If you’d have asked me to build a snapper rod ten or five years ago there’s a fair chance we would have used a Snyder M10, a Sabre 670 or for the more refined, a Calstar Grafighter. These are all good, reliable rods and suitable for fishing lines of up to 24kg for the likes of snapper and other offshore reef fish.
There was a time in SEQ when if you were not fishing with an M10, a 114 Penn Senator and 50lb line you were on the outer! Well, not quite but you get my drift. All of these outfits were tough fishing tools that wouldn’t let you down. When compared to what is used these days and they are quite heavy and cumbersome, especially when you move over to the soft plastics.
Who would have though that you’d be catching 6kg+ snapper from Moreton Bay on a regular basis? Not to mention the number of smaller fish to a few kilos that are being caught around the bay islands and the Brisbane River.
The water in these areas is nowhere near the 100m depths of the offshore outfits we mentioned early, but some anglers’ fish plastics in 40m on the inshore reefs with a fairly high success rate. If you move further north into TNQ, there’s a whole host of toothy critters and reef species that have no problem with hammering soft plastics. We supply quite a few rods to fishing guides and the fish that these guys are nailing on soft plastic lures would astound you.
The rods used for chasing good strong fish over reef country will also surprise you. They’re like bream spin rods that have a few more muscles than an offshore reef rod.
There are a number of different rods and blanks that can be used to make up a plastics rod. You just change the model depending on whether you are chasing bream or snapper.
One blank manufacturer that makes a great range of spin/jig rods are the USA based company, Shikari. We’ve been using these blanks for 10 years now and whilst they aren’t a big name brand, they do make a lot of blanks for other companies sold under various labels.
The blank we’ll be looking at for this snapper plastics rod is their ISB 703. There are four blanks in the 7’ range, 701 being the lightest and 704 the heaviest. The 703 we are using here is ideal for lines up to 20lb braid. Most anglers fishing here will be use between 12-15lb braid. There is not much point talking about mono here as 99% of anglers will fish with braid.
Braid, like any other blank that has a thin diameter, has very little stretch and is not kind on gear if you lock up hard and use the tip section to fight the fish. If you high stick the rod on a good fish you might not be too happy with the outcome.
These blanks are designed to have a light sensitive tip to work the jigs, but enough power below to turn and fight the fish.
The Shikari ISB 703 is ideal for work 1/2oz jig heads. At a pinch you could go up to 1oz if you really had to.
The guys from TT Lures, manufacturers of the tournament jig heads, have a couple of Shikari rods in their range. Dan Stead nailed a good 7kg snapper on his 703 in the bay.
Often when out in the bay while tracking down a few snapper you’ll come across a school of mackerel or tuna and the same rod can be used to cast a few slugs.
The rod isn’t a dedicated casting rod for pelagics but if they are around, you’ll have no troubles casting slugs to 20g and, at a pinch, 30g. If you’ve got your reel loaded up with braid, as you would have if you were chasing snapper, you can cast a country mile on small 10g slugs that are often hard to cast any distance on your standard Moreton Bay spin stick.
The blanks are made using what Shikari calls their SH III graphite. With 42 million modules graphite used it’s an intermediate graphite that offers a reasonable amount of stiffness and durability. It does not go over the top with high-end graphites, but has enough power so that it gives a good response over the slower, soggier, low-end graphites.
There’s a number of different ways that the rod can be built up. The idea though is to keep it as light as possible and not overburden the tip with big bulky guides or a heap of binding.
The Fuji Alconites BLAG and BYAG are a good combination of the available single foot guides. If you want to spend a few more dollars then you could step up to the same style of guide but use the titanium frames with the silicon rings.
On the butt end of the stick, there are some good combinations of grips and reel seats available. It’s just up to the individual to decide how much they want to spend. Cork grips keep the weight down and keep some feel, so you can shape to whatever pattern you like.
Usually a butt length of 7-8” is good for a hand and a half when casting. Most of the time you’ll just be pitching and dropping the jigs down but for those times when you need to get a bit of a cast in, that little extra length on the butt is nice to have.
In the Fuji range you can make a nice butt up using their SKD winch set up, or better still, and more up to speed with the market trends, use the IPS assembly. This style means the reel seat fits back into the cork butt and you can have the cork foregrip that screws down and acts as the front hood on the reel seat. They are light and comfortable but are only available in a size 16.
For those that aren’t into rod building, this rod is a standard model of ours available from a number of retailers. Some will have them in stock, while others will order one in for you.
If you are after a blank look up our web site www.australianrodmanufacturers.com.au and we can look after you.
Blank: Shikari ISB 703
Butt: 7” cork
Winch either: Fuji DPSM 17/SKD 17 or IPS 16
Foregrip: 3” cork
Tip: Fuji BFAT 7/2.4
Guides: Fuji BLAG 7 at 100mm; 7 at 125mm; 7 at 135mm; BYAG 8 at 160mm; 10 at 180mm; 16 at 270mm; 25 at 340mm