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Post 15 Feb 2022, 09:47 • #76 
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Odonata wrote:
I decided to take the plunge, and bought a "beginner" setup: Kastking Zephyr BFS 5'6" rod and reel, spooled with 4# ultragreen.

I've been reading and re-reading, studying baitcaster casting videos, etc. I have some test weights I use with spinning rods, about 11g, 6g, and 4g. Probably I should also try one of my 2.5g kastmasters (with hook removed for the casting pools). I see there is a quite a learning curve ahead of me ...

I've been making all the newbie mistakes. Seriously, the way I learn always seems to be the hard way ;) Tweaking the mag brake and the spool tension knob, and seeing how much overrun I get. Practicing with clearing up bird's nests. So far I'm just working on sidearm casts.

I am wondering at this stage if replacing the bearings with ceramics will be a hindrance or a help in learning baitcaster casting basics. I suspect the former.

11 g is a practical half ounce (ok, it's 3/8 oz) - is your rod even rated that high? Seven grams is a quarter-ounce.
You should be casting something you can see, about the mid-rated-weight for your rod.
The big weight jerks your spool and creates the need for a centrifugal brake at spool start up, even if your cast is smooth as butter.
You should be casting a weight that you'll fish - start forming good habits.

My back-yard is a acre, and 150' across the short direction, so I have a perfect casting range, with bushes along the edge of the clearing bracketing useful reference distances.
In addition to marking my, .e.g, 110' cast, and working on distance, I'll make short casts into the bottom of my meter-persimmon-bushes for working accuracy. What you learn on the short casts is that the rod makes all the difference.

I most often back-yard toss a 2-g jighead with the hook buried in the head of a plastic lure body, probably another g, for 3 g total.
This is where I set my mag brake, to just eliminate mid-cast wind backlash.
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This is especially true of my reels with internal-only set-once mag brakes
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I'll admit to free-shrimping a Daiwa Millionaire a little more than 35 years ago (weightless rig - bare hook, live 3" shrimp).
PO'ing a couple of guides because my spiral cast literally doubled the distance of their spinning cast, when they were trying to explain to me why my cast wasn't loading the rod. .
It's OK, I made them each look good at the dock later - guides like that about me.

Once again, here's the primer I wrote on the 3 types of backlash and 4 types of casting brakes
Linear mag brake does its best work on mid-cast wind backlash.
To get the mag brake set right, you have to be casting for distance.

Start-up and finish-cast are both different - finish cast always has to be your thumb to prevent over-run.
Your thumb should be braking the spool before your bait hits the ground /water, and your eyes are part of this.
Get out of the need for spool tension - set it only to adjust-out side play in the spool.

For 1/4 oz, I cast a TSL grasswalker, easy to plant the swimbait hook in the lure body to drag it through the grass, and I would be fishing this lure, but this is an MM bait, not a finesse bait.
For MH, I cast a TSL grasswalker on a 1/4-oz weighted swimbait hook, for a total of a half ounce - but this is with the major bass rod and inshore Corky's (7/8 oz) rod.
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(a double-handed cast on my 8' surf-lure rod will throw this lure across the neighbor's back acre, too).

My trial for 1/8 oz (+ a g or 2) is Z-man minnow rigged on 1/8 oz Texas-eye jighead, which I also fish - on inshore ML
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Bearings - reducing rotating mass and inertia in your spool improves Everything - easier to start, easier to stop, less brake needed to take energy from your cast.
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I'm going to add again here, the advantage of the Daiwa brake, you set the linear mag function for the lightest thing you're going to throw, per above, and SV moving rotor takes care of the heavy stuff for you - does the same function as an added centrifugal brake.
To a limited extent, it will also absorb jerk from bad casting habits.
This makes for a jewel all-range braid reel, from casting 1/16 oz to 1-oz near-offshore plugs.
22-lb X-braid (PE#1) will also fish that full range - you can adjust your fluoro leader to match the target and rod-line-test rating.
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Last edited by bulldog1935 on 18 Feb 2022, 12:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 15 Feb 2022, 11:13 • #77 
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Thanks guys, these sound like great tips. More to read and digest.

