Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rod Pods or Banksticks

If you own bite alarms, you know these devices must be matched with some type of holder. There are basically two choices out there.....either banksticks or rod pods.

Banksticks are metal sticks that have a threaded top on which the bite alarm is screwed. The bankstick is adjustable and can telescope to about twice its length. They are pushed into a soft bank and are quite solid and versatile rod holders. Some fishermen will also use an additional bankstick at the butt end of their rod to make the rod sit in a horizontal position. They sell a butt holder that can screw into this back bankstick. I find banksticks to be especially useful on steep banks. They also transport well. You can purchase a quality bankstick for about 10-20 dollars at most online carp tackle dealers.

Rod pods are basically a two rod holding rack on which your rods sit in a horizontal position. These pods usually have "buzz bars" on which to screw your alarms. Butt rests screw onto the back buzz bars. Expensive pods have fully adjustable legs to deal with uneven banks. Some can even be adjusted in length to deal with rods of different lengths. I find pods to be very convenient to use, though some have to be setup ahead of time on the bank. I love my Fox Horizon Pod (see photo) that I purchased last year and would recommend it highly. Realize that quality rod pods are expensive items, generally selling for well over $100. Many inexpensive pods tend to be light and tippy.

If you are looking to purchase a pod or some banksticks for this year's fishing, check out the deals at Wacker Bait or Big Carp Tackle. Prices have dropped and are at their lowest in a long time!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Carp Rods.....How Long????

What is the ideal length of a "carp rod"?

True carp rods come from Europe. They are long wands labeled by test curves. A test curve is usually determined by the weight in pounds needed to pull the rod top down 90 degress from a horizontal position. Most carp anglers who use these rods are using either a 2.75 or 3.0 lb. test curve. European rods are also long, measuring 11-12 feet.

So, should you purchase a "real" carp rod? It depends on where you fish. I own a pair of DAM Green Crosspower carp rods (2.75 lb. test curve) and I use them about a third of the time I fish in RI waters. I especially like the fact that they can cast large sinkers (3oz.) loaded with method, and they offer great leverage when fighting a large carp. However, they are long and cumbersome, and you need casting room to haul them out. Tight spots with trees and bushes are not great places to use these rods. They are made for open river banks, beaches and cleared spots. They are also overkill when fishing for small carp under 6 lbs. Note that these are standard setups on most of the big carp waters in the US.

I use a pair of "non carp" rods about 50% of the time here in RI. These are 8 ft. St. Croix Triumph rods made for saltwater casting. They work well in all types of locations and they can cast those 3 oz. sinkers along with smaller weights. They work well with all sizes of fish and go real well with my Shimano Baitrunner 3500's. They are not true carp rods, but they are very versatile and have caught me some very large fish.

Finally, I have yet another pair of outfits that I use. These are short, 7 foot, heavy duty rods. They work well in wooded spots, places I call jungle spots. They are also ideal to freeline in tight spots. I often like to freeline doughballs, corn and mulberries in certain places where carp may be fussy. I might use these rods about 10-15% of the time.

So, just like in any other fishing, there is NO ideal rod. It just depends on where you fish, how you want to fish and what you expect to catch!

If you are looking to purchase a European carp rod for the upcoming season, check out the deals at Wacker Baits or Big Carp Tackle. Cabelas even offers their popular 11 foot, 2.25 European Predator rod at a very reasonable price.