The definitive South African trophy Bass fishing site




Factory-built rods for the Big baits?


If you are looking for factory built rod which may be available locally and which could be worth looking at for casting the "big baits", check out the -

  • 7'11" Shimano Crucial Swimbait series of casting rods (7'11" in Heavy and Extra Heavy actions (just heard, February 2006, that Tatlow & Pledger will not import these - the heaviest Crucial they are bring in is the Flipping Stick - pity!);

  • 7'6" Okuma Guide Select 761H (rated from 1 - 5oz and costing just under $90) or the 7'6" Okuma Guide Select 761XH (rated from 2 - 8oz). Also ascertained from the SA importers, Akals, that they are not importing these at the moment - February 2006 ...;

  • 7'9" Redington RFXC 7911 (rated for up to 30lb line and retailing for $99); and

  • 8'0" G-Loomis GL-3 965BBR (rated for 2 - 8oz and going for $275). By the way, this is the rod Butch Brown uses ... (if you don't know who Butch Brown is, scroll right down to the bottom of this page and click on the pic of the Huddleston Deluxe Swimbait. If you don't know what a Huddleston Deluxe Swimbait is, you need to spend more time on this site!),

which will all do an admirable job with most of the "big baits" (with the Okumas being the cheaper option).



Where to get them if you cant' find them in SA?


You can also consider the following -

  • 8' Shimano Calcutta CL 820XFA (rated from 1 - 4oz);

  • 8' Shimano Teramar Inshore (West Coast) TMC X80H (rated from 1 - 4oz);

  • 7'6" Shimano Teramar Inshore (West Coast) TMC X76H (rated from 1 - 3oz);

  • 7'9" Daiwa Heartland HL-S SS791XHRB "Big Bait Special"; and

  • the Daiwa Coastal range,

not the best options, but may be OK (at a pinch!).

Any Saltwater or Inshore rod around 8' long and rated for up to 3oz or 4oz should be able to handle most of the "crankbait type" big lures such as the 9" MS Slammer. The big all plastic "swimbaits" which can weigh a whopping 8oz require rods with more backbone.

For an excellent review on various rods and blanks suited to big bait applications, click on the link.

These rods teamed with the Shimano Calcutta 400 or ABU Ambassadeur 6500 series baitcaster reels, would be a good combo for the purpose of handling the big trout-type swimbaits and crankbaits.

Line is nothing less than 20lb test mono (with a 30lb mono or fluorocarbon leader). 25lb - 30lb test mono or 50lb - 65lb test braid mainline is usually used.



You can build a better rod than you can buy ...

If you have read some of the articles posted on this site, you may decide to build yourself a rod, especially one needed to cast and retrieve the really big lures and (hopefully!) to control and land that really Big Bass you have been longing for! There are very few commercially available built-up rods which will do the job - locally as well as in the USA.

You could build a better rod than you can buy using an 8' Rainshadow SW 967, Calstar GF 800XL or GF 800L blank. These blanks are graphite with glass tips with just the right amount of "give" in the tip and backbone in the butt to handle those big lures and the big Bass you will catch on them.

If you are a first time or aspirant rod builder, you would most probably be at a total loss of where to start to find the recommended blanks and components. Don't worry, help is at hand!

The guys at Mudhole carry a full range of the excellent Calstar blanks (which are generally recommended for this purpose - see the Articles section) as well as many other brands of fishing rod blanks (amongst others: Graphite-USA, Seeker, St. Croix, Rainshadow and Pacific Bay) and a full range of components. If you put your mind to it, with a little effort you can build a better rod than you can buy! Mudhole is based in Florida, USA and provides fast, efficient and professional service to rodbuilders anywhere. The site also has other rodbuilding info you may find helpful in your endeavours (see

For the full range of the excellent Shikari blanks (with an original-purchaser lifetime warranty against any defect in material or workmanship) manufactured in Oklahoma, USA, and available on-line, click on the logo below:

In my ramblings on the 'net, I have come to the conclusion that


probably builds the majority of their Bass rods on Shikari blanks. If I am wrong, or if anybody from either Castaway or Shikari sees this, please feel free to put the record straight!

My conclusion is that Castaway's "Standard" Graphite is probably Shikari's SH II (33 million modulus graphite) and the Castaway HG 40 is probably Shikari's SH III (42 million modulus). Similarly, Castaway's T700SX range is probably built from the Shikari SH X blanks (57 million modulus). Shikari also makes a 65 million modulus graphite range of blanks (SH Xi).


  also offered a great range of Castaway Standard Graphite and HG 40 rods (already built up on Shikari blanks with quality Portuguese cork grips and Fuji reel seats and Fuji guides at good prices). 

Check out the great new Castaway flippin' stick range all available from Cabelas too! 

Anyway, for custom rodbuilders visiting this page or anyone who wants to build a quality custom Bass rod, check out the mind boggling array of excellent blanks in various grades of graphite (and a wide range of prices!) at

I was particularly interested in the wide range of flipping stick blanks offered (telescoping blanks and fixed one piece blanks in lengths of 8' as well as the more usual and traditional 7'6").

You will most definitely find something you like there.

For those of you who still want a custom built rod using Shikari blanks, cork grips and Fuji components, without having to build one yourself, check out the amazing range of purpose built custom Bass rods at Everything Bass Inc.

