It’s an interesting thing to stand back and watch other anglers fish, and especially the casting part - we all do things slightly differently, some do it better than others, and I do wonder sometimes if an angler’s rod might actually be working against them a bit. How many anglers can’t help but be drawn to the fastest lure rod on the shelf because it feels so precise and steely and “manly”, but how many of these anglers are going to be able to get the most out of the fastest rods? You see it with fly anglers as well……….
I can’t get enough of this “budget” HTO Nebula M 9’ 7-35g lure rod (review here, and back in the UK in Jan 2018 I believe) - rated Ex(tra) Fast - but without a doubt you need to be on it to get the best out of it casting wise. I love the feeling of precision this particular rod gives me, but for the rod to really feel like it’s singing for me, I need to do things right - and because the rod is so fast there is very little margin for error. If my timing is slightly off then it bites back at me and my distance suffers. I like to think I can cast ok, and I can really feel it when I’ve got this 9’ Nebula working well - but I can also feel it when I am not casting at my best.
And then you’ve got a similar rated lure rod like the outstanding Tailwalk Saltyshape Dash Seabass 90ML 9’ 7-28g that I reviewed earlier in the year here. Because the Nebula is a smidgen faster than the gorgeous Tailwalk Saltyshape rod, does this then make it better? Nope, of course not, and it would be interesting to stand back and watch a bunch of anglers casting both rods and see which kind of rod action was working better for each person.
I used to see this all the time with bait fishing - plenty of anglers who weren’t coming close to getting much out of their hugely powerful beachcasters because their casting style simply wasn’t up to it, and it’s interesting to read about these longer, easier to load, continental style shore rods gaining in popularity. Granted, it doesn’t matter much for short range rough ground fishing where you need to drag fish out, but as with lure fishing, I wonder how many anglers had gone for those big, powerful rods because they felt so “manly” when you picked them up? I sure as hell did many moons ago (Conoflex Highlander anyone?), but then I did actually go away and learn how to properly bend them if I needed to.
And of course it then depends on what size and weight of lures you are fishing with. The last couple of times I have fished the Cape Cod Canal for striped bass I have used a Major Craft X-Ride Shore Jigging rod that’s rated 20-60g - the 10’ long WRS 1002MH, rated Regular. Now this thing is an animal of a rod! I took it with me because it’s what I have here that I thought would be best suited to Canal fishing, and yes, I have cast way over the 60g recommended top end without any hassle at all. This rod may be rated Regular, but holy cow it take some bending, to the point that after a few hours of blasting big surface lures out there my shoulders are about ready to fall off. I understand why a rod like this is required for shore jigging in deep water for big fish, but for out and out distance casting, and rod this fast I feel works ends up working against me.
I had a go with the rod that Bull is using above (12’ long Shimano US Tiralejo surf rod, rated to cast 2-6oz, as per here), and whilst it’s got oodles of power for getting lures out there and horsing big fish in through a rip of current, holy cow it’s so much easier to wind up on the casting front. OK, so it’s longer than the X-Ride rod I was using, plus it’s rated to cast heavier lures, but its action to me is more efficient for getting lures out a long way. Ex Fast, Fast, Medium Fast, Medium etc. - what do you prefer and why? I know that some anglers delight in spouting off about the best rod lengths, actions and casting weights, but we are all different and there simply can’t be the one “perfect” fishing rod that is going to work perfectly for every single angler.
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