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Ugly sticks, best rods for some presentations?

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On my fishing trip this summer, the two spinning rods I used the most were a Dobyns ML Sierra for plastics and an Ugly Stick M GX2 for spybaits, jerkbaits, and some plastics (heavier swing heads mostly). 

 

The Dobyns is a phenomenal rod and wish I would have bought a couple more with last years 25 days sale, but the action of the Ugly really has done well with the spybaits and jerkbaits, and heck the price can’t be beat. I have seen similar things with baitcasters too. My favorite stick is the aqua blue wright McGill fiberglass Clunn square bill rod that works great for ploppers, lipless, square bills and heavier jerkbaits.

 

Sometimes in the mid/high end rod market, they forget that a rod with a parabolic bend can be an anglers best friend, and finding a moderate action is near impossible. It also helps out for those of us that mainly fish braid. Not saying we should all load up on Ugly sticks, but I have come to the realization that no matter how many Dobyns, St Croix, etc rods I carry, the Ugly and Clunn rod will always be on deck. 

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A little surprised that nobody responded to mock me, question my sanity, etc;)

 

The true question I have is why is it so hard to find mid to high end rods with a moderate action which is my ideal action fishing braid because it leads to less lost fish. I did pick up a St. Croix Premier MH moderate action BC rod that has worked well for me. There are a lot of presentations and line choices that can benefit from a moderate action rod. That is why I have stuck with the ugly sticks in some cases even though they won't be the most sensitive rod, the presentations don't really need the sensitivity.

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I agree you don’t always need high dollar rods for some techniques. I have some expensive rods like a Loomis GLX but I also have that same Rick Clunn 6’8” square bill rod and love it too. I got it and the deep cranking model for $25 each on close out at Dicks. I also searched for the Lipless rod but never could find one. I only wish the square bill rod was a little lighter. I have tried a few other Crankbait rods but haven’t found one I like better. I don't do much crankbait fishing out here in MA anymore because all the ponds I fish are so full of weeds that I can barely fish a texas rig without pulling in weeds on every cast. I also have an Academy H20 Xpress Ethos HD Crankbait rod I got on sale but I don't like it as much as the Clunn rod. I have been eyeing a St. Croix Avid X 7” MM, but I can’t get past the micro guides. I also think I will always keep the Rick Clunn Square Bill rod. There is something about it that feels great. I think it’s the heavy(slow) action and the way it vibrates when winding a square bill back in. 

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On 7/28/2019 at 11:57 AM, cgolf said:

It also helps out for those of us that mainly fish braid.

I don't know what you're doing, but I fish braid on fast and extra fast action rods and have no issues with losing more fish than I did before switching to braid. In fact, I prefer braid with a fast or extra fast rod.

 

With braid you're gaining the ability to make hooksets at the ends of long casts, and you gain so much sensitivity compared to mono/flouro. A moderate action rod diminishes both of those characteristics heavily (especially in such a low end rod like an Ugly Stik). Braid is also "bad" for the techniques where you'd want a slower action rod (ie treble hook baits), though I do sometimes use smaller crankbaits with braid just because that's what's on my reels at the moment, and I haven't noticed anything too bad as long as I'm paying attention. There really isn't too much of a reason to use braid with a slow rod, they're both made to solve opposite problems and you pretty much end up back at square one because they're fighting each other. If it works for you, then I guess keep going, just don't be too surprised when you don't convert many people haha.

12 hours ago, cgolf said:

A little surprised that nobody responded to mock me, question my sanity, etc;)

You called? lol.

 

You're definitely in the minority for wanting a moderate rod to use with braid, which is why every line of rods doesn't include a moderate. However, there are plenty of options in the mid-high end market for a slower action, even glass rod. Dobyn's has a Champion cranking rod (both a graphite and a glass option), Loomis has a cranking version of their IMX, and Phenix has a line of glass rods too. Can't forget Powell just introduced a new Max line that has fiberglass rods as well. Those are just off the top of my head, there's options if you look around.

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10 minutes ago, hwright38 said:

I don't know what you're doing, but I fish braid on fast and extra fast action rods and have no issues with losing more fish than I did before switching to braid. In fact, I prefer braid with a fast or extra fast rod.

