Spro Mobile Stick Review by John Cheyne
||Mobile Stick 80M
If you are anything like me, then you will take just about every opportunity to fish that you can get. I’ve carried a little Shimano telescopic rod in my car for years and it’s always done a pretty good job for me for quick light lure session on canals and rivers, but at just 6 foot it’s a bit short for fishing dropshot and as the more specialised rods I have for the majority of my fishing have improved and been upgraded it has begun to feel a little clumsy and agricultural. In short it lacks finesse and as I’ve improved my own standard of ‘light game’ fishing using little shads, dropshot lures and mini-cranks, it feels less and less up to the job. So I decided I needed to find an alternative, something I could keep in the car or pack in a standard backpack with my laptop, that would cast little shads, spinners and cranks, but that would also do a decent job as a drop shot rod. After a lot of google searching and chats with other anglers I finally decided to get myself a Spro Mobile Stick. Did it live up to expectation and manage to cover all the bases I was hoping for ? read on and find out !
Well the first big difference between my old Shimano and the New Spro rod is that the Spro is a multi-peice rather than a telescopic. The rod comes nicely presented in it’s own custom made divided rod bag and packed in the bag it is very small indeed. Despite being well over 7 foot when assembled the rod packs up to a very near 43cm, which will fit in any standard backpack very easily.
The rod fits neatly into the rucksack that I carry my laptop in. So the rod certainly lives up to it’s “mobile” name tag
The first time you assemble the rod, you get a real feeling of quality as each section fits nicely into the next and the whole thing feels very solid when put together.
The joints go together very nicely and are finished with a neat two-tone whipping.
The split-grip handle is a cork/EVA foam combination with a slightly unusual rounded cork front-peice which I actually quite like. The real seat screws upwards and seems nice and solid. There’s some nice detail on the rear grip where a band of cork has been inserted into the foam just for looks, which I also think looks very smart.
The front of the handle is a slightly unusual rounded snap that tapers towards the rear, but it’s comfortable and I rather like the look.
The rod is ringed throughout with lightweight single legged rings. They are nicely spaced and seem to be pretty strong as I’ve had no issues of bent rings despite the fact that the rod has been carried in a rucksack on the Tube in London during rush hour on a number of occasions.
The rings are light, but tough and I’ve had no issues with them getting knocked or bent despite giving the rod a pretty tough time.
I was very keen to see what the tip of the rod was like as I was hoping it would be sensitive enough to use for drop shotting and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not as micro thin as some LRF solid tipped rods, but it’s certainly fine enough to give you good feedback when dropshotting for perch.
The tip is a nice compromise, strong enough to cope with cranks and larger shads, but still with enough finesse to allow you to use the rod for drop-shotting.
The first few outing we gave the rod were casting various sizes of shads mounted on jig heads, to see what the blank could cope with. We started at the lower end and fished with a tiny 35mm Cultiva Micro worm on a 0.8g Xesta star size 8 jig head and worked our way through about 14 lures right up to a 9cm Savage soft 4-play with a 7g jig head. As soon as you start using the rod, you immediately notice that the action is very “tippy” if you hook a fish (or a snag!) and bend into it it’s only really the top 2 foot of the rod that bends, this is because of the rods fast action and delicate tip and is ideal for fishing for small fish as it means the rod is nice and sensitive.
We tried the rod out with a big range of jig-headed shads, split tails and grubs. It coped with everything in the photo with ease. It was only when we approached the upper end of the rods casting weight that we felt less confident in setting hooks and working the lures properly. (can you name every lure ?)
The rod performed beautifully right up to using 3 inch lures with 7g jig heads, so a combined weight of about 12g. However above this weight the tippy action started to mean that the rod was bending, just to work the lures and once we got into jig heads above size 1 or 1/0 at the biggest we felt there wasn’t really enough backbone to set the hooks properly. So if anything I feel the rod is slightly over-rated at 5-15g. It actually coped pretty well with lures that weighed as little as 1.5 g..not perfect, but not bad, so we would say that in practice the rod should probably be rated more like 2-12g and it’s ideal casting weights are 5-10g. Basically perfect for general perch work. It’s ideal for use with braid up to about 15lb bs.
