Berkley Gorilla Stick
with Allan Burgess
In salmon fishing, unlike trolling from a boat, or surfcasting, the rod must be held in hand the entire time you are fishing. When combined with the need to cast constantly you can easily see how a few ounces less weight can really add up by the end of a long day in the hot sun. Hence light weight is an important feature in any modern salmon fishing rod. These rods are very light.
Gorilla Stick Salmon Cast rods from Berkley in the United States and the Outdoor Technologies Group introduced a top quality range of lightweight graphite salmon rods into New Zealand a few years back. These rods incorporate in their design, all the latest rod building developments and quality components. They are quite slim rods. This means they cut through the air effortlessly for very long casts with a minimum of muscle-power required from the angler.
The two models we tested were: the one piece 7′ (215cm) rod rated IGFA 8-10kg (20 lb) with tip and eight line guides; and the 8’6″ (260cm) two-piece, also rated IGFA 8-10kg (20 lb) which has a tip and 9 line guides – no stinting here! I also liked the fact that on the longer version the reel seat was position placed the baitcaster’s handle 45cm from the rod butt. This gives plenty of length for casting and tucking under your arm while you wind the handle.
As a 7′ upriver rod the Berkley Gorilla Stick would be hard to beat. The longer two-piece 8’6″ model has a very secure over-fit joint. So secure in fact that when in use you would think it was a one-piece rod. It affords a little extra casting distance and I find it ideal to fish within the lower Waimakariri River. My personal preference is for the shorter model but some anglers prefer a slightly longer rod.
The finish on these rods is spot on. A slightly translucent brown graphite blank has been bound with black thread and finished with red and gold trim for a very smart result. It could be a long time between takes – you at least want your rod to look good while you’re waiting!
Aside from good looks, sighting along the blank confirmed that these Gorilla Sticks have obviously been made under strict quality control. The line guides are perfectly in line, and line up with the Fuji graphite trigger grip reel seats – or at least a very good copy of a Fuji reel seat! Always check that the guides line up on every rod you are considering purchasing! The guides appear to be hard aluminium oxide housed in a one-piece pressed stainless steel footing, that is both strong and lightweight in keeping with the rod, and corrosion resistant for long life.
A splendid touch, in keeping with this quality product, is the heavyweight black Berkley nylon rod bags supplied with each rod. These provide a good measure of protection against scratching of the rod surface.
Berkley Gorilla Sticks are highly recommended. They are top quality graphite salmon rods made specifically to catch salmon and are surprisingly inexpensive.