Fishing rods. I love them and I love where they are going in terms of development, weight and purpose-specific builds.
One rod that I have been giving an absolute hammering to in the last 12 months is the 7’ Berkley Pro Tactic 2-5kg spin stick. This rod fills a niche below my favourite heavier rods, the Ian Miller Beast Buster and Egrell S10, providing me with a rod that can do amazing things.
The Pro Tactic Series of rods were spawned from the modern day angler’s need for better quality fishing equipment, without the need to get a second mortgage. Taking what Berkley learnt from the anglers of Australia, the Australian division of Berkley selected tapers, marginally changed lengths and upgraded the graphite quality to create the foundation of any good rod: the blank!
Using IM8 (47 million modulus) grade graphite the blanks are now lighter, faster and much more responsive and sensitive then their standard IM6 cousins. This graphite upgrade produces faster rod tip speeds for longer, more accurate casting, better hook setting properties, more bite sensitivity and much less casting arm fatigue. Using better quality graphite does have a lot of advantages!
The rod grips have also had an overhaul too with my light stick having an ergonomic design change. Using Fuji IPS winches and custom cork work, these grips are built to feel good and perform well.
Rounding off the grips and winches are Titanium coloured Fuji aluminium butt caps, winch accents and winding checks making these rods look pricier than they are.
One of the best features on these rods is the Fuji Titanium framed, Silicon Carbide ringed guides. These guides are 35-45% lighter than the equivalent size and shape Fuji guides. This weight reduction increases tip speed, rod sensitivity and lowers casting arm fatigue too. The Sic rings are the smoothest guide insert available anywhere in the world today. And probably best of all, the frames are impervious to saltwater which means they wont ever rust! And being that they’re made from Titanium they have great shape retention which means fewer guide breakages for knuckle heads like me!
The Pro Tactic rods are finished off with three colour binds and metallic copper blank coloration; all in all a snazzy looking creature that has some serious runs on the board.
My first experience with these rods was in Weipa fishing with one of the rod’s co-designers Adam Royter. We were fishing with Josh Lyon from Dave Donald Sportfishing and Dirk Wendt. It was an amazing week of serious fishing and serious rod testing. I must admit to having a bit of a giggle at Adam when he lobbed up with the light stick for reef bashing, but he put me right back in my place with a string of ridiculous captures highlighted by a 70lb GT caught on a 7” Gulp Jerkshad on 10lb line.
That week the rod caught over 100 fish including barra, mackerel, five different trevallies, fingermark, cod, black jew and other reef ooglies that we had no idea what they were.
As soon as I got home and the rods were released to the market I got one with the intention of matching it to a TD Sol 2500 spooled with 6lb string for snapper, flathead and general shallow water lure fishing.
That rod and reel combo has now caught plenty of fish including some silly captures like a 30lb gold spot estuary cod in Moreton Bay, a 1.13m threadfin salmon in the Brisbane River (estimated about 25lb), countless flathead up to 86cm and plenty of snapper, tailor and bream – all on 6lb Berkley Crystal Fireline.
The real beauty of this stick is that it can fish light for bream, then 10 minutes later fish heavy for big flathead or snapper. I’m not recommending you do this to a rod, but there is a picture here of me loaded up to the 30lb cod and I am holding the spool to try and keep the fish out of the reef. The rod is all bent up and it handled the pressure well – well at least I didn’t break it!
As far as casting goes, the outfit is really comfortable casting 1/4oz to 5/8oz jigheads, and I love casting small surface poppers on it too. The light overall weight of the outfit makes it easy to use for the entire fishing session.
I’d recommend this stick for anyone who wants a really nice off-the-shelf rod that will be able to do a lot of things. In a world where specialisation in products is really taking hold, this rod stands up as an absolute ripper of a lightweight all rounder. You can fish 2kg (4lb) through to 4kg (9lb) through the rod without worrying about breaking it and the rod just has a habit of catching big fish.
If you want to catch bass on plastics or lipless crankbaits, check this rod out. If you want to catch snapper and flathead, it’s well worth a look. If you want to get big fish on and wonder at your own stupidity, yet still land them, this rod has done it for me.
Retailing at around $300, the Berkley Pro Tactic 700, 2-5kg rod is a good choice for many reasons. Check out the entire range at www.purefishing.com.au or your nearest tackle store.Reads: 2807