Fenwick, one of many brands owned by the Pure Fishing conglomerate, may not have the lengthy pedigree of some of its competitors, but still has a fairly storied history.
More than anything else, Fenwick tends to push the limits and expectations of their field in the realm of materials.
However, the Fenwick HMX Casting Rod sits at the lower end of the mid-tier within the baitcasting fishing rod category.
While this might sound like a bad thing, it actually presents the Fenwick HMX with a great opportunity to swallow up a lot of the competition’s market share by providing an exceptional value.
That said, the Fenwick HMX doesn’t offer the same kind of breadth you might expect from a top-tier or even upper mid-tier casting rod.
That’s why this review not only breaks down the Fenwick HMX baitcasting fishing rod but identifies who this casting rod is for and who should look elsewhere.
- 1 Review
- 1.1 Construction (craftsmanship, make quality)
- 1.2 Length
- 1.3 Material
- 1.4 Action
- 1.5 Power
- 1.6 Weight
- 1.7 Sensitivity
- 1.8 Taper
- 1.9 Rod Guides
- 1.10 Handle (material, shape, etc)
- 1.11 Type of Rod
- 1.12 Reel and Real Seat Compatibility
- 1.13 Warranty
- 1.14 Customer Service
- 1.15 Uses (Who is this good for)
- 1.16 Conclusion
Construction (craftsmanship, make quality)
Even though the Fenwick HMX casting rod is a lower mid-tier product, the company maintains its high-end commitment to exceptional construction.
As such, this baitcasting rod uses a combination of excellent design, great materials, and quality components to strike one of the better balances you’re liable to come across.
Granted, the Fenwick HMX is still a mid-tier product, so you should expect the overall level quality of craftsmanship to fit at the high of the product’s expectations.
That said, it definitely hits the high-end of those expectations with a blank design that skirts the line of different qualities better than most.
But you still need to come into this purchase with open eyes, as its overall durability is good enough to last multiple seasons but requires some care to do so.
Thankfully, if you pay attention to the rod’s limitations, you should have no problems with this rod that you wouldn’t have from any other.
One thing to keep in mind is that this particular Fenwick HMX casting rod is designed more for fishing salmon and steelhead species which places different requirements on the rod than say a smallmouth bass.
As such, these baitcasting fishing poles tend to be significantly longer to allow for a longer cast.
However, this means that it can also be a fair bit more difficult to cast accurately which is especially troublesome for beginners.
Of course, this can even come to bite intermediate fishermen in the rear if they’re not proficient with a baitcasting reel given the additional length will only make that more difficult to learn.
As you might expect, this is one of the areas where all Fenwick products tend to perform very well, and that trend continues with the HMX baitcasting rod.
That said, this can also have some unintended consequences for inexperienced fishermen if the water has brush or vegetation you need to maneuver around.
This is because the Fenwick HMX fishing pole is made of carbon fiber threads which provide exceptional flexibility while still offering decent strength.
However, this blank doesn’t then also wrap an additional layer of carbon fibers around the blank to further reinforce it which leaves it a touch weaker than you’d prefer– though still reasonably strong.
This is one of those spots that people used to fish on a quiet pond from their small motorboat will wonder what the deal is.
Basically, the bulk of the Fenwick HMX casting rods’ actions fall within the medium range, and even those that move up to the medium-fast and even fast actions only do so to accommodate the loss of accuracy from a longer rod overall.
This means that the Fenwick HMX baitcasting pole is loading you up to really launch that lure, but expects you to have the skill to control its trajectory without any significant assistance.
This is arguably the biggest flaw of the Fenwick HMX baitcasting fishing pole and is more a result of necessity than the intended purpose.
This is most obvious when you consider what type of fish these rods are designed to catch and what weight of line test the rod reportedly supports.
Basically, salmon and steelheads are large fish and, beyond the ability to withstand the fight, the pole also needs the power to lift it out of the water.
