Shimano Ultegra Ci 14000 Reel

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I was very fortunate to get my hands on the new Shimano Ultegra CI 14000 XT-B reels.   These big pits are considerably more expensive then the XTC and XTD models but are worth every cent once you have had the privilege of fishing with them. They are the truly in a league of their own.

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I do not want to bore you with the technical specs that you can get that from the web and would like to simplify it so we can all relate to it.

Let us start by the weight of the reel which has been reduced by 100g.  This has made the reel extremely well balanced and suitable for almost any make of rod on the carp market currently.  They have by no means sacrificed any strength as the CI4+ is 2,5 times stiffer  than the original CI4 material.

As I am not one for ratios but it is simple to relate to the line retrieved.  For every complete turn of the handle the line retrieved is 103cm (1.03m).  So it is very simple to work out how far every cast is when retrieving the rig to re-bait if you are clipping up or when you fill the spools with line.  Talking about spooling the line, for all the tackle tarts out there they also come with 3 line reduces spools ( sizes 3500, 6000 and 10000).  These reduces eliminates the use of backing line as a filler and seats perfectly around the spool without any slipping.  So you have the option to only fish with +/- 200, 300, 400 or 550m (without reducer) of 0.35mm mono depending on the size of water and what range you fishing.  I use the 0.30 14lb Double  X Extreme abrasion and it fits 600m on comfortably without any spaces and has plenty of space left for a leader.  These spaces are best suited to those using braid and do not like filling up the entire spool with braid when only 250-400m is more than sufficient.

These reels each have an impressive 2 Spare Cold forged Aluminium spools that are all identical and are designed with a patented angled lip which enables the line to leave the spool with a lot less friction that will increase the distance of the cast.  The spools are also tapered to aid with the casting for increased distance and less drag.

When it comes to the line lay it has to be the best I have ever seen in any reel that I have ever used.  Line lay is imperative when it comes to casting as a lot of energy is lost due to this during a cast.  Shimano has achieved this by the super slow Oscillation of the spool compared to the speed that the handle turns per cycle.  They achieved this with an Aero Wrap II worm gear which is considered to be one of the best line lay systems in the world.

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One of the most impressive features of the reel is that the front drag that has a bait runner feature incorporated into it.  It allows the drag setting to be switched from a pre-set free spool to a pre-set drag by a simple ¼ turn of the front drag.  It is this function that convinced me to change as I have been fishing with a bait runner since day one and have always shied away from the Ultegra range due to the continuous cranking and loosening before and after every cast to get the tensions right.

Lastly, we have all opened a reel before to try service it and been surprised by the spare parts after ‘fixing it’ and it never being the same again or the complexity of the internal components.   The XT-B has an easy maintenance port that enables direct lubrication to the inner workings of the reel that is really user friendly without any spares lying around.

Please go and have a look at the impressive list of features I have not mentioned in this article on the web as I tried to simplify the very basics for easy reading and have not mentioned MANY other important characteristics that sets this reel apart from the others.

Please note that the above mention views and opinions are based on my own personal experience of using the reels.

Good luck and tight lines to all fishing.

Remember to practice catch and a safe release.

Peter Niemand.

Williamson Sailfish Catcher

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These lures are simple but so effective and the game fish love them and they are a definite in my arsenal of lures and when targeting game fish the sailfish catchers usually always make it into my starting line up.

Small Sailfish Catcher after a Striped Marlin fight

The Sailfish Catcher comes in 2 sizes and don’t let the size of the little ones fool you into thinking that they not going to catch bigger fish as they most certainly do and the small Williamson Sailfish catcher has been responsible for some good size Yellowfin Tuna and Striped Marlin. As a rule Striped Marlin generally prefer smaller lures. On the small Sailfish catcher I like to tie squid strip baits, on the larger ones on can use squid or belly shine strips.

The Sailfish catcher comes with a great ranger of colours and usually I use these lures off the riggers further back in my spread, they can be used with or without exciter birds.

The head has a great taper and the nose is concave making for a really great smoke trail and an aggressive action in the water.

Stiff Rig

These lures come pre rigged but to be honest I do not like the rigging as it is too light and I am not a fan of beads for spacers as Wahoo generally steal your lure this way and rather put some steel in there, on the larger Sailfish catcher I beef them up and use 5m of 1.3mm Suffix Zippy for a leader onto a stiff rigged  VMC 8709 7/0 hook. I also like the gape of the hook to sit outside the skirt. On the smaller Sailfish catcher I use a 4/0 long shank hook with 5m of 1.0mm Suffix Zippy leader.

Inside the head of the larger Sailfish catcher is a small weight wrapped with silver foil, I often like to change this to foils of other colours to enhance the lure.

Tuna on Red and Black Sailfish Catcher

Written by Mike Laubscher.

Gearing up for Summer – Rock & Surf

This summer holidays I am lucky enough to be spending my time fishing on the KZN North Coast. When spinning, this area is known to produce a lot of edibles such as Black Tip Kingies, Green Spot Kingies, Pick handle Barracuda, Shad, Yellowtail and many other fish. It is also well known for rock and surf fishing with bigger non-edible species such as the Giant Guitar fish, Diamond Rays, Honeycombs, Browns and more being targeted.

