2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

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The Pond King
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2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by The Pond King » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:35 pm

Hi all,

I've been researching heavily online for the new Kistler 2019 Z Bone rod. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much recent information out there. It also seems like there are way more G. Loomis owners then there are people who own Kistlers, so the information on these rods are much more scarce than there are for G. Loomis rods. Moreover, the information that's out there is old information on the previous generations of Z Bones. 

From what I’ve found in my research, it seems like Kistler has left a bad taste in a lot customers and even retailers mouths because they didn’t honor the warranty and a lot of rods were breaking. I think it makes sense because they are sourcing the blanks from North Fork Composites, and I’ve heard horror stories of their customer service. I’ve also heard the newer rods don’t have much of a breakage issue though I cannot verify if this is true. These days, the warranty issue doesn’t matter that much too me anymore since I have not broken that many rods - especially on a fish. With care, rods can last a lifetime.

Anyways, the Z Bone has piqued my interest since it came out, but I've been even more interested since purchasing a Kistler 2019 Helium 3 7' 10" Heavy power Moderate action rod last week. It came in the mail a couple days ago, and I'm quite impressed with the Helium 3. It's a tad tip heavy, but for a rod of its length it's really not that bad. The sensitivity is great. It's not as good as my GLX 844c (the newer 2016 one), but for the $219 I got it on sale for, it beats any rod I've bought in that price range by far. 

I’m now interested in purchasing a Kistler 2019 Z Bone. However, I’m curious how this rod would compare to Shimano-G. Loomis Conquest. Does anyone own both? And if so, could you give a comparison of which blank is more sensitive?

Ultimately, I care about the sensitivity as the number one factor in purchasing a high-end rod. However, I’m also interested in hearing about other characteristics like balance, ergonomics, whether it’s light weight, build quality are all important to me as well. Durability isn’t the most important feature I’m looking for in a high-end rod, but at the same time, I don’t want my rod to shatter.

So could anyone chime in on other characteristics as well such as the balance, ergonomics, weight, build quality (cork, threading, guides, etc.) and how these rods fare against each other?

Thanks,
The Pond King

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by TommyG » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:48 am

I have the 7-6 LE-5 Z-Bone and the CNQ 904. Both are great rods. They are neck and neck as far as sensitivity. With the Z-Bone being on sale, you can't go wrong.

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by goldrod » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:10 am

Z bone owner
Tried one. Not impressed
Seems they kept the Z and gave me the bone
I prefer the H3 of the same specs.
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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by poisonokie » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:53 am

goldrod wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:10 am
Z bone owner
Tried one. Not impressed
Seems they kept the Z and gave me the bone
I prefer the H3 of the same specs.
:lol:
Still waters run deep.

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by cndbasshunter » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:57 am

i used to have 4 zbone. would be hard to fork over that big cash for a kistler now..... customer service was such a pita

even the local dealer dropped them.

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by Polkfish1 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:04 pm

I also have the same two rods as TommyG. They have such different tapers and fulfill such different roles in my hands that it’s hard to compare them for me sensitivity wise; but both are top notch in the department. The heavier feeling z bone is a flat out broomstick in my opinion, but that’s the position I need it to play in this case. The MOD taper of the Zbone is great when I’m punching the thick stuff. The conquest has that lovely mag bass taper when you need it. I bought the conquest used and have fished it hard. I swear that if I gave the cork a good soap wash it would look near minty. I bought the zbone around the same time new. Has had same game time; I’ve had to glue the handle that came loose back into place on the zbone; and cork has turned into hell despite sealing. Looks and feels kind of like petrified dung. The guide alignment on the zbone from the factory was so crooked, it made be chuckle. Still have enjoyed the rod tremendously and pick it up nearly every time I go out.