The Mobile Stick is in it’s element while fishing on canals and small rivers for small to medium sized perch. being so transportable it’s perfect for urban fishing as you can carry it on the bus or tube without anyone even knowing you are going fishing !
I caught plenty of nice little perch on little shads and I also had fun chucking some little cranks and micro-jerks. The bites even from the smallest perch can be felt easily enough as the blank transmits them very well and there’s very little need to watch the rod tip constantly. When hooked the rod is light enough to make them fun to catch and anything over a few ounces puts a nice bend in the top section.
The rod makes catching little canal perch good fun and it is equally happy throwing little swim baits (like this tiny BBZ) and cranks.
Another fun little stripey this time caught on a hard bait grub.
Next up I wanted to find out how the rod coped with drop shotting. I did all the testing on my local canal where the perch tend to average about 3oz so it was more a test of finesse fishing than using it to target bigger fish. The rod was teamed up with a Spro Sportsarc reel, 12lb 8strand braid and rigged with a 7g drop shot weight and a size 8 owner Mosquito hook and some 7lb FC. Lure wise I used mostly Cultiva Micro Worms, Ecogear Aqua Katsu Mebaru Shirasu 2” and Jackall Jacoknuckle 2″ shads. This is where the extra length of the Mobile Stick comes in really handy as it’s 7′ 10″ give you much more control over the lure than a shorter rod would. Once again the sensitivity of the rod was pretty good, maybe not as perfect as a top range purpose built solid tipped finesse rod, but more than adequate for catching perch, which tend to bite pretty hard anyway. In fact I must admit just owning this rod has made me fish canals for small fish a lot more than I was doing previously.
Drop-shotting on the local canal.
It’s not just small fish that I’ve managed to catch on the Mobile Stick though there have been a few better fish and some nice surprises too. I took the rod out to the World Predator Classic Event in Holland and although I decided not to use it during the main competition I did have a lovely perch of around 3lb using it during practice. The perch out there really scrap and so it was a great test of the rod under pressure, which it came through with flying colours.
This fat Dutch perch gave me a real battle but the Mobile Stick coped admirably.
I’ve used it for targeting the perch on the LACC stretch of the Grand Union Canal as well where I’ve had a couple of bonus Zander on the drop shot, so although it lacks a little bit of backbone to set the hooks in the boney mouths of Zeds if you are using 2-3″ shads with relatively large jig heads, it’s more than capable of catching them when your using small finesse shads or a drop shot set up.
A drop-shot caught Zander from the Grand Union canal in Warwickshire.
I even managed to fluke a lovely Brown Trout on it from a river I was trying to catch Chub from the other week and again the Mobile Stick coped well with the battling fight that ensued.
A bonus Brownie caught while Chub fishing using the Mobile Stick.
All in all I absolutely love the Mobile Stick. It packs away into a tiny space, it’s very nicely built and it bridges the gap beautifully between being a shad casting rod and a drop shot rod. I’ve even used it for a little bit of LRF work while on holiday in Cornwall and it did a great job at that too (although when it comes to LRF I’m a real novice so I’d take my recommendation for saltwater work with a pinch of…err salt!). If you’re looking for a travel rod that will be mainly used for catching perch, I can’t imagine there is a better rod out there. After using it for over 6 months week in week out, I’m pleased to say that I can really recommend it and at around £80.00 it’s a real bargain as well. If you want to spend £400 on two different, two piece rods, then yes you will probably get even better performance both for casting small plastics and working the drop shot…but the Mobile Stick won’t be far behind and it’s a lot cheaper and easier to transport. I haven’t been so happy with a Spro rod since I bought my first Godfather vertical jigging rod..and that is high praise indeed !
The Mobile Stick is awarded a Gold Medal by Luretour
Full Details of the Mobile Stick Range can be found in the Spro Catalogue HERE
Mobile Sticks are available from good Tackle shops all round the country, but if you are looking for one mail order we can recommend the service we have received from The Pike Shop who had the rods in stock when this review went live.