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FISHING ROD DEBATE - SOFT OR STIFF ???? - Have we lost the plot ?

Discussion in 'Sea Fishing Forum - Shore, Boat & Kayak Fishing' started by andycod, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. andycod

    andycod New Member

    Lets take a look and see if rods have changed for the good for fishing. Lets go back to the 70's wasnt many ultra stiff rods back then! Unless you took the scarborough rod and reel route. Lets look through to modern day, in the 70's the multiplyer age began i remember rods such as milbro, hardy, edgar sealy & so on, now these rods were floppy things but did they catch fish! Of course they did, Rock ,Sand, Pier, the lot. Did they cast a bait along way? Yes coupled with a mitchel 600, or a intrepid sea streak or even a early 7000 with level wind, Not quite to todays standards but double that of the old scarborough gear, so we move on then came the real changes abu 484, Conoflex, plus others, these rods could cast even further still very soft by todays standards, but did they catch more fish open to debate. Only when the real class anglers took this method onboard then things started to change! Eric Thompson "still one of the best there has been." Jeff Cook, Mick Hillaby & Joe Bamfield Just to name a few these boys could pull cod through kelp with ther soft rods! Over the next few years things moved along slowly in rod desighn but at this time a man came along that was to change all angling around scarborough and surrounding areas, a man who would use this new tackle to its limits "remembering that we are still on relativly soft rods" This man took rock angling to a level not even matched today using 7000's, 484's, Conoflex's He outcasted and outfished anyone who crossed his path, That man being Steve I'nson.but Lets get back to the rods the next real move forward was Semi-Carbon again conoflex these rods were the benchmark for everything to come, these agian were still very soft by todays standards, but did they catch less fish? No, more! And probably bigger ones too.The casting era had begun. The next major change in my mind was zziplex, still very soft actions but the part where people seem to forget is they were very powerfull capable of casting long distances with big baits and also pulling fish through heavy kelp! Zziplex moved slowly forward making quality fishing and casting rods "only fueling steve's quest even further" The other manufacturers also brought ther own models out and were very succesful with models like Conoflex's , Flicktip, & Diawa's WKT and so on, Give and take a few years. At this point i think rods became a selling tool not a fishing tool, some manifacturers decided they would even start making rods that didnt bend and just snapped "Scorpian sport for example" Shame really becuase the rods they were making before were exellent! Then came to my way of thinking some of the best fishing and casting rods ever made watching some of our local big casters use rods from this era in my opinion casting some of ther longest lines take CPS "as big a caster as there is" always thought his best was a S.V bullet "mint fishing rod". Then take ramrod watched him many times pendulum his 12 foot soft tipped terminator and land his lead in Norway! (again a excellent fishing rod) Mart Wilding another massive caster with rods from this era. Then came the stiff era, and the question i leave you with is "Have we lost the plot?" How stiff do rods need to be to catch fish on rough ground or do they need more viagra in with the carbon? please give me your opinions as i am interested to know where we are going from here and in my opinion a lot of our best catches and best fish were taken on softer rods cheers andycod
  2. time.to.shine

    time.to.shine New Member

    Re: Have we lost the plot?

    no woman takes me with a soft rod!!!!!!!!!!!!!! she likes it stiff
  3. FireFly

    FireFly Blenny

    Re: Have we lost the plot?

    A very good debate started andycod. Personally I think too much emphasis is put on the 'latest' gear to have, whether it be rod or reel.
    Of course well made equipment can help to enhance the fishing experience and you can certainly feel a good rod in your hands when used.

    I have read articles by Terry Carroll (hope I spelt that right) where he talks about getting back to 'fishing' rods and not just ones that need Goliath to bend it. I started with a Milbro 14ft hollow fibreglass rod back when time began twinned with a Mitchell 602 or was it a 620, can't remember. Most anglers would probably throw it all in the bin today. A really soft rod but very forgiving if you miss-cast. It could also belt a bait out a fair distance, don't know the distances because this was in the days when catching fish was the priority and what distance you cast was never discussed.
    I used that on Saltburn pier and pulled fish up the side the same size as nowadays. I fished Redcar rocks, Filey Brigg, Whitby piers and many other places without any problems.

