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Making the move to 
High Modulus Blanks
ELITE Pro Bernie Schultz mid-cast
Todays advanced High Modulus carbon fiber rods are masterpieces of craftsmanship. Using them properly requires a closer look at current techniques and a full appreciation comes only with some adaptation to the “muscle memory” methods you’re using now.

bern on the bow
Admit it. You have rods you hate.
All of us have rods we like and rods we don’t like. We even have rods we hate but don’t get rid of because someone told us they were good and we forked over a load of cash to own a rod that leaves use tired and limp-armed at the end of the day

Knowing a little more about the “innards” and variables of rod construction might help us make a more informed decision. I’ll be the first to admit that the subject of high-modulus carbon fiber has been beat to death recently but I’ll bet an Original Floating Rapala you haven’t seen the information presented from the standpoint of “energy”. In the final analysis it all comes down to this one simple principal. How and where you create, use and lose energy is a summary of the worth of any rod. And, it has a direct relationship with whether you have the strength left to lift a brew back at the dock at days end. 

The straight scoop.
I’ll keep it as simple as possible. All a fishing rod ever wants to do is return to a straight position. It strains to get straight when it’s bent. The amount of strain while bent is stored energy. Big, powerful offshore rods strain very hard to return to the relaxed straight condition and thus store a lot of energy (but you wouldn’t want to worm fish with one). Ultra-lite’s bend easily and can’t store much. The “magic” formula becomes quickly obvious - the ideal rod is very light yet stores a lot of energy. You put less into it and get more out. You’re not exhausted at the end of the day. The relationship between these two factors is called the “stiffness to weight” ratio. The lighter carbon fibers become (the higher the modulus) the stiffer they are. The stiffer they are the harder they strain to return to the straight position and the faster they will do it if given the chance (this characteristic is called “recovery”).

These fibers are expensive and difficult to work with, which accounts for the oft higher prices for high “energy” rods. They also require an adaptation in casting technique that throws some anglers for a loop. You must learn to bend them quickly over a short distance because they will unbend (recover) quickly over a short distance with equal or more power than lower “energy”, carbon fibers. There is no longer a need to “load” the rod on a long back cast, and instead of starting the back cast from the 8 o’clock position in order to fully load the rod, you can start from 10 o’clock with a quicker, shorter stroke and still achieve the distance and accuracy you need. All while using LESS of your own energy to do it. You’re moving less weight a shorter distance to achieve the same results.  


If you do everything correctly, you convert the rod’s “strain to recover” into lure speed. All other factors considered, a lightweight, stiffer carbon fiber will recover so incredibly fast that it allows you to generate more lure speed and cast further WITH LESS WORK. All these same principals apply when youre retrieving a lure or fighting a fish as well, and the stiffness to weight relationship has a direct and dramatic affect on sensitivity. Lower weight and crisper response and recovery have benefits across the spectrum.

In the end, every rod is a loser.
The above discussion is incomplete without mention of the single factor that can have the greatest effect on rod performance - lost energy.

The best rod blanks in the world can be poorly built or perfectly built. The guage for this is the amount of energy lost during the transfer from the loaded rod to the lure. Imagine casting a lure with no line attached. You would probably accomplish some truly staggering distance on the cast since 100% of the energy would make it into the lure, as speed, and nothing would slow it down as it travelled (other than wind resistance). The difference between casting with imaginary line and casting with real line is the energy LOST in every cast. Energy is lost in the bearings of the reel spool or the spool lip on spinning rods and energy is lost at every single guide along the rods length. The sum of the energy lost is the final measure of just how efficiently a finished rod uses the power it stores when bent. Misplaced or poor quality guides generate additional friction and therefore additional lost energy that never makes it into the lure. Each bit of energy the rod uses efficiently is calories you don’t have to burn to make the rod work the way you want it to. Not to mention the frustration and possibly the fish it costs you during the day.

The benefits of high modulus, high energy blanks like the selection of Anglers Resource POINT Blanks, when designed and built properly, are undeniable. But, very high modulus blanks fall at the very top of a wide range of products that start with relatively heavy, slow fiberglass. The ultimate decision about the best rod for you for a particular technique or species lies somewhere along this line. 

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© [2017]Anglers Resource, LLC / Jim Ising
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