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  #1  
Old 09-11-2011, 12:15 PM
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SanFranFlyFish SanFranFlyFish is offline
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The 18 Footers - a discussion and comparison

OK. I don't need one, but I want one. Badly.

Thought we could start a thread to discuss the merits, challenges and differences of the various 18' spey/salmon/tournament rods by makers like CND, Scott Mackenzie, Bruce & Walker, Clan, Carron, Daiwa, etc.

There've been a few postings on this topic, but nothing approaching encyclopedic. You see one occasionally: at Spey-o-rama, on a BC river, or the Tay, or the Ponoi (places most of us will never see or cast over).

How do these rods differ from the rods mere mortals have experience with (i.e. A 14' 8/9). Are there any North American rod makers building these monsters? What does it take to cast an 18' well? All day?

Also, perhaps a discussion of 15' competition rods (a la Spey-o-rama) might be appropriate here or in a new thread.

So, if you know 18 footers, please share. We know who you are, but won't mention any names. C'mon.

Last edited by SanFranFlyFish; 09-11-2011 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Add 15' comp rods.
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2011, 03:18 PM
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speyforsteel speyforsteel is offline
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Ooooohh big sticks
I own and have fished a Clan McLeod 18-it's actually a 15/18 combo rod set.
The Clan 18 is typical Clan action-easy timing,lots o power,an action that's very fish landing friendly and just smooth all around.
A true 10/11 which is a nice line weight for fishing.

Burkie currently has an 18 in the works and the protos have been promising.
Also should line up in the 10/11 range.

The B&W 18's I've cast are brutes,the action is nice but they are heavy and line up heavier than I like to fish.

The Carron 18's are sweet-powerful and smooth with good feel and quite bling blingy lookin too.
They line up slightly heavier than I like for fishing but they are not man killers to fish all day.

I've cast older Diawa 18 once-similar too the Clan in action but a bit slower maybe.
Also seemed to line up in a true 10/11 line weight that's nice for fishing.
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:45 PM
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Scott MacKenzie signiture by Diawa-the seem to be a cross between a Clan and Carron-hard to go wrong there.
Line up similar to Carron and are quite fishable.


For actual fishin lines.
Winter-a Nextcast fall fav 70 or Carron 85 both cut back 10-12 feet and looped for tips works great as does the CND 10/11 and 11/12 lines.
You can fish some pretty tight spots with them.

Summer-Nextcast fall fav 70,Carron 85 & 95,CND 10/11 & 11/12 and also the CND dt's-I've fished them all and they work well.

The old SA XLT especially the 8/9's were good but after fishin an 18's solid for a few years I prefer fishing a long shooting head type line from 70 to 80 feet.

The Grand speys-never was a big fan of fishing them-too much work.

The long shooting head approach really make these big sticks shine for fishing.
Keeping excess weight out of the rod with a big shooting head makes the 18's much more responsive and lightens tip feel and counterflex-both make swinging 18 ft of thunder less taxing overall.
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  #4  
Old 09-11-2011, 04:21 PM
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B&W Powerlite: easy loading, heavy, easy to cast, tons of power
B&W Norway: so long ago that I've had a go with this that cannot remember much else than that it was heavy and very powerful (B&W tweaks these without renaming so current can be quite different from the one I cast)
CND Beastest: easy loading, quite light, easy to cast
CND I-Spey Ultimate: easy loading, light, fast recovery, easy to cast
Daiwa Scott MacKenzie: stiff and fairly heavy, not so easy
Carron: Even stiffer and even slightly heavier than Daiwa, not an easy rod
MacKenzie DTX: stiff (hard to say where it stands compared to the former two) and light. Not an easy rod, but perhaps not as difficult as previous two
Partridge Ian Gordon fast action: Sooooft, easy to cast, not nearly as powerful as any of the others above. Fairly heavy.
Streamstix Salmonstix: heavy noodle, stay away.

Those are the ~18' rods I've had a go with. I have the Daiwa. Couple of my buddies have Carrons (one is actually in my cupboard at the moment) and all the other listed specimens are found in the rod racks of my buddies except for the B&W Norway and Streamstix. I used to have the Streamstix. Terrible rod - way too soft.
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  #5  
Old 09-11-2011, 06:14 PM
Knut T Knut T is offline
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I currently have two 18 ft rods.
Clan 10/11 4pce (I don`t know if this is a "macLeaod") which is a nice, easy loading rod with a through action. Casts lines like Carron 85/95 10/1 or 11/12. Nextcast 95 9/10 is also good.
Ian Gordon medium action. Casts the same lines as the Clan, but is more like a 3/4 action.
None of the rods are heavy IMO. What they do which sets them apart from shorter rods is the way they lift a full sinking line. I have made a line from a Carron 75 Int 10/11 (the rear 35 ft of the head) and 40 ft of Ian Gordon 11/12 sinkers in front. Headlenght 75-77 ft and about 960 grains. It is amazing how easy this line is lifted out of the water.
I have tried the B&W Norway 11/12 4pce. All the Norways 4pce are good and contrary to common belifes, not heavy, but he 18 ft stands out as a stiff beast that will lift a lot of line. I don`t like it.
The CND Ultimate is good, the beastest a beast.
I tried a Burkheimer 18`4" 10/11 0r 11/12 5pce a couple of years ago. A fine rod, not heavy and about 3/4 action and not very fast.
You don`t need to be Hercules to cast these rods. If one goes from a nimble 14 ft 8/9 one is in for an unpleasant surprise. Go step by step or feet by feet, use good technique
and letting the rod do the job, is the trick.

