Rod builder Jim Chalkley offers up his build on a MB903 that he’s using for both bass and redfish in Florida
I was looking for one thing in this rod – long distance casting with backbone to turn big fish back toward the boat. This is important because fish can sense the boat being near. This makes long casts most important. To help with distance, I have moved to 7’6” rod blanks.
I chose the Hydra MagBass 3 power in 7’6” (Hydra MB903-NG). First time out I noticed the blank is very versatile. It excels in casting distance but also capable of pitching a lure into the junk and having plenty of backbone to winching out that bass.
I fished in a local two day bass tournament shortly after finishing this rod. The area fished was the lower end of the Apalachicola river system – the pattern of the day was pitching under trees and flipping to holes in the underbrush. The large bass bite did not cooperate for us, but the ones that did bite – no issue with quickly pulling them out of their brush pile and into the livewell. Soon after was the first redfish outing – we had over 25 redfish ranging from 20” to 31”!
- Exposed Blank Reel Seat (Size 14): center of reel about 10″ off end of blank
- EVA rear split grip: 3.75” with ½” ID (Hydra G375T-95-12)
- EVA Butt: 3” with ½” ID (Hydra BT-300-79-12)
- No foregrip: epoxy ramp
- Thread – Black and red copper trim bands
- Spacing from tip (in inches): 4-8-12-16-20-24-28-32-38.5-45.5-53
- Held guides on with small zip ties and did a static load with ½ oz lead – worked very well.
- XLA hook keeper was placed an inch forward of epoxy ramp – facilitates finger being able to feel the blank.
- Future rods will have the hook keeper in the split grip area or go with a closed keeper – fishing line was catching in the keeper sometimes.
About the Builder
Jim Chalkley hails from Panama City, FL and pursues both redfish and bass in tournament circuits. Jim’s angling accomplishments include 5 top 10 finishes in IFA Redfish events (2 wins), numerous North Florida Gulf Fishing Club wins and appearances in Gaff Magazine, FL Fishing Weekly, Woods N Waters, The Fishing Wire, Tackle Tog and Jacksonville.com. Jim can also be followed on his webpage http://redfish101.wordpress.