Well, I know I’ll hear about this one, but here it goes anyway. One of my pet peeves is the new fashion of small guide sets on high-end rods in particular. The theory is that keeping the line close to the blank when loading and casting generates longer more accurate casts, hmm! While that might have some validity with micro-diameter braided lines in 8-, 10-, 12lb. test ranges, it doesn’t seem to hold true once you get into the 20-30 lb. lines. Now this is just an opinion and since I and my guys fish in areas where there’re lots of rough features—docks, day boards, deadfall, mangrove islands, bridges and rip rap—20-, 30-, even 40lb. braid isn't unusual.
Combine that with heavier leaders—20-, 30-, 40- , even 50lb. mono or fluorocarbon—and you’ve got a fat leader to line knot hustling through that mini tip top. Now I know this may go against the grain, but fat stuff doesn’t fit well through small openings. I find this conundrum particularly irritating when casting smallish jerkbaits, DOAs, and free-lined shrimp and shiners. Now the offerings may be on the small side but the leaders, main lines, and connecting knots have to have the necessary chafing gear characteristics. We need combat the oysters, rocks, barnacle-encrusted deadfall and perhaps most importantly the toothy rough-mouthed critters we target.
Replacing the micro tip on your rod with one several millimeters larger in diameter can relieve the choke point problem when flipping smaller stuff on heavier lines. This can also aid in a smoother, longer cast that’s much less likely to snap off a delicate shrimp, crab, or whitebait.
Now some aficionados will argue that there’s no need to reel the leader-line connection through the tip, thus avoiding the supposed choke point; great, if you're comfortable with a 24-inch leader. Probably not so in my region where Snook, Tarpon, Gator Trout and big Reds can be very leader shy in shallow clear water.
If you decide to try a slightly larger tip top, your local rod repair expert can probably manage a neat way to remove the old tip, fatten the rod tip, and place on a new upscale one without damaging the look of your stick. Me, I just heat up the old tip, pull it off, and gob on some melt stick-style tip glue, then mold it while it’s still hot. Don’t forget to wet your finger tips, so they don’t become part of the repair. Keep the original tip in case you’re not convinced this was such a good idea!
Old School Rules, Maybe!
See you on the water...
Capt. Ron Kowalyk