What are the differences between the rod classes?
I have rated slow pitch rods into 3 classes. But, you are right, I didn’t really explain the difference.
I understand the question. In many places around the world, Class C rods are more available and you hardly see Class A or Class B rods. So when you plan to start slow pitch jigging, you get stuck for a decision between a Class C rod which you can get locally and a Class A or B rod you have to import from Japan. Even though I run a little business here for exporting these rods, I do feel for you. Private importing costs a lot unless you have 3 or 4 rods to ship at once. These are 2-meter-long one-piece rods and shipping fee really hurts. And you should be wondering how different it can be between Class A and C??? I understand.
Honestly, if it’s hard for you to judge which rods to buy, I simply recommend to start with what you can get locally. Really. Just start with focusing on shallower water. Maybe 40m to 70m deep. The model can be power #3. MTGC-633SF if Palms. The shallow water is usually easier for the Class C rod to perform. And once you decide that you like this game, then you can get a Class A rod. Not to replace Class C rod. You can still use it in combination with more power model like #5 or #6 of Class A rod. It’s always nice to have a couple of different power models to play different actions.
Slow pitch rods have parabolic action. The blanks are highly resilient, thin in diameter, and thin-walled. The whole length bends. The whole length springs up. The spring-back action is slow, big and powerful.
Class C rods can be less resilient and just firm. It bends less, and springs back quickly. And the power of spring back actions is not necessarily strong.
Class A rods can work with heavier jigs. Slow Jerker 603-4, power #4 rod, can dance with 300g or heavier at 200m or deeper (from spankered boat, of course). You can’t expect that with Class C rods. Class A rod has wider range of jig weight.
The difference becomes more obvious in tougher conditions when you have more currents or depth. The water influence tries to pull down your rod, and Class C rods may not be able to perform the spring back actions. They may be firm, but once bent, it’s weaker to spring back.
Sensitivity is a heart of slow pitch jigging. Class A rods are very much dedicated to sensitivity in every details. Not only the blanks, the guide materials, the guide settings, the reel seat material and the amber… You will hear the jig moving.
You hear less with Class C.
There have been a lot of reports of broken blanks with Class C rods. I also hear, with the same brand of the same model, some are good and some are not.
High carbon sensitive material takes highly skilled craftmanship to produce blanks with. Soft flexible material is hard to break, but crispy firm material is easy to break.
None of the blanks of Class C rods are made in Japan. Class A and B are made in Japan. That tells it all, I guess.
There are only 10 major blanks makers in Japan. Every other rod makers have OEM contracts with them or other manufacturers overseas. Even these blanks makers have factories overseas. Their low-cost blanks are made outside Japan. But even when the blanks are made outside Japan, if the rods are assembled in Japan, it’s called “made in Japan”.
But when I said Class A and B blanks are made in Japan, they are made by the Japanese factories.
One thing I want to make clear is that I don’t know about the rods that are not in the Japanese market. The specs won’t tell much. Regarding the ones in Japanese market, I can tell that the quality you will get is what you pay for. If there’s a rod that is not worth the money, I will certainly hear about it. But I just don’t know other rods.
Please note. I’m not saying that you can’t do slow pitch with Class C rods. You can. You really can. Don’t hold back. Go ahead and try. Start your game.
But there are differences than other grades, and these are the things that you are paying for with better class rods.
If you say you want to start with Class C rod, see how it works for you, and you will determine if you pursue this game in the future, I’d agree with you.
If you say you want to start with Class A rod as you would learn the best with the best tackle, I’d agree with you.
Just listen to your gut feeling and give it a go! Hit the water!