Guide systems and a New Blank

New technology and the old, choosing the right rod and how to set it up.

Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Jeri » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:15 pm

Hi All,

I’ve been doing a little browsing of available information on the web, and came across this clip from Fuji showing the fundamentals of what I have been trying to achieve for years with our building of surf rods, but never really formulated into a cohesive explanation. Harmony of line movement up the rod during the cast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ANbtcbNvYU

For years I have know that ‘harmonics’ in systems are a powerful force to be recognised and catered for within the system. I used to race home tuned 2 stroke and 4 stroke motorbike, both relied heavily on the harmony of exhaust gases in the exhaust system to maximise power output. As a civil engineer, harmonic actions on concrete and steel structures can be an awesomely powerfully destructive force. So, why not in a simple system like casting lines through eyes on a fishing rod?

This has all come about, since we recently received a new prototype blank from Blue Marlin, it is a variation on an existing blank, the Super Slim design, and the model we received is the 1 piece 15’ long rod, rated for 6oz. Basically a very slim design, with a 1.6 metre section of parallel at the base, and then various tapers through the middle and the tip. We have been using this design for a number of years in various combinations of carbons, and in one particular format has been very successful for our fixed spool design – though for our personal shop rods, we have had some non-standard changes from the standard version from the factory – small custom tweeks.

One of the attributes of the rod is that it has always been easy to cast, whether in the hands of relative novices or very top level competition anglers, just adjust the blank strength to suit their personal power and ability. However, one of the other less positive attributes is how the bottom parallel section isn’t as super stiff as say some of the UK blanks in that area. This slight flexing is probably why it is so easy to cast, but always been a thought of mine that it would be nice to try without the flexibility. Would the removal of the flex make a more significant input to the power the rod generates?

Enter the prototype – the guy at the factory was playing with some new material, a woven fabric of carbon and Kevlar, and has used this as an over wrap on the bottom section. Unlike a lot of woven fabrics that are used to cosmetically enhance blanks, this actually does some real work. The Kevlar component of the fabric yields extremely high hoop strength to the blank construction – effectively preventing that section of the blank going ‘oval’ when loaded, thus preserves the ‘round’ shape – and gives significantly to the power of that section.

The video was a view towards considering building the rod to Fuji’s latest ideas on line flow, so we tried the ‘K’ ring series, and while the blank was working exceptionally well as a development of the original – the long rod situation was causing problems with the line flow. The Kevlar addition did make a lot of extra power, but without the ‘raw’ stiffness of similar UK blanks – more mellow power development. Our next trial was to tape on our much preferred Low Rider guides, and using a slightly reduced number to our normal set up, we found that the rod really turned out to be a sweet caster – it seems that despite the low weight of the ‘K’ series small guides, the need to use lots and lots of them up near the tip of the blank, seems to hinder the blank. Switch to a significantly fewer, but slightly heavier Low Riders, and the rod blank really starts to show its form. I didn’t actually get round to weighting the 2 different sets of guides, but my feeling is that the mass of guides in the top third of the rod was significantly heavier with the small ‘K’ series.

It would seem from our first period of messing around with this new design concept of Kevlar being used it is going to be a significant improvement in power and distance. Not been able to really stick some big power casts in at the moment, due to an injured but healing back; but the initial impressions are significant. On the down side, it is going to be an expensive addition to the price of the blank, which few will actually enjoy suffering, but I think it will have a place in the top end of the market. It will be interesting to see how the three piece version of the same blank performs compared to the one piece.

The experiment with changing rings did bring home the need for getting rods set up with just the right sets of rings to achieve what the Fuji engineers in the video are looking for – harmony of line flow, or actually getting ‘harmonic line flow’ – line that is working as ‘it’ wants to, rather than being forced into a path. Again however, the conclusion that ‘K’ series concepts might work great on shorter rods, our very long rod situation just requires too many of the very small guides to make it comply, thus adding a huge amount of weight to the upper blank – possibly why they developed titanium framed guides, to overcome the weight issues. I just think that spending huge amounts of money on these ultra light weight guides for a surf rod, might just be a step too far – the guide sets would almost end up costing more than the blank.

A slight update since the above was written.

We lent the 6oz 15’ Kevlar to one of our team anglers in the recent National Selection trials, apart from the fact that he hasn’t returned the rod, just asked for the invoice – it seems that it is working. When fishing for Bronzies with cast baits he was quite impressed with the size of baits he could manage and over the moon with the distances achieved with baits intended for smaller sharks – like mullet head and gills. The simple back swing casting style is easily producing well over 200 metres when carried out from the beach, slightly less when wading, and this was achieved using less than optimum reels – like the Penn Slammer III with 50lb braid.

