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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I use Bass Pro Shops high-end rods (XPS Extreme & Pro Qualifier) almost exclusively in both baitcasting and spinning, mostly because of the weight balancer feature you can screw into the butt of the handle. I also have a G Loomis that I like a lot and a Falcon, both of which I've added a slip-on balancer (not as nice, but still pretty good). These weights allow you to get the rod to balance perfectly in your hand, at about a 45 degree angle, thereby emininating all forward torque, and greatly reducing sideways torque. This increases sensitivity and reduces fatigue. The only downside is that is adds a lot of weight to the rod overall, but the other benefits more than make-up for this additional weight. Once you get use to the 'balance', the weight of the rod seems to completely disappear.

In his booklet "How to fish Gary Yamamoto Custom baits", Gary Yamamoto states all rods in his line are weighted, he calls it 'countered balanced' (pg 36). He writes "....this weight makes pitching much easier (and more accurate) and it helps add that leverage when you're playing a bass. The more you use a weighted-handle rod, the more you'll wonder why every manufacturer doesn't make one".

Which is my question: why don't major manufacturers (like G Loomis) make a rod that can accept a nice rod balancer? Seems like it would be pretty inexpensive, and would add a great option for those who like it. What really surprises me is that I can't seem to find any custom builders who incorporate this idea.

Anyone else use, like, or ever try this feature? What do you think about it?

Thanks,

Joe K.
 

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Joe, That is a GREAT question. I am not really sure why. Most guys these days are hooked on finding the lightest rods to reduce fatigue, when simply BALANCING their rods would reduce it A LOT. I asked this same question on this board YEARS ago. Mr T told me to go to tennesse handled spinning rods so I could shift the reel position around to find the PERFECT balancing point, regardless of which reel I swapped out. That was some of the best advice I have gotten from this board, along with Ray Scully's night fishing tips. I only have one tennessee grip left after a bunch of my rods were stolen from my boat two years ago, but I am gonna get more. As far as baitcasters go, I think it comes down to a marketability thing, but am not sure. It may seem great to us, but not so apealing to the mainstream public fishermen (kinda like my beloved spiral wrapped baitcasters!). I am interested to see other's opinions on this.

My .02, ScottB
 

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Great post Joe. I recently made some observations about this very subject.

A few years ago, I bought the BPS balancer kit for my Bionic Blade Rods. At that time, I didn't really think that they did anything one way or the other. Well, two years ago I started experimenting with it a bit more and soon realized that I wasn't applying it quite right. As you mentioned, the rod should be balanced so that it is easily held at about a 45 degree angle... I was balancing it level. Anyway, once I started balancing the rod properly, I immediately noticed that I was casting farther. I never stopped to figure out the physics of it but evidently a properly balanced rod will allow a faster tip speed from the casting motion. Beyond that I found that I was feeling more. The sensitivity of the rig increased... probably because my fingers, hands and arms were more relaxed while working the bait.

Now to answer you question as to why manufacturers don't provide something to make their rods balance....

Well, in my opinion, this - from a marketing standpoint isn't a very strong factor to motivate one to by a rod. Anglers today are hung up on the stated action of the rod and what kind of graphite it has. Beyond that, most anglers don't care about any other selling points. You know... you hear the guy at Gander Mountain saying "I need a Medium-Heavy rod with HM-85 graphite". You might hear him/her ask for "Fuji" guides. Rarely would one hear the average fisherman ask the store to put a reel (with line) on the rod so he/she can see how the rod feels and to see if it is balanced.

Manufactures are marketing their products ACTION and their products GRAPHITE BLEND because this is what the general public thinks makes the rod good or bad. Any other factors aren't as important to them.

Just my opinion...
 

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The reason is that then loomis would have to charge you 500.00 per rod for their new uniquely balanced series. In truth, most companies assume you would simply buy the after market balancer if so desired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The insert adapter (without the weights themselves) is really pretty inexpensive, and certainly wouldn't result in a $500 line of rods. Remember, the balance is greatly affected by the individual reel put of the rod, hence, the number of different size weights included in Bass Pro Shops weight kits. That means that the manufacturer wouldn't be trying to perfectly balance each and every rod, only providing the adapter to allow the user to customize the balance themselves. BPS rods (the ones with the adapter) are sold without weights, but with the adapter in place. It's a much cleaner set up that the slip-on adapter (the only slip-on I've seen is also from BPS, and although I do use them, they are rather clumsy).

