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retiredbosn

IM ratings useless, lets talk rod sensitivity

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Rod questions seem to dominate this subsection. I know I have posted my share and talk to people here through the PM about rods. We all want the right rod for the application that we are going to use. As of now I am up to six rods for the different applications/situations that I am faced with. There are many things that I have learned throughout this extended discussion with many people here and many threads I've read. One of the most important things I've learned is that the IM rating of a rod is useless, or the advertised amount of graphite is useless. There is no longer an industry standard concerning the amount of graphite in a rod to earn a particular rating. Example I have a crankbait rod that carries an IM rating of 6 yet the pole is actually a composite construction of fiberglass with a graphite overlay. I recently purchased another IM rated pole that turned out to be very dead, despite exposed reel seat, fuji guides etc. So how do we find the right rod for the job?

My thoughts, opinions have boiled down to this, forget the IM rating, I have IM 7 rods that are more sensitive than 60 million modulus rods. The graphite quality and quantity are more important, example a IM7 rod that is all IM7 graphite will be more sensitive than a 60 million modulus that is primarily 40 mm with a few strands of the higher graphite.

2. The resins used play as much a factor to the sensitivity as the graphite. Bad resins dead rod. A rod with 100% graphite construction of 50 mm will be a dead stick unless the resins are good as well.

3. Blank through construction goes without saying and an exposed reel seat. Quality guides, minimum of 9 on a 6ft rod.

4. High strain graphite is important allows hoop strength.

So how do you take this information and pick the most sensitive rod off of the shelf. Take a buddy with you to the tackle store, do the voice box vibration test. Put a rod in each hand, hold them to your buddy's throat and have him talk, the vibration will transmit through the rods, you will be able to feel the difference. The reason you want a buddy to do this is because some salesmen will touch the blank while holding the rods to their throats and kill the vibration in one rod or the other depending on what they want to sell. Happened to me yesterday. Because blanks are mass produced, do the flex test, not all fast actions rod are the same, you can easily tell which one is truly the fastest action. Take the rod and gently put the tip on the floor and flex it. Check the quality of the fit and finish of the rod, sloppy joints between cork and seat, poor wraps on guides, etc all reflect poor workmanship and should be avoided. Rod blanks for various rod brands can come from the same factory, manufactured to each brand's specifications of course. Just because the blank for the rod you by is manufactured by the same factory as some other higher priced rods doesnot mean they are the same quality.

Conclusion because of the lack of industry standards rod purchases can be tricky. High modulus rating means nothing if the graphite content isn't pure, quality resins aren't used, with top of the line guides, seats, etc.

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Another quick note, the most sensitive rod in the world can be negated by using junk line and a sloppy reel.  The transmission from the bottom of the water to your pole is affected by line construction and reel tolerances.  If you line is across a log the transmission may never reach the pole.  There is alot more to sensitivity than the modulus rating.

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3. Blank through construction goes without saying and an exposed reel seat. Quality guides, minimum of 9 on a 6ft rod.

AMEN about the resins! But this also comes back to buyers not knowing what really goes into making a rod blank.

You commented minimum of 9 guides on a 6'. What size rings? What type of guides? Is this with equidistant spacing? What kind of spacing for the butt guide?

If you are using size 6 single foots... my take is that's 2 guides too many on a 6' rod. Micros, maybe, but I usually don't get into 9 micro guides until at least a 6'6" rod - mainly on 7' and longer. 7'6"+ usually take 10 micros.

I believe adding extra guides is a negative. You're decreasing rod sensitivity any time you needlessly add weight, which includes too many guides. You are also altering the natural flex of the rod through the addition extra thread wraps and rod finish. The only benefit I could see in two extra guides is keeping the line more parallel when the rod is under load. On a 6' rod, 7 guides does a pretty good job of keeping the line on the right path - even under load.

I'll also through this out... if through handle construction is so important (which I personally believe in), explain why the majority of high end japanese rods actually have handle kits and not through handle construction.

Granted a lot of this is subject to personal opinion as finding quantitive data to prove this is difficult. I just know the results I get using what I mentioned.

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3. Blank through construction goes without saying and an exposed reel seat. Quality guides, minimum of 9 on a 6ft rod.

AMEN about the resins! But this also comes back to buyers not knowing what really goes into making a rod blank.

