When we first looked at the design principles behind a specialist fresh water big game rod – we went to Thailand where massive Mekong Cats, Arapaima, Siamese Carp, Rohu and similar finned submarines patrol. We wanted to pit our design experience against some of the biggest, feistiest fish on the planet. What we were initially confronted by local experts were stories of broken rods that just could not take the punishment: revolving reel seats and snapped fixed spool reel stems. “Are you sure you want to get into this game?” was a question asked by fishery owners.
We looked at what was currently being used and it appeared that many rods were adapted from other specialities and gear such as heavy telescopics, extended marine boat rods or off the shelf heavy spinning rods - that were evidently not really designed for the application. We started a process of development which gradually helped us perfect a rod that was truly effective and this process culminated in the Excalibur.
We knew if we could conquer the fantastic array of trophy fish in Thailand then Giant Barb and Giant Stingray (possibly the world’s largest fresh water fish from Mekong river in Cambodia), Lake Sturgeon from North America’s Great Lakes and upper Mississippi River, Nile Perch, Giant Eurasian trout from Eg-Uur River in northern Mongolia, Taimen, the world’s largest salmonid in Russia and monster catfish inhabiting European venues such as rivers Ebro and Po – all would? be within the rod’s scope.
Anyone can design a powerful rod – all you do is keep adding plies of carbon fibre and sooner or later you will end up with a telegraph pole. The Excalibur Is powerful but retains a sporting element and the battle curve reflects the primary design requirement – the fish tires out before the angler. The length at 10’9” gives optimal leverage for long range presentation of heavy baits (from 150 to 400 gram) and the overall curve loads progressively against deeply sunk dead baits in strong river currents. The heavy duty Fuji FPS-H24 reel seat is secured directly to the blank on top of a series of carbon ply build ups, pinned internally with a stainless steel rod that ensures the reel retains it geometry in line with the battle curve. Substantial lined guides with heat dissipating liners are spaced to suit fixed spool as standard and a special build multiplier version is available featuring a customised guide configuration.
The blank is built in our factory in the UK using several types of carbon fibre with the bias towards high tensile and intermediate modulus carbon fibre. The fibres are placed in two different directions to generate maximum hoop strength and anti twist properties with the majority of the fibres running along the length of the rod.
We have used a toughened epoxy resin system to bind the fibres together and removed air voids in the wall of the blank, responsible for test curve decay, by autoclaving the blank. The outer layer of the blank is covered in a partial sheath of 1k-1k woven carbon fibre and all sealed in Century’s PTFE-Silicone finish. The guides are Century’s selected heavy duty SiC secured to the rod using prime black high tensile thread.
The butt section terminates in a Fuji cross slot gimbal fitting and this is covered with a detachable rubber butt cap and the area beneath the reel seat is covered in tough Japanese shrink rubber and retains the narrow profile required for specialist rod holders.
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