Dorset Fishing Rods 0.5-3.5g Solid Tip Rod - Review by lure angling expert Andy Mytton.
I first used this rod back in October 2014, it was a stock rod built by Richard for himself but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it- one year on and having used it 3-5 times a week for the past year I'm ready to write this review.
There is no mistaking this rod is an LRF finesse rod crafted to allow you to enjoy and get the best out of light lure fishing, with a casting rating of 0.5- 3.5g you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a delicate rod - this couldn't be further from the truth. It excels with the smaller fish in and around harbours but has the forgiveness to allow you to stop large fish that often appear when you are least prepared.
At 6ft 9” this rod is perfect for everyday use in harbours especially in and around boats and harbour walls, rivers and canals. Due to the blanks action it suits many different techniques such as drop shot, jig head, Texas, split shot, Cheburashka and even small metals.
The rod has an extra fast action with quite a firm solid tip for the casting rating of the rod, as you may know no two solid tips are the same and the one on this rod is absolutely perfect for the species we encounter in the UK with the only exception being pike and zander in freshwater. The solid tip is firmer than those found on Aji rods and some of the lower end LRF rods and I really like this as it gives me confidence to pull into the fish setting the hook firmly and allowing the blank to take over. In lower end and even some higher end blanks the join between the solid tip and the blank can take away a lot of the feel leading you to missing shy bites - this blank really is at the top of its game when it comes to bite detection.
I always balance this rod with a Shimano 1000 size reel- either a Stradic Ci4 or Rarenium depending on the line I choose to use which is normally a 3lb FC mainline or Sunline 6lb Small Game PE.
I spend a lot of my time LRF fishing for flounder, bass or species hunting so you may think it's strange that I refer to perch fishing firstly with this rod. I like to use this rod for 'bites' fishing for perch where numbers are more important than size, using a simple drop shot rig with a size 14 hook the rod really excels.
Perch like to inhale the lure in the same way that a bass does, having a solid tipped rod transmits less resistance to the fish and the sensitivity of this rod along with its fast action allows you to react quickly for even the smallest of bites. When numbers count in matches or 1v1 head to head fishing with friends this can make all the difference to your results!
One other use I really enjoy is split shot fishing for roach and rudd using tiny lures on the drop, the fast action and solid tip allows you to feel and hook rudd and roach that smash at small lures on the drop and run once they have taken them - without the forgiveness of the tip and the balance of the blank I don't think I'd have half as much success on this method.
Whether you are fishing along the harbour wall for blennies, scraping the bottom, fishing OTD or drop shotting this rod has you covered.
One of my favourite methods in the harbour is either jig head or Cheburashka - working the bottom layers with worm or shrimp type lures for flounder and bass. The extra fast action of the rod sees the rod loading nicely, the tip remains firm and doesn't fold allowing you to achieve a good distance on the cast, as the blank is firm for the weight of it and you are able to fish sink and draw with ease which isn't usually the case with a solid tipped rod. The sensitivity transmits the feel of the bottom to your hands making it easy to distinguish the type of ground you are fishing over and even the smallest of bites are transmitted which allows you to make decisions on whether to continue a retrieve or pause to allow a bite to develop.
What happens next is the most important part of this rod for me, it's flexibility when you hook a fish. I see it as having 3 gears which I've learnt to love.
First gear is for the micro species, this is an extra fast finesse rod, it's naturally not a poker as it's so light but for it's rating it's insanely stiff. If you hook a blenny, goby or small wrasse your only likely to work the tip, this is fine and more than acceptable allowing you to swing the fish in with speed whilst the solid tip cushions any movement and protects your hook hold.
The second gear is for the larger pollock, wrasse in the 1lb bracket and bass that you find in and around harbours - basically anything that's going to try to make a dive or pull back a bit, this rod can more than handle them fast enough to ensure you pull them away from trouble but not without putting a smile on your face whilst it does it.
The third gear is reserved and is there for peace of mind when you are surprised by a larger fish, surprisingly I've had bass to about 5lb, decent mullet, flounder to 3lb and wrasse to 4lb on this rod and with only a few losses I have managed to land 90% of large fish hooked. Where this rod excels where others fail is it bends into a nice parabolic curve when something decent is hooked.
I have had flounder and bass smash me at my feet whilst stood on bridges and they have ran underneath away and the rod has bent nicely into a parabolic curve allowing the drag to engage and buying me time to take control something other rods I own have failed me on before.
One fish that springs to mind on the rod was a 38cm wrasse caught from Mevagissey harbour during the Cornish Lure Festival. I thought I was fishing alongside a rock for a blenny that was in it's shadow, as the rock moved It was clear that the rock was actually a wrasse as it turned and hit my lure sending the blenny off hiding and gave me heart palpitations as it bolted back down one of the ledges in the harbour. The rod more than coped and within no time I was netting a lovely wrasse to the amazement of onlookers.
The build quality of the rod is exquisite, Richard's attention to detail is one of many reasons that I struggle to look past custom built rods, he has a plethora of guides, reel seats, corks and handles along with other fancy embellishments to make your rod to your own particular taste.
If you are a heavy user, one thing I would recommend would be to request a sleeve to be placed between the real seat and the butt of the rod in the same way that I have on this rod. This gives protection to the blank but only adds minimal weight and most importantly I think it looks cool.
I've looked around and have struggled to find an off the shelf rod in the same casting range with a similar action to this, a lot of the rods I have picked up have been either too soft as they have been designed for Aji or are just too heavy in comparison.
Pros and Cons
Capable of handling most of what you will encounter in fresh and saltwater.
More feel than others in it's class.
Slick, sexy, elegant styling.
Not as forgiving with smaller fish when they are tearing and running with the lure.
This rod has allowed me to take my fishing on to another level, without it I do not believe I would have developed as quickly as I have.
Finally, if I were to recommend that you buy the rod for one reason over all of the other points above it would be feel. Feel being the most important part of all lure fishing.
If you have any questions please get in touch.
This rod was used by Andy in a Tightlines program fishing for flounder last year, if you missed it click on the link and have a look!
I would like to thank Andy for taking the time to write his review, tight lines everyone!