Brad Tharp who recently signed the Big Bass Guestbook custom builds these rods, called Tactical Assault Revolution Rods, and he also uses the “Spiral Wrap” explained below. These unique Revolution rods in the Pro, Team and X4 Series series come in various models, including flipping rods and an 8’ heavy action swimbait model to handle those big lures weighing in at 1 – 8oz! Brad also builds rods with the standard or conventional guide alignment (called the Transition rods) as well as Spinning rods.

Definitely worth serious consideration! Visit the Brad's site at:


Hook up with probably the most competent South African Rodbuilder/ Rodcrafter:



PO Box 798, EMPANGENI 3880, South Africa

Tel.: +27(0)35-753-4580 (W); +27(0)35-792-4434 (H)

Fax.: +27(0)35-753-5590

Cellular: 082-496-6382

Jan Croeser has been in the business for many years and I recommend his work very highly. So, if you don't have the time, inclination or confidence to build your own dream rod, why don't you contact Jan? You'll be glad you did!

If you need to source any hard to get blanks (including Calstar, Seeker and others) or other quality rodbuilding components and supplies in South Africa, give Jan a call - he will probably be able to assist you himself or give you details of the South African agents/ importers.






A unique way of wrapping a casting rod ...

Have any of you heard of or had experience fishing a rod using the "Roberts", "Spiral" or "Acid" Wrap?

When wrapping a rod in this manner, the first couple of guides from the tip (including the tip) are placed under the rod as in guide placement for a spinning reel, then the last four guides including the stripping guide bringing the line to the (casting) reel are placed around the blank in a spiral to cause the line to travel from under the rod spiraling to the reel (go here for a more detailed description).

The guide placement around the blank looks like this:

This wrapping technique is said to eliminate torque and provide a very stable fish fighting platform whilst improving castability and has been used on both saltwater and bass rods by certain custom builders. Those in the know maintain that you will never go back to the conventional way of wrapping a casting rod after trying this! Sounds crazy, but can you argue with results?

One of the goals of this site is to challenge Bassers to start thinking more laterally, instead of merely regurgitating old Bassing info or unthinkingly locking into standard accepted practices. Remember, what was considered "way out" or "ridiculous" in the past has, in some cases, become the norm which few today would consider challenging - just think of the first plastic worm poured by Nick Creme ...


For more rodbuilding info, also check out:

Great, informative site with excellent "how to" info for the rodbuilder!



Hot Tip #1!
Struggling to fit EVA Foam or Hypalon grips?

To successfully fit EVA or Hypalon grips that will not even normally come past halfway down the blank, wipe the blank with lacquer thinners, apply the glue to area where you want the grip to finally be as well as a couple of inches above this area. Soak the grip in lacquer thinners for a while and pour lacquer thinners into one end of the hole of the grip, blocking off the other end of the hole with your hand, pour until the thinners "overflow", block this end with your other hand and swirl the thinners in the hole of the grip around from side to side and up and down for at least two minutes. Then, working fast, allow the thinners to run out of the hole, place the grip onto the rod holding only the top end and with one fluid motion, never stopping for a second, force the grip down into position.


With some grips and thicker blanks you will really have to apply a lot of downward pressure - but the key is not letting up until the grip is where you want it. You will be surprised how easily (relatively speaking) the grip is positioned and there is never a problem with loose grips as the grip is stretched over a blank diameter far larger than the hole in the grip. It is actually better to use a grip which when just loosely slid over the tip of the blank stops at least a foot or two above where you want the top end of the grip to be finally fitted. Make sure the hole in the grip is a smaller diameter than the thinnest diameter section of the blank you want to fit the grip over. Now all that remains is to clean up the glue residue on the exposed area of the blank with the lacquer thinners. I also find that a contact adhesive commonly used to stick vinyl floor tiles (in South Africa the brand name is Gemkem Contact Adhesive) works well for installing these type of grips.


I have used this technique just recently while building a Calstar GF800L which I fitted with preformed EVA grips. The results look and feel great especially after the grips were streamlined further using a file and glasspaper. Incidentally, I also used the "Roberts", "Spiral" or "Acid" Wrap guide placement system discussed above and am thrilled with my truly unique and functional rod! Teamed with an ABU Morrum 6600 and 65lb test Berkley Whiplash Braid together with a 30lb test Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, it puts those big lures out of sight and exercises excellent control on the retrieve ...


To chat about rodbuilding in general, use the Forum or e-mail Jacques with your contact 'phone number.


Hot Tip #2!
Keep your rods clean and shiny with Pledge Classic or Lemon spray Furniture Polish! Also makes dirt easier to remove after subsequent outings ... Just sponge with mild, soapy lukewarm water - rinse, dry, apply Plegde and buff with a soft, dry cloth. With rods costing what they do these days, you just have to take proper care of them.


Hot Tip #3!
The best way to clean and brighten up cork grips? Wipe with a cloth moistened in Lacquer Thinners. Guaranteed to make cork grips look like new! Lacquer Thinners is also great for cleaning and de-greasing rod blanks - just don't use on cheap, painted rods and blanks as it will strip the colour. High quality rods and blanks which have their colour pigment added as part of the graphite or fibreglass resin will be fine.


Hot Tip #4!
The best way to wrap single foot guides so they don't pull out from the wrapping? Check out how to do the Forhan Locking Wrap (developed by Rich Forhan) step by step! 


OK, so who's Butch Brown? ...

Must see VIDEO Clip

You just have to see this Video clip

(click on the pic and then on the Butch Brown links)

of a big Bass taken on the Huddleston Deluxe Swimbait!


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