This Mega Surfcasting Rod is Designed for Casting Heavy Sinkers
Part 1 – Surfcasting Rod Initial Testing
All fishing rods, surfcasting rods especially, are designed and built as a compromise between many factors. Among these being lightness; casting ability; fish fighting ability; toughness; the reel to be used, and cost.
The most important attribute for a surfcasting rod is, in my view, it’s qualities as a casting instrument. I regard this factor as ﬁrst and foremost in my thinking, with the other considerations a distant second. The greater the ability of a rod for making very long distance casts, the more I like it.
I have long wanted to build a really powerful surf rod. One that would toss a heavy sinker and baited hooks far out towards the horizon. A heavier sinker is essential when sea conditions are rough, with a heavy swell and, or, sideways rip. However one of the biggest hurdles has been to secure a good quality surf rod blank that is sufficiently stiff in the butt section to enable up to 9 oz to be cast without the danger of the rod snapping. I also prefer a surf rod to be good and long, somewhere between 15 and 16 feet.
After some research, I was able to take delivery of a real “beast” of a surf rod blank. The 13′ two piece graphite surf rod blank, that had arrived by special order from Kilwell Sports in Rotorua, was everything I had hoped for. I had never seen anything remotely like it before. My most powerful surf rod was an Australian made Titan Series Snyder/Glas S 153 8 Wrap designed to cast up to 180 gms (about 6.5 oz).
This thing that had arrived from Kilwell Sports made the Titan feel like a “wet noodle” in comparison. The Kilwell graphite rod blank is simply called a 9oz blank. It is apparently was not sold in New Zealand. Instead only being sold for export, mostly to the Hawaiian Islands. The huge ocean surf in that part of the world being, presumably, the conditions the rod is most suited for.
Before we go any further I’d like to point out that the main purpose of such a powerful surf rod to enable the angler to continue to fish in what would otherwise be marginal conditions. To get out over the crashing breakers, and to keep your line in place in a heavy swell requires a good deal of sinker weight. Somewhere in the region of 8 or 9 ounces is sometimes necessary to prevent your sinker from being washed around onto the beach. To cast this sort of weight you need a very strong rod with good length.
I must admit to being a little awe-struck and uncertain as to what it would be like to cast with. After all the tip section looked to have very thick walls, and be beefier than the average 24 kg ocean trolling rod!
The butt section appeared to have about as much bend in it as a 7-foot section of concrete telegraph pole! The weight also was a bit of a surprise. It meant that the finished rod was going to weigh in around 3 lbs or 1.6 kg. This is before you add on the weight of your reel, sinker and bait! I could see, that if nothing else, it was going to take a bit of muscle to operate effectively. Just how it would perform as a casting tool was the subject of some conjecture and discussion. There was only one way to find out how it would perform: tape on a set of guides and head down to the beach.
Initial Testing of the Surfcasting Rod Blank Setup
I wanted this surfcasting rod to be at least 15 feet long so decided the way to go was to extend the butt with the addition of a length of aluminium tube. For testing purposes I used some odd lengths of old fibreglass surf rod pushed together to create the necessary extra couple of feet.
I taped the line guides in place with insulation tape. I also secured the extension with plastic tape to prevent it coming apart while doing a test. Finally, I glued the tip in place with Araldite.
On arrival at the Birdlings Flat, I assembled the rod, and connected my Alvey 650c reel, tied on a 170g (6 oz) sinker, and approached the first cast with some trepidation. To my surprise, the rod worked extremely well and cast the sinker as far as I have ever cast this weight before. A couple of dozen casts later and I was sold on Killwell’s 9oz graphite blank. This thing really works.
A word of warning about the weight; for anyone contemplating building their own. This is a heavy outﬁt to fish with. It takes a reasonable amount of strength to operate. This minor drawback is much less of a problem when surfcasting because most of your time is spent with the rod in your beach spike. The beauty of it is that extremely long casts are possible with heavy surfcasting sinkers; more with a lobbing action than with a ﬂick as you might with a lighter setup.
My verdict: all things considered, if you want a top of the line distance casting surf rod and don’t mind the extra weight, you won’t find a better rod than this. However, it is important to note that this huge rod isn’t what I would describe as an “every day” surf rod. Even if you were to build the rod for use with a large fixed spool reel (egg-beater) it would still be a very heavy outfit that would require a lot of extra effort when casting and retrieving. In calm conditions, this sort of heavy firepower just isn’t necessary.
Continued in part 2 – Putting the Mega Surfcasting Rod Together (coming soon).