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Founded in 2017, Ark Fishing continues to explode in the bass world. While they make a variety of fishing tackle—baits, reels, performance apparel, and accessories—their rods are extremely popular among serious bass anglers. Last year, Ark sent me a whole batch of their rods, from budget options all the way up to their top performer—the Reinforcer. I’ve been testing it ever since and have been extremely impressed with what this premium bass rod brings to the table.

For starters, it has all the attributes of a high-end rod: excellent build, great materials, thoughtful design, and a slick look. Its performance, as you’re about to find out, matches its design, resulting in one of my new favorite go-to bass rods. Honestly, I was surprised with how much I liked it and even more impressed with how many other good products the brand offers. They sell everything from quality budget rods and reels to innovative baits to premium products. And that’s where the Reinforcer casting rod comes into play. Here’s an in-depth look at Ark’s flagship casting rod.

First Look: Ark Reinforcer Casting Rod

Out of the box, the Reinforcer features an unsanded 46T HM carbon fiber blank, titanium guides, and a quality cork handle. These high-end components make for a very durable build, and even if something were to happen, Ark offers a lifetime warranty. It is also noticeably lightweight and sensitive when you pick it up. My test model, a 7-foot, 1-inch medium-heavy casting rod, features a one-piece construction with a fast-action—perfect for various fishing techniques.

The quality of the materials also means a steeper price tag—$350, to be exact. That puts this rod in the premium category, although it’s common to find bass rods for a few hundred dollars more. Still, no matter how you shake it, that’s a lot of money. But for the serious bass angler, it is worth the consideration.

Fishermen have the option of 10 different models varying in length, action, and power. This allows you to tailor the rod to a specific style of fishing—finesse rigs, throwing frogs, flipping jigs, etc. Ark includes a chart on their website with each model’s specs, line ratings, and the fishing application for that specific rod. If you don’t want to commit to a specific fishing technique, the 7-foot, 3-inch model is an all-purpose rod.

The Reinforcer features a clean, simple aesthetic. Its matt black finish with a simple interweaving design complements its modern design. The Ark logo burned into the cork handle is also a nice touch. And while all of these nuts and bolts are important, the best part of the Reinforcer is how it feels in hand. It is lightweight, easy to cast, and just comfortable to hold. Immediately after opening it, I knew this would perform well on the water. Spoiler alert: I was right.

Specs

  • Rod Type: Casting
  • Pieces: 1
  • Rod Length: 7-foot, 1 inches
  • Rod Power: Medium-heavy
  • Rod Action: Fast
  • Line Rating: 8-17 pound

Other Notable Features

  • Unsanded 46T HM carbon fiber blanks
  • Enhanced with carbon nanotubes in between the carbon-fiber layers
  • Fuji PTS/TVS reel seats with soft-touch layer
  • Titanium guides 
  • Portuguese AAAA grade cork handles
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty/$100 replacement fee after year
  • Lightweight, sensitive, and strong
  • 10 casting options (4 additional spinning options)
The author with a buzzbait rigged to his Reinforcer rod.
The author with a buzzbait rigged to his Reinforcer rod. Shaye Baker

On The Water Performance

For testing, I chose the 7-foot, 1-inch medium heavy Reinforcer with a fast action. It has proven to be a great all-around rod for spinnerbaits, Texas rigs, light pitching, buzzbaits, and toads. It would also work well with a Berkley Choppo 90 and be serviceable with a Spook or popper, though I’d recommend a little softer action rod in the lineup for those two. 

The most memorable catch with this rod came a couple of weeks ago. I had been whipping a buzzbait around for a few hours—skipping, tossing, pitching, and slinging it into any little patch of shade or cover I could find. Finally, I had a 4 ½-pounder smoke it under a shady spot. The Reinforcer performed flawlessly that day, allowing me to make hundreds of accurate casts in search of that one elusive, quality, shallow summer bite.

The rod loads flawlessly, and it is easy to fire cast after cast. When big bites came, the Reinforcer had every bit of power to bring fish into the boat. But again, my favorite part about this rod is how it feels in hand. What I mean by that is I like how several things come together on this rod to make it comfortable, sensitive, and well-balanced. It feels like a quality rod when you pick it up, and it fishes super smoothly.

Some key elements that feed into this great feel are the Portuguese AAAA grade cork handles, Fuji PTS/TVS reel seats, and unsanded 46T HM carbon fiber blanks. Now, that’s just a lot of technical mumbo jumbo. To translate, the reel seat has an exposed section of the rod blank for sensitivity, and the reel seat itself is coated with a thin layer of softer material, giving it a comfortable and secure grip. It’s got a little tackiness to it without being sticky.

All the science that went into making the blank worked, as this is one of the lightest, strongest, and most sensitive rods I’ve ever fished with. I like the titanium guides, too. Sizewise, they land somewhere between traditional guides and micro guides, which is ideal. The open lure keeper works great for treble-hooked and weedless-rigged baits, and it’s placed on the front of the rod above the reel. This is my favorite style lure keeper because you don’t have to remove the hook from your soft plastic to store it each time. And the placement minimizes snagging on the line.

Final Thoughts

The Ark Reinforcer Casting Rod is a well-built, beautifully designed, all-around great bass fishing rod. The only drawback is the price. Even at $350, several other rods on the market are priced at $100 to $200 more. But I’m not sure they are much better than the Reinforcer. This casting rod deserves the premium label. After years of testing rods and competitive bass fishing, the Reinforcer is one of my all-time favorites. I can only imagine you’d feel the same way if you picked one up.