United Composites-USA formerly known as Graphite USA is now owned by Randy Penny – Seeker’s long time production manager. His team of experienced rod makers represent some of the best in the business. That compliments well with UC, which in the opinion of many, also possessed the best designs and rod making technology and techniques in the rod crafting business.
Dual Helix Facts: Dual Helix ply construction produces a rod blank that has outstanding resistance to both crushing and twisting. This unique construction technique, adapted from the experience of aerospace activities of the founder of GUSA, is superior to the conventional rod blank “roll-wrap” manufacturing process adopted years ago from the textile industry. Two advantages are readily apparent; firstly the Dual Helix structure keeps the rod round when heavily loaded during casting or fighting a hooked fish, the Dual Helix construction adds extraordinary crush and nick resistance. The second major advantage is the outstanding resistance to twist imparted to the blank through the Dual Helix Design. Read More...
All USA Graphite and Fiberglass – Top Materials, Top Personnel, Top Designs
This is BIG, a major change coming to the sportfishing scene. It’s one of those times a fellow can really smile about a new product. I’ve been a fan of the old GUSA rod company, firmly believing that their founder had created the best designs in rods that we’d seen in over 50 years time. The firm went through changes, the fellow who ran the firm after the founder retired ran it into the ground and failed to stay true to the designs. Peter Williams, an Australian brought the company back, and back to it’s roots – stayed true to the original designs and expanded models incorporating the unique Dual Helix technology for new applications. Peter and his son could not effectively manage the firm from 10,000 miles away, depending upon some Americans to share the same commitment to the product and it’s future as he held. That did not prove possible, so he took his time selling the firm trying to find the right match. (Peter still wanted access to the blanks, that was a big part of his business back in Australia). When Seeker Rods was sold, with new ownership and changes… Seeker’s old Production Manager Randy Penny moved on as did his very experienced team – He didn’t just move on, he bought UC!
UC benefited from the change in ownership by having an owner/operator who lived rods for most of his adult (and adolescent) life. Randy, putting it simply, knows his craft and was the true driving force behind Seeker for the past 20 years. Now he finally has his own firm, and better yet for us fishermen, the best designs in the business. Bold statement there, but it’s something easy to prove and demonstrate. For those close by to our shops, stop in and feel for yourself. For those further away, have some trust in my words, I’m quite happy to back ’em up with UC’s quality of design and execution. USA produced rods have always been of a higher quality than those produced overseas. The issue has been cost, labor is higher here and high quality materials carry a cost, too. Some other USA firms have gone to foreign supplies (graphite and/or fiberglass), offering lower cost but also lower quality. Some have shifted to lower quality grades of materials from domestic sources. UC blanks use the best USA produced materials in building their blanks – nothing but USA produced materials. (There’s Randy – pictured in the UC oven.)
That’s the background, now here’s the deal. UC is now making Factory Produced Rods! In the past we’ve taken their blanks and had them custom built for clients (and myself). With the factory now making rods turn around time improves, and since there’s only one layer of markup pricing improves for anglers, too. The FIRST production of rods is the UC Elite Composite Series. These blanks feature DUAL HELIX CARBON FIBER plus UNI-DIRECTIONAL E-GLASS composite construction. The use of uni-directional fiberglass is unique to UC’s build of these wonderful rods. The proprietary Dual Helix construction prevents “ovaling” of the blank when under load. (Greater Hoop Strength) It makes the rod significantly stronger, and the way the uni directional ‘glass is laid down improves the rod’s lift. Also, the fiberglass runs the entire length of the rod, just as the carbon fiber does, there is no transition between ‘glass and carbon as is the case with most better saltwater rods, so the action is more predictable, strength is greater. These are the lightest rods in the business, with weights as low as 12 ounces! Heck, there’s a 50# stick that comes in at about 14 ounces! Their feel is simply amazing, and they have power! Without doubt, feeling these things is believing, fishing these things is a revelation and potentially expensive since you’ll probably end up looking to replace your whole collection. Nothing short of amazing.
Challenger Elite – Composite Dual Helix carbon fiber plus Unidirectional Fiberglass. VERY light weight, progressive action – near parabolic in bend. Available with and without reel seat, two versions of most rods, composite seat or dual lock down ALPS aluminum seats. In most basic terms, the CE blanks follow a three pattern build, 2 carbon and one fiberglass.
GUSA Premium – The GP series follows the GUSA series, adding an additional twill woven carbon fiber layer to the butt and mid section of the blanks to strengthen the backbone. All of the rods in the GP series feature a broader line class rating because the extra material makes the rods a bit faster and gives you more pulling power. The GP’s are made very light, featuring Alps Titanium XN guides and thinner grips with the choice of getting a graphite reel seat to further save weight. Apart from aesthetics the extra material make these rods a bit more versatile, but also a bit stiffer so for some people the US or CE series will make more sense.
GUSA Premium Surface Iron Rods – These are a bit unique, originally released under the “Reaper” they are now known as The 9E’s mimicking the symbolism of the popular SoCal surface iron spots. These rods feature the additional layer of woven carbon fiber on top of a Challenger Elite blank, giving you the bend and casting distance of the CE’s but also the extra backbone which make these the best surface iron rod to land big fish on. If you’re going for tuna and bigger yellowtail there is no other surface iron rod that will give you the same distance, ease of casting and pulling power.
GUSA or US Series – The original GUSA series rods, DUAL HELIX build, no fiberglass. A bit faster in action than the Challenger series. The GUSA series rods include some old and new favorites like the Tilefish, Predator, Monster, etc. In basic terms, the US series offers four carbon patterns in the build, two types of carbon fiber, each almost twice the GSM of competing firm’s rods.
Challenger Platinum – These are for the hard pullers out there, faster action (meaning you get good flex at the tip and then the rods shut off earlier than the US or CE series). The CP’s make use of Dual Helix construction plus uni-directional fiberglass. There is a transition to greater ‘glass towards the tip, but the dual helix construction extends butt through tip. Incorporates higher end woven carbon fiber through the mid section of the rod. Five to six patterns are used in the build of the CP series, 1 fiberglass, three different types of carbon in four to five patterns.
The Rail Rods are based upon the CP designs. These beefy sticks make use of 7 to 9 patterns in their build – like the CP’s they make use of three types of carbon fiber as well as the longitudinally oriented fiberglass.
Challenger Xtreme – These come in a few different options, mainly for trolling. The 55 & 60 Stand Up rods are their more budget oriented and durable series of shorter but powerful rods, they feature heavy duty Alps HXN guides and can come with a slick butt. The 54’s are their next step up, all of these come with All American roller guides and a choice of an Alps straight or bent unibutt. Overall the 54’s are softer than the 55 and 60 model rods making them great for all day trolling duty and stand up applications for those wanting roller guides. The 40’s are their next step up, featuring Aftco wind on rollers and a bit of a softer bend, going all the way up to an Unlimited line class. These rods are perfect for deep dropping, chunking and trolling as their highest end traditional trolling series.
Swimbait Finatic – Dual Helix build, light, thin diameter, power. Rods feature split grips and fast to moderate/fast actions. These blanks follow the original GUSA designs.