Given the weights and strengths of the species of fish involved, you’d prefer a more powerful blank, but the exclusive use of non-reinforced carbon fiber limits the power.
If you simply look at this spec and compare it without context, it might seem a little bit high, but when you consider the size it’s actually surprisingly lightweight.
This is mostly due to the Fenwick HMX casting rod’s exclusive use of carbon fiber for the blank, and though it reduces durability, the lack of reinforcement is lighter.
This is the consolation prize you get for having a non-reinforced carbon fiber blank because the material is exceptionally sensitive.
In fact, the use of carbon fiber is so impactful for increasing the sensitivity that the slower action doesn’t do much to reduce it, which is perfect when setting the hook in the preferred species.
You might think with the slower actions and the exclusive use of carbon fiber for the blanks that the taper of the Fenwick HMX fishing rod would be as exaggerated as possible.
However, because the carbon fiber used is a proprietary formula with a precise modulus, the taper sits exactly where the power says it should.
The Fenwick HMX casting rod uses Sea Guide SS316 Stainless sloped guides with Zirconium inserts and allows for uncommon options.
The material ensures that you don’t have to worry about braided line tearing through, and the top arrangement allows the inserts to stand firm and stay in place.
Handle (material, shape, etc)
The Fenwick HMX fishing pole comes with a split cork handle which will be comfortable enough to hold without worrying about sweat or water causing it to slip.
The TAC grips, pistol trigger, and full-handle design also provide additional leverage when pulling a large fish out of a rushing stream.
Type of Rod
As a casting rod, the Fenwick HMX mounts the reel on the top of the blank, and the line guides also run along the top of the pole.
This means that you will either need to use a spincast reel or a baitcast reel which tends to push this type of rod into the hands of either beginners or experienced fishermen.
Reel and Real Seat Compatibility
Continuing with Fenwick’s commitment to high-end componentry, the Fenwick HMX casting fishing pole comes equipped with a Fuji reel skeleton and full reel seats.
This is a bit surprising considering most people don’t know who makes their reel seats– even on a lot of high-end casting poles.
This is one of the areas where the Fenwick HMX casting pole looks good compared to the rest of the market, but fans of the brand might feel a little bit cheated.
This is due to the fact that many of the other Fenwick rods come with a limited lifetime warranty for the blank.
This rod only provides a 5-year warranty which is still pretty good– especially for a mid-tier fishing rod.
However, it also lets you know that even Fenwick is aware of this rod’s overall durability compared to the durability you’d expect to see with many of their other products.
The Pure Fishing customer service is overall pretty good in that they are responsive, polite, and genuinely do their best to help resolve the situation without trying to screw you over.
However, you will need all of the documentation you received to confirm the purchase, so save your receipts and any other documentation.
Uses (Who is this good for)
Because of the length, this fishing rod is at the least for someone who has plenty of room for a long wind-up and a cast that sails.
If you fish on smaller waters or areas with a lot of underbrush or aquatic vegetation, you might want to look elsewhere as the size and build make that a difficult task.
However, if you want to fish for salmon or other larger, powerful fish that put up plenty of fight, the Fenwick HMX casting fishing rod is an excellent option at a great value.
Keep in mind, this means that this fishing pole is also a good option for shore fishing– again, assuming the vegetation is not out of control.
In the end, the Fenwick HMX baitcasting rod ticks pretty much every box for its expected position as a low-end mid-tier fishing pole.
On top of that, this fishing rod also hits an exceptionally sweet spot in terms of price, with the above-average componentry and unique construction processes making it one of the better values you can find.
That said, this rod turns out to have something of a narrow range of intended users when it comes to matching specs with skill.
Beginners might not get the best value out of this rod and expert fishermen will want something better, but intermediate fishermen might get the best value they can find.
Keep in mind, if you’re just looking for an overall solid fishing rod that can handle multiple seasons of use, this is a great value for just about anyone.
On the other hand, you still need to be fairly careful with the rod as it’s not exactly designed for durability and has a somewhat narrow range, all things considered.