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When getting ready for the Summer fishing season there are some important checks you can carry out.

  • I always check the guides on my rods. Cracked or chipped guides can damage your braid resulting in a good fish being lost.
  • I always check my rods for weaknesses. I do this by asking my Dad to hold the top eye low to the ground while I pull the rod upwards, exerting maximum pressure on the Rod without breaking it.
  • It is always good to send your reels in for a service before the season starts.
  • I check my braid to make sure there are no weak points. I do this by tying the end of my braid onto a solid structure. I then walk out about 200 metres putting pressure on the braid.
  • It is also very important to check your knots.

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Spinning

Rod: the rod I use for spinning is the Aerocast 11’’

Reel: the reel I use for spinning is the Twin Power 5000.

The reel is loaded with Suffix 832 20LB braid.

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Rock &Surf

Rods: The rod that I use for catching non-edible fish is the Technium Surf Elite Medium.

Reel: The reels that I on this rod is my Saragosa 20000 and 10000.

The braid I use on my Saragosa 10000 is Suffix 832 30lb, and the braid I use on my 20000 is Suffix 832 40lb.

I also use the Beach Master Surf Pro when targeting smaller non edibles or edibles.

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This tackle which I have geared up for summer will never let me down….

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Written by Craig Bashford.

Rapala X-Rap Magnum 40

I was quite excited when I got the new X-Rap 40’s to test this season as I have always been a big fan of the X-Rap 30’s. I used gear equipped with 50lb (24Kg) line and drags set to 8kg on strike. I put 6m of 0.80 Suffix zippy leader line connected to the main line with a double fig.8 knot. I connected the 0.80 leader directly to the X-Rap 40 using an improved fig.8 knot and no steel wire.

I ran 2 rigs like with the X-Rap 40’s from the two corner positions on my boat in a mixed spread along with 5 Konas for almost all my trips with the exception of 3 Marlin Specific trips where I ran large Konas in these positions. So we tested over 18 trips averaging 8hrs per trip, with and average of 100km travelled per trip.
I ran one 35m behind the boat and the other 30m behind the boat.
The total test time was around 144hrs and 1800km.

We had all kinds of weather and conditions during this time and some really strong winds on certain days and some big swells and some very fast currents were encountered, so I am satisfied that these lures were put through their paces and thoroughly tested.

Going head into the strong currents the 40s never popped even once so a big improvement over the 30s which would most certainly have popped out a few times.

Coming back in some 3.5-4.0m swells in a following sea with the boat surging forward they never popped, with the 30s I would have to slow down but the 40s ran true and never popped.
We trolled at speeds from 6 knots up to 12 knots and in all conditions the 40s ran true.

The 40s have a serious pull on them and there is no ways that one could run them on 30lb rigs with 5Kg drags over 7 knots as they would have pulled line from the reels, so the 50lb rigs are best suited for trolling these lures.

We caught a lot of Dorado on the 40s and several large size Bonnies.
One thing I can say that on several days we were the only boat at the Marina to bring back Dorado when all the other boats were only trolling konas we brought back Dorado all caught on the X-Rap 40s.

Another thing I noticed is that at slower speeds the X-Raps did not produce any fish and all the fish we caught on the X-Raps were caught trolling at 8-9 knots. Of the 6 colours I tested only the pink and the red head produced fish.
As a rule I usually only run X-Raps in the cooler months specifically for Yellowfin, but I learnt a good lesson this summer running them as they often caught me the fish when nothing else was working,

Conclusion

The X-Rap 40s troll well in all conditions and like to be pulled fast, the hooks are bigger than on the 30s and this seemed to be a big advantage as all the fish we hooked were hooked properly with both hooks. I like these 40s and will definitely be running them in the future on my boat, they are definitely suited to a mixed spread with konas and bullets. I am dying to try them in the cooler months when the bigger Tuna are around.

X-Rap 40 1

Written by Mike Laubscher.

Gearing up for Summer – Ski Boat

Summer is here time to gear up for the strong summer game fish species with my reliable Shimano equipment.I have all the respect for my Shimano Trevala 6,6″medium fast it has to be the ultimate ski boat rod being, reliable, strong with all the back bone and very light making fishing so comfortable. What makes the Trevala the perfect rod for me it’s  totally universal for my type of fishing allowing me to do most spinning, slow pitch jigging and high speed vertical jigging.
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With my Shimano Trevala I have my old favourite Shimano Symetre FJ 4000 which has has been one of the toughest little spinning reels i have owned, it has proven it’s quality on my fishing sessions. I’ve loaded my 4000 with 30lb sufix 832 advanced superline braid which just finishes my setup perfect.
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The Storm Koika jigs have been a new lure for me in which I have been using in the past few months with a bit more patience and technique using the 60gram in our shallow water reefs and having a blast on all types of fish species from rockcod, false englishman, yellowtail and small tuna. The Koika jigs can not only be used for slow pitch jigging but spinning off the rocks and the ski boat,the beauty of using the koika jigs for slow pitch jigging is effortless in which getting the technique right it’s very rewarding.
Changing fishing plans is always a important factor if the fish have lock jaw as I call it, trolling with the Rapala X-Rap Magnum is a big plus for me the beauty of the X-Rap Magnums there is no wasting time trying to tune the Rapala as they swim so perfect straight out the box. I tend on putting a spread of different size Rapala’s to work out what depths and colours the game fish are feeding on, Rapala X-Rap Magnum have got such an awesome colour range which plays an important part in ski boat fishing.
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Written by Justin Alborough.

