Monday, January 29, 2007

1/29 - Old School Vs. New School.... float-riggin'

I had a customer snap the tip off a $220 rod the other day, while sliding his stopper knot up the line to the tip. I'm not going to go into "how he could have avoided that", but lets just say I wasn't fast enough to stop him in mid stride.
I suspect that know one knows what kind of quality tackle I'm handing over to them, each day. Although, I tell them in dollar amounts what replacement cost of each rig is, while running replacement my How-to. But it doesn't phase many that one rod and reel with line COSTS more than their entire charter. I may not have to pay MSRP, but either way. A car rental company doesn't either before they rent you the car, but go by that same car yourself.
Gary Loomis the owner/founder of the G.LOOMIS rod company had a saying; "I can make a rod that you will not break, but then again, you won't want to fish with it". Gary was not only a smart man, a master Machinist, but an avid angler. He knew what other avid anglers wanted in a rod. And since I was a kid, I dreamed of owning a set of G.LOOMIS rods. Because he built them for specific purposes, specific species, and for specific anglers. I knew when I was teen, I was one of those anglers. Always looking for the edge. My rod is a sword, in which I go into battle with. I was not some rich kid, where all I had to do is ask for something and got it. I patiently waited and worked my way up the ladder, and used what worked to the best of it's ability, till I could afford the best.
And today, that motto is still there with me. The only difference is I can now afford to hand you my sword(s), and only hope you too will take care of it, and know the difference between great rods, and just adequate rods as you pursue the days species.
My Float-rig rods have an "Action", that (almost) no matter what you do you cannot pull the hook on that big ole Speckled Trout. The rods are forgiving. But in skilled hands, I can take the same rod and whip a 20 pound Redfish in a matter of minutes, still not pull the hook, and get the fish to the boat, with maximum fun. IT'S CALLED, LIGHT TACKLE FISHING.
But, when I see rod tips broken. G.Loomis Rods dropped on the side of the boat, rods smacked against the outboard, rods smacked sends shivers up and down my spine. And if ya listen closely you just may hear me grimis under my breath. Because high modulus graphite is made for sensitive-feel, light tackle fishing, not as a boat oar. These rods are light in weight, and strong on fish. Sensitive because of their high tech materials, and designed by avid anglers for avid anglers, not a weekend party-barger.
My tackle used, is by my choice. No one gives it to me. It's not free, I have to pay for it. And I strive to educate my customers, on the finer ways of the fishing life-style, I enjoy.
So with that all said.....what about Old School vs. New School when it comes to Float-rig fishing?
Well, I'm doing New School, right now. You're using my G.LOOMIS high dollar, graphite rods designed for poppin' cork fishing for Redfish & Trout.....literally designed for what we're using them for, for the one exception that we're not popping our cork, we let it float in the current. The top four rod guides remain large, rather than taper smaller, so your "stopper knot" can easily slid in and out. The action is for the size fish that we normally catch around here, and are extremely light in weight so anyone can hold the rod all day long.
The line I'm using is Super Braid line (gel-spun synthetics), not monofilament. The biggest difference is in the fact there is hardy any stretch in super braid, and it floats on top of the water. Versus mono that stretches like a rubber band, and sinks plus gets water logged. My reels are a subject that's kind dear to me. I've been a user of Abu Garcia reels since I could hold one as a child, fishing for Bass and bluegills and light saltwater. I grew-up watching people like Roland Martin, and Bill Dance, and watched them cast a bait casting reel, all day long, not a spinning reel, which was originally designed for people who couldn't cast at all. I was a bait caster man, through and through. And to this day, hate spinning reels with a passion.
My reels we use are Abu Garcia - Chrome Rockets, commonly called bait-cast reels, or "casting" for short. Of every single Abu Garcia reel I have ever owned and used in saltwater. The chrome rockets hold up the best....WHY? Because they are not stamped Aluminum, but rather "Chrome over Brass" where it counts most, when using them in saltwater.
Most Abu Garcia reels are built for fresh water fishing, I believe. But many of us use them in saltwater, because they are like a Timex watch. They can take a beating, and can keep on performing. And yes, a Chrome Rocket isn't cheap...$200 plus dollars MSRP. And believe it or not, many of mine have come off of Ebay. Yes, I have to search and make deals on Ebay, so you can fish with what I consider the BEST! I also love an Abu Garcia reel because I can break one down to parade rest in a matter of minutes, clean it, and put it together just as fast. I've been doing it since I was a kid.
Now lets go Old School on rods for Float rig fishing. Many moons ago, Float fisherman used longer rods, 7'6" to 8'6", rather than the 7 footers I have you using. Number one, it was because of line stretch. Remember, I said monofilament stretches?? And old style mono stretched more than 20%. So if you have a float drifting out 100 feet behind the boat, when a fish grabs the bait and runs, and you go to set the hook the mono can stretch 20 feet before the line is at it's breaking point or before you can get a good hook set into a big fishes jaw. So what do you want to compensate for all that stretch? A LONGER ROD, so you can swing a hook set higher and get that line tight, faster taking up any slack and stretch.
That's why I constantly preach, REEL, THEN LIFT when you have a fish pull your float under. I want you to get used to getting that line tight fast! Even though you are not using mono, but super braid line. It's just good practice.
Another reason, for a long rod when float rig fishing is that no matter what your casting skill level is with a bait casting reel, such a my Chrome Rockets. You'll be able to pitch your float-rig away from the boat further. A longer rod many times is a way to "crutch" a un-skilled caster, for the short term. Another reason maybe also, that when I have 3 on the boat, two can hold out the sides of the boat as one person goes down the middle, drifting your floats back.
Can ya see where this is going, yet?
I ordered 4- custom made 8'6" float-rigging Old School rods, made out of plain old fiberglass, so they hopefully won't break as easily. So as I can experiment with them. They won't be as light weight, and the action may not be as "light-tackle", when it comes to a big giant fish. But we're going back to Old School tackle as far as the rods go. I'll use my same reels, the same line the same floats etc. But the rods will be different. A foot and a 1/2 longer, and with foam grips instead of cork handles. I meticulously went over every detail with a local rod builder yesterday afternoon. And drove home the point to him that these have to be Old School, and have to be durable.
Because honestly, I don't think know one cares what kind of rods and reels I give them. Because if they did care, they'd take better care of them.
We all know that Float rig fishing isn't going anywhere on my boat, it's my staple. Because it works. The technique catches fish, there's no doubt. People who have never fished a day in their life can catch fish this way. And for me, it's not only a way to take those same people catching, rather than teaching them how to cast all day long, or pull their sinker out of the snags all day long. It's like fly fishing to me. You can always take it to the next level and consistently work on your techniques. Just as Golfing is Golfing......but what Tiger does is more than Golfing sometimes. That's how I look at the Float rig. There's always a bigger species to catch on it, or a different species to target with it, and it goes on and on.
So when these new custom Old School rods come in. I'll be mixing Old School and New School together, and hope we all are happy at the end of the day.
This will be a test to see, what I like better. I'll report when I get them and have customers use them.
Hope to have you aboard,
Capt Dave

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