    I have used Zipplex, Abu and Century rods since. I still have an old Abu 464 that I have just restored, a beautiful rod and one I used to cast pendulum style back in the late 70's early 80's using the old red Abu 7000 reel a measured distance of up to 185 yards, not bad for those days. It's actually got a kink in it at the ferrel because of the style I used to use. I have been on Redcar groins many a time casting and also watching a true gent and probably one of the best anglers this coast has seen by the name of Nelson Kirk, 'Kirkie' to his mates, practising casting along the groins as well. His rods were all 'fishing' rods. We digress a little! :)

    The Zipplex and Century rods were lovely rods but I never caught any more fish than usual just because I was using them.
    I still use the 464 and a Century formula 40 today plus another I got because of the softer action. Like most things, I believe the tool is only as good as the man using it. Coupled with a lot of knowledge and a bit of luck, being in the right place at the right time catches fish.
    A softer rod in my opinion helps a beginner with their casting to get a proper feel for casting, far more forgiving. I am now slightly disabled and sometimes nearly get thrown off my feet when using the century if I'm not careful, and that ain't a pretty sight believe me! ;D
    That's why I like a softer rod, I can get power in to it, the rod does the work rather than me.

    I fish now with a guy who was a casting instructor for the dreaded 'Sea Angler' mag until he suffered two heart attacks. He uses Conoflex rods built specially for him with butts that must be nearly 2 inches thick and uses old fixed spool reels that Arthur Negus would be proud to own if he were still alive. The rod butts look like scaffold poles, I kid you not. He has put the butt in the ground, leant against the top of it using his full body weight without even making a slight bend in the butt. He is a dream to watch when casting, I've seen him cast baits over 160 yards, not bad for an old 'un of 62 years young! He uses a back-cast style. But as he says it is hard work and can tire him out. He says that if he had a crack off, then he would fall over because of the power he puts in, which he has done on the tournament field. Personally I wouldn't want that if fishing of rock gullies etc!
    Does he catch more fish than me? No not really, we both get our fair share.

    The origin question: have we lost the plot?
    Overall I think we have a bit, a good well made, well balanced rod is a pleasure to fish with. The one thing I do believe is that some rods are now fantastically over-priced. It would be nice if the more the rod cost, the bigger and better the fish would be and the further you could cast. I'd re-mortgage!
    ;D ;D
  4. Ramsrod

    Ramsrod Rockling

    Re: Have we lost the plot?

    Probably the main emphasis of a fishing rod is to get the bait in the desired place ie where the fish are. Once this has been achieved, my personal opinion is that they don,t need to be stiff at all, regardless of the type of ground you,re fishing. A lot of rods that are classed as not stiff enough, again imo are more than capable of guiding a cod through kelp and rocks. Ive tried experimenting with retrieval speed when pleasure fishing and have found that a captured cod reeled in slowly can be almost at your feet before it realizes that it,s caught. If they do get stuck at this stage they,ve also got enough fight left in them to free themselves. My problem is I don,t have the confidence to do this in competition. Going back to the topic, my rod is,nt exactly soft (HST) but suits my aproach to fishing which is, overhead bump with a 7oz lead, 6/0 hook, big crab bait, with 30lb mainline for most of my fishing. A few years ago I used a 5oz lead with 4/0 hooks with lighter mainline and fished with much softer rods which were fine in any terrain though some anglers used to tell me they were too soft, usually the Scorpion Sport brigade :eek: :eek: ;D and we all use them now ....don,t we :p
  5. GJW

    GJW Rockling

    Re: Have we lost the plot?

    Spot on there Ray, The rod is a tool to get your bait to were you want it to go and and nothing more, to many people use a rod that is far to stiff for them and you need to bend the rod to make it work, i also have 2 HST's which i use pretty much the same as you Ray 7oz lead and a big bait.. but this rod still has a lot more to give than i can actually get out of it, i have picked up some rods and unless i was chucking 12oz of lead i wouldn't be able to bend them, as for dragging fish through weed i think you can go to stiff again and actually pull fish off.....was up the Arbroath a few weeks back and was watching Big Cliff pulling cod after cod through thick weed with a 16ft diawa fixed spool rod.. it certainly opened my eyes.. ::) ::) when he first got it out i thought ohh no whats he up to now and thought that will just fold up in the heavy weed...how wrong was i... :-[ :-[
  6. smokey