*my zbone is the latest iteration

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by The Pond King » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:36 pm

TommyG wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:48 am
I have the 7-6 LE-5 Z-Bone and the CNQ 904. Both are great rods. They are neck and neck as far as sensitivity. With the Z-Bone being on sale, you can't go wrong.
Very good information. Thank you, TommyG!
goldrod wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:10 am
Z bone owner
Tried one. Not impressed
Seems they kept the Z and gave me the bone
I prefer the H3 of the same specs.
Wow. Really?? What did you not like about it?
cndbasshunter wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:57 am
i used to have 4 zbone. would be hard to fork over that big cash for a kistler now..... customer service was such a pita

even the local dealer dropped them.
That's terrible to hear. It sucks to know that Kistler doesn't have great customer service. It's always a pain when something goes wrong. I haven't broken that many rods, but it does happen. And no matter how high end of a rod, defects can still happen too. It would have been nice to have the peace of mind that you'll be covered in case anything happens when purchasing a Kistler, but guess that the risk you gotta take.

Polkfish1 wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:04 pm
I also have the same two rods as TommyG. They have such different tapers and fulfill such different roles in my hands that it’s hard to compare them for me sensitivity wise; but both are top notch in the department. The heavier feeling z bone is a flat out broomstick in my opinion, but that’s the position I need it to play in this case. The MOD taper of the Zbone is great when I’m punching the thick stuff. The conquest has that lovely mag bass taper when you need it. I bought the conquest used and have fished it hard. I swear that if I gave the cork a good soap wash it would look near minty. I bought the zbone around the same time new. Has had same game time; I’ve had to glue the handle that came loose back into place on the zbone; and cork has turned into hell despite sealing. Looks and feels kind of like petrified dung. The guide alignment on the zbone from the factory was so crooked, it made be chuckle. Still have enjoyed the rod tremendously and pick it up nearly every time I go out.

*my zbone is the latest iteration
With how you described the actions, power, taper, and the different purposes of each rod, now I gotta own both!

But on the part where you got a defective Z Bone, that really sucks. I got the HE3, and the cork on that rods really sucks. Just full of filler. I seen much cheaper rods with better cork than that. I was hoping the Z Bone would have high end cork. They advertise saying they have Portuguese grade A cork, but I guess that's all marketing. It's a shame. I would appreciate having the nice little details such as good quality cork. I expect excellent craftmenship from high end rods, and it sucks to hear that the new Z Bone which retails for $500+ uses low grade cork. And it's not even a full handle of cork. It's freakin split grip where not as much cork is being used. I'm also sorry to hear that your Z Bone was defected. Did you try warrantying it or did you just decide to live with it?

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by cndbasshunter » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:42 am

The Pond King wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:36 pm
TommyG wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:48 am
I have the 7-6 LE-5 Z-Bone and the CNQ 904. Both are great rods. They are neck and neck as far as sensitivity. With the Z-Bone being on sale, you can't go wrong.
Very good information. Thank you, TommyG!
goldrod wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:10 am
Z bone owner
Tried one. Not impressed
Seems they kept the Z and gave me the bone
I prefer the H3 of the same specs.
Wow. Really?? What did you not like about it?
cndbasshunter wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:57 am
i used to have 4 zbone. would be hard to fork over that big cash for a kistler now..... customer service was such a pita

even the local dealer dropped them.
That's terrible to hear. It sucks to know that Kistler doesn't have great customer service. It's always a pain when something goes wrong. I haven't broken that many rods, but it does happen. And no matter how high end of a rod, defects can still happen too. It would have been nice to have the peace of mind that you'll be covered in case anything happens when purchasing a Kistler, but guess that the risk you gotta take.

Polkfish1 wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:04 pm
I also have the same two rods as TommyG. They have such different tapers and fulfill such different roles in my hands that it’s hard to compare them for me sensitivity wise; but both are top notch in the department. The heavier feeling z bone is a flat out broomstick in my opinion, but that’s the position I need it to play in this case. The MOD taper of the Zbone is great when I’m punching the thick stuff. The conquest has that lovely mag bass taper when you need it. I bought the conquest used and have fished it hard. I swear that if I gave the cork a good soap wash it would look near minty. I bought the zbone around the same time new. Has had same game time; I’ve had to glue the handle that came loose back into place on the zbone; and cork has turned into hell despite sealing. Looks and feels kind of like petrified dung. The guide alignment on the zbone from the factory was so crooked, it made be chuckle. Still have enjoyed the rod tremendously and pick it up nearly every time I go out.

*my zbone is the latest iteration
With how you described the actions, power, taper, and the different purposes of each rod, now I gotta own both!

