For what seemed like an age I had this constant niggling in my mind to have a go with a long rod and fixed spool reel set up. As more and more of my multiplier reel loving buddies made the change and switched to this continental style beach casting arrangement, I began to acquire a mixed bag of feedback, just to mess with my laboured thought train a little longer! These are guys that can cast a considerable distance on the beach (and in some cases the field) with what has become known as a conventional outfit comprising of a 13-14’ rod and a small multiplier, but for a variety of reasons had decided to make the long jump and head down the continental road.
Perhaps the most alluring prospect is the potential for big casting distance with minimal effort. As the additional length to the rod gives an automatic increase to the size of the casting arc, so a simple over head cast can be used to good effect, doing away with the need to master any particular technique. Light lines can be used to good effect too, their low diameter peeling from the lip of the spool with less friction generating yet more casting distance, especially with smaller (3-4 ounce) leads that can be moved faster with the rod.
Other benefits include the obvious hassle free simplicity of the fixed spool reel itself; certainly a hell of a lot more user friendly than the multiplier and ready to go straight from the box. Finally, the long rod means that extra long rigs can be used, something that match anglers find particularly useful if wanting to add some movement to baits by using extra long snoods that increase the overall length of the trace, or when wanting to spread baits out on multi hook traces.
So what made me finally take the long jump? It could have been for any of the above reasons, but to be honest it was simply because I fancied a change. Having used a multiplier for pretty much everything for as long as I can remember, I really fancied the idea of trying something different and was intrigued as to the benefits. Having handled many different long rods at VMO, there was one in particular that had taken my fancy in recent weeks, one Grauvell Teknos 4500 XT. https://www.veals.co.uk/acatalog/grauvell-teknos-surf-4500xt-match-special-combo-3672.html This is not an expensive rod by any means, but from giving it a bit of a waggle it not only seemed incredibly light for its length, but had a pleasing bend that gave me the impression it would load up nicely with a simple cast.
Following an afternoon of building sandcastles on a day out with the family, I managed to sneak away to a quieter location before sunset, with the intention of firing out a set of feathers on the new outfit- what better way to give it a blast?
My initial cast was a cautious one, but after a few gentle warm ups with a four ounce lead my confidence grew in the rods capabilities and before long, I was giving the rod a darn good thump. With both arms almost straight above my head, by generating a fast and enthusiastic punch-pull action the feathers were flying out (no pun intended). But above all else, and regardless of the distance, it was the ease of using the outfit that was so enjoyable.
Feathering will never be a sporting approach by any means, but it is a bit of fun and a way to grab a few mackerel for the table and a useful way to get a feel for how a rod performs. The long rod and fixed spool made the task of constantly casting and retrieving a totally effortless one and I can see that this can only be another plus point for the competition angler enduring repetitive casting for smaller, shoaling fish.
In conclusion, ultimate casting distance must have been somewhere in the same ball park as my conventional multiplier outfit, although the multiplier may just about have had the edge.
As far as ease of use is concerned, this is a no brainer- the long rod and fixed spool wins every time. It would make a perfect rod for the beginner looking for a short cut to casting a respectable distance without having to spend hours on end practicing on the field. There are many beach casting rod and reel combinations available and it is worth remembering that there is a reason for this. The long rod and fixed spool outfit is a practical one for clean ground fishing with light leads, fine lines and finesse tackle, potentially at long distance. It is also ideal for newcomers to the sport wishing to get a feel for things. It is not a rod for hurling a seven ounce lead and half a mackerel into the rough, or trying to helicopter cast on the tournament field, but treat it with respect and it will become a valuable string to your bow!