Tuesday, 10 October 2017 10:07


Heavy boat rods are specialist items of kit, designed for big fish and heavy tackle. Back in the day they would have been classed as shark rods on our shores, perhaps big-game rods elsewhere, but tackle and angling styles have moved on, and the heavy rods of today are nowhere near as severe as those of yesteryear.

As an example, many UK anglers will happily target sharks on 30lb-class rods, as the most commonly caught sharks in our waters, the blue shark, is likely to be overgunned by heavier gear. However, for anglers targeting the larger shark species such as porbeagles, or more obdurate quarry such as common skate and specimen conger eels, more powerful rods are required. The sheer lifting power of rods in the 50lb-class is needed to cope with the task of getting fish in excess of 100lb off the bottom, and more to the point, take the fight to the fish so that it can be landed without being tired to the point of exhaustion.

Rods in this class can also be useful when fishing in strong tidal rips where very heavy leads of 2lb or more are needed, such as when targeting blonde rays.

Heavy rods tend to be shorter in length than lighter models in the range, and this has the benefit of allowing the angler to apply more pressure by a more direct pull. Shorter lengths are more common still in big-game rods, with some anglers favouring these over conventional 50lb-class boat rods. In general terms 50lb-class conventional boat rods will be seven feet or longer, while an equivalent rated big-game rod could be less than six feet.


Shimano Tiagra XTR-C Stand Up           

Rating: 50lb | Length: 5ft 6in

This is a true big-game rod, fitted with stainless steel roller guides on an HPC 350 carbon and Biofibre blank. With a heavy-duty aluminium reel seat and ergonomic EVA grips, this rod is built for the discerning big-fish angler.

The lighter 30lb model is highly rated as a sharking rod in UK waters, while the 50lb model will really take the fight to bottom-hugging species in double-quick time.

T: 01635 500399

W: rokmax.com

SSP: £239.99



White Water Blue Dog

Rating: 20-40lb | Length: 6ft 6in

This 6ft 6in rod has a real big-game heritage, and it’s designed by top shark and big-game skipper Andrew Alsop. Built on a one-piece carbon composite blank the rod has a 20-40lb class line rating and is fitted with high quality Fuji WDB series guides in gunmetal grey.

The guides are triple whipped to the blank for strength, and the rod has a tough Pac Bay AH-M series reel seat and PVC and EVA grips.

Although designed mainly for sharks, our own Gareth Davies has landed plenty of congers on these rods.

T: 01275 892000

W: veals.co.uk

RRP: £249.98




Abu Volatile Boat

Rating: 50lb | Length: 7ft

Built to classic proportions on nano technology 30T carbon blanks, this good-looking rod has a lot to offer.

With Pac Bay guides featuring SiC inserts, the rod is braid ready. It has plenty of muscle too.

Fuji reel seats and hard EVA grips complete the package, which is surprisingly wallet friendly.

W: uk.purefishing.com

SSP: £62.99

Volatile Boat 1337978 2015 alt8


Nordic Big-game Travel

Rating: 20-50lb 30-70lb | Length: 7ft

These rods are equipped with two tips rated at 20-50lb and 30-70lb which is quite a range. However, these are powerful rods suited for heavy halibut and huge cod, so they have a lot of backbone.

The high-modulus carbon blanks are fitted with braid-friendly SiC rings throughout, and the rods are three-piece, packing down quite small in the neat case provided.

T: 0182 759 659

W: savage-gear.com

SSP: £129.99

nordic big game travel 2


Snowbee Deep Blue Titanium Travel


Rating: 30-50lb | Length: 7ft 7in

The first thing to say about this rod from Snowbee is that its rating is IGFA approved, meaning that it will punch above its weight compared to our ‘normal’ rating systems.

This is a neat four-piece with the requisite ALPs titanium guides and zirconium inserts plus a metal gimbal butt. It’s a deservedly popular model with anglers on the move.

There’s plenty of poke in this rod, without it being pokerlike – a sort of refined brutality.

W: snowbee.co.uk

SSP: £209.99

deep blue


Penn Legion Travel Boat

Rating: 30-50lb | Length: 7ft 4in

There’s plenty of power in this four-piece rod designed for the travelling angler with big fish in mind. The 7ft 4in length is decent for what is essentially a travel rod, but that, and the 30-50lb rating, rather than a straight 50, suggests that it is on the lighter side of heavyweight rods.

The blank is a mix of 30 and 40T carbon fitted with high end Fuji guides. A carrying tube is supplied.

W: uk.purefishing.com

RRP: £185.99

Legion Boat 2016 1303368 alt



Daiwa Seahunter Z Boat

Rating: 30-50lb | Length: 7ft 6in

Don’t be deceived by the price, you do get a serious rod for your money. Built on a two-piece blank, rather than the long tip, short butt design, the bottom end of this rod delivers serious power. It’s braid-friendly too and pretty light for a rod in this price range.

The responsive blank offers good bite indication, and if you are in the market for a heavier rod that only gets an outing a couple of times a year this is a pocket friendly purchase.

W: daiwasports.co.uk

RRP: £59.99

Seahunter Z Boat SHRZB7612 AU main



Sonik SKS

Rating: 30-50lb | Length: 7ft

The most affordable rod in the line-up, but you wouldn’t know it.

Built on a composite carbon blank this is a nice light rod with great fixtures and fittings including lined hard alloy guides. It has plenty of power, a sensitive tip, and it looks great. What’s not to like at this price point?

You have to say, it’s an absolute steal.

sonik sks boat 7ft 30 50lb sksbr03 34f


Penn Regiment II Halibut

Rating: 50lb | Length: 8ft

Only just shy of 8ft in length, this two-piece (long tip) is one of the longest rods available at this weight rating.

Built on a deceptively light, slim, SLS3 blank, the rod has braid-friendly rings but can also be used with mono.

Quite ‘tippy’ as you would expect at this length, the power soon makes itself known.

A nice combination of good bite indication plus loads of grunt where it’s needed.

W: uk.purefishing.com

RRP: £101.99

T: 01670 798910

W: www.soniksports.com

SSP: £39.99

Regiment II Halibut 2017 1404605 alt8


Ugly Stik GX2

Rating: 30-50lb | Length: 7ft 6in

The Shakepeare Ugly Stik range has achieved legendary status for durability and performance, and the GX2 models carry on the tradition.

The distinctive clear tip shows that this is a composite blank – and all the stronger for it. With metal lined rings they are ready to go with braid or mono and offer great value for money coupled with a brilliant action.

The heavier rods feature a gimbal butt beneath a butt cap and an alloy reel seat. The abbreviated handle design will please some but not all, but we like it.

W: uk.purefishing.com

SSP: £65.99




There are some real tempters in this line-up, not least the budget-busting beauty from Sonik and the interesting Penn Regiment II Halibut. But I’m sticking with a rod that has become a legend – the Ugly Stik.


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