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Surf rods for the adventurous

Page history last edited by Todd 13 years, 1 month ago








Surf rods for plugging the Mexican Pacific are always a balance between rod power and personal fatigue.  Power is needed for casting distance and efficient fish fighting.  Fatigue occurs when the power of the rod exceeds the physical capabilities and casting techniques of the fisherman.

On the Mexican Pacific it is of great benefit to cast beyond the far edge of the shallow water shore shelf.  In some places this is less than 100 yards and many rods can reach that distance.  Being able to cast even farther opens more fishing locations and extends the fishing opportunities.  Obviously, longer casts require longer and more powerful rods.  But, if the rod chosen is too large it will reduce your fishing time due to fatigue. The rod will then reduce instead of increase your catch. 

A rod’s fish fighting capability should also be considered.  The fish of the Mexican Pacific will fight themselves to their death due to exhaustion.  This can only be prevented by using rods of sufficient power to land large fish without undue fighting time.

Ultimately the selection of a rod is a balance between rod power, personal strength, and casting technique.


Deciding on your preferred casting technique will be very important when selecting a rod. 

Striped bass fishermen spend lots of time casting from slippery rocks and while standing the water.  For good reasons, they usually prefer to use the “overhead thump” cast.  Striper fishermen usually do not want to change their casting style.  The “overhead thump” is a short stroke cast using mostly arm and shoulder muscles.  These people should choose an 11-12 foot parabolic rod that has a generous amount of flex to the butt section.  This type of rod trades some fish fighting power for casting comfort and efficiency. 

Other surf fishermen (and especially bait fishermen) prefer the “off the ground” (and occasionally the pendulum) cast.  This is a long stroke cast that brings the strong twisting muscles of the torso into play.  It is more conducive to 12-13 foot rods with stiffer butt sections.  This type of rod typically has lots of fish fighting power but sometimes trades off in numbers of casts per hour.


CAUTION!  The tendency is to over estimate your strength and capabilities when choosing a rod!  You will be more unhappy with a rod that quickly fatigues you than with a rod that leaves a bit of your potential on the shelf!


Here is a list of some of my favorite rods arranged in order of power:


#1 The 10.5 foot Breakaway Omega.  This is an excellent smaller rod for small people.  It “overhead thumps” easily.  The Omega gives up just a little in casting distance over bigger rods and it’s a good choice for people of small stature.  It casts 2-3 ounces well. It is available as a blank and as a finished rod.  @$225 (finished rod).


#2  The 11 foot Daiwa Saltiga SA-S1102MHFS.  This rod has a bit more power in the butt however it “overhead thumps” with low efforts.  It’s capable of long casts and has some authority in the fight.  The 11 foot Saltiga is a great choice for stronger women and men of small stature.  It casts 2-3 ounces very well.  Available only as a finished rod.  @$200


#3  The 11.5 foot Rainshadow 1387.  This is a very good “overhead thump” rod.  It has a good amount of flex to the butt section. The 1387 is easy to cast for most men of average strength.  Many fish have been landed with this rod.  It has a nice stiff tip that allows the whole length to put energy into the cast.  This blank is no longer in production but Tommy Farmers new Cast Pro 12' is quite similar (@$249 finished or $180 for blank).


#4  The 11.5 foot  CTS (CT-1160-2).  It is rated for 1-3 ounce but in my opinion it should be rated at 2-4 ounces.  This is a high class rod for the “overhead thump” fisherman.  It requires a bit more strength to generate its full casting potential.  The 1160 is a step up in fish fighting power.  It’s an excellent choice for the experienced and accomplished “overhead thump” caster.  Available as a blank only.  @ $200 (unfinished).


#5  The 12.5 foot Century HJ 144 L  This rod is rated for 1-4 ounces.  2 1/2 - 3 ounces are right in its sweet spot and that's also the weight of most favorite distance casting plugs.  This is a great rod for almost every person of decent size and strength.  It over-head thumps and off-the-ground casts very well.  This rod has it all.  Extreme casts are possible with minimal efforts and it fights fish with authority.   The outstanding rod is available as a blank and a custom rod builder can build you this outstanding rod for @$400.  The blanks are sold by Ryan White and Mike Kulick at HatterasJack or Century USA.


#6  The 12 foot AFAW Universal  This rod stands shoulder to shoulder with #5.  It's an excellent rod that will allow the majority of people to make very long casts all day long.  It's conducive to a variety of casting styles and will fight big fish efficiently.  It's great for switching off between over-head thumping and off-the-ground casting.  The AFAW Universal is a honey of a rod and it's available as a blank or a finished rod from Steve Austin in Florida.  @ $325 for a finished rod.


#7  The 13 foot Breakaway LDX.  This rod “off the ground” casts very well.  A very few VERY strong “overhead thump” casters can also manage this rod.  It has a strong tapering butt that retains lots of power.  It will cast 2 ½ -4 ounces very far.  It is quite light for such a big rod.  You can be in command during fights.  Some people would wish for higher quality guides and some people cut a few inches off of its very long handle.  Lots of big fish have been well fought with this rod.  This rod should be restricted to plugs less than four ounces and cast with discretion due to breakage history.  Available as a finished rod only. @$200


#8  The 12 foot CTS (CT-SE1201-2). It is an excellent rod and it's happiest with  @ 3.5 - 4.5 ounces.  It’s best used for “off the ground” and “pendulum” casting.  This rod has a tapering butt section that is quite powerful.  The 1201 is a rod where good casting technique is important.  Available as a blank only.  @ $210.


#9 The 13 foot 3 inch Daiwa Saltiga Ballistic (SA-BS33-405G).  It is a rod for the very serious Pacific plugger.  It's got amazing potentials but it's a rod for only those in top physical fitness and with lots of casting experience.  Without question it is an “off the ground” or “pendulum” casting rod.  It handles 3 – 4+ ounces.  A large advantage for traveling is that it is a 3-peice rod (@ $400 finished).  I would caution you that this rod will limit the numbers of casts through fatigue for the vast majority of people


There are several inexpensive rods in the 11-12 foot range that are good for the first time and casual Mexican surf plugger.  The 12 foot Daiwa Emblem (EMSF1202MHFS) is quite good for under $150.  It can be “overhead thumped” or “off-the-ground” cast.


I’ve listed only rods and blanks that are commonly available in the USA.  The serious Pacific surf plugger can find other good rods from around the world with research.













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