Snowbee’s Deep Blue boat rods are pricey, but quality doesn’t come cheap says reviewer Des Westmore.
Snowbee are a company whose history is rooted in fly-fishing, but the introduction of the Deep Blue range of rods and gaining the UK dealership for Accurate reels has given them major presence in the sea fishing field. The 2009 Snowbee product catalogue is jammed full of quality tackle for the discerning saltwater angler, a selection of which, I intend to review for Planet Sea Fishing Magazine over the coming months. The subject of this report is the Snowbee Deep Blue 12 lb class boat rod, which is along way from a budget rod, and aimed squarely at the higher end of the market. The Deep Blue is supplied in a smart protective Polyester Oxford covered rod tube, and the blank is covered by a lifetime guarantee. Though not common in saltwater angling, lifetime guarantees and rod tubes are pretty much standard in fly-fishing.
Deep Blue rod series, range across 8lb to 50lb classes, and all rods are a neat 7ft 7in long. Fittings include genuine Fuji CDBSG guides and a top quality new style Fuji screw reel fitting. Although the reel fitting rides over the rod joint, and unlike many other boat rods, there is no horrible screw-fitting right where you want to put your hand. The handle is well proportioned: the rear grip is 12in long, with 8in of fore-grip. And the collar-less joint means the fore-grip goes right up to your reel.
Personally I prefer a 12lb class rod to be around 8ft or slightly longer. Discussions with Snowbee determined 7ft 7in was found to be the best length for this particular blank in terms of fishing action/responsiveness. In defence of this standard rod length I would have to concede that many small boat anglers do not want long rods.
Snowbee have used zones of differing modulus carbon fibres, as well as working E-glass along the rod’s length. This high-tech ‘Tri-Modulus’ design, as it is known, was first developed for and applied to their XS-P fly rods.
The Deep Blue range is described as being IGFA rated. Snowbee’s Managing Director, Russell Weston explained how accurate line class ratings conforming to IGFA criteria are determined: “The rod’s tip is loaded up until it is at 90 degrees to the butt, the load applied should be about 25% of the rods rating (3lb in this instance). Maximum load, akin to pulling into a snag and approaching the rods ultimate limit should be about 33% of the class rating (4lb).” These figures will ring bells with those anglers who are familiar with setting a lever drag for big game fishing. One final point that warrants a mention is the rod’s point of balance, which is about half way along the fore-grip. Adding a suitable reel just makes things even better and there no hint of tip heaviness at all.
The rod is stiffer in the tip than my own 12lb class rod and at I had initial reservations. Any niggling uncertainly was blown clean away when my first customer, a wreck pollack of 9lb hooped the rod into a beautiful bend. The slightly stiffer tip gives good control when you are forced to use heavier weights, and 12oz of lead on the drift when the tide ran hard was easily supported without killing the blank action. Plenty of rigidity in the butt ensures hooked fish can be confidently controlled, while a progressive mid-section is energised superbly with braided lines.
The rod went on to subdue several larger pollack on the day, and saw further action in the Channel Islands, dragging up to 1lb of lead in strong tides. From an inherent ability to transmit every lump and bump of seabed contours, through to its electric bite detection the rod proved first class.
An excellent sporting boat rod, should give a few years of reliable use with minimum maintenance given the quality of the fittings and build. I haven’t tested the other rods in the range, but I know anglers with the 8lb and 20lb versions who love the blank action and overall aesthetic. Again the only criticism voiced was they’d like the rod to be a little longer.
The 8lb and 12lb versions come in at a RRP of £159, with the 20lb at £169, the 30lb for £189 and the 50lb selling for £199. This is unashamedly the upper end of the market but these rods deserve looking at if your budget runs to it. For more information visit Snowbee or phone 01752 334933