By Gary Seddon
My name is Gary, I'm 56 years old, and when I'm not in my shed working on my trike project, I can be found on marks between the Mersey estuary and Knott End on the Fylde coast. I have only recently started fishing again after a 15-year break. I started back at it in September 2019 after my long-suffering wife suggested I go fishing and let her get on with some decorating I'd been dodging for months. I have an unstable back injury at T8 and 9 and an injury to my right shoulder that prevents my shoulder from rotating correctly. Both affect my casting style, and I can no longer pendulum but manage a reasonable OTG cast. Fishing has improved my mental health in the last few years, and I'm a lot happier for it.
My rods of choice are from the Tronixpro range apart from one 14ft multiplier rod from a leading competitor. Some of the rods I discuss here have been discontinued now, but I'm constantly updating my kit, so I will look at some of the current rods I'm using in future blogs.
Before Tronixpro rods, my only experience of beachcasters was the two Cod 6's I had over 20 years ago. I had those second hand and had them rebuilt — one rung for a fixed spool and one for a multiplier. More recently, two budget rods and reels from a well-known auction site. You know the sort of thing I'm talking about, bit floppy, poor build quality and completely hopeless at distance work.
On my third trip out with the floppy sticks at the Gynn wall in Blackpool, I got talking to a lad who suggested I tried ‘Conti' rods; they apparently were all the rage and were probably better suited to my back and shoulder injuries than a traditional two-piece rod. He had a Vercelli rod in his holdall and offered it to me for a few casts with a fixed spool reel.
I had a couple of tentative casts, overhead thump sort of style, only 50 or so yards to get a feel for the rod and how it loaded. I then tried OTG. Imagine my surprise at the lead sailing away to almost 100 yards. That was it. I was sold on the idea of a continental style rod.
I got hold of Gerry's of Morecambe and ordered the discontinued Aphex GT and TT (now replaced by the new Banzai Range) after a chat with them. Stunning at the price, I paid less than £100 per rod. My first session with them at a place called Dronsfield Road in Fleetwood was brilliant. I caught on both rods and had five school bass and a very unseasonable codling. I found the Aphex rods very user friendly, and with an OTG cast, I was able to shift four ounces and big baits to around the 100-yard mark. Within a few months, I'd also purchased the original Banzai three-piece. It only cost me £80 as it had been discontinued. I caught a plaice and school bass on that first time out too at Connah's Quay in North Wales.
Now you'd think that with three decent rods, I'd have felt I had all I needed to keep landing decent fish, but you'd be wrong. In November 2019, I found myself in the lucky position to order all of the Cobra range and the Xenon TT Power.
Like all of the Cobra range, the Cobra Light is well finished with high-end Fuji guides and a Fuji reel seat. It casts well and can deal with a bit of tide and weed without the very slim tip being dragged over too badly. The Light is a great little rod for scratching with small hooks and baits over clean ground. It took me three sessions to bag a fish with this one.
The Cobra GT is a great rod for clean to mixed ground, although I have used it in the rough and tumble of the mighty Mersey at Cod corner on 8-meter tides. This, too, got me a fish first time out at the double slips at New Brighton. I caught a nice chunky bass for my tea. It has a user-friendly blank that loads up gradually, but you can give it a bit of stick over the top of the cast. I regularly used this rod with 5 ounces in bigger tides and found it strong enough to deal with all but the biggest tides on the Mersey. I particularly like the adjustable weight in the butt section that allows you to balance the rod with your reel, so it feels more natural in the over the top part of the cast.
The Cobra TT V2, it's just a stunning rod to fish with. It's perfectly balanced, and like the GT, can be used with both a fixed spool reel and a multiplier. Capable of launching six ounces with a big bait into the murky depths of the Mersey in the hunt for winter cod or launching 5 ounces 120 yards with a juicy cocktail out on the beaches for the bass and hounds. The bite detection on this rod is second to none, and you can spot tiny bites from rockling and weavers, but when it comes to leaning into a fish, the tubular tip has all the grunt you need. It's currently my go-to rod for almost all of my fishing.
So much so that I've sold some of my rods, including the two-piece from another manufacturer, the Tronixpro Continental Rods do the job better for me. The money generated helps to pay for my fishing trips and buy other kit more suitable to my style of fishing.
The Xenon Power TT is a beast! It's perfect for fishing big baits with six or more ounces of lead in deep, strong tide marks. As with the other rods I've had from Tronixpro, this three-piece continental powerhouse is well finished and well equipped with high-end guides and reel seat. I've not used it off any rock marks yet but am confident that it's more than up to the task. I use this alongside my Cobra TT on most marks. Despite being a really powerful rod, it lends itself to the medium power casts I can manage. I rarely need to cast this over 80 or so yards, but it can do a lot more when pushed. It took me a few trips to catch with this, but I had my PB codling at 3lb 9oz on this at Cod corner.
Finally rod wise I have the Guerilla Surf 13ft 6inch. It's a ‘traditional' two-piece beachcaster. It's not a bad rod at all, considering it is priced well below £100. It has decent guides, and a sliding reel seat means it's able to be used reel up or reel down.
Now, despite being an avid fan of the Continentals, I quite like this rod. It can cast up to 8 ounces, and on the field, I have been able to cast further with this blank than I have with a rod from another manufacturer priced at over £100 more than the Guerrilla.
Its two-piece blank is lighter than my other two-piece rod, and despite being the shorter of the two, I can cast further than with the stiffer and thicker blank from the other manufacturer. I suppose it just goes to show that sometimes the more expensive kit may not necessarily be the best kit for you.
I have three Tronixpro Oceanik fixed spool reels that do the job at a price. They are robust and easy to maintain and can handle the abuse I throw at them on the snaggier marks I fish.
I regularly use the original Tronixpro Envoy Tournament without the magnet, and I have the newer Tournament MAG. I am looking into a set of ceramic bearings for both of them at the moment.
Both cast well. They are bang on at the RRP and are a great introduction to using a multiplier without having to spend over the odds only to find out you are happier with a fixed spool reel.
Most of the rods I own have either been discontinued or superseded by other rods, but if any of the rods I mention pop up on the second-hand market, they are worth a look. If you have restricted mobility in your back or arms, I am of the opinion that continental style rods are lighter and more suitable than a more traditional two-piece rod. I am also of the opinion that you don't need to be spending hundreds of pounds on a rod unless you can maximise its potential.
I'm currently saving for the Xenon Match and Power two-piece, hoping that they fit my style like the Continental rods I own.
If any of you out there with a disability are thinking of getting into beach fishing, I can recommend the Tronixpro gear, whatever your budget.
Tight lines, folks, be safe out there and above all, enjoy your fishing.