Cousins Tackle is impressive. I have had the opportunity to fish with many high end rods over the past several years, but this medium heavy rod certainly tops the list of favorites. Its attributes are identical to rods much more expensive. That’s good for your pocket and even better for performance value. But this strategy was implemented with reason, Cousins Tackle wants anglers to fish with the highest quality rods, all made right here in the USA. So when they finished their production facility and had the right team in place, they lowered prices to appeal to a wider range of anglers. Freshwater, saltwater and everything in-between.
The Cousins 733 IM-8 Graphite Rod is the rod that impressed me most for 2015. I have heard the brand name before when it comes to dock talk, but I had never touched a Cousins rod, or fished with one for that matter. After researching online, I noticed forum talk and reviews expressing the quality of not only the rods, but the technique specific actions and powers.
Cousins Tackle resides out of Huntington Beach, California and was created by…you guessed it, two cousins. CEO Bill Buchanan and Vice President Wade Cunningham have been affiliated with some of the most prestigious fishing brands over the past twenty years. With a mission of bringing the highest quality rods, comes the mission of finding the perfect people with the passion for excellence to fill the gap between production and customer service. The IM-8 Graphite Rods boast a limited lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials; try to find that in big rod companies these days, it’s getting more and more difficult.
Fast forward to fall of 2015. I have the opportunity to fish this rod as water temperatures began to drop. Employing the Strike King Caffeine Shad, I used this rod for smaller swimbaits and jigs. I caught a personal best smallmouth at Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (5-pound smallmouth seen here).
Then in a tournament on Long Lake near Spokane, Washington just a few weeks later, I beat that personal best with a 6-pound smallmouth and the winning tournament bag, a total of 22.92-pounds. (My five smallmouth seen here).
Here’s what the rod does significantly well that many others fail to achieve: the ability to feel your swimbait tails literally move back and forth, even when slow rolling. Any rod will most likely allow you to feel hard thumps back and forth, but this IM-8 Cousins Rod allows you to feel soft plastics like you would any hard bait. I’ve only owned a couple of rods that could truly allow you to feel that level of sensitivity. The word, simply overused in the mass production world, is ever more important when the water temperatures reach 50 degrees and below.
With no affiliation to the company, this review comes from an independent belief that catching all of these smallmouth may not have happened if I didn’t have this rod in my hands. Two personal bests, the highest weight ever weighed in a Spokane Bass Club tournament and a host of other fish that many have not seen, I am a believer in actions speak louder than words. In this case, those actions are fish catches and memories that will last a lifetime.
Model: GMB 733PT
7’3” Medium Heavy
Rating: ¼ – ¾oz lures, 10-17lb line
To see the rods in person, visit Kasey Kimble at Ace Hardware in Spokane Valley. They are located at 1330 N. Argonne Road.