#13 LTS Explosive 9 foot #8 $645.00
These new LTS rods are like other good rods that we see being built in Korea. Like the Hardy rods, built in Korea at the same factory, the craftsmanship is excellent but their performance of these LTS rods was somewhat lackluster. They have to be pretty proud of these rods to charge this much money, especially if they are coming from Korea, when you can buy extremely good casting rods like the Loomis Pro 4X for $360, or the St. Croix Legend Elite for $490, and they are made right here in the USA. I did like the looks of this rod, in a bright golden color, with gold wraps to match. The action was slower than I’d prefer and the stiffer tip didn’t allow for much feel or accuracy at close range. But out long, this rod performed nicely. It also has a relatively light swing weight, making it pleasant to cast. One minor gripe I had is that the full wells handle seemed a shade too fat. They did use some good-looking cork though. The reel seat is one of those space age designs that you are going to love or hate. It is a black anodized double uplocking affair, but rather than a more traditional spacer, you can look in and see the blank itself. A good-looking extension butt is used with a large diameter rubber butt cap. The guides are two SiC strippers with the rest hard chrome snake guides.
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 35 feet: 18 points out of 20
Good, but the softer Zalt was better. About like the Imperial in close.
Performance at 60 feet: 18 points out of 20
Again, the Zalt proved to be slightly smoother and more accurate at mid-range.
Performance at 80 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Now the extra power of the Explosive is paying off and I’m forming nice loops with good control.
Performance at 100 feet: 18 points out of 20
No problem, but nothing like the authority of the Pro 4X or the BVK.
#12 LTS Explosive 9’#8 $645 68/80
Let me begin by saying this isn’t a bad rod… it’s just that it is stacked against a highly competitive group of 8-weight rods this year. I know some very competent anglers and casters who really like this rod. At the end of the day, I just feel like you can get equal if not better performance out of less expensive rods.
I noticed that the other guys didn’t like the reel seat, in fear of it’s open space design collecting saltwater corrosion and making it harder to clean up. I’m not sure about that but what I did notice is the Explosive’s huge cork grip could use some whittling.
Performance at 35 feet: 16 points out of 20 Tip heavy in hand this rod felt clunky compared to the Meridian. Under-average is as nice as I can put it.
Performance at 60 feet: 18 points out of 20 Feeling better but the extra weight seems unnecessary in this day and age. A lot of inexpensive rods were more accurate and required less energy to cast.
Performance at 80 feet: 17 points out of 20 Not bad, but not my cup of tea when compared to its price point peers.
Hit the Hun? 17 points out of 20 Yes, if you aim high 100 feet is possible.
Capt. Jamie Allen:
#13 (tie) LTS Explosive
Both the Echo and LTS felt a little clunky compared to the BIIIx. The LTS looks like some of the fiberglass rods that are making a comeback. The cork on the Echo felt really fat in my hand. The rods reached out to 80’ pretty easy but lost accuracy. The hardware for the Echo and LTS are just so-so for saltwater. The Winston is winning in that department. The Winston BIIIx's action is just a little too soft for aggresive casting, but might make a good rod for learning saltwater anglers as it is easy to feel.
Capt. Skip Zink:
#11 (tie) LTS Explosive 52/60
Has a Fiberglass look to the rod, light weight soft rod and tip, rod reel seat can (and will) fill with debris.