Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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I did a casting test on a 6'6" super-UL spinning rod I made specifically for casting very lightweight lures, the rod that I have built for UL enthusiasts who want more casting distance with such lures. I used 2-lb. test on a Shimano 2500, and did ten casts each with a 1/64 oz. jig, a 1/32 oz. jig, and a 1/16 oz. jig, no other weight besides the jig; I used a 1" curly-tail plastic body on the 1/64 oz. jig head, and a 1.5" Crappie Slider plastic body on the 1/32 and 1/16 oz. heads. I made ten casts with each jighead. Here are the results:

1/64 oz. jig:
42.4'
43.6'
43'
45'
46.2'
44.4'
44.9'
45.9'
49'
42.9'
Longest cast: 49 feet
Average distance: 44.7 feet

1/32 oz. jig:
64'
57.5'
55.4'
61'
53'
59'
58.5'
56'
61'
62'
Longest cast: 64 feet
Average distance: 58.7 feet

1/16 oz. jig:
69.6'
67'
65'
66'
67.3'
64'
68'
66.7'
67'
64'
Longest cast: 69.6 feet
Average distance: 66.5 feet

So the rod cast a 1/64 oz. jig an average of just under fifteen yards, and a 1/32 oz. jig an average of just under twenty yards.

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Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on June 9, 2013 at 9:04am
no worries, Walt.
I admire what you do.
Comment by Walt Foreman on June 9, 2013 at 8:50am

Thanks for the kind words, David!

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on June 9, 2013 at 6:21am
Yeah Johnny what you got there is just "light" stuff.
The term "ultralight" is really defined by commercial manufacturers as "small light
weight stuff."
Walts test is more indicative of what a dedicated bluegill rod should do.
I like to use the word, "limber," myself as it simplifies the often confusing descriptions surrounding rods and their actions.
Alot of people just chuck it in and take up fly fishing, but luckily there guys
like Walt y help us keep our eyes on the prize.
Comment by Johnny on June 8, 2013 at 10:29pm

Ah, ok, maybe I need t back up & learn something it sounds like, mostly when I fish its for what evers in the mood to bite but do fish for BG at times, if I was a dedicated BG fisherman as yo gents are I mite have a little better insight as to what it take to cast something that weighs 1/64 oz VS a beatle spin, rapala or a worm.

 

My "UL" is a small spin'n reel stung with 6lb test & a 5-6 ft rod, it actusly mite not be a a UL at all to someone who is dedicated BG fisher & uses a real UL set up, maybe its time to look for a totaly differnt set up than what I had in mind.

learn'n is cool, love it. 

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on June 8, 2013 at 9:02pm
One thing that I find almost impossible to find is an off the rack, limber ultralight. As Walt says, they are all too stiff, or "fast."
Granted I'm not dropping a Benjamin on each of my rods. But even at the high end, I don't find this sort of rod much.
I got frustrated enough by it that I've turned to 7' spin fly rigs to get what I wanted.
Comment by Walt Foreman on June 8, 2013 at 8:17pm

My experience with the ultralights being made now, Johnny, is the opposite of what you have found - in my opinion, they tend to be far too fast in action, and not even truly ultralight.  I handled a G. Loomis UL spinning rod in a fly rod shop a couple months ago that seemed pretty close to being a true UL action, but most UL rods today are really light-action rods that are poorly suited for throwing very light lures or baits.  I guided a husband and wife from Iowa on Monday, and they had a brand-new, high-dollar, top-brand 7' spinning rod that said UL on the decal, and was supposed to be a UL - but that rod was no more an ultralight than is my baitcasting rod I use for bass.  And it cast the very light presentation we were using about half as far as my super-UL I had in the boat.

It's been my observation that upwards of ninety percent of all the rods being made by the major manufacturers now are fast-action, extra-fast, super-fast, etc.  Someone in the rod building industry has gotten it in his head that only stiff rods are good, and that's mostly all that gets made now.  Fast-action rods have a place, but I do a lot of live bait fishing, and stiff rods are horrible at that as they throw the bait off the hook constantly (I regularly see discussions on here on how to keep live bait on the hook, and people go to lots of trouble with glue, etc. - it's really as simple as using a slow-action rod that doesn't snap the bait off with the forward cast).

Additionally, a lot of anglers these days have a lot of success with super-light, 1/64-oz. and lighter, jigs, both for bluegill and many other species; and a stiff-action rod simply won't cast lures this light with any distance at all.  Fly rod enthusiasts commonly tell newbies to that world that they may need to use a line weight one size heavier than what the rod's rated for - this is because of the fast-action trend coming to fly rods as well (though in that arena there has been a backlash in the past few years and all of the top manufacturers of premium fly rods now have slow-action lines of rods).  I use this example to illustrate to people who ask me about fast-action rods, the most fundamental difference between fast- and slow-action: a fast-action rod, all other things being equal, is a heavier-action rod than the same-rated rod made with a slow-action blank.  It takes less to load the slow blank, which means it will cast lighter lures further.  

So, that's a long answer to your short question.  A limber rod has a lighter action, and will do things the stiffer one won't.  There is certainly a place for the fast-action rods; I just wish more anglers today were aware of the benefits of limber rods.  I've had a couple different guys who wanted me to build super-UL rods for them so they could cast light lures further, and when we began talking they would bring up this topic, and emphasize how they had to have a fast-action rod - even after I tried to explain to them that the reason they couldn't cast those light lures as far as they liked was because of the fast-action rods they were already using.  

Comment by Johnny on June 8, 2013 at 7:37pm

Curious...how fast is the action on the rod you built ??   for a couple years now I've been tempted to build me "the perfect UL",  nearly every UL rod I've picked up is as limber as a dish rag & I'd rather have one with a nice bit of back bone & pretty fast action to it, in all my years of fish'n only 1 rod that came close.

 

Whats your thoughts on a stiffer rod VS a limber one for UL work ??

 

Thanks in advance.

Comment by John Ratliff on April 22, 2013 at 2:14pm

Walt I just read your ultra lite results, I use a 7 ft with Shimano also  a 2lb test.  I got very simular results but I have to tell you was a lot closere to my target when a shorten my distance by about 10 to 12 ft., and if the wind was blowing across my I had to go to my 4lb test line and distance was shorter. But I sure like the 2lb line

Comment by Dustin Bellinger on April 6, 2013 at 10:32pm
I don't profess to be an expert, but I work for a major retailer in the sporting goods industry so I get to hear a lot of customer feedback on products we carry. Nanofil was really intriguing to me when I saw it released so I have kept close tabs on how that item has been reviewed and received. The results have been very mixed on it. The nice thing about getting access to hundreds of opinions is you can see trends and consensus develop rather than just having the opinion of your one buddy you talked to skew your perspective. The opinion I have come to on Nanofil is in the right hands and used in the right applications it is an exceptional product. Long casts and super sensitive. However it is really slick and thin which magnifies the importance of your knot tying. You need to tie it using the double polymer and you need to tie it well. This line does not give you much room to be sloppy in your tying. Knots that would be sufficient with another types of line will fail with Nanofil. Another area of concern is the small diameter means you have to be extra vigilant with the wear the line receives. People that aren't will tell you it breaks constantly.
Comment by Walt Foreman on April 6, 2013 at 8:40pm

Absolutely, I'd love to hear more updates about the Nanofil, as well as how the rod is doing!  How's the Nanofil as far as strength and abrasion resistance?

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