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Berkley Urban Spirit Range – Tested

Berkley Urban Spirit Range – Tested

Written by Jim O’Donnell 

I get to use quite a few different rods over the period of a year and whilst they’re all pretty good, many do not boast anything more than the norm. Lets face it – a rod is a rod – and for a rod producing company it must be hard work trying to improve, and throw new ideas, into something that works perfectly well already. And then along came the Berkley Urban Spirit!

I first spotted the Urban Spirit over a year ago. Berkley’s eye-catching advert with an angler using the rod under a bridge, with graffiti in the background, was very unusual. With a striking advert like this, paired with the name “Urban Spirit”, this was clearly not going to be any run-of-the-mill spinning rod and from that point I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one. But would it be any good, or would it just be some cool marketing ploy aimed at the younger generation of ‘street’ anglers? Not a chance!

Berkley have a high reputation for making top quality products. Their monofilament lines, braids, lures and tools are regarded as some of the best and most ingenious in the world, so a company that already had an excellent reputation for excellent lure fishing equipment, was hardly going to knock out a heap of junk lure rod, just to score a few bucks. When designing the Urban Spirit range, Berkley clearly spent a lot of time, carefully defying the norm in looks and feel, to make a Spinning/Plugging rod, which will set new standards for lure rods to follow. For 3 months I’ve tested the Urban Spirit 2.70m 20-60 gram spinning rod and here’s what I think…

Berkley quote that the Urban Spirit range has been designed for the travelling angler. This rod has clearly been made to sling over your back with a light rucksack of end tackle and lures, so you can get out there and explore with ease! It comes in a neoprene bag with a Velcro removable strap. On picking it up, the whole outfit is light, so light you wouldn’t know you had it over your shoulder – 256grams to be precise. The removable strap features a padded shoulder pad and what I particularly liked about this is, because it’s removable, via two Velcro straps, you could, and would, use this strap to carry other rods too. A free rod strap, so to speak!  The neoprene bag is tough; semi padded and will protect this rod from the majority of bumps and scrapes.

On taking the rod out of its bag, the first thing you cannot help but notice is its finish. Whereas traditional lure rods feature standard grey blanks, or dark finishes with cork handles, Berkley have added colour to the Urban Spirit range and this, I like. A little colour always brightens a dull day! The top section of this rod is matt black, the lower section is white, and the fittings and whippings are sharp metallic red – the Urban Spirit fishbone logo is pretty damn cool too!

The whole Urban Spirit range is built on fast action, IM7 Carbon blanks and despite sizes ranging from 6-9ft in length, they are all two-piece rods. The entire Urban Spirit range feature Fuji Alconite guides – reel seats are Berkley’s own and are unique to the Urban Spirit range – part plastic part (red) aluminium and reasonable quality – but all the fun in this rod range can be found in the handle. The Urban Spirit range feature High-Grade EVA grips, not cork, for optimum comfort and durability, but it doesn’t stop there. Berkley has come up with an Innovative and adjustable handle concept for optimum transport length – basically the lower part of the twist-locks up into the butt, so this rod can be packed down to a ridiculously short length. Another unique feature of this retractable handle is that it also features a fish measure, printed along the retractable section – a nice touch for the bass anglers among you. A lot of thought has gone into the ‘Urban’ range to make a short, light and super comfortable, very well priced rod for today’s modern lure angler, who needs a rod he can throw over his shoulder to cover ground with him.

The Urban spirit comes in the following styles and lengths

Spinning rod versions 
URBAN SPIRIT 622 5/12 ML Spin – length 6’2" rated 5 – 12g
URBAN SPIRIT 652 7/28 MH Spin – length 6’2" rated 7 – 28g  
URBAN SPIRIT 702 10/32 MH Spin – length 7′ rated 10 – 32g
URBAN SPIRIT 802 15/40 M Spin – length 8′ rated 15 – 40g  
URBAN SPIRIT 902 20/60 H Spin – length 9′ rated 20 – 60g

Casting rod versions 
URBAN SPIRIT 602 5/12 ML Cast – length 6′ rated 5 – 12g 
URBAN SPIRIT 632 7/28 MH Cast – length 6’3" rated 7 – 28g

My view – In it’s price range, the Urban Spirit 9’ 20-60g is my favorite rod of 2010. The retractable handle, fish measure and EVA grips are awesome. Its lightweight blank and top quality travel case make this the perfect rod for a lot of my angling here in the Westcountry. Although it has nothing to do with the rods use, I have to say I loved the colour and the logo, but then I am a tackle tart!

The Urban Spirit 9’ is suited to beach/rock spinning and plugging but would be just at home on the riverbank, lure fishing for Pike. Also, because this is a lightweight but pokey spinning rod, it will lend itself well to light float fishing, and light bottom fishing like floundering and bassing. Next year I want to try the Urban Spirit 7’, for some close quarters lure work!

The Berkley Spirit range features…

  • IM7 Carbon blank construction
  • FUJI Alconite guides
  • Innovative adjustable handle concept for optimum transport length
  • Neoprene bag with removable handle

Cost from £85.99 to £106.99 each comes with a super free Berkley line cutter/lure eye opener with neck lanyard.

Available from the WSF Tackle Shop and all good authorised Berkley stockists.


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