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live bait pier rod
Posted by: Jim Kinkennon (---.hsd1.tn.comcast.net)
Date: November 23, 2007 12:53PM

I need to cast live cigar minnows and sardines farther into the wind from Gulf fishing piers. These baits probably average 2.5 oz. The upper limit would probably be a small blue runner to lob at about twice that weight. What would be an ideal 8' or 9' spinning blank and guide set-up for this purpose? The reels would be Penn SS series, up to an 850SS.

For you custom rod pro builders, there should be a market for a rod like this. The ideal weather for catching kings frequently features strong onshore winds and rough weather. It's not like throwing lead, as the baits sling off easily. It can be a challenge at times to get any distance at all. The better anglers seem to favor large wire ring guides set in a 'cone of flight' system, resulting in a small number of big guides on the tip half of the blank. Cost may be a factor in this. I prefer ceramics and hope they could provide competitive distance.

Thanks in advance for your ideas.

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Anonymous User (Moderator)
Date: November 23, 2007 04:26PM

You can get better distance they're getting. They may be excellent king fishermen, but they know very little about building fishing rods. The only possible advantage in using larger and heavier guides near the tip, is that the guides then tend to preload the rod tip, helping to cast it and increasing the starting and stopping time. This could be a factor in keeping the bait from being torn off the hook, but I tend to doubt it. I was one of the very first people to build very fast action surf rods for North Carolina's Outer Banks Drum fishing. I got a great deal of ridicule from the old timers who insisted that it wouldn't work, the bait would be ripped off the hook, etc., etc. But they not only worked, in a span of just a couple years nearly every other rod builder around starting building fast action surf rods for that type of fishing. All those All Star, Breakaway, Loomis, etc., fast action surf blanks are based on the original blanks I built for that area back in the mid 1980's. Conventional wisdom said they would fail, but they worked like a charm.

For that reason, I'd steer you to take a look at the Seeker CLB live bait blanks with their super light, very fast action tips. The only thing that might not qualify them for what you want to do, is that they're built more for trolling and free-lining than they are for casting. I have many of them, but never really cast them. I suspect you might do well with a powerful HotShot type bank, which would also be very fast action and more suitable for casting. But you'll have to find one of the stouter ones for the kind of weight you want to throw out there.


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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Jim Gamble (---.126-70.tampabay.res.rr.com)
Date: November 23, 2007 07:03PM

Since you mentioned ... "Cost may be a factor in this", I would suggest looking at Rainshadow. You will probably find what you are seeking in both price and performance in their lineup. Why don't you call Kerry or Bill at Batson on Monday - they will steer you in the right direction.

Like Tom mentioned, a livebait blank or a heavier hotshot blank should do the trick. I would most definitely build it New Concept style with ceramic guides.

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Donald Becker (---.lava.net)
Date: November 23, 2007 10:51PM

"The reels would be Penn SS series, up to an 850SS"


Take a look at the Daiwa Emblem and EmCast reels. The spool of the Penn SS series does not favor distance casting. In my opinion, you would be trading durability for distance. If you are not casting very far, the Penn could be the better choice.

Will you be using braid? If you are, another choice of Penn reels that is made for braid may be better.

Will the fish be top or bottom feeders? If they are bottom feeders, you may want to learn slide bait techniques. You cast out the lead then slide down the bait. This technique works well from piers and cliffs as you need an angle to slide the bait.


Don Becker

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Donald Becker (---.lava.net)
Date: November 23, 2007 11:08PM

Here's a very simplified explanation of slide bait fishing.
Systems in use tend to be more complicated.


Slide buckles (aka sliders) come in various sizes and configurations.


Don Becker

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Jim Kinkennon (---.hsd1.tn.comcast.net)
Date: November 24, 2007 01:29AM

Thanks for the comments. The "cost... factor" I referred to is that lower cost may have influenced locals to use wire guides. Those folks think the "cone of flight" theory gives more distance. I don't think so; I use silicon carbide, but I know they cast 5 to 10 yards farther than I. Technique is probably a factor, but my 7' rods are probably too short and too stiff in the tip section. The trick in the blank is to load energy slowly enough not to sling the bait off, while building enough speed to get some distance.

For the time being, I'll be confined to the Penn SS reels that I have. It's a great point to consider a Daiwa next. A longer casting spool would be a big plus. I use 20lb. Power-Pro, but I've gone to a top shot of 20lb. mono as a social convention. Tangles are inevitable, and the other folks really don't like to deal with braid.

This is strictly no-weight fishing. The live baits have only a steel leader to swim around with. The principal need for distance is to keep the baits in the water longer as they drift right back in to the pier. It's a little competitive, as migrating fish approaching the pier seem to strike the first baits they encouter, which are those farthest from the pier.

I like the suggested blanks. It probably makes sense to skip 8' and go from 7' up to 9', since more distance is the object. My first pier rod is a 9 footer, and it's not too long. A 1 piece 9' rod might have to ride to Florida on the roof rack of the Minivan, but that's doable.

