Have You Tried This Versatile & Affordable Inshore Rod (Calico Jack Review)

By: Tony Acevedo on October 5, 2017
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hurricane calico jack fishing rod

Here are three things that I’ve learned after countless inshore fishing trips…

  1. Your fishing rod is quite possibly one of the most important pieces of fishing equipment. When fighting large fish, the rod absorbs most of the pressure and helps wear that fish out so you can land them (let’s face it if your rod breaks while fighting a fish, your reel almost becomes useless and you will most likely have to reel the fish in by hand)
  2. I like having the absolute best fishing rod possible when I am inshore fishing from a boat (which sometimes means the most expensive)…
  3. I like having the absolute most affordable fishing rod possible when I am fishing from my kayak or paddleboard (which sometimes means the most inexpensive)…

Why?

Because the chances of you flipping over, getting pushed into mangroves/dock/etc, or having a monster fish take a last minute under your kayak and put extreme pressure on your rod skyrocket when you fish from a kayak or paddleboard.

Especially if you fish out of a kayak or SUP multiple times per week like I do.

After snapping more rods than I care to mention from my kayak, I started looking for a strong, versatile, and inexpensive rod that wouldn’t ruin my day if it snapped.

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snapped fishing rod

Cheap rod (NOT the Calico Jack rod) I had snap during a hook set

Fishing rods were around long before the reel was even invented. 

You would simply tie some line onto the end of a stick and use that as a means of catching fish – No reeling, no drag screaming, just the pure strength of the rod or stick and your line keeping that fish on the hook and landed.

I have used various spinning rods for inshore fishing, and I have narrowed it down to my #1 favorite – The Calico Jack rods made by Hurricane (see it here on Amazon)

Note: Hurricane is who makes the popular “Redbone fishing rods” as well.

I had used these rods for a while when bass fishing before I even began inshore fishing.

At the time, I was unaware of the fact that they were inshore rods. The metal components are stainless steel which resists corrosion from saltwater.

hurricane calico jack fishing rods

These rods are made with Fuji Guides which are great to improve casting distance

Here are some specs on the Calico Jack fishing rods:

  • Graphite rod blank
  • Fuji® reel seat with stainless steel cushioned hoods
  • Fuji guides
  • Non-slip cork wrap handle
  • Ring style hook keeper

There are also various rod lengths and strengths to suit your style of fishing.

Below are images showing my go to rod sizes/specs which is a 7’ Medium Action, and a 7’6 Medium Heavy Action.

calico jack fishing rod review

Specs on the Hurricane Calico Jack rod (side 1)

hurricane calico jack fishing rod review

Specs on the Hurricane Calico Jack rod (side 1)

Here is a table showing the different models available and their corresponding lengths, action, etc.

hurricane calico jack fishing rod review

Now for the best part…..

These rods will only cost you about $50 – $60, and for that price, they are extremely well built (here they are on Amazon.com)

I have had the same few rods for the past 2 years and have caught everything on them from snook, trout, sharks, and 10-20lb tarpon, to numerous bull redfish exceeding 40 inches long (which you will see in the video putting these rods to the test).

You can find these rods on Amazon, and you can also find them at your nearest Dick’s Sporting Goods stores.

If you get lucky, they will sometimes have these rods on sale for $30-$40.

Calico Jack Rod Buying Tip

When purchasing a rod from a store, or even if you have one shipped to you, be sure to check the rod and the guides on it very carefully. Many times fishing rods will get damaged during shipping due to lack of care when handling. Store employees will also put rods on display without checking them first.

Many times fishing rods will get damaged during shipping due to lack of care when handling. Store employees will also put rods on display without checking them first.

Store employees will also put rods on display without checking them first.

In the following video, I will be discussing these Calico Jack fishing rods and you will also see them doing work on numerous large redfish.

Enjoy!

Calico Jack Rod Independent Review [VIDEO]

Conclusion

Overall, these Hurricane Calico Jack spinning rods are a great value.

