Lure-Rod & Fixed-spool Reel Set-up
by Brian Barwell
Here I'm going to talk about lure rods for fixed spool reels, but, make no mistake, if you're an experienced lure-angler, whether you use a fixed-spool or a multiplier set-up for your fishing, there's a whole lot to be said for both techniques. On the other hand, if you're new to these styles of fishing, you'll probably find it a tad easier to start-out with fixed-spool reel and balanced rod setup.
Front, Rear or Centre Drag?
I hasten to add that these are only my personal opinions based on my own experiences, and there'll no doubt be many other lure-anglers who'll swear-by starting-out with a baitcaster rod and multiplier reel etc., etc.
As this is an article about lure rods, I've steered clear of suggesting which particular brands of reels are worth considering for lure fishing because that's a whole separate subject !
As for whether you go for a Front, Rear or Centre Drag fixed-spool reel for your lure fishing, is again very much a matter of personal preference personally I much prefer Rear and Centre Drag models simply because I find the drag so much easier to adjust when you're tussling with a big fish.
There is one important downside
to Rear-drag reels though, and that's the relatively small drag friction washers
(and drag control knob) due to the physical constraints on their size because
of their position on the reel. This is why, in the main, Front-drag systems
have tougher drag control systems because of their larger friction drag washers
and control knob it's just that I personally just don't find them as
easy to adjust in the middle of a tussle! Maybe, Centre-drag reels give you
the best of both worlds?! I've been using one for a while now and, so far, I
rate it highly.
LURE ROD CHOICE:
Fixed-Spool Reel Set-up
for Medium-sized Lures
Cost has to be at the fore-front of everyone's mind when they're thinking of buying a new lure fishing rod, and rightly so. Fortunately, good quality and high cost don't always have to go hand-in-hand as far as rods are concerned there are some very good bargains to be had out there especially if you shop around.
Rod length is another contentious issue but again, it's very much a personal thing and depends on your venues freshwater or salt, whether you're fishing from a boat, bank or shore, your lure size, quarry size and your own styles of fishing. You'll probably find that, for a fixed-spool setup, a rod of around 8 ft or 9 ft will be fine for starters for noraml inland freshwater river lure fishing. As well as buying new, it's also certainly very much worth considering buying second-hand until you've decided exactly which rod suits you best, and you can then treat yourself !
It's certainly worth paying a visit to your local tackle shop and seeing what's on offer or what they're prepared to get for you to have a look at. That way, it's much easier to get a feel of the weight, length and balance of any rod that you're thinking about buying.
Most importantly, which ever rod you choose to suit you own personal style(s) of lure fishing, do make sure that the rod-reel setup is well balanced if you're planning to fish for long periods of time from the bank. If you can, it always pays to check-out your rod/reel balance in the shop before you buy with mail-order it's more of a problem! And whatever you do, don't even think about using your 12 ft 2.5 lb Test Curve pike deadbait rod for everyday middleweight lure fishing! Been there, done that .. and it's cr§p!
Telescopic, Will Travel & Catch Fish !
When it comes to telescopic lure rods, and normal lure rods too, you'd be hard-put to beat Shakespeare for value-for-money long-gone are they days when they could be criticised for poor quality and performance. Nowadays you can get very good performance from their rods at unbelievably low prices like the man says, "Why pay more?".
Quality and performance are the key words that describe another company's offerings in the lure rod market, Abu Garcia they've been in the game for years and these days, as part of the Berkley / Fenwick Group, they have a huge range of rods suitable for fixed spool reels, on offer at attractive prices. Of course you can pay over £100 for a top-drawer lure rod, but until you can afford to treat yourself to such niceties, there are plenty in the £40 to £70 range.
Guideline Lure Casting
If you're anything like me, eventually you'll probably end up with two or three rods of different lengths and strengths. Another bit of advice is that although most lure rods come with a lure weight range, this is only a guide and, I suspect, has perhaps been arrived at by using monofilament lines, but with braids you'll be able to fish lures that are well outside both ends of the claimed lure weight range, taking care at the upper end to make sure that the rod itself is strong enough.
Don't forget that with braids as opposed to monos, they've got very little stretch so it's smart to use a rod with a slightly softer action in the tip section, and to remember to set your drag slightly on the loose side.
If like me, you fish classic lures weighing between about 1/2 oz to 2 ozs then the choice of lure rods is much wider and they're usually a tad cheaper too. And yes, of course, there are many lure rod suppliers out there, some good and some not so good... it's just that space limitations preclude my cataloguing them all here, plus the fact that I can only honestly comment on rods that I've actually used myself.
