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Discussion Starter #1
Just read the old 1982 printed version of "Long Distance Casting" by John Holden (Christmas gift from my wife!). Holden talks a bit about two topics I'd like to hear some input on here:

1: Zoned Action Rods. Are there any to be had here in the U.S., and do you subscribe to the concept? I just bought a CCP 12'8" 4-8oz. and filmed myself in slow motion... sort of observed what Holden is describing as "zoned action" as the rod loads up right before I hit it.

2: Rod Lock-up: Holden also describes that to maximize the rod's power, one has to "lock it up"... meaning load it to where it won't load any more during the cast. How easy is it to sense/feel when this occurs?
 

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Matt,

That book is a good read.

The CPS 12'8" 4-8 is a very good example of a zoned action rod. It has a somewhat stiff butt section for power, taper in the midsection to allow for a nice progressive bend and then a softer tip which allows the rod to "unload" at the end of the cast. It also allows for great bite detection.

Modern carbon fiber rods have a different feel than surf rods did back in the late 70's-early 80's. As long as the rod is not just too stiff for you to bend (that can feel like a "lock up) it is difficult to sense a "lock up" point. They tend to just bend a little more then release. One of the most common technique errors is an early hit. When you come in too early with the power then the rod can absolutely feel like it is locked up. The cast is hard to control and the reel tends to slip under your thumb (casting reel). Typically the cast will fly low and left, and you can end up with your thumb burnt white. Feels like a lock up... :)

Hope this helps,

Tommy
 

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The following comes from the US Breakaway website:

"All Breakaway rods are built using RX7 graphite and zoned action.In the old days rods were designed were the action would go completely through the blank, ie: when the rod was loaded the action of the rod would go all through the rod including the butt. The newer zoned action has got three separate zones that come into play as the rod is loaded.

First the tip loads and then the action moves down the rod into the middle zone. Finally the action goes to the butt section were the energy is stored. The butt on the Breakaway rods stay very stiff when the rod has achieved lock down (lock down is when the tip is 90 degrees to the butt of the rod). The energy is then released from the butt of the rod towards the tip. The powerful butt will recover much faster than the old rods. This increases the distance you will cast."

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Tommy and Don. Good stuff. I watched all those videos with Nick Meyers, and it has me wondering: do rod engineers make calculations about how much material a rod needs (among other variables) so it locks up at or near that 90 degree angle? Rhetorical question, probably hard to say.

The way carbon fiber or fiberglass is wrapped around a mandrel seems too imprecise to intentionally design a rod to cast a specific weight or have a specific line rating. I guess they can get a blank in the ballpark but then are left to static and field testing to assign accurate ratings and make sure it has the right action?
 

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Hi Matt,

Computer programs and skilled/experienced employees can usually zero in on construction requirements within 3 tries. Static destructive testing is often accomplished prior to shipping a blank to a customer for approval.

Lamiglas used to line rate their rods when a line going to a fish was at 45 degrees (135 to the rod handle). With a rod rated at a maximum of 20# and 20# line going to a fish (at 45 degrees) the line should break before the rod breaks. Having the fish at 45 degrees transfers the load from the tip down to the handle. This type of test is easy for most manufactures to accomplish.
 

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I was fortunate to watch Terry Carroll , give me an explaination for how he rolled the different blanks, I have many of his first old rods even a dream machine with an alumiloy butt. Glad to see he trained Lee well, when he passed away so all that knowledge does not go to waste... back then it was from what was in his head, and not a computer program...the man had the touch..and a genius when it came to composites
 

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Tom,

I was lucky enough to spend a day with terry in the zziplex factory back in 2009. He picked me up at the train station in his BMW and off to the factory we went... :) It was the highlight of my trip... :)

Tommy
 

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Dave and I drove down and spent 3 days with him he rolled what later began the straight eight drum road but he also rolled a B-15 backcaster for me ...smart man Was at a Holden seminar many years ago in Delaware at a stren tourney have a modified penn Mag 10 he gave me as a beginning caster. I liked his style more than any of the other Brit casters very modest guy, and still is. Like I said before Terry trained a good man in Lee, but also have been to the CTS factory in Auckland and their the nearest thing now to Terry's train of thought in rolling a rod, fly fishing is my thing now, and CTS builds some of the finest blanks on the planet, on the bucket list is a 6 wt custom built spit bamboo, now the price of a used car.. just like a set of custom golf clubs with a lot of money the skies the limit..
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
One more question along the lines of this topic. I've finally conditioned myself to slow down the early stage of my casts and, as Tommy puts it, "not put the power in too early."

Reviewing slow-motion video of a recent casting session, the rod seems to reach the maximum bend - about 90 degrees, mostly in "Zone B" of the rod - in the middle of my punch-pull phase. From there, the rod's curve rolls beautifully back up the blank and right before release so that the tip is the last bent part of the rod.

Anyway, does it sound right that lock-up occurs at this point (in the middle of the punch-pull phase) or should I be trying to achieve lock-up right at the point where the left hand is in front of my face and the punch-pull is about to start?

I know John Holden would advocate for a more intuitive approach to casting, but I want to replicate the ideal technical (South African) cast, get it in my muscle memory, and then see where the touchy-feely stuff takes it.
 

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Matt,

I honestly would not get too hung up on where (or when) lock up occurs.

About 10 years ago I went on a quest to become the very best ground-caster that I could be and used it to win many USA tournaments and some top 5 finishes in Europe against the best casters in the world. I studied the S.A. style, the British style and honed that into what I dubbed the "Carolina Ground Cast". It can be executed with or without steps and is VERY effective if you have the horsepower to pull it off. One of the key fundamentals is learning to accelerate the rod (and in turn the sinker) through the largest arc that you can generate, finishing with a burst of power and speed late. Start slow and finish fast. By doing this, you will attain and more importantly maintain rod loading. If you come in too early with the power, the rod will bite back and unload before it should. You'll know it when this happens as all sorts of bad things can occur. Low left line drive casts, burnt thumb (baitcaster) and a general feeling of being beaten down by the rod... :).

Let me know if I can help, I see you are also in the Carolinas.

Tommy
 
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