All along, the goal for my braid-raced 4600C3 was a light frogger from kaykak in small water like this.
First application I had on hand was the Falcon Glass rod - (FCG-6-158)- just under 6', though with long handle, the blade length is 4-3/4'. Unlike longer FCG models, this rod is well-balanced and light in hand.
Rated 1/4 to 1/2 oz, I would call the Falcon rod a fast para - it flexes in the mid rather than the fast tip. This rod has been at the top of my list for all-time best bass glass -
- it not only fishes that 1/4 oz and 3/8 oz very well, fishes crankbaits to buzzbaits well, but casts and fishes 1/8 oz equally well. Casting the 1/2-oz is where the rod seems to cry uncle.
The straight grip works best with newer low profile reels.
My new Smith Super Striker handle - best price on this by far is Amazon.jp - they remove the JDM tax, which happens to be slightly more than DHL Express shipping (only $5 more than standard JP EMS post).
Smith with their Super Striker made no bones about copying Champion handle that matched with Fenwick bass rod blades 50 years ago.
Nice, though, they made it in magnesium.
You can clearly see it puts the large round-frame spool down to low-profile thumb level.
Asian Portal has stock of 4 different Smith blades, 3 glass and one carbon, and prices less than half of the ebay hoarders.
I hemmed and hawed over the available blades, their rod curves, my targets, and finally decided on the Top Water Light,
nice wide range 5 to 14 g (1/2 oz), and stated to be optimized for 12-14 g.
(hard to read, this was a tough photo to get).
The blade length is 4-3/4' - exactly the same as the Falcon - but I found out they were very different rods.
Comparing rod curves on Smith website, https://www.smith.jp/superstrike/curve.html
my FO-56 is the exact mid and butt taper of their WS-51MM deep crankbait blade (rated 7 - 24 g), but with an added 5" of softer tip.
The lighter range and fast mid is what finally sold me on this blade over their recomended kayak blade, WS-55TM, which had a load curve that appeared to be closest to the Falcon Glass, though also rated to 5/8 oz.
The Smith website implies the Innovation series of SS rod blades are S-glass/graphite blend, also titanium-frame SiC guides.
From the slim dimensions, light weight, and the cast results below, I'm inclined to admit that, also.
Here are my back-acre casting notes, both across the 150' width, and placing casts into the bottom of persimmon bushes:
The Smith feels less tippy than the Falcon Glass with a half-ounce, it doesn't flex near as deep. Casting off the tip, it's a close-in scalpel with the half ounce, overall gives more distance than I could ever need, and skips the half-ounce like a champ (reverse spiral cast) - much easier than when I tried skipping a half-ounce on the Falcon Glass (para).
The fast mid of the Smith is also going to strike better than the Falcon - even with the soft tip of the Smith.
Again, my target for this rod was 1/2 oz, and quick striking. Haven't even tried it with light weights - the winter blow was on its way in.
The reel is more than capable, and I expect the rod to cast lighter than the 5-g rating, which overlaps the range into my L/C stream trout rod (max 7 g).
Adding a ps here - Smith sells the ferrules for this handle in half-mm increments, in case you want to build your own blade.
They also sell a swap-in Champion collet for the handle chuck in case you want to use a vintage Fenwick blade.
Josh wants to get me back to the Sabinal, at least in part to visit the newly opened Sabinal Biergarten on our way out.
Right below Josh is the last blue hole where the Sabinal finally re-emerges from the aquifer to join the Frio in the coastal plain.
Can't describe the number of big bass that jumped off the tops of watercress when I was paddling up here - next to impossible to present with a fly rod.
Just right for a frog - how about this crayfish pattern