The most useful item is a buttpad strapped around your waist, so that the butt of the rod is held in a comfortable position, your reeling hand falls comfortably to the reels handle and the hand gripping the rods foregrip is in an optimum position to pump the rod. Many rod makers in recent times have reverted to a short foregrip as a cost cutting measure because the foam foregrips are surprisingly expensive, especially so for the good dense foam grips. This is a false economy on their part because those who know will seek out the rods with the longer foregrips and stiff actions.Another cost cutting measure and a signal marker of a cheap rod made down to a price, is the lack of a cross slot gimble fitting which slots over the bar in your butt pad. When playing a fish this will help stop the rod from rocking and rolling from side to side, especially when using a wide reel. In the lighter IGFA ratings, up to say a 20 pound class rod, the gimble fitting is not essential unless the fish is of the tropical variety and the fight is likely to be prolonged, but 30 pound class and upward, make sure you have a gimble fitting.

If you are contemplating a heavy duty Conger or Shark trip consider using a Shoulder harness, or in my view even better, a Kidney harness, because not only will employing a harness take a lot of the load it will also enable more pressure to be exerted on the fish.Any questions to russ@reelfoto.com