A question asked, was how did he know that was the order of distance being achieved, his reply he counted the turns of the handle to bring in baits for changing – approx 1.1 metre per handle turn. Even allowing a percentage error, still pretty impressive for an actual fishing distance casting situation.

The other aspect that he did truly enjoy was the use of Winn Grip on the handles, very firm to hold, no slippage even when wading, and the slightly yielding texture made it comfortable during long fights. We have been using a lot of shrink grip on our rods in the past, and the slightly harsh nature of the grip has been one source of complaint, nice to know we now have a material that will answer some of those problem.


Hope you found this interesting.


Cheers from sunny Africa

Jeri
Jeri
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:52 pm
Location: Namibia, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Namib Desert

Re: Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Nanara » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:28 am

Hi Jeri
Thanks for good write up and info shared with us. I got some of the s/slim rods from blue marlin. Had them custom build in SA. I choose the 430-100-100, 80 and 50. Both the 80 and 100 are real beasts of rods. I do casting and fishing with them. With my small frame i struggle to really compress the rods. Probably because of the first 100 in the rod series.
All in all love them.
Love Henties for its fish and people.

Greetings from sunny and beautiful WA.

Neels
Nanara
 
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Re: Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Jeri » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:47 am

Morning Neels,

Greetings from sunny Henties Bay, Horing Bay is the venue for our all Namibia clubs competition this weekend - hoping for plenty of Spotties and Kob, as well as the younger folks getting into the odd Bronzie.

I can fully understand why you are having serious problems with the BM 100x100 & 80x100, as they are both absolute monster blanks. We use the 50 series mostly for building fixed spool rods, but extending the lengths up to 470cm long. The 100 series are truly 100% 40 tonne carbon throughout the construction of the blank, while the 50 series are 50% 40 tonne and 50% 24 or 30 tonne carbon split vertically on the patten. Even with the 50 series we would only use an 80x50 for 7oz and heavy baits for Bronzies, with rare folks aslking for something heavier like the 100x50, but they would need 8oz as a minimum to get any form of compression in the cast, and shoulders to a prop forward to drive and motivate.

When we used to build a lot of multiplier rods, the 100 series were perfect, but we would use the 40x100 for general 6oz work, and the 50x100 for 7oz work and Bronzies.

This is often the problem with numbers on rod blank classifications, people are tempted to go with the bigger numbers, and end up with something way to powerful for effective casting, and then need awesomely heavy sinkers and baits to get even a half decent 'lob' out of the rod.

The problem that folks will be having in the near future is the whole series of rods are going to have an addition of kevlar as an option in the construction, which is boosting the strength and power of the rods to a whole new level. They are officially being released next month, but already the factory is under pressure with orders, and anglers have heard about these new designs. We have 6 blanks coming up the road shortly, and already 3 are sold to clients - About R7000 each since Zuma's latest meddling, trashed the value of the Rand; and those are 1 piece blanks, I would hate to thionk of the price of the 3 piece blanks with Kevlar, and then the resultant price of the finished rod.

The 80x50 (K) will be a prime Bronzie rod, while the 60x50 (K) will be for 6oz general fishing and the 50x50 (K) will be 5oz or an awesome Ladies rod, my wife doesn't know it yet, but she will be the tester for the new ladies rod when we build it, basically just adding the kevalr to her current all time favourite 50x50x455.

Cheers from sunny Africa,

Jeri
Jeri
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:52 pm
Location: Namibia, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Namib Desert

Re: Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Nanara » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:20 pm

Just a photo of the rods i had built.
Imageg
Nanara
 
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Re: Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Nanara » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:59 am

Hi Jeri
Sorry I post in drips and draps. The other day I added a lengthy version for bait sliding and when done it was logged out and lost all. So i will keep it short and be mindful about it.

Will keep my eyes open for marlins new announcement.