I think there's a lot here, especially considering Gary Yamamoto's comments. What I can't understand is that I never hear any other pro's comment on it. I'd like to get to one of the big shows where the main rod manufacturers are (like Loomis) and ask them in person, however, they don't seem to come to the Syracuse show. Maybe next year after Bass Pro opens in Auburn, the Syracuse show will attract more of the bigger players. Hope so.

Joe K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Scottb,

WOW! That link you put up (didn't see it until after my last post) is awesome. The first 'pro' discussion I've seen. While I don't totally agree, it's sure got my attention (and certainly, Mr. Forhan knows a heck of a lot more about than I do). I'll be studying this more as the year goes on. Thanks for the great 'heads-up'.

Joe K.
 

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Joe I was being sarcastic in mu comments to the over priced Loomis crowd but you can bet that for any company to include a weight system built into their rods would surely make the price go up to some degree.
 

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Balance

A buddy of mine has a bps balancing kit for his baitcasting rod and thinks it is great. There are many ways to make a rod balance after market. When I was playing tournament tennis years ago I used to use all kinds of aftermarket products that are probably still made to change the balance of a racket (racket). I have not thought of seeking these things out until now.

Also, this would be another opportunity for rod manufacturer to distinguish there rods from the competition. Get some pro to say I use these so and so rods because they have great balance which lets me fish them all day without fatige, etc, etc. It is bound to happen. BPS already markets the weights but someone will get on the balance bandwagon. I can see it now 'our rods are the best balanced rods in the industry and are going to make you a better fisherman...'
 

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I had one of these things fall off into Squam lake afew years ago so I am not as thrilled as some of you.
 

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Forhan

After reading Forhans post at wmi forum maybe I need to work on my technique first before I start rebalancing my rods. I own some hi quality rods and reels so it is back to the tecnique drawing board for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bink,

I have about 15, or so, rods with the weights, and so far only one has broken. I was able to catch it as it came off and save it. That did make me a little nervous, but it hasn't happened again. BPS exchanged the rod, and I have kept the insert. I'm thinking maybe I could get a custom builder to install it in a custom built rod someday (i.e., I've never been totally happy with the BPS rods for cranking). We'll see.

Joe K
 

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For the less "rod concerned" guys out there (like me) a few pieces of duct tape and some quarters works pretty good too!;)
 

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Joe: Rich Forhan has a book out explaining a lot of his theories concerning rod and reel balance and so on......

he is a very knowledgeable person, spoke to him on several occasions........

Woody has ordered several of his rods.....
 

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Joe,
Market Research indicates that American Consumers judge a rod by weight ! This is why the majority seek high modulus graphite.....it's lighter in weight and sensitive. The major selling point with any G Loomis GLX rod is the feather-weight and sensitivity. Now imagine if they incorporate a weight balance system in a GLX rod with much added weight and command over $350.00 for that rod. How many people would purchase them ?

On the other hand, the Japanese Consumer is less concerned with weigh but is fanatical about BALANCE ! Rod companies like Megabass, Daiko, Ever Green and Zenaq incorporate a weight balance system into the handles from the factory. These are all very high quality rods that sell for over $500.00 and are much heavier than the rods we are accustomed to but they are impeccably balanced !

Ronnie
 

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Ronnie, that was pretty much the exact same point I was trying to make. The concept of ADDING weight to a rod is so against-the-grain for most fisherman even though the balancing effect seems to outweigh the minuses of the added weight in most situations in my opinion. Once again, this is just MY OPINION. :D

ScottB
 

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Scott,
I agree with your opinion and I'm sure that many people in the "know" would also agree !

Ronnie
 

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another option

Adding weight to the bottom of a rod should be easy. Using some large washers and tape just adding enough washers till the balance suits you should be easy. For permanance they can be epoxyed to the bottom once the right balance is found
 
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