MUCH of the coast had good rains earlier this year so we should get a good run of fish along the surf beaches over winter and into spring. I’ve just returned from Fraser Island and it was reassuring to see the chopper tailor starting to run. There were also some nice bream about and a surprising number of good flathead being caught in the surf.
In the old days beach anglers used rods of 13-foot plus, but nowadays most use rods that are well under this. The keen tailor and jew specialists still use the long rods, but generally most of the rods are around the 10-foot to 12-foot mark. A lot more families are making their way to the beaches, and the shorter and lighter rods are more versatile and easy to use for the whole family.
For this month’s Rod Builder’s Corner I’ve decided to look at a 12-foot rod that will handle bream, dart and flathead while still being suitable for tailor and retaining some casting power.
The MT 4144 rod is the pick for this. It’s a multi-taper, four wraps and 144 inches or 12-foot long. There are plenty of versions of these from a variety of manufacturers, but my favourite is the Snyder MT 4144. It’s got a nice tip, isn’t overly heavy and will handle all of the beach species I’ve mentioned, as well as a few whiting.
The multi-taper action sees a reasonable diameter butt which gives good hoop strength for lifting and casting without the need for a thick-walled blank.
Having spent most of my holidays on a beach somewhere, I have a fond attachment to Alvey reels. Both the 6-inch and 6.5-inch Alveys balance nicely on this rod, and the new vented models – which are even lighter again – are ideal for children and ladies, who appreciate lighter outfits.
Fishing with an Alvey lends itself for a low mount, and we tend to use a 6-inch rear grip. Along with the butt cap it ends up at around 7 inches overall.
FUJI’s DPSD -30 deluxe cushioned reel seat fits the blank well and it needs little packing to hold it in place. The cushioned hoods hold the reel firmly so there’s no movement while casting or fighting fish.
It’s made from graphite which also helps keep the overall weight down, and there is no corrosion to worry about.
Foregrips can be 10 or 12 inches long, depending on whether you have long or short arms and where they feel comfortable for you while fishing.
The guides and tip are pretty straightforward with the FUJI BSVLG a nice light choice that will be on the rod for the long run. The only difference in the guides is the stripper, and here we are going to use a FUJI high mount 40 BHVLG.
These high frame guides have always been slow to catch on in Queensland, where the big wire strippers still find their way onto the majority of surf rods. I think it’s a tradition more than anything else as the wire guides have several weld joins in them which eventually end up breaking.
The high frame FUJI, on the other hand, is an all one-piece frame that’s lighter and stronger. The high frame supports the ring farther off the blank so line slap is kept to a minimum, and you’ll probably find that you’ll be able to cast farther.
Surf rods do cop a rough ride in their travels so I recommend under- and over-binding all the guides. The blanks are generally translucent red in colour, so red and maroon threads go well with the blank, along with black over-binds and a few trims.
If you like the rod but feel you might like something a little heavier, this blank comes in six, seven, eight and nine wraps. The eight and nine wraps are quite popular with rock anglers and they lend themselves to being built as an overhead.
Blank - Snyderglas MT 4144
Rear grip - 6" x 1" eva
Front grip - 10" x 1" eva
Winch -FUJI DPSD 30 (fixed hood down)
Cap - BC 1 1/8"
Tip -FUJI BPLT 8.3.0
Guides - Alvey open runner above foregrip, FUJI BSVLG 10-160; 12-170; 16-225; 20-315; 25-385; BHVLG 40-630