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ARTICLE - Chuckin'Metal Part 3


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In this little or not so little installment im going to cover rods, line , rigging and terminals.



The early days of rockfishing were changed forever by the start of the readily available hollow fibreglass rods mainly made in Australia and for the serious rockfisho usually custom built by the many rodbuilders that plied their trade all over the country or home assembled by those with the patience and skill to do so. My first serious rod was a custom built Snyderglas FT 70-120, followed by a home built Butterworth FSU 4120 and my current (very underused) stick is a Calstar Graphiter GF900M which I had specifically built for spinning the north coast ledges. Lighter rods for me have included various of the shelf models but my current beach/light rock rod is a PPG Spin that I extended to 10 feet long . The evolution of rods has gone from heavy fibreglass to fragile graphite to incredibly light and tough composite materials. For the modern fisho there seems to be an unlimited choice of store stock models that will do the job. The keys for me were this;

1.      Toughness around the rockfishing environment

2.      Casting ability, the key being a tip that folded away during the loadup and powered the lure towards the horizon. This is still important and is all about matching lure weight to the rod

3.      Lifting ability-the good old FSU4120 was a cracker of an early design because of the combination of its light tip and the very fast taper to a heck of a lot of “guts” low down. I could belt out 100 m casts and still pole a 5 kg fish up the rocks with no fuss (as long as I timed the lift). With modern composite blanks the radical fast taper is not so important and from a boat or even a shorebased scenario other than the ocean rocks the need for a brutal lift is not there.

Some important things to consider with any rod are matching the lure weight but of course you can adapt your casting style if you go over or under . Composite rods will break if you are a “high sticker” , learn to fight fish with low rod angles and side pressure-its more effective than the old pump and wind. If I was doing a rock trip today I would have the following outfits;

1.      Daiwa Sealine O/H reel with 20 lb mono , Calstar GF900M and either a popper or an 80-100 gm metal

2.      Saragosa 6000 with 20lb braid, the PPG Spin and a 40gm metal-this will cast 80-100M with a flick of the wrist if I don’t have a headwind


With smaller lures from boat based situations just about any spin stick will do the job-ive got that many I don’t know where to start but they are all essentially matched to casting weights then I match the application and line breaking strain- the Diawa Gen Blacks are excellent examples as are Samurai , and probably a hundred others that I haven’t used- for me these crisp casting flick sticks are just so far ahead of the old fibreglass rods I started with that its ridiculous.I have outfits for the boat ranging from very light 1500 size spin sticks with 4lb braid that I can throw tiny lures all the way to a Stella 20000 with 80lb braid that I bought for a GT trip that never happened but I pull out for big kings and tuna .




Braided line is the single biggest change in everything about fishing in my lifetime. Its low stretch , thin diameter properties have changed the art of lurecasting , im not going to go in depth about brands etc but rather talk about some of the differences and considerations that need to be taken to assist with successful fishing .

1.      Spooling and casting-99.9 % of problems with wind knots/tangles and twist are solved by two simple acts when using braid-when you are spooling your reel.The first is to USE SOME MUSCLE. Typically I spool reels with my Busted Line spooler which enables me to put good tension on when spooling, it should be hard work spooling a reel. Prior to getting the Busted line spooler I would wind the line onto an old Penn Jigmaster , bolt that to a bench with an Alvey reel seat (the type you can bind onto a rod) and then wind it onto the reel it was meant for. I set the drag of the reel at about 1/3 of the lines breaking strain (which matches the drag settings I would use) and that allows me to gauge the correct tension . The second is DON’T OVERFILL the reel. Up to the spool lip minus a mm is about right. I simply don’t get wind knots with any braid by doing these two things.

2.      Keeping hook in fish is a bit easier with braid , mainly because the low stretch enables a better initial hook set. I remember the first time I spun up a striped tuna on braid, the impact was like getting run over by a bus compared to the hit on nylon. With nylon tuna would often not pull drag until the line stretch was taken out whereas the fight is instantly on with braid. However if you are fast tuna will often go into a strange shock mode when first hooked and if you are fast thinking you can have them in the boat before they know whats hit ém. With braid your fighting style needs to be smooth, short lifts, side pressure  rather than big pump and wind type action. This keeps the hook hole from opening up and the hook falling out .

3.      Rigging-again keeping the low stretch properties in mind building a shock absorber into the rigging is vital. A bimini twist double will do this (it has a bungee like effect in the rigging system ) and using a mono leader will help too. The leader is also vital for abrasion resistance of which braid has very little. We can get into all sorts of debates about knots/leader length etc but generally I would try to tie a fairly short leader (depends on rod length but short enough that I could avoid winding my leader knot into my rod tip on a normal cast) onto my short double and away I would go. You can get away with longer leaders if you are tying FG or PR knots but I rarely see the need .

4.      Mono-if you are using an overhead you will need mono-braid and backlashes are not a good combo and neither are the thumb burns that braid causes.



Well-hooks I suppose, I will go into lures in the next installment. I don’t use swivels but an excellent rigging trick is this;

1.      Tie a solid brass ring to the end of your leader and use split ring pliers to change your lures, saves a lot of knot tying and means with my short leader habit I don’t run out of leader. The double ring also helps some lures “run” better in the same way a loop knot does with soft plastics

2.      Hooks-change all your hooks to black or brown chem sharpened- DON’T ARGUE WITH ME ON THIS!! Ha-ha. Seriously though the theory is that rather than “nipping” the back of the hooks the fish will swallow them, I also think it gives a better lure profile . I keep my metals in boxes without hooks these days and just put the hooks on as I use them Look for hooks with small barbs and often go a size up from the supplied hooks (which on some lures are often too small) . Just check that the lure runs well. I don’t use singles on metals but have played round with them in the past. I found that high speed metals got thrown off axis when I used them instead of a treble and couldn’t be bothered with further experiments. For salmon and tailor its probably an advantage but honestly I loose less fish than I ever did because of the excellent penetration of chem sharpened trebles and the no stretch properties of braid

3.      Split rings-are often made of chewing gum these days-when chasing bigger fish change them out if they seem a bit crappy. If you are using Halco lures with those stupid triple rings-cut them off and put some normal quality rings on (look at Japanese popping/jigging gear for an idea of quality). Your Halcos will run better and you will be able to change hooks much easier.

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