BET­TER CAST­ING

Ad­vanced glass fi­bre of­fers much for rod mak­ers and will ben­e­fit cast­ing rods too. What’s not to like?

Sea Angler (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Glass fi­bre goes high tech.

Most rods con­tain a cer­tain amount of glass fi­bre, of­ten as a sup­port ma­trix for the car­bon fi­bres that do the work. But some rods use high­per­for­mance glass de­lib­er­ately to en­hance per­for­mance and char­ac­ter­is­tics. This is a very dif­fer­ent ball game.

The Zzi­plex M4GT is a great ex­am­ple of how com­bin­ing the de­sign strengths of glass and car­bon pro­duces an ex­cep­tional fish­ing and cast­ing rod, which would not be pos­si­ble us­ing ei­ther ma­te­rial on its own. Other mak­ers are fol­low­ing suit.

Car­bon fi­bres are in­her­ently stiff and light, per­fect for mak­ing high-per­for­mance tubes, which is all that fish­ing rods are in engi­neer­ing terms. One re­stric­tion is that their de­gree of safe bend­ing is quite lim­ited. Thus fast-ac­tioned blanks with high car­bon-fi­bre con­tent are not the ideal choice if you need live­li­ness at the top end with­out a high risk of snap­ping if bent too far or other­wise over­loaded.

Older car­bon beach rods were meaty at the tip, of­ten nas­tily so, be­cause that was the only way to sur­vive the rigours of cast­ing and fish­ing. Mod­ern ma­te­ri­als are much bet­ter, es­pe­cially on par­a­bolic rods where the cur­va­ture and load are widely spread. But the in­her­ent na­ture of car­bon fi­bres re­mains an is­sue for beach rods. Adding or­di­nary glass makes a tip less prone to snap­ping and prob­a­bly a lit­tle bet­ter for fish­ing, but to ex­tract ex­cel­lent tip per­for­mance yet re­tain car­bon’s ben­e­fits lower down, you need a su­per­glass such as ‘S’ glass.

DOCILE AND VER­SA­TILE

‘S’ glass and its de­riv­a­tives are quick, sen­si­tive and re­silient. Along­side the mun­dane glass nor­mally used in rods, ‘S’ is like a tiger next to a cow. Yet de­spite the high per­for­mance it re­mains docile and ver­sa­tile, adding great re­fine­ment and con­trol to a surf rod.

I first met ‘S’ glass in the 1980s while de­vel­op­ing surf rods for Fen­wick in the United States. The Sur­fStiks made by Fen­wick still head my list of favourite rods. The ma­te­rial is far from new, but was sub­ject to US ex­port re­stric­tions un­til fairly re­cently. Now it’s here and the van­guard of classy rods with glass-rich tips are on sale. Mid­mar­ket rods will fol­low.

What seems not to be picked up on as yet is the de­sign free­dom that ad­vanced glass fi­bre of­fers. Older read­ers may have fond mem­o­ries of the lis­som glass fi­bre Cod Poles and sim­i­lar sporty beach rods, whose only fail­ing was a slight lack of guts and speed. The same rods made in high-tech glass would cure that, and be a won­der­ful ad­di­tion to to­day’s beach ar­moury.

Re­call, too, the semi-car­bon rods that once dom­i­nated fish­ing and dis­tance cast­ing. Made from cheap glass bol­stered by car­bon fi­bre at mid­dle and bot­tom, they cast and fished like a dream ex­cept for be­ing a touch heavy and ‘flat’ feel­ing. The same semi-car­bon for­mat in

‘S’ glass would be light and lively, the per­fect all-round beach rod in many re­spects. ■

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