Major Craft X-Ride XRS-962M 9’6’’ 15-42g lure rod review (£269.00)
The next step up in casting weight from the more regular kind of say 5-30g lure rod rating that so many of us use for our bass fishing, and I was really interested to see if I could possibly have any need for a more powerful lure rod than say the (pretty much close to perfect in my eyes) Major Craft Truzer 9’6’’ 10-30g (review here). Aside from the 150mm/30g Deep head Fiiish Crazy Sandeel that I find myself drawn to for rougher conditions and deeper water, I simply don’t carry bass fishing lures over about 28g I reckon. The last time I used a “next step up” lure rod for bass fishing I am pretty sure was the rather special Graphiteleader Argento Nuovo 9’3’’ 10-35g (review here), so how was one of Major Craft’s more powerful offerings going to do?
The lighter 9’6’’ 10-30g X-Ride seriously floated my boat (review here), and it was with a certain degree of reluctance when I handed it back to the kind soul who lent it to me - it’s one fast but very easy to use rod, and I was a little worried that the same length 15-42g X-Ride might simply be a more powerful version of that rod and thus potentially a bit much for the sort of bass fishing with lures that many of us tend to do around our shores - which it isn’t, not at all. Nope, this 15-42g one stands on its own I am pleased to say, and as per usual it seems with the Major Craft brand and the sort of rods I like lure fishing with, this is one serious bit of kit………
What an easy rod to fish with, and I mean that as some serious praise. More powerful this particular Major Craft X-Ride XRS-962M 9’6’’ 15-42g might be, but it’s just so easy and efficient that I reckon it would serve really well as the main lure rod for a number of anglers who either need to be fishing with heavier lures, or quite simply prefer a bit more grunt to their lure rod. In no way does this 15-42g X-Ride try to bite your head off while giving you the ability to cast heavier lures, indeed it just grew and grew on me the more I fished it. I like the way that the butt section bends into a cast and lets that stunning tip work properly, I like how efficient this rod is as a casting machine, and whilst I can’t pretend that this rod is going to work at its best when you drop down to something like the IMA Salt Skimmer (14g), in truth it’s doing just fine. Put something like the absurdly long distance IMA Hound 125F Glide on and I can’t help but grin at how far it goes. Don’t lash into this rod - wind it up nice and smoothly and just let it go to get the best out of it, and when you time it right this is a serious casting machine with plenty of feel and feedback.
Hard lures in all manner of conditions are almost a given with a rod like this, albeit it’s more comfortable with the heavier lures as indeed the casting range suggests, and the bigger surface lures are also very easy to work at whatever range you can get them out there - I bought a couple of the rather cheap Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper lures when I was in Cape Cod, and holy cow when you catch them right they go like a missile on this rod. I have never put the Hound Glide or DUO Tide Minnow Slim 140 Flyer out further for example, and whilst bass fishing of course is not remotely all about distance, give me the string to my bow that is being able to cover a bit more water and I’ll gladly take it.
I’ll tell you what impressed me most about this rod - bumping lures such as the Fiiish Black Minnow in a run of current. There’s a place we fish over in Ireland where you need to reach the channel to be in with the best shout at catching bass, and on a spring tide there can be a fair run of current - I really like fishing the 120mm Black Minnow body combined with the 20g Shore Head that’s meant to go with the 140mm body, and this 120mm/20g combination just absolutely flies on this particular X-Ride, and the feel you get when you fish that slowish sinks and draw down the current is just fantastic. The rod is plenty light enough to hold for long periods and for me tends to balance really well with the your fairly regular Daiwa 3000/Shimano 4000 size spinning reels.
OK, so the handle is a little longer than I am used to (42cms from end of butt section to reel stem), but I understand that with a more powerful rod a slightly longer handle might help with leverage - although to be honest this 15-42g X-Ride is just so easy to cast that I find myself naturally putting my bottom hand slightly up the grip. The handle on the rod is ok, although I would prefer that little bit of duplon behind the screw-lock to be closer to the back of my hand. The overall build quality seems to be very good as per usual, and I like those first two stronger, double-footed rings on the rod. I make no apologies for the fact that I think this is yet another hugely impressive Major Craft bass fishing rod, and whilst in reality I can quite easily get away with using no more than one of their 10-30g lure rods for my bass fishing, this slightly more powerful 15-42g rod doesn’t half make an impression on me, and yes, it does get me thinking about those rougher seas and the ease with which this rod puts the necessary lures out there……