Some might say that 13 Fishing is another one of these small brands that pop up from time to time, only to disappear after a few years. Prior to ICAST 2012, I had never heard of 13 Fishing, but shortly after entering ICAST their booth wasn't hard to spot. The first thing I noticed was the logo, simple yet complex. 13?
Why the number 13? What has always been considered an unlucky number is now being used as the name and brand of a fishing tackle company? I was still puzzled: fishermen tend to be a bit superstitious as it is so why “13”? Well, it makes sense once you see the rest of their slogan: “Make Your Own Luck.” Genius, if you ask me.
Enough about the branding. As a rod builder, I loved the looks of the 13 Fishing rods: black blanks, with chrome hardware and a carbon fiber look to the reel seat, and top grade cork! The rods are feather-light, but as a “Yak Angler” I always wonder about the durability of a product to be used on a kayak. We are not the easiest on our gear by nature, because we are limited on space. I have beaten the tar out of all the rods I use, and never broken one because of one reason - graphite. Rods built on graphite blanks tend to be more forgiving than those built on high modulus carbon blanks. Carbon blanks are very light weight, but bullet proof they are not. If you chip a HM blank, it will blow up. I was a more than a little worried about 13 Fishing rods being able to handle the abuse that a kayaker would put them through.
One of the guys I spoke with at ICAST took me up on my challenge - send me one to put through hell, and let’s see how it turns out! I was sure this rod would blow up on the second or third trip to the world-famous Mosquito Lagoon, just east of Titusville, FL. A few days after ICAST 2012, my doorbell rang and the carrier delivered the white PVC tube I had been waiting for! I opened the tube and pulled out a beautiful medium action 7' 2” “OMEN™ Black” spinning rod.
The first thing I noticed about the rod was the hook keeper:
I hate when rod manufactures don’t add hook keepers to their rods. A keeper will prevent the guides from scratching or chipping from hook points when folks end up using the guides as hook keepers, which will cause line failures down the road.
Looks alone will not keep a rod company in business long, so to the water we go. First one the schedule was ditch fishing for baby tarpon! These little fish pull hard, and live in an area with tight mangroves and downed trees that can bust tackle. I matched this rod with a Shimano “Stradic CI4 2500” with 10 lb. braid and a 15 lb. leader. I was amazed by the way this rod handled the light line and lures I used to target these little tarpon. After a short time I had my first hit, and after a short fight and a few crazy jumps I had my first fish on my 13 Fishing OMEN™!
This little guy had some DNA taken for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and was turned loose to grow to over a hundred pounds. This was obviously not the beating I was hoping to give the OMEN, but that was coming.
A few days later I took the OMEN™ on its maiden kayak voyage and it didn’t disappoint at all.
I must say I beat the crap out of this rod on a number of trips, and it didn’t fail. Here is the funny thing: the OMEN™ Black is their freshwater rod. Could it be that a freshwater rod could hold up to the rigors of saltwater use? Even more than that, can a company make a $100.00 rod, built on a HM blank for freshwater use, that holds up to the salt? 13 Fishing can! The OMEN™ could sell for $150.00 +, but the folks at 13 Fishing want everyone to “Make Their Own Luck” with this great rod!
I would like to thank 13 Fishing for the opportunity to review their OMEN™ Black!