The humble rod rest is often something that’s overlooked by anglers as something that is unimportant and quite secondary to their main rod, reel and other ancillary bits. The fact is being able to set up a good, stable, working platform for the time you fish is essential for a more productive fishing session. Not all fishing situations require a rod rest, in fact some fishing sessions are hindered by putting a rod in a rod rest, but for the majority of beach or rock fishing – a rod rest is an essential piece of kit. Here we take a look at the Shakespeare Salt Rod Rest.
The Shakespeare Salt Rod Rest is one of the most popular rod rests on the market, walk up and down any beach and you are sure to find a fair few, metallic blue rod rests around.
Before we get to the rod rest, the first thing to note is that unlike many the Salt Rod Rest comes in its own bag. The bag, like the rod rest is blue and enables the rod rest to pack down neat and compact. The rod bag contains pouches for the detachable butt cups and rest head, on the outside of the bag are attachments so you can strap a couple of rods to the side. This negates the need for an additional rod holdall/quiver to take everything and is a neat solution for easy carrying of gear, particularly to less accessible marks or when you have a lot of gear to take to the beach.
When you take the Shakespeare Salt rod rest out of the bag you’re greeted with a vivid, metallic, blue colour. This is a powder coat covering over the lightweight aluminium frame, which gives the rod rest a unique, fresh look. The metallic blue is often a selling point on its own, with many anglers keen to sport a unique look away from the usual black and silver tripods. But the quality and usefulness of this tripod does not just lie with its funky colouring!
The Shakespeare Salt Rod rest is a telescopic rod rest, it features two cylindrical aluminium front legs and one, V shaped aluminium back leg. The two front legs are height adjusted by using a simple, easy to use cam-lock system and the back leg is adjusted using the traditional screw lock system. The cam-lock system used on the front two legs is used in the carp market for adjusting the height of rod pods and also recently on carp fishing bed chairs which have to support the full weight of a person. It has been proven to be a reliable and robust solution for easy height adjustment.
When the rod rest is at full height it can reach 7 feet (2.1m) and due to its design it can be lowered to the ground by as much as 1 foot (30cm). The rod rest also comes with side adjustable stabilising bars that can be secured and provide extra rigidity to the construction in high winds. These stabilising bars can also clip up out of the way when not in use. When you’ve finished your fishing you simply unclip the cam-locks on the front two legs, undo the screw lock on the back, push the whole thing together and then clip the legs into the attachment on the back legs ready to stow in the bag. When at its stow length it measures just over 4 feet (1.25m) and weighs 2.7kg (5.9lbs).
I’m a great fan of telescopic tripods, for me rigid tripods that are a set length are just too restrictive if you do many different types of shore angling. A telescopic design gives you plenty of options to adjust height and keep your tripod level on the most uneven of ground. Telescopic is the way to go and an essential tool in my angling armoury.
The butt cups and the rod rest head are both separate from the main construction of the tripod and need to be attached manually to get into the bag. The rest heads and butt cups are oversized which makes it impossible to get them into the carry bag when attached. For ease of transport outside of the bag the rod butt cups can be realigned to be stowed parallel to the main rod rest leg. To a degree the rod rest heads can as well, but, you will have to deal with some bending of the metal to be able to do this due to way the rod rest heads are designed.
The rod rest heads are formed using a deep U shape and they are lined with a robust, grippy material that isn’t just an insert like on most other tripods, but is shrink wrapped onto the rod rest head. This makes is extremely durable and unlike traditional stuck on foam inserts, won’t wear off in time. The deep U shape holds your rods securely in all weathers and provides that extra bit of security when a decent fish starts nodding too!
Underneath the top plastic block that fixes all of the legs together you will find a large, stainless steel wire hook. This is useful for holding a bait bucket or for hanging up extra baited rigs. I’d have liked to have seen some additional hooks on the rod rest bar itself for hanging pre baited rigs for both rods. This is an easy fix with a drill, some wire and a bit of patience, but you can’t help thinking this should have been added from the start. A minor fault though in an otherwise excellent bit of kit.
As far as stability goes, you would be hard pressed to find any currently available product that matches it. At full length it is as stable as it is at its minimum height. Designed with longer, continental rods in mind as well as conventional beachcasters, at its core this rod rest was designed for maximum stability. Giving you the confidence to fish at full height, at maximum range in heavy surf or a weed dominated beach. The Shakespeare Salt rod rest is at home on the beach as it is on the rock or pier. Despite this stability, it goes without saying that some sensibilities do need to be adhered to. If you’re fishing a rock mark where you’re likely to encounter some big fish like tope or conger, it makes logical sense to anchor the rod rest with a lanyard and a rock nut for example. Always think sensibly about the fishing situation you find yourself in!
The test of time proves that this rod rest is a winner alone. It has been on the market for over 7 years and shows no signs of movement. There are some niggles, the fact you can’t transport the rod rest in the bag with everything attached will be a gripe for some, the lack of rig hooks on the rod rest bar is another and the fact that overtime the blue powder coated paint will start to chip on the V spike will annoy some users. But, these are very minor niggles on a product that overall is an excellent bit of kit. It’s robust, well built, funky looking and does the job it’s asked to do better than most other products out there. If you want a good, stable platform to stop your rods crashing to the floor in the most brutal of weathers, this is your friend.