It’s always interesting to try a new spinning rod, especially iff it is of a new series and with a specific designers’ idea. I saw my friend having 2 Pontoon 21 spinning rods of a new series Seven&Eleven, which determines its length of 7 feet 11 inches. These spinning rods having almost the same test and length were so different that I wanted to try both of them.
Casting my mind back, I started fishing with a soviet spinning rod made of duralumin and “Nevskaya” reel, and only then I started to adapt to jig fishing. Luckily there was a good area to practice – the river Dnepr, which brought great results if you use jigging. At those times (the end of the 90s - the beginning of the 00s) there was an axiom: the longer the rod is, the longer the cast is, and we needed a long cast because the river was wide. Also there was a legend about Daiwa Whisker rod, which was 3 meters long and was quite fashionable. And how did we manage to fish with a 3-meter spinning rod and test of 7-35 grams… At that time it seemed quite normal. Quickly we understood, twitching with a 3-meter spinning rod even if it is light was impossible. Then I bought the novelty of the season Banax Mega 2,44 meters long (8 feet) and test of 4-18 grams. I bought it for twitching but I quickly understood that I liked fishing with jig heads, cranks, spinners, and it is this rod that I take at the earliest possible opportunity. The reason for that is that it is comfortable. The length of 8 feet was universal for almost all styles of fishing which I practiced then. Since then the tendencies have changed, the majority of young anglers use short rods, and the older ones still prefer the longer models. It must be the reason for Seven&Eleven to be created. I think that inside I still admire the longer rods though mainly using shorter models.
Perhaps, since then or for some other reason I’ve been very meticulous about the length of the rod of 2,40 meters. I have quite a lot of rods: short ones are for twitch baits, long ones are for jig baits, expensive and cheap. Those times when you had to have a 3-meter rod to make a long cast, have already passed, my favorite Megabass Destroyer Blizzard Manipulator with the test of 7-24 grams will give a head start to my old rods of three meters. Now we live in times when one wants comfortable fishing and harmony with lures. And it was for that reason that I wanted to try these two rods of my favorite length.
Well, I hold in my hands these two rods of the same length (7’11’’) and different “width”. You can see with the naked eye that though having the same test of 9-28 and 8-24 grams accordingly the diameter of the blank of the first rod at the butt end is much bigger than in the second one. The labels ExtraFast and Fast are totally justified.
Seven&Eleven 7116XF (9-28 g) was the first that I tried. I tested it in very difficult conditions – jigging from the boat at night. It’s just high time to listen to your feelings, to understand how the rod works, how you feel the lure touch the bottom and the bites. And Seven&Eleven didn’t let me down! All the weights of jig baits that I used that day ranged from 10 to 16 grams. I could feel with my hands how the lure touched the bottom or the fish. The rod has a classic “magnum” action, the tip of the rod is active and informative, the blank is powerful. Probably, I would mark the test as 7-28 g according to its sensitivity, or even 6-30 g, but the cast must have been taken into account. You start feeling the rod being loaded with the test 8-10 grams, and it casts well even with 30 g, or even more. But, this delusion must be typical for rods with “magnum” action, that’s why I wouldn’t recommend you to overload it, I think the producer’s calculations were correct. The rod doesn’t cast itself, you should apply some force to make a cast at the bottom of the test range, but it’s going to be pleasant, powerful and without failures. I like this action. It may be my whim, but I managed to use twitching and jigging, as well as, spinnerbaits, and I found out that this rod has great sensitivity, which enables you to understand what’ happening to the lure at any moment, be it a failure of the petal or grass on the hard bait. Though the main purpose of this spinning rod is jigging, I would also add leader rigs, since the length enables us to do so. The rest is left to the accident, when you use jigging, and as ill luck would have it I’d better check the bay with Rudra. Well here it is. Yes, perhaps it won’t be ideal, but fairly good – it’s true. I’m thinking about buying one for jigging in the Dnieper with the test of 14-22 g.
The second rod waited in the wings and for a reason. It is Pontoon21 Seven&Eleven 7115F with the test of 8-24 grams. The action is different. The first thing you notice is that it casts on its own. The cast is quite easy to make. The lower test seemed to be marked according to its sensitivity rather than its cast. I cast hard baits of 6 and 7 grams, no problems, they must have been created within the test range according to the cast, but you start feeling a jig bait with hand with the test of 7-8 g, which means that the lower test is marked correctly.
The upper test is also correct, there’s also a reserve, but I wouldn’t take a risk, taking into account that overload doesn’t enhance the range of the cast. The long rod is often thought to be universal and it is true. I tried to use cranks with it – perfect, minnows – all right, jig baits and leader rigs – not bad, spinnerbaits – perfect. And it happened so that we tested the durability of this rod, not really relying on it. And I can tell you without any hesitations that it holds the fish perfectly. In one of my trip I decided to try jig heads with it, and one of the retrieves brought me a prize. The pike you may see on the photo turned out to be fidgety. It bit, but not securely, the offset hook pierced the edge of the mouth and hardly held on to it. The only thing left was to rely on the rod and Daiwa friction. Just before the boat it went down, thus I testes Pontoon21 Seven&Eleven to durability under a critical angle and it endured. But Chinese lip-grip tore off. And once again the elastic properties of the rod didn’t let it go. On the whole, it perfectly holds the fish.