Battle Of The Brutes
Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy Test Drive
In an earlier issue we introduced the Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy rod series; a well established rod series in Abu Garcia’s stable of rods (click tab below to read the introduction article). After fondling with it in our lab (to get an idea how the fishing rod feels before taking it out to the field for its torture test), we took it to our favourite field testing pond; the Natural Exotic Sports Fishing pond in Behrang, Perak, Malaysia, to see how it performed in the real world. This here is the rod model that we “test drove”:
Rod Brand: Abu Garcia
Series: Tournament (Trophy)
Model: TTS802XH A
Action: Extra Heavy
Weight: 1/2 – 4oz
Line Weight: 15-40lb
Blanks Type: Carbon Graphite
Blanks Class: 24 Ton
Nicely designed Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy butt section; medium action rod.
Our usual “test drives” involves rods from ultra light action to heavy action. This time we are playing with extra heavy (XH) artillery. On this test drive we decided to irritate the heck out of the hard fighting Mekong River catfish that call this “arena” home. To get to them we needed our baits to reach really good distances that is usually out of reach for shorter rods with the line class that we were using for this test (30lb).
With the help of a sinker we go our baits far out into the area of the pond where the Mekong River catfish calls home in hopes of catching and battling it out with them. The Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy rod that we were testing was made to cast out heavier baits and did so with ease.
The Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy uses quality components.
It didn’t take long before we were on to fish. The battles were hard fought. Our field testers were flexing their muscle hard in all three main places; arms, back, and lower abdomen where the rod butt was being supported. With the drag of the reel cranked up high one can see from the faces and action of our testers that they were in “blissful” agony.
Left: tough and superb rod to manage hard battles such as this. Right: Always use quality products and not crap like this “screwed up” hook.
The fights were really hard fought. We landed a good variety of hard fighting fishes and they were the very hard fighting Chao Phraya catfish and the hard fighting red tail Amazon catfish. Unfortunately we did not hook any Mekong River catfish. Anyhow, the fights were hard and we did lose one fish due to a hook that bent open (a lower end hook that we were testing). After that incident we went back to our favourite hooks; Owner hooks.
One of the Chao Phraya catfishes that took our baits and gave us a good workout.
Being an extra heavy (XH) action rod, the Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy we tested that day certainly is made for such hard battles. During the hard and fast runs (sudden burst of powerful runs) the rod absorbed the shock reducing the amounts of pressure and stress felt by the angler until bent reaches its the section of the backbone where its power kicked in (at about 60 to 65% of the rod from the butt section). From this point on the pressure started picking up and with the angler feeling the brunt of the fish’s run.
A tough blank wrapped in a carbon fibre wrap; makes the blank of the Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy even tougher.
Pressure is actually felt by both the angler and fish. With the drag set very high it didn’t take long to tire out the fish. Within a few minutes the fish is brought up for photos before releasing it back into the pond. A good number of hard fighting fishes were landed by the few testers who participated in the “test drive” and the feedback is the same. Other then feeling the pains in their forearms and back; the Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy did leverage the fight towards the benefit of these anglers. The rod has a tip that is not too stiff or rigid. The tip’s capability to absorb the shock from the run does help take in some of the pressure instead of transferring the whole force of it over to the angler. To put it in short; more of the pressure (force) is felt by the fish instead of the angler.
Another hard fighting Chao Phraya catfish that tortured the Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy.
Overall the Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy rod that we tested and tortured performed really well. It is a rod made to do battle with hard and tough fighting fishes and it does so really well. It is a tough rod with a very strong and powerful backbone that is capable of putting high amounts of pressure as well as to take in high amounts of pressure. The absorption capabilities of its tip does help the angler by absorbing sudden burst of fast and hard runs of the fishes, as well as to reduce the pressure of the force from these runs. This rod certainly did very well.
Tackle Used During Test
Rod: Abu Garcia Tournament Trophy TTS802XH A
Rod Action: Extra Heavy
Reel: Penn Conquer 5000
Reel Model: 5000
Reel Size: 5000
Main Line: Berkley Fireline Fused
Line lb: 30lb
Leader Line: Berkley Vanish
Line lb: 40lb
Baits / Lures: Fish Meat / Chicken Innards
Hooks / Jig-heads: Owner
Test Conditions: Sunny with slight wind
Rod Features At A Glance
Tough with good backbone
High quality EVA handles
Narrow mid EVA grp
Tapered rear EVA grip
High quality 24 Ton graphite blank
High quality Fuji O-Ring guides
High quality Fuji reel seats