A couple of winter seasons ago, I decided to target Three Bearded Rockling. As a specimen hunter, the qualifying weight for this species is 1lb 12oz. This may seem like a small target but finding one over this size is quite a tall order for this mini-species.
I searched the tackle shops and on-line for a rod that would do the job, but had genuine difficulty in finding the ideal kit. This lead me to search the shed, hunting through old broken rods eventually coming up with a broken top two sections of a salmon rod. Re-whipped with a quiver-tip insert and a reel seat, I had made my own LRF Rockling rod.
This proved reasonably successful, being short enough to easily drop a baited hook between submerged crevices and gullies, controlling exactly where the bait ended up. I managed to find Rockling, including one over specimen size but soon ran into problems.
Anything larger than my target species and I was in severe difficulty! A small Wrasse, a three pound Pollack, or a bonus Conger and my home-made kit struggled to cope. This culminated in a recent twenty minute battle of cat and mouse trying to extricate an eight pound Conger Eel from a gulley that was exciting to say the least. So, it was back to the drawing board.
Flicking through the Shakespeare catalogue, I spied a new group of Ugly Stik Kayak rods, from the GX2 range, and lo and behold, this included a six-foot version! Having the opportunity to see this range at the Dublin Angling Show I had to order one and give it a go.
My First Impressions
This rod is very well finished, looking great in matt black with high gloss whipping. The EVA foam handle (laser etched with the Ugly Stick name) is perfectly comfortable with a strong, quality reel seat. Guides are three-legged and strong, of the “Ugly Tuff” brand.
This rod is two-piece, so obviously handy to transport. As a 12lb class rod, the tip is soft and great for bite detection for a range of smaller species, including my Rockling project. However, with a reel attached and line through the guides, putting a bend in this rod reveals its true power. It locks up about a third down from the tip, and you instantly realise that this will handle any fish in the sea, realistically up to Tope-small Blue Shark size. What a great all-rounder for the Kayak angler.
With my small bait-caster loaded with 40lb braid, I was eager to give this kit a try out, and headed for a local Rockling mark. The bite detection was excellent, soon lifting into small Rockling around the pound size. Unfortunately no Conger showed on this occasion, but I am in absolutely no doubt and fully confident this kit will handle anything that comes along while rock-hopping and searching the under-water gullies. I have found my new Rockling rod! Fabulous tackle at low cost.
What the manufacturer says
Three Ugly Stik rods specifically designed for the Kayak angler. The 6’ 12lb version (the one I tested) and the 6/12lb and 12/20lb models with a length of 7’6” allowing the angler to raise the rod high enough to work the line around the kayak’s bow when fighting a fast running fish.
The rods give good bite detection, but concentrate blank power in the mid-section and stiff butt making it easy to fight big fish from a seated position. The shorter 6’ 12lb class rod is designed for general kayak fishing when targeting a wide range of species. Again, it has a sporting long tip/short butt action allowing fun with smaller fish, but stiffens quickly to offer power when fighting bigger fish directly below the kayak. Features the world famous Ugly Stik blank technology, Ugly Tuff guides and light weight graphite reel seat.
These rods are now available from all good tackle shops.