#9-tie Mystic Reaper 9 foot #8 $249.00
My initial impression of this rod was that it would finish a lot higher than it did. When you first pick it up, it’s nice and light with a very light swing weight. The action is about perfect too, with good butt and mid section power yet a nice soft tip. The thing that hurt was its lack of overall power, that severely limits it’s ability to chuck it long with the best rods. The sweet spot for this rod is at closer distances.
This is a handsome rod, finished in an attractive medium brown with darker brown wraps. I was impressed with the attention to the coatings on the wraps too. They are just about perfect, andFAR better looking than the coatings on the Hardy Zephrus. This rod is made in Korea like a lot of the less expensive rods in our shootout, but the craftsmanship is almost as good as the best rods. They are using a comfortable full wells grip, with a silver anodized, double ring uplocking seat with a short extension butt . Rod Guides start with two good Fuji SiC strippers, followed up with large size hard chrome snake guides. If they had used a larger tip top it would be even better.
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20
Very nice feel at short range. Just about as good as the Helios 2, and better than the Recon. This could have easily been a 19.5.
Performance at 60 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Smooth with nicely formed loops. Tracks well but when the wind came up it stumbled. This is about the max distance you’ll want to fish this rod.
Performance at 80 feet: 18 points out of 20
OK with little wind, but when the wind came up, long range capability and accuracy were lacking.
Performance at 100 feet: 16 points out of 20
Lack of guts at long range makes this a no go for 95% of anglers.
#10 Mystic Reaper 9’#8 $249 69/80
I think of the Mystic Reaper as a less expensive Winston BIIIx or Orvis H2. It really feels sweet in your hand, (lightweight and oozing with feel). Anglers who want to sight fish and deliver a delicate but accurate presentation should be looking at this rod. Note it is not a great all-around rod, but it is a terrific in-close weapon.
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20 Better feel than Aetos, HMG, Base, or any other inexpensive rod.While slightly less accurate than the Meridian, NRX, or H2, I have to admit this rod is fun to cast at 35 feet.
Performance at 60 feet: 18 points out of 20 Without wind this rod is feeling excellent. Once the wind picks up however this rod immediately begins to struggle.
Performance at 80 feet: 17 points out of 20 Again, with good timing and no wind this rod works well. Take either of those factors out of the equation however and you’ll have your work cut out for you. Forcing this rod or punching in the power = tailing loops every time.
Hit the Hun? 15 points out of 20 Only with a tailwind. I feel more comfortable hitting 100’ with my 9’#5 Hardy Zenith.
Capt. Jamie Allen:
#14 Mystic Reaper
I liked this year's Mystic Reaper better than last year's Mystic Reaper. It still feels a little too soft for fishing saltwater. I think on windy days this rod will struggle.
Capt. Skip Zink:
#10 Mystic Reaper 53/60
Felt Clunky, not a lot of power to go distance, better choices in the top #10 ranked rods.