Our addictive sport of kayak fishing offers a variety of challenges that make us need to adjust our fishing style or gear. One of these challenges is that we are usually seated the majority of the time when we fish. Plus with limited storage capabilities, having gear that can be multi-functional would be fantastic. The Manley Gold Series Kayak Rod is one of rod that is multi-functional and is obviously targeted towards kayak anglers.
The Manley Rod features Microwave Guide System, Split Grips, and most notably the the MRF system that allows the fisherman to adjust the length of the rod butt. They are a sponsor of the KBS tournament series and is used by multiple anglers including Joseph Harrick from Catch Fish or Die Trying.
I’ve used the spinning version of the kayak gold series rod on multiple occasions chasing a variety of fish around the country. Everything from creek fishing for smallmouth bass, lake fishing for pike and largemouth bass, the swamps of Louisiana chasing redfish and specs, and one of the most memorable experiences, chasing specs, redfish, and jacks in Louisiana at the October Boondoggle.
The rod is well balanced and sensitive. When throwing a shaky head I could feel the jig hit the bottom and could easily tell what kind of bottom it landed on. The rod is light in my hand and doesn’t tire my arm or wrist when throwing crankbaits or any other lures throughout the day. Even when a dink bass takes the bait you can easily feel the bite.
Along with being balanced and sensitive it is quite strong. I’ve fought many pike who dive under the yak, bass in the lily pads getting hung up, redfish and trout taking out drag, but what impressed me the most about its strength was when I hooked up with a jack at the boondoggle. I was only hooked up for 5 minutes but the rod was bent in half a good portion of the time and was taking the brunt of the fight.
The microwave guides do really well and it does seem like my lures cast even farther than on other rods. The one issue with having these guides is if you tie on a leader you will need a small knot that won’t get hung up or fray quickly as it passes through the guides.
The MRF system (that is truly unique) makes this rod multi-functional. You can pitch, flip, cast a mile, or anything! It is easy to adjust and can be done pretty quickly. After you tighten the system it doesn’t move back or forth at all. The one thing that really bugged me at first is that even after it’s tightened the butt will twist. It won’t go back and forth but it will spin around. This was rather irritating as I was wanted something sturdy to hold onto. After using the rod a number of times I got used to the spin and it wasn’t a bother.
The gold series kayak rod retails for $160. As I mentioned it is strong, sensitive, and well balanced. From my experience these rods will take whatever beating you hand them (minus closing them in a door). After putting them to the test in both fresh and saltwater I can honestly say that Manley Rods are a true multifunctional rod. If you are a kayak angler you should check out their kayak series because in my book, they are a CATCH!