Playing Hard With The Abu Garcia Conolon
By: Phil Foo
Abu Garcia makes some of my favourite fishing rods. The Abu Garcia Conolon is one of them. One reason is because of its price. The Conolon fishing rod series are always great value for money. They are built tough for anglers who prefer to exert more force and pressure when fighting a brute. The Conolon rod series rods are usually hardcore fishing rods for those who choose tug-o-war over slow play.
[ The Abu Garcia Conolon rod bent as the powerful fish tried to break free from the line… ]
Recently I was invited to fish at a fishing pond in Tanjung Karang. The pond is Afprow 2, a pond that offers a type of fishing contest called “jackpot” where anglers with the biggest catch get to go home with cash. At “jackpot” fishing ponds anglers use heavy tackle and they do serious battle. It really is fishing tug-o-war style. The brute at the other end of the line will not be given much opportunity to run.
The Abu Garcia Conolon 2 rod and Penn Slammer IV spinning reel in action.
Personally, I do not enjoy “jackpot” fishing. The atmosphere is quite tensed. With money on the line, everyone is in a hyper competitive mode. Bad words are thrown around freely, and cussing is a norm in such events. With such tensed fishing atmosphere, mistakes have got to be minimal; better if they are nonexistent. For high pressured fishing events such as this, the Abu Garcia Conolon rod series has rods that feel right at home. I decided on one and paired it with the awesome Penn Slammer IV reel (5500).
At the pond I put on a whole mullet as bait and cast it out some 30 feet in front of me. There are groupers in the pond that weigh over 30kg. Here is a disclaimer. Although I was fishing in a “jackpot” event, I did not actually take part in the competition itself. I was there to check out the pond and test some fishing tackle. Anyway, I was watching a friend battle a fish when the Abu Garcia Conolon rod started loading up.
The Abu Garcia Conolon rod used here is the COS702H A – Heavy and Fast Action rod.
With the Penn Slammer IV’s drag set high, I gave the rod a strike and a battle ensued. The Abu Garcia Conolon rod bent as the powerful fish tried to break free from the line and hook that had a good grip on it. I pumped the rod with all my might and the pressure on both the fish and my right hand was intense. Within a short time, the brute, an angry grouper surfaced and was soon brought to the side and landed by one of the staffs. The fish was hurriedly placed in the “jackpot” fish holding tank.
The Abu Garcia Conolon comes with high quality EVA handle with a rubber end-cap.
I then put on another mullet and cast it out into the pond. This time the wait was much longer. I sat there watching a few anglers battle it out with fishes before the Abu Garcia Conolon rod started loading up again. This time the fish managed to swim into a snag. I was caught off guard and did not know that there was a snag right in front of me. A friend then pointed out that the arrows drawn on the side of the ponds show where the snags are.
[ I inspected the Penn Slammer IV to ensure that it was ok, and it was totally fine. I then checked the Abu Garcia Conolon rod and it was as good as new… ]
I decided to reduce the pressure on the line hoping that the fish would come out of the snag and it did. I maxed out the drag and went into the ultimate tug-o-war mode and pumped hard to ensure that the fish did not go back into the snag. I pumped and pumped the fish all the way to the side of the pond and a staff ran over with the landing net, and brought the brute up. He then removed the hook and rushed it to the holding tank.
I inspected the Penn Slammer IV to ensure that it was ok, and it was totally fine. I then checked the Abu Garcia Conolon rod and it was as good as new. The only damage was the Spiderwire Stealth line that got damaged due to abrasion with the snag. So I cut off the damaged section, retied the hook, and continued fishing.
The awesome Abu Garcia Conolon rod and a handsome grouper.
The rest of the fishing there remained quite the same. We caught a few more fishes, most of which did not make it to the “jackpot” fish holding tank, and we did lose fish due to bad hook-up. But looking at the Abu Garcia Conolon rod, it performed absolutely well. It has an awesome power curve that is stable; meaning there was not lost in power during the fight. The guides, reel seat, etc. all did awesomely well. Definitely up kept its name well.