Gearing Up for Summer – Gamefish & Marlin

I am a total fanatic with preparing my tackle for summer, everything must be perfect. I pay attention to every little detail and this takes time and so I already start my summer preparations in winter.

I run 3 sets of rigs 30lb, 50lb and 80lb line class each consisting of 7 rods and reels and so I start with servicing these.

GUFS Reel Ready

I always start with 1 line class and complete it, reels first, then rods and finally the line.

GUFS Winch connection

 

  • Reels are removed from the rods.
  • Each reel is opened and completely re-greased all bearings are inspected and if there are any bearings that are even in the slightest way suspect I replace them.
  • I must add that even when I buy a brand new reel, I open it, remove the seals from the bearings and grease them up properly. Removing the seals prevents water stagnating inside the bearing as it can run out.
  • I also completely strip the crank handles, clean and re-grease them thoroughly, I find that often I need to do this again mid season as I am on the water so many hours in the summer and the crank handles tend to silt up quickly.
  • Ratchets are of utmost important as for some reason these really like to silt up and so they need to be greased properly and kept clean.
  • The feet of the that go into the winch on the rod must also be cleaned and greased before they go back onto the rod as this is an area where corrosion takes place unseen.
  • Rod winches are also cleaned up properly including the threads which I clean out using a nail brush and once clean I apply a thin layer of grease.
  • My 30lb rigs have eyes and these are all thoroughly checked and replaced if needed.
  • My 50lb and 80lb rigs all have roller guides and I open each on up clean, re-grease and replace any bearings, which is often needed.
  • Again on my roller guides when I buy the rod new, I remove the seals from the bearings and grease up properly before I even use the rod.
  • Roller guides take hard punishment with salt spray when out trolling and so need to be checked after every trip.
  • I don’t like to use any of those salt removing chemicals as I find they do more damage than good, particularly that they tend to dry up grease which in turn causes bearing failure.
  • After each trip my rods and reels are washed with sunlight dish washing liquid in warm water and then sprayed with WD40 which is silicon free. DO NOT USE any spray oil that has silicon in it as the silicon leaves a thin coating which dries up and will affect all moving parts and bearings. When washing the reels I always use a nail brush to clean any silt from the crank handles and ratchets.
  • It is important to keep you reels in tip top condition as you do not want failure on that day you hook the big one.
  • Never pack rods and reels directly into their bags, let them drip dry first or they will get internal condensation which will cause corrosion.
  • When washing your reels always keep the drag up tight until they have drip dried properly and then pack them away with the drag just slightly engaged. Keeping the drag tight will prevent water getting into the and just engaging the drag when packing them away will prevent the dag washers getting distorted and prevent any dust from settling in there.
  • I remove the top shot from all my reels and replace this. Suffix IGFA Big Game is perfect for the job and will last the whole season unless you hook into a really big fish.
  • GUFS Top Shot to Braid
  • I always replace my top shot and reset my drags after a really big fish.
  • Finally once reels are assembled back onto the rods, I set the preset drags on each reel according to the line class 5kg for 15kg (30lb) line, 8kg for 24kg (50lb) line and 12kg for 37kg (80lb) line.
  • One should be checking the drag presets before each trip with a digital scale.
  • GUFS Drag Preset

 

This has worked for me for 1000s of hours on the water over many years and I can honestly say that I have never lost a fish due to tackle failure. For me this usually takes 2 months over the winter in my spare time as I have 21 rigs to prepare and I like everything to be ready and in place by 1st September each year.

Once my rigs are ready I go about checking hooks, rings, leaders etc. on all my Konas and Rapalas and replace where necessary and sharpen everything.

On sharpening of hooks, I give every lure a check and sharpen before deploying them in the water, and always after a fish. Sharp hooks set better.

Written by Mike Laubscher

 

Shimano Crucial Rod

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No other standard, off the shelf blank has proved it self more than the Crucial brand that we have become so accustomed with. The class of these rods are known all around the world and any angler who enters this sport of fishing will have have the goal to own 1 or the entire range in the angling career. With an amazing range to choose from with it either being 6.6ft to 7.6ft or spinning or pistol grip features the rod is designed to land any fish hooked on it. Fitted with fuji guides and optional A grade cork or high density foam grips theres a crucial rod to suite any light tackle anglers need.

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These rods come with an C4S-HM Blank, Fuji Alconite Guides, and new Custom Shimano reel seats. Total performance and comfort is what is to be expected with Crucial.

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Watch Chris in Action with the Crucial 6,8Ft MH Rod catching grunter.

Written By Chris Schoultz