First of all, I work in the fishing industry and so many new things come through that you become almost blasé when you hear about them. I have to admit I was a little like this when I heard about AGS. I don’t think I fully comprehended how much is going into it. A lot of development goes into every product and as strange as it sounds, cars are a good parallel to fishing gear. A lot of thought and effort go into designing a Honda Jazz. A lot more effort goes into a Honda S2000. If we are talking about AGS then it’s being designed like a Honda Formula 1 car. Not only are the guides something completely new but as a result of how different they are from normal metal ones, completely new technology was needed for the blank and even how the guides are attached to blank is new. Add to this that this line of AGS rods are being designed specifically for the Australian market and you’re starting to get the scope of just how big a project this is.
For one, I feel lucky to have got to use one in the field as I’m pretty sure I may have been the only person so far (if not the list would be small) to have had possession of one of these rods out of the sight of the man designing them, Brad Sissens. This was way less cool than you actually might think. “These are the only ones I have until the trade show” (read: break this Josh… and you are dead, because I won’t have anything to show dealers for months). So I spent much of the weekend at Marlo worrying about where the rod was and what could possibly, even if it was unlikely, happen to it.
The rod is amazingly light which is easy enough to tell the first time you pick it up but it’s not until you get a reel on it and tip it with a lure that it hits you how different it really is. The prototypes have fairly fast tapers and suit fishing styles that require sensitivity and so, for the first mornings fishing I set it up with a Gekkabijin Vibe that had been customised for bream in the southern parts of the country (keep watch for Mark Gercovich’s coming article on this method). “Crisp” is an overused adjective I think when it comes to rods but there really isn’t a better word for how it felt. After loading the rod during cast the “wobble” or “recoil” is barely perceptible and much less than anything I have felt. The energy transfer from blank to firing the lure out isn’t washed off by the blank wobbling. This may sound like one of those, shrug your shoulders and say “so what”, kind of things but has actually been very hard to achieve with previous rod making material and methods. The end result is less effort being needed to make longer more accurate casts.
So getting the lure out there is great but how is it when the lure is in the water? Again, the rod shone. Because the AGS guides are very rigid they transmit everything through the line especially when using braid and make using straight fluro feel quite different too. We caught plenty of fish on the Gekka Vibes that morning and in typical Black Bream and EP fashion were hitting on the pause after a few little rips. At one point I switched over to fluro straight through just to see what the rod could really do. I have a very good feel for tight line presentations with fluro and even though I probably wouldn’t use it for this purpose all the time I was amazed how I could easily tell the difference between rock, timber, mud and most importantly fish. I even managed quite a good fish on an Ecogear CX35.
There is so much more to say about this rod but I’m trying to keep this from turning into a 2000 word epic. Suffice to say you will hear more about AGS in the months to come as they get closer to their release.