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Page 41

The bottom of the rod, below where the reel fits, is called the rod butt. Often a plastic butt cap is fitted on the very end, to protect the rod when it is set down.

Above and below where the reel fits is the rod handle, also called the grip. Most rods today have either cork handles, which are made from rings of cork glued together and sanded smoothly, or closed-cell foam handles. Both allow the angler to keep a good grip on the rod, even when it's wet from precipitation or perspiration.

The reel seat, located above the butt, is a short, flattened section that allows the fishing reel to be attached to the rod. This is accomplished via slots that the reel foot (a narrow horizontal projection) fits into, and one or two locking rings, depending upon the rod. It sounds more complicated than it is: The angler simply fits one end of the reel foot into the fixed slot, slides the movable slot down or up onto the other end of the reel foot, and turns the threaded locking ring (which, on some rods, is actually that part of the handle above the reel seat) until tight. This holds the reel securely to the rod. Some rods have two movable slots and two locking rings, which allows a little bit of adjustment in the exact placement of the reel.

Many ultralight rods used for small fish sport a pair of simple, non-tightening rings that hold the reel in place, to eliminate unnecessary weight. Conversely, some extra heavy-weight rods (those designed for battling big gamefish such as sharks and marlin) feature double locking rings and a metal bracket that holds the rod and reel together via bolts and wing nuts, for additional support.

The guides on a rod are rings along the length of the rod through which the fishing line passes. Guides are attached to rods by closely wrapped thread around the guide foot. Because guides are subject to a lot of friction by line passing and slapping through them at high speeds (and because the line itself could become damaged if subject to a rough surface at high speeds), they must be made of a hard, smooth material. Ceramic and carbide guides are considered best. The very last guide at the tip of the rod is called the tip-top. Some rod manufacturers put an extra-high-quality tip-top on their rods, as that guide suffers from the most friction.

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Page 42

Some fishing rods are one piece, meaning that they don't come apart. Two-piece rods do, which allows for easier storing and portability. Two-piece rods usually come apart at about the middle of the shaft. The two pieces fit together via ferrules. The male ferrule tapers to a narrow end and fits into the hollow female ferrule. Many rods today have integral ferrules, meaning that the rod pieces naturally taper and open at the ends. All two-piece rods made decades ago, and some rods still made today, have metal ferrules, which are attached to the rod-piece ends. Generally, integral ferrules are preferable because metal ferrules can and usually do impede the action of the rod.

Long Rods Versus Short Rods.

Many rods can be of the same action and weight, and take the same line strength and lure weights, yet be of different lengthssay, a 6-footer and a 7-footer. Which one is better? It depends on your fishing situation, your angling aptitude, your hand-eye coordination, and your taste.

Here's why. All else being equal, a long rod casts farther and with less effort than a short rod. Generally, and within reasonable length limits, it's easier to make accurate casts with a long rod.

On the other hand, short rods are easier to handle all-around. They are less prone to snagging or tangling on shoreline brush, and are easier to cast when you don't have much elbow room, such as when fishing beneath overhanging trees. Shorter casts are easier with a short rod. Finally, because of its comparatively narrow angle between rod and line, a short rod requires less muscle when fighting a large fish.

Often, the best way to determine whether a long rod or a short rod is better for you is to hold it, preferably with a reel attached to it. You should feel comfortable with its balance and heft, and such personal fit varies from individual to individual.

One feature of modern rods is what is termed blank-through handles, which means that the fishing rod blank, or shaft, extends all the way down through the handle. This provides for more sensitivity when holding the rod, because vibrations caused by a fish hitting a bait are more easily felt by the angler.

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Page 43

The Least You Need to Know

Modern rods are highly technological products, making them lightweight, sturdy, sensitive, affordable, and much better than rods made a few decades ago.

A rod's action is determined by the point where it bends when under a certain amount of pressure. Fast-action rods are very sensitive; slow-action rods are very forgiving.

A rod's weight is determined by the overall strength of the rod in that rod's class. Ultralight is for small fish; extra heavy is for the monsters.

All rods share the same important characteristics and features, although some rods exhibit higher-quality parts than others.

Fish Recipes

Fish Recipes

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