I have been on the hunt for several years for a true dropshot rod for fishing gills and yellow perch on the inland lakes here in Michigan. No matter what brand of rods I had looked at, I just couldn’t seem to find what I was looking for. I was trying to find a rod that matched up to a bass dropshot. The rod had to have lots of backbone and taper quickly into the tip section.
For years I just couldn’t find what I wanted, I even entertained custom rods but could never find a blank to match what I was looking for. Fast forward to about a month ago; I was looking at ice fishing products doing some research for some upcoming articles. I was on K & E’s website looking at jigs when something caught my eye. It was a new ice rod combo they were offering. That combo prompted me to look at their other rods and not just the hardwater products.
That is when I saw an image of a fishing rod that had the bend I was looking for with the words “Ultimate Panfish Gear” on it. I started thinking to myself, “have I found the rod I’m looking for?!” I was quickly on the phone with Jim over at K & E asking him about the rod. It wasn’t long until I had a rod in the mail to me so I could do a product review on the rod.
I was excited to see this rod come to my doorstep a few days later. I quickly rigged it up and headed on down to some docks on Lake Erie where I knew there were good numbers of gills and pumpkinseeds. I rigged the rod up with a simple dropshot rig with a waxworm on the hook and started working it like you would a dropshot Goby for bass. It didn’t take long for me to see that this rod had the action and taper I was looking for. Then it was time to change-up the rigging a bit after catching some nice 7 inch gills. I set it up with a Thill Shy bite and started casting to structure. I wanted to check out and see how it handled fishing the way most pan-fishermen would use the rod. It preformed pretty well for a rod in this price point. I fished with this rod on and off on Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and numerous nameless inland lakes over the next month. I was fairly happy with the rod.
The rod is made of a composite construction, the top third is made of fiberglass which then leads into the back two thirds, which are made of graphite. The rod has a split rear grip which lowers the overall weight of the rod and it shows off it blank through construction. The reel seat was kinda oversized for a panfish rod, but it held the reel tightly. I am not sure on the brand of guides this rod has but they have ceramic inserts which handled the braided line I was using well. The openwater series of these Whip’R Rods comes in 7 lengths from 4ft to 8ft long. I was fishing the 6ft 6 inch model. Many of the rods are two-piece constructions.