Review: KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rods – Affordable Innovation
Published on May 14, 2023, 6:57 p.m.
The KastKing Blackhawk II is a telescopic fishing rod that aims to provide anglers with a high-quality, portable rod option. As a telescopic rod, it can collapse down to a fraction of its fishing length for easy transport and storage. However, when extended it offers the power and performance of a traditional one-piece rod. I recently had the chance to test out the KastKing Blackhawk II telescopic fishing rod and wanted to provide a detailed review of its features, performance, and overall value.
The KastKing Blackhawk II comes in 14 different lengths and power ratings, providing options for freshwater and saltwater fishing. The rod blank is constructed from Toray 24-ton carbon matrix which gives it strength, sensitivity, and durability. It also features KastKing’s new KastFlex technology in the blank design. The rod has stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts and a reinforced reel seat. The EVA handle provides comfort during long days of fishing.
One of the unique features of the Blackhawk II is KastKing’s Soloscopic Performance Technology. This uses a combination of the carbon matrix blank, solid glass tip, and floating guides to provide smooth casting and power transmission when the rod is fully expanded.
Features and Benefits
Here are some of the notable features and benefits of the KastKing Blackhawk II telescopic fishing rod:
Portability - As a telescopic rod, the Blackhawk II compresses down to just 21 inches for easy transport and storage. This makes it a great option for hiking, kayak fishing, or storing in a small car.
Toray Carbon Matrix Blank - This high-modulus graphite is sensitive yet strong. It provides excellent hooksets and fighting power.
Solid Glass Tip - The glass tip adds durability to protect against breakage while maintaining sensitivity.
Floating Guides - The stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts float when the rod is collapsed to prevent line damage.
EVA Handle - The EVA foam handle is comfortable to grip even when fighting big fish.
Reinforced Reel Seat - The reel seat uses stainless steel hoods for a secure reel connection.
Line Rating - The rod is rated for lines up to 15 lbs test, making it suitable for both fresh and saltwater fishing.
1 Year Warranty - KastKing provides a 1 year warranty against defects and workmanship issues.
On the Water Performance
I field tested the 7‘0” medium power Blackhawk II model paired with a 3000 series spinning reel spooled with 10 lb braided line. Here are my thoughts on its real-world fishing performance:
Casting - The rod offers smooth, accurate casts thanks to the floating guides and quality blank. It punches lures out a good distance and is suitable for a variety of techniques.
Sensitivity - The carbon matrix blank telegraphs vibrations well. I could clearly feel light taps and bottom contours while fishing.
Power - There’s plenty of backbone when you need to put the heat on fish. It handles larger fish well for its rating.
Balance - The handle balances nicely with mid-sized 3000 reels. It feels light and maneuvers easily.
Components - The guides, reel seat, and rod finish have held up nicely so far. No issues with durability or corrosion.
While it doesn’t feel exactly like a high-end one piece rod, the performance is impressive for a telescopic model. The power and sensitivity rival rods costing much more.
Ease of Use
One concern with telescopic rods is their convenience and ease of use. Here are some observations about using the Blackhawk II:
Extension/Collapse - It only takes about 60 seconds to fully extend each section or collapse it down. Just be gentle during the process.
Guide Alignment - The guides need to be lined up properly when extending it to prevent tangles. This gets easier with practice.
Leaving Rigged - You can leave a line and lure rigged while collapsed for quick fishing readiness. The protective carrier prevents tangles.
Storage - The nylon rod tube provides ample protection while transporting or storing the rod.
Tips - Start extension from the tip and collapse from the butt section to avoid damaging the line guides.
While there is a slight learning curve, the Blackhawk II is ultimately easy and quick to deploy for fishing.
The portable nature and well-rounded performance of the Blackhawk II make it a great choice for:
Hikers who want a casting rod option that saves space and weight
Kayak anglers and pack rafters needing compact rods
Car travelers who want full size rods without sacrificing interior space
Shore fishermen who have to hike to remote spots
Pier and dock anglers limited to a certain number of rods
Surf fishermen needing spare rods in a compact form factor
The versatility of lengths and powers also allows it to be used for everything from panfish to snook depending on the model.
User Feedback Analysis
Digging deeper into customer reviews reveals more specifics on the performance and experience of using the Blackhawk II rod:
Most users describe the casting as smooth and accurate thanks to the quality blank and floating guides that minimize friction. The rod loads well and can launch lures long distances. It handles light finesse lures as well as heavy swimbaits. Some mention a learning curve coming from traditional rods.
Many anglers are impressed with the lifting power when setting the hook and battling larger fish. They praise the backbone and the ability to put pressure on big fish around cover. The tip is responsive while the lower blank provides serious hauling strength. Even large catfish and salmon are handled well according to reviews.
The Toray carbon matrix blank provides very good sensitivity for detecting light bites according to most users. The glass tip adds durability without sacrificing much feel. The crispness exceeds expectations for a telescopic rod at this price point.
Nearly every review mentions the high quality components used on the Blackhawk II. The stainless steel guides, graphite reel seat, and EVA foam handle are all described as high-end. The components help justify the reasonable price tag.
Not surprisingly, the easy breakdown into a compact 21 inch rod makes this a top choice for traveling anglers. They love the ability to pack it easily into a backpack or small car. It saves a ton of space while providing full length fishing performance.
An overwhelming number of reviews state that the Blackhawk II provides amazing performance at an affordable cost. Most mention it feels like a rod costing twice the price. The value is exceptional compared to other telescopic and traditional rods in this price range.
Pros and Cons
Here are a few summarized pros and cons for the KastKing Blackhawk II based on my experience:
- Excellent power and sensitivity for a telescopic rod
- Durable and high-quality components
- Smooth casting and performance
- Protective storage tube included
- Easy to transport and store
- Affordably priced
- Guide alignment takes practice
- Not quite as lightweight or sensitive as top-end rods
- Only covered by a 1 year warranty
Price and Value
When comparing the KastKing Blackhawk II to other telescopic and conventional rods on the market, it stands out for delivering exceptional performance and features at a very reasonable sub-$100 price point. Models from brands like Plusinno, Sougayilang, and Goture generally cost less but sacrifice significant casting smoothness, power, component quality, and sensitivity. High-end travel rods from Shimano, St. Croix, and Sage offer refined performance but cost over $200+ in most cases. At its modest $53.99 MSRP, the Blackhawk II manages to provide many premium features and excellent fish fighting abilities without breaking the budget. For anglers wanting the ultimate in portable performance at a price that leaves room in the wallet for fishing tackle, the KastKing Blackhawk II is a top-tier choice and one of the best values on the market in the telescopic rod category.
Overall, the KastKing Blackhawk II is an outstanding telescopic fishing rod that performs more like a fixed rod than any other travel rod I’ve used. The power is impressive, the components are high-quality, and the compact nature makes it ideal for anyone needing maximum portability without sacrificing fishing performance. While not 100% perfect, it’s an amazing value for the price point. I would highly recommend the KastKing Blackhawk II to anyone looking for a versatile, portable, and durable telescopic fishing rod.
- Blank Material: Toray 24-ton carbon matrix
- Number of Pieces: 6 telescopic sections
- Length: 7‘0”
- Power: Medium
- Action: Fast
- Line Rating: 15lb max
- Guide Number: 10 + tip
The KastKing Blackhawk II comes packaged with:
- Fishing rod
- Protective nylon rod tube
- Blank warranty card