 

With braid you're gaining the ability to make hooksets at the ends of long casts, and you gain so much sensitivity compared to mono/flouro. A moderate action rod diminishes both of those characteristics heavily (especially in such a low end rod like an Ugly Stik). Braid is also "bad" for the techniques where you'd want a slower action rod (ie treble hook baits), though I do sometimes use smaller crankbaits with braid just because that's what's on my reels at the moment, and I haven't noticed anything too bad as long as I'm paying attention. There really isn't too much of a reason to use braid with a slow rod, they're both made to solve opposite problems and you pretty much end up back at square one because they're fighting each other. If it works for you, then I guess keep going, just don't be too surprised when you don't convert many people haha.

You called? lol.

 

You're definitely in the minority for wanting a moderate rod to use with braid, which is why every line of rods doesn't include a moderate. However, there are plenty of options in the mid-high end market for a slower action, even glass rod. Dobyn's has a Champion cranking rod (both a graphite and a glass option), Loomis has a cranking version of their IMX, and Phenix has a line of glass rods too. Can't forget Powell just introduced a new Max line that has fiberglass rods as well. Those are just off the top of my head, there's options if you look around.

I did find the St. Croix premier in a moderate action, which is a very nice rod. I think it was @A-Jay that has recommended the KVD cranking rods to me. They are on my list to try, just couldn’t pass up the deals on the St. Croix and Dobyns. 

 

I had always heard with braid a moderate action rod keeps from ripping the hooks out, and gives a little more control/buffer if a fish surges or jumps. Actually thought a lot of pros used moderate rods for cranking. 

 

Sensitivity wise, I have two st. Croix’s in similar price points, Eyecon and premier with one being a moderate action and one a fast. I feel the sensitivity is similar just need a bigger hookset with the moderate action rod. 

 

I will I’ll give you the Ugly sticks are heavy, but I have fished them so long from the days when that was all we could afford I have become used to using them. 

3 hours ago, Crankin4Bass said:

I agree you don’t always need high dollar rods for some techniques. I have some expensive rods like a Loomis GLX but I also have that same Rick Clunn 6’8” square bill rod and love it too. I got it and the deep cranking model for $25 each on close out at Dicks. I also searched for the Lipless rod but never could find one. I only wish the square bill rod was a little lighter. I have tried a few other Crankbait rods but haven’t found one I like better. I don't do much crankbait fishing out here in MA anymore because all the ponds I fish are so full of weeds that I can barely fish a texas rig without pulling in weeds on every cast. I also have an Academy H20 Xpress Ethos HD Crankbait rod I got on sale but I don't like it as much as the Clunn rod. I have been eyeing a St. Croix Avid X 7” MM, but I can’t get past the micro guides. I also think I will always keep the Rick Clunn Square Bill rod. There is something about it that feels great. I think it’s the heavy(slow) action and the way it vibrates when winding a square bill back in. 

I would really like to find a couple more of the square bill rod. Besides cranks it has become my plopper and jerk bait rod too. Very versatile rod. 

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40 minutes ago, cgolf said:

I had always heard with braid a moderate action rod keeps from ripping the hooks out, and gives a little more control/buffer if a fish surges or jumps. Actually thought a lot of pros used moderate rods for cranking

You're right, but they usually use flouro, not braid. The line isn't what's making them choose a slower rod, it's the technique.

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16 minutes ago, hwright38 said:

You're right, but they usually use flouro, not braid. The line isn't what's making them choose a slower rod, it's the technique.

I have tried flouro and just hated it as mainline, leader ok. I do use yo Zuri hybrid for my deep cranking and walleye trolling and 25 lb big game for swimbaits. 

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Great post!

 

That was a winter project for me this past winter. Looking for what I perceived to be the right 7 ft. Moderate softer tip for the type of crankbaits I fish. I went with the Abu Garcia Veritis “Winch” rod. I think I’m going to get another this off season. Have two of them rigged. My fish have been small but I like every thing about it. I have a slower ratio reel on the set up. 

