Game rods

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    Posted: 04 Apr 2022 at 11:55pm
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Titanium
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As someone who only dabbles in game fishing, a question. How much do the rods matter? Obviously, they need to be strong enough and have rust/damage resistant components, but beyond that? I can't see weight makes any difference. They spend most of their fishing life in a rod holder and are coupled to big/heavy reels. Action? They need to match a line class and absorb shock, but it's not like they need to cast or work a lure. What differentiates the middle and high end rods? Thoughts please.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote shaneg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2022 at 7:33am
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Most of my rods and ones I like using the most are over 25 yrs old, and are NZ made killwell and offshores, often bought on special and one of the offshores was second hand. They are e-glass (very hard to break), and have quality guides and reel seats and still look very nice. Also have a couple of 37 kg shimano tiagra TSUs and one of the rollered 24 kg backbones, and most recently (2 yrs ago) purchased second hand  37kg staus bent butt. All work well and weren’t expensive.

I quite like look of the Shimano Abyss rod as well but bit more expensive. Mid range around $400. But as have enough rods, no need to buy another.

If looking at another rod I'd definitely keep eye out for second hand nz built rods. Some nice rods come up. Mate recently replaced a backbone (they have some graphite in them) which he snapped on big shark with a very nice offshore 24kg rod off trade me for about $180. Was in virtually new condition although older model rod probably 20 years old.

I can’t see point of $1000 (or even $500) plus rods but then I’m not trying to catch swords or giant bluefin.
Photo below is of over 25 year old 24 kg killwell scepter rod  with an alloy butt in action in weekend on a nice stripey. Has more than enough power. From memory was/is most expensive rod I ever purchased for $325 (rods were quite expensive 25 yrs ago) and was on special at sailors corner.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2022 at 8:55am
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I find it hard to go past 24kg RT (roller tip) rods. They would be some of the most inexpensive game rods. Yes - I have a collection of broken game rods. Don't ask.
37Kg are more robust - and cost more. If you are just running 24kg gear (line wt /reel drag etc), you don't need more than that. I have mostly Shimano.
Alan
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Thanks for the replies. Sounds like glass, or at least high glass content rods may be the way to go. I'm thinking a couple of bent butt rods would complement my two straight butt rods nicely (sounds a bit wrong!). 24kg class should do it. Will pair to relatively small reels loaded with braid. Small trailer boat game fishing, realistically half a dozen trips a year. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2022 at 1:47pm
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FWIW, I don't run any bent butt rods. I am unsure of the point. I have nothing against them, but I think they usually cost more? I have no issues with the straight ones. Personal preference I guess. 
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Thanks Alan. Do you have some sort of tether to keep the line close to the water on the rods at the corners (hopefully, the right term!).
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote shaneg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2022 at 2:21pm
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The one bent butt I have was bought for deep dropping specifically. I have used it for trolling in short corner position. But generally run all straight, as can have my old model black magic harness set up just for straights. To fish bent butt on marlin you’ll probably want a black magic adapter specifically for them and keep it handy for strike on those rods. I don’t have one which why that rig also has braid on it generally gets left at home when targeting marlin, but is my go to for puka fishing as can hang a line away from gunnels.
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Thanks, everyday is a learning day. It's an interesting process because I have very little game fishing experience under my belt, just one stripy and a few yellowfin.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2022 at 5:33pm
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Originally posted by MB MB wrote:

