BNG. It’s marketing lingo for “Bold New Graphics” which is what a company advertises a product now has when they have no actual improvements to hype. When I was in the motorcycle racing biz, it was a term we hated to see in press releases from manufacturers because we knew we’d be racing the same old bikes with new paint. Oh Joy. Flashing forward to my life in the fishing business and we see BNG all too often here, too.

But not this time. Finally. Nope, this time I ran smack into the exact opposite; a basically all new product that appears exactly the same graphically and otherwise as the product it replaced. Hmmm…

St Croix Rod has 68 years of success in the rod business, so when they introduced the Mojo Bass series in 2009 and it went on to be one of their best sellers of all time, it became a line-up of company legend. Heading into ICAST 2015 – the fishing industry’s largest trade show – the ‘Croix team teased a new, “improved” Mojo Bass to be introduced and I quietly crossed my fingers hoping they’d actually improved the rod. Given the Mojo Bass has always had bold graphics, BNG was certainly not what was needed.

ICAST 2015…I walk into the ample St Croix Rod display and immediately noticed that the distinctive Mojo Bass appeared unchanged…there was no BNG in sight. I glanced across the demo rack and picked up my all-time favorite LPA (fishing lingo for Length, Power, Action); a 6’8” medium power extra-fast action spinning rod, and gave it a shake. Knee jerk reaction? A whole new Mojo…

I was right. The heart of any rod is the blank itself, and Mojo got a new heart. Not just any heart, but a blank very familiar feeling in hand. Noticeably lighter, much crisper, and better balanced overall. Hmmm. Read the labeling on the blank and noticed that the graphite had been upgraded to the level of the company’s stellar Avid and Avid X series, among others, and was built using Integrated Poly Curve or IPC tooling. For the ‘Croix uninitiated, that means the rod tapers evenly end-to-end free of transition points, yielding smoother actions and stronger blanks. Sweet stuff. The guides were different, too but the handle, real seat, and hotrod paint job were all Mojo. For the first time, I experienced the exact opposite of BNG…and how refreshing it was.

Now I have a few months of fishing time on that very same LPA spin pole I mentioned above and Mojo Bass has moved from a rod I liked to a rod I love. Depending on the specific LPA, the have dropped 10-15% in weight and feel much more lively in hand. Sensitivity and responsiveness are way up, too. But how about accuracy?

I always preach “accuracy catches fish” and toss around statements like “Rod X is waayyy more accurate than Rod Y”…but it’s always been based on feel. Until now I never had two of the same rod models and LPA, but with different blanks/guide trains, to cast back-to-back at purpose-built targets; other components were different along with the blanks. So, I set up a test.

I placed concentric 3-ring targets at 20, 50, and 80 feet respectively…3 points for a bulls-eye, 2 for the next ring, and 1 for in the final ring. Like in life, you get squat for a miss. Set up both an original and a new Mojo Bass 68MXF spinning rod with identical new Abu Garcia Revo SX20 reels spooled with what I consider the best pure casting line on spinning reels; 10# NanoFil. The rods are rated to toss 3/16-5/8oz so I tied on 1/4oz casting plugs with large snap swivels and went to casting…specifically 50 times at each target with each rod, alternating rods in groups of ten casts, recording the score of each cast. The 20 foot target was pitched under-hand, the other two were over-handed. Took awhile, but the results were telling…and now I can’t wait to duplicate this test on a range of rods!

I’ll spare you the statistics and skip to the meat; I scored and average of 6% better on the 20 footer, 17% better on the 50 footer, and 22% better on the 80 footer…all with the new rod. Apparently there is something to that whole blank quality thing, and it appears the more I had to load it to cast, the bigger the difference is. I also think the guide train improvement helped more as line speed was increased with distance. Did I mention I can’t wait to do this test with other rods?

So, there you have it. A new and much improved rod disguised as the rod it replaced and sold at dang near the same price; dead marketers everywhere are probably rolling over in their graves. I, however, am heading to the lake to work my new Mojo…