Fly By Night

Reel Seat Location - 12 foot surf rod

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I know that there is no "correct" answer on this question.  Any recommendations/thoughts on the distance from the butt to reel seat for a 12 foot surf rod would be appreciated.  Building for my father.  I asked him what he thinks feels comfortable for him and he defers to me on every question I ask him.  My longest rod that I use is a 10.5 ft so I'm not sure my point of reference is an accurate one.

 

Would love to hear some opinions on the subject.

 

Thanks in advance!

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Posted (edited)

Have your father place the rod butt against his armpit.  

Have him fully stretch out is his arm until his elbow is locked and gripping the rod.

Have him slowly move his hand back until he slightly bends his elbow.

Mark the blank with a grease pencil or magic marker between his middle and ring finger.  That is approximately where the reel seat should be centered.  

Slide on the reel seat, center it, then mark the blank on each end of the reel seat.

 

You are done.

 

Edited by Al Goldberg

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consider how he casts and where the butt of the rod is and needs to be during the cast, off to his side, in front of his torso. is the for plugs or bait.

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Here's the method that works best for me. 

Put a reel in the reel seat, and then put the seat over the blank -- naked, with nothing underneath. Eyeball it to start -- you can put it about 22 inches from the butt as a starting point, if you're not sure where to begin. 


Then hold the reel, and the butt of the rod, as though you are casting. Slide the reel an inch or two toward the tip, then go back toward the butt. Repeat/experiment as necessary.

 

You will discover, and you will discover it pretty quickly, that there is a point where the location of the reel seat just feels right. You can't get this by measuring; you can't get it by reading a book; you can't get it by following a spacing chart on a website like this. You can only get the reel seat location perfect, and perfectly locked in, by putting the rig in someone's hands. 

 

Once you figure out where the reel seat feels best, mark the spot -- sorry, but you're not done yet. :D There's one more thing you have to do: test how the setup feels when retrieving. If it feels good, then you're good to go; if things feel a bit awkward when retrieving, then move the reel seat fore or aft to adjust.

 

Repeat as necessary: do the "hands while casting" test, and then the "hands while retrieving" test, until you have the reel seat located where it will perform best doing both. This sometimes involves some compromise, but most time, you'll find a spot where it works great for both. This, obviously, is where the reel seat gets installed. 

 

I don't see why your dad won't go through this process -- it's kind of fun, and fits the rod to him like a glove fits a hand -- but if he doesn't, and your arms are about the same length as his, then do it for him. It's pretty cool when you get the reel seat location locked in, and it just feels right. The entire process should take no more than five, or at most 10, minutes, and you'll learn more about what goes into a real custom rod than you'd learn in six months of trolling the internet.  

 

One more thing: if you're worried about scratching the blank, you can protect the blank with tape where you'll be monkeying around. Good luck. 

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Belmo,

 

The method you mention is the one that I have used on rods that I have built for myself.  My Dad just keeps deferring to my opinion on this stuff, this one is based on him.

 

This is such a long rod I didn't know if that changes the reel seat location.  It makes sense that it is based on the users arm length and feel.  When I hold the 12 ft vs. my longest rod which is a 10.5 ft it feels to me like I want the reel a couple inches further from the butt.  However, that is my preference not his.  Dad & I will figure it out.  Just wanted to ask the experts.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Belmo said:

Here's the method that works best for me. 

Put a reel in the reel seat, and then put the seat over the blank -- naked, with nothing underneath. Eyeball it to start -- you can put it about 22 inches from the butt as a starting point, if you're not sure where to begin. 


Then hold the reel, and the butt of the rod, as though you are casting. Slide the reel an inch or two toward the tip, then go back toward the butt. Repeat/experiment as necessary.

 

You will discover, and you will discover it pretty quickly, that there is a point where the location of the reel seat just feels right. You can't get this by measuring; you can't get it by reading a book; you can't get it by following a spacing chart on a website like this. You can only get the reel seat location perfect, and perfectly locked in, by putting the rig in someone's hands. 

 

Once you figure out where the reel seat feels best, mark the spot -- sorry, but you're not done yet. :D There's one more thing you have to do: test how the setup feels when retrieving. If it feels good, then you're good to go; if things feel a bit awkward when retrieving, then move the reel seat fore or aft to adjust.

 

Repeat as necessary: do the "hands while casting" test, and then the "hands while retrieving" test, until you have the reel seat located where it will perform best doing both. This sometimes involves some compromise, but most time, you'll find a spot where it works great for both. This, obviously, is where the reel seat gets installed. 

