Ok, so Lamiglas’ new X82MS spinning stick, (8’2″, rated for 6-12 pound line) has quickly turned into one of my favorite all-around rods. It’s really a steelhead rod but I’ve found it does quite a few other things well too…
Now, in the interest of full-disclosure here, I’m going to come straight out with it and say that I helped design this rod (along with the slightly heavier X711 MTS), but I can also tell ya that I didn’t receive payment for the process — I simply asked them to build a couple rods that I needed that weren’t in their lineup.
Short Stick Side-Drifter
My main concept for the X82MS was for side-drifting steelhead. There’s been a trend, particularly in the Northwest, for many years towards very long, limber side-drift rods. Up north, a lot of folks like parabolic 9’2″ or even 9’6″ rods rated in the 4- to 8-pound class for this technique. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that thought process, but I just feel a shorter rod is easier to handle in a boat — especially in the confines of a drifter.
I also wanted to a soft tip so the fish could grab the bait without feeling much resistance — but I designed this one to shut off faster than those longer rods so that my sinkers would have less opportunity to pull the tip down and fall into the cracks between rocks on the bottom. It had to be light and sensitive as well, and that’s why Lami went with their Certified Pro graphite material for the blanks.
Well, anyway, that’s the genesis of the X82MS. For this rod, I had in mind smaller rivers — ones without gigantic steelhead. For the bigger, more brawling rivers with the 20 plus pounders in it, check out the X711 MTS.
On the Water Test
When these rods came out of Lamiglas’ factory in Woodland, WA, it was striper…not steelhead…season for me. But, I just couldn’t wait to put ’em to use. So, I took a group of clients out on the river throwing plastic worms and we quickly gave the rod a workout. Dale Milam hooked and landed a 40-pound striped bass!
The rod was pretty much bent to the cork, be we eventually landed the beast and the X82 emerged from the battle none the worse for wear. While I wouldn’t want to try to land 40 pounders all day long on the rod, it clearly is tough and has plenty of muscle if you do happen to hook Moby!
When side-drifting season eventually came along, I found the X82 MS to have a crisp action that delivered extremely accurate casts, even with the big lumbering splash ball type sinkers we’re throwing more and more down here. It transmitted bites cleanly and clearly and, most importantly, felt good in my hands.
Later last winter, I tested the rod out on small streams on the Oregon Coast and found that it also excelled as a small water drift rod. Then, just for kicks, I rigged it up with a float, not expecting too much. I generally want at least 9 foot of rod for float fishing, but I quickly found that the X82 works very well on pint-sized rivers. In fact, we caught a mess of steelhead that trip, including a 16 pounder on the rod, so again, it can hold its own.
Trout Rod? Surf Rod?
Now, it sounds kinda funny, but on the way home from some steelie trip awhile back, we were driving past a greasy-calm ocean, which inspired a quick impromptu surf perch casting session. As you guys know, I’ma huge light tackle perch fishing fan, so we busted out the X82’s and had a ball catching nice red tails. Now, it’s my go-to surf stick as well!
The rod is also light enough to make trout fishing a blast. This season, we were fishing Lake Berryessa in Nor Cal for rainbows and landlocked kings. The deal was this: huck a spoon as far as you could and crank it back in. Well, the 8’2″ length throws light lures like they’ve been shot from a cannon and the light tip was soft enough to make rainbows and mini kings a lot of fun.