#11-tie Fenwick HMG 9 foot #8 $159.95
Here is another surprisingly good rod at a very attractive price. The HMG has a tad more butt power than the Aetos, with a faster tip that made it more pleasant to cast. It also performed better at mid-range than the Aetos. This is a simple rod with less expensive components but I think it looks great with the flat black finish combined with shiny black wraps. They use a full wells cork grip, but like the cork grip on the Aetos, it uses a lot of filler. The reel seat is a complimentary gray anodized double ring uplocking seat with a shorter fighting butt than you’ll find on most of the other rods we tested. They use a nice guide set up though with two SiC stripping guides and then large diameter, but lighter wire black chrome snake guides. The small tip top seems to handicap the guide set up though. Hopefully they will give us a larger tip top in the future. Fenwick does use a nice system for aligning the sections with dots and a straight line on the male part of the ferrule that make it easy to get everything lined up straight.
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 35 feet: 18 points out of 20
Not a lot of feel, the Aetos was better in close.
Performance at 60 feet: 19 points out of 20
Now the power kicks in and this feels and casts a lot better than the Aetos at mid-range.
Performance at 80 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Very good with nice loops and good tracking capability.
Performance at 100 feet: 18 points out of 20
Yes, but nothing like the best rods.
#7 Fenwick HMG 9’#8 $159.95 74/80
This rod was very similar to the Aetos, and in fact has an even stiffer tip. That stiffness didn’t necessarily translate to more power however as I still feel the Aetos is the better all around rod. The cork on the HMG is a significant drop in quality from the Aetos, although the guides seem decent enough. Hard to complain really for a rod that costs $160 and still getting 18 or better scores.
Performance at 35 feet: 18 points out of 20 The HMG is accurate for sure, but I’m not getting the same fun feel I get out of the Aetos. The HMG felt more vague and overall unimpressive at this distance.
Performance at 60 feet: 18 points out of 20 Not that the HMG feels dead, but I’m still not getting the same energy out of the HMG like the Aetos.
Performance at 80 feet: 19.5 points out of 20 Now the extra power is starting to make the rod feel better. Nice loops.
Hit the Hun? 18.5 points out of 20 Yes, this rod will get it done.
Capt. Jamie Allen:
#11 (tie) Fenwick HMG
All 3 of these rods (Fenwick Aetos, Fenwick HMG and Redingston Predator) are very reasonably priced, (HMG $159, Ateos $189, Predator $279) and they cast surprising well. None felt overly light in the hand, but none were too clunky either. The hardware was just OK. The salt water might take its toll so be sure to clean these rods up properly after each trip.