STIX Fishing is a relatively new company started by FLW Live host Travis Moran and Nick Smith that sells fishing rods with a bit of a unique plan. Instead of picking and choosing a rod or two at a time, STIX wants to sell you six rods at a time (the STIX PAX) for $500, which comes out to about $83 per rod. According to the company, the STIX PAX is a complete set of bass rods and will do everything you need rods to do.
Moran and Smith funded the company with a pre-sale program, and so far Moran says that full sets of rods are outselling individual rods at a rate of 4-to-1.
I’ve been fishing with a set of rods for a little under a year now, and they’re really quite good, but I also have some notes.
Assuming you buy all six, you get the Finesse STIK and the Hybrid Spin STIK (both spinning rods), plus the Hybrid STIK, Reaction STIK, Surface STIK and Power STIK baitcasting rods. Taken together, they cover a pretty broad range of powers and actions, but they run just a tick longer than average. All the rods have numbered and colored butts and stripes for identification. Otherwise, they’re nondescript, with EVA foam handles, split grips and reel seats, and small, but not micro guides. I like how they look, but then I’m a sucker for exactly that look and build when it comes to rods.
The rods also all come with rod sleeves, and they have recommended line and lure notes. Most of the rods list both flouro and braid as options, though the spinning rods mysteriously list just flouro as an option. The color-coding and the boxes the rods are put in aren’t totally necessary, especially for a more experienced angler, but I’ve kind of come around on them. Being able to dip down and pick up the blue one or the green one and know what I’ve got on it does seem to make my life just a little easier.
Considering the rods are sort of bought in bulk, I initially assumed I’d run into some issues with the construction. To this point, however, I’ve had literally zero problems with them. I have rods that are more expensive and have bum hook keepers or spotty epoxy, and I haven’t seen any issues so far with these. Durability is a selling point that STIX stresses, and I think the company nailed it.
It’s also worth saying that I’ve gained enough confidence in these rods to use them in tournaments. We’ll get to some nitpicks, but overall, these are decent rods. If you put them in the right situations you can have a lot of success with them.
When I first went through the set and started feeling and testing them I felt like some of the rods were pretty tip-heavy – particularly the Power STIK and the Finesse STIK, which are both 7 feet, 6 inches long. Because of that, I held back a little from really trying some of the rods, opting instead to fill a few gaps in what I already had. I’ve since come around on them and put them to use a little more.
The rods I’ve fished the most are the Hybrid STIK and the Hybrid Spin STIK. The Hybrid STIK (7-0, medium power, moderate-fast action) is really a nice rod with flouro on it for smaller crankbaits, square-bills and jerkbaits. When you suit up with braid, it’s killer for most topwater use (I actually caught a double on a Strike King Sexy Dawg on it over the summer). The Hybrid Spin STIK is just what you’d expect of a 7-2 spinning rod. It’s solid for everything from Ned rigs and drop-shots to wacky rigs. The action is probably a little too heavy for most spybait fishing, but you could get by if need be, and it does the rest of the stuff well.
The Surface STIK (7-4, medium-heavy power, fast action) is an interesting rod, and it’s probably a little mis-named, because you wouldn’t want to toss a Pop-R on it. However, it’s got some real juice as a buzzbait rod, or a rod for toads and that sort of thing. I think it’s a little soft for a straight-up frog rod. I’ve also dabbled with it as a winding rod for some flouro applications, including a vibrating jig and a smaller swimbait. Depending on your preferences it could be a good fit for you there as well.
Aptly named, the Reaction STIK (7-6, medium-heavy power, moderate-fast action) is a really solid crankbait rod for standard middle and deep plugs. The bait I’ve caught the most fish with while using it is a Strike King 3XD, but I think you can use it for a decent variety of tactics. It’s honestly one that I wish I’d used a little more.
The Finesse STIK (7-6, medium-light power, moderate-fast action) is an interesting rod, but I can’t quite figure out what to do with it. To me, it isn’t soft enough for a spybait, but it is longer than I want my standard spinning rods to be. It fishes a 5-inch wacky rig really nicely, but is long enough to be cumbersome around docks. I think this is mostly an issue of personal preference. If you bought all six of the rods, there’s every chance you’ll use the Finesse STIK a lot. I’d probably prefer the same rod in a 6-10 or 7-foot model.
The last one in the group is the 7-6 Power STIK, which is pretty much a dead-ahead whomping stick. If you drag a Carolina rig all day with it you won’t have problems, but there’s a really noticeable gap between it and some other rods you can spend a bit more on – fair enough, considering it’s an $83 rod. The Power STIK definitely has the right action and power to flip and pitch and do a number of power techniques. It’s just a little heavier than a premium rod, and tip-heavy enough that you’ll notice as you fish.
I can’t say for sure if buying six rods at a time will be a commercial success, but it’s at least a very interesting idea to me. Even if you might only have four or five reels to go on them, getting the set could be a good way to start out a collection. For someone with a lot of tackle already, you can bulk up an arsenal without having to make a ton of decisions. You also have the option to buy them one at a time for $100 apiece.
Overall, I think the individual rods range from really good to about what you’d expect for the price. Sure, I nitpicked a couple of them, but a few are legitimately on my deck all the time. If I use each of the six at least a couple times over the next year I won’t be at all surprised.
STIX has one other feature that seems really great, and it’s a buy ’em and try ’em policy for complete sets. The policy allows you to test the rods out for up to 90 days and then send the whole set back for a refund if you don’t want to keep them.
One conceptual thing that is worth nothing is the length of the rods. The Hybrid STIK is a medium-power, 7-foot baitcaster, but all the other baitcasters are 7-4 or longer. I’m a fan of longer rods, so I liked the collection. If you don’t really like the length or are starting out and aren’t very tall, you might want to buy a la carte and just get the ones that suit you.
There are individual rods in the STIX lineup that I’d buy without hesitating. Taken as a whole, the kit may or may not be the right fit for you. It depends on what you’re after. Of course, I suspect you’d have a hard time picking six perfect rods from almost any budget-oriented series, and there are plenty of more expensive rods that can’t match up to these. If you want to get six rods and you know exactly what ones you want, you should probably just get those, but if you want to be able to do most things with just one budget-friendly purchase, the STIX PAX is a valid option.
Company: STIX Fishing
Product: STIX PAX
Price: $500 for six or $100 each
1. Finesse STIK: 7-6, medium-light power, moderate-fast action
2. Hybrid Spin STIK: 7-2, medium power, moderate-fast action
3. Hybrid STIK: 7-0, medium power, moderate-fast action
4. Reaction STIK: 7-6, medium-heavy power, moderate-fast action
5. Surface STIK: 7-4, medium-heavy power, fast action
6. Power STIK: 7-6, heavy power, moderate-fast action