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Choosing the Right Surf Rods

Serious surfcasters encounter an incredible variety of conditions throughout their fishing seasons. From working chilly back bay flats in early spring to the roaring rips of major inlets during mid-summer, and the heavy, wind-driven suds along open ocean beaches come fall, the challenges are wide-ranging. Add multiple presentations for varying species, and the difficulties are compounded.

The bottom line? A surfcaster’s gear must be not only up-to-task, but also be well-matched to the conditions and opportunities at hand.

Choosing the Right Rod

“That’s why I love my Avid Surf and Legend Surf rods,” says St. Croix pro-staffer Matt Broderick of Medford, NY. “Between them, I can cover any surf-fishing situation. Mother Nature tosses my way.” It’s the classic tale of having the right tool for the job at hand, and these two families of American-crafted surf sticks let me fish with confidence throughout the season – whether I’m dealing with schoolies or cows in quiet waters, a rough-and-tumble surf, or anything in between.”

Broderick likes the versatility of both the St. Croix series, but notes that each has a special place in his arsenal. Together, he explains, they allow surfcasters to cover all the bases, throw lure weights and styles to probe any kind of water from top to bottom, and turn big fish before they reach the nearest snag.

“Take the newly revamped Avid Surf series,” Broderick explains. “Featuring premium SCIII carbon blanks and IPC technology, these smooth and powerful rods are designed for maximum casting distance and superior fish-fighting performance. I like the 10’ medium power fast action (VSS100MF2) model. It’s a terrific plugging rod that also excels working big pencil poppers and smaller options like bucktails, too. I’ll use it to toss anything from a half-ounce jigs to 2.5-ounce Super Strike, Cotton Cordell, or Tsunami poppers. It has a sensitive tip and loads smoothly on the cast so you can throw those bigger lures a mile. It also has plenty of backbone, so I have no fear of targeting big fish around a nasty structure.”

While Broderick lauds the Avid Surf series for its versatility, dependability, power, and value, he says the Legend Surf series pushes the performance needle even further with high-modulus/high-strain SCIV carbon and FRS for unparalleled strength and durability, plus upgraded components and grips.

“Legend Surf series sticks are extremely sensitive,” notes the 25-year-old striper sharpie. “The blanks and guide trains combine to create rods that cast exceptionally well and allow anglers to respond to the slightest bump or strike with an instant lure adjustment or powerful hook set. They also have tremendous stopping power. Overall, Legend Surf rods deliver an edge in every department, which comes in handy when the fish are far off the beach while fishing in tight quarters or when the bite is cautious and light.”

Broderick’s overall favorite surf stick is a Legend Surf 10’6” medium-heavy power, moderate-fast action (GSS106MHMF2) model rated for lures ranging from 2 to 6 ounces. It’s his go-to rod when using finesse techniques in rocky areas and inlets along the Long Island coast.

“There was a night last year when I was throwing 2-ounce jigs tipped with soft plastics at a single piece of the structure protected by numerous boulders,” Broderick recalls. “A lot of lures are lost in that stretch, but the sensitivity of my Legend Surf 10’6” allowed me to pop those jigs up and over the rocks the instant I felt them. That placed my lure perfectly in the rip, where I knew those bass were waiting. The stripers were biting light that night, but with the Legend’s super sensitivity and power, I was able to respond instantly to the pick-ups, drive the point home, and guide my fish out of the trouble zone before anything could go wrong.”

Like Broderick, St. Croix pro Shell Caris puts both his Avid Surf and Legend Surf rods to work targeting everything from schoolies to slobs as he mines the New Jersey Shore each spring before heading up to the Cape Cod Canal to concentrate on bigger bass.

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