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Old 16-02-2017, 14:36
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Default Musings on float rods

I like trying new gear, it keeps things interesting for me. It doesn't have to be brand new, just new to me. I'm quite happy that a good rod, that happens to suit me and a particular style of fishing well, will allow me to land more and/or bigger fish.

I've got more float rods than many will own in a lifetime. I've probably got more "proper" float rods than two or three of my local shops combined, especially if you discount the plethora of pellet waggler rods they'll stock. Some are at the budget end of the scale, many are not. Most are long discontinued, some are current. There's a good mix of bought brand new, second hand and from end of line sales. Despite this, there are still huge swathes of rods out there that I've never laid a hand on.

I have a bit of a thing for long rods and the bulk are 13 or 15' with a smattering at 11, 12, 14 and 17'. I'm also rather fond of trying oddball designs, stuff that has been ignored, and blind punts on what I hope will be bargains. However, over the last year or so I've been buying the type of rods that have rather more chatter associated with them, even if they are still rather thin on the ground.

Here's a few things I learned over the years.

1) Some will never accept this but pay more cash and you generally do get a better rod. Whether the fractional improvements as you go higher and higher up the price scale matter to you will depend entirely on you. Just because something is double the price does not mean double the performance. It never has and never will. Retail and manufacturing has never worked that way. If doubling the price gives you a third greater performance, you are doing pretty well. If you can't appreciate any difference in a new rod over those you already have, keep your money in your pocket.

2) There are exceptions to the above, but they generally involve manufacturers selling at well below the originally intended price point. Shakespeare Mach 3s are a perfect example. People raved about what a bargain they were at around the £50 mark, conveniently forgetting that they started out in the £120ish bracket.

3) There are a fair number of decent rods that appear in catalogues never to be seen in most shops. They never gain a particular following and disappear with barely a trace. That doesn't mean they are bad rods. Far from it, some can be excellent. Now I'm buying rods that the cognoscenti rave about, I often compare them to stuff I've taken punts on. I'm invariably very impressed with some of the obscure and unloved stuff I've collected.

4) Trust your own judgment. Naturally, experience helps in this regard, but that's not to say that a beginner can't feel what might be right for them. If you think it's right for you, it probably is. It matters not a jot what anyone else thinks about your choice. If or when you find it has limitations, it may be time to think about a replacement, provided you can justify the expense.

5) Be wary of people like me on the internet. Some may genuinely have a lot of experience of many different rods. Some won't have, or are simply following the herd or the opinion of someone else. Some really know their onions when it comes to kit, some don't. Some have agendas and many have a certain bias. I can happily acknowledge that I'll not be buying Shakespeare kit any time soon. If you are going to take the advice of strangers on the net, try to learn who those with opinions of value might be. Even then, appreciate that what makes a good rod for them may not suit you. We all fish different venues, in different styles, and develop different tastes and peculiarities.

6) Whilst it's nice to be able to trust your friendly local tackle dealer, be a little wary. Some will undoubtedly have excellent knowledge of their market. However, many are limited in the brands they have real experience of. Some will push things that offer them the biggest profit. Some don't fish half as much as you might think they will. Those that do are often incredibly loyal to certain brands. Some fish, but only on limited venues or with specific styles. There's more than the odd one that doesn't actually fish at all. Their advice may not be quite as valuable as you might presume it to be.

7) No matter what anyone tells you, there is no one size fits all perfect rod. There's not a brand out there that consistently gets things spot on. However, saying that, there aren't many truly dismal rods out there any longer.

8) Don't get too hung up on bare weight figures. Light does not automatically mean good. Heavy (relatively) does not automatically mean bad. Whilst it can make or break what actually walks out of a tackle shop, it doesn't translate to performance on the bank. Heavier rods can actually feel lighter in use than a badly balanced light rod.

9) Old doesn't make a rod bad and new doesn't make it better than models that have gone before.
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Old 16-02-2017, 17:49
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

the old top end decent daiwa rods seem to be selling for a very decent price on ebay.
top quality items in their day and still as good as anything else you could buy.
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Old 16-02-2017, 19:40
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

Some good points Sam well done.
I never get hung up on the weight of a rod an oz here or there makes very little difference as long as the rod is not overly tip heavy.
I would rather fish with a rod capable of taking the odd bonus fish rather than some super light noodle what is only good for one thing .
That's we're the allerton comes in
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Old 17-02-2017, 08:36
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

I have the Daiwa Conny Z Tommy Pickering stick and waggler rods, which I've had for a good 20 years. I've not found much to want me give up the Conny Z wagglers which I bought at a good discount for £150. I'm now 'testing' the Daiwa Tourney Pros as my retirement prezzies.
About 15 years ago I bought 2 Leeda Obsession Deluxe 13ft waggler rods for approx £45 inc discount, for coaching kids as I didn't want to risk my Conny Z. I must say I was very impressed with the action, feel and fishing ability of the far cheaper rods, offering superb value for money.
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Old 17-02-2017, 11:11
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

Yep....agree with all of that, especially point 5.

