Anyfish Anywhere unveils its dedicated fixed-spool carbon shore rod - a powerful outfit designed for tackling Britain’s beaches
LENGTH: 14ft (4.26 metres)
SECTIONS: Two equal
CASTING RATING: 125g-200g
GUIDES: Fuji Alconite
REEL SEAT: Fuji sliding adjustable
The growing trend of UK shore anglers using fixed-spool reels appears to be gathering pace. For some it’s been such a radical change that they’ve vowd to never use a multiplier again.
Many shore anglers have cottoned on to the fact that a big pit-style reel, loaded with braid, can not only increase casting distance, but also, with just a few turns of the handle, bring the rig high in the water quickly and clear of snags.
Add the fact that the lack of stretch braid offers means your baited rig is less vulnerable to being dragged along in a strong tide, while shy bites are registered far better. With this in mind, are regular, powerful beach rods compatible with these large fixed-spool models?
To an extent, the consensus is yes. Some anglers have gone in another direction and opted for the Continental-style that incorporates using a long three-piece rod.
But, the UK has a varied coastline and not all regions are blessed with golden sandy beaches and little, if any tide run. A few anglers have fallen into thinking that you need to adopt this style of fishing if you use a fixed-spool reel, but this sort of tackle is useless on kelpy marks, like those cod marks in North Yorkshire or when seeking species like bull huss or smoothhounds from a strong tidal beach.
Some anglers chose to stick with their powerful beach rods that are rung for multipliers and simply changed to using a fixed-spool, but hiccups will undoubtedly occur. Mainline exits a fixed-spool differently to a multiplier, especially when power casting. I’ve witnessed anglers suffering crack-offs as a large coil of line leaving their fixed-spool reel wraps around the first ring on the rod. The rings really need to accommodate fixed-spool use and be slightly larger.
Gap in the market
Of course there are many shore rods designed for a fixed-spool reel, but the majority are not powerful enough to cope with the British style of beach fishing. Continental rods excluded, most of these rods are sloppy and some fold under pressure. Truth is, there aren’t many proper, powerful beach rods out there to do this…until now. Julian Shambrook spotted a gap in the market and set about producing a rod that would fill it.
A top shore angler and established England international, Julian is the brains behind the successful British rod brand Anyfish Anywhere. The range produced by AFAW has gained a big following and its reputation goes from strength to strength. The latest rod (available from your local dealer in late July this year) is the GB FS PRO. It’s a powerful shore rod designed to be used exclusively with a fixed-spool reel on British marks, hence the descriptive title.
At 14ft (4.26m) with two equal sections and capable of casting loads between 125g-200g, it fills the void in its class and is a stroke of genius on Julian’s behalf.
“The majority of fixed-spool anglers need a rod that will do the same job as a powerful multiplier rod,” said Julian. “Unless it’s a Continental rod, there really isn’t a lot of choice available, although our 14ft Six And Bait models have proven to be really popular.”
The GB FS PRO, costing £435, is a step up on what’s available and is not a Continental rod. I recently took it for a workout.
I’m not a huge fan of fixed-spool reels for shore fishing and have never taken to the Continental rod and fixed-spool reel craze. This rod, though, is a whole new ball game. It looks like a proper beach rod. Apart from the obvious larger and fewer Fuji Alconite rings, its butt section is covered in grippy Japanese shrink wrap with a Fuji adjustable sliding reel seat and an impeccable finish.
I’m a reel-down-low beach angler so where would I fit my fixed-spool reel? I’ve seen anglers in the North East strap them in the low position and perform powerful casts. I was apprehensive about performing a full pendulum swing like that, so decided against having the reel low. The last thing I wanted was to start mistiming casts. I recommend always using a fingerstall for casting like this.
Using a long drop hoping for maximum power, I allowed the sinker to rise high before rotating my body into the power stroke. I attempted to catch sight of my sinker in flight and that’s when I spotted the orange leader sailing away high into the blue sky. The GB FS PRO is a powerhouse but not a complete poker because the power comes from the butt to middle, with the final third of the rod soaking up the power transfer on the hit.
If you put the reel low you will experience some incredible casting; use braid too and I reckon some jaw-dropping distances are possible. Backcasters should take note.
I’d love to use this rod on a rough ground cod mark or a beach where huss, smoothhounds and tope are on the cards. The GB FS PRO will cope easily, especially for pump-and-wind style fishing (what I’d term British style).
British beach fishing has moved on considerably in terms of tackle, but I believe that tactics haven’t. Save your powerful multiplier beach rod for the days when you use a multiplier and keep the Continental outfit for those delicate sessions. When you intend to use a fixed-spool reel on a rough ground mark or a beach where the conditions are testing, you’ll be glad of the GB FS PRO in your armoury.
It does exactly what it’s designed for, and for that alone it’s an absolute winner.