'Top quality, very nicely made rod, at the premium end of the market."
This is the vintage build, on a blank from Burkheimer’s Deep Action Load rod series. ‘Vintage build’ here means the reel seat has smoked nickel-silver components and an exotic hardwood insert, the dark guides have titanium nitrate plating for “a rich yet durable patina”, and the black whippings holding the guides in place are tipped with platinum wraps, and, finally, a custom-turned grip, something of a Burkheimer signature.
So the build is careful, the components are selected for function and effect. The details suggest this rod was custom-built, although this is the standard vintage build. It seems to me Burkheimer are trying to evoke a sense of nostalgia, of workshops and craft, rather than factories and sales targets.
Looking at the details on the rod, I like the subtlety and taste: look at the hand-painted details above the grip, in silver/grey rather than attention-grabbing white; look at the ‘platinum’ tipping wraps, so much more delicate than, for example, a couple of metallic silver wraps. And, of course, look at the grip, very good cork; not perfect, but no filling. It certainly looks and feels like flor grade cork: very firm and smooth, set off by a series of fine cork and cork composite discs near the rear of the grip. That small detail in the cork is enough to catch an educated eye, so that in a rack of rods this would/should quickly be recognised as an unusual rod. Pick it up and you see the smaller, finer details adding up to something understated and special.
Signature handle detail, discs of composite cork in the grip.
Very tidy whippings finished with wraps of 'platinum' thread - subtle, classy detail.
Smoked nickel-silver components and an exotic hardwood insert look great and function well.
The matt black blank is slim, unusually slim perhaps. At first impression, this feels firm and positive. Burkheimer rate this for a #4 line, so I fitted it with one. With an appropriately small reel fitted and the line through the guides the balance is a little unusual: this is a very light rod, but it feels as though I have fractionally more weight ahead of my hand than I expected. Cast and this feels sharp and precise. Casting short, I had thought I had the wrong line for a moment, then a bit more line, a little more mass and the rod starts working very nicely. At short range I would prefer a heavier line, but at middle to long range I like the #4. I found my loops became sharp and nicely shaped, not terribly tight, the mass in the tip encouraged me to be smoother, to stop a little more gently. Without a lot of effort this little rod was throwing a full #4 line.
Burkheimer describe the action of this blank as Deep Load, by modern standards that’s a fair description. The measurements say this is has a medium-fast action, the stiffness says this is rated stiff for a #4 line. That stiffness gives this a sharper, more precise feel, the action feels tip-to-middle. The action and relative stiffness explain why this feels a little underlined at short range, and why this feels quick and responsive with the whole WF head in the air.
Top quality, very nicely made rod, at the premium end of the market this stands up well against the competition.
Burkheimer 8ft 9in DAL
Action angle: 65 degrees
Rings: One lined butt-ring, snakes
Fighting butt: No
Cork quality: Excellent
Reel seat: Dark nickel silver, dyed burl insert
Blank: Matt black
Build quality: Very high
Rod bag: Canvas
Rod tube: Aluminium
From: Alternative Tackle