I'm under no illusion that the learning process will be quick or easy ... acquiring muscle memory is hard and slow for me after breaking my neck, because of neurological damage. But I managed to learn how to cast a fly rod, so I trust that the "neuroplasticity" is still there somewhat.

Question: does braid backlash less than mono ? Early on when I started experimenting with UL spinning reels I spooled one up with Ultragreen and noticed that sometimes it would do a similar birds-nest kind of thing. I never had that problem with nanofil, but again it is not recommended for baitcasters.


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Post 15 Feb 2022, 12:46 • #78 
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It's all about your thumb. In the old days, it was entirely thumb, even with centrifugal + end-tension on Ambassadeur /Millionaire.
You would set the end tension so on a drop from level rod tip, the weight and spool just stop when it touches the ground.
I can't begin to describe the shocking difference when you go back to one of these from a modern system - it's mostly about huge inertia of the old loaded deep spool.

But on that weightless-rig spiral cast, which you can only do on the corner of a dock or boat, your thumb is constantly feeding line during the 140-degree centrifugal sweep, effectively lengthening the rod - the result is total lack of jerk and the highest-possible release speed.

Your thumb should be close enough to feel the "fuzzies" during incipient mid-cast backlash, and apply the lightest-touch brake to mitigate it.
As soon as you recognize the lure is on its way back down, your thumb is there, adjusting final cast distance.

Getting this back to new finesse-spool reel casting light weight, proper mag adjustment, you release with your thumb, and you adjust final cast elevation with your thumb - that's it.
My finesse Ambassadeurs are backlash-proof from 3g to max lure weight for the rig.
Of course the Ambassadeurs drive the LW during cast, which takes energy off the cast distance.
Three grams will go to about 65' on one of my braid Ambassadeurs (set up backlash-proof), while my Daiwa will send it to 130' (equally backlash-proof).

The reason braid can backlash less than mono is that lighter-weight braid on a shallow spool reduces the mass/inertia of the loaded spool.
I've said before, don't go there until backlash is a memory.
Braid is totally limp, and backlash forms 180-degree loops in the spool that are hard to find.
I carry a plastic toothpick in case I have to pick one out - usually that's in the back-acre setting mag brake, because I just don't backlash when fishing.

I went to braid when the only backlash in my memory bandwith resulted from a single line wrap on the rod tip.
Mark (ablecane) was with me that day - swapped in my spare reel, and finished a great morning.
Cutting that one out, I reloaded half the (deep) spool with 20 yds of big 20-lb mono, and topped with 120 yds 20-lb Sufix 832, and haven't looked back.
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Post 15 Feb 2022, 12:48 • #79 
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I like a stiffer mono or braid - everything backlashes, the stiffer lines make it easier to disentangle the mess. Also the stiffer lines tend to come off the spool better, which helps to not tangle so much. The Ultragreen should be as good as anything else would be. The limper braids will knot and cut themselves in a backlash, mono is better to learn on.

My favorite line for a baitcaster is old braided nylon Gudebrod Meatmaster, but that's not practical for finesse. Oddly this is a fairly limp line but it seems to tangle less than anything else I've used. It may be because the line itself has significant weight once wet.

as Gr8rwood says, with mag brake reels I don't touch the spool tension after initial adjustment - basically just take any play out of the side-to-side motion of the spool, then that's it. Start with the mag brake at max and the 6g weight. As bulldog says, 11g is probably too heavy for that rod and will be tough to cast. The 6g should be right in the sweet spot. At max on the mag brake usually it casts without backlash but only goes a short way. Back off on the mag a click at a time until the backlashes start, then refer to bulldog's primer on the 3 kinds of backlash. Also try the 2.5g Kastmaster with hook removed, for me those cast like bullets on BFS, and you might as well practice with what you'll be fishing.

