Review of Sonik SKS 12-20lb boat rod

The SKS models are the cheapest boat rods in the Sonik SK range (SK3 being mid range and SK4 being the most expensive). However, as I was to find out, price is not necessarily an indication of the quality of suitability of this rod when it comes to kayak fishing. In fact sometimes when it comes to the harsh treatment of gear whilst kayak fishing, high price can be an expensive luxury you can afford to avoid !


As I took the rod out of the bag, I was instantly excited about the look and feel of this rod. I was expecting a run-of-the-mill lower end floppy rod with average fittings. Instead this rod looked miles better than the £40 price tag would suggest.



The rod is 6 inches shorter than the SK3 range, which is spot on for kayak fishing in my opinion. The rating is 12-20lbs – but as you will see later, I reckon it is closer to 6-12lbs really.

Lets take a closer look at the rod, starting at the butt,which has the same butt cap as the SK3 range – small and neat, just fine…


The length between the end of the butt and the reel seat is quite short, again, just right for kayak fishing. The grips are comfortable, and the reel seat is a screw winch fitting which is pretty standard…



As with the SK3, the fore grip in front of the reel seat is quite long – too long really – but maybe it is designed to be like this so that it ends at the joint ? The joint on the butt side is not the standard set up with lots of whipping thread, instead it is joins almost immediately to the sponge grip. I gave it a good flex with all my weight, and it was very solid indeed.


The tip section pushes directly into the butt at this point…


As you can see from the image above, the blank wall is quite thick at the joint, which bodes well for the strength of the rod. The fitting of the 2 sections at the joint was good, with no play, and a decent amount of lee way for wear and tear.

The rings are lined and have 3 legs – they look strong, but I don’t think they are Fujis.


The whipping is smart, neat and tidy and is edged with gold thread.

I have been keeping quiet about the next bit – but it was a bit of a surprise when I first saw the rod. A clear solid glass spliced tip (similar to that on the budget Rovex Gold Integra rods).


The glass tip provides extra bite sensitivity. Its always difficult to tell how well the tip is spliced in, and its an obvious weak point of the blank, however well its done. But I took a closer look and gave it a proper good bend to test…



The tip is great – I have to say its much better/stronger than that found on the Rovex Gold Integra. The tip does not collapse as I thought it might, but it does perform well, as you will see later.

Closing in on the tip ring…


The tip ring looks decent enough with enough high build gloss to protect it and provide a bit of strength.


So that’s a quick tour of the rod, but you know me; I always want to try the rods out in anger, and given the sporty nature of the SKS, I couldn’t wait to give it a damn good thrashing !

Probably slightly inappropriate, but a damn good test… I decided to take the SKS on a trip to a reef mark in the Bristol Channel. I clamped an old Shimano speedmaster to it filled with 20lb Stren mono, cats out a whole squid and awaited some kayak action. I didn’t have to wait long ! A succession of Thornback rays under double figures, really gave the rod a workout in the tide. I was really having fun, the rod was bending right around into its full test curve, but there was quite alot of power in the butt – did I mention I was enjoying myself !


As mentioned previously, my view is that despite the 12-20lb rating of this rod, its action is more like 6-12lbs – great for kayak fishing.

I had to take advantage of the glorious weather and take a few pictures of the SKS.




But the best was yet to come. I had an amazing run on the other rod, which was sadly dropped. But then a couple of minutes later, I had another blistering run on the SKS rod. This was no ray, it had to be either a big bass or a decent smoothound. Now the Shimano is a tough reel, and I was using decent 20lb Stren and the clutch was quite tight, but this fish was still taking line. All I could do was hang on. The SKS was bent double – amazing. Slowly, the fish tired and I started to gain line. At times, the fish swam uptide towards me against the strong tide and pulled the tip of the SKS right under the water under considerable pressure. This was some fish, and a great battle. Eventually the fish showed itself – a smoothound, a real heavy weight – easily a PB for me (my previous PB went 11lbs) – it looked more like a small tope. I got it alongside the kayak and wondered how the heck I was going to get it in and get some pictures for you lucky people…


I was rapidly warming to this rod. So decided to take it out again to another channel mark and try for some more rays.



To cut a long story short, I managed a load of small eyed rays on the SKS in quite difficult conditions. The SKS took everything in its stride. This was the pick of the small eyed rays I caught from the SKS…


See how the Sonik SKS 12-20lb rod coped with the ray and the big smoothound in this video…

So my verdict ? I love this rod – its very sporty indeed. The negative points are the lack of a hook keeper ring (minor), and the foregrip is a bit too long. On the plus side – its the right length and has the right action to cover a wide range of kayak fishing situations. The tip is great – only time will tell if the splicing process used to join the solid glass to carbon, holds up. This rod is much better than the Rovex Gold Integra in terms of the blank, and the fittings, but not as good as the Cono-flex QT kayak which is in a different league (and price bracket). The action of the SKS is heavier than the Cono-flex QT kayak (the tip is not as flexible). This is a great low to medium priced rod which I really believe could become a kayak fishing classic ! Try it and see for yourself – I bet you will not be disappointed.

The Sonik SKS 12-20lb class boat rod is available from Veals Mail order priced £39.98.

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