 

I don't see why your dad won't go through this process -- it's kind of fun, and fits the rod to him like a glove fits a hand -- but if he doesn't, and your arms are about the same length as his, then do it for him. It's pretty cool when you get the reel seat location locked in, and it just feels right. The entire process should take no more than five, or at most 10, minutes, and you'll learn more about what goes into a real custom rod than you'd learn in six months of trolling the internet.  

 

One more thing: if you're worried about scratching the blank, you can protect the blank with tape where you'll be monkeying around. Good luck. 

Some days your contributions here are pure poetry....full of insight and really help educate the reader. 

 

 

 

Other days....

 

 

 

 

Edited by flyangler

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2 hours ago, Fly By Night said:

When I hold the 12 ft vs. my longest rod which is a 10.5 ft it feels to me like I want the reel a couple inches further from the butt.  However, that is my preference not his.

I think that is a valid preference for just about everyone. A longer rod is going to be more tip-heavy, and a longer butt to counterbalance that makes perfect sense.

Put this another way: say you have two different-length surf rods -- say one is 10.5, and the other is 12 feet. Say also that on both you put the reel seat the same distance from the butt -- for the purposes here, say it's 26 inches.

 

This means that the longer rod will (let me do the math here) 18 inches more between the reel and the tip, which is going to make the longer rod more tip heavy -- this is basic physics. It is both logical and appropriate to slide the reel seat a bit toward the tip to counterbalance that -- which results in a butt that is a bit longer (the reel seat closer to the tip) than on the shorter rod. 


This ain't rocket science (believe me, if I can do it, it ain't rocket science). But ya gotta let your eyes and hands tell you what to do -- they are a lot more reliable than something that you read somewhere (unless it's by me :D). 

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Belmo makes and important point by attaching the reel to the seat when trying to determine the reel seat position.  In addition, consider the weight of the reel that will be used since that will effect the balance and how tip heavy the rod will be.  Today's reels typically are much lighter and have large capacity using braid.

 

Your father is dealing with a long rod and his ability to load the rod is critical. First have him swing the blank with his casting motion several times without the reel seat and reel. When he seems to be loading the rod well mark the blank between his middle and ring finger.  Attach the reel to the seat, center the seat where marked and tape it in place. Have him load the rod several more times and see if it's comfortable for him.  The rod may still be tip heavy but that can be solved by adding weight at the butt.

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   Using arm length was the standard when I first began building. But I soon learned that method meant you had a fixed length with variable lengths fishing rods. I found some builds looked and felt a bit awkward. Another influence on handle length for me was casting fundamentals. Handle length and technique will have a big impact on the performance of a surf rod, especially when casting long rods. So this is what's worked for me, It's been my experience, most surf rods work best with a 20% handle length. This allows me to cast with optimum leverage. To get this number I multiply length of rod in inches times 20%.   Example a 12' rod - 144" x .2" = 28.8" /  11' rod -132" x .2" = 26.4"  /  10' rod 120" x .2" = 24"    Everyone has opinions on handle length. For me, this method works out well. But at the end of the day, its your rod, and your build, make it comfortable for you.         

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I've learned to prefer either coastering or hose clamping reels directly to the rod, over the heat shrink.  This also allows positioning the reel very close to the butt end, which can make the rod flex longer and add distance, as well as using a rod butt harness for easy retrieving.  I've got a coupla Fuji wrap-on reel seats, too.  This allows finding the sweet spot for casting control, the typical payload yer throwing, and for achieving the most distance with the least effort (specially nice for us 70+ year youngsters).  It's also a bit easier to take off & put on the reel and not have to deal with clamps. 

 

Billy's butt harness ...

 

 

Wrap-on moveable reel seat ...

 

1.png.20d81b7438b25f6a672a78c88ecb70e3.png

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Posted (edited)

Send this to your Dad and tell him to fill out . At least they aren’t  asking  for the very important shoe size anymore , yes seriously shoe size. Then take all the info and throw it in the garage and stick the reel seat at 28”.

 

688DE2D2-86AC-4A59-B18E-684422DB1D36.png

Edited by connman

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I’m not a fan of setting up a reel seat according to ‘fixed mathematical calculation’.

i prefer the trial and  error way(like belmos way)’

most important to me is how rod feels when retrieving and fighting a fish...a shorter butt to c.o.r.s. So i can put rod on hip and not have to stretch to reel.

current rods now are so light few feel tip heavy

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