Fluke Bucktailing Blanks

HighHook4Hire

New Angler
Aug 19, 2019
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Any recommendations for a new fluke bucktail conventional rod blank for say 3-5oz? Getting pretty bored and thinking about a new project. Some that I have seen on the favorite fluke setup thread that have me intrigued are the Hydra 876, Phenix UMBX line-up, and CTS SDB (is that the SD Jig blank on CTS website?). I currently have some choices available from NFC in-house (MB709, SW768, and MB765), but would like to do more research on a pretty heavily used rod. Currently using the Trevala S 63MH and it is a lovely rod. I just would like to try to build one nicer. I guess I enjoy a challenge.

Just finished a freshwater walleye rod using all carbon fiber grips and reel seat. It got me thinking about that handle assembly for an ultra-light ocean fluker. Right now I plan on using my lefty Lexa 300 WN, but the damn kick lever that reengages the spool on those reels are shit due to design flaw and I do not foresee too long before it is no longer trusted. Same problem with the 400... It was a great reel, but Daiwa burns me every time. I will get a Tranx next.

Heading up to Hyannis for a 2 Day Nantucket Fluke trip on the F/V Angler through Helen H in 2 weeks. Very excited is an understatement. It will be my first time to the mecca doormat fluke grounds. This rod will not make the trip, but I am sure it will not be the last one.
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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Dec 19, 2018
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There's no end to the blanks that fit your description. I personally LOVE my Hydra MB876, but there's really no need to look further than the Black Hole Charter Special 6'8" Model #68H3R. I've gone thru a ton of blanks over the years and this one is what I now reach for in the 3 - 6oz bucktail range.

Mine is factory-wrapped and thus its the full 6'8" in length, but if I were to do a custom I'd cut the back of the blank 4", at least. This is only because I fish close to the water in my boat, and so no need for a long stick for jigging. You might have party boat fishing in mind, and in that case, I'd recommend leaving the blank at its full length.

This particular blank has a stiff-ish, yet lively tip that will really bounce a bucktail, without all the excess sloppy motion (and wrist exhaustion) that using a lighter-tipped rod causes. Yet when hooked up with "a GOOD one," it takes on a beautiful moderate arch, which will cushion those big, nasty head shakes that such a fish can generate. This is super-important, as having a 4oz piece of lead stuck in its face gives a nice fluke a better than good chance of coming unbuttoned. So its critical that you choose a blank that will help minimize that unhappy event, by providing proper cushioning. This goes double, of course, if you use zero-stretch braided line - like I do.

BH also offers a heavier model, the 73MH, which is, you guessed it, 7'3" long. It'll handle more weight and would be a nice "mid-weight" rod for those Nantucket trips. Not too heavy, not too light.

If you want to move up in class (quality and expense-wise), then the Challenger Bank 701L would be one to take a look at.

If you want a lighter rod with a deeper bend under severe load, then the Hydra MB876 is a gorgeous blank, made in America, and is constructed similarly to the great CTS blanks, - except Hydra charges about half of what CTS wants. CTS will paint your blank with a high quality automotive paint for a slight up-charge, so there's that. . . I personally own this MB876 blank as the base of an awesome Capt. Neil custom - and wouldn't think of ever letting it leave my arsenal. Its that nice.
 
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HighHook4Hire

New Angler
Aug 19, 2019
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Thanks Lep. I own a BH Challenger 701L spinner that I have been using as my main fluke and tog spinner. Love it for tog jigging, but it has been a bit soft for fluke hooksets. Probably just me.

I also want to diversify my allegiances, as there are so many talented professionals in the industry and I like to try different ones that others enjoy. That is what brought me to the Hydra. I think you own(ed) both the Trevala S and Hydra in question. How would you compare the two?
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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Completely different blanks. The Trevala S is a butter knife. The Hydra is a scalpel. Where do u live? If local to me, here in Wantagh, you are welcome to come by and see for yourself. Interesting observation about the BH 701L. If that tip was causing you to miss fluke, I would think that it would be worse on tog. To my mind anyways.
 

