A local kayak angler has begun making custom rods and offering them up to the Angling Community. He will also be donating a Rod for HOW and also one for our PKFA Shickshinny Tournament. His name is Jim Dutt and he is the owner and rod-builder of SmallieStix. His goal was to build a 7′ rod initially for himself that had a short enough butt section to be used comfortably on a kayak. Most 7″ rods are too long in the butt section to use comforatably on a kayak, especially if you are shorter than about 6′ tall.
Enter SmallieStix.. Back in April, I bit the proverbial bullet and ordered my first Custom Rod from Jim. The butt section on the 7′ rod much shorter than most and leads to a more comfortable casting and fishing position when seated. From there, Jim adds the Microwave Guide system to the spinning rods—a system designed to reduce the line oscillation that occurs on the cast with the average spinning rod with regular line guides. This leads to increased accuracy and distance to casting, once you are used to casting the with the new guides–just a slight ‘flick’ of the wrist will get you a 40-50′ cast without issue. Add to this a full customization website–from blank, to wrap and grip colors, as well as the ability to ‘personalize’ your name with a decal and you have a Custom Rod that is truly ‘designed’ by the rod owner.
I chose to go with the 7′ Medium Action/Fast Tip white blank, the ‘Slayer W’ selection on the website, with black EVA grips, the Fuji Aero grip, black guide wrap with red accent (in celebration of my High School colors–the Pirates of Madison Heights in Anderson IN; which has been closed) and drop shot style hook keeper.
After about 3 weeks, my rod was ready and I picked it up from Jim. I was astounded by how lightweight the rod feels. He had a demo rod with him in his vehicle and I was able to take a couple of ‘test casts’ which show the distances possible. After the first cast, and some subsequent instruction from Jim, I was able to hit 40-50′ nearly effortlessly. My current rods would never allow that without effort. Since I had a reel and lures with me (planned), I took the rod to a local lake the day after to get a few ‘practice casts’ in.
First up–Texas Rigged soft plastic, and a 1/4oz bullet weight. I used a light flick and the lure sailed out around 60′ from the shoreline. Once the lure touched the bottom of the lake, I closed the bail and began slowly reeling in. I could feel the lure and sinker crawling across the rocky bottom-every rock, crevice and bump was transmitted by this very sensitive blank to my fingertips; I could even feel light nips from panfish I new were in this area. Subsequent casts revealed much the same–I fish the lake and have never felt the bottom so perfectly.
Next up: KVD Square Bill crank bait. I tied this lure on the line and made an intial cast. Again the lure soared out at least 50′ and as the lure touched down I closed the bail. Without reeling, I pulled the rod–every wiggle and wobble was felt in the blank. I stopped, took up the slack, pointed the rod tip toward the lure and reeled it in. I instantly began to feel the lure move. The wobbles were being felt in the reel seat and by my hand as I reeled in the lure. I made a handful of other casts and the blank never failed to feel the wiggle of the lure.
Final Test–Weightless Senko, wacky and nose-hooked. The blank performed well again; While I wasn’t able to feel the lure vibration; I was able to feel the panfish pecking at it. The casting distance was not as pronounced, but I expected that, is this is a somewhat less than stiffness for as light of a lure as I was casting, but there was a good distance; and with a slight adjustment to my casting speed, I was able to cast the lure out as far as the other testes. With a weightless lure, there is little to feel; however the panfish did nip at it a few times and their nibble were very apparent.
Conclusion: This is a very good rod for the money. The sensitivity was very much on par with more expensive rods; and this is easily a good choice for a kayak angler for a number of reasons. I am anxiously awaiting warm enough waters to put this rod though its’ paces on the water and catch a few fish to see how well the rod performs with weight on the other end of the line. The website is SmallieStix. Check them out.