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Post 19 Feb 2022, 09:06 • #1 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
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



Last edited by bulldog1935 on 20 Feb 2022, 08:27, edited 2 times in total.

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Post 19 Feb 2022, 17:51 • #2 
Sport
Joined: 05/26/17
Posts: 73
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Very cool. I've enjoyed watching YouTube videos from the channel of an Alberta angler using Smith Super Strike rods and Ambassadeur reels.


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Post 19 Feb 2022, 18:29 • #3 
Guide
Joined: 07/22/20
Posts: 130
Location: Ancient City, Florida
Those are some good looking combos.

Got my old 4600 out yesterday, it is an AL, not a C. Serial number indicates 82 model year. I’m going to see if any of the non spool spiff up parts will fit her. The red would sure look good on one of those rods.

Thanks for sharing the pics


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Post 19 Feb 2022, 19:16 • #4 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Thanks guys.
AlgonquinFan - you're welcome to share his channel link on this thread.
Though the frog variations are going to be most productive in the water I showed above, I also have a few Hutley's dog-walking and prop plugs, for which my rod blade is also stated to be perfect. Also a Japan blogger who is 100% Super Strike and Hutley's - and of course right now can't google his link.

I was ordering some Meiho lures boxes from Japan, allowing me to move lures around to put together a box for a specific day,
and added the blue Hutley's just above, to make my shipping cost worthwhile.
There's a no motors reservoir where Lou and I go to paddle early for exercise, and a gravel beach on it - the best fishing on the whole reservoir is from that beach before daylight (blue and black lures).
Below is Lou's wood kayak on the beach, my kevlar Kestrel and Whitt's PA14


G8trwood - you can make that reel do anything my C3 will do.
Hedgehog Studio has the Avail microcast spool for your reel, Avail, Valleyhill and Kagawa upgrades to the LW.
oops - I just checked, the spool is OOS - try ebay, search Avail microcast spool 4600


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Post 19 Feb 2022, 19:47 • #5 
Sport
Joined: 05/26/17
Posts: 73
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Thank you, here's the channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/zebcoomega/videos

It takes a bit of searching to find the videos where he uses Super Strike rods, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iilm_3SiXPc


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Post 17 Aug 2022, 12:59 • #6 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Just a little show and tell.
I discovered the graphite-filled plastic foot on the Royal Express frame would twist and spit out of the Champion-style reel seat clamp.
Best deal I could find on a NOS plated-brass-foot 4600C frame was in UK, and was red,
so I dubbed the reel Black Cherry
Recently added a new rod blade, graphite MH, 3/8 to 1 oz.
And the color match is pretty perfect.




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Post 18 Jan 2023, 13:53 • #7 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
OK, this is yummy.
Finally received my Christmas present to me, after waiting until this week for all the items in my storage at broker noppin.com to come in.

In November, added a 2nd Super Strike handle so I can fish both ML glass plugger and MH graphite frogger together from the 10' kayak.
Began with a kismit plan - bid on a 4500C on ebay, vs. bid on a Smith Plugger on Yahoo. Either project would be $600. Didn't get the 4500C on ebay for the cost I was willing to ante the project.

Instead, I got the Isuzu-benchmade Smith Plugger, and just received it last night. My shipment also had a Haneda Craft handle and Liver round drag knob to swap in. I also have the Try Angle BFS spool to swap in here, which is 8 g, vs. the 22-g spool that came with the plugger - I'll swap that in later, after casting some YoZuri hybrid on this spool.
Hope you're ready.


You can see why I picked the wood knobs - also, my BFS spool was only available in orange-gold, and I think the knobs and rod wraps will set it off.


Comparing size with my 4600C frogger, the Smith Plugger is slightly lower profile.


Overall size and spool width is about the same, but spool dia. is 32 mm on the Plugger, vs. 37 mm on the mid-frame Ambassadeur.


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 18 Jan 2023, 20:15, edited 2 times in total.

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Post 18 Jan 2023, 16:34 • #8 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/22/16
Posts: 1552
Location: SJC
Super nice ! Enjoying the colors of the wood handles, blanks and wraps.

What do you have spooled on the Ambassadeur ?


