Choosing the right rod
  |  First Published: October 2005

Due to some recent unfortunate family circumstances, my trip to Gove has been postponed for a few weeks, so this month’s article will focus on rod choice instead. Choosing the right rod is crucial to a successful outing, whether it’s spinning for mackerel or flicking plastics for lizards on the flats.

Light Estuary

Finding a rod that you’re happy to use for flicking plastics and lures around the flats is quite a tough job.Whether to buy a 1- or 2-piece is a puzzling question for most anglers. If you have minimal boat or storage space, I recommend a 2-piece set-up, but if space is not a problem, a 1-piece rod is the way to go.

When it comes to weight, I believe a 2-4kg rod covers all of your bases and with a decent leader, landing most fish is not a worry.

Prices vary from brand to brand, but for a quality rod at a reasonable price, I would investigate the Strudwick Sic Stik range: at $100 to $150 they can’t be beaten. However, if a premium rod is more your style, Ian Miller’s Bream Buster is a true piece of fishing mastery. Although more expensive they are well worth the money, and with all guides and reel seats of the highest grade, these rods will not falter.

Medium Estuary

Extracting species such as mangrove jack, estuary cod and barramundi from sticks requires a tough set-up. Using a light set-up on these fish will usually leave you frustrated and confused. Fish like the mangrove jack tend to hold in tight to structure, so you need a rod capable of pulling them out of this structure. For fish of this calibre I suggest something along the lines of a 6-10kg rod, depending on reel selection. A rod with a fast action is preferable when casting lures for an extended period of time.

There is a huge range of rods on the market catering to this application, with prices ranging from $60 to $1500 depending on brands. In the lower price range Ugly Sticks and Shimano’s Raider Series retail for $100 to $200 and offer quality rods at an affordable price. Brands such as Black Diamond, G Loomis and Miller will set you back anywhere from $400 to $1500. Although these prices might seem a bit ridiculous, the quality of these rods is amazing and they last you a lifetime.

Offshore Spin

Spinning for mackerel and tuna offshore makes for an exhilarating day of fishing. These fish are almost impossible to control at the best of times, but being equipped with the right gear will go a long way to seeing more fish in the ice box rather than swimming off with your new lure.

A rod with a strong butt is essential in this application. Mackerel and tuna are renowned for long, tiresome fights, and a strong butt will aid in boating the fish faster. I recommend a rod that is around 7ft and 10-12kg, with a medium/soft action.

When choosing between graphite and fibreglass, a few factors such as frequency of use, level of experience and cash need to be considered. Graphite rods are generally more expensive than fibreglass, so if you only go fishing once or twice a year, there’s not much point in spending this much money.

Experience is another important factor. Using a graphite rod for the first time on mackerel is not a good idea, because certain precautions have to be taken with graphite rods to prevent breakage.

Again prices vary according to brand and composition. The Live Fibre range features some great blanks for offshore spinning for $200 to $300.

Choosing a rod that suits your style and size should help you to bag more fish and enjoy your fishing a lot more. Regardless of what the application is, there is always a rod to cater to your style and pocket.

My next three articles will provide an in-depth analysis of Gove and its surrounding areas, including offshore reefs. Till next month, good fishing to all you junior anglers out there.

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