Wednesday, July 7, 2010


As I'll detail in another post, we were in Port A recently and this time I had the chance to stop in again at the ISLAND TACKLE CENTER as previously praised at HOW I SPENT OUR SPRING BREAK 2010: PART ONE.

Briefly, I got my beloved favorite saltwater rod of all time repaired there in March, and the young man who did the repair in an instant and for a pittance wasn't there today. I got to meet the dad, the owner or co-owner or whatever, and a very nice young lady who I'm embarrassed to say I didn't ask if she was his mom and co-owner.

But I'll find out who's who and report back later.

As with his son Greg, the dad is a very pleasant fellow. No high pressure involved at all. Just helpful service. I told him I had some rods that need new guides and said I had found boxes to ship them. He said he doesn't care to ship rods but will ship near everything else he sells, and will send and receive reels for repair. He just said to drop them off when I next visit and depending on what has to be done and how many rods and how busy they are, they could finish them in a day or two or it might take longer. He said if it took longer, then just get them whenever in the future on another trip down there. Many of my friends visit Port A multiple times a year, there are a even a few that would drop off or pick up rods for repair for me, as much as a hassle as that could be. I do have a nice hard plastic rod case for transporting them with relative ease.

Or it's just a good excuse to go to Port A again.


In any event, this old rod that I got for $20 back in 1998 or so at a small outfitters shop for a then up-coming Port A trip, is called a "PacHawk" and it is made by Oceantech. It's a 2 piece 9 foot white in color rod with black rubber/foam grips and a yellow high vis tip. It's a fairly heavy duty saltwater fishing rod, equally suited for use in coastal Texas for:

(1) jetty fishing; and
(2) big (high in the air) pier fishing; and
(3) boat fishing in the bay/near ocean; and
(4) surf fishing.

Whether by design or defect, the guides on my venerable favorite saltwater rod are somewhere in between that of a saltwater rod for spinning reels and that of a salt casting rod. Not as pronounced as those on saltwater spinning rods but not as low down as those on saltwater casting rods. The guides themselves are chinese or similar copys of better graphite and composite material lined metal guides. But I've only had one break in 12 years of heavy use so I guess they last and thus far they have landed lots of different kinds of Texas Coastal Gulf fish.

Likewise, it works well with a variety of reels. I've yet to try it with a fly reel, but it works so well with spinning, casting and spincasting reels that I wouldn't be surprised if I couldn't make it work somewhere as a fly rod. A real heavy duty flyrod.

So I use it with spinning reels, bait casting reels like Curado or Ambassador, spin casting reels and large level wind pier fishing type (like Penn) reels. I can carry several reels in the bottom of the saltwater tackle box and with this rod, do several different types of coastal saltwater fishing. On family vacations where it's sometimes catch as catch can when it comes to fishing, having one rod that can fill all kinds of situations with different reels is great.

The Curado is a frequent companion on this rod nowadays, as are large Zebco spincasting reels or the Daiwa Silvercast reels I favor. In the past, many types of Ambassadors and Abu-matics have done wonderfully. I have a large Garcia saltwater spinning reel as well as several Penn and Penn type reels that have been often used with this rod. I tend to favor the Zebco reels for jetty and beach fishing. It's rough and tumble out there on the beach, on piers and on jettys in the saltwater realm. The big Zebco reels can take a banging, a drop in the sand or water or all other sorts of calamities that many reels wouldn't walk away from. The more delicate reels may fish better, but rough conditions like tough gear, and although the Zebco big reels have their limits, I've got big Zebco spincasting reel examples that I use frequently that were made from the early 80's to last year and are all working great, rigged with from 20 to 30 lb. mono. In fact, I think the early 80's reels have a better drag and work better.

The action is another big reason I like this rod. It also casts very well, and with the right reel, very very far. It's a bit long for family vacations but the wife has finally adapted to me bringing it. I bring other rods for El Fisho Jr. and I, but that has until recently been the longest non-fly rod I owned.

Now I own two very cool multi-piece "travel" surf rods, weighing in at 10.5' and 13' but that collapse to less than 40".

Nonetheless, neither these cool surf rods or the extra great expensive Texas made custom saltwater spinning rod (perfect for reds and specks in the bay) I won(?) in a charity auction or any other of the great saltwater rods I have are more beloved than the PacHawk.

I could never find anything about this rod or company on the internets and my ebay searches have never revealed one rod in years. I wanted, of course, to get a couple of these to have in stock and for El Fisho Jr., but to no avail. It was apparently a company set up to sell this asian product that didn't exist for long.

So it's likely a fluke that this rod fishes well and has held up to being a family fishing vacation rod. Then, today when I walked into the ISLAND TACKLE CENTER and spied some rods on sale, I said...

THE NEW ROD: OL' WHISKERS GLOW TIP by Hi-Tech Fishing I have not been to the website yet, but that's the addy on the tag. They had both medium-heavy and heavy duty rods by this maker, so I picked up a medium-heavy since my PacHawk is a heavy action rod. I'm anxious to try this rod, and if it is anything like the rod that it's a twin of (The PacHawk), then I'll be buying a few more.

Except for the company name and model, the rods are near identical. Reel seats, the grips/handles, the guides, the guide wrapping tape, and most importantly, the yellow glow tip. The color of the rod is different, but the tip and handles are exactly the same.

I worked the rods a bit in the store, and the Heavy action Ol' Whiskers was damn near exactly the same as the PacHawk.

So I'll be hooking a reel up to this rod likely this weekend and taking it somewhere around the house. I may run over to East Texas and if so, will take this rod to check out it's casting and general action trying to catch some farm pond bass at my friends place. If I get desperate, I can go to a nearby huge public lawn that I can use to test the rod with a practice plug (or two, taped together for weight).

I am convinced that these two rods were made in same or similar factories from the same design. It happens all the time in the asian manufacturing arena. Rebranding is and has been common in many areas, like musical instruments and low end fishing tackle.

I paid $25 for this rod today. If it's half as good as the PacHawk, I'll be buying more of them.
PHOTO: The photo above is not of my new rod or of the old rod. But it resembles the old rod, and I found it when doing a search for the phrase "Ol Whiskers".
It can be bought at this website, apparently in casting and spinning. I bought the spinning version today, but as I mentioned about the old favorite rod, the guides are lower than on traditional saltwater spinning rods. I have no doubt it'll work with any kind of reel I put on it.
Interestingly, on the internet it is called either "OLE WHISKERS" OR "OLE WHISKERS GLOW STIX" but the new rod bought today is clearly marked as "Ol' Whiskers Glow Stick". Knock off or painting error? Either is possible, and neither matters if the rod works. If it doesn't work, it'll be relegated to the "loaner group" for folks who need a rod, or for careless children friends of my kids who need a rod if they're fishing with me.
In any event, the internet version, which looks identical to what I bought, is quite reasonably priced at I may buy one from them as well, depending on the shipping.
SO I went to the website icefish as shown above, and it is the site for the tag that was attached to the rod I got and the others like it. Hi-Tech Fishing and HT Enterprises, with a Wisconsin address. They didn't have anything but ice fishing stuff at that site, although clearly it's the company mentioned on the tag. Not a thing about any kind of catfishing rod, which is what the rod I bought today is branded for. It even has a holographic catfish on the rod above the grip. Coolness.
So I'll report back.

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