    smokey Rockling

    Spot on.I openly admit to being a Zippy fan,i have a V-Max F1 and a 14ft Dymic HT. The F1 is quite "soft,but it casts great and has more than enough power for the heavy stuff.I'm sick of people saying"what are these like,i'm told they are supposed to be stiff and powerful".Usually this comes from someone who will never bend the rod in question to 60% of it's potential,and when it goes wrong on a cast,you end up in A+E with a furked back ::) :eek:.. I also have the Dymic 14 which,so i was told by everyone,were soft and a bag of s.hite :eek:. Maybe i got a stiff one as it's as powerfull a rod as i have ever picked up ;) i can't bend it to it's max and it still go's pretty good.I've come to a conclusion that it must be some male ego trip thing when it comes down to a soft rod,but actually,the slightly softer rods will only aid "average joe" rather than be a disadvantage.They do everything a stiff rod does,while being more user friendly ;) I'm seriously thinking of having a crack with the longer rod and braid combo,purely for using in the tidal marks where a bigger cast is usually more productive :eek:. Crowey has it spot on about the older rods doing their job,my dad told me a tale of fishing a big northerly sea down Gristhorpe many years ago,scarborough reel and all(think it was 80lb straight through in them days) and having 3 big doubles in one short session :eek: :eek:, he also told me tales of fishing Skipsea in the same era,40 FISH A SESSION was common then,funnily enough he said the thornback and smoothhound fishing at Skipsea used to be phenomenal.Just my opinion on this issue,but you only have to chat to the old school about years gone by,using crude tackle to give you the answer.Yes,i know there was more fish then,but the technology was nowhere near todays ;) ;D
  7. GJW

    GJW Rockling

    Spot on Smokey... :)
  8. Bcawth

    Bcawth Blenny

    Every 1 always goes on about century TTR's. But why ??? What is so good about them ??? ???
  9. Slim Jim

    Slim Jim Blenny

    I think the secret today in this mass of rod production is to find one that suits your style of casting and as Ray said does the job fishing wise.
    We have to remember that rod manufacturers have to keep producing something new and different to keep selling rods. There will always be those that want the newest "best" (Danny can cast 6 bzillion yards with this) kit on the market, doesn't mean they can use them, but it does keep rod manufacturers in business.
    There is a place for "rods for jobs", personally I use rods with slightly different actions for beach and rock fishing. My current beach rod a Kompressor Grand Prix, I find slightly too stiff in the tip to power cast a v.large crab bait on the rocks. For that job I use a conoflex Diablo, which I find suits me better soaking up the initial surge in getting the bait moving. Thats just my personal preference, I'm sure there is someone else out there which will say the exact opposite. :) :)
  10. Jellyworm

    Jellyworm Rockling

    Well put about finding a rod fit for purpose and the angling. Having just been through the trauma of selecting a new fishing rod one big thing that caused me a few problems is that a lot of the advertising is now based puerly around distance which is usually measured over the field in ideal conditions, not as I keep being reminded of but are well aware of anyway , the demanding conditions of winetr with a slippery rock a big bait and weather. Far more to consider in a rod that an advert about perfect casting styles along with a tournament field.
    My main consideration was bite sensitivity but the tip remaining stable in heavy conditions and also power in the butt for coping with breaking leads off and dragging from snaggs.
    I have cast a K2 with big fixed spool and the distance I can hit with it is as far as my multiplier set up and much more forgiving and easier but ......thats already been debated on another thread ;).

    As for the "good old days" I sometimes think that, like all good memories, we are guilty of believing that things were better than they actually are, I mean Dick Walker caught Clarisa on a simple split cane rod and very basic reel......but how much easier the whole task would have been using modern tackle.....the acheivement was what the angler did.
    As time goes on new tackle will come along that will supercede all the current in vogue models.

    My last point stiff or soft.....I m not fortunate to be able to have a rod to suit evry different situation and so look for a good average that has to compromise in certain areas but I am sure that what I have suit most situations with no serious faults in any.

    Only a humble opinion. Regards Worm. :)
  11. Baramundi Bob

    Baramundi Bob Super Leeds United !!!

