Batson Enterprises has a well established industry reputation of
manufacturing/distributing quality and value oriented rod building blanks
and components. Their proactive approach to market trends and
consumer demand has grown their product lines and offerings substantially over the past
their website and catalog is overflowing with just about
anything and everything a beginner to experienced professional could ever want and/or need in rod building.
With that said, having the opportunity to review the XST1383F RX8 float
blank over a period of two full seasons of NE Ohio steelheading was
exciting! The blank, when first received, was a newer offering to
their float lineup and given its specifications was destined to be tested
to its fullest through the course of this review.
Batson Enterprises Home Page
Enterprises XST Float Blank Line-up
XST1383F TC 11'6" 2 8-12lbs 3/8-3/4oz 0.424 5.0 Fast M
3.62oz Medium float rod / center pin
The blank arrived packaged
from Batson's plant unscathed and with ample padding within a thick walled
PVC tube complete with blue end caps. After removing it from the
plastic sleeve and rubber bands, the first thing that caught my eye was
the appearance of the finish. If you've ever owned a Honda, you'll
remember the metallic sand paint colors. The titanium chrome finish of
this blank is close in appearance to this type of automotive paint and is
very eye catching. It seems to posses an every-so-slight sparkle to
it when the sun hits it just right.
The check list I follow when
unwrapping and inspecting a blank as a professional rod builder is:
Does it have any abnormalities in the surface and or
Are there any scratches?
Are the individual sections straight and does it
maintain this straightness assembled?
Is the paint application consistent throughout each
How well is each sections fitment to the next?
Does each section appear to be cut crisp and
perpendicular to the length?
Needless to say, this blank
arrived in excellent condition and fit together as one would expect a high
quality rod should. I could tell, by holding it assembled, that this
rod blank would be super efficient and allow me to fish with a goal of
banking fish as quickly as possible. It was obvious that it was
built with more power and speed than most of the typical "noodle action"
rods on the market (built or in raw blank form). I intentionally
ordered the 8-12# rated blank because of this goal and I wasn't
I tend to use rods in the 13-15' length when drift fishing wider rivers.
And granted, I completely understand that the rivers of NE Ohio are not
all that wide (as compare to others). Nevertheless, Because of
this bias and as a matter of being fair, I stuck with narrower rivers and
creeks in Ohio and NW Pennsylvania to review this 11'6" 2pc. Having
the ability, over the course of two seasons, to fight and land close to
300 stocker steelhead, I can say without reservation that there was never
a time that I felt under gunned or over powered by any of them.
Although I was unable to test the blank's performance attributes against a
charging salmon (the real power machines), the fresh lunkers I was able to
do battle with were still no match. What I like most about the
XST1383F and the longer XST1562F is their inherent reserve power under
load. The tip section of the XST1383F is on the slightly faster end
of the spectrum, but handles lighter pound test tippet well. This,
of course, is very dependent on experience and correct timing. The
minimal break-offs I experienced were my fault and not due to rod action.
It would also help to know that for most of the fish hooked and landed
during this time period of testing, I employed a "getting to the bank as
fast as possible" hauling method. Not normally the case for the
steelhead territory I tend to fish, I chose to upgrade my running line to
15.5# and use 10-6# fluorocarbon tippet during most outings. During
one especially memorable trip, a buddy and I landed steelhead back-to-back
and in tandem for a couple hours straight. Using this method, I was
able to bank the fish with great efficiency and fully understand the
dynamics of Batson's proprietary blend of RX8 and RX7 graphite.
Fast, but light in the tip and all business from the mid to the butt
section of the blank. Impressive!
Currently, the MSRP of this rod is just under $164. Considering
competing blanks from other manufacturers, especially the higher end
models, the value of this rod becomes quite evident. While we would
all like to see components and blanks go down in price, it just isn't
going to happen anytime soon. Overall, the price point on this blank
is indicative of quality. Couple that together with the facts that
you're supporitng a US based family and headquarters with your business, a
company that will be able to honor your warranty and provide service
quickly, the value only increases.
I truly enjoyed fishing this blank and felt that it could stand up to any
steelhead that I might face here in NE Ohio. Having some past
experience salmon fishing, I feel it would be just as able to fight salmon
across the Great Lakes Region. At no time did I feel concerned that
the action of the rod was forcing me to play fish longer than intended.
The weakest link in the system was anything other than the power and
performance of this rod blank. Given that this review was a two year
audition, by now the reputation of the XST line has been well established
across both the United States and Canada, so this may come as now surprise
that we found it to be such an awesome fishing catching machine.
This blank is certainly worth your scrutiny if considering building a high
performance, powerful and sweet looking center pin float rod.