Have now had a chance to get some fishing time with them and here is a brief synopsis. I mostly used the Levaiathan, Flipping Special, DSR and Perfect Pitch. I will try and give a brief overview on each.
I will start by saying as a whole series I am still more than impressed with the Levante. Cannot stress enough how visually appealing they are too me. Love the matte blank and sleek logo/lettering. The carbon fiber nut and blank through are a nice tough. Love the purple accents on the wraps too. Just sleek and sharp. The reel seat is very nice. Fits comfortably in hand.
I will admit I am not the biggest fan of split grip rods or EVA but its done well on these. I have big hands and unlike some other brands the diamter of the handles are not so small that its uncomfortable. They fit comfortably in hand. As for the EVA it appears to be great quality and firm enough that it transmits well up from the blank. Guides are full sized but not oversized. Build quality is typical MB. Its amazing to see the attention to detail on what some may consider a lower end rod. Considering it is the lowest price point MB has come to market with they treated it with the same attention and quality of their higher priced offerings.
Another thing that just keeps jumping out at me is how balanced they seem. They are lightweight in hand and unlike many split grip rods you are not constantly feeling the tip trying to pull down. They achieved balance with making the handles exceptionally longer like some other rod brands are. Their handle lengths are very comparable to same model XX.
Sensitivity is subjective person to person but I will say it is not lacking on the Levante at all. I purposely fished some bottom techniques with the PP and DSR and fished them around rock, wood, metal docks and grass to see how they transmitted each type of cover contact. I also fished both hard and soft bottom. VERY impressed with the overall sensitivity. Well above their price point in my eyes. Couple with a good fluoro and tungsten weights you will not have any issues discerning bites. had a couple of light bites and felt everything fine.
Perfect Pitch- I had it with a Daiwa Tatula Type R and it balanced very well. Threw Texas rigs and jigs from 1/4-3/4oz with no issues at all. Loads up well, accurate tip and very responsive. Really liked it in the 3/8-1/2oz range. Was able to use it around wood cover and grass as well as water willows. Loved using it. Tip is perfect to me. Great skipping rod as well. I always say about the XX PP that its perfectly named as it seems your accuracy is on point with it. The Levante PP is the same. Plenty of backbone to horse them out with. There were times I had to make sure i had not picked up the wrong rod as its amazingly light feeling in hand. I also threw on a reel with braid and threw a hollow body frog for a bit on it. Loved it for that as well. From a smaller Megabass Pony Gabot to a full size frog slightly larger than most 65 sized frogs it was dead on. Again the tip really shines as far as getting more action on the frog if you want.
I can see the PP also excelling at smaller swimbaits though I did not try any on it.I know it will have over good uses and as I fish it more I will find more presentations to use it with. Much like the PP in the Xx series is my favorite XX this will be my favorite Levante. Just a good versatile rod that you should enjoy using. Can throw it all day with no issues. Only thing I wish is we had a chance of a full handle. The split is fine but I would really like the full a tad more.
DSR- again I had it paired with a Tatula and threw everything from the S Crank to buzzbaits on it. I really enjoyed it as a swimjig rod and it felt good as a spinnerbait rod. One thing that jumped out at me is how the castability is on this model. Does not take much to get a bait out there. I fished mostly baits up to 1/2oz on it and much like I said about the PP it has an amazingly versatile tip but plenty of backbone as well. Next trip I will for sure get some topwater time on it. I also managed a few casts with a 3/8oz Texas rig and it felt well within the sweet spot for this model. I will also throw some weightless stickbaits and soft jerkbaits on it as well. As it gets colder it will get some 110 time on it to see if its a fit for that. I cannot speak enough to the versatility of the DSR. Another of my favorites in the XX lineup and the Levante did not disappoint.
Flipping Special- paired with a Tatula again I flipped some wood cover mostly using 1/2-1oz weights. Handled it just fine. One thing they carried over is the comfortability of fishing with an almost 8' rod. It just does not wear you out. Tip is not a broomstick tip so to speak. Plenty heavy but allows you the versatility you want. You have no doubt it can pull fish out of most anything but you will not spend the day with the tip trying to drop down. 3/4oz felt amazing on it. I evendid a little light punching and it will get more time with that too. I threw some smaller swimbaits on it as well. I can see it being a killer A rig rod, deep football jig rod and a flutter spoon rod to name a few other uses. For fun I threw the MB Grenade on it today. It did not overpower the bait at all.I like the fact they have the full handle and no split grip on this model. Good heavier use type rod that will not wear you out.
Leviathan- paired it with a Tatula HD and threw all 3 sizes of the I Slide as well as every size of the Mag Draft. Absolute dream to fish with. Even the 5" Mag Draft was fun on it. They did not make the handle exceedingly long like a lot of swimbait rods but yet still plenty long enough for 2 handed casts. Like the Flipping Special the tip is not trying to drop. It also has enough of a parabolic tip that it is an amazing punching rod. I rigged up a setup with a 1 1/2oz weight and truly enjoyed it. It just has that it factor feel for punching. Being able to do as much as this rod can do is nice because some people may not be big swimbait guys or punchers so you can buy one rod for both as well as more uses. It will be an excellent A rig rod. It has a full handle and unlike the XX of the same model this is a full one piece. Great rod for the big bait and big bass guys.
In summary I will be blunt, the Levantes are not XX rods. Side by side I would pick the XX every time. That is not a knock on the Levantes in any way. I would choose the XX over most if not all other series including other MB rods. They just fit how I like to fish. The Levantes are their own series. They do feel slightly different than the XX rods as they should. I do not look at them as a step down in any way.Fact is they are gonna turn a lot of heads at their price point and if not for the XX series I would probably fish with the exclusively. They are that good to me. They were designed to get people into the MB brand and as I stated above MB made sure to give them the same attention their high end rods get. These are not a bottom tier series or something rushed to market. The fact that they literally have a model for any presentation and the built in versatility they give you make them a pretty strong entry into their price point. They far exceeded what I was expecting.
I will post more experience with them as well as the other models but hopefully this answers some of the questions that are out there. I did not get anything over 4lbs yet on them but they were a true pleasure to fish with and will have a place in my boat no doubt.
The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately.