Once anglers start targeting squid and debate whether to upgrade their gear to an egi-specific rod, it’s fair to ponder whether an egi rod is necessary, or how much to spend. There was once a time where education about egi product was minimal and the idea of egi-specific gear seemed ridiculous, but the market has now moved past this thanks to better education and greater participation. There are new anglers taking up the sport every day and as squid are so accessible, it’s often one of the first species anglers will target.
The technique of jigging your egi with fast hops, lifts and darts (the proper way to do it) takes a bit of practice to master but it’s highly effective once you get it, and you need an egi rod to do it effectively. An egi rod isn’t just about retrieving the jig, but also casting it and then bringing in the squid without tearing out the barbs or tearing off a leg.
When testing multiple rods for the Egi Specials, I always spend quite a bit of time with a rod before passing judgement. The reason is that egi rods take a little while to become accustomed to as they are very different from other styles of rod, and reaching the point where you become comfortable with it is more dramatic and has a steeper learning curve.
The reason a new egi rod can feel so foreign is predominantly what I call its load point. This is where the rod stops bending against the weight of the egi and starts imparting action to the jig. On a bad egi rod its load point will be too high or too low and you’ll never coordinate a good technique. On differing rods, the load point will be in a different spot based on design and length and once you get used to one rod, it can make the next feel quite foreign.
Egi rods are pretty involved as they have to offer quite a few essential aspects such as casting distance (accuracy is rarely if ever necessary), a good load point and a multi-tapered action that can absorb the pulse of the squid as it fights. The idea is that you keep the drag tight enough so line doesn’t leave the spool when you jig your egi and the rod absorbs the pulse of the squid. Egi rods also need to be light and sensitive yet very strong in lifting power and highly durable.
Cheaper models can get a few of these aspects right but not all of them, and most often on cheaper rods casting distance will be at the sacrifice of its retrieve action and vice versa. Some rods are great at one jig size and weight or even jig style but aren’t very versatile. You may now get some understanding as to why there are some egi rods on the market that sell for more than $600 – and why keen anglers pay in excess of $1000.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend $1000 or even over $200 on an egi rod, in much the same way as you don’t need a Porsche to drive to work – a Toyota does it fine but the Porsche is much nicer. The very expenisve rods offer experienced anglers the ability to impart a greater range of action to the egi and ofcourse better feel and sensitivity, but most anglers wouldn’t know how to utilise it anyway. As a nation we’re not quite there as yet and most companies wont bring in the more expensive models from overseas, however, give it a few more years and I think it will be more common place.
As you go through the following rod reviews, you’ll see that we cover off all these different aspects of the rod in our assessment. We have reviewed rods from varying price points but they’re all what we conbsider affordable, even for those on a tight budget, so hopefully it helps you make a purchase decision and find the right egi rod for you.
Words and Images: Kosta Linardos