Thanks Alan. Do you have some sort of tether to keep the line close to the water on the rods at the corners (hopefully, the right term!).
No - the opposite. BTDT. But my current view is keep as much line out of the water as possible. This varies in importance - were you are and what you are fishing for. Most of my gamefishing is at hard fished Fads. They get super wary. I have lately taken to running my rigger poles vertical - for that reason. And it works. So rubber banding my lines close to the water is no longer in my vocab.
Honestly, I don't think you will be too far wrong with some straight butt 24 kg RT rods. If you hook up on a decent fish - you have as much chance as anybody. The rod will not be the issue.
And as has been stated - having a mix of bent butt vs straight just adds to issues with the harness - when all hell has already broken loose. It pays to have a uniform system.
Alan
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Cheers!
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I'm a little different I guess as I fish almost all 37kg rods for marlin as I think most of the 24kg's are too soft even for 24kg line. I fish 37kg on 50's as you can never be sure what you are going to hook in NZ waters and should that big girl come along or a blue die on me I want to be able to boat it. I do have a chair in the boat too so that helps as well. As above I like E-glass too and stick to the good brands. I dislike non steel reel seats too. Definitely make sure the guides are not chrome. I still pull my short corners down to keep them in the water if necessary. Depending on lure and sea conditions. I use a roller troller for this. BTW you have more experience than me with the fin as I'm yet to wind one in. I troll all straight butts but have the bents too for deep dropping. These days hardly need the roller tips as mostly have a topshot and braid so the porcelain guides/tips should be up to the task but it just looks wrong not to have a roller tip and currently I'm more comfortable with one but non roller are cheaper. One more thing, unless you are good at maintenance and looking after your rod avoid fully rollered as the rollers can become non rollers if not looked after. Same for the tips too. Do the maintenance and you will be ok. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote shaneg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2022 at 10:02pm
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Yes the old Crome (used to be called perfection) guides are fragile Doug, we are slowly replacing them on my favoured rods, they certainly don’t  like rough treatment. I’m lucky to have a good rod builder (and lure maker) as a mate, so as they go,  he replaces the crome guides with SICs. This is actually last rod I have them on.. for some reason they’ve hung in well on that rod. The ones on offshores are all from memory (or mostly) replaced with silicon carbide guides. I love the older eglass nz blanks though. Very solid and I’ve never busted a NZ made offshore or killwell e-glass rod. Have busted a cheap 24 kg penn on a big king years ago and lost fish, and my mate (the rod builder) was very disapointed when his shimano rollered backbone snapped after 2 hours on suspected big thresher last year.  Heard of a couple Killwell texlium live fibres break though at tuts for 2 different fellow anglers quite a few years ago. Killwell replaced both, no questions asked.
Agree rollers need more maintenance. Mine mostly just a stripper guide on my old killwells and offshores but are nice stainless aftco ones.
The cheap rollers on shimano backbones rollered rods need judicious maintenance but are ok if maintained and lubricated and not left in rack after use to lock up. So why would you even bother with a cheap shimano rollered backbone rod? Well special rod for me … took a 229kg blue marlin on one on 24kg…. my biggest ever marlin.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2022 at 6:41am
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I am Def no fan of the fully rollered rods. I have a few.
Would not buy any more. I don't mind looking after the RT. And they dont seem to suffer as much as the other rollers - for reasons I dont know.
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Thanks krow, shaneg and Alan. Interesting replies. I didn't know that rods were still made with chrome guides. Seem like a relic from ancient times! As I will be using braid/topshot, my instinct was to go for non-roller guides.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2022 at 12:15pm
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I have a couple of 37Kg Penn game rods. I feel bullet proof with them. I run 80lb line. However, they are more clunky than the 24 kg rods which just feel more user friendly. I run a drag setting in between 24 and 37 Kg.
It is going to depend a bit what you are comfortable with , importantly, what reels and line weight you are running, and the budget. But if you are running smaller reels and 24 kg line, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have a set of more expensive 37 kg rods (altho you won't go wrong if that's what you had - but they are under utilised). Also, what you see a lot is a real mish mash of gear all towing a lure. You sort of look at the spread and say to yourself.... I hope the big fish hits that rod. So you are already on the back foot at that point and you haven't really started.
If you can, it pays to make everything as compatible as possible.
Regards
Alan
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I get what you're saying Alan. My very experienced game fishing mate has had marlin take skippy lures!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2022 at 3:01pm
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I caught one once on my 6-10 kg skippy rod.
Knife to a gunfight. But I got it. And the rod broke.
Alan
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Great story though!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2022 at 2:16pm
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You don't forget that stuff - expect the unexpected. I had been catching mahi on rigged baits - on 50W gear. Had enough of them in the bin. Thought I would have a bit of fun and try for one on light gear. I saw a biggish shadow behind the boat , about where the bait was trailing. I thought it was a big mahi. Nope. It became clear very quickly I had snagged a marlin - on a garfish (like a piper) bait. Nothing else for it, but to give it my best shot. Stripies will tire themselves out if you give them a chance (bit like rainbow trout). Just a matter of keeping line short and not getting spooled.Another broken rod added to the collection.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Bigfishbob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2022 at 8:40pm
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To answer your original question, what you should expect from higher end rod, is more lifting power through the mid section of the rod. A good well designed blank should have three distinct sections in the blank action. the tip obviously provides sensivitivity for fishing live bait etc. but should also fold away quite easily under pressure. The mid section is where the lifting power of the rod comes from. Sometimes described as recoil, you can actually see this section loading up when you crank the reel down hard, and then lifting during the pump of the rod when fighting the fish. It's really evident on good carbon composite rods. The Butt of the rod should be quite stiff and although helps with lifting the fish, doesn't really have any action to speak of. You certainly shouldn't see the bend going down through the reel seat or the butt.

Having said all that avoid 100% carbon rods, they are prone to highstick and other failures. Good composite blanks are worth their weight in gold.

In the early days of stand up rods, the best blanks were Sabre, and Calstar. A lot of manufacturers have caught up and rod technology has moved onto the point where game rods are now fairly low tech. The locally made blanks were not in the same league, IMHO. Generally you saw actions with soft tips and then parabolic mid and butt sections.  

I personally still prefer Calstar balnks, with E Glass blanks from the 6455 or 6460 range being preferred for general purpose trolling, and the Graphite Glass Compsite Grafiter range 760 and 7460 range for really heavy lifting. These compositite rods have a few wraps of carbon weave in their Butt and mid section, with glass weave going right through to the tip. They're bullet proof and have survived many a clamity and high stick in the fishing I have done with them. 

Definitely prefer fixed guides these days with braid backing and mono top shots. Roller guides are fine and generally need to be disassembled and lubed once per year. The also need to be used with the plait double knot if using windons, the finish knot on a bimini twist doesn't go trough the Aftco HD guide frame that well. Other guides like winthrop etc. have bigger clearances and might not be as problematic. All my older rods are roller guides, but any new builds get fixed gudies these days.

All my own rods have straight butts. I don't do alot of deep drop fishing or sword fishing. Thta's where bent butts come into their own. To give me clearance for corner rods, I use 5'6" blanks for corner rods, and 6 foot rods for outriggers. This helps me avoid tangling tipe on hookups. 

Hope that helps. 
www.waikatosportfishing.co.nz
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