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Post 18 Jan 2023, 17:20 • #9 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Hi friend. The Ambassadeur has Yamatoyo Resin Sheller PE#1.
It's very cost effective X-braid, rated 20-lb - especially cost-effective if you've loaded a big cart at FishingShop.kiwi
Jun Sonada recommends it for baitcaster, giving it credit for a hard PFE coating.
My experience with it, it's not as hard as Varivas or Duel X-wire, but it's good line. Casts great, and no worries about line dig in that size.

I'm loading the stock spool with YoZuri hybrid 6-lb (which measures as big as 8-lb mono, and IGFA rates it as 12-lb).
I'm using Varivas PE#1 Super Trout Advance on the TryAngle BFS spool - mostly because I like the color - silver with pink meter marks.

Today I swapped in the TryAngle dual-BB idler gear, and it was a shocking improvement on the single-BB stock idler.

While I'm here, some of the other exotic reels Isuzu builds (not the car maker, but a Tokyo family machine shop).
Megabass Pagani, and Liver (actually Bright River), and inside Isuzu

The reels are sold by lottery, most Japanese speculators don't take them out of the box, and my reel was NIB.
I paid 15% above retail, and was happy to find what I wanted for that.

https://isuzu--reel-com.translate.goog/ ... _tr_pto=sc
https://isuzu--reel-com.translate.goog/ ... _tr_pto=sc


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Post 18 Jan 2023, 20:33 • #10 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/15/06
Posts: 799
Location: Fayetteville, NC
I have a serious soft spot for vintage light baitcasting tackle, so I really like this thread… After searching many decades to replace my 1960s-vintage Fenwick 6ft 2pc, light (1/4-3/8oz lures) glass rod (w/Champion handle, of course) that my high school history teacher talked me out of—his obvious abuse of power has been somewhat blunted over the years by knowing how much better he was at casting it than I was—I finally gave up and broadened my search to other rods. Just today, I snagged a pristine 1963 Orvis impregnated six footer designed for 1/4 oz plugs, complete with original bag, tip case, and outer canvas bag. When it arrives, I’ll pair it with my recently raced-out 1500c and/or my Calcutta 50. Either reel should make the most of Orvis’ lightest bamboo casting rod.


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Post 19 Jan 2023, 09:15 • #11 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
@Cross Creek - that's exciting, and we want photos.


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Post 19 Jan 2023, 09:52 • #12 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/15/06
Posts: 799
Location: Fayetteville, NC
When it arrives, I’ll be sure to post photos here and on the bamboo forum.


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Post 20 Jan 2023, 16:13 • #13 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Couldn't stay away - I've got casting trials results on the Smith Plugger + TryAngle BFS spool.
I loaded the stock deep mono spool with 6-lb YoZuri hybrid - no photo

This has centrifugal brake.
Casting 3-g jighead, consistent 60' to 70' casts, no backlash upwind or down.

I installed the TryAngle BFS spool, which comes with mag brake - and it's mag-only, plugs in place of a centrifugal.

As I installed it with about 1 mm mag stand-off, and PE#1


my 3 g was casting 70-80' with no backlash.

I went back, and recessed the mag by 1/4-turn.
This blew me away.
3 g 80' into the wind, no backlash.
downwind casting to 100' - compares to stock Silver Wolf.
This time, everything was spinning fast enough, I could hear all the bearings buzz.
And on a 5-1/2' ML glass rod rated 5 g at the bottom.
I don't need to fish this far, and probably won't do anything from here to change the mag stand-off.



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Post 20 Jan 2023, 16:20 • #14 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/22/16
Posts: 1552
Location: SJC
Sweet !


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Post 20 Jan 2023, 19:55 • #15 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/15/06
Posts: 799
Location: Fayetteville, NC
Somehow, I think there’s a well-educated thumb involved in getting 3 grams out to 80 ft into the wind!


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Post 20 Jan 2023, 20:25 • #16 
Guide
Joined: 09/23/18
Posts: 341
Location: Eastern Wa
Beautiful stuff Ron! Thanks for sharing!


