zondag 22 januari 2012

Yamaga Blanks Ballistick 81/12, falling in love with a rod

Deze post is geschreven voor LabraxSquad ( http://www.labraxsquad.com/) en aldaar geplaatsts op 22 januari. Deze blog van Jelmer, ondersteund door een paar mede zeebaarsvissers die allemaal dezelfde passie delen, is Engelstalig en heeft daarmee een bereik tot ver buiten de Nederlandse grenzen. Deze blog is nog erg jong (niet veel ouder dan mijn blog), maar mag zich nu al verheugen in een hoge mate van belangstelling van internationaal gerenommeerde zeebaarsfanaten (zoals Henry Gilbey) en brands (zoals Duo). Waarlijk een blog van internationale allure die absoluut de moeite waard is om regelmatig te bekijken.

Like many other bass sports fishermen, my passion for bass is also related to the tackle we use. A deep interest in rods, reels and lures, and the stuff you just ‘must have’, which many times leads to an impressive tackle collection during the years. We keep on buying stuff, and probably more than we really need (and that is great fun!).  So, early Spring last year, I decided to buy a new rod that I intended to particularly use for fishing with light stick baits from the dykes in the Dutch Oosterschelde, the estuary in the Southwest of The Netherlands. My wish specs were a rod of about 8ft, fast action and with a low intrinsic weight. After evaluating a number of options, I decided to buy a rod from the house of Yamaga Blanks. This famous domestic Japanese rod builder, is on the market already for more than 20 years with their prestigious Ripple Fisher brand. The Ripple Fisher brand stands for high-end saltwater fishing rods, and includes a sea bass rod collection. The only downside with Ripple Fisher is their price level, however, they decided to introduce a rod range under the Yamaga Blanks brand. Like Ripple Fisher, great rods, but positioned at more affordable prices. And thus probably within reach of many anglers who look for a specific high-end Japanese sea bass rod. They have two rods that were developed for sea bass fishing;  the friendly priced Yamaga Blanks Early and their top model for sea bass, Yamaga Blanks Ballistick.

When looking at the Yamaga Blanks website the Ballistick looked very appealing to me and would be perfect for what I wanted the rod for. Which was confirmed to me by some other anglers in the UK and Singapore, who had fishing experience with these rods. I decided to go for the Ballistick 81/12, length 8’1”, cw 6-21 gram and a very low intrinsic weight of just 112 gram. The rod has the new Fuji SIC k-guides and an up lock Fuji reel seat . I particularly like up lock reel seats, as I find these just more comfortable for your hands when working the rod.

Early May I received the rod, and it looked and felt fantastic. The blank is very thin, seems extremely well made with a 98% carbon composition, and no unnecessary ‘bling bling’, which all contributes to the very low weight of just 112 gram. So, off to the water to try it out! I use the rod in combination with a Daiwa Exist 3012 reel, with a low weight of 240 gram, which in my view fits the rod perfectly. Initially I was thinking that I would need a bit smaller reel, for instance a 2500 series, but for me the Exists 3012 works well, with this reel I also have the retrieving speed I prefer (81cm), which is mostly lower for smaller sized reels. 
After having used the rod few times, my enthusiasm for the rod became higher and higher. Whenever weather and sea conditions allowed, I selected this rod for my bass fishing last year. The rod did not disappoint me on one single aspect, actually, I found it even better than I thought. What really amazed me is its very fast recovery. When fishing surface lures, jerking and twitching various walk the dog styles, the rod tip is instantly back in its straight position right after each jerk. Now, one might say ‘so what’, all rods do that, but the recovery is really very fast. Especially when retrieving the lure with a rather fast and aggressive walk the dog style, with very short snappy jerks fast after each other, it makes quite a difference. I successfully fished this way with a LC Gunfish 95 in the late season, this style creates a very short splashing zigzag action of the lure, which made the bass really mad, leading to attack after attack. Particularly this walk the dog style I can do just better with the Balllistick than with some other rods I use, simply due to its fast recovery.
When catching a nice bass with it, it feels like a little feast, and you enjoy how the stunning blank absorbs the runs and power of the bass. Altogether, I find the rod fantastic, it works perfect for both light diving and surface lures, and is in my view excellent to work light surface lures with all kinds of retrieving styles. After using it for one season, I must say that I truly fell in love with this rod!