Tackle Corner: A Wrap Session With Rods For Better Control

“Lightness” has been the dominant thrust of rod evolution for years. Lightweight guides, skeletal reel seats, split grips… these and other developments have served rod builders in their ongoing quest to reduce rod weight and, in turn, diminish fatigue and enhance angler comfort and feel on the water. Oddly enough, radical downsizing of rod components sometimes produces the opposite of its intended effect if rod balance is significantly compromised along the way or when heavier-than-usual lures or terminal tackle enter the picture.

Several seasons ago, a rod manufacturer asked me to road test a new mid-priced spinning rod the company was planning to bring to market. The design team had taken the split grip concept to an extreme, virtually eliminating the mid (rear) grip altogether and adding a very airy foam to the butt grip. However, no weight reduction had gone into the components above the handle. The guides were large and weighty. As a result, the rod was annoyingly front-heavy, even when I mounted two of the spinning reels I had tabbed for the task. Lost balance led to lost feel and sense of control over my bait. It took an oversized reel to bring anything resembling “balance” to this rod, and the resultant combo was still cumbersome.

It’s hard to get a rod perfectly balanced without knowing the reel a guy plans to put on it,” said Russ Lane, a Bassmaster Elite Series angler known for his talent for tackle tinkering.

Lane wraps many of his rods with Winn Superior Rod Wrap (www.winngrips.com) to give them the same advantages of hand control and comfort that he gets with the Denali Attax rods and other rods in his arsenal already fitted with Winn grips. But at times there’s a secondary benefit to the wrap.

Sometimes adding the Winn rod wrap can add just enough weight to balance a rod,” noted Lane.

He faced a formidable “weight-forward” balance challenge with the flipping/pitching rod he uses to punch matted vegetation with soft plastic lures and 1.5-ounce tungsten weights. “I needed to add more weight to the handle,” Lane recalled.

As usual, he covered the cork mid-grip of this 7-foot, 6-inch Denali Lithium Flipping Stick (Xtra Heavy) with the polymer overwrap. Before he added the wrap to the butt grip, however, he added Storm SuspenStrips—adhesive-backed rectangles of soft lead that he generally uses to add weight to his jerkbaits—to the tapered butt grip.

You can get the balance perfect by adding just enough lead tape over the butt grip before adding Winn overwrap on top of it,” explained Lane. “Balance makes a big difference when you are flipping those heavy tungsten weights in heavy cover all day long.