I recently picked up an interesting looking rod in the Dublin Angling Centre. Kayak fishing is generally pretty hard on gear, much like myself, and I am always on the lookout for a bit of kit that may stand the test of time. My eye was well and truly caught by the Trabucco Triton Squid Stick 180. At a price of €25.00 and with a casting weight of 10-80g and a length of 1.80m I figured it would have a multitude of applications for the kayak, particularly for lure fishing in both fresh and saltwater. And at that price, even if I manage just one season out of it I would be doing well.
A quick overview of the two piece rod, starting at the butt end there are comfy foam handles that are set up like a miniature pike rod or some of the bass lure rods on the market. There is a ‘casting’ handle right at the butt followed by a short length of blank emblazoned with the Trabucco name and logo and this runs into a second foamed area which sandwiches the screwed reel seat. The reel seat functions perfectly and this entire section of rod comprises one of the two pieces.
Moving onto the blank, the rod I picked up is coloured white whilst the whipping thread is red. A garish combination and one that is used to to secure the double legged eyes through which your fishing line passes. The final third of the rod sees a switch to single leg eyes and a colour change from white to bright orange, the eye whipping matching this transition.
One of the first things that struck me about this particular rod was how delicate the tip section is. For any coarse anglers out there it really resembles an interchangeable tip on a quiver-tipping rod. It really is that delicate that it would be possible to use the rod for exactly that purpose, perhaps an overgrown water where the possibility of casting with three metre rods becomes an impossibility. This is very much a tip-actioned rod with a bit of power in reserve in the butt. It also made me think that the casting weight of 10-80g was perhaps just a little ambitious. Only one way to find out!
At the lighter end of the scale, when matched with suitably light lines and a fixed-spool reel, the rod can throw 10-30g lures with no trouble at all. I attached a large 4play lure, the 19cm size which comes in at 50g. The rod performed brilliantly and was well able to catapult this lure quite a distance. A 60g copper spoon also saw a similar occurrence. Admittedly, that is the largest lure I have thrown on it and I have no issues at all with how it handled each size.
In terms of jigging artificial baits, again the rod performs well. Jigging with anything up to 2ozs in weight is no problem and when coupled with braid and a baby multiplier reel. The rod does what it is supposed to and there are no issues with control or lack of sensitivity. It starts to struggle with jigging weights of any more than 3ozs but we can’t have everything!
The length of the rod, at 1.80m, is ideal for kayak fishing. Long enough to get you clear of your bow when needs be but not long enough to get you into trouble. I find the handle to be an almost perfect length for kayak fishing; there is enough space to spread your hands when casting and when I am working lures or jigging baits then the handle is still short enough that it doesn’t extend beyond my elbow, eliminating the chance of it bumping or tangling in something behind me.
The big consideration though is how does it handle fish? Admirably. Hard fighting wrasse, crash diving pollack and feisty pike have all been tamed on my rod and it took each in its stride without ever seeming out of its depth. I fished for pollack the other day and boated numerous smaller fish which were beaten fast and efficiently. When the rod arched over into a bigger fish it was bent into a U shape but still had plenty of backbone to absorb the multiple dives of the fine pollack. It pulled wrasse out of the weeds without even flinching and the smaller pike that it encountered were no match for the power in the butt of the blank.
The Trabucco Triton Squid Stick 180 has been quite a surprise considering its price tag. If I get a season out of it then it would be money well spent. I think it has the potential to last far longer than that though. The only thing I would advise is not to buy it in the hopes of jigging in waters that feature strong, fast tides. For that you will need a rod capable of holding a heavier weight. For any light lure or bait work that you are looking to carry out this rod should be well able for it.
There is an old saying; ‘You get what you pay for’. With this particular rod you get a whole lot more than that!
Available from Dublin Angling Centre, the Trabucco Triton Squid Stick 180 retails at €25.00. The lads in the shop are prepared to offer a 10% discount on all purchases if you mention this review on A Kayak Fisherman in Ireland.