30# rod choice for fly lining / casting sardines

Dexter Outdoors
Mar 6, 2021
15
3
58
Idaho
Name
Doug James
Boat
None
Hi everyone, what a great forum. Lots of knowledgeable users and great info here. I’m hoping to get some advice on a good 7’6” – 8’ rod blank for 30# leader for fly lining and casting sardines well out away from the boat during a picky tuna bite.

I don’t have any experience with the new composite and graphite blanks, and I don't have anywhere near me where I can go pull on one. Do any of them cast a sardine as well as the old school glass rods like 270h and similar, but still offer good lifting power during a fight with a 25 – 50 pound tuna? I’m hoping the answer is yes as I like the idea of the lighter, smaller diameter blanks. My priorities are:
  1. A tip that is sensitive enough to gently cast a sardine a long way
  2. Good lifting power, but not super-fast (I’m an old guy with a bad lower back and not as strong as I used to be)
  3. As light in weight and small in diameter as possible (but not at the expense of castability)
  4. Budget not really an issue, just looking for the best blank
I’ve done a little searching and the blanks that have jumped out at me are listed below. Would really appreciate input from those who have experience fishing these rods on which would be best for my needs. Would one of these be a good choice, or am I best sticking with the tried and true glass blanks like Calstar 270h? Are there any other blanks I should consider?
  • UC US 76 Tilefish Jr
  • UC CE 800 Mega
  • UC CE 800 Monster (not sure whether this one or the Mega would be better for 30#)
  • Calstar GF800M
Thanks guys.
 
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YFT Chris

Newbie
Oct 13, 2016
48
58
63
Huntington Beach
Name
Chris Insley
Boat
Intrepid
I have fished one 8 day trip on a (new to me) UC GP 90 Mega which is longer than you are looking for. I built this rod exactly for what you describe.....long toss on the sardine to either shy tuna or yellowtail. It's a really good option to consider and it's really light in the hands but plenty of backbone when you hookup. Nine foot is my longest rod and this is the best option in my quiver for this application. I also built a UC US 85 Monster that would be my second choice. This rod is more parabolic and has as reasonably soft tip with lots of backbone in the base. I think my Monster can handle a slightly bigger fish but the two rods spec out fairly close. I have 4 long trips logged on the Monster. Food for thought.
 
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Luke

Uses alot of bait!
Aug 19, 2006
627
721
Laguna Niguel
Name
Luke
Boat
none
I have been building my own rods since I was a kid back in the 1960s. Built probably 10 different blanks targeting 30#. What I fish today is hands down the best 30# rod I have built. It is a United Composites Tilefish Junior 8’. What impresses me is the power when needed. A few years back the YFT at Guadalupe became extra finicky and to get a bite I had to drop to 30#. I knew from the get go I was severely under-gunned. The Tilefish Junior amazed me, it allowed me to pull the absolute max on 30#. Since then I have found it equally effective on YT when I needed to stop them due to structure. It has a light enough tip to easily flyline sardines. I pair it with a Shimano Talica 8 II with 65# Maxcuarto then a short TS of 30# FC. I am none looking for a 30# outfit.
 

hucklongfin

Deep release specialist
Jul 3, 2003
9,062
7,039
Mission Viejo
Name
MarkT
Boat
Blazer Bay 1860
I like 7 1/2 footers. My goto’s for 30# are the UC Tilefish Jr 76 and the Phenix psw760h. I think the Phenix will lob a Sardine better but just pick a good bait and get it in the water and 30 seconds later it’ll be out there past the one put out on a long cast.
 

pukahd

I’m getting nibbles
Oct 30, 2004
866
787
Torrance
Name
Brian
Boat
Cabo 216
I have the UCUS90 Mega and feel that it more like a 20# rod compared to my Calstar 900XL which is a excellent 20# rod

The GP90 Mega is just a bit stiffer than the US90 for 30. I pulled on my buddy’s GP85 & GP90 and they feel pretty much but tiny bit stiffer than the US90.

Currently 30# I’m back to my Calstar 800M and 900L. I feel that these 2 have more backbone vs my US90.
 
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klong60

Shoyu Slayers
Jun 27, 2020
528
233
Palos Verdes, California
Name
Koa
Boat
PhishFat
Personally I use a Seeker PH BH89 and a Trinidad16a for 30lbs,

if i were to use another rod to get the same job done, id use a 270h8 and a newell 332 or something for budget purposes
 

FlatPack

Online Angler
Sep 22, 2016
2,352
1,790
City of Angels
Name
Rexor
Boat
"CATTLE BOAT"
You can never go wrong with those UC rods mentioned above, it now boils down to your personal preference with those rods. If you have the chance try to visit your tackle shop and pull them...then select which one you like... @Bob Sands is a great shop and a bonus when Jamie is there. They will spend time to help you out.