But on the part where you got a defective Z Bone, that really sucks. I got the HE3, and the cork on that rods really sucks. Just full of filler. I seen much cheaper rods with better cork than that. I was hoping the Z Bone would have high end cork. They advertise saying they have Portuguese grade A cork, but I guess that's all marketing. It's a shame. I would appreciate having the nice little details such as good quality cork. I expect excellent craftmenship from high end rods, and it sucks to hear that the new Z Bone which retails for $500+ uses low grade cork. And it's not even a full handle of cork. It's freakin split grip where not as much cork is being used. I'm also sorry to hear that your Z Bone was defected. Did you try warrantying it or did you just decide to live with it?
Yes its frustrating as the dealer sent in 20 rods in and only 1/4 got replaces the problem is the 3/4 that were not replaced they gave no explanation to why they were refused and a bunch of bs came afterwards. hard to explain to customers that dropped big money on zbone.

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by Polkfish1 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:17 am

The Pond King wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:36 pm
TommyG wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:48 am
I have the 7-6 LE-5 Z-Bone and the CNQ 904. Both are great rods. They are neck and neck as far as sensitivity. With the Z-Bone being on sale, you can't go wrong.
Very good information. Thank you, TommyG!
goldrod wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:10 am
Z bone owner
Tried one. Not impressed
Seems they kept the Z and gave me the bone
I prefer the H3 of the same specs.
Wow. Really?? What did you not like about it?
cndbasshunter wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:57 am
i used to have 4 zbone. would be hard to fork over that big cash for a kistler now..... customer service was such a pita

even the local dealer dropped them.
That's terrible to hear. It sucks to know that Kistler doesn't have great customer service. It's always a pain when something goes wrong. I haven't broken that many rods, but it does happen. And no matter how high end of a rod, defects can still happen too. It would have been nice to have the peace of mind that you'll be covered in case anything happens when purchasing a Kistler, but guess that the risk you gotta take.

Polkfish1 wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:04 pm
I also have the same two rods as TommyG. They have such different tapers and fulfill such different roles in my hands that it’s hard to compare them for me sensitivity wise; but both are top notch in the department. The heavier feeling z bone is a flat out broomstick in my opinion, but that’s the position I need it to play in this case. The MOD taper of the Zbone is great when I’m punching the thick stuff. The conquest has that lovely mag bass taper when you need it. I bought the conquest used and have fished it hard. I swear that if I gave the cork a good soap wash it would look near minty. I bought the zbone around the same time new. Has had same game time; I’ve had to glue the handle that came loose back into place on the zbone; and cork has turned into hell despite sealing. Looks and feels kind of like petrified dung. The guide alignment on the zbone from the factory was so crooked, it made be chuckle. Still have enjoyed the rod tremendously and pick it up nearly every time I go out.

*my zbone is the latest iteration
With how you described the actions, power, taper, and the different purposes of each rod, now I gotta own both!

But on the part where you got a defective Z Bone, that really sucks. I got the HE3, and the cork on that rods really sucks. Just full of filler. I seen much cheaper rods with better cork than that. I was hoping the Z Bone would have high end cork. They advertise saying they have Portuguese grade A cork, but I guess that's all marketing. It's a shame. I would appreciate having the nice little details such as good quality cork. I expect excellent craftmenship from high end rods, and it sucks to hear that the new Z Bone which retails for $500+ uses low grade cork. And it's not even a full handle of cork. It's freakin split grip where not as much cork is being used. I'm also sorry to hear that your Z Bone was defected. Did you try warrantying it or did you just decide to live with it?

No; I did not try to warranty it. Did not feel it was worth the trouble and felt like I could fix it. Also, I figured it could be considered part of normal use. After trying a couple glues, the handle is stuck to the blank and cork in solid fashion now. She ain’t purdy and I’d probably have trouble giving it away; but fishes great nonetheless. I have other rods to look pretty :big grin:

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by DavidSA » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:22 am

somehow my detailed post got dropped when I went to preview so I give up.

short answer- 2019 zbone is very good on sensitivity. might be better then NRX which by most accounts better then conquest. However the balance of the rod is not perfect and specs not as posted on Kistler website.

I've kept my 7'10 rod simply because the rod appears very sensitive and action is great. I won't know until November if it eclipses the NRX 894 or 893 but it has legit chance.

