Posted 08:21, 19 September 2014
- It’s Friday, I’m off to Ireland on Sunday for a week or so and fishing’s obviously going to be on the agenda 24/7, so today I thought I’d ask the question - what's the best UK TV series ever? Why ask this question? Well I guess that most of us at some time or another watch a bit of the old gogglebox (or tablets, phones etc. these days), and whilst films and really good nature documentaries tend to do it for me, I must admit that over the last few years I have got into a few of those really well made US TV series such as The Wire, The Sopranos, Homeland, Breaking Bad etc. But how about the UK stuff? Accepting of course that TV pales into comparison against time spent enjoying the great outdoors, indeed as parents my wife and I allow our girls absolutely minimal time in front of the TV - and to be fair they simply don’t ask to watch it, not when we live where we do and there’s so much to do around here.
- In my mind there is one standout series that is forever going to stand head and shoulders above any other UK based TV series that I am aware of - and you must bear in mind that I have never been remotely interested in the sort of lame attempts at comedy based sitcoms that make me shudder when I see them being promoted, or soap operas for that matter - save for us all watching Neighbours when we were at boarding school. Why you might ask? Ain’t got a clue, because it was pure drivel. Youth eh?
- Nope, for me it has always been Only Fools and Horses. Nothing has come close to this if you ask me, albeit I have chosen to ignore the rather shameful attempt from the BBC to bring it back after they all finally got rich. No, I choose in my head to see the end of this magnificent run of television at that point where they walk off into the sunset along the yellow brick road. Tell me you watched that when it came out and didn’t struggle to hold back the tears…….
- And that’s just the point for me. Over I don’t know how many series, Only Fools and Horses makes me laugh until my sides hurt, but at just the right times you find yourself sitting back and really thinking about things whilst trying not to shed the odd tear or two - that is some seriously skilful writing if you ask me, and to have done it so consistently over so many years is pretty damn awesome if you think about it. I don’t know if the actors ever felt typecast because we the viewers just can’t help seeing them as the characters they played for so many years, but I would argue that this again stems from the quality of the writing and of course the acting.
- OK, so Fawlty Towers and Blackadder are also seriously good, and I can’t help but admire how only two (perfect?) series of Fawlty Towers were made before calling it a day. How moving was that final scene in the last ever episode of Blackadder? I’ve never got into any of those “comedy” US TV shows as to be honest I just don’t think I get them, but perhaps it takes an English sense of humour to be able to so skilfully blend comedy and tragedy together in a way that almost binds the audience into the experience. Only Fools and Horses in my opinion will stand the test of time - I come back to it now and it feels as fresh as when it was airing on the BBC. Is this the best TV series ever? Done deal if you ask me.
- Today my eldest girl has turned 10 - this time 10 years ago I had watched my wife going through childbirth, and for any of you blokes out there who have done the same thing, I am going to assume that your respect levels for your wife or girlfriend went through the roof. We must be honest as men and admit that we simply couldn’t do it, albeit nothing winds a group of women up like saying “well I’ve seen giving birth and I reckon it’s all a bit of a fuss over not every much”!!!! Which of course it isn’t, holy frigging cow it’s something else. I don’t feel remotely grownup enough to have a 10 year old daughter, indeed I never for one second thought that being a parent could be so much fun - accepting of course that we are getting ever closer to the teenage years. And yes, I will be applying for a shotgun license so I can wave a nice double-barelled twelve bore in front of prospective boyfriends. I also have a big chainsaw that I will be using if they ever come round to take my girls out - which they won’t be if I have anything to do with it!!
- As I said earlier, on Sunday I am heading over to Dungarvan in Ireland with a few mates. Sure, we could do with losing these east winds, but I simply don’t worry about the weather forecast as there’s sod all we can do about it. We’ll work it hard and we’ll hopefully nail a few fish - reports are actually of some pretty good fishing considering the conditions, and if the winds do shift then it could get pretty interesting. We’ve got plenty of options, indeed we had some awesome fishing out there last year on east winds and big blue skies when we were doing some Tight Lines filming. Hell, it’s time in Ireland doing what I do, and in my mind you can’t beat that. As per usual I will get blog posts up when I can. Have a good weekend.