HighHook4Hire

New Angler
Aug 19, 2019
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701L could possibly be too sensitive and I end up pulling the bucktail away too quickly. I learned the art of patience with blackfishing (still novice), but I just built it last year so this is my first year fluking with it. It is certainly an early opinion, governed mostly by a fluke ass-whooping I took last Monday when the whole boat was struggling. I felt like a bit faster action in the tip might have connected on a few more bites, but it could have been the opposite. That's fishing I guess o_O
 

Capt Richie

Well-Known Angler
Feb 16, 2019
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For the Money you find it hard to beat Phenix..I fish the M1 as a spinner every chance I get...Its sensitive feel every scratch powerful and light,,the UMBX is also great but you need to be a little more mindful of how you handle it..Its a freshwater blank..

Another great choice is the UC micro jiggers , a little different feel than the Phenix ...but strong & sensitive ..UC tends to build extremely sensitive blanks..

CTS top of the food chain No one builds a blank like CTS..If your willing to spend the extra money go for it...the SBD are parabolic hard tip powerful blanks don't lay over the way most company's build parabolic blanks...
Cant say if the SD is the SBD's I get I know they only had one SBD blank before I had them roll up others ..and never seen the ones I get on their site...same with the BJ's all my custom designs are not listed..
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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HH4H - the Hydra is a lighter power blank than the BH Charter Special. I would put it one full step lighter. It will jig a 5oz bucktail, but its true range tops out at 4oz. If you fish primarily from a party/charter boat, the BH CS is the far better choice. Both are very nice blanks indeed, but I take my BH with me every trip - the Hydra come along only when the forecast calls for a relatively nice day. If you fish inshore, or up in the NJ bays, then the Hydra would be the better choice. It has a truly gorgeous bend to it when pulling on a good fish - so there's that. If you're an "outside" deep water guy, the BH is the better choice. It has the stones to hang in there on those "tougher-condition" days.

Have you investigated what Jigging World has to offer? Their Nexus rods are very, very popular, and all their rods have matching bare blanks available. Not a difficult thing to go look at certain well-known Youtube personalities using it - you probably know the names, as there are tons of such vids out there. I would think the bare blank would also be a good foundation for a custom home build.

As an aside, I personally LOVE my factory-wrapped JW Ghost Hunter 150g. Its my "light rod" that comes along every single trip - it probably gets more use than any of my many other fluke rods. A well-constructed, beautiful rod, its another one with the deep bend that I look for in a fluke jigger. The finished rod is a little over-priced, in my opinion, but the blank is available and is very well priced. A bit light for PB/CB use, it excels on a smaller private boat. Very sensitive, without the tip slop that many such rods suffer from, yet super-light in the hand. It will handle a 4oz jig w/o issue, but a 5oz would push it outside its comfort zone.

A 5.5lb fish on my custom Hydra:
8.18.2016.jpg


A nice fat 7lb fish taken with my Black Hole Charter Special on a 4oz bucktail. you can see the rod next to me:

7lbs.jpg

5.5lb fish taken taken mid-June this season with my JW Ghost Hunter 150g, on a 3oz bucktail:

7.03.2020.jpg
 

HighHook4Hire

New Angler
Aug 19, 2019
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Thanks both. I fish outside. Not frequently using 5oz plus, but it happens. I am aware of the Skinner special Nexus and that is a consideration as well, but I have been hearing it is nothing too special. Just emparts the “right” action on a bucktail. I am more inclined to use a blank company that I am not yet involved with (which leads me away from BH as well, although I do love the offerings I own).