My biggest gripe about lure rods and tackle manufacturers is that they seem to launch a particular model of rod one year, only to drop it from their range the next! I'd much rather that they offered fewer models but kept them in their range for longer, so it would be easier to get repairs or replacement sections etc.
Size, Quality, Number and Position
With a lure-rod designed for use with a fixed-spool reel as opposed to one for use with a multiplier reel, you don't need quite as many rod-rings, although I have heard the arguments to the contrary! Nevertheless, in my opinion and experience, for something like a 8 or 9 ft rod, a big butt ring of 25 to 30 mm diameter, lined with silicon carbide (SiC) and positioned on the butt section as far from the reel as practical, will help maximise your casting distance. Equally the tip-ring shouldn't be too tiny and should also be lined with SiC.
As for the other intermediate rings, their position and size, for a 9 footer you probably don't need more than 6 or 7, a total of 8 or 9 altogether, including the tip ring. As I mentioned in Part 1, I'm a big fan of line lube for braids as well as monos, and I think that you'll find that a combination of SiC-lined rings and a coating of line lube will help give you ultra-smooth lure-casting distance and accuracy.
However, if you know what kind of rod you want but just can't find one to suit you off-the-shelf, then it's always worth considering having a rod custom-built to you own specification. It may cost a bit more, but at least you'll get what you want, but please make doubly sure that you really do know exactly what you what before you give a custom rod-builder the go-ahead! There are several of these custom rod builders in the UK and many of them can be found on the Internet.
Good Tackle Companies
I prefer tackle companies that keep models in their range for more than a year! So, of the rods that I've used personally that are designed for fixed spool reels, it's got to be Shakespeare for value-for-money and especially for telescopic lure rods, Abu Garcia for quality and performance, and Daiwa and Fenwick for some nice specialised lure rods, although by the time they arrive in the UK, those superb Fenwick rods tend to be seriously expensive.
I used to be a fan of Shimano lure rods but I have rather drifted away from them buying them in the UK, partly due to their inexplicably much higher cost, although there are some good price-reductions to be had if you shop around for example if you can pick up one of their Technium rods for less than about £65, then I'd probably go for it! Hard bargaining is always worth a try because no sensible dealer will want to lose a sale. I have used a borrowed 10 ft Technium rod and it was great for casting lures up to about 2 1/2 ozs but it was difficult to balance even with one of my bigger fixed spool reels.
In recent years, I have either borrowed or bought other lure rods, specifically for fixed spool reels, from a quite a few other tackle manufacturers including Daiwa I tend for fish with medium to heavy lures but if you prefer lighter lures then you could do a lot worse than trying-out one of their Samurai-S rods. I borrowed an 8-footer recently and it was a magic little rod, though it's towards the top end of the price range that I mentioned.
Fox have a new range of lure rods available but as I haven't had the chance to try out any of them yet, I can't really comment on them in all honesty maybe you can shed some light on them by e-mailing Lurenet with your own experiences, please their Spinmaster's got to be worth a look ..... but at £75 - £80, it's just a tad higher than I normally like to pay for what I call my "every-day" lure rods.
While buying lures and accessories by mail-order makes good sense, there are PROs and CONs of buying rods by mail-order and my advice would be to be very cautious about buying "on spec". If at all possible, it's much better to get sight and use of a particular rod before you buy, or at least get a very reliable recommendation from someone who lure fishes the same ways, similar venues, for similar species and with the same sorts of lures as you do ... otherwise things can, and regularly do, so easily end in tears and grief all round. The same can be said of custom-built lure rods if the pre-purchase discussions about design, length etc., aren't thorough enough believe me, I've been there!
are More Muscular and Macho ?!
Aside from those massively strong beach-casting fixed-spool reels, as a general rule for normal everyday freshwater lure fishing, multipliers are tougher than fixed-spool reels which may be a tad limited by the strength, or lack of, of their bail-arms, drag systems etc.. With the multiplier reel, you are in direct contact with your lure and coupled with a modern low-stretch braided line, you're in more direct contact with your quarry too ....... once it's grabbed your lure !
Casting with a multiplier is a tad more tricky than with a fixed spool reel and so I've written a separate article about the Pros and Cons of a multiplier reel and rod setup for lure-fishing have a look !
Meantime, which ever reels you are using
or are planning to use for your lure fishing, I hope that my articles are of
help and interest.
click the Key-Chem logo button below
to go back to our Home Page