No 8 Tackle Hellbent Spinning Rod Review

When the primordial calling of fishing strikes, the No. 8 Tackle Hellbent spinning rod fishing poles provide an exceptional graphite blank with high cork grade components.

Top that off with one of the most comfortable reel seats on the market and a guide system to match, and you can have complete confidence at the time of purchase.

That said, the Hell-bent Series rods aren’t without their flaws that might make one wonder whether or not its fairly affordable price is worth the fishing gear investment.

That’s why this review goes through the No. 8’s product details, analyzing everything from its light blank to performance resin to help you figure out if the Hellbent is a good choice for your fishing needs.

Pros

  • HTC2 blank technology
  • Plenty of power
  • An affordable price

Cons

  • Feels a bit whippy
  • Inserts my popout
  • Iffy reel seat

Review

Construction (craftsmanship, make quality)

This fishing rod utilizes 24-ton HTC2 blank technology which sees ballistic Kevlar woven into the graphite rod and providing extra hooksetting power.

Though uncommon at this price range, the Japanese fishing rod design also helps reduce its overall blank weight by using a graphite resin blank with high-performance resin.

The No. 8 Hellbent series all come with stainless steel frames with zirconium inserts, but there are some differences outside of the basic material application.

However, the main choice, in this regard, depends on the power and intended purpose of the specific model with some of these fishing rods using a single-foot frame and inshore models using a double-footed frame.

Another thing to watch out for with this fishing rod is its Evolve cork custom handle which sees crushed cork used at the butt, mid grip and fore grip.

However, the Hellbent also pays close attention to its grip ergonomics by using EVA foam at the rear grip and for the fore two-thirds of the mid grip, making sure that your hands feel comfortable through the day.

The No. 8 Hellbent applies some of these ideas to the reel seat as well, making the unexpected choice to use an Evolve soft touch reel seat.

This reel seat includes some cork elements to provide a soft base for your fishing reel that is exceptionally comfortable but not necessarily the most durable or sensitive.

Material

This fishing rod features a 24-ton graphite resin blank reinforced with ballistic kevlar and employing high-performance resin.

All combined, this composition definitely stands out– not the least because it’s applied to a spinning rod at such an affordable price.

For starters, the high-performance resin helps maintain structural integrity without increasing the weight of the blank.

However, the ballistic Kevlar provides an added layer of durability to the blank construction that, when paired with the somewhat lower-modulus 24-ton graphite carbon fibers, makes it one of the more durable blanks you can get.

Not only can this blank handle pretty much any kind of strain from fighting a large fish, it can also endure minor impacts without developing micro fractures.

Keeping this trend of impressive durability going, this spinning rod also uses stainless-steel guides with zirconium inserts for its guide system.

The zirconium is the important part as these high-performance components are smoother and dissipate heat better than aluminum oxide rings, making them a great choice for braided fishing line in saltwater conditions.

At the very end of the spinning rod, the Hellbent employs a composite grip rather than your standard comfortable cork handle.

In terms of performance, this approach provides the best of both worlds, giving you a solid grip on the rod when you need it and a comfortable grip for the rest of the time while you’re casting, presenting, and waiting.

Action

Whenever looking at a mid-tier, budget-friendly option, it’s nice if the series of rods gives you wide range of actions to choose from.

However, if the series doesn’t offer that many different actions, it’s always nice to see a fast and/or extra-fast option available as those provide the best all-around performance for the majority of situations.

With the Hellbent fishing rod at least meeting this second standard, you should feel comfortable with its ability to cast accurately into the weeds without worrying about undo snags.

On top of that, these action settings also provide even more sensitivity to the rod, though you will have to give up a touch of casting distance in the process.

Power

The Hellbent fishing rod surprises a bit with one of the wider ranges of rod power ratings that you’ll find, able to match the rod power rating with the type of fish you target.

With rod power ratings that extend all the way to the heavy power setting and all the way down to the ultralight setting, you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a model with plenty of power.

That said, the majority of No. 8 Hellbent series sits somewhere between a medium-light power to a medium-heavy power, including the average medium power rating.

While technically an inshore spinning rod, this broad spectrum of rod power ratings allows the Hellbent to work as well off the coast as it does being a fish lake pond spinning rod.

Rod Guides

This fishing rod comes equipped with corrosion-resistant, stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts, making them an excellent choice for both saltwater and braided fishing lines.

The inserts in particular are smooth as silk and help reduce friction, limiting the slap of line against blank, and increasing your casting distance without worrying about the fishing line digging a groove.

Unlike guides with aluminum oxide inserts, these stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts are extremely durable, able to withstand minor knocks and bumps without breaking.

However, reviews of guide inserts mention loose eyes and inserts. It’s not so often that it should be treated as a given, though it’s still something to consider.

Handle (material, shape, etc)

Generally, you expect a fishing rod– regardless of its tier– to come with either a cork handle or an EVA foam grip, but the Hellbent takes a different approach, offering a cork composite grip instead.

However, this doesn’t mean that the cork material itself is composite as much as that the No. 8 uses both cork and EVA foam.

This is a great choice for pretty much everyone as it affords you the benefit of both materials without otherwise impacting the rod’s performance.

On the grip side, the cork midgrip provides plenty of traction to make sure you keep a hold on fish putting up a fight while the EVA foam fore and rear grips help reduce hand fatigue after an all-day fishing trip.

Uses (Who is this good for)

By and large, the No. 8 Hellbent series of fishing rods are designed to be multi-piece nearshore/offshore fishing rods, with a blank that can hang with the largest fish and most powerful species.

That said, the primordial calling may strike when you’re inland, which is why the numerous spec configs of this fishing rod make it a great choice for virtually any setting.

When bass trout fishing, many anglers prefer to rely on light line techniques like monofilament fishing, which the Hellbent can more than accommodate.

That said, you still need to be careful when selecting a fishing rod from this series for your finesse fishing with mono line and make sure that the spec configs match up with your quarry.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this fishing tackle comes in a fairly budget-friendly price, despite employing numerous high-end components and an advanced Japanese blank.

Unfortunately, this means that not every aspect meets the same high standard as all of the others which makes this best served as a backup rod for the most experienced anglers.

Reel and Real Seat Compatibility

This fishing rod takes an unexpected turn with the reel seat, though that’s far from the only uncommon choice applied to this fishing rod design.

Whereas most fishing rods opt for a graphite carbon fiber reel seat to improve sensitivity or a nylon and graphite blend for added durability, the Hellbent comes with a cork reel seat.

While there are certainly some tradeoffs, this spin caster’s reel seat is a cushioned reel seat that feels extremely comfortable and hold the fishing reel securely– even powerful reels.

However, cork doesn’t transfer vibration nearly as well as graphite– even if it is extremely lightweight– and will eventually wear out after switching out the fishing reel numerous times.

Conclusion (Wrap Up)

The No. 8 Tackle Hellbent spinning rod fishing poles are the perfect option for monofilament fishing and anything else that uses light lures finesse techniques.

However, there’s more than one fishing pole in the Hell-bent Series rods that, when paired with a powerful fishing reel and heavier lures, can handle power fishing with the best of them.

With an exceptional blank, quality rods like these are perfect for fish lake pond spinning poles, though the initial quality stands out a bit more than the long term.

Of course, as long as you don’t mind switching out the reel seat after a while, this fishing rod provides an excellent base to learn how to build your own custom rod.