Knut
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  #6  
Old 09-11-2011, 06:23 PM
Knut T Knut T is offline
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I forgot to mention this, but both B&W and Carron are listing 20 ft rods.

Knut
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  #7  
Old 09-11-2011, 06:40 PM
ness-sider ness-sider is offline
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SMS
You seemed to of tried most of the 18ft rods on the market, when designing a rod such as 18 footer you have to think what is it going to be used for, hear in Scotland the Mackenzie DTX 18 footer is used very successfully for fishing on some of the big rivers such as the River Tay,
But most 18 footer we sell and design, are used for distance spey casting, so when you think of distance you want a rod that will deliver this, so really you are looking for a blank that has a fast recovery and with a medium flex action, different people like different actions when distance casting, i always thought that if you could flex properly a fairly stiff actioned rod with fast recovery and mid flex ,it has to be a powerful combination if used correctly, yes this will make the rod less forgiving but if you are in competition and you are looking to break world records and compete at the highest level then you need something a bit special, and most casters of this sort of level normally can make most rods work, i would never design a 18ft full flex soft rod to compete with in competition, you would to my mind be out gunned, by other faster less full through action rods, their is never a one glove fits all when using these sorts of rods, some people like the fuller action rods and if it suits them and their style then that's great,
Sometimes some of the stiffer rods feel stiffer if you are not loading them correctly,it is always important to think about your casting style and stroke length when distance casting, and to make sure you are using the rod properly and flexing it properly, don't think you have to have arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger to cast a long way, its all about casting style ,technique and flexing the rod not trying to throw it, most of the best distance spey casters that have walked and graced this planet have been on the slightly shorter side rather than the bigger size, the head length and line weight is crucial to the whole thing if your head length is to long for you to manage it comfortably you won't cast consistantly all that well,so always go for a head that loads the rod properly and a head that lifts cleanly out of the water every time,
This is a subject that i could write and write about, all day long but 18ft rods and distance speycasting must be one of the most addictive things in casting, once you start casting these long rods it is hard to put them down,

Scott Mackenzie
Mackenzie DTX
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2011, 07:29 PM
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While I have a number of CND 18 footers my competition with them was limited to one contest in Tokyo where I think I cast further with the 16' rod than with the Beastest I was using so my input as far as pure distance casting goes is suspect. However, I do have some thoughts re fishing with an 18' rod.

The first thing is that my river (when it's open...) has runs and holding water where fish live that even Gerard D might not be able to cover - so the use of an 18' rod is justifiable. The most common criticism I hear re 18' rods is how heavy they must feel and that one couldn't possibly fish it all day. My response is that the opposite may well be true - especially if you are trying to fish at 120'+... Certainly with good technique and decent lines shorter rods - 15' or 16' - can cover those distances, but the 18' rod will make 120' seem like child's play. I contend that over a full day of really big-water fishing that the 18' rod takes less of a toll. The only area where weight can be an issue is holding the 18'er on the swing - the rod is long and can get heavy... that however is solved by merely "choking up" and sliding your hand up the blank to the balance point for the swing.

The other misconception is that the big rod kills the fight. Again, the opposite is true. While you have a long lever - so does the fish on you! If you want to whup a large fish in short order use 9' 10 wt single hander and its short lever - with an 18' rod you had better hang on!
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  #9  
Old 09-12-2011, 05:26 AM
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Kush's experience regarding big rods is identical to mine with regard to the fact that an 18' with real casting potential is easier than using a 15' at the limit of it's capability.

He is also right regarding the toil of a long rod on the swing. On heavy water even a 15' does need to be properly balanced to balance out when the rod is actually swinging the fly at average fishing distance. Having "bad" shoulders and elbows I know this to my cost. My many years of fishing spliced bamboo rods of up to 15' also underline this fact; but those days have gone.

I have to say that my only 18' experience was for a couple of years with a David Norwich rod which was lightweight (probably an ex tournament rod as used by Derek Brown...it came to me from Peebles which is where Derek lives!). I used it with 11/12 Snowbee 3D lines. It was a delight with these lines or an 85' Carron. It was too much for me with a fully sunk line!!!
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:48 PM
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Hi Scott, I agree with you.