You commented minimum of 9 guides on a 6'. What size rings? What type of guides? Is this with equidistant spacing? What kind of spacing for the butt guide?

If you are using size 6 single foots... my take is that's 2 guides too many on a 6' rod. Micros, maybe, but I usually don't get into 9 micro guides until at least a 6'6" rod - mainly on 7' and longer. 7'6"+ usually take 10 micros.

I believe adding extra guides is a negative. You're decreasing rod sensitivity any time you needlessly add weight, which includes too many guides. You are also altering the natural flex of the rod through the addition extra thread wraps and rod finish. The only benefit I could see in two extra guides is keeping the line more parallel when the rod is under load. On a 6' rod, 7 guides does a pretty good job of keeping the line on the right path - even under load.

I'll also through this out... if through handle construction is so important (which I personally believe in), explain why the majority of high end japanese rods actually have handle kits and not through handle construction.

Granted a lot of this is subject to personal opinion as finding quantitive data to prove this is difficult. I just know the results I get using what I mentioned.

I have only been building rods for two years so I don't have anywhere near the experience level that some guys on here have but I agree with you completely, 9 guides is too many for a 6' rod. Adding unnecessary things to the blank is detrimental to sensitivity.

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I am no where near an expert regarding rods or rod construction. I would like to start a discussion with those here who know much more about rods and the manufacturing process so that we can be more informed when purchasing our rods. I am notoriously cheap, and want the best bang for my buck. I typically pick up my gear at the end of season for next year, when the retailers place the gear on sale. I try to my upmost to support my local tackle retailer, we finally have one in town who carries quality products, and will pay retail or a little more to support the local guy. I trust these guys and they are a world of information, but I know I have much more to learn. So please rod builders, those in the know and other questions by other members post up.

Also thanks for clearing up the bad typing on the guide count, I was in a hurry and wanting to post this before church this morning.  I look for at least one guide per foot of rod plus the end.  6ft rod = 7guides, 6'6"=8, on seven footers I like 10, don't know really why.  I also look for rods using the fuji concept guide spacing, not because I know what it means, but because all of my rods can have similar construction.

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Good thread.!

I'd like to know the following..

How you determin a rod's sensitivity at a store.

How you can really see the "true" action in the store

I usually take my reel/reels and mount em up to a given rod, but still I can't tell about how sensitive they are.

So I buy according to spec's...and how they feel in my hands. Am I just dumb, or what..?

I should note: I'm talking about rods under $150.00

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Hammer - really about the best test in the store is probably the"voice box method" Retiredbosn posted. There's the run it down a piece of paper test, rub it across the carpet test.... list goes on. Nothing is a fair duplicate for line/reel on and dragging a jig or whatever IN THE WATER.

If you are watching pennies, spend your bigger $ on feel rods (jig, shakey, worm, drop shot, etc). You can get by with lower grade rods for moving baits.

True action - bend it. What I find best is to hold it about 45 deg and have someone pull the tip. You can tell backbone and action better (to me) than pressing against the floor. You're also holding the rod more like you would fishing it.

Buying by specs is a great approach. It's just hard for me to illustrate a difference without putting rod in hand. Just know you will notice differences between various brands and if you can compare side by side, that's even better.

Retired - I abandoned concept spacing after about my second rod. I found all rods, even the same model by the same manufacturer flex differently. The vast majority of blanks are hand rolled, so if a human does it, there is room for deviation. Most folks won't notice, but I may have 5 of the same exact same blank sitting here waiting to be built. I notice differences. So I static test and space. Not to mention all my bass and inshore rods get micro guides, and there's no spacing templates for that. (I've been building exclusively on micros since June of last year - started with micros before that - have a lot of trial and error in there!)

You can't go wrong with static testing the blank. I think too many "custom" builders use templates (personal opinion - every one has one right?). To me it gives the same results as a factory rod - it's generic factory spacing. I also don't really tie myself to a set number of guides (although I can pretty generally say what a blank needs from experience). I static space them, and what comes out is what that particular blank needs. I believe this gives my rods similar construction - it helps maximize the potential of the blank and that's the construction I want. Every builder is different and you have to do what yields the results you want.

Kudos for supporting your local tackle shop too. Those guys need all the help they can get.

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