Big-Game Rod Advice

When buying a 14-weight rod for offshore fishing, which do you think is better, an 8- or a 9-foot model? My main target species are sharks and oil-rig fish, but I will occasionally be taking true blue-water trips for billfish and tuna.

**Question:
**When buying a 14-weight rod for offshore fishing, which do you think is better, an 8- or a 9-foot model? My main target species are sharks and oil-rig fish, but I will occasionally be taking true blue-water trips for billfish and tuna.

James Page
Atlanta, Georgia

**Answer:
**The most effective conventional light-tackle fishing tools are stand-up rods. These are rarely longer than 7 feet with powerful butt sections and tips that bend easily under strain. They allow the angler to effectively fight the fish with a short, powerful lever.

I would select a fly rod that is less than 9 feet long and has the characteristics of a stand-up rod. The tip should be designed to cast the fly line, but during fights the upper portion of the rod should bend to allow you to pull with the strong butt. A longer rod gives the mechanical advantage to the fish - not the fisherman - and makes the fight harder on you.