Phenix, Hydra, UC,CTS

I am very cautious with my gear, but the new boat layout mainly the damn tuna outriggers that go un-used 95% of the time but always are installed and like to “flex” into some of the rod holder positions concerns me with a light walled blank.
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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Dec 19, 2018
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Richie - that is not correct. The CURRENT Ghost Hunter Series is nothing like any Phenix. Perhaps this was true years ago. I have seen you write this before. But 100% for sure what is now the Ghost Hunter series is not a Phenix anything. Phenix has (and had) nothing in their line-up that would cross to the current Ghost Hunters. Even their new-ish slow pitch line of rods is very different. Those are nice as well, especially the ML version, but quite different.
 

Capt Richie

Well-Known Angler
Feb 16, 2019
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Richie - that is not correct. The CURRENT Ghost Hunter Series is nothing like any Phenix. Perhaps this was true years ago. I have seen you write this before. But 100% for sure what is now the Ghost Hunter series is not a Phenix anything. Phenix has (and had) nothing in their line-up that would cross to the current Ghost Hunters. Even their new-ish slow pitch line of rods is very different. Those are nice as well, especially the ML version, but quite different.


Lep got it from the horse's mouth ..the same factory same design..or maybe the horse is wrong ?
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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The horse was probably right - when he said it.

I also spoke with that particular "Yong-horsie" at great length about his rods, last time I was in his shop. It was part of my "Visit" write-up to his and Kilsong's shops, towards the end of my tenure at the old site. It was a nice piece of writing, if I say so myself. 8-)

These current GH blanks are all Chinese-made, (like Phenix), to Yong's specifications.

Maybe I need to stop by and show you the current JW Ghost Hunter 150 and 300g factory rods. You will immediately see that they resemble nothing in the Phenix line.

You will also immediately notice the minor crevice corrosion at the foot of some of the Fuji guides - despite my best efforts to combat it. Oh well, the curse of factory-built rods. This is why I spec titanium guides on my personal customs. Well worth paying the price up front, rather than looking at orange spots under the wrap epoxy later on.
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
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"I am very cautious with my gear, but the new boat layout mainly the damn tuna outriggers that go un-used 95% of the time but always are installed and like to “flex” into some of the rod holder positions concerns me with a light walled blank."

If this is the case, I would strongly advise you stay away from the Hydra line, as well as those NFC blanks. Super-hi-end FW-intended blanks are by design very thin-walled. A good rap against an outrigger will not see your freshly-wrapped custom do very well, at all.
 

HighHook4Hire

New Angler
Aug 19, 2019
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I avoid putting my rods in the danger zone but cannot control what the other folks do with rod shuffling. It’s not a grave concern but one to note nonetheless.
 

Capt Richie

Well-Known Angler
Feb 16, 2019
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who said I spoke to Young ?

Young is a really nice guy & Im sure the rod you fish is nice..But Phenix Carbon is from Japan not China & their resin system is a trade secret ...they dont spam the way other did & do about their blanks...I do remember when NANO was all the craze kinda a bad Mork & Mindy show LOL...Or S glass from seeker LOL another failed company...

Phenix never sold the good Stuff off...
 
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Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
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Hmmm. . . " who said I spoke to Young ?"

You did.

On my Flea Market board.

April 29th, 2019 we were discussing JW Ghost Hunter slow pitch rods - you wrote:

"Jung jigging world rods are the old Phenix recons,,,really nice blanks .. "

And when I told you that this wasn't the case, you replied:

"Pheinx is deep..they have a ton of blanks... Jong told me it was."

I'm gettin' up there, but my Google-fu is still strong, Richie!

Perhaps your memory is a little bit off on this one. It happens. Especially to me, all the time.
But not this time. . . :D

Or its entirely possible that Jong was speaking to you about one of his MANY other rod lines that is NOT
the Ghost Hunter series. That makes sense, as he has a TON of different types of rods in that place, and some certainly DO resemble blanks I've seen from Phenix. Not the Ghost Hunters though.
 

Capt Richie

Well-Known Angler
Feb 16, 2019
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do you also know the made in china rods are wrapped by force labor...Got that from a chinese man who wrapped them before he came to the states...
 

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