Product Manufacturer: MHX
Hi all,

I built my first rod and posted about it a little while ago. That was before I got a chance to fish it, so I thought I'd write a quick review now that I have had on the water a few times.

The rod/materials were bought as a kit from Mudhole.com. It was catalog # MHXCK-5. It came with the blank, a standard cork handle and foregrip, a Pacific Bay baitcast reel seat, a set of double foot guides and tiptop that I believe are American Tackle, though I don't know the model/sizes, and also rubber winding check and regular hook keeper. All of that came for $79 plus shipping. That price was one of the reasons I chose MHX for my first build. Many of the others were a lot more expensive, or cheaper, so I decided to go mid-range. The cork handle had some sort of defect that spread when I was reaming it. A call to Mudhole resulted in a free replacement of the handle! So customer service in that regards was awesome.

Here are the stats for the MB843 blank:
Length 7'
Pieces 1
Line Weight 10-17
Lure Weight 1/4 - 3/4
Power Med-Hvy
Action Fast
Butt OD .59
Tip Size 5
Color Slate

Review of the finished product: I am by no means a gear snob - I usually fish the cheapest stuff around. I got this because I needed a new rod and I thought it would be cool to build my own rod, not because of any bias towards high-end gear or custom rods. So my review of this rod is compared to what I have, Ugly Stiks, Berkley Lightning Rod, and what I believe is a Shakespeare (the info all rubbed off).

First, it feels noticeably lighter than my other rods, but not a drastic difference. A friend of mine thought it felt a little tip-heavy, and I've concluded that the double foot guides are likely the culprit. Next time I will use double-feet only for the stripper and maybe the next guide up, but the rest are going to be single-foot. Anyway, he noticed the slight tip-heaviness but it never bothered me.

Second, this rod casts farther than my other rods. I was pretty surprised by that, I had to sort of ease back on my casting power to prevent casting into trees and etc. Now, I don't know if this is because of the blank itself, or the care and attention I took in finding the spine and placing the guides. It also feels good flipping/pitching it, but this is something I am just starting to get the hang of. It does feel a little better than an Ugly-stik for pitching, perhaps because of the lightness.

Third, I got it as a permanent T-rig rod, but I have tried it also with a jig/craw and also spinnerbait. MHX rates their blanks according to application, and T-rig/jig/spinnerbait are what the MB843 was rated for, making this a versatile rod and I am sure a best seller for MHX for that reason. The rod is pretty sensitive to the bottom features and also for the bites. With the spinnerbaits I can feel the blades thumping just a little bit better than the other rod I usually use with the spinnerbait. I would say that once a fish is on, I don't really notice any fighting difference between it and my other rods.

So in the end, I rate this rod pretty highly. Whenever I get another rod, it will be homebuilt because I enjoyed that process so much, and I will probably go with MHX again, but not a kit. Next time I will be more custom with respect to handle/guides and etc. The kit was an awesome way to get started though. I am currently on the fence as to whether my next build will be a composite cranking rod, a rod designed for spinnerbaits, or a spinning outfit for drop shotting or shakeyheads. If you are thinking of getting into rodbuilding, do it, its not as hard as it looks. And I would definitely recommend this MB843 as it seems like an awesome all-purpose bass rod. The rod building process was really a great way to spend evenings. I really miss working on that project, but its not something you can just keep on doing day after day like fly tying because the components are more expensive.

Jay