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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 07-29-2011, 12:24 AM
OneLastCast91 OneLastCast91 is offline
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Default frank surf rods?

I am looking for a new surf rod 10 to 10'6 ft..I was wondering if you had any suggestions on the best rod to buy. I need a new rod to get beyond the 2nd wave and beyond the third but at the same time I need a rod I can cast lures with all day. I am willing to spend around 200 to 225 dollars. Thanks
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Old 07-29-2011, 02:18 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

I assume you are planning a spinning application as that is the most popular. Because the rod will be used for both lures and bait, I would plan the lure application for the new stick because you can more easily adapt a lure rod to bait fishing that a bait rod for lure fishing. My choice has been controversial in the past and that could come up again but 10 feet is too long for hurling artificials. My rods are all around 9-3 for both spinning and conventional. If you don't like that, go shorter, not longer.

As for price I can't help you though our guys here can. In general, I would shy away from production sticks from the big box stores and talk to a custom rod maker -- they are all over the place and usually more competent -- and whatever they make the most of is what people like and the choice is made for you. Tell the boss what you want, what you told me. Also, take in what our guys here say.

Surfrods are like women: the first one is always a mistake. For that reason whatever you decide upon when starting will end up being your back-up rod.
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:41 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

You are looking for the impossible rod, IMHO. A long rod that will toss bait or heavy lures (jigs,etc) is a very plausible goal. But, it will
be a bear to toss lures on all day. A good lure rod, that won't kill you need not be over 9 or 9.5 ft. but, it won't be able to get your
bait or jig out to the third wave in most cases. The dynamics of both rods are so dissimilar that it's futile to find the all in one model

I have a 11' Ron Arra conventional custom made by Canal B&T. It will cast to the third wave, easily. It has cast across the canal twice. It will cast a pogy or mackerel and a 3oz pyramid away out there and that is what it's made to do. You couldn't toss a plug for more than an hour without resting.

I have a 9.5' Ugly Stick custom graphite rod that I can, and have, cast a 3oz plug with all night without tiring. But it's useless for bait fishing.

I'd suggest you ask around for several custom rod makers and talk to them. I've be very surprised if an experienced maker would even offer to make the rod your dreaming of. Keep the rod you now have for what it does best and have the new rod made for the other thing.
Bill
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Old 08-13-2011, 04:43 PM
StephenK StephenK is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

"talk to a custom rod maker" - Great advice (of course). Often custom rod makers (or at least they used to) have a selection of rods already made which are typical of their mainstream, custom, rods. I still use a nine footer that came off the rack from a shop in Apponaug, RI in 1976. It was one of two I bought that day to replace gear stolen from my car. One replaced my buddies rod which also was stolen. It was one of his Dad's. It wasn't just any rod. I think a guy named Jerry made it, in the Silver Lake section of Prov. The off the rack replacement will never be as good, but the bass it pulled out of spots like Frenchmans and Black Point probably didn't notice the difference.
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Old 08-13-2011, 05:29 PM
StephenK StephenK is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

[quote=StephenK;2356565]"talk to a custom rod maker" - The Silver Lake custom rod maker was Butch, that was a long time ago.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:48 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

Years ago the big store rod makers had no clue for what was needed for surfcasting. That is why the custom shops were able to take over the market. Rod lengths all hovered around nine feet with six inches either way in places like the ones mentioned above or Murat's where I first learned about big shots who like to talk down to people just starting out. Murat would make a rod whatever size you wanted and he often got special requests. But the lion's share of his assemblies was that constant.

When my wife, Joyce, began to lust over my riggie fishing and the monsters I courted in the striper surf it was necessary to beef up her 8 3/4 foot spinner for riggie fishing and Tony C on the Cape knew exactly what she needed and it was very standard. Now, I am aware that I am on old has-been who no longer knows what is needed but custom shops still offer that stuff. And the coolies in Tanganyika are still winding guides onto 15 foot surfrods for the importers.
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:11 PM
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RobS RobS is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

Have to admit I don't have a good plugging rod right now.

I got an 11' Tsunami conventional that is very good for tossing bait. Probably not as good as the Ron Arra Bill mentions but it is serviceable for sure, but no way I'd want to toss plugs all night with that.

Have 2 low end off the shelf plugging rods that are serviceable, one for 1.5 - 2.5 oz (says 3 but a little light for that) and the other is decent for 2 up to 3.5. Don't have a good rod that can handle big wood yet.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:47 PM
jahgringo jahgringo is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

Like everyone else said, plugging rods wont do bait duty. But if you want a nice plugging stick... I'd look into lamiglas or st. croix. Ive never done the custom thing, but my two plug sticks have been awesome. My lami, love that rod, is for my bigger stuff/spring run gun. And my st. croix is a bit lighter for double duty on fluking.

Just wanna give lami a plug here... pun intended, hurrying out of my house at some weird hour, I shut my rod tip in the door, took off about 6 inches. I still wanted to fish so i just stuck the top guide on the busted piece... But afterwards I called up lami and they said send us whatever you have left and we'll build you a fresh one for 100$ I paid 220+ for the rod and it was a model that they didnt make anymore (9' Inshore Classic XH 1 piece). Since it was the summer blues situation i kinda just left it on the back burner. A month or so passed and i called em up and the lady was like oh shoot, i totally forgot about that one, its almost done were just waiting on the same color thread that your old rod was wrapped with. I just told her not to worry and just use whatever you got. She actually went back to the shop and asked the guy to finish it ASAP. Mind you, i wasnt pushing them, i didnt need it right away. So the next day Lami calls me back and tells me they finished it and are express shipping it to me at their cost. Got a 9' PVC tube 2 days later. You really can't find customer service like that anywhere, period. And that is the kind of thing that speaks to me, plus they are an American company. They built me a fresh rod that they dont have in stock and did it without any hassle at all. I've been a sworn lami customer ever since, though i havent needed to buy any rods, because now i make sure the tip goes out the door first.