With the mag brake set right I hardly need thumb control on the spool, when casting smoothly. Are you trying the finesse-style casts, like Hobie-wan ? actual casting starts at about 2min in the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujmub9cW4tQ
I find that significantly more difficult than standard baitcasting with a sweep of the arm. Standard baitcast is much the same as a spinning cast, except the reel won't tolerate any jerks or sudden accel/decelerations. Maybe start there and work up to the odd finesse cast.

The 5'6" Zephyr rod is long enough for standard casting - some of the finesse rods at 5' and under are really only suited to the finesse-style cast.
I don't have a lot of brushy streams to fish so the finesse-style cast isn't very important to my fishing, though I'm still trying to get it working just for the fun of it..


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Post 15 Feb 2022, 13:53 • #80 
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I think it's more accurate to say any dummy can backlash any reel.
Fishing with normal cast effort, understanding your cast and the reel set up, you can set up a backlash-proof reel.
Jerk in your cast is the one thing that can overcome good set-up.
The biggest problem with picking this up is that you can use jerk for 100% load on spinning tackle.
(unless you're free-shrimping, and then you get to watch your free shrimp sail through the air really free)

This is the reel for Meatmaster - also good to educate your thumb.

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Post 15 Feb 2022, 17:33 • #81 
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Sorry about clogging up the forum with newb questions :( I appreciate the responses.

I did a bit more digging around on the 'tube for instructional videos and found a few which are probably aimed more to my level at this point -

Beginner baitcaster tuning
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9FFSLF_nak

Beginner baitcaster casting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR960pvo5lc

Some of this stuff I simply had no idea of before ... though G8tr did mention eliminating side-to-side play in the spool before. I need to crawl before I walk.

It's kind of like when I learned how to use a Matarellli-style whip finisher ... watching videos, imitating, practicing ... when other people say they learn through "practice, practice, practice", then I know it will take me more like "practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice" :)


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Post 15 Feb 2022, 18:32 • #82 
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We're on page 4 of this discussion, and your questions are in charge by now.
You still may not find anyone who has analyzed it like I have.

You're responsible for stopping the spool with your thumb, and for casting without jerk.
Pick something light in your normal fishing range, something you can see, not heavy small and dense.
Or if you throw that casting weight, put a trailing ribbon on it that you can see (you're still better off practicing with what you're going to fish).
You bought a combo made for casting light weight, about 1/8 oz. Mag brakes shine here. For casting heavy, you need centrifugal.

Begin by casting for distance, not hard or fast, but a smooth ballistic arc.
Start with your mag set much higher than halfway. Dial it down a notch at a time and watch your cast distance improve.
When you get to the point of mid cast backlash, dial the mag back up a notch or two.

The mag brake won't do anything else for you. If you throw a lighter weight or face the wind, you can dial it up some more.
If it over-runs at the end of your cast, you're not using your thumb - watch the arc.
If it backlashes at the beginning of your cast, you're throwing too much weight or casting with too much jerk.

Now that your reel is set up, you can practice, not for distance but for smooth and accuracy.

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Last edited by bulldog1935 on 16 Feb 2022, 06:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 15 Feb 2022, 23:21 • #83 
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Odonata wrote:


weirdly that reel doesn't seem to have a mag or other brake ?
In that case adjusting the spool tension as he mentions, is a good idea.
I do that on the old Heddon baitcaster with the Meatmaster line.. here throwing 1/4oz happily..



if I go back to the old Ambassadeur 5000C with its heavy spool and centrifugal brakes throwing less than 1/2oz, find my thumb has to be jammed on the spool throughout the cast.. with the new Abu RevoX 4, barely need the thumb at all, just to stop at the end of the cast. In unguarded moments I can still do a birdsnest with the best ;-)

Learned to baitcast using big surf reels like the Penn JIgmaster 500 with 2-5oz of lead, in some ways that was easier than this light stuff.


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Post 16 Feb 2022, 08:30 • #84 
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What you gain casting heavy is the heavy weight alone eliminates mid-cast wind backlash.
Centrifugal brake does the job at start-up, but really cuts distance on the light stuff - almost as bad as spool end tension.
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When I was setting up my 1500C, the loaded deep stock spool needed centrifugal, but with with shallow weightless Avail spool, centrifugal cut cast distance to only 20'. I replaced the centrifugal on the spool with blank spacer, and found I only needed 2 magnets on the Avail internal mag add-on.
This set-up wouldn't know how to backlash, but with spool-driven LW, it won't get the distance of a low-profile reel - max w/ 3 g is 65'
Note the rod is rated for 6 g max (<1/4 oz). This is a stream set up, and the rod accuracy is a freaking scalpel.
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Also for Doug, this diminutive prewar freespool Tournament with 4-lb silk will fish 1/8 oz all day.
It has factory shallow cork arbor on alloy spool - the original BFS.
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Post 16 Feb 2022, 16:55 • #85 
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@odonata I like mono on my BFS setups. P-Line CXX 4lb. Braid and Mono have their applications tho. Be careful on winding mono on a BFS spool under tension or with a lot of yardage as the compounded effect of squeeze can crush thin walled spools. I’ve got about 6 dedicated BFS reels all DAIWA with Magforce Z braking which is super easy to tune. RoroX bearings are my favorite and their spools are nice too.


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Post 16 Feb 2022, 17:52 • #86 
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Location: Ancient City, Florida
I’m a dummy, I can backlash anything! ;) just cast like your splitting wood….

I like braid for the lighter stuff. The drag or wind picking up the line really affects the lure. My biggest problem with the small hard baits is tracking them with my sad old eyes…….

Easy cast is king. Watch some guys like hobiewan, bass n bonzai, etc and watch how easy they cast. Was out working on left handed casts today. I think my Zillion with the Roro spool is my best caster, but the Curado is not far behind at a much better price. I have zero interest in a trout magnet, maybe a crappie one…lol… but the 2.8-4 gram hard baits are very nice as well as the Zman trd. As you get the cast better, you can increase speed. But it takes way less than you think.

Played with an Ajing rod today, man such a nice caster. 2-10g. Not sure if it has enough backbone for a redfish, but trout no problem.


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Post 18 Feb 2022, 11:24 • #87 
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The Roro-X spool is wonderful, and since it has fixed brake rotor, also eliminates the MagForce part of the Daiwa brake, turning it into a linear mag brake.
However it is the lightest spool made, and will throw the lightest lures to the greatest distance possible, though it also limits the upper end of casting weight.
And we've covered this on earlier pages of this thread.
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The moving-rotor honeycomb SV spools for Daiwa (Ray's Studio, AMO, KTF), function as MagForce nonlinear brake, are more versatile for general braid fishing and only cost a few feet at the lightest end compared to Roro-X. They're versatile enough that you can use them for general all-range (wide-lure-weight) braid fishing. Match spool bearings to the weight duty.
The 3-mm-deep spool will fit a working charge (120 yds) of X-braid with 27-lb test (PE#1.2)

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Off the board, I'm walking a friend through his new set-up to fish NE stripers, casting 1/4 to 1 oz.
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G8trwood wrote:
...I like braid for the lighter stuff. The drag or wind picking up the line really affects the lure. My biggest problem with the small hard baits is tracking them with my sad old eyes…….
...I think my Zillion with the Roro spool is my best caster, but the Curado is not far behind at a much better price. ...…lol… but the 2.8-4 gram hard baits are very nice as well as the Zman trd. As you get the cast better, you can increase speed. But it takes way less than you think.

Played with an Ajing rod today, man such a nice caster. 2-10g. Not sure if it has enough backbone for a redfish, but trout no problem.

...left in everything I agree with, and the rod must be a hoot - we'd like to see it, or at least tell us more about it.
Having fished salt finesse for big fish under dock lights, I'm not worried about it there - would hesitate to fish it from my kayak unless I'm in a spot I can bail out, and would not hesitate to fish it for wade-fishing reds - it's basically the same as a fly rod.