They are super durable, seem to be made well, and you can’t beat the price.

After catching everything from monster bull reds to tarpon to snook, I’m a big fan of using these rods while fishing from my kayak or paddleboard.

They’ve surprising done well with both casting light jigs and heavy cut bait.

Have you used them before?

What was your experience with these Calico Jack rods? Let me know in the comments.

You can check out these Calico Jack rods on Amazon here.

Related Post: Temple Fork Outfitter Spinning Rod Review (see it here)

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Fish On.

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Terence BuydosNoel ParrishDave FrymierMarianne EiringRich Fiorentino Recent comment authors
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Terence Buydos
Member

I was at wally world checking out rods(they had some 7’6″ ones in stock, 2 brands, M and MH!) and another older guy came up and started a conversation. Turns out he builds rods as a semi business,semi hobby and started asking me some questions, then proceeded to give me some tips on buying rods off a store rack. first was the placing tip on the floor and flexing the rod to see where the rod bent when pressure was applied, but the second tip was the new one. he gently held the rod vertically with one hand with the butt on the floor, then pulled the tip down with the other hand like a fish was putting strain on it. SHAZAM! the rod spun to the side!. “this one is no good, the blank isn’t symmetrical”. We went thru a couple more and one didn’t spin, and he handed it to me saying this one is a good one.

Noel Parrish
Member

I need a rod for the inshore fishing you are doing. Went to amazon and found a redbone 7’6” 1 pc rod. Its an RDB-761MS. 8lb to 17 lb. It cost about $96. What do you think? Noel Parrish

Dave Frymier
Member

I tried the Temple Fork 7’6″ recommended by Luke, and I really like it after I replaced the tip top with a larger one. I also agree that 7’6″ is a sweet spot – 7′ isn’t quite long enough (but workable) and 8′ is a bit too long. However, I have a Jeep Cherokee, and a 7’6″ one piece sticks into the front cabin, making it a pain for a passenger. I’ve been looking for a two piece 7’6″ inshore spinning rod – but I’m not finding. Do you folks know of any out there? Also, I might be interested in dreaming about a $300 spinning rod, but I’m certainly not going to buy one.

Marianne Eiring
Member

Thanks Tony!

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Tony – I have a shoulder problem and prefer a rod with a shorter butt. Do you know the butt length on the Calico, or how the butt length compares to the TFO pro 7’0′ M that I really like. If the calico is close, it is worth a try at about 1/2 the price. Also, would you recommend the Calico 7’0″ or 7’6″? Thanks

Mike
Guest
Mike

Tony on that calico jack what rod link do u recommend for inshore jetty fishing and of the beach don’t have a boat or a kayak . Also where can I get that rods at can u plzz tell would really appreciate it thanks tony

Will Dixson
Member

Ordered the 7’6″ medium and medium heavy from Amazon and the MH was snapped in two. Hilarious packaging! They would probably save a ton of money if they just used the thick cardboard tubes like tackle direct and others! Rods look pretty sweet though! Thanks Tony!

Steve Barrington
Member

I am new to the insider club AND this is my first post ever BUT I felt compelled to comment SINCE I use calico jack AND star rods BOTH the seagis AND stellar lite. The seagis cost 3 times more WITH exactly the same action as one of my calico jacks. I do bend tests SIDE by side BUT it is barely lighter which makes the seagis my favorite. I’m not sure I’d pay that much again. Stellar lights are exactly like the calico jacks BUT only TWICE the price.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Hey Steve, thanks so much for sharing your experiences with the various rods… very valuable information. Fish On!

John Martin
Member

Hi, Tony,
Got the CAJ 458 now from Amazon but not packed well. So, will the Daiwa BG 2500 reel go well with the 458? And will it work well with my TFO rod I have now? It is just the very same as Lukes’ favourite TFO rod.
Cheers
John

John Martin
Member

Hi Tony,
Swell review on Caico Jack Rods. I have one of Luke TFO rods for way over $125.00. I see the rods come in 12’ models for surf fishing. Money is tight and Amazon has them all a a fine price . What models should I get for my Skiff fishing now?
Best Regards
John Zmartin

Brian Zimmerman
Member

Cost is a big factor for me. Looks like a good price. Thinking about putting the less expensive Plueger president XT 30 with the 7’6″ Calico rod. How do you balance a rod and reel? Add/substrate weight from the handle?

