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Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: George Mock (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: January 28, 2008 08:20AM

What size tip top ring would you surf rod builders recommend for a "heaver" type conventional surf rod? I'm talking about a twelve foot rod that's comfortable throwing eight ounces of lead plus a chunk of bait. Probable line size would be 20lb with a 50lb shock leader added.

I know some custom builders go with size 16 because they figure that they'll have to pass large knots. I tie an Aussie Braid in my running line for a doubler and then attach the shock leader with a no-name knot. My knots are very small so I start the guides out at a size 25 and take them down to a size 12 tip-top. I have absolutely no problem with that set-up.

OK, so I have a guy who has considerable surf casting experience telling me that he uses a size 20 tip-top. He uses such a large tip top for two reasons: 1. Because when grass or seaweed gets hung up on the shock leader knots, he can pull the clump right through the guides and clear the knots at the reel instead of having to clear the weed at the tip top as would be the case with a smaller guide. And 2. Larger guides have less friction so his casts are longer.

I am not going to change what I am doing but this guy is giving this advice to novice surfcasters. What do you guys think?

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Ed Kindervater (---.co.chesterfield.va.us)
Date: January 28, 2008 08:51AM

I use 12's on mine without a problem. I have some customers want a size 16. I don't think you will notice any difference in distance between a 12 and 16 or even a 20. The weed clearance might be an issue but I don't have any problems with it.

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Bruce Wetzel (---.nmci.navy.mil)
Date: January 28, 2008 09:01AM

I use 16's on all of my big surf stuff. Do I need something that big? Probably not, but it gives me piece of mind.

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Charlie Smoote (---.pns.bellsouth.net)
Date: January 28, 2008 09:30AM

Not to be cute, but as large as required to pass the shockleader knot. Usually no larger than a 12. On my personal rods, I use 10s, but I braid.

I make mine from single footed guides and it is the same size as my running guides.. I have seen a rod with a tip top one size larger than the running guides Don't ask me why. C2

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Jeff Shields (---.static.twtelecom.net)
Date: January 28, 2008 10:05AM

12 or 16 would work fine. Like Bruce says, do you need a 16? Probably not, but it's good insurance.

Oh, BTW, on a side note, your shock leader should always be at least 10x the weight you are tossing. So 8 oz x 10 would mean you would want at least an 80lb. shock leader. That's just what I've been told for years and it works for me.... guess that size 16 ring is sounding better and better now.... lol.

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Chris Garrity (---.phlapafg.covad.net)
Date: January 28, 2008 10:27AM

I agree with Ed K.: though you're not likely to need anything bigger than a 12 or maybe a 16, on a big surf heaver you're unlikely to notice any performance difference between any of the three. Think about it: you're using an 11 or 12 foot rod, a reel that weighs more than a pound, 8 or 10 ounces of lead, and a hunk of bait that weighs three or four ounces. What difference is the couple of grams between a 12 and a 20 going to make?

The last time I set up a rod for use with a shock leader, I tied a big, bulky, amateurish shock leader knot, and did my test casting with it. I wanted to use a "worst case" scenario during testing, so that I could be confident that during actual use -- when the knots would be tied better and smaller -- the rod would perform well. I ended up using size 16 running guides, which passed my big knot just fine. As a result, I can't imagine anything larger being necessary. And I can easily believe that if one ties very compact shock leader knots (like with braid), one could get away with using size 12s.

So is a size 20 tip top necesary? Unless there's something I can't see, absolutely not. But is using one hurting anything? Not really. Just my 2 cents, of course.

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Bob Balcombe (---.ka.centurytel.net)
Date: January 28, 2008 02:05PM

George: All the information you have received is valid. But the information your Matt is giving you is also correct. Reason being you are receiving info from different areas. May I suggest that you try 3 different tip tops and find the one you are comfortable with. Buy changing tip top you well not change the guide spacing. Just use a hot stick glue, to glue the tip tops on with and go casting
Good Wraps Bob

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Mark Ganrude (---.odec.com)
Date: January 28, 2008 02:15PM

I build long rods for both surf fishing and tournament casting. From a performance (distance) standpoint a blank with smaller guides wil recover slightly faster and I use 12's as ageneral rule of thumb, but may use a 16 top for the fishing gear.

I understand the weed issue, but personally don't want to drag and bounce a bunch of weeds down the rod, some will get stuck in a guide or two, and some will bounce and splatter junk all over the reel as it makes it way down the rod. I prefer to clear the weeds prior to them entering the tip top, not after. If the weeds are really bad it will ball up around your shock knot and make a mess that will not pass thru any size guide, so after a point if becomes an ineffective strategy- time to go home, or wait the tide change out, if the weeds's are that thick.

Regards, Mark

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Kyle Ligon (---.austin.res.rr.com)
Date: January 28, 2008 02:41PM

I build alot of surf rods for tourament casting and fishing. I usually make the tip one size larger than the smallest running guides. I usually use #10s for the smaller guides and a 12 for the tip. My knots have no problem getting through the guides or tip top. Artie hebert (may he rest in peace) used to build all the tourney rods for the SFCCI and he taught me that. His theory was that your rod is seldomly pointed directly at the line coming out the end of the rod so a slightly larger tip would compensate for this. During a tourney cast the rod should be pointed straight down the line flowing out of the rod guides. Wind and other factors can alter that even when you are doing your best to point that rod the right way. This tourney stuff translates to fishing long distance, not just tourney casting. Hope that helped.................Kyle Ligon

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: Russ Pollack (198.139.109.---)
Date: January 28, 2008 03:19PM

Size 12, in general. I agree with the comments that the weeds should stay outside the guides, and about the rod being in-line with the plane of the cast (thanks from me too, Artie).

Otherwise, use 50mm guides along the whole length of the rod, with a 20 or 25mm tip, and then put a "weed trap" on the stripper. That way, you can clear not only weeds but small oysters, clams, and other stuff that sometimes comes in from the surf.

Uncle Russ
Calico Creek Rods

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Re: Surf Rod Tip Top Size
Posted by: George Mock (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: January 28, 2008 05:35PM

Thanks Uncle Russ.....that was great!

And thanks to everyone else for their input! In all fairness to the guy who was suggesting a 20mm tip top, he supported his choice by recounting those occasions when he was crotch deep in the surf and reaching the top to clear the weeds would be difficult.

Again, thanks for sharing your expert opinion.


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