Posted 08:17, 17 September 2014
- The tides yesterday were such that I could get my stuff done here from early morning and then head out for a quick dangle over the LW late afternoon - in a freshening, when are we ever going to bloody well get rid of them east wind. I had arranged to meet Blair Woodland who was in fact one of our clients over at Thatch Cottage Fishing Lodge in Ireland - he lives in Devon and holy cow can the guy fish well. I don’t want to embarrass him, but Blair is one of those blokes who is a natural angler (and he’s only been at it a couple of years), and he’s a thoroughly nice bloke as well. Best of luck with your plans Blair, hope it all works out for you………..
- I fancied seeing a few bass about as much as me deciding that One Direction are in fact pretty cool, so the rough plan was to be fishing for wrasse by about an hour and a half before LW and then on the turn until we began to lose the light. OK, so I could do without the increasing east winds, but as long as it’s not rough I find them fine for wrasse - so you know when you’ve kinda got the session planned in your head before you actually go fishing, as in you’ve got a pretty good feeling for how things might pan out? So just how good is fishing at throwing you curveballs to keep on reminding you that you ain’t remotely close to knowing it all? Talk about everything not going as I had imagined it might!!
- I thought the wrassing might be a little slow until the tide turned, but nope, from the first drop down and they are on. Blair’s first couple of fish were crackers, indeed his first drop down produced one hell of a scrap on the Major Craft Skyroad 9’ 10-30g he’s just bought (nice one). I shot a few photos and then managed to get in among a few fish myself, and sure enough the closer we got to LW, the less bites we were getting.
- Blair was using one of those Z-Man Punch CrawZ in the California Craw colour I think it was, and the more I use them or see them being used, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that these Z-Man plastics slay wrasse big time. I like how they are essentially impossible to trash, albeit they are not without their quirks when rigging up, and I notice that they are prone to being ripped clean off the hook a little more than most other soft lures. The other day I did start messing around with threading a needle through the eye of the hook and literally tying the lure to the hook with 12lb mono, and it did work ok save for changing lures requires careful snipping. But the thing about them that I am convinced really appeals to wrasse is that they are so buoyant - I have turned to using mainly 14g bullet/cone leads with these Z-Man lures because of this, and although I can’t prove it, I’m positive this extra buoyancy they have when you bump them along the bottom appeals that bit more to the wrasse. I tend to rig mine on a 1/0 or 2/0 Varivas "Monster Class" (yes!!) weedless hook, and for the life of me I can't recall these hooks bending out on me. Class bits of kit.
- Anyway, so we’re catching wrasse fairly consistently until just before LW when it goes noticeably quiet. No worries I say, things should pick up again as the tide starts flooding properly - which they categorically didn’t!! Talk about the fishing doing exactly what I didn’t expect it to do, and most bites I got on the flood tide were extremely finicky and without any real confidence. We caught a few small fish on that early flood tide, but at this spot I have hammered them on the turn of the tide before - but not yesterday. On the way home I was thinking of a million different reasons as to why the fishing did pretty much the opposite of what I thought it might, but as much as I delved into my head and came up with any number of theories, yet again I come back to fishing being what it is - it’s us trying to get one up on nature. Sometimes we do, but more often we don’t, and to be honest that suits me just fine.
Posted 06:06, 15 September 2014
- The first Major Craft rods I came across were some of the Crostage bass ones, and to be honest they didn’t do it for me - save for the excellent wrasse fishing rod, the Major Craft Crostage CRS-726M/S. To be honest I kinda of forgot about Major Craft until that 9’ Skyroad appeared on my front door last year and knocked my socks off - review here, and it was my best lure rod for of 2013 - check here. They are quite simply outstanding fishing rods as I believe more and more lure anglers are finding out for themselves……..
