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Me man, me must hunt.
There is something to be said for basic instincts. I am not talking about the Sharon stone movie made famous for that one scene. You know the one, the one where she drives a car (hmmm.). no, I am talking about the instincts that lie deep in all of us. The instincts of self preservation, of reproduction and somewhere deep down inside all men of a certain age, the instinct to hunt. You know, the need to bring food back to the cave.
A few years ago, I found my hunting instinct. It hit with a vengeance, as I initially took up fly fishing, and I must say I have never looked back since. The thrill of outwitting a wild brown trout, by imitating a fly using nothing but feathers and thread on a hook cannot be surpassed. Besting a hard wintered fish after a tense battle of brains and brawn gives one an intense feeling of pleasure, that can be likened only to those of your formative years, when you are in the loving walls of you family home. Indeed, I have come full circle now, as I bring my kids with me often when I fish. They seem to get as much pleasure from as I do, not to mention the fresh air and long hikes to the best spots.
The instinct took me further still, and I as so many men are, was drawn to the sea. I think that it holds an awe and wonder that cannot be matched elsewhere. So beautiful, yet so violent. And what lies beneath is anyone's guess, as we have explored far less of the sea as a species, than the rest of the world. The urge to fish the sea took my, and as I did not have access to a boat, I found myself in need of a rod sufficient to use to cast from the beach.
I wanted to try this out, but like all new skills, I did not know if i would like, or even be any good at beach fishing. First stop was the internet, where I found that the sea could be fished without need of a liscence, and really any spot can be fished from, as long as there are no local by-laws in place stating otherwise. A quick phone call to my local council put any worries at rest, and I knew that I was legal, and ready to go.
With that info in tow, my search for a rod grew pace. I was able to borrow a real, and line etc was not hard to come by, but a rod needed to be thought about. I needed it to be cheap, robust and easy to master. After a few minutes searching the net, the alpha x had threw up its rather beautiful head several times. pricewise, it ticked all the boxes, and reviews were not too bad. Also it was by Shakespeare, a name I new well from my fishing past, and one that goes hand in hand with quality. That was it. I was going to order the alpha x, and start my sea fishing adventure.
What is the rod like?
The rod arrived a few days later. As I bought it through sports direct for the princely sum of £24.99, not only did I get my rod and cloth bag, but also a novelty oversize sports direct mug. Bargain! The rod was well wrapped, and came with the afforementioned flimsy cloth bag. The quality of the rod bag doesn't bother me, as I rarely use them, but if you plan to then bear this in mind.
The rod was 12' in length. Not as heavy as I first thought it would be, and fairly pretty looking. The rod appears black, but on closer inspection in bright light, it has a textured graphic effect on it that gives it an olive green hue. Rather pleasing to the eye. As I inspected the rod further, the eyes are well put on, and are lined for better wear. The handles are of tough black foam. just as you would expect really. On putting my oversized sea fishing reel on the rod, the feel became more realistic. The reel mounts were cushioned and kept a firm grip of the reel, allowing it no movement which can be potentially devastating.
The rod is rated 4-8 oz, or 100-200grams. This means that it is capable of casting large weights, and performs best when throwing out weights of between 100, and 200 grams. When I got out fishing, I found this to be ideal, as you need to cast really big weights to get out to the fish, and this rod handled them beautifully. The stiff action of the rod really need this weight to get the most efficient cast, as it is this weight that allows the rod to flex and create the potential energy that propels your bait the 100 plus yards that you need.
What did I think?
The rod is great. I have found it to be sturdy and easy to manage. The fact that it is a three piece means that it is easy to transport and set up. It certainly pings those large weights out there, and uses every inch of its twelve feet and all of its stiffness to great benefit. Its light to hold, without feeling flimsy, and whats better, I have caught lots of lovely fish using it.
On the downside, the rods bag is poorly made, but again this was not a problem to me. More of a problem was the fact that the stiffness of the rod means that you get a poor fight out of smaller fish like mackerel. I fear that this is a problem with all so called beachcaster rods, and it unfortunately is necessary to get the fish on the hook in the first place. Perhaps the fact that I catch decent trout on light fly tackle has spoiled me, and the fight was never really going to be any good by comparison.
The rod has been a good buy, and has got me going in the world of sea fishing. I think that it will still only be a once in a while activity for me, which means that I can justify the rods small price tag, and enjoy it. I would recommend this rod to anyone wanting to start out beach casting. It will stand up to whatever the beginner can throw at it, and it will not break the bank. Great budget rod.