Btw on the budget side...you may try to take a look at the $150sh Okuma PCH Custom series like their 761H or 801H...
 

2Rotten

Live in Oregon/Love to Fish San Diego!
Jan 10, 2010
266
405
Junction City OR
Name
Rod Lathrop
Boat
24' North River Seahawk Hardtop "Sun Dog"
I have the 7'6" Tilefish Jr., love it for 30#. Casts a 'dine great and has all the lifting power you will ever want for 30# leader, I caught a 60# BFT on it last year did a fine job. Think it would do 40# in a pinch, although I have other sticks for 40.
 

dave_k

Member
Feb 26, 2008
557
219
Westlake Village
Name
Dave
Boat
Whaler
Lots of great recommendations here, but you might want to take a look at the Rainshadow judge blank as well. I’ve been pretty impressed with the one I have and would be taking a serious look at those if I were getting some new rods wrapped.
 

TanstaaflSD

Member
  • Dec 3, 2013
    511
    337
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Name
    Tanstaafl
    Boat
    n/a
    I have some nominees
    FIRST .....
    I have the Seeker, Hercules, 8ft 30-60 rated rod. It is designed with a soft tip but has a strong back when needed - it has accounted for lots of small/med tuna and is my favorite bait rod for Wahoo (landed 4 on it in 2019) with an Avet MXJRaptor, one heck of a light weight but effectively strong combination!
    SECOND and so on .....
    I also recommend the Seeker D8 blanks > 20-50 rated rod with a soft tip and a backbone if needed (landed up to 70 pound tuna on mine) ... the more econominical Seeker Deck Hand series equivalent is said to be similar in action
    And,
    Seeker Black Steel 8ft, 20(30)40 - again a soft tip with moderate backbone....I found it a very good live bait rod for SoCal Yellowtail - no tuna on it yet.
    Soooooo many good choices
     
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    Rodless_Jim

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Apr 3, 2008
    2,836
    2,035
    Mexico, DF, Mexico
    Name
    Jim
    Boat
    Strictly a Rider
    I like 7 1/2 footers. My goto’s for 30# are the UC Tilefish Jr 76 and the Phenix psw760h. I think the Phenix will lob a Sardine better but just pick a good bait and get it in the water and 30 seconds later it’ll be out there past the one put out on a long cast.

    For the record, I strongly believe that Mark is correct here, but in a sense the whole discussion confuses me. I haven't fished all that many 8-day trips...maybe five or six, if I include 10-day variety trips that are essentially the same as 8-days, just with a couple more days of fishing. I've been to Isla Guadalupe three times, and to Alijos more times than I remember.

    I have a hard time remembering any occasion where really casting a sardine long made the difference in getting bit.

    Thinking back to my first ever visit to 'Lupe, being able to cast 30 yards or more out to the side would help you keep your bait out of the tangles we had right behind the stern. Those tangles were, I guess, the product of the current and the (relative) inexperience of a lot of the anglers aboard, including myself. Still, in that case getting your bait far enough out wide there and then gave you a good chance to pass by the perpetual mess. On that day, yes being able to cast really was a big deal.

    In my experience, though, getting a bait that swims has always been 1000x more important than being able to cast it out far. And that absolutely applies to those times when the fish are line shy. I've seen times when the "strike zone" is easily 200+ yards away from the boat, and there is literally no one who can cast a sardine that far. The current has to be helping and your bait really has to be swimming. If not, you'll never get there.

    Having said all that, I like the UC Wahoo Jr. for 30lbs. I have a 7' one, but I think 7'6" would be ideal as well.
     
    Last edited:
    Mar 6, 2021
    15
    3
    58
    Idaho
    Name
    Doug James
    Boat
    None
    I have been building my own rods since I was a kid back in the 1960s. Built probably 10 different blanks targeting 30#. What I fish today is hands down the best 30# rod I have built. It is a United Composites Tilefish Junior 8’. What impresses me is the power when needed. A few years back the YFT at Guadalupe became extra finicky and to get a bite I had to drop to 30#. I knew from the get go I was severely under-gunned. The Tilefish Junior amazed me, it allowed me to pull the absolute max on 30#. Since then I have found it equally effective on YT when I needed to stop them due to structure. It has a light enough tip to easily flyline sardines. I pair it with a Shimano Talica 8 II with 65# Maxcuarto then a short TS of 30# FC. I am none looking for a 30# outfit.

    Hey Luke, thanks for the recommendation. I was considering the Tilefish Jr 7'6" but didn't realize there was a Tilefish Jr 8'. Appreciate you pointing it out. That may be the ticket.
     
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