- Ever since I heard about the release of Major Craft’s top of the range Truzer lure rods, I have wanted to see how they might compare to the Skyroads, and even more so after I got to waggle the 9’6’ 10-30g and the 9’8’’ 15-42g Truzers at the ICAST show I went to earlier in the summer. But it was the 9’ 10-30g one that I really wanted to get hold of for testing. I suppose over time that I have found myself most drawn to lure rods around the 8’6’’ to 9’ length, and I wanted to see if the 9’ Truzer could possibly be as good as a few waggles with the longer ones had led me to suspect. It’s a big thanks to the rather decent Nice Fish people for getting me access to this 9’ Truzer (and for feeding my issues with lure fishing rods especially).
- I am lucky in that I get to play with a number of different lure rods, and whilst fishing rods are of course very personal things and there’s no reason why a rod that I love should be the right one for you, I do think that there are an increasing number of really good lure fishing rods available to us these days. Give me around the £180 mark and I haven’t found anything to beat the Major Craft Skyroad range yet, but spend a fair chunk more and I would reckon to be heading for an APIA or a Graphiteleader. I can’t recall liking many higher end lure rods in the sort of 6-30g range as much as the APIA Foojin’AD Flow Hunt 89ML (review here), the APIA Foojin'X Grove Stream 93ML (review here), or the Graphiteleader Argento Nuovo 902L/ML (review here) - and to be honest, the Skyroad's that good it’s pretty much up there with these rods anyway.And then this Major Craft Truzer TZS-902ML 9' 10-30g comes along and essentially redefines what I believe is my “perfect” lure fishing rod. At a UK retail price I believe it would be around the £380 mark, so while it’s not remotely cheap, for what you are getting and when you compare it to what else we can get our hands on, I will stick my neck out here and say that I think this Major Craft 9’ Truzer is good value for money. If a lure fishing rod can ever be something perfect (for me), then this rod is it. Holy frigging cow it’s off the sodding chart how good it is, and I kinda knew that the moment I took it out of its bag and gave it a waggle that it was something a bit special. I don’t need this rod, but wow do I want it - so in some respects I do need it!!
- Again I come to this word “steely” when describing some lure fishing rods, but from now on I am going to use this 9’ Truzer as the yardstick by which I measure steeliness - because it’s so bloody steely I can’t believe how steely it actually is. Forget the rod being listed as “Regular” on this webpage here, because when compared to other lure rods I have fished with, it’s very fast. I like fast action lure rods, but I don’t like rods that are too stiff and cumbersome when you’re trying to fish with lures in that all important say 7-25g range. OK, I know the rod’s rated 10-30g, but give me slightly lighter lures and it’s performing impeccably, and you know when you’ve got a high-end rod in your hand because it’s not really trying with a bigger bass lure like the Patchinko. You can feel you’re getting towards the top end of the rod’s suggested casting range, but there’s just no feeling that the rod is remotely being pushed hard if that makes sense - and it animalises the thing out there.
- So the Truzer is very fast/steely, but for me it’s not overpowering because of the casting range of the rod and how well it has been designed and put together. It’s also very light, but then you would expect it to be at the price. I am liking these Fuji Torzite guides, I love the cork handles, and I also really like how the rubber parts of the foregrip where your reel hand clamps around the reel-foot and the underneath of the rod grip are of softish, grippy rubber that work just fine even when everything gets soaking wet. The handle length is perfect for me - a tiny bit over 12’’ from reel foot to end of butt section if that helps. Everything feels about as perfectly balanced as I think a lure rod can be.
- I can’t recall fishing with a lure rod that feels so incredibly precise if that makes sense. The outrageous steeliness but also deftness of the rod makes me feel that with every single cast I am putting my lure exactly where I intended - I’m obviously not, but it’s just so ridiculously “crisp” yet without being too much rod for the subtle stuff. It’s kind of a technical rod to fish with, as in the rod will bite back at you when your casting is a little bit off. Work well with the rod and it’s like a completely natural extension of your arm that just flows so perfectly, but get your timing wrong and it’s as if the rod is rebelling against you and telling you to do better. As much as this sounds like I am regaling you with my casting abilities, don’t go for this rod if you are after something higher-end which won’t bite back - something like the Graphiteleader Argento Nuovo 9’ is an “easier” rod, albeit I am absolutely smitten with this Truzer’s precision and I’ll gladly take the odd admonishment from the rod when my casting falls below par - which it does, obviously.
