I need to get a few things out of the way. I donít keep measurements on every rod I build, I prefer plain rod builds, dont get crazy with wraps or winding checks. I mostly build for myself, some for clients, and friends and family. Iím an avid fisherman, I try to get out at least once a week. I donít fish many tournaments but I like to have nice equipment.
Iíve been in the market for some new rods and Iíve been pretty intrigued by the new Rainshadow blanks; specifically the Immortal and Eternity2 series. I couldnít find much information on them on the web, so I decided to bite the bullet and order a couple to try for myself.
Not knowing anything about these blanks, I decided to contact Batson. I knew I wanted one to be a finesse spinning rod for drop shotting and shaky head techniques. One blank that caught my eye was the Eternity2 610M/XF spinning rod. It was very refreshing to talk to a sales person at Batson that was very candid with me. He actually talked me out of that particular model. He told me that during testing they had a few breaks due to improper handling, (high sticking, trying to boat flip big fish) and let me know it was a very technique specific blank. He pointed me into the direction of the 610M in the Immortal series for the aforementioned techniques. We also talked a bit about the Eternity series of rods. I mentioned that I really enjoy bottom contact techniques, especially texas rigs and jigs and he recommended the ETEC72M.
To be honest, I wasnít really familiar with Batson or any of their different brand of products. The sales person let me know they basically produce everything to put a rod together, blanks, guides, grips, etc. Honestly I appreciated the way he approached it, he wasnít pushy, there was no hard sell, we were just having a conversation.
After this conversation I figured I would build these blanks using only components supplied from Batson.
I went online to a dealer of their products and went ahead and placed my order.
If you looked at the rods I regularly carry on my boat, youíll notice that they are very plain. They are all either raw blanks or blank, basic wraps, etc. I was a bit worried about the finished look of these blanks. I have to say I was quite impressed when I received my blanks. The Immortal series is a very nice subdued titanium color, and the Eternity series is a very rich cobalt blue kind of similar to the color on some St. Croix rods. It really does look stellar in person. Both finishes were flawless and I couldnít find any imperfections.
Iíve always been a fan of Fuji guides. If it ainít broke donít fix it right? I didnít know what to expect from the Alps/Forecast guides. For the Immortal series I used their SS spinning guides. These guides are quite nice. The larger sizes are pre filed/ground and wrapped very easily and nicely. The smaller sizes only required a minimal amount of prep work to be ready to be mounted. For the Eternity series I decided to buy their titanium guides. Just like the SS guides, they were pretty much ready to go. I didnít notice any machining burrs and the smaller guides only require a minimum amount of prep. They also look pretty awesome on the cobalt blue blank. I havenít fished with them long enough to comment on durability, but my initial impressions are very favorable.
For the spinning rod I used an Alps graphite split reel seat with dual nuts. Adding that extra locking not is a very nice touch and one that I appreciated. They also allow you to choose the color of your locking nut if you so desire.
My casting rod I decided to go with their Alps MVT casting seat. They tout this as being made of Toray graphite and MVT stands for Micro Vibration Transmission.. Like the spinning seat, this comes with a locking nut that is really nice and you can pick the color as well. I really like this reel seat. This kind of reminds me a little of the 13 reel seat. I realize the 13 seat is polarizing, and people seem to love it or hate it, but this Alps seat fits my hand very well and rests in a nice position. Whether or not it enhances sensitivity or increases vibration remains to be seen, and Iíll be able to judge better with more time on the water.
The spinning rod received Alps/Forecast eva graips. The EVA seems to be of very high quality and was easy to use. No complaints there.
For the casting rod I decided to use the Tapered carbon fiber grips. I really like these grips. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing but I really like the taper. I find it to be quite comfortable. I was a bit worried it might get a little too slippery when wet, but thereís just enough texture to alleviate that concern.
My overall impression on the components I used is very positive, and I will be using them again on future builds.
A quick note regarding the RainShadow Immortal IMMS72ML. While mocking the rod up I taped the tip top on. Apparently I didnít tape it that well, because it was rattling around on the end. Those rattles created vibrations that were transmitted down the length of the blank. I understand this was something making direct contact with the blank, but they strength of the vibrations being transmitted down the entire blank was quite impressive.
Both rods also passed my Ďfloor test.í I tie on a round head jig and slowly drag it across the tile floor and close my eyes. You could easily tell the transition from tile floor to grout line with both blanks.
A quick note about these rod builds. While on the phone with the sales staff they mentioned the fact they publish blue prints for all of their rod blanks. Normally I wouldnít put much faith into blueprints published by a manufacturer, but the sales person assured me they put a lot of work into these blue prints and assured me they werenít just a generic setup. Both of these rods were built according to the blue prints published by batson.
The blueprints were pretty spot on, I may have moved a guide or two ever so slightly, but I was more than satisfied with the initial guide placement. The picture was taken with a Quantum Smoke 2500 series spinning reel and shows where the balance point on this particular rod ended up.
My first day on the water with these two rods was tough. The fish are chasing shad and can be graphed pretty much anywhere on the lake. It was a slow day, and I only ended up catching three fish, all on the RainShadow Immortal IMMS72ML using a drop shot. (wish I didnít leave my spoons at home!) I really think this series is going to be special. The rod is SENSITIVE. You can easily tell what the bottom composition is, every rock, pebble, grasss etc. Bites were very easy to detect, even those subtle Ďmushí bites. Thereís enough tip on this rod to make nice casts, and it loads up solidly into the back bone for setting the hook and fighting the fish. I cast weights ranging from 1/8oz-5/16. It handled them with ease. I didnít hook into any giants, big fish was probably
.5lbs, but I had no problem directing them and turning them. Keep in mind though this isnít a heavy rod, and you wonít be boat bouncing any 8lbers with it. You still need to properly set your drag because you wonít be Ďmusclingí fish. I like this rod so much that I ordered the Eternity2 version! It will be interesting doing a head to head comparison. I also plan on using this for shaky heads if the situation calls for it, and have no doubts it will be more than capable for this task as well. One thing to note about this blank is that IMO it fishes more like a medium than a medium light.
Thereís not much to say about the Eternity2 other than the fact that it did everything the Immortal did but better. This blank is sensitive, crisp, and seems to be very well made. The first fish I caught on this rod was pretty cool. I was throwing a 1/4oz texas rig. I felt it come through the grass and could tell it was at the grass line. I felt a quick tap, which I initially thought was possibly a very small panfish. I then felt a subtle pulling, set the hook, and landed this beauty. This rod is now my preferred texas rig and lighter jig rod. In fact, I liked it so much I ordered their MH version to throw heavier jigs with.
Both the rods are fast action with nice tips. Casting on both rods is a breeze and they both load up nicely into a really strong backbone.
Iíve built on and fished with a lot of different rods. GLX, NRX, St Croix, MHX Hi Mod, Lamiglas Infinity, X-Entity, Phenix K2 etc. These rods are the real deal. I didnít feel like I was sacrificing anything by using these blanks. They offer tremendous performance at an incredible price point. The value these rods bring is amazing, and I think Batson/Rainshadow really did a fantastic job with these. I know everyone has certain brand loyalties, and thats a good thing. So is competition. I really think everyone should try these blanks.
I'll try to get some more pics of the Immortal, I told my buddy I'd let him use it in a tournament and he hasn't given it back yet... [-X
Also, I know this isn't the most thorough or comprehensive review, so if you have any questions I'll try and answer them.