I would only add that rods are very personal things and however "good" a rod may feel/be it might not suit you. I don't like long rods...I can't help it, I just don't, so it would be pointless me buying one. I cant even get on with 14 footers.
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Old 17-02-2017, 11:48
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

Quote:
Originally Posted by S-Kippy View Post
Yep....agree with all of that, especially point 5.

I would only add that rods are very personal things and however "good" a rod may feel/be it might not suit you. I don't like long rods...I can't help it, I just don't, so it would be pointless me buying one. I cant even get on with 14 footers.
The only snag there is that you are being hoisted by your own petard. You can't cope with the 14 and 15' rods you've tried. Nothing wrong with that, but you've happily admitted in the past that you won't even try such rods now.

Don't get me wrong, this is precisely the kind of bias that most of us display in one form or another. My similar bias is towards Shakespeare, but I'm aware of it and try to refrain from making comments disparaging rods that I've no intention of ever picking up. I could legitimately say that I don't like Shakespeare rods. However, the truth of the matter is that I've fished with two, and laid hands on perhaps another three, in the last thirty years!

Unfortunately, you are making the blanket statement that you don't like long rods. Those that may trust your judgment on such things might be missing out if they follow your leanings.
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Old 17-02-2017, 11:49
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

I agree with those thoughts, Sam. I don't know how many float rods I've owned or fished with over the decades, upwards of 40 I suspect that I could name and a few I've forgotten. All of them will catch fish, some with more pleasure than others. When I match fished a long time ago a better rod would maybe gain a margin of 10 to 20%; feeding, presentation, tactics, floats, skill, experience, bait all counted for far more (same goes for reels - far less influence on what you catch than these other factors), presenting the bait a bit better, hitting more bites, losing less fish could mean the difference between winning and an also ran.

Fishing with say, an ABU Mk 6, a top of range rod from 40 years ago feels unwieldy now yet (I still own and use one occasionally) back in the day I won matches/caught a lot of fish with this rod and even set a river match record at one point so it (or at least the user) could be used/wielded to good effect.

Back in the Autumn when I was helping Swizzle to trot - hoping to resume lessons once I'm recovered - it helped for him to have a go with different rods that I could supply to understand the differences between a tippy stick float rod and more through-actioned rods as well as appreciate why some top of range rods are rated so highly.
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Old 17-02-2017, 11:57
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

Just a point to add to that - which Sam has touched on - I've found a couple of rods which I purchased at the "right" time, i.e. just after they were discontinued and a new range had been introduced. One was the Mach 3 rod Sam's mentioned, the 13foot match rod, which for 50ish quid is really remarkable value for money; the other was a daiwa aqualite waggler rod which again I bought for about £50 on ebay, new old stock a shop was looking to get rid of. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we can all get a bit focused on second-hand being the best place to find a bargain, however the way the tackle companies churn through product ranges in order to keep things "new" means that there's always decent discontinued kit out there that's brand new.
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Old 17-02-2017, 12:26
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

Quote:
Originally Posted by sam vimes View Post
I like trying new gear, it keeps things interesting for me. It doesn't have to be brand new, just new to me. I'm quite happy that a good rod, that happens to suit me and a particular style of fishing well, will allow me to land more and/or bigger fish.

I've got more float rods than many will own in a lifetime. I've probably got more "proper" float rods than two or three of my local shops combined, especially if you discount the plethora of pellet waggler rods they'll stock. Some are at the budget end of the scale, many are not. Most are long discontinued, some are current. There's a good mix of bought brand new, second hand and from end of line sales. Despite this, there are still huge swathes of rods out there that I've never laid a hand on.

I have a bit of a thing for long rods and the bulk are 13 or 15' with a smattering at 11, 12, 14 and 17'. I'm also rather fond of trying oddball designs, stuff that has been ignored, and blind punts on what I hope will be bargains. However, over the last year or so I've been buying the type of rods that have rather more chatter associated with them, even if they are still rather thin on the ground.

Here's a few things I learned over the years.

1) Some will never accept this but pay more cash and you generally do get a better rod. Whether the fractional improvements as you go higher and higher up the price scale matter to you will depend entirely on you. Just because something is double the price does not mean double the performance. It never has and never will. Retail and manufacturing has never worked that way. If doubling the price gives you a third greater performance, you are doing pretty well. If you can't appreciate any difference in a new rod over those you already have, keep your money in your pocket.