- I am sure there are lure rods out there which I haven’t tried yet that might float my boat as much as this Truzer, but so far it’s one of the best rods, and quite possibly the out and out best lure rod that I have lure fished with so far. If you want a more through action rod with an “easier” tip on it then go for something else, but I can’t help being drawn to such steely rods like this that I think help to give me so much feedback. Why? They just work for me. I can happily fish with easier actioned rods if needs be, but give me something like the 9’ Truzer and I just feel at one with it. The smallest movement on the rod tip gives all kind of life to so many different lures, indeed it seems as if I have found the perfect union between my perfect surface lure (IMA Salt Skimmer) and perfect lure rod (9’ Truzer) - it’s as if they were born to find each other!! (in the recesses of my strange head perhaps?) With soft plastics this thing’s a joke it’s so good - or precise.
- I am not sure how comfortable I feel calling a fishing rod “perfect”, but you must bear in mind that I use the word only with regards to what works for me. And so I’ve really gone to town on this rod to see if I can find some way of tripping it up via any of the lures or methods I might currently use for my bass fishing. As I said earlier, you’ve got to get your casting right with the different weights and styles of lures, but if you get your head around this and don’t simply employ exactly the same kind of cast and/or drop length for every size of lure then for the life of me I can’t find any way of tripping this Truzer up. I admit that my obsession for lure rods that can cover all bases for me drives me towards certain models, and you may well look for different things than I do.
- I was out the other night (blanking), and at one point I was whacking out a 120mm/12g Fiiish Black Minnow and then gently bumping back along the mainly sandy bottom. You’ve got no visual reference such as the rod tip to look at, but I swear to you it was as if the Truzer was talking to me with the amount of feedback I was getting. Lift the lure up at range and feel that tail kick into gear, then follow it back down on the drop and feel it gently land back on the sand. Sure, there was no wind to speak of that of course can make all this feel stuff much harder, but I don’t remember a lure rod “speaking” to me as much as this. Put say an OSP DoLive stick out on a 6/0 weedless hook and it just feels so ridiculously “correct” for want of a better word, and the amount I need to move the rod tip to get a bit of action is just minimal. Precision - that’s the word that jumps to mind whenever I fish with this Major Craft Truzer TZS-902ML 9' 10-30g lure rod.
- But the final question has to be this - bearing in mind that this particular 9’ Truzer retails at near to double the price of the equivalent 9’ Skyroad here in the UK, does that then mean it’s twice as good? Does double the money mean double the rod? Well of course it doesn’t, as in I can’t really see how a lure rod as good as the Skyroad could actually be made twice as awesome as it already is - but the Truzer is more rod. Do you need more rod? Well that’s up to you, but the Truzer is another level of steely/precision again than the Skyroad - you can feel it when you cast them side by side, although this shows me yet again how special the Skyroad is to fish with. I could cheerfully fish with the outstanding 9’ Skyroad and do all that I need to do in most conditions, but this 9’ Truzer has got into my head.
- But where can you see this rod ? Around £380 is a substantial amount of money to drop blind on a fishing rod, even if you do trust what I say here about how awesome I think it is. Well I know that the rather nice people at Chesil Bait ’n’ Tackle are getting some of the Truzer range in very soon, and Absolute Fishing in Ireland may do so as well - give them a shout and drop in to have a look and at least multiple waggles with the rods. I’d happily put this Truzer up against anything I have ever fished with - I felt this almost from the moment I started fishing with it, but I wanted to wait a while and keep coming back to the rod to see how my opinion might change. Well it hasn’t. This rod is ridiculously good.