If you’re looking for a rod to do the job, the new Abu Garcia Veritas Tournament is a winner in many aspects of the freshwater fishing scene. I’ve been using two models since release, and they cover a huge range of fishing styles when it comes to chasing Murray cod, golden perch, trout and redfin.
I was lucky enough to take them away on a four-day trip to Lake Eildon recently and put them through their paces. Below are the two models I used and my thoughts on how they stood up to the challenge:
7ft – 2 Piece – Light
When it comes to selecting a spinning rod in the freshwater, there are many different applications in which it needs to work. Many anglers like to have a variety of spinning outfits for chasing yellas that range in length and also power, this allows for ease when fishing different lure types.
The key Golden Perch lures include; soft plastics like the Berkley Gulp! Minnow Grub (light), suspending hardbody’s like the Berkley ProTech Twitcher 60 (light), lipless crankbaits and soft vibes (medium) and heavier vibes like the Berkley Shimma Fork.
I prefer to find a rod that will cast both light and medium lures and has plenty of sensitivity. Reason for this is 80% of the time our go-to lures for yellas are soft plastics. A rod between 7ft and 7ft4in in the 2-4kg range is ideal. It will cast light plastics with 1/24oz weights up to 1/4oz and even more.
In the specs, this rod suited the need perfectly, it was time to hit the water and test it:
I spent four days on the water putting this rod to the test and I had it matched with an Abu Garcia Revo ALX Theta and was running 6lb Berkley X9 braid. It did everything I expected it to and even more.
There were three key takeaways I found while using the rod:
It’s incredibly sensitive. I could feel the faintest taps from small yellas plucking my plastic off the bottom… even in the wind! The sensitive blank also allowed for me to feel when the plastic was on the bottom (crucial when chasing yellas), and easily tell when I was in contact while hopping the lures.
Fast action and solid guts in the blank. The rod is sensitive but very fast to react, which is ideal when hopping or shaking plastics aggressively for yellas. You don’t want a subtle or soft rod tip for this style of fishing. The fast style of the rod also allowed me to set the hooks quickly on a fish. Best of all it loaded well through the top half of the rod and still had plenty of guts right throughout.
Last of all, it handled both light and heavy lures quite well. I was surprised at the range of weight the rod could cast and handle on a hoping retrieve.
Up until now I’ve been favouring the Abu Garcia Salty Stage KRX Spinning (which is slightly longer in length), and having both rods in the kit, will cover nearly all basis for chasing yellas.
7ft – 1 Piece – Medium
After chasing the yellas we spent some time chasing big cod. It was the first time I’d tied a lure on the new Veritas Tournament in the 7ft baitcaster size, and I was keen to see how it would perform.
Before I touch on my experience with the rod, I want to talk about the key sizes and weights in cod setups. If we go back about six years (or so), there wasn’t much in the way of rods heavier than the 6ft range for cod. We rarely casted large lures like we do today and this new way of fishing brought us to start using large 7ft plus rods.
The Veritas V4 791 Extra Heavy 10-25kg has become a renowned rod for chasing big cod. This is my go-to rod for casting giant plastics and swimbaits for cod and from the original version, it has been a staple in my arsenal.
As time progressed, I found that I was missing that middle ground size, around that 7ft mark, and since I’ve been using rods of this size, I actually believe they are the ‘must have’ length for cod. A medium to heavy rod in the 7ft range can cater for a range of fishing styles for chasing cod where you find yourself casting 40-100g weight lures for larger model cod.
It suits many dam applications when casting surface, spinnerbaits and smaller swimbaits and plastics. Even on river system casting hardbody lures at big logs, a 7ft rod gives you a killer advantage over something shorter (we used 7ft rods while filming our recent Murray River Film chasing metre plus cod).
If you can find the right rod, it will work in all these scenarios (but that’s the hard part). Until the release of the Veritas Tournament 701M 6-8kg.
My thoughts after fishing at Eildon:
Many rods in the 7ft range will handle small swimbaits, spinnerbaits and hardbody’s no worries, but being able to throw large surface lures and plastics is usually left to the larger Extra Heavy and longer models.
On a morning session, I decided to try pushing the Veritas Tournament and I tied on a heavy surface lure, I let it rip first cast and the lure flew! I was blown away with how well this rod handled the weight of the surface lure. From there on in I used it for everything on the trip.
The best way to summarise this rod, ‘The perfect all-rounder for cod anglers.’ This is a must have model for chasing cod. A few key takeaways from using this rod:
Light in weight – it’s so good to have a light rod in the hand, makes long days casting so easy.
Sensitive – just like the spin rod, the sensitivity is excellent and allows for a much better angling experience.
This thing has guts – even though it’s rated at 6-8kg I believe this rod has more go than its rated. It’s still light enough in the tip to cast lures around the 30g mark, but easily handles a larger lure of 100g or more.
Also, if you’re keen to know, I had the Veritas Tournament paired with the Revo Beast 40 HS (my favourite reel ever!) If you’re looking for one reel to cover cod fishing in nearly every aspect when chasing larger cod, get yourself a Revo Beast and put it on one of these rods, it’s a dreamy setup and I can’t see myself using anything else for a long time.
Summary and Price Tag
At the end of the day, when it comes to buying a rod, you want quality and when you have no prior knowledge, we as humans’ base quality on price. This is a massive mistake, especially in the fishing world because many brands create huge price tags on an item that isn’t even worth it!
Don’t get me wrong, some are… but what I’m saying is don’t base your choice on price alone. Get feedback or information from anglers who use the gear on a regular basis, like myself.
Poor gear can make fishing tough and far from enjoyable, but to get good quality you don’t need to spend crazy amounts, and that’s where I’m blown away at the price tag on these rods. I just jumped on the computer while writing this to confirm the prices and I was a little gobsmacked as to how affordable they are for their quality. Both rods come in at $199.99. You’d be mad not to grab one.
Anyway, that’s it from me with a little recap from my experience using these rods. There are so many great rods on the market (especially in the rest of the Abu Garcia range), but if you’re looking for something you won’t be disappointed in the new Veritas Tournament range. If you follow me in my videos, you’ll be seeing me use them in future content.
Checkout my latest video on YouTube where I’m using the Veritas Tournament Spin chasing yellas at Blowering Dam.
Rhys Creed is an avid freshwater angler, specialising in lure fishing for some of Australia’s most iconic native species. His favourite style of fishing is casting for Murray Cod in fast water rivers. Learn more from Rhys over at www.socialfishing.com.au.