Fenwick HMX Spinning Rod Review

The Fenwick HMX spinning rod provides heavy-hitting performance and excellent quality through great carbon thread materials at an angler-friendly price.

With quality materials and exceptional features, the body construction of this casting series offers extra strength in terms of durability and increases distance casting.

However, without spiral carbon, a heavy power rating, or using oxide for extremely smooth casting, this spinning series won’t work the best for every type of fishing.

That’s why this rod review breaks down whether the key features, amazing grip, and angler-friendly price of the HMX casting lineup can account for a less than top-dollar performance.

Pros

  • Cork and TAC handle
  • Suitable for braided line
  • Multiple spec configurations

Cons

  • Uses mid-modulus graphite
  • Not the smoothest casting
  • Not for heavy species

Review

Construction (craftsmanship, make quality)

The HMX employs a carbon fiber blank construction with intermediate modulus carbon strips that hits the sweet spot between strength and sensitivity.

That said, this lightweight carbon graphite blank comes in a dizzying number of models suitable for pretty much every form of fishing.

However, you need to make sure you choose the specific model for fishing salmon and similar forms of fishing for quarry with that much fight.

It’s worth noting that the body construction of the current models is of exceptional quality that doesn’t matter whether you use a one-piece or one of the numerous two-piece models.

The quality materials provide top-dollar performance at an angler-friendly price, though the difference in price shows up in other areas.

Beyond the blank, which is good but not great, the HMX also comes with a somewhat uncommon handle that uses premium cork grips in split handle designs.

On top of that, this lightweight spinning rod reinforces the premium cork grip handle with a TAC treatment that accounts for one of cork’s biggest issues.

Keeping in line with reliability, this spinning series eschews guides with titanium-oxide in favor of stainless steel and zirconium which, while not quite as good, is still decent and likely explains the low mid-tier price.

However, these steel sloped guides highlight a difference in power between the HMX and HMG, model-wise.

Length

There are actually a couple of things to note when it comes to the Fenwick HMX’s length, though only one of them focuses on the length exclusively.

First off, this fishing pole comes in a wider range of different lengths than most of its competition– especially as a mid-tier option.

Starting with a 5-foot spinning pole and including a stop at every 6″, this option extends all the way to 7’6″.

With a whopping six different lengths to choose from, you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a pole that’s the right length for the waters you want to fish.

However, the Fenwick HMX Spinning Rod models take this a step further by including two-piece constructions at every step outside of the 5′ length.

This is more notable in that the HMX actually offers more 2-piece models than one-piece.

Material

The Fenwick HMX uses a lightweight carbon graphite blank, but unlike the HMG’s construction processes, it doesn’t employ a spiral carbon blank.

On the other hand, the HMX provides an intermediate modulus carbon fiber which means that it won’t flex quite as much and doesn’t have superb durability. Though, that’s not always the case.

If you want superb durability, you’re going to want one of the extra-heavy salmon/steelhead models.

Rather than a carbon composite that’s a blend of carbon fiber threads and fiberglass, the salmon/steelhead features exceptional construction, model-wise.

But, that casting lineup doesn’t use a carbon spiral wrapping either.

Moving on from the blank, the premium cork grip handle affords a comfortable grip that is also significantly more durable than your average foam split grip design.

It also doesn’t hurt that one of the key features, the TAC grip treatment, further increases the comfort and durability of the handle’s cork base.

The stainless steel used for the guides is arguably the lowest grade of material used for this rod, but even there, the choice adds as much as it diminishes in a fair tradeoff. 

Action

This fishing pole is actually one of the better options for increasing casting distance thanks to multiple options for the fishing rod action.

Keep in mind that numerous factors play into distance casting, but the action and length of a rod play the biggest factors with the guide on fishing rod not far behind (and ignoring the reel).

Still, one of this fishing pole’s key features has to be the variety of action options which start at moderate and go to the common fast taper.

