A man serious about the prospecting of ditches needs a shorty. As discovered researching “A Brief History of Ditch Fishing” a 7’6″ snub-nosed can be a deadly weapon at close range. My dad’s old Horrocks-Ibbotson is to me a ranking northeast small stream trout rod (bought in his time for $12). But for my ditch forays I wanted a 6w with extra mustard.
I tried two less expensive commercial rods under eight feet: the Redington Predator and the Temple Fork TiCrx 6w. I’ve fished both of them in close quarters north and south since April, and used an anonymous 9′ 6w as the field test control. Here are my thoughts:
REDINGTON PREDATOR 71064: 7’10” six weight. The Redington Predator has backbone. It’s 4 inches longer and a half ounce lighter than the TiCrx, but it proved the stiffer rod for double hauling big clumsy flies in wind. The Predator allowed for better line control than the nine footer. It handled 150 grain sink line better than the TiCrx and would be more suited to light saltwater duty. Great for throwing big poppers and oversized streamers normally reserved for 8 or 9w duty. Not as great for soft presentations. $199, www.redington.com
TEMPLE FORK TICRX 0676 4 TX 7’6″ six weight. Once you calibrate loading the rod on back cast, the TiCrx shorty allows for accurate casts and tight loops. I could put shots under bridges and into bank overgrowth far better than with the nine footer and with greater accuracy than the Predator. It has more feel than the Predator but I didn’t like how it responded with the 150 grain sink. $250, www.templeforkflyrods.com
VERDICT: I like the Predator for big bugs, sinking line, and light salt, and the TiCrx for spots with no backcast room and tight fits. I may try to make my own ditch rod from a blank and either way if I’m walking a dirty canal I’m never bringing my neener again.