Glass, Graphite, or Hybrid?
Well, before we enter any discussion of favorites, we must first point out that not all cranking sticks are created equal. Old school cranking enthusiasts are likely to favor glass rods, but as we came to find out, today’s glass rods barely resemble the sticks used ten to twenty years ago and it comes down to the difference between E-Glass and S-Glass rods.
Glass, Graphite, or Hybrid? Which is best depends a lot upon what kind of crank you're throwing.
E-Glass are the sticks most come to think of when discussing a rod with a fiberglass blank. These rods tend to be heavy, fairly moderate in action, and low in sensitivity. Many manufacturers are now leveraging S-Glass blanks built from a material developed specifically for fishing rods. The result is a lighter, faster action blank with better sensitivity than an E-Glass rod, but with that same buttery feel when a fish is at the end of the line.
There's no beating glass for that buttery smooth feel ...
Still, for more backbone, or really, added sensitivity, some manufacturers are making use of hybrid blanks with a glass tip and graphite butt section. Results in the rods we tested this year have been very positive and we’re definitely a fan of this hybrid blank technology.
... or graphite for sensitivity ...
Lastly, graphite is the best if sensitivity is your ultimate concern, and the issues in past years of graphite rods being too responsive during a strike and pulling the bait out of the fish’s mouth have been mitigated by cranking specific graphite rods that feature a more moderate taper than their general purpose or even jig and worm specific counterparts. The moderate taper results in a more forgiving tip section delivering a stick with still excellent sensitivity thanks to the graphite blank, and increasing hook up ratios thanks to the forgiving tip.
... hybrid blanks are a great way to get the best of both worlds.
Which material is best? It again comes down to a decision for each individual involved. But this discussion can also be broken down by the three categories by which we classified our Crankbait Rod Wars contenders:
Be wary of lending sticks you like to friends...
When we think shallow cranks, we’re thinking of baits like the Luhr Jensen Speedtrap. Rods for this application are typically light in power which translates into a very soft tip without necessarily sacrificing any backbone. Graphite rods typically rule the day here providing that nice, soft, snappy tip together with a good medium powered backbone. Typically, any graphite sticks in this category can double as good shakey head rods too.
... or run the risk of never seeing them again (Zander here with his first Dobyns 704CB Glass fish after Cal let him check out the stick - Cal never got it back!).