Charlie Driggers
Member

Thanks for the review! Is there a big difference between the medium and medium-heavy power on a 7′ Calico Jack?

Dick’s has them on sale, and they only have the medium-heavy. I was looking to get a 7′ medium, and I’m debating whether to get the sale on the medium-heavy or just wait for the medium to come back in stock.

Richard Fiorentino
Member

.. Thanks for your help with rods. I have some shoulder problems and like rods with shorter butts. Any ides? How much better casts with 7’6″ over 7′ . Thanks

Thomas Moran
Member

I’m just not a fan of rods where you are holding a skinny real seat directly, but it’s getting harder to find affordable rods with full cork covering the grip. Older Bass Pro Bionic Blades and Cabelas Tourney Trail were good options once but both have changed now for the worse. And as Tony notes, the Bionic Blade guide frames don’t hold up to salt very well.

Back in my old bass fishing days we’d wrap electrical tape thickly around the grip to add comfort for a full day’s fishing. I suspect a bit of sensitivity is lost but haven’t really noticed an issue with it. I’ve even built rods, and used a full cork (or graphite) grip and simply taped the reel on. Could such drastic measures be in my future again?

Robert Cong-Leton
Member

Have a care: if you order a rod from Amazon ( not their associates, but Amazon themselves ), be prepared for it to arrive broken or damaged due to completely inappropriate packing. This applies to ANY one-peice rod, regardless of make or model. Cavaet emptor!

Ryan Crowson
Member

Sensitive subject for me as mine snapped two weeks ago. It was my favorite/go-to rod for the last year, caught numerous fish and was put through it’s paces with snags on other things haha. I was in my kayak fishing a weedless jerk shad rig when I cast into the mangrove. I held the rod up with one hand to flip the lure out of the tree and the rod snapped right after the forth eyelet, right where the action starts on the 6.5′ ML rod. I was in complete disbelief. Another pull and the lure came out and the hook never even set, so there wasn’t that much force. I don’t know if it was just the perfect angle or a pre-existing defect, but I’m going back and forth in my head about whether or not to replace it. I loved it, but it let me down. If I do I’d go with the 7′ this time. I had to order the 6.5 from Amazon because I couldn’t find it locally; the first three rods that came to my house were in 2-3 pieces each.

I caught a monster 10″ Snook the cast before that, must have been what broke the rod . 😉

Temple Foerster
Member

What do have against Vlad?

Capt. Bruce Campbell
Guest
Capt. Bruce Campbell

I”ve owned a Hurricane Redbone for 12 years. Bought it in Key West on a fishing trip, shipped it by plane in a suit box that got mashed in the luggage hold of the plane, and the rod came out unscathed, have fished the SC coast for years, tarpon, redfish, trout and have never had the first problem. Wish all of my rods were Hurricanes.

Jeff Jennings
Member

Tony why two different size rods? I try to keep the rod and reel the same for both of my inshore rigs, so they have same feel casting, setting the hook, etc.

Marjorie Bray
Member

I have a 7’6″ medium Calico Jack, along with several redbones, St Croix, G Loomis, star, quantum, etc. We’ve been using it for 3 years. I have confidence in the fighting power and it casts well. It “feels” good.Highly recommended.

Dave Otte
Member

Which rod would perform the closest to the TFO rod that Luke recommends, primarily for redfish and speckled trout? I really like the TFO rod a lot but I’d like to get another real good one at a lower price. Thank you for this great review!

Michael Hazelrig
Member

I’ve got one. Use it all the time. Always been good to me.

