What is the Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT designed for?
The Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT is a rod (or rather, a small range of rods) designed specifically for lure fishing. They're not that expensive for what you get, which makes them quite a bargain.
What are they made from?
Like the similar Butch Light XLNT range, the Bushwhacker XLNT rods are made from high modulus carbon fibre blanks. They're fast and strong and have the backbone to handle decent fish, as well as being sensitive. They're also pretty light: the smallest model weighs in at just 115g, while the biggest weighs just 180g.
What's the action like?
They're fast actioned, so the rod bends mainly at the tip when casting, not throughout the length of the rod as a slower or more progressive actioned rod does.
This makes them great for lure fishing: you can feel the action of the lure through the rod, but it's also sufficiently stiff to allow you to make it wiggle enticingly by carefully twitching the tip.
What sizes are available?
There are now six lure rods in the Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT range. They're all fast actioned, two piece rods between 7' and 8'6" (213-258cm) and they're suitable for casting lures from 3-60g, depending on the model.
|Rod length||Transport length||Lure weight||Rod weight|
|7' / 213cm||110cm||10-30g||125g|
|7' / 213cm||110cm||15-42g||130g|
|7'6 / 228cm||117cm||3-18g||115g|
|8' / 243cm||125cm||10-40g||150g|
|8' / 243cm||125cm||15-50g||160g|
|8'6 / 258cm||133cm||20-60g||180g|
What guides do they use?
The guides are very good quality for a rod of this price. I think they're SIC guides, which are quite a premium quality ring generally found on more expensive rods than these. They're smooth, look good and they're obviously fine to use with braid too.
How's the reel seat?
The handle of the Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT is made from a mixture of Portuguese "AAA" cork on the butt and in front of the reel, and Japanese EVA foam around the reel seat. The reel seat itself is a Fuji gold label one, which is pretty decent quality. The cork on mine has been a lot more hard wearing than the EVA, which is now looking a bit grey and shiny after a couple of years of lure fishing.
Does it come with a rod bag?
Yep. Like most of the other Savage Gear lure rods, the Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT comes with one of their clever ready to fish rod bags. This is made from black velvety fabric with an orange trim and has two compartments inside for each half.
The idea is that you leave your rod rigged up with your reel, and the braid still threaded through the guides with the wire trace attached. You then take the rod apart and stick the two parts into the ready to fish rod bag with the reel sticking out.
If you're hiking a long way to your spot, you can attach the ready to fish rod bag to your bag (there are clips on the Savage Gear Roadrunner Gear Bag to let you do this) or just carry it and unwrap it when you get there. It's a neat idea, and it saves you a few minutes of re-threading the line.
Is the Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT for baitcasters?
No, the Bushwhacker XLNT is designed for use with a fixed spool reel. While it's not de rigeur, you could still use a baitcaster or multiplier on a Bushwhacker, but the rings aren't set up for these reels. Instead, you should take a look at the lovely Bushwhacker Light XLNT instead, which is designed specifically for baitcasting.
What reel balances the Savage Gear Bushwhacker XLNT?
I use the 8' (243cm) 10-40g model for most of my pike fishing with heavier lures, and also for "HRF" lure fishing for bass, pollack and wrasse. I use a Shimano Exage 4000 on mine which balances the rod nicely. If anything it's perhaps a little too big, and in retrospect the next one down might have been a better choice, though. My 10-40g Bushwhacker can comfortably handle larger lures, such as the 49g Savage Gear Butch lure.
How much are they and would you buy one again?
They retail for £79.99, but you can pick them up for as little as £59.99, which is really very good value, I reckon.
My Bushwhacker XLNT has been a great purchase. I've used it weekly for pike fishing and it's been on holidays where I've used it to catch pollack, wrasse and mackerel on lures.
I've even used it for a spot of bait fishing, both in freshwater and the sea. It's comfortably handled Bull Huss to about 13lb, thornback rays to about 7lb and countless dogfish.
I do tend to use lighter lures a lot more now, which makes the 3-18g model seem like an attractive proposition - though that would mean using my Savage Gear Troutizimo (or Parabellum UL) less, which is going to be a tough habit to break.