Is your rod suit­able?

Is your en­gine ready for bet­ter cast­ing?

Sea Angler (UK) - - CONTENTS -

THE ma­jor­ity of cast­ing ques­tions I re­ceive con­cern rods. What should I buy to cast fur­ther? Are long rods bet­ter than short rods? What do you think of the rod that (name of fa­mous caster) used to do 300 yards last month? Should I get a rod off the shelf, or have it cus­tom built?

Al­most al­ways the ques­tions fo­cus on cast­ing fur­ther. I of­ten won­der whether some peo­ple con­sider the fish­ing at all. For a bet­ter view of what we’re try­ing to achieve, it’s wise to go right back to the guts of the whole is­sue. Great cast­ing, whether to catch fish or win tour­na­ments, is about skill and phys­i­cal ef­fort, not about who can af­ford to spend the most money on car­bon fi­bre and revved-up reels.

All this stuff about pow­er­ful rods, for ex­am­ple, is pure tripe dished up by re­view­ers and rod-mak­ers. Rods don’t have any power of their own. They can store en­ergy but they have no means of pro­duc­ing it. To throw a baited rig a de­cent dis­tance, we have to pro­vide the nec­es­sary horse­power. We are the en­gine.

The power we pro­duce and the way it flows de­ter­mines the type of rod we can use, the style that suits us, and, to some ex­tent, how much lead weight we can hang on the end.

Rods can be stiff and long, though; the tragedy of mod­ern beach fish­ing is that far too many of them are. I might be get­ting on a bit, but my cast­ing en­gine is still a long way above av­er­age. Yet half the rods in the typ­i­cal dealer’s racks are be­yond my phys­i­cal abil­ity to wring out any­thing like a de­cent per­for­mance.


If rods were cars, I’d be try­ing to use my en­gine to pro­pel a For­mula One racer. Hav­ing a nat­u­rally quite pow­er­ful but fairly slow power flow, I am much bet­ter suited to the rod equiv­a­lent of a 4x4 pick-up: about 13ft long, medium-fast ac­tion and gutsy enough to fish at around 150 yards.

When an an­gler knows the ca­pac­ity of his cast­ing en­gine and how the power curve de­vel­ops when he floors the throt­tle, then he can sort through a pile of rods and eas­ily pick out a short­list of suit­able can­di­dates. He usu­ally knows what suits him, and, even if he is un­sure, one or two test casts will re­veal the truth. Above all, he is im­mune to mar­ket­ing hype and in­ter­net fo­rum opin­ions.

As I have said count­less times over the years, good cast­ing is about ba­sics, and solid ba­sics make a great en­gine. Learn to cast us­ing a bread-and-but­ter rod that you can bend into its proper work­ing curve. In the early days, it doesn’t mat­ter if the rod is a lit­tle on the soft side.

Find the style or styles that suit your physique and the fish­ing you do, and prac­tice. Then take your tuned en­gine into the tackle shop and find a rod to match.

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