HomeFeaturesAdvance Product Review – Duckett Fishing White Ice Byron Velvick A-Rig / Swimbait Rod Baits you can throw on the Duckett Fishing White Ice Byron Velvick A-Rig / Swimbait Rod Last week we spent some in depth time exploring how to use swimbaits throughout the country, and last weekend we got the chance to go fish them; and castable umbrella rigs at Clear Lake during a specialty event on the lake. One of Clear Lake’s primary features are creeks and canals that enter the lake around its shores. The ditches serve as migratory paths of not only the bass, but the shad in the lake will enter them to spawn, and the renown native fish, the hitch, also migrate there during the spring. The bass follow and feed on them prior to the spawn. This is the time of the year that anglers in the know will begin tossing rigs and large swimbaits – as big as 12-inches on the lake. One of those anglers who has a history on the lake with swimbaits is Elite Series pro Byron Velvick. His Bassmaster Invitational win in 2000 set the three-day winning weight record with 83 pounds, 5 ounces, and he claimed Elite Series hardware nearly 10 years to the day later in winning the Golden State Shootout in 2010 with 98 pounds, 6 ounces; all of it on swimbaits. What a better way to spend two days on Clear Lake than with his signature Duckett Fishing White Ice A-Rig / Swimbait rod in your hands. We decided it was time; in honor of Velvick’s success with swimbaits, to examine the rod in one of our Advanced Product Reviews Duckett Fising Byron Velvick A-Rig / Swimbait Rod Specs A Good Swimbait Rod First of all, there really has never been such a thing as a “do it all” swimbait rod. To take a rod that is capable of effectively throwing small to medium swimbaits and try to toss big baits is not usually possible. The same for tossing large to extra large swimbaits; that rod is likely too stiff to effectively throw small baits. A good swimbait rod should have tremendous backbone – for a couple reasons. The first is casting. If a rod loads all the way into the handle when casting a heavy swimmer, then the angler will experience fatigue quickly. Having to fight through the extra parabolic nature of the blank on a rod with too little backbone will tire shoulders, arms and backs. The other reason is the hookset. Big hooks, coupled with big bony jaws will do more to keep an angler from penetrating the hookpoints of a treble hook than anyone can imagine. But, the rod must have enough tip to absorb a little shock when a big fish slams – and I do mean slams – a swimbait. Of course, not every bite will have you making a return trip to the dentist to have fillings replaced, but when they do, the tip needs to help absorb the blow. Displaying the “L” action of a Duckett Fishing Rod Blank With that said, Velvick’s Duckett Fishing A-Rig / Swimbait rod may be the closest I’ve seen to being a rod versatile enough for tossing medium to large swimmers and umbrella rigs. At first, from playing with the rod, I thought it would be ideal for medium swimbaits and umbrella rigs. I didn’t think that it had the backbone necessary for throwing Huddleston Deluxe swimbaits and larger. I used to carry three swimbait rods, a medium-heavy, a heavy and an extra heavy version; this rod will replace the two heavier models. Construction Duckett Fishing’s White Ice series is built on a proprietary blank that the company calls an X-Helical Coil construction featuring high quality carbon fiber and low-res modulus materials that they blend into their blank materials. They also halo sand each blank to reduce excess material without creating thin spots that can cause breakage. Their aim is to produce a very lightweight, yet strong blank with which to build a very balanced, powerful rods. Duckett also builds their blanks featuring what they call an “L” type action. What this means is that while most rods bend throughout the blank creating a “C” or “U” shape during a load, the Duckett blanks are feature a taper that keeps the rod from bending too deeply into the blank. They then affix their own, stainless steel ringlock Hyperlite insert micro guides to help aid in durability and reduced popping out of inserts. The guides are superlight, which allows Duckett Fishing to wrap more guides on the blank, increasing signal transmission from the line to the blank, yet still keeping the weight down. The reel seat features a soft touch coating for comfort, and also features a blank through construction so an angler’s hands come into contact with the blank for better feel. The handle itself is constructed with high quality black Hypalon, or foam handles for a clean, sanitary look; especially when it is trimmed out with the stainless steel winding checks that match the guides. In the Real World The Duckett Fishing Byron Velvick A-Rig / Swimbait rod lived up to all of its billing from the company. The rod is light and plenty powerful, and with so many guides – this model has 11 A look at the rod with a Bumbershoot Ready to Go guides and a tip – it has great castability and tremendous sensitivity that allows you to feel the pulse of swimbait tail as it comes through the water, or allow you to quickly recognize coming into contact with cover. The 17-1/2″ handle creates the right amount of leverage for casting umbrella rigs, it could stand to be a little longer for big baits, but with the rod being a multipurpose rod, it certainly will suffice. The only drawback I could find to the rod will impact anglers who like to use a monofilament or braided line leader on braided line for tossing swimbaits. The micro guides on the White Ice series are small enough that the splice know of 65-pound-test braid to a 25 or 30-pound-test leader is too large to go through the guides on a cast. Smaller lines might work out well, but who wants to go smaller when tossing swimbaits. This rod is a straight braid or mono / fluorocarbon rod. Conclusion As I stated before, the Byron Velvick swimbait rod may just replace two other rods in my boat, one for tossing medium to large baits, and the other for tossing large to extra large baits. It has plenty of action, and geometries that make it an effective swimbait rod that is worth more than its $209 price tag. Now, if I could just catch as many swimbait fish as Velvick… Perhaps his A-Rig / Swimbait rod will help.