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by Revofisher » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:35 am

The z bone 2019 in my hands depending on the rod model in this case the 4 power z bone mh vs conquest 903 for example sensitivity goes slightly to the z bone for me. Now that being said i like the conquest better. it just seems more solid on hook sets and i like the taper better on the conquest rods personally, but they are both great sticks. the z bone 5 power vs say a nrx 894 i almost felt the nrx was a tad more sensitive but not by much. For jig fishing on the bottom with casting jigs i had to go with the 894 which to me is still one of my favorite jig rods for that purpose. the z bone was very powerful and the taper was better suited for using braid around weeds. both are phenomenal but that power jump from the 4 z bone to the 5 z bone is a big leap. Honestly as far as fishing performance goes you cant go wrong with either rod series but i will give the edge ever so slightly to the conquest based on the cork quality of the z bone even when you u 40 it the cork will get nasty pretty quick if that matters to you in a rod. as far as balance goes they share the same deal as the 7' models balance pretty good as in close to the real seat and the longer rods get a tad tip heavy. on the 7'3 5 power z bone i had a daiwa sv 103 and a bantam on the rod and it still balanced a few inches above the real seat. i wish they would do a 4.5 power in a fast action for the z bone i would think that would be the best match up for the nrx 894, or conquest 904.

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by DavidSA » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:49 pm

You got me excited. I’m hoping the 5 power Zbone has more power then my 894

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by Polkfish1 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:03 pm

DavidSA wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:49 pm
You got me excited. I’m hoping the 5 power Zbone has more power then my 894
I think you’ll find exactly that. I’ve found no job “too big” for this rod bass fishing in the most choked out lakes you can imagine in FL. I think the new 5 zbone hands down has more power than conquest 904 and several here have stated they felt 904 had more than nrx 894.

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by The Pond King » Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:22 am

So check this out guys:

1. Here's a pic of the Kistler Helium 3's cork, a rod that retails for $300, compared to a Daiwa DX combo (I bought the combo for $20.. it's a good channel catfish rod lol). Can you believe the cork on the Helium 3 is of the same quality cork as a $10 rod?! It's unacceptable:

Image

2. Here's a picture of the Kistler Helium 3 compared to a St. Croix Avid which is a much cheaper rod, but it has a superior cork handle. Although I think the regular, original Avid - not the Avid X - is a heavy blank and not that sensitive, the build quality is top notch:

Image

3. Here's a picture of the Kistler Helium 3 compared to a G. Loomis GLX 844c. I think the GLX has the nicest cork, but the Avid is right up there. They're both grade A cork. I also have Legend Elite rods, and as far as I can tell, it's about the same cork as the Avid.

Image

All of the rods above have been sealed with U40. I U40'd the hella out of the Kistler. I gave it four coats of U40. I know that they recommend to only give one light coat of U40 in the instructions, but at the very least, I always like to do two coats. A tip a got from my uncle who used to paint and also fishes. With a cheapo cork like the ones on Kistlers, I gave it a 4 coats, and it came out well. It made the spongey feeling cheap cork feel go away, and it's much more hardened now and feels rock solid, and doesn't really feel all that plastic-y either. I'm still flabbergasted how a $300 rod has the same cork that a $10 rod has, and if all the accounts here are true, the Z Bones also use the same cheap cork. What's misleading is that I've seen advertising videos on my Facebook feed, where they drill a cork handle and dust poofs out, and they say use they use premium Portuguese cork; I tried looking for this video on YouTube, but it's nowhere to be found. Why market that your rods use premium cork when they don't? That's kind of misleading and false advertising. And again, since they're split grips, there's not much cork is being used. Hell, even the foregrip and butt is foam. I don't want to sound like I'm griping or being nitpicky, but c'mon Trey, why'd you go cheapskate on the cork?? Don't get me wrong, the rest of the rod is nice especially the blank, and the build quality on the rest of the rod is good i.e. the threading, but details like the cork matter to me especially when I'm paying a higher price for it.

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Re: 2019 Z Bone vs. Conquest

Post by DavidSA » Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:47 am

Do you fish a lot?

I’m out of town but my he3 cork looks better then yours and I’m pleased with my 17 Zbone. I’m traveling now or I would post photos

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