Rod Test

packman-and-farao

Ordered a new (to me) summer squash variety called Cavili. It’s a lime green colored, zucchini like squash that’s parthenocarpic. So how’s that! Parthenocarpic means it doesn’t require insect pollination. That means I can keep it under cover to protect it from insects without insecticides. Boring insects are a big problem with squash and it’s really disappointing to cut open a perfect looking squash only to find an invader eating away on the inside. This variety is fast growing so I can most likely start it in March or maybe even late Feb. and be picking squash by the end of April before it gets too hot to live under cover. At least that’s the plan. I seem to have a good handle on the nematodes now so if I can overcome the borers, maybe this will be the year we finally break the code on summer squash. Turns out parthenocarpic also is code for expensive. An old standard variety costs maybe $2 for 30 seeds; these were $5 for half as many. Still cheap on a per squash basis – if I have the success the catalog promises. Time will tell.

The picture is yesterday’s picking. Fairly typical of each day with broccoli and cabbage. The cabbage is a variety called Farao and is the only conventional, round type I put in this year. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference taste wise but those with more sensitive palettes seem to favor the cone headed variety I grew along side these. I believe them since the cone head is a heritage that, according to the catalog, has been around since the 1800’s. So you have to know that if it wasn’t really good, people would have quit growing it long ago. Next week’s picture could be the trifecta pic – adding cauliflower to the mix.

Did a dummy run on my new surf outfit. The weather and tides haven’t cooperated to the point where it’s worth a drive over to the beach but I couldn’t wait any longer and there is this lake right outside. Wow! I put on a 2 oz spoon and easily laid it out maybe 200′. I knew it would cast fine but the test was how comfortable would it be to fish for a lengthy time. I cast about a dozen times and it felt good. The length behind the reel seat was just right – long enough to allow a two handed cast but not too long to make the retrieve cumbersome. It’s designed so that my forearm rests just right on the rod butt and it’s balanced (with the reel) so that it doesn’t wobble during the retrieve. Believe it or not, controlling that wobble on rods with an extended butt section is a big piece of what wears you out. Your wrist acts as a fulcrum at the reel seat and you automatically squeeze tighter and use your forearm muscles to keep the rod straight. One thing about this new rod that I had some doubts about is that it has more guides than I’ve ever seen on a rod. Ten guides on an 8′ rod. A typical rod will have more like 6 guides; an extra good rod would have 8. To calibrate you, I have two 12′ rods that have 7 and 8 guides respectively. Those are two piece, medium quality rods. So my concern was that although the extra guides will make for a more linear line path, it would also add friction on the path and slow the cast down – shorten it. The guides on the rod are extremely good Fuji guides so I guess they solve the friction problem with ceramic coating. It’s also typical on spinning rods that the first guide above the reel seat has a really large diameter whereas this rod has a much smaller first guide. That too concerned me because the theory for the extra large guide is that the line is spiraling off the spinning reel and reducing the spiral radius too quickly, again shortens the cast. I honestly can’t say this rod wouldn’t perform better with a larger first guide but I can say that the cast is extremely smooth and that the narrower spiral gives me a bit better finger control for gradually slowing down the cast.

The other factor that jumps out at me is the drag setting on the reel. On a cheap reel there are a couple of drag problems. First is that the drag adjustment is course so that you go from very loose drag to very tight drag with only a small adjustment of the drag mechanism. That’s a bit of a problem surf fishing because you typically have the rod holding in a sand spike, watching for a bite. You set the drag lightly so that if a large fish grabs it, it won’t yank the rod out of the spike and into the surf. Then when you remove the rod from the spike, you tighten the drag. That is all going on while you are fighting the fish and if you accidentally over tighten the reel, pop. Most of the time you catch small fish in the surf so that situation doesn’t occur too often but it does happen. The other problem is that with a cheap reel, sometimes the drag tightens on it’s own when a fish applies pressure. That technically shouldn’t happen but it does. With this reel, the drag adjustment is much finer and extremely smooth so you can adjust it much easier and gradually and avoid the instant over tightening that happens with a junky reel.

All in all, I’m a happy camper.

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