 

The rod is not real expensive. Play the sales and discounts to get it. But a rod has to be the right touch. Opinions are not the answer for you. 

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22 hours ago, cgolf said:

A little surprised that nobody responded to mock me, question my sanity, etc;)

 

The true question I have is why is it so hard to find mid to high end rods with a moderate action which is my ideal action fishing braid because it leads to less lost fish. I did pick up a St. Croix Premier MH moderate action BC rod that has worked well for me. There are a lot of presentations and line choices that can benefit from a moderate action rod. That is why I have stuck with the ugly sticks in some cases even though they won't be the most sensitive rod, the presentations don't really need the sensitivity.

Loomis MBR'S,.....look no further.    And I didn't have to mock you😂

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Another advantage of building your own.  Lots of moderate actions available as blanks.  AND, there are really high quality, highly sensitive, moderate action blanks that don't break the bank.

 

The answer to your true question is, I believe, that anglers have concluded that faster is better, period.  The rod companies are just providing what anglers are asking for.  

 

One of my favorite spin rods is a 7 foot moderate action, ML power, very sensitive, blank costs about $70 if I remember correctly.  I have a casting rod made from another blank that almost perfectly matches the weight and CCS numbers of a Loomis moderate action rod, blank costs about $80.

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Just now, MickD said:

Another advantage of building your own.  Lots of moderate actions available as blanks.  AND, there are really high quality, highly sensitive, moderate action blanks that don't break the bank.

 

The answer to your true question is, I believe, that anglers have concluded that faster is better, period.  The rod companies are just providing what anglers are asking for.  

 

One of my favorite spin rods is a 7 foot moderate action, ML power, very sensitive, blank costs about $70 if I remember correctly.  I have a casting rod made from another blank that almost perfectly matches the weight and CCS numbers of a Loomis moderate action rod, blank costs about $80.

Building rods could be a future hobby. What are the setup costs? Would just have to convince the wife that it is cost effective.

 

I did ask John Crews and Ike on twitter about a cranking rod and John came back with moderate action with power rod and flouro. It is funny that the general angling community might have come to a different conclusion than the folks that do it for a living.

 

I do remember a similar thing about the split grip. Gary Dobyns was on Kent Browns show and wasn't in favor of them at the time because I believe he said it was harder to balance a rod, but he had them in the lineup because everyone wanted them.

 

I just go with what gives me the best performance. My Avid MH fast action BC rod I find very sensitive and seems to hook them just fine, but I tend not to use it as much because casting distance and accuracy is a little less than my moderate action rods. I do fly fish too, so that could impact my rod choices as well.

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cgolf, building your own rods will not be cost effective. If you are thinking to save money building your own rods, please think again. In some cases, you may come close, and in others you will not. However, there is a certain satisfaction to be had catching fish on a rod you’ve built yourself. And, you can build something you can not buy. You can make it to suit you. Want a longer or shorter hanlde?. No problem. Need a fatter grip? No problem. Want a particular rod length? Buy a blank a little longer and trim a few inches off the butt end. See where this is going? You can build exactly what you want.

 

As far as initial costs go, you do not need to spend much at all. I built my first rods using a setup I built from scrap wood left over from a remodel project. In reality, that setup cost me nothing but some time. And it worked well enough to convince me that rod building is something I truly enjoy. I have since spent some money. A nice power wrapper, wood lathe with all the chucks mandrels and accessories required, compound miter saw, benchtop band saw, home made dust collection system, whole house hepa filter for dust, etc, etc, etc,,,  The shop monkey is every bit as needy as the bait monkey.

 

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1 hour ago, .ghoti. said:

cgolf, building your own rods will not be cost effective. If you are thinking to save money building your own rods, please think again. In some cases, you may come close, and in others you will not. However, there is a certain satisfaction to be had catching fish on a rod you’ve built yourself. And, you can build something you can not buy. You can make it to suit you. Want a longer or shorter hanlde?. No problem. Need a fatter grip? No problem. Want a particular rod length? Buy a blank a little longer and trim a few inches off the butt end. See where this is going? You can build exactly what you want.

