Penn gets UGLY: the 440SSg/Ugly Stick Combo, Tested
The combo, in action.
Has Penn gotten ugly? Sure, why not Ė we all know that Ugly Sticks have been around forever and they just donít die. Short of slamming a car door on one, itís virtually impossible to break these things. Now that Penn is owned by the same company as Shakespeare, (Pure Fishing) theyíve teamed up the Ugly Stick with the Penn Spinfisher series.
Our test combo was the Penn 440SSg matched up with a one-piece 6í6 Ugly Stick. The test-mission: we were casting for stripers with 5Ē chartreuse BKDís in 18í of water. A light touch was necessary, since the fish were cold (water temp had finally dropped below 50-degrees) and hitting gingerly. Unfortunately, like all Ugly Sticks of the past, this one didnít have that light touch. The tip is pretty darn soft and sensitivity is not extreme. Of course, thatís not what these rods have always been all about: theyíre work-horses, not show horses.
The 440SSg, on the other hand, was perfect for this task. Spooled with Power Pro we could cast the BKDís for miles, the retrieve was smooth, and the new series of Spinfishers have a vastly improved anti-reverse system. In fact, we found they were quite effective for vertical jigging, which was tough with some older Penn lines due to the kick-back.
As a combo, when it comes to sensitivity and performance Iíve got to say the 440SSG simply out-classes the Ugly Stick. On the other hand, if longevity is your prime consideration this will serve as a great rig for years if not decades, with a relatively low initial cost.
The Highs: A virtually indestructible rod paired with a well-built reel makes for a combo that should last for many years.
The Lows: Itís an Ugly Stick Ė expect low sensitivity and a slow, flexible tip.
Who Wants It: Anglers looking for a relatively low-cost combo that will last.