I have been trying to get a rail rod (Graftech) but no businesses have them. How different in use would a trolling rod be? It most likely would never be used for trolling.
Graftech rods are basically a no-name private label line of rods from a mickey mouse china factory brought in by a local sales rep. Low end copycat type stuff with no manufacturer behind the product line. A true rail rod is not a trolling piece, and a trolling rod is not a rail rod. The whole concept behind a rail rod means the rod should have a specific action designed to maximize it's effectiveness when a fisheman used the rod with the boat's rail to provide more leverage on a larger fish. The application is ACTION specific - and that's exactly what the import rods fail to recognize. These are more than just heavy rods, the action is the critical part of the puzzle. So, can fishermen use a more traditional trolling rod for this application - no, not for the rail application, it becomes more of a standup style rod. Can we catch large fish on a standup rod/reel combo - sure bet, we did so for years...but it's a harder thing to accomplish and more time will likely be taken fighting the fish.
As to rail rods in general, these came to us fishermen by way of David Choate and Randy Penny. They've been improved upon by Peter and Andrew Williams who designed UC's rail rod blanks and these benefited thru Randy's knowledge of building such rods. Are there less expensive ways to approach this type of rod? To a certain extent, as mentioned most manufacturers missed the whole concept behind the rods - they are just producing heavier rods to deal with the line test and drag loads. These secondary pieces can work, but they are not optimized for the task. RainShadow has one blank in their line which is a good alternative. That blank has been used successfully for several years, it's a very good aloternative copy of UC. We will be doing something ourselves in this regard, making use of the RS blank and unique build - this is coming very soon to our shop. But, still to truly have a rail rod, it's not an inexpensive build - a ton of material used for building the blank (nine to 12 ply rods!), guides, forgrip...there's a lot of meat on these rods...
How about the Daiwa Proteus PTB70XXHF?
Both Okuma's PCH rail rods and Daiwa's rail rods are unavailable until more come into country. Both are less expensive ways to get into the game. They are not perfect by any measure but they get you into the game...but not if they are unavailable as both have been this summer.
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