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Steve Rushing (---.sip.asm.bellsouth.net)
Date: November 24, 2007 12:04PM

Jim - I built a rod for similiar fishing plus light surf on a Rainshadow Hotshot blank HS1021 2pc. The suggested line 10-20lb and lure 3/8-3oz.. It is incredibly fast action. I used NCG set-up for a Shimano Stradic 4000. I use Power Pro 20lb with flouro leader. It casts a mile and has backbone to spare. The 1023 is 1/2-4oz lure weight and may be better for the weights you are using.

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Jim Kinkennon (---.hsd1.tn.comcast.net)
Date: November 24, 2007 10:37PM

Steve- With my limited casting technique, I like the idea of a slower action in the tip section. I don't get many casting days each year, and slower action blanks are more forgiving to me. Even my cobia rod has a slower action. It's built on a Lamiglas 965 8' s-glass blank, and it'll throw a cobia jig a long, long way. But casting these livies into the breeze is challenging for me. Thanks for the input.

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Jim Powell (---.dhcp.leds.al.charter.com)
Date: December 31, 2007 10:33AM

Talk to the local rodbuilders and you'll see why they are built the way they are. Youre thinking correct in selecting a more moderate action blank, but if you build a rod for this situation with any guides other than SS you will be disapointed in the finished product. These are not surf rods. Casting tiny baits into the wind is difficult, and your 2.5 oz wt estimate is way high. In this situation with fujis or any "new concept" system the line just piles up behind the stripper on the cast, causing lot of line slap and blowback on the roller of the manual pickup reels most use. The new concept guides work great in most all distance situations and even on pier cobia rods where we cast heavy jigs, but NOT on king rods. Stay away from live bait style blanks or any other fast action blanks. These result in thrown baits and decreased distance. If you prefer graphite the rainshadow 1087 is a great blank, or the 1088 if you fish a lot of hardtails. If you can find one a allstar 1087 is the perfect king blank. In fiberglass the seeker ps90 and gator t90l are popular.

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Jim Kinkennon (---.hsd1.tn.comcast.net)
Date: January 05, 2008 11:24AM

Jim P - Thanks for this great post. You seem to understand the issues involved. I got the bait wt. estimate from a site that sells frozen cigar minnows; so many baits per pound came out to 2.5 oz. I don't throw hardtails often, although I do recommend them for larger fish.

I'll check out the rainshadow 1087, and the allstar 1087. Can you propose a quide system for these blanks? How about using ss guides for the largest guides, switching to Fuji svsg titanium sic guides where the ring size permits? Perhaps just the stripper guide needs to be ss.

In examining the poor performance of my Lamiglas GLB 841M 7' spinning rods, I found I had executed the ngc system poorly. I used 7 guides, with the stripper guide much too close to the reel. I removed one small guide and redistributed the others, resulting in a 28% increase in casting distance, using a 2oz. bank sinker and 15 lb. power pro line. These rods should now be adequate for live bait kingfishing on the pier. I look forward to building a really excellent rod for the purpose, thanks to Jim Powell and the other helpful people on this website.

Now if I just had a rod that would cast me from Memphis to Ft. Walton Beach...

-Jim Kinkennon

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Re: live bait pier rod
Posted by: Jim Kinkennon (---.hsd1.tn.comcast.net)
Date: March 26, 2008 03:17PM

I'm building my pier spinning rod now. It's a 9' Lamiglas GLB 108 1M. It's configured with a 2" butt cap, 14" rear grip, Fuji H22 graphite heavy-duty reel seat and 5" fore grip. I used a 70mm ss wire butt guide and 5 svsg sic guides in the following sizes: 40,25,16,12,10. Tip is Fuji concept sic 10. Guide spacing from tip is approx: 5", 11.25, 19.10, 28.90, 41.15, 56.50. This puts the butt guide approx 31" above the reel seat.

Test casting was done with two weights: a 2oz bank sinker, and a 2oz bank sinker modified by folding a 4" round auto wax foam applicator pad around the weight and wrapping it on to add wind resistance. This is to simulate casting live baits. Reels used were a Penn 4500ss spooled with 15lb powerpro, and a Penn 850ss with a top shot of 20lb Ande mono over 20 lb powerpro.

I concluded that use of the wire butt guide did not reduce maximum casting distance with the small reel, compared to a set-up using the 40mm sic as a butt guide, and permitted effective use of the big reel. Without the 70mm ss wire butt guide, line slap type problems made the big reel ineffective for casting. It's important to have use of big reels, as tarpon, cobia, barracuda, tuna, etc., may be encountered, as well as smoker kings.

An ideal live bait king mackerel rod might have both largest guides in ss wire, but I'm satisfied with this setup as a start. An alternative might be to use a high-frame ceramic butt guide; I'm not crazy about them.

With the small reel, average distance obtained was est. at 104 yards with the bank sinker, and 60 yards with the foam-wrapped sinker.
With the big reel, average distance obtained was est. at 69 yards and 39 yards, respectively.

Absolute distances don't really matter here; the point is I couldn't find other guide set-ups which would perform better and meet my needs. Test casting was generally done into the wind, as this is the crucial factor in reaching fish most of the time. I expect actual fishing cast distances to be much less, as casts must be done so as not to kill the bait or sling it off.

Thanks to all for their input. I hope this design will combine advantages of smaller sic guides near the tip for high performance, and a big wire butt guide to facilitate big-reel live bait fishing.

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