    The good old days - I had a Daiwa Paul Kerry and when you fished the West pier you never knew if you had a bite or not due to the wind and the swells, but that didnt matter as there were so many fish that year that when you wound in you always had a fish on. :D
  12. Jellyworm

    Jellyworm Rockling

    No Glenn, ;D (this medium being easily mis-understood), was referring to the good old days of some of the old tackle...or more that the stuff wasn't as good as it is now in most respects and the anglers who got those great results then, well what they do with some of the kit available now,along with the fish stocks then that is !!!! Be mind blowing I reckon :)
    ....I can remember sitting on Hull dock front and my old man pulling out an 11 lb r and the trips down the Holderness where with his old abu rod that screwed together at the ferrule and a big white multiplier (??) and a lob just past the fisrt breaker and he nearly always went home with a bag full of decent fish.Mind you the other side of "the good old days" was bait digging in the estuary an hour at Skeffling and a bucket full of monster lug or an hour at big spring low along the edge of Brid peir for some decent gullies the whole package seemed to be more in favour of those lads.
    Things are deffo a bit harder now and still think the advances in tackle make a difficult job easier.Unless you try to use kit beyond your abilities. :eek: ;D :eek:
    Don't you think that the actual soft/stiff thing is a little confusing ? With advances in tackle now a rod can be through actioned but also remain very powerful in that it doesn't just fold up with no guts but could never be called 'poker' like either.Manufacturing and materials have enabled things to be much more forgiving whilst still retaining power.
    With the use of a more forgiving actioned rod , what are your thoughts on the whole reduction in tackle , as in using lower breaking strains of line and smaller reels for a more balanced set up ?

    Cheers Worm. ;D
  13. fishergirl

    fishergirl Blenny

    excuse me??? there are women reading this thank you very much!!

    ive only used two rods - one was a brown one, not sure what make. the one i use now is a greys orion. seems quite soft and it dont half bend when you pull a 2lber in! casts well but i dont think it pulls through rough ground as well as it should.
  14. Dav

    Dav Rockling

    Technology........is all i can say , a 10 gr spinning rod set up correctly would handle a grilse , would we fish with one every time we targetted them ,,,,,,
  15. big cliff

    big cliff Rockling

    yes without doubt rods are much better today without a doubt----- BUT
    i do believe alot of anglers are -- chasing the dream, my first rod many years ago was made of hickory ( thats the wood that locomotive shunting poles were made from } then i got a greenheart rod ( the old decking on saltburn pier was greenheart wood } then split cane, things moved on no end when i got my appolo which was made of tubular spring steel { hows that lads } then solid glass , hollow glass, moncrief spring heels, abu zooms , sealeys,milbros, hardey tourneys, today i use a greys shadow, a 16ft daiwa long beam, all of them have one thing in common,
    they get you out far enough to catch fish, and pull fish through heavy weed, so many rods i see in the tackle shops look numb and overgunned
  16. bucko

    bucko Guest

    A quick look through the sea angling magazines seems to suggest a trend for 'uniform' outfits and it makes me wonder if the wider variety of outfits in the past meant people fished at a wider variety of ranges.
    There certainly seems to be an 'Aim for the horizon' attitude with regards to casting and while I realise this can be of great benefit on calm nights etc, I rarely see anglers fishing close in, be it from the pier or shore.
    And the amount of people pendulum casting in confined spaces is a tad worrying.
    Personally, whether its a beachcaster, spinning rod or fly rod the main criteria for me is backbone with a bit of give for those moments when its most needed.
  17. dabcatcher

    dabcatcher Blenny

    i find it harder to understand when a person only has one rod. this for some reason has to be the stiffest they can get. i see loads of guys boasting about having the latest stiffest rod and uses it for everything.

    i have a ttr, and wr300 but 80% of my fishing is done with an old tip tornado sport. the others are there to do a job while the tornado gives a lot more feel and fun to my fishing where conditions allow.
  18. GJW

    GJW Rockling

    You showing your age old Cliff... ;D ;D ;D but you do have a point.. :)
  19. Lobbers

    Lobbers phwwore i love gwen stefani me like

    i have found that because im a big lad, i need a big stiff fishing rod, min 14foot, the ttr meets all my requirements,, a very good fishing tool, which century have always provided for me,, it puts a bait long when required but also fishes well short.
    again with scratching rods i have found that stiff is the way for me, but in a different way,,
    i have found that since i glued my reducer on my any fish 13foot beach to make it 14foot, it is the ideal tool for scratching, but is still stiff, i think the scratching quality is in its thinness,, but could be used for heavy ground if need be..

    so definately a stiff one for me ;D

    none of these floppy old zoopies or what ever they are called :)
  20. GJW

    GJW Rockling

    Nowt wrong with floppy old zoopies, Lobbers... ;D ;D ;D

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