IF YOU’RE after a dependable all-rounder, there are some good blanks on the market that make reliable rods. With the winter offshore season on its way, I’m going to show you how to build one of the more popular 15kg offshore rods used in this neck of the woods for chasing reef fish, particularly snapper. When you put all the bits and pieces together you’ll end up with a quality all-rounder very different from the common production models in the tackle shops.
The M10 rod was made popular in the early 1990s by a very good local snapper fisherman, John Palermo. John had a regular segment on a TV show up here, and he also held courses. He had the skill of pulling big snapper just about anywhere, anytime, so whatever tackle he used was the thing to be using.
The Snyderglas M10 is 7’ long and is rated to 15kg. It has a steady taper and doesn’t really come across as being anything particularly special, except for one thing: it’s an extremely durable and reliable blank.
M10s are just as at home pulling small fish as they are pulling big snapper and kingfish, and you can even load up with 50lb-plus braid and target those fishy thugs that pull like there’s no tomorrow.
We build up all sorts of rods for all sorts of applications, including rods for charter boats. If any sort of fishing is hard on gear it’s charter boat fishing. The anglers are hard on the gear, maintenance is minimal and the rods are constantly in a saltwater environment. When rods consistently hold up to this sort of punishment they’re certainly worthy of mention.
Over the last 10 years we’ve built a dozen or so M10 rods for the charter boat Tasman Venture in Alvey and overhead configuration. I’ve fished around Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliott Island on this boat a few times, and seeing the tackle at various stages over the years has allowed me to see what holds out, what wears and what areas are affected by travel and storage.
You first have to understand that the rod has to be a pretty heavy-duty rig used with the likes of a Shimano TLD25 or a Penn 6/0 Senator, with lines anywhere from 30lb to 60lb line – well above what the rod is rated to and not what we really recommend! 30lb fishes well.
Starting at the butt end, use a FUJI BCGC 25G graphite gimbal. This bigger size gimbal works well in the rod buckets and, being a larger diameter, it also meets well to the larger rear grip.
A rear tapered 10"x3/4" game grip suits most anglers, although some prefer it a little shorter depending on fishing style. Combined with the gimbal fitting, the complete butt section measures 36cm overall. This also allows the rod to sit in the rod holders of the boat with clearance for the reel and the handle, which means it won’t hit on the gunwales.
As far as the winch goes, the heavy duty FUJI winches wear very well – even on the charter boat, where the reels are rarely taken off the rod. Because the winches are graphite there is no corrosion between the stainless steel foot of the reel and the body of the winch fitting. Likewise, the thread doesn’t corrode and you can always undo them.
Because most of the larger reels have the bracket included, to secure the reel to the rod, you don’t need to be The Hulk and tighten the threaded hood as far as possible. So long as you do this up firmly you shouldn’t have a problem with the reel being loose or the thread coming loose.
Once you do attach the reel clamp and secure that, the rod will be firmly secured. When placing the winch onto the rod, make sure that you use packing evenly under the winch, ensuring that there is the support of packing where the reel clamp will go.
A good load of 24-hour Araldite over all the packing and the spaces in between will see that winch solidly attached to the blank, with no movement. It’s there for the long run. A few of the early rods we did on the charter boat have seen the reels wear out with the rods still going strong.
Onto the foregrip. Because as you intend to hook up onto some good fish there are going to be a few long battles, so you want a grip where you can stretch out both arms and hang onto the foregrip. For most anglers, 14" will be adequate and comfortable for this. Like the rest of the rod, a good coating of glue where the grip will rest will ensure that it stays fixed during these battles.
The parts that cop the biggest flogging on these rods are the guides. In the case of the charter boats, it’s the storage of the rods that does the most damage; a lot of the time the rods are stored overhead so there are a couple of runners that end up taking the load of the rod. The guides also suffer damage when the rod is dropped on the deck or bashed against something.
A few years back FUJI introduced the BHNOG and the BHNLG guides, and they have proved to be superb. The slightly wider shape on the foot sits well on the rod, yet the rest of the profile on the guide is not as big nor cumbersome as their bigger brother, the BLRLG. In fact, in many situations these smaller guides are a better choice. The shape of the frame is very strong and I’ve yet to see one bend back or fold, when often happens in rod storage. I’m surprised that we don’t see more of these about as they’ll easily handle lines of 15kg plus.
These guides really come into their own on the top third of the rod, where they don’t restrict the action or make the tip too tip heavy like the BLRLG guides do. The two-guide style makes a great combination, and this is what we use on the M10. The BHNLG guides are used over most of the guide positions, with the heavier BLRLG guide used on the bottom two positions.
I generally don’t use a silicon tip on reef rods (except on my own), as these tips need a little more care taken with them. The new HNST silicon tip with the new frame is the best choice if you want a silicon tip. For everyday use I recommend that you stick with the BULT tip. It’s a good, reliable tip and is readily available.
Having made your M10 rod you’ll find that you’ll never leave home without it. I’m sure it will account for many good fish for you over the years.
Snyderglas - M10
Butt - 10" x 3/4" shaped game grip.
Gimbal -FUJI BCGC25G
Winch -FUJI FPSH 24 (fixed hood up)
Foregrip - 14" x 1/2" shaped game grip
Tip -FUJI BULT 10/4.0
Guides -FUJI BHNLG 10 - 90mm; 10-100; 10-106; 12-125; 12-140; 16-160
BLRLG 16-205; 20-260