Cabela's New XMLti - Fish it like it was stolen.

By: Frank Ross

The hottest new development in the fishing arena this spring involves Cabela's stalwart workhorses, the XML line of casting and spinning rods.

We designed this rod to be fished hard and take abuse.

Anyone who has fished one of these remarkable rods might be dubious about such a great rod getting better, but here's the story straight from the man who designed it and gave it several rigorous field trials.

Kim Norton, Cabela's fishing tackle product manager explained it this way. "When an angler lays out more than $100 for a fishing rod, they should be able to fish without worrying about babying the rod," Norton said. "A common expression, when you see someone romping on the accelerator of a vehicle is to say, 'he's driving that car like he stole it.' And that's the way we designed this rod, to be fished hard and take the abuse."

Recoil guides are most effective when the rod is being bent severly under the strain of an ongoing battle.

Norton went on to point out the numerous upgrades, not the least of which is indicated by the two small additions to the rod's logo - ti. The ti stands for the Nickel Titanium alloy used to make the most fantastic guides you'll ever run a line through. If you've ever taken a clumsy buddy on a fishing trip, only to have them step down on the guides of your favorite rod; you'll certainly appreciate the wonders of Recoil guides. These guides are tempered so that they can be bent flat in any direction. Once released, they return to their original position, leaving only a faint metallic twang instead of destroyed tackle, a ruined trip and former fishing buddy.

While their ability to snap back after abuse is a strong point, the Recoil guides are most effective when the rod is being bent severely under the strain of an ongoing battle. As the rod bends, the guides conform to the angle, eliminating flat spots and undue stress on both line and rod. Due to the hardness of this alloy, these guides resist grooving when using today's braided lines, and are highly resistant to corrosion in any environment.

The new XMLti is a real pleasure to fish with.

Another great aspect of titanium is weight. Collectively, Recoil guides weigh significantly less than the next best option. Depending on the rod, they can lighten the weight four to five times compared to ceramic guides. As anyone who fishes for eight or ten hours at a stretch knows, a few ounces can made a big difference at the end of the day.

I've fished the original XML, and it is my rod of choice for every species I pursue and that's why I was a little concerned when I learned that it was being tinkered with. However, my most serious concerns were laid to rest when I learned that they have not tampered with perfection in terms of a rod's most critical component, the blank. The new XMLti uses the same blank, ferule and actions that have been fine tuned to perfection over 20 years of development, but a couple of improvements to the handle are worth noting. Crafted of ultra-high 64-million modulus blended graphite, XML rod blanks have become legendary for their 25% increase in strength and 10% reduction in weight. It's the strength-enhancing Spiral Core technology and Generation III bonding resin that give these beauties their brawn.

The spinning version sports a new raised composite cork hump that fits neatly into the palm for increased sensitivity.

The casting model features the innovative Mag Touch dual blank handle for additional sensitivity. I really like the feel of the new spinning version, which sports a new raised composite cork hump that fits neatly into the palm for increased sensitivity to the vibration of small lures and delicate bites. A lightweight down-locking reel seat eliminates exposed threads, but more importantly positions the cork of the fore grip right where your leading finger comes into contact with the rod. The fore grip's micro-click adjustment is also a very innovative feature.

After a recent saltwater fishing trip Norton had these comments. "We fished the 6' medium action casting ti for snook and redfish all day. The actions were sharp and crisp. We were in mangroves all day, un-snagging lures, and abused the rods a lot. The guides worked great. No problem. They are a real pleasure to fish with."

The best news of all is that this state-of-the-art rod can be purchased for less than half of its only other competitor, a major brand-name rod selling for more than $400. With the new XMLti you can get a fantastic rod at such an affordable price you won't have to actually steal it. Just fish it like you did!