 

As far as initial costs go, you do not need to spend much at all. I built my first rods using a setup I built from scrap wood left over from a remodel project. In reality, that setup cost me nothing but some time. And it worked well enough to convince me that rod building is something I truly enjoy. I have since spent some money. A nice power wrapper, wood lathe with all the chucks mandrels and accessories required, compound miter saw, benchtop band saw, home made dust collection system, whole house hepa filter for dust, etc, etc, etc,,,  The shop monkey is every bit as needy as the bait monkey.

 

So its a lot like fly tying, definitely not coming out ahead on that one monetarily, but it is a fun past time so that makes up for it. 

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As I recall, those aqua Rick Clunn rods weren't available for very long.  I touched one once - too heavy for me. I found a relatively cheap BPS Extreme Rod that was 2 or 3 ounces lighter and could throw a half ounce square bill as far as I needed to.  I've touched the Ugly Sticks at Walmart and had the same feelings, i.e. too heavy for me.  Granted - 20 or so years ago I might have felt different, but my wrists tell me that a lighter rod is better for me and I don't have to eat an Alieve prior to getting on the water and another one on the way home.  Just not a fan of heavy rods.

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Slower action or moderate action bass rods are usually labeled "crankbait". You can cast and retreive a "moderate" action rod with ease because they load up more of the rod blank helping to launch a lure over a wider release point.  The slower action has less initial velocity and that helps bait casting reels not to over run the line reducing backlashes.

The faster the action is less the rod blank bends with only the top 1/2 coming into play during a casting motion. The more rigid the rod blank is the less it absorbs vibration increasing what anglers call sensitivety. Trade offs.

Fibergall fibers weighs a lot more then graphite carbon fibers and less expensive. Blends of fiberglass and carbon fibers reduce weight and less rigid, most "crankbait" rods today are blends with moderate actions nd fall into the mid price point bass rod category.

The problem is few bass anglers use spinning reels for "crankbait" specific use. You may need to look at trout or walleye rods that tend to be moderate action rods.

My personal favorite 1/4 oz to 1/2 oz crankbait rod is Loomis PR 845 C, available in spinning PR 845 S and Iovino Major Craft Splash-It rod, I use for top water and jerk baits.

Tom

PS, PR stands for popping rod designed for making long cast to bone fish.

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My comments on having found some excellent blanks for reasonable cost may have been misleading.  I probably, over all, have spent more on rods than I would have if I hadn't gotten into building.  But I have a lot more rods, some on costly blanks, some on rather "cheap" blanks.  It is a hobby, so there is the aspect of doing something for the pleasure.  I also make rods for family , which is rewarding.  I make one rod a year for auction at an educational foundation, which brings the foundation significant money.  Often I build just to try out a new blank that has become available.  I build to my design to my preferences with the guides that I want, and I really enjoy being able to do that.  Finally, I have made my own CCS measuring device, and using that I can better understand what I'm going to get when that blank comes in the mail.

 

So if one can avoid all these reasons for turning building into a costly hobby, what does a self-made rod cost compared to a factory rod with the same components?  I believe that I can make a  top quality rod for about half, or a little more than half, the retail price.  It doesn't often happen though, because I usually use better guides and cork than they do.

The final rod will most likely be better built than the factory rod because I don't skimp on epoxy when building the grip/handle.

 

Bottom line, will you save money?  Most likely not, but you will be having fun, get a lot of pleasure, and will at times be building legacy-quality rods.

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15 hours ago, newyorktoiowa57 said:

Since they are glass rods they are good for reaction techniques.  IMO they are horribly tip heavy. 

I solve that by using cheaper heavier reels with them that work fine and I don’t want to just throw them out. The better rods get the mid to upper mid level reels. Fishing on a budget just means I have taken a longer time to fill out my combos with decent stuff. 

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35 minutes ago, cgolf said:

I solve that by using cheaper heavier reels with them that work fine and I don’t want to just throw them out. The better rods get the mid to upper mid level reels. Fishing on a budget just means I have taken a longer time to fill out my combos with decent stuff. 

Makes sense. For tip down reaction presentations balance is less critical anyway. 

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