2) There are exceptions to the above, but they generally involve manufacturers selling at well below the originally intended price point. Shakespeare Mach 3s are a perfect example. People raved about what a bargain they were at around the £50 mark, conveniently forgetting that they started out in the £120ish bracket.

3) There are a fair number of decent rods that appear in catalogues never to be seen in most shops. They never gain a particular following and disappear with barely a trace. That doesn't mean they are bad rods. Far from it, some can be excellent. Now I'm buying rods that the cognoscenti rave about, I often compare them to stuff I've taken punts on. I'm invariably very impressed with some of the obscure and unloved stuff I've collected.

4) Trust your own judgment. Naturally, experience helps in this regard, but that's not to say that a beginner can't feel what might be right for them. If you think it's right for you, it probably is. It matters not a jot what anyone else thinks about your choice. If or when you find it has limitations, it may be time to think about a replacement, provided you can justify the expense.

5) Be wary of people like me on the internet. Some may genuinely have a lot of experience of many different rods. Some won't have, or are simply following the herd or the opinion of someone else. Some really know their onions when it comes to kit, some don't. Some have agendas and many have a certain bias. I can happily acknowledge that I'll not be buying Shakespeare kit any time soon. If you are going to take the advice of strangers on the net, try to learn who those with opinions of value might be. Even then, appreciate that what makes a good rod for them may not suit you. We all fish different venues, in different styles, and develop different tastes and peculiarities.

6) Whilst it's nice to be able to trust your friendly local tackle dealer, be a little wary. Some will undoubtedly have excellent knowledge of their market. However, many are limited in the brands they have real experience of. Some will push things that offer them the biggest profit. Some don't fish half as much as you might think they will. Those that do are often incredibly loyal to certain brands. Some fish, but only on limited venues or with specific styles. There's more than the odd one that doesn't actually fish at all. Their advice may not be quite as valuable as you might presume it to be.

7) No matter what anyone tells you, there is no one size fits all perfect rod. There's not a brand out there that consistently gets things spot on. However, saying that, there aren't many truly dismal rods out there any longer.

8) Don't get too hung up on bare weight figures. Light does not automatically mean good. Heavy (relatively) does not automatically mean bad. Whilst it can make or break what actually walks out of a tackle shop, it doesn't translate to performance on the bank. Heavier rods can actually feel lighter in use than a badly balanced light rod.

9) Old doesn't make a rod bad and new doesn't make it better than models that have gone before.
Brilliant write up Sam, probably one of the best float rod articles I've seen to date and how so very true the carefully and informative way you've described and explained yerself and like yer way of thinking, all makes sence

Yep know exactly where yer coming from as I've been involved in the tackle trade on 3 separate occasions, 2 being management and have seen rods come and go, go up and down in price, some good some bad and others just truly awsum.

Out of all the rods out there some of my favourite ranges would have to be from the likes of Drennan, Preston, Daiwa, Tri-cast and Normark,

There's no doubt that there's other good known names but in my experience the 5 names above have never let me down and I suppose above all the prices are what would be expected from any of the higher end rods

Be lucky
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Last edited by thames mudlarker; 17-02-2017 at 12:30.
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Old 17-02-2017, 12:58
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Default Re: Musings on float rods

Quote:
Originally Posted by sam vimes View Post
The only snag there is that you are being hoisted by your own petard. You can't cope with the 14 and 15' rods you've tried. Nothing wrong with that, but you've happily admitted in the past that you won't even try such rods now.

Don't get me wrong, this is precisely the kind of bias that most of us display in one form or another. My similar bias is towards Shakespeare, but I'm aware of it and try to refrain from making comments disparaging rods that I've no intention of ever picking up. I could legitimately say that I don't like Shakespeare rods. However, the truth of the matter is that I've fished with two, and laid hands on perhaps another three, in the last thirty years!

Unfortunately, you are making the blanket statement that you don't like long rods. Those that may trust your judgment on such things might be missing out if they follow your leanings.
Whoa ! Hang on a minute. All I said was that I don't like long rods...and I don't. It is a blanket statement in that for years I've tried to get on with them and I just don't. Doesn't mean somebody else wont and I never, ever suggested that long rods were rubbish. They just don't suit me, I know they dont and that's it. I could not tell you exactly why but for one thing they put too much strain on my girly wrists and that alone is enough for me.
So, no....I wont even contemplate them now because of that and I'm content that I'm not missing out on anything that I'm not perfectly prepared to miss out on. My choice.

I'm no rod guru. I know what I like and I know what I don't like but [as I said] you need to make your own mind up about rods. I love my Marksman Float rod. Is it the best float rod ever ? Certainly not...and by some way. Do I enjoy owning and using it ? Yes I do.

Nothing else matters. Bit like you and your long rods. You like them...I don't. Such is the way of things.
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