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About that stream fishing thing, in my native TX hill country limestone creeks, we have Texas Brook Trout (endemic Guadalupe bass).
A Ryuki duplicates a Teeny line with cats whisker.
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Post 04 Apr 2022, 01:11 • #88 
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Thanks all for the tips. I've been practicing for about a month and a half now, but hadn't actually fished the gear, until yesterday.

I got out in my IK on a local reservoir yesterday, and decided on a whim to bring a BFS rig. I had fished this lake once or twice a few years ago, but never had any luck. That said, I have no idea how to fish reservoirs. I figured it would be good casting practice anyway.

KastKing Zephyr BFS spooled with 8# Daiwa x8 grand, rod is a no-name 6' UL 2-piece I got on ebay for $30
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Nikko hellgrammite / Z-man 1/15 oz mushroom head (Ned rig ?)
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Yikes ! So there are actually fish in this lake ...
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The fish really put the drag and my UL rod to the test ! I think it's time to get something stouter for the kayak, but not too spendy. Tsurinoya Dragon 7' L perhaps.


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Post 04 Apr 2022, 06:23 • #89 
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Way cool - it works.

I'll be fishing mine for my target spring glass minnow niche next weekend.


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Post 04 Apr 2022, 12:00 • #90 
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excellent !

took my Abu Black Max 1600 out for the local pike pond opener, fished old against new - 1950s wooden Creek Chub versus a laser holographic yada yada Yo-zuri minnow. One 12" pikelet on the Yo-zuri, another decent 26" looked at it briefly. Insufficient data, will have to go fishing agin..
Not quite BFS though I did confirm a stock Black Max 1600 throws 1/8oz well, 1/16 is too much (little) for the stock heavyish spool.

Both the lures looked terrific to me, the minnow can be made to dart left and right on a steady retrieve. I think those pike are jaded, get to see a lot of lures every day.



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Post 07 May 2022, 17:07 • #91 
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Back out on the reservoir in the IK this morning. Brought a "bass" BFS rod this time, a Shimano Majestic 6'8" 2-piece I just got from BFE. I think this is what they call a "CDM" rod, since most of the instructions were in Chinese :) Anyway, it performed pretty well -

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1/8 oz Eagle Claw jig head that I powder-painted myself, plus a funky colored hellgrammite soft bait I got from the Supercontinent store on Aliexpress. Total lure weight = 6 or 7 g ?
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Same KastKing Zephyr as last time
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The fish pulled out a bunch of drag, what a fight. In fact, fishing this lake has been the only time I have used drag on any reel -- fly, spinning or baitcaster. Exciting !

Water was fairly warm -- it was in the 70's and 80's last week here, but starting to cool down today with fronts coming in next week.


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Post 08 May 2022, 10:31 • #92 
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I took the plunge about a week ago although not with old tech. A 2022 Aldebaran XG is in hand and I am HOPING the rod I ordered just at the start of Golden Week is actually in stock and leaves the dealer tomorrow when they reopen.

My targeted species with BFS will be trout and panfish and I am excited to try some of the tiny lures and stuff I throw now with my vintage Orvis 50A & 5'0" Superlight bamboo spinning outfit. One of the things I do now with spinning gear is fish flies (nymphs, soft hackles, etc.) with a couple of split shot using a small slip float and a bobber stop as an indicator. It's a blast and effective but it will be the bomb if I can pull it off with BFS gear.


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Post 08 May 2022, 10:48 • #93 
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fishingshop,kiwi is a good place to find rods and lures from Japan. (just make sure you Buy in stock - never Preorder)
They have the only discounted prices on Valleyhill rods.
I placed a lure order yesterday to duplicate the 3.5-g Rodio Craft spoon that worked well on Friday, added a couple more patterns in that spoon, Vanfook Twin Dancer hooks, and Smith Niakis spinners in 4 g.
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@Odfonata, great report, great fish, great photos.


