If You've Got 'Em, Bend 'Em

October 30, 2017

If You've Got 'Em, Bend 'Em

Catching fish with bent butt rods:

One of the most underrated game fish in Australian waters has got to be the mako shark:

Andy hooked up on a Mako shark at Browns Mountain Australia

Here in Sydney we are very fortunate to have the underwater seamount Browns Mountain about twenty miles east, of the city. That pinnacle attracts huge numbers of gemfish which gather to spawn there, during the winter months:

Gemfish caught at Browns Mountain Australia

The eggs produced drift south in the current, attracting mako sharks from maybe hundreds of kilometers away. That can be infuriating because it’s not uncommon to have a prime gemfish torn off the line or bitten in half, boatside:

Gemfish hit by a Mako on the way up

With the bag limit very restrictive at just two per angler it’s quite usual to have reached your legal catch limit by mid-morning. What’s a keen angler to do when you're that far offshore but you can’t keep fishing for gemfish? Switch to mako sharks, of course.

Personally I find them a fantastic sport fish. The click-click-click of the ratchet as one picks up the bait and slowly moves off goes through you like a bristle brush, through an old .303. Quickly get the angler into a rod bucket but, most importantly, turn on the camera and point the lens in the direction of the line:

Hooked up on a Downrigger shop bent butt rod

As the rod man slides the drag up to strike most makos leap high, with three or more back flips. They then crash dive, at which point the ratchet screams like a banshee. If you can get all that on video you’ll have great memories for years to come.

I’ve been chasing them for forty years. Here’s a video from back in the 70s, a two hundred kilo specimen we took from a 16 foot Quintrex at Crescent Head. Don’t freak out when you see it get shot, at the end? That’s how we rolled, back then:

The sharks are the same and they go just as hard today. One difference is that we now keep a mako each year, for the table. If you cut the white tendon off the steaks they taste great. But the biggest difference is in the tackle. Because now we’ve switched to bent butt rods for sharking:

Big fish hooked up on a Downriggershop bent butt rod

What a joy bent butt rods are. It’s hard to describe the increase in comfort, on a long fight. For marlin, blue-fin tuna, sharks and other muscle machines getting the lever fulcrum lower and the reel at a more comfortable height makes an incredible difference. These guys do a pretty good explanation of their mechanical advantage, over straight rods:

 From the Web:

"My primary reason for the bent butt is high speed trolling. When the rod is placed in a conventional 30 degree rod-holder, the additional angle of the butt puts the rod near parallel with the boat gunwale, keeping the tip pointed at the lure. The position of the rod eliminates tip flex, and prevents “lure lash”, and subsequent “hook – line fouling”. The improved presentation of the lure directly results in more hook-ups."


Deep dropping with a bent butt and a downrigger

Bent butt rods are also very good for deep dropping. A bent butt rod means your line is held well clear of the gunwale. We use ours for both game fishing and deep dropping and have caught some mighty fish with both options:

Bent butt rod set up with a Downriggershop electric reel

Andy with a Yellowfin Tuna caught on a Downriggershop bent butt rod

We have two sizes, 24 kilo and 65 kilo:

Two sizes of Downriggershop bent butt rods

The most popular being our 24 kilo 2-piece, with roller tip:

Andy hooked up on a Downriggershop bent butt rod off Sydney

I love the 2-piece setup with these because often the reel you are using – game reel, or electric – is pretty valuable. Not real big on leaving a reel that costs $700 or more out in the rod rack, to be blasted by sun and spray. So what I do is, separate the rod from the butt. The rod part goes in the boat’s side pocket. The butt, with reel attached, goes into the cabin or onto the console shelf, out of sun and spray. Much better way to go:

Downriggershop electric reel on a bent butt rod

Best of all these aren’t expensive. Would you believe $140? Sure, you could make your own bent butts like one of our clients. Note hose clamps:

DIY bent butt rods ends

But if you’ve got a TLD20, Penn International, Daiwa Sealine around, do yourself a favour and get the real thing:

Downriggershop Bent butt rod under load

Match one of these with your reel and you’ll see how much better it all works. Check this out. Crew member Oliver on a big Browns Mountain thresher shark, a couple of years ago. After a couple of hours we had to leave, so Oliver broke the line – over the rod! If that doesn’t prove how tough this stick is, nothing will:

Like more information, or to place an order? Click here. You won’t be disappointed:

Click here to buy now

Thanks for reading,
Andrew Hestelow
Managing Director

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