I’ve been looking for a slightly heavier rod suitable for targeting larger fish, especially kingfish, on the flats for some time. My aim was to pair the rod with an IRT 400 spinning reel and have a combination that could stop almost anything I’d encounter relatively quickly.
I decided that the rod needed to be 9’6″ long, two piece, have a test curve of around 0.9 kilograms (2lb), rated for PE# 1-2 braid and suited to cast hand made 30 – 40 gram stick baits. Ideally the rod should cast these lures around 60 – 70 metres, irrespective of the weather conditions.
The reason that I opted for a longer rod is that the areas that I fish are typically surrounded by oyster encrusted rocks and I wanted to be able to steer fish around these near the end of the fight.
An internet search identified the Jackson Ocean Gate Shore Jig JOG-906ML-K SJ as a potential candidate. The full specifications are shown below:-
The Ocean Gate Shore Jig is a two piece rod joined by a spigot ferrule. I’m a fan of spigot ferrules as allows for a continuous diameter from below the ferrule to above and, because there is a more consistent diameter and taper, it is generally possible to get smoother actions. I’ve used the rod extensively now for several months and there has been no ferrule slippage at all during use.
This rod is rated for braid with a PE rating of 1 – 2. I have been using it with Sunline Siglon PE 8 braid rated at PE# 1.7 (30lb) and it has handled this without issue.
The high modulus graphite blank is polished and epoxied. It is not painted and the blank is flawless. The thread work is black with silver and royal blue accents and the epoxy has been applied with meticulous precision. All of the guides are under bound with an understated (almost smoky) silver metallic thread to prevent the guides causing damage when the blank is under heavy load. There is a single band of metallic blue thread to indicate the guide centre. The threadwork is top drawer.
The rod is made with high quality Fuji componentry. The guides are titanium frame SIC K guides and the reel seat fitting is a standard DPS uplocking model, which doesn’t have an additional locking nut. There is one large guide on the butt section and 6 in the tip section to spread the load and smooth the curve when the rod is bent under pressure. I was concerned initially that there were not enough guides on the rod but there is always a trade off as adding extra guides adds weight and can affect action. However, when the rod is fully loaded the curvature is smooth and the guide placing is correct for the reel selected. If you want to learn more about this click on the following link: MATCHING SPINNING REELS TO RODS
My only disappointment is that there is no folding hook ring to attach lures to when in transit to a fishing spot as this means that the lure inevitably ends up being attached to the frame of the bottom guide which is less than ideal.
The reel seat is perfectly functional holds the reel firmly and it did not loosen off during use.
The handle is Duplon with a 14 cm foregrip and 29 cm rear grip. There is a royal blue winding check at the front of the foregrip and this is carried through to the rear grip, where there are two sets of knurled royal blue anodized spacer rings. There is a palm swell at the base of the rear grip and the handle is tipped with a discrete cap of rubberized cork. All in all in it a very attractively presented and finished rod.
HOW HAS THE ROD PERFORMED?
The casting distance achieved with lures of around 14 – 30 grams typically ranges between 60 – 75 metres, depending on whether the lure is being cast into or with the breeze. The effort required to generate casts of this distance is minimal.
The most impressive thing about the rod is casting control. This was demonstrated when I fished a particularly gnarly section of Coromandel estuary around New Year. The channel was festooned with lots of oyster clad rocks, both above and below the surface, and the kahawai were feeding hard out on something close to the surface. The wind was howling and it made casting very tricky. I fished it hard for nearly an hour and a half and was able to place casts in between the obstructions with impunity. The rod side casts beautifully and every time I hooked a fish the extra length allowed me to manoeuvre them away from danger quickly. I even hooked two fish on the same lure and the rod had enough power in reserve to cope with the confusion caused. Unfortunately I’ve not landed anything big on the rod yet but I’m sure it would deal with large fish easily.
At 235 grams the rod is substantially heavier than my Yamaga Blanks Evo Ballistik 94/16 (154 grams). However, I’ve paired it to a very heavy reel so the balance point is mid palm so it handles well. You do notice you’ve been holding it after a couple of hours but that is a combination of rod and reel, not just the rod.
Despite its impressive build quality and performance, there are a couple of things that could be improved. Firstly a quality rod like this should be supplied in a sturdy rod tube with a rod bag. It came in a transparent plastic case and each section was wrapped in plastic. While this may be fine to transport the rod to the customer, it is essentially useless thereafter and you have to carry the rod bound together which leads to blank damage. Secondly the lack of a hook ring also marks the rod down. I really dislike having to attach lures to a guide frame as it often leads to catching obstructions or blank damage.
Overall I would thoroughly recommend this rod to anyone looking for a long spinning rod for shore based saltwater fishing with small – medium stickbaits and would give it 9 out of 10 overall. It is an excellent piece of kit that is priced attractively.