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Post 08 May 2022, 11:01 • #94 
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I ordered the reel from Plat JUST before Golden Week and had it in hand in about a week even with the holiday. Now they have no inventory so I was dang lucky I pulled the trigger when I did.

Plat didn't have the rod I was after and still don't nor did anyone else I looked at at the time, but I found one and ordered it from JDM Tackle Heaven when they were closed for Golden Week. They don't reopen until May 9 so I guess I'll find out in about 8 or 9 hours if I need to look elsewhere.

One thing I discovered about Plat when I tried to buy some stuff last year is even if they are unsure of their inventory, they will process your order and do the PayPal transaction immediately, even if it goes in back order status. In that instance, I cancelled the order and all is well.

JDM on the other hand didn't do the PayPal transaction until a few days after I placed the order so that makes me feel like they checked and they have inventory.

Here's hopin'.


Last edited by Bamboozle on 08 May 2022, 13:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 08 May 2022, 12:39 • #95 
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Plat is a Great vendor, especially for rods and lures (,lines...).
They're definitely the best source for Yamaga Blanks rods. You have to stay on top of them to catch their rod inventory as it's coming in.
Really, if you see a rod you want in Plat inventory, don't let it get away.
Plat is also good about back-ordering what you want, and they'll broker items from other Japan vendors that may not ship direct.

One thing about communication with Japan vendors, aside from the 14 hours time difference, they may have to forward e-mails to a contract interpreter before they can reply.


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Post 08 May 2022, 13:41 • #96 
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Bulldog pointed me to fishingshop.kiwi for a mobile rod and I ended up buying two. They charge $40 to ship rods, but they seemed to have good base prices and their packing was probably the most bulletproof I have ever seen.


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Post 08 May 2022, 13:45 • #97 
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Plat blew me away with the turnaround time. I thought based on initial updates from FedEx I was getting the reel tomorrow.

In the meantime, on Wednesday May 4, I see a FedEx truck in my driveway and the driver rings the bell and I know instantly it was because I had to sign for something...

BTW, the reel was picked up in Japan on May 1.


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Post 09 May 2022, 10:15 • #98 
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Fed-Ex is the key there. They run a nonstop flight from Sennan-Shi to Memphis. They added this route, in lieu of Anchorage, in summer '20, when JP Post was completely shut down. Hungry Japan vendors picked up on it, switching delivery method. Plat was the first.
My best delivery from Japan has been 44 hours door to door. Fed-Ex also usually treats Express parcels as morning delivery.

DHL comes pretty close with nonstop to Cincinnati. If there's a difference, DHL occasionally holds either in Japan or Cincinnati for 24 hours, probably giving time for their cargo load to fill up. I've even had DHL deliver on Sunday morning, but they don't make Express delivery a habit.

The big advantage to all couriers is US Customs clearance while still in flight, vs. Express Mail backing up at Chicago and LA ISC, followed by delays to USPS hub, which seem to get worse from week to week.


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Post 10 May 2022, 05:08 • #99 
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Good news!!

I got a FedEx "picked up" notice so it appears my BFS rod is on its way from Japan!!! :)

There is no indication so far it will have to be signed for which is a pain. Does everything coming from Japan via FedEx have to be signed for, or only if the person sending requests it?


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Post 10 May 2022, 08:21 • #100 
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If you sign in for an account with any of the couriers, you can "signature release" with a delivery preference such as leave at the front door. Same preferences will be applied to all your packages, unless you change them. You can also have your package held at a pick-up office.
Every time you log in, they'll already have your tracking waiting for you.

Asian Portal is so bad about about communicating, having a Fed-Ex account is often the only way to know they confirmed your purchase and shipped it out.
Logged into your account at AP, Plat, fishingshop,kiwi, JapanTackle, etc., you can more often learn about your purchases and shipping than you'll receive in e-mail notices.


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