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Post 21 Jan 2023, 16:16 • #17 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Cross Creek wrote:
Somehow, I think there’s a well-educated thumb involved in getting 3 grams out to 80 ft into the wind!

Actually, that's really tough with thumb and 3 g - possible, but usually thumb at mid cast and 3 g suddenly becomes end of cast.
It's all about mag brake and loaded spool mass, bearing inertia, plus a really slick LW in the case of synchro reels. Isuzu uses unshilded Minebea NMB Fine-Drive bearings throughout. The rest of us can't find these.
To get the distance, you have to let it run, and expect it to pretty much play out before end-of-cast thumb. Your thumb should only be close enough to feel mid-cast fuzzies.
You're watching mid cast closely and hoping it's not going to backlash - or hoping to find the point of incipient mid-cast backlash and add that last two ticks of mag brake - kind of the whole point of the casting trial, which is adjusting mag brake.

Probably should clarify I wouldn't be doing this in a heavy wind. But I always walk back and forth across the back acre with each cast. Cast downwind to measure, cast upwind to set mag brake.

You always set mag brake with the lightest thing you're going to throw. Mid-cast backlash (wind backlash) results from gravity and wind fighting your cast weight as it's topping the hill - once it's over the hill, gravity again will keep it sailing.
Image
You always set centrifugal for the heaviest thing you're going to throw to prevent spool overshoot at start up (low spool mass and inertia helps here, too)

thanks guys

btw, TryAngle only makes aftermarket parts for Isuzu, but their spool came with the mag brake.
It was both $30 cheaper and 2 g lighter than Avail's spool with the same depth + mag brake for this reel.
Avail, however, puts the mag on the other side and also lets you use centrifugal.
I vacillated for a month over the choice.
My total range for this combo is going to be 4 to 12 g - anything more, I'll go to the MH, which has mag + centrifugal (heavy start-up).


When I get some more time at the next weather break, going to try reverse spiral casts for skip casting - already know the rod tip makes the cast well.
Sitting in a kayak, this is how you make a cast 2' over the water to get under the bank overhang.
You can't really see off to the left of this photo, is a deep bowl with cypress overhanging 8'.
When Josh and I were working through the watercress, huge bass were hopping off the top.


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Post 22 Jan 2023, 20:18 • #18 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 02/27/16
Posts: 2150
Location: US-IL
Nice swamp/backwater BD.Love those kind of places.


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Post 23 Jan 2023, 08:17 • #19 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
It's not exactly what it seems. It's the mouth of an artesian river at its confluence with another artesian river - at their transition from the hill country escarpment into the coastal plain.
Behind Josh in the photo above, the river is coming out of the ground in a deep blue hole to the aquifer.
In this geographic zone, you can walk for miles in both rivers on dry gravel sendero, and find cold, clear pools fed by the aquifer and loaded with big bass no one pursues.
and if you want a Texas place-name, try Toadstool Waterhole.

Image

Image

Here, you can see the blue hole to the aquifer
Image


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 25 Jan 2023, 08:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 24 Jan 2023, 12:38 • #20 
New Member
Joined: 01/02/23
Posts: 8
Location: Metro Detroit, MI
Very nice Ron! You put the worm in my ear about these and now I find myself casually browsing the listings. The Isuzu reels remind me a lot of the Pflueger 2600 and 2800 from a looks standpoint. I wonder if they drew inspiration from that reel?


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Post 24 Jan 2023, 16:59 • #21 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18333
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Hi friend, if you look at the Bright River offerings,

they've leaned on Meek/Milam and Philbrook & Payne for 19thC classic style.
(The "Liver" reels were all priced in the stratosphere from first lottery sale)

So yes, they like the egg-look that goes farther back to postwar Shakespeare before they bought Pflueger.
When you're searching Isuzu reel on Yahoo, compare the Frog Products reels to this President:

In Isuzu-branded reels, x3x models all have egg-shaped drive sides (like Pagani).
note also, they primarily make LH reels, ending in XX1 - the RH reels are fewer, almost like an afterthought.

Liver FS even came with jewel-bearing end caps.


I'll also admit getting my NIB Smith Plugger past Japan speculator-collectors was both a real effort and a coup.
You can't quite mail order one of these.


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