Most surfcasters look for every advantage in the tackle they use, yet it's amazing how entrenched in tradition surf anglers are when it comes to their gear. Some of the most popular products today are ones that were introduced 50 years ago.
We live in an age where technology, advanced materials, design and manufacturing techniques give us products that perform far beyond what we were accustomed to just a few short years before.
For example, the moment you pick up an 11-foot surf rod that is light as a feather, you may instantly draw a conclusion about its capabilities. It'll never be strong enough to turn a big fish. Can it handle the load of a 3-1/2-ounce pencil popper or push a three-ounce darter into a stiff nor’easter? Although there have been many incremental improvements over the years in surf rods, many light rods simply fall short in their ability to cast far and stand up to big fish and large lures. We're here to tell you to think differently about some of the lightweight surf rod options available today, especially the line-up of rods from Century.
Though relatively new to the US market, Century has been designing and manufacturing rods for over 30 years from their U.K. based facility. What sets Century apart from other blanks is a special blend of epoxy resins, a very high grade Carbon fiber used in the blank and their autoclave process, but it took two surf rod building experts to recognize that Century manufactured blanks with the unique qualities they knew were essential in a fine surf rod. Mike Kulick of KM Custom Rods, a New Jersey based company, and Ryan White of Hatteras Jack in North Carolina are no strangers to surf fishing and custom surf rods, and they have teamed up with Century to create the Sling Shot series of surf fishing rods. They set out to design blanks that achieve maximum distance with traditional Northeast style surf lures.
One essential quality needed was a very fast recovery time, which is critical in long distance casting. We recently had the opportunity to cast an 11-foot Sling Shot, model 1327. The rod loaded up and recovered very rapidly, resulting in a feeling that it's doing the work for you. It has a unique, spring-like action that adds noticeable power to your cast. These rods are very light, taking less effort and adding more speed to your casting motion. The different feel actually takes a little getting used to. Century achieves this rapid recovery characteristic during the resin curing stage of the blank. The autoclave process is able to keep total control of pressure and temperature of resin and carbon fibers, leaving a void free composite with just enough resin to hold the carbon fibers together. That in turn makes the blank less brittle, allows for better recovery, longer life, and results in longer casts.
The result is a rod that Century claims is 35 percent stronger while maintaining action and no need to add extra fiber, which increases weight. This means more pressure can be applied while casting. The resin system Century uses is almost twice as hard as conventional resins when fully cured and better resists small surface scuffs and knocks, which for jetty anglers will be welcome news. You'll also notice increased sensitivity and performance as the rod’s frequency (time to recover to neutral over the oscillation cycle) is enhanced by 25 percent.
Our initial experience with the 11-foot Sling Shot model has been very positive. It's a joy to cast, and you don't get as tired which means you can fish longer. In regards to casting distance, the rod appeared to produce somewhat longer casts than comparable 11-foot rods. It's important to note however that we didn't actually conduct a side-by-side comparison to other rods. The Sling Shot line includes rods from eight to 13 feet. All spinning rods are built with quality components such as Fuji Alconite K guides and Fuji DS reel seats. For more information, visit any of the following websites: www.advancedfishing-usa.com; www.kmcustomrods.com; and www.hatterasjack.com.