Carron and Daiwa are full on competition rods. I've now finally started to get around making the 18' Daiwa work for me. One needs to be smooth (especially in the beginning of the stroke) but still fast/sharp at the end of the stroke. And yes, it is addictive when you feel that you've gotten to the "stiff lever" part of the rod.

B&W Powerlite is so easy that it could be used in fishing. It loads so easily against its own inertia. But it is very (tip) heavy so during swing it could be very tiring.

Both CND rods would be nice fishing rods (were I to use an 18' for fishing), they are light, responsive and easy.

DTX is not as easy as the above - at least for me it wasn't. But, I only tried it with one line and I think now I will like it more. I need to try it with couple of different lines.

Partridge Ian Gordon fast action, not a distance rod. If it was lighter, I could see it in fishing situation, in my opinion it is just a tad over the treshold of too heavy.

Streamstix Salmonstix is probably only for fishing but it is so slow that I do not understand what it was designed for. I know that on some rivers in Norhern Norway some people practically don't cast, they just guide the line with the rod and they use long rods. Maybe it excels in that. I sold mine as it was absolutely terrible for distance.

Btw, I forgot two 18' rods that I've tried: Scott T2H and Gatti FRM 1810-5. I don't think T2H is commercially available and maybe it will never be, but it would be a nice fishing rod. Light and easy. A bit softer than CND rods I would say. Gatti is a bit softer still. It is also quite light.

Of course it is difficult to make direct comparisons as I have not been able to compare side by side most of these. And of course all the above are just personal views and preferences.

There is also 18' Zpey competition rod out there but I haven't tried it. It looks a bit faster action than Carron and Daiwa, but that's only based on still photographs I took last year in Fagernes. I guess that within a month I will also try that Zpey. And B&W 18' Tournament Caster - based on numbers I have and comparing them to Daiwa, Carron and Powerlite, there's a big difference in the second part from the bottom (these all are 3+1 design). I guess it is a beast - or just totally different from all others, just like the 15' Tournament Caster is.

Regarding how easy it is to cast long - I would take 16'-17' rod if I were in a need to cast as far as possible as easy as possible in stillish conditions. The windier it gets, the shorter the rods I like to use, get too. The same happens with lines (and I go up in density). Even #10/11 or #11 15' rod in a hard constant wind with a floating mid-belly is terrible for me. I change to #9/10 12'6" and intermediate shooting head and the distances are not dropped much (average maybe goes up in really bad conditions) even thou the longest casts are a bit shorter. Of course, if floating line is the only option, floating shooting head suffers more in the wind than the intermediate. But the rod's aerial resistance is way smaller with a short rod.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:09 PM
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Many have tried different rods. Focused on the rod Carron. 18 foot great rod for fishing in medium to large rivers. In addition to her superb cast long do the wiring.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speyforsteel View Post
The B&W 18's I've cast are brutes,the action is nice but they are heavy
Quote:
Originally Posted by sms View Post
B&W Powerlite is so easy that it could be used in fishing. It loads so easily against its own inertia. But it is very (tip) heavy so during swing it could be very tiring.
I fish the 18' Powerlite with an CND GPS 11/12 tips. It is very powerful and tip heavy. A 4 1/2" Perfect is too light to balance it. I can fish it for about 2 hours without the need to take a break. I am tired after fishing it all morning.
Gary
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:13 AM
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Gary, maybe you should get that San Francisco TV gal to help you support that heavy pole of yours...
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:40 AM
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speyforsteel speyforsteel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kush View Post
Gary, maybe you should get that San Francisco TV gal to help you support that heavy pole of yours...
OOH LA LA!!!!!!!!!!!
I think SHE could manage it for more than two hours.
I didn't know you had a powerlite 18-that would be purple.
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:16 AM
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I don't have much experience in 18footer's but from the one's that I've tried the 18' DTX has been the nicest to use. The Beastest was good too, but the Streamstix was absolutely terrible!! All of the 18footers I've tried have been lined up pretty heavy - it would be nice to try something that would be lined a bit lighter and see how that would feel like.

Maybe it's the lenght that's fooling me, but I felt that the 18' DTX had a bit more bend on it then the other DTX'ses? Especially when compared to the 15footer which feels pretty stiff.

I would personally never fish with a 18footer - if I needed that kind of distance when fishing I would rather pick up a spinning rod then use a 18footer.

It's been my first year of training for distance casting and it really is a addicting sport. Now that the fishing season will be over in a month or so I hope there will be some good weather left to do some practicing before winter comes. It's a shame I don't have the money for a 18footer at this time - I'm sure practicing with it would also improve my distance with the 15footer.
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