With the relative good $ to the rand my discussions start with Craig Niel from Pretoria.
He guide me through the process and to have some good, long lasting and capable rods
I got the following rods in 2014 with k series guides.
2 x 50 x 100 x430 blue marlin super slims (1 fixed spool and 1 multiplier for the grown up boys)
1 x 80 x 100 x430
1 x 100 x 100 x430
1 x absolute shark blue marlin

My first Blue marling I bought in Margate 20+ years ago. Still going strong. That is a 1 piece.
I had a ever lasting experience from close to the Skedelkus border where we literally caught 100's of kob(kabeljou) Henties tops :D
Neels
Nanara
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:07 am
Location: Dalyellup, Westen Australia, 6230

Re: Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Jeri » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:22 am

Hi Neels,

Thought they looked like Craigs work - all the custom rod builders develop their own distinctive style. We try not to comment on each other, so it preserves some professionalism between us all.

Our style is more towards getting the overall weight of the rods down, but going for more elaborate thread work systems. Each to his own!!!

The kevlars are out, the official launch is next month, but they have been avaqilable to various outlets for about a month, and like anything in southern Africa, as soon as one person knows something - the whole network knows. We have had a period of awesome big Kob coming out at Henties, and within 2 days cars are arriving from Cape Town 3000kms away - the power of the mobile phone.

The nice thing about Blue marlins is in any given range you can increase or decrease the power of the blanks easily, just by taking the next step up or down. I should think the 50x100 fixed spool is a little aggressive in the cast. From the BM recommendations a 60x50 or 50x50 would have been more appropriate, have heard of a number of folks using the 100% for fixed spool rods, and some have ended in tears, as the blanks seem to self destruct, because there is too little forgiveness in the blank, especially with braid. That has been our experience with the blanks, and with the way our competition guys are approaching casting with braid and fixed spools - the blanbks need that little bit of forgiveness - they can get quite forceful to the point of brutal with some of the big baits they are hurling.

The next big development is a series of blanks that are going to make super slims look huge, they will possibly fit 'inside' the super slim blanks. But they are a way off just yet, probably get launched at the trade show in August - surf rods for 6oz or more that look as if the belong on a carp lake.

Cheers from sunny Africa

Jeri
Jeri
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:52 pm
Location: Namibia, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Namib Desert

Re: Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Nanara » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:35 am

Hi Jeri
Always good to hear when fish are biting and how far the hardcore fisho's will travel to get in the action. Hope they get in some of the action. Also good for the locals when a extra couple $ roll in. :)

I dont know a lot of rod builders and would not let myself out on it. Some people will get years of good feedback or service from a reputable person and then others will get the whip out. Had good service with Craig and I love the rods. For distance casting I found the rods very stiff, specially the 80 and 100. But i am not scared to put a 200 gram lead on it in the distance casting scene. I mainly use a compressor ss for casting which I cast from 100-175 gram.

When i build the rods the aim was to get a strong rod that can withstand a knock on the rocks and so forth. Also to pull in some of the bigger sharks, slide baiting etc. With the lower numbers i could had a better casting rod but it is for fishing. In wild weather and rough conditions i will cast out massive baits and for that i admire the rods.

I mainly used multiplier reels for casting and fishing. Got some spinning reels for certain applications as well. Not very converted to braid yet. Working on it :lol: like the smaller diameter and strength of it. I started with cheap braid and that have killed it for me. Still use braid for backing on the reels for the extra metres. For spinning i use braid.

Would like to see the kevlar concept. Good to see blue marlin maintain the development of rods in SA.

Regards and get into the big fish...
Neels
Nanara
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:07 am
Location: Dalyellup, Westen Australia, 6230

Re: Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Jeri » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:55 pm

Hi Neels,

Blue Marlin are about the only ones taking development forward, everybody else is too busy copying each other or what Blue Marlin are doing. We worka lot with the factory, know the folks down there very well, and get involved in some of the prototype testing, as well as development of some of the new blanks - not all are winners, but some are extraordinary.

We even have a project that we have been working on together since last November, just now had time to design the mandrels. Once we get the rod sorted it is going to be a little different, but it is playing with some very new carbon materials available only from Japan, so a little pricey. Not launching the new model until late in the year, so the other names in the game, can't get it copired in China before Xmas. The Chinese factories are getting very good at reverse engineering.

Off now to get our gear ready for a All Namibia club event, sea is not forecast to look nice tomorrow, but we will work at it. Next week back to loads of orders for fixed spool rods and our replacement 1 piece kevlar blanks arrive. So, will be busy in the workshop.

Cheers from sunny Africa

Jeri
Jeri
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:52 pm
Location: Namibia, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Namib Desert

Re: Guide systems and a New Blank

Postby Nanara » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:19 pm

Have fun in the comp and hopefully the catches will be good.
Nanara
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:07 am
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