What’s even more surprising is that even one of the longer models includes a moderate fast action which is a bit risky in terms of accuracy but a godsend in terms of casting distance.

Something else of note is that the shorter rods that increase their distance with a slower action are also giving up some sensitivity.

Thankfully, the blank doesn’t use carbon composite or other materials that would further reduce the sensitivity, but neither is it a paragon in that respect either.

Power

The Fenwick HMX offers a surprisingly wide range of different power ratings rather than the narrow range medium power that you normally expect from a mid-tier model.

Aside from the impressive backbone and carbon fiber drag, many fishing rod types aren’t designed for fishing light species like when crappie fishing.

While this fishing pole offers power ratings as low as ultra-light for crappie fishing, you’ll have to look elsewhere for options suitable for heavy casting applications.

And though not every rod needs incredible power, sitting at the medium power with decent strength, not exceptional strength, isn’t going blow away anglers with power.

To point, there is a notable lack of options with a heavy power rating or stronger which will limit some of the fish you can catch.

Granted, Fenwick makes a model with a heavy power rating, but it’s still a bit disappointing that you can’t find a heavy power HMX model and must instead get the model designed for salmon and steelheads.

Rod Guides

Another one of this spin caster’s key features is the steel sloped guides that offer some advantages when compared to guides with aluminum oxide but none when compared to guides with titanium oxide.

However, there’s no getting around the fact that these corrosion-resistant stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts are strong.

One of the more annoying parts of fishing from time to time is the breaking or dislodging of guides which you shouldn’t have to worry about here– even when using a braided fishing line.

On the flip side, though, stainless steel is not the smoothest metal for casting and will result in more tangles without great technique nor does it transfer vibration as well.

Handle (material, shape, etc)

As mentioned prior, the cork handle of this spinning rod’s grip uses high-end materials that can stand up to both the elements as well as the rigors of fighting strong fish.

But Fenwick takes this much further with its TAC treatment that ensures an amazing grip, regardless of most other factors, for fighting tougher quarry.

This pole lets you choose a handle model with the grips in split or solid configurations, but unfortunately, none of them employ a finger grip for accurate aim.

Also, rather than make a grip for sensitivity, the HMX opts instead for a more comfortable grip handle design– though the butt still provides plenty of strength for leverage when fighting a fish.

Uses (Who is this good for)

For the price? Anybody should be able to find a good use for this fishing pole whether as a reasonable starter or a backup.

If nothing else, the HMX provides one of the surest grips straight out of the box and works exceptionally well in damp conditions– though a downpour actually creates the opposite effect.

Regardless, with all of the different options for length, power, and action, you should be able to find a type of rod that suits your fishing needs.

Reel and Real Seat Compatibility

One of the key features of this spin casting option avoids the use of a cheap plastic reel seat in favor of the HMX’s Fuji ergonomic reel seats.

It’s worth noting that you can find models with an entire reel seat assembly or just a skeleton version with an adjustable locking reel seat that fits pretty much all modern reels out there.

That said, this casting lineup may provide ergonomic reel seats, but they aren’t the highest class on the market.

Warranty

Given the price, it’s not surprising that this option doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty, but you don’t have to worry about a middling one-year warranty either.

Still, this option more than meets an acceptable standard in the fishing industry with a 5-year manufacturer’s limited warranty that’s sure to birth a new fishing rod fan out of new and experienced anglers alike.

Conclusion (Wrap Up)

Even though the Fenwick HMX may not check off every box in what you’d expect from high-end casting poles, their myriad of options work for any fishing style, from fishing for crappie to bass fishing.

Still, you might get proprietary blends of carbon fiber but lack the extremely smooth casting from oxide-based guides.

But, regardless of your type of fishing, the key features and affordable price still offer a high-class performance when you would expect a narrow range of indicated use.

With a fishing rod action that can be slower than fast or a power rating other than medium power, this spin casting rod makes for a great backup or starter model.