The Perfect Spinning Rod for Trout
When I first started trout fishing I chose to use a 5.5' ultra light rod. I caught plenty of fish on that rod, but over time I realized it was not the right choice. Small fish with a small rod makes sense. They are more fun to fight on light tackle, but as I started chasing bigger and bigger fish, I needed something else.
My cousin Dustin and I trout fish together a lot. So when my wedding rolled around, he knew exactly what to get me as a wedding present. He went to Jake at Two Track customer rods, and had him custom build the perfect all around trout rod. Something that was small enough to get into tight brook trout creeks, but strong enough to battle the big browns that had started to consume my life. While I was unaware of the gift at the time, I was in good hands. Between Dustin and Jake they came up with a plan to make the perfect trout rod.
The rod is built on an MHX SJ782 6' 6" 6-12 # Medium Light Fast Action blank.
I like a fast action rod when it comes to trout fishing because casting accuracy is critical. I would say it is the single most important factor in catching browns on spinning gear. Over lure selection or presentation. With a rod that has more flex, you get less control over where your lure goes. A stiff rod is also good for setting the hook. Trout, especially the big ones, have very hard mouths. Sometimes they bite incredibly light. With a fast action rod, it allows you to set the hook very quickly.
I think the 6' 6" is the perfect length because it is short enough to get into tight spots, but not to short. The length of the rod helps to work around log jams or other cover. So I honestly wouldn't go much shorter.
The guides for this rod take a bit of a back story, but to keep it short, I broke the rod and Jake rebuilt it. He had to talk me into the microwave guides. I have tendency to be a "if its not broke don't fix it" kind of guy. Luckily for me it was broke in this situation. The first guide is an oddly shaped guide that has a smaller ring inside of a larger ring. This funnels the line down to a tighter spiral and then run through a series of micro guides. 10 guides in total. What this does is creates a smoother more consistent cast leading to, again, more accuracy. I have taken people fishing and had them try my rod and immediately notice a difference in their accuracy. Many rods that you can pick up for cheap will work, but they have much fewer guides. Even if its not a microwave guide setup, more guides usually helps casting accuracy, and place the correct amount of pressure throughout the rod so it doesn't snap on a big fish.
The handle on this rod is a carbon wrap over a foam core. This style handle is much lighter than cork. Which is by no means essential, but is nice. The fiber handle also offers much more sensitivity which is always critical for those light bites!
The reel that I chose for this rod is a Pflueger President XT 30. It holds plenty of line and will handle any resident brown that I have encountered. I have always liked the president reels for the price, but the XT is a bit of an upgrade. It has a sealed drag system that seams to be a bit smoother that the standard president. It also matches the rod nicely so that's a plus.
Since nothing is perfect, the only downside I can think of is I do seam to lose a few smaller fish due to the fast action. It doesn't have the flex needed to keep those smaller fish on the hook. I wouldn't say I lose a lot of small fish, but a few. However, that's okay with me. If I am using spinning gear I'm hunting for big fish. If a small fish shakes the hook, that just means I didn't have to handle it and possibly cause harm to it. Hopefully t I'll catch it again in a few years.
This rod is really perfect for what I use it for. I fish a lot of small streams for big browns. This rod is perfect in terms of casting accuracy, and has plenty of flex to keep those upper teens and bigger fish on the line. I have caught hundreds of fish on this rod over the past few years. From trout to bass, and even 30" pike. I have never felt it was to small or to light. Plus this thing is truly a work of art. Jake is a perfectionist almost to a fault. If you get a rod built by him, you know you are getting a quality product and he will stand behind his work!
To get in touch with Jake you can reach him at his facebook page Two Track Custom Rods, or follow the link here - Two Track Custom Rods