John E
Member

I’ve used Ugly Sticks, the ORIGINAL ones for MANY years of every sort and they’ve never failed. I have a tiny ultra light on up to down rigger rods and love them all. Some years ago, they sent me a Gen. 2 rod to try. It was fine and very light but I like the Gen. 1s better.

Scott Thorne
Member

Not crazy about durability. I’ve had three…all store bought and checked before purchase. Used in kayak for inshore fishing. Every rod had same issue….guide inserts came out within a couple months of use. Yes..I DO take care of my rods so it’s not a care/maintenance issue. Problem happened on different eyes on each rod. Never had this issue with my other rods. Good price and I like the action (mine are all 7 ft medium action) but durability is an issue.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I love my teramar rods. Never had an issue with them and they are a good price point for a really good rod.

Jeff lapine Lapine
Member

I love these rods I have several. They work great. I bought these about 3 or 4 years ago not knowing much about it and they have worked great and have held up. Definitely a good rod

Chris Stanard
Member

It would be really nice if you would feature products made in the USA vs . China.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Agree! Made in China… boo. Made in USA, yay!!!

Chris Stanard
Member

Unfortunately, no one seems to give a damn. My brother died in Vietnam, a war supported by Chinese communism. I guess we forgot. Keep buying their stuff.

Troy Hill
Member

Hey Tony, I ordered these rods twice after i had found them by watching your videos and found to be a really good deal. But a word of advice, both rods ordered were damaged because of the boxing that amazon used to put rods in. Don’t know if request can be made to amazon but any rod should be shipped in a hard sided tube with bubble wrap. Tackle warehouse ships this way and have never gotten broken rod. Needless to say I have still not received calico Jack rod. Just letting other members know. Thanks

Luke Simonds
Admin

Sorry to hear about the bad experience with Amazon. These rods are commonly sold in local shops so the safest route for something fragile like a fishing rod is to shop local.

Bill DeWeese
Member

Cool review, and it’s always nice to have a good quality bargain Rod, especially for buddy rods, etc, but this leaves me with a question. Over a year ago I bought the G Loomis TFO based upon the review that Luke did, and that’s $110 rod, but it’s a fantastic rod. Recently when I added baitcaster I went for the Ugly Stik inshore select rod at $59. I love the baitcaster but I am very disappointed with the ugly stick because it has a kind of buggy whip feel to the tip section. It’s really annoying when you try to do walking lures and other twitching lures because of the slop that enters into the tip. Have you used the TFO in the older SaltStrong review and how does it compare to the Calico Jack?

The Insider membership recently added a new discount for the TFO at Southeastern Fishing Tackle Liquidators. I was going to pick one up in 6 ft as baitcasting rod and that’ll be about $100. I would be keenly interested in knowing whether or not the Calico Jack would be a less expensive alternative to the TFO. I know you regular use the Skitter V and other top water, so I’m assuming that it works well with those kind of rhythmic twitching motions?

Bill DeWeese
Member

Disregard. Upon further research they don’t seem to offer a baitcasting rod in this line. Thanks!

Doug Robison
Member

Great, affordable rod by hurricane. I have multiple landed overslot snook on the med light CJ without the rod breaking. Redbones do have lifetime warranty where the CJ does not, but there isn’t a better rod in the 50-60 price range.

Buddy "Buddy"
Member

Bummer they have only one 6’6” rod and it’s light action. This is common with most Rod Manufacturers though. They usually all have a perfect size bait casting rod though. I’ve fished many decades, tried many different brands of spinning rods. For me, I’m 5’9” and a 6 ‘ rod is too short and a 7’ rod is too long. A 6’6” is just right.
The Bionic Blade 6’ 6” one piece, fast taper
Med hvy, 1/4 to 5/8 oz 6 to. 17 line Is one I can recommend for inshore to anyone There $80. Though at Bass pro shop. I have bought many of the Hvy action though. There great rods. But not very durable when it comes to abuse, mis use or not maintaining the eyes from brackish and salt water.