Probably close to a decade ago I had the pleasure of testing a range of the then new Abu Garcia Veritas rods, picking the seven-foot one piece 4-8kg rated soft-bait rod as my favourite.
It was a stick I fell in love with, so I bought it and still have it on-board today.
What I liked about it then was its ‘crisp’ action with a nice fold-away tip section linked to plenty of grunt further down the blank. I do quite a bit of my soft-baiting in deeper water (30-60 metres mostly) so I appreciated the lift this blank offered.
At seven foot it is at the shorter end of modern soft-bait sticks but is easy to handle and use. Its nickname is the ‘newbie’ rod. When we have had ‘fresh’ anglers out and have introduced them to the delights of soft-baiting, this is the rod we have given them, coupled with the latest Penn Spinfisher 3000 reel.
Fast forward to this autumn and a couple of the latest Graphite Abu Garcia Veritas rods arrived at my desk for field testing. The first was a two-piece version of my original Veritas – model number VRT3.7502M; the second a 6’3” slow-pitch rod rated PE 2-4 and for jig weights up to 150g.
They were matched with an Abu Garcia Roxani 2500MSH spin reel and an Oceanfield BG baitcasting reel respectively. These combos have had a genuine work-out over several months, catching snapper to just on 20lbs and kingfish to 12kg, and I have been impressed with the way they have stood up to the punishment. They have probably had what would be a year’s worth of fishing time for most recreational anglers crammed into two months, having been used by multiple anglers in locations as far apart as the Hauraki Gulf, Mokohinau islands and North Cape.
The Abu Garcia Roxani/Veritas soft-bait combo loaded up with a decent Mokohinaus snapper.
Everyone who has fished either or both have commented favourably on two things – the rods’ actions and lifting qualities; and secondly, the smoothness of the reel drags and their ability to handle good fish.
I have, constructively, tried to find fault with the gear and the only thing I can come up with is the soft-bait stick’s inability to cast longer distances.
For fishing the shallows and the wash, I am currently using an eight-foot rod to get the more lightly weighted soft-baits to where I want them. I can’t get quite the distance with the Veritas, but in all other departments it is fine and the two-piece configuration makes transporting it easy.
Phil Stevenson deals to a Far North snapper using the Abu Garcia Oceanfield BG/Veritas jig rod combos.
The graphite rod blanks are manufactured using a ’30-tonne sub-armour layer’ nanotechnology process that increases their strength. Both are fitted with Fuji guides, the soft-bait rod featuring Fuji KRs with alconite inserts. The guides are showing no sign of rusting and given that they have had to endure multiple day trips without a freshwater rinse, that is a good thing.
The rods are comfortable to use thanks to the EVA grips. The soft-bait stick has an exposed blank through the butt section to reduce weight and improve sensitivity. The jig rod has a trigger grip for added control when under load and for working the lure.
The reel sits nice and flush on the jig rod and both combos feel well balanced in the hand.
One of the most important aspects of any reel, apart from a good drag, is the handle. Both the Roxani and the Oceanfield feature well-designed reel handles. Both are large and bulbous EVA, offering an excellent and comfortable grip, perfect for extended fishing and fish-fighting sessions. This is a big plus in my book – too many reels are let down by a too-small handle.
After two months of steady use, the drags are still performing well. The system used is a two-way carbon matrix combo.
The Oceanfield claims a 10kg top mark for its drag, while the Roxani puts out a respectable 5.2kg – fit for purpose. Both reels have a firm anti-reverse which engages the gears crisply, enabling firm hook-ups, especially on the drop.
Magnetic casting control is adjusted on the Oceanfield via a dial on the side plate and a conventional overall spool control via a thumb screw on the handle.
The Abu Garcia Oceanfield BG baitcaster.
Both reels have ‘clicker’ spool adjustments, allowing the angler to increase or decrease drag pressure in small increments. The drag cam on the Oceanfield is steady, ensuring changes made in the heat of the battle by the angler are not too severe, reducing the risk of a bust-off.
The Roxani is a smooth, quiet reel thanks to its ‘silent oscillation’ mechanism. There is not a great deal of torque feedback on the Roxani, helped further by the full metal body construction.
The Abu Garcia Roxani 2500MSH has given good service over an extended period.
Overall, I continue to be impressed with the Veritas rods. They are well-matched with the reels they were presented with – the Abu Garcia Roxani 2500MSH and the Oceanfield BG. Both combos are well-priced and genuinely represent value for money. If I were gearing up for the up-coming snapper schoolie season, I would be looking seriously at these two options.
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