Shore fishing styles in the UK have gone a bit full circle lately. In years gone by most people would have been using fixed-spool setups on their rods, then the multiplier took over. Walking a beach you would very rarely see anglers using fixed spools anymore, they were seen as the lesser experienced angler’s reel of choice, a bit Mickey Mouse if you will.
Slowly but surely, though, the fixed spool has made a comeback; more anglers are adopting the long rod tactics of our foreign angling family, light lines and light tackle are becoming the in things on the beach, with many anglers putting their multipliers back on the shelf.
Now these light tactics are all well and good when the conditions allow, but when a heavy sea is running or you have a strong headwind these 1 to 4oz rods just won’t cut the mustard. You need something with a bit more backbone, something that will stand tall and do exactly what you want of it.
On the market at the minute there are many of these heavier shore match rods out there; I have used a good few of these types of rods, ranging from the lower budget end up to the middle-of-the-range rods.
Now, though, I was going to put one of the top-end rods through its paces – the Lamborghini Aventador of the heavier fixed-spool shore match rods… the Grauvell Teklon Surf Competition ll. I was definitely looking forward to getting out with it, but I was more intrigued than anything – how would this rod compare to the other rods I have used in the past and was its top-class pedigree status deserved?
I was at home when I set my eyes on the rod for the first time; the rod itself comes in a very sturdy carry case, which is always good for protection when travelling to and from the beach. Within this carry case is the rod, which is kept snug in a very fetching velvety feeling rod bag that looks very classy indeed. Sliding the rod out of the bag I had my first view; the red on black graphics looked very attractive and all I could think was “Wow, this is one extremely good looking puppy!”
Placing the sections together I could feel it was a well-made beast, and on holding the full 14 feet I could now see how sleek it really looked.
The Fuji low rider rings whipped in silver really set it off, and if this review was on looks alone then the Competition ll would have a full 10/10 from me.
However, I had to get out on the beach and really put it through its paces to see how it would perform.
For the actual beach test I wanted to give the rod a good workout; I needed somewhere that would put it through its paces and I knew the perfect place – the dirty wall at Aldeburgh. This section of shingle is a bit deeper than most local beaches, with more of a strong tide run than other areas as well. Upon arrival the wind was blowing a fairly strong onshore breeze and the sea looked lumpy – perfect conditions for what I wanted to do with the rod.
After a half-hour walk I found my spot and started setting up. Coupled up to the rod was my fixed-spool reel loaded with 18lb line, and a tapered leader up to 80lb. First things first, this rod is a match rod rated from 3oz, so I clipped on a 3oz lead to see how it coped with the lower end of its rating. A couple of overhead thumps later I was pleasantly surprised, it flicked the lead out with ease and sent it a good way out.
Now I was going to try an off-the-ground cast and really give it some beans. Laying the lead out I turned to the sea and leathered it; with a whoosh the lead sailed off into the distance. It was a beautiful action on the rod and it felt so crisp on the cast. I clipped a flapper rig to the lead, with small hooks and small baits, as I wanted to see how good the bite registration was. It didn’t take long before I could see some lovely indications on the tip and a small whiting was soon on the beach. Perfect for the match anglers looking for those smaller fish; who need a rod that can handle conditions but will register bites perfectly as well.
Next up was a 5oz lead with a pulley dropper and whole squid bait. At the middle of the weight rating for the rod this should be perfect for it, and it was!
With a good overhead thump the lead flew off into the sunset, placing that squid bait in the perfect fishing zone and finding some pretty hefty tide run at the same time. The tip of the rod sat perfectly, though; the tide was picking up pace, and whereas my friend’s rod beside me was folding slightly the Grauvell Surf Competition ll rod tip showed no sign of folding at all. It sat perfectly with a lovely bend and held the lead without tripping it.
I soon had indications of a bite; at distance this rod showed up a few good pulls, followed by a slack liner very well. No fish, though, and a thoroughly destroyed squid was the result… blooming doggies!
Now the tide was really pulling through, and this is when lesser rods would suffer, either being too soft and folding in the run or too stiff and pulling the lead out. Clipping on a green 200g lead and whole squid, I laid the rig on the ground and whacked it out. Even at the top end of this rod’s weight it still stays crisp on the cast, the lead sailed out and yet again landed in the zone. Next cast I gave it a good overhead thump, same weight and bait and the rig flew out effortlessly – very, very impressive stuff from this rod. It really was living up to its expectations and I can see why this is the rod of choice for Ireland’s world shore champions 2016.
Laying back on the beach, nearing the end of the session, my mind was on the subject in hand. What were my thoughts of the rod and was I impressed by this high-class beauty?
All I can say is I am in incredibly impressed; from when I first laid eyes on it to when I was banging out 7oz and whole squid baits, this rod has surpassed all expectations.
Yes, it is at the top end of the price range but it’s the same as everything in life, you get what you pay for, and when you pay for this you really do get the superstar of the beach shore match rods.
Would I recommend this rod to anybody wishing to buy it? Yes I would. I can guarantee 100 per cent that nobody who uses this rod will be disappointed – the Grauvell Teklon Surf Competition ll truly is an absolute masterpiece.
SSP: From £739
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