringlock, this would have been a super tough call choosing a winner. Browning Superlight is the lightest by far yet the guides do not impress me and I have not put them through rigorous on the water testing to prove these super lightweight rods are structurally sound. I give the 2016 award to Enigma and Aaron Martens for designing a tremendous line of rods for a vast variety of applications using the best materials available for the price range of $100 to $120.
MORE INFO AND PRICING
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Want to learn more about the MicroWave guide system? Click here http://www.tomscustomrods.com/microwave-guides/
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Congrats to Enigma and Aaron for yet another win! See the additional rod pictures below, as Tom deserves every bit of applause for these beauties I have the pleasure of owning.