Sorry for going way off topic, but i want you to get something youll love... and know if something ever goes wrong, youll be taken care of like i was. Big ups to lami!
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:04 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobS View Post
Have 2 low end off the shelf plugging rods that are serviceable, one for 1.5 - 2.5 oz (says 3 but a little light for that) and the other is decent for 2 up to 3.5. Don't have a good rod that can handle big wood yet.
You can use a bait rod for really big wood, as big wood plugs usually weigh 4-5 ounces, which is the range that most bait rods are designed to throw. But this is an imperfect option, as a rod designed for slinging bait is never going to throw plugs all that well. And I know that heaving big plugs with spinning gear just doesn't seem right to me: conventional works much better with this stuff.

I have such a fetish for big wooden plugs, and am such an inveterate tackle junkie, that I'm putting the finishing touches on a rod that's designed for these lures; I'm affectionately calling it my Big Wood Heaver. It's built on a heavy 9-foot blank from American Tackle that's comfortable throwing up to 6 or even 7 ounces; it's built conventional (it's a spiral, actually), with a Penn 525 mag, and I splurged a bit, and am putting titanium guides on it. The rod will also be great for big bucktails in a northeast blow, and I'll even be able to bridge fish with it.

This is one application where (sense a pattern here with my comments?) a custom is really the only viable option, as, to the best of my knowledge, there isn't a single factory rod that will throw a 10-inch pikie well (the blank I used is only available to custom builders; American Tackle doesn't sell factory rods). I should have it finished in the next week or two, in plenty of time for the fall run, and you're more than welcome to borrow it, Rob, if you're going to be hurling Big Wood at some point this fall.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:31 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

Not sure I know how to follow Chris's post on big rods.

For me a sort of contemptuous attitude has evolved regarding rods and their casting. Fine, answering a generalized question here from someone starting. But once the subject starts getting technical treatment a number of issues spring to mind which push buttons appropriate to what surfmen are after.

First the notion of distance has little meaning to me mainly becaue the places where I have surfcasted for stripers distance had little meaning -- nobable excepions like the Canal.

Second, in a lifetime of surfcasting I have found very few competent casters who really knew what the hell they were doing.

Third, the idea that more rod is better has repeatedly demonstrated both its futility and lack of understanding.

Four, notions like endurence and the hard work inherent to surfcasting seem never to get suitable attention.

Five, Ball field distance casting contests should never garner more attention in the angler mind than the interrelationship of conditions if your interest is fishing.

Six, (and I am running out of breath) I knew a surf fisherman who won the local Beach Buggy Association distance event every of the last 20 years of his life. His ace-in-the-hole: pouring beer on his spool when his turn to cast came.

Seven: over and over when gales blew at Race Bar and regulars -- some with 40 years of surf experience -- could not open the doors of their buggy, they would not even try to cast! Again, not even try!
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:22 PM
OneLastCast91 OneLastCast91 is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

Thanks guys, I have decided that I will probably get the st. croix mojo 10 footer. I liked how it was light so if i decide to throw bait I have it and I will keep my spare old rod for the plugging in the trunk just in case.
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:38 AM
Jon006 Jon006 is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

Before you spend on that mojo I would suggest you consider Franks advice again on avoiding a manufactured stick such as the mojo. Not to say thats a bad stick but there are better performing blanks out there for sure. Call CMS Customs in New Bedford. I've purchased from them a few times and honestly you can't go wrong there. They have a bunch of customs pre-made and ready for sale. Or you can have them build one. The rods they build on the rainshadow blanks being closest to your budget. Ask about the SUR blank, I own one, its a bit long at 10'6 SUR1266 is the number. You can throw 8 and bait with it or jig with out issue. It is heavy stick oower wise and doesn't throw under three oz with much response, ie the blank doesn't load well with the light stuff.
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:19 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

I no longer know what is being done. My latest rod, which is a while back was a Fisher graphite custom (which I think is discontinued). Back in the day lami customs dominated. The big rod makers, with the exception of St Croix, don't seem to know how and what to instruct the girls from southeast Asia to assemble. Custom is safe and represents the marketplace.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:21 PM
Jon006 Jon006 is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

I enjoy the crastsmanship and helping the guy here in the US keep his doors open. It also helps to have someone to build something to your specifications, with the hardware you prefer and the action that best suites the application. What I don't care for is paying for a brand name, marketing, ect.

Also doesn't help having a st. Croix rep literally berate me for the way I was feeling the tip stiffness of a legend at a trade show. Those guys do nothing for me. I go to CMS or any other local guys shop and I get treated with respect and it doesn't cost extra.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:36 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: frank surf rods?

There are some very stupid people in retailing which is why so many go out of business. The rep you are talking about, Jon, probably has still never made a fishing cast in his life. He just needed the job and St Croix needed somebody to go around and bust angling balls. Selling books I have had shops double their money over a few weeks and when they were asked, they checked, and found they had sold them all. But they are not smart enough to reorder.

I place books at an 8 percent mark up for me. Then I have a store offer to pay me less for my books. Now go to that store and offer them less for a custom rod and see what they say. I just don't call them any more.

OTS, where the heck is the third wave? I have been standing on the beach for 60 years and the waves move too fast to be counted. I'll keep trying .
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