thetightline

Fishing, Photography, Tackle

LIGHT TACKLE ROD REVIEW!!

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We just had a top up on the 7 foot Carpenter BLC rod range, so we now have all three of the available models! They range from PE3-4, 60g cast weight through to PE4-6, 100g max cast weight. The taper on these rods runs from a softer, springy tip, ramping up quickly into a very powerful bottom end. These rods are extremely versatile for variety of species, capable of tackling anything from impoundment barra to some large bluewater species. The soft tips on the BLC rods are designed for working stickbaits, but also are great with large soft plastics, minnows, vibration baits and smaller cup face poppers.

Carpenter BLC 70 SMC Rods

350g tip loading

BLC 70 SMC 350g

The BLC 70/16 SMC rod is right at home chasing longtails, smaller kingfish, mulloway and dam barra as well as coral reef flats fishing.

Next up, the BLC 70/18 SMC can put the wood on larger kings, mid-size tunas, dolphinfish, mackerel and other medium pelagics.

The big hitter of the range is the BLC 70/20 SMC which will tackle medium size GT, good size Yellowfin, large kingfish, wahoo, small billfish and more!

An interesting comparison of these Carpenter rods is with the FCL Labo light tackle range. On paper the rods are quite similar, but in the hand they are very different beasts. The Carpenters have softer tips that load easily into the mid-section before ramping up rapidly into a powerful and stiff bottom end. Comparatively, the FCL rods are crisp and responsive at the tip, becoming stiffer in the middle and smoothly continuing the power all the way through to the butt.
So what do these differences mean out on the water?

FCL Labo UCB Offshore Rods

350g tip loading

UCB Offshore 350g

The softer tip action on the Carpenters are a bonus when working tricky floating stickbaits or hopping plastics and vibes deeper in the water column. This can also be very handy at the end of a long day when the angler is not concentrating so well at getting the best action from the lure. Moving to the FCL rods; the faster recovery at the tip and increased stiffness in the middle, results in long, flat, accurate casting. The ability to work poppers or any aggressive jerking action on stickbaits is also enhanced by the recovery and stiffness of the FCLs.

 

FCL Labo UCB 73L Offshore (above)
vs
Carpenter BLC 70/16 SMC (below)

350g tip loading

UCB 73L- BLC 7016 350g

FCL Labo UCB 73M Offshore (above)
vs
Carpenter BLC 70/18 SMC (below)

450g tip loading

UCB 73M- BLC 7018 450g

FCL Labo UCB 74 Offshore (above)
vs
Carpenter BLC 70/20 SMC (below)

450g tip loading

UCB 74- BLC 7020 450g

When setting hooks and fighting fish, there are notable differences as well. The Carpenter loads up closer to the angler, which makes for a very easy and comfortable fighting style. This can make a big difference in drawn-out fight with a fish like a tuna slugging away under the boat. The power comes on much sooner when loading the FCL rods, from around mid-way down to the butt. When trying to set the hooks on ‘hit and run’ reef species like coral trout and red bass, this is the ideal because the faster the power is applied, the better the chance of turning the fishes head before it can reef you. In less than a second these fish can strike and turn for home, so the faster the response, the better the chance of success! When lifting a big fish from the deep, the stiffer mid-section and fast recovery of the FCL will tend to tire the angler out faster than the Carpenter (less of an issue in the lighter rod, more so in the heavier end of the range) However, with good rod technique the angler can still use the faster recovery of the FCL to take advantage of any mistakes the fish makes – as long as the angler is on their game and keeps the fish coming the moment the fishes head is turned.

TSU Double

Which rod is best then? Well that depends on the lures you like using and personal preference in rods. Both are excellent blanks with superb fittings, so quality is not an issue with either series. If you like a smooth, easy handling rod and a bias towards lures that benefit from a more delicate touch – like floating stickbaits, then the Carpenters have the edge. If you like your rods crisp and responsive to your every twitch and use a mix of lures from jerkbaits and stickbaits to poppers, then the FCL Labo rods are right up your alley.

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