Let's say you've got around £100 to spend on a spinning reel

Around the £100 mark can buy you a lot more spinning reel these days than even a few years back, and whilst I am not for one second implying that £100 is throw away change, the fact is that everybody out there has got different amounts of money to spend on the things they want - and most of you are aware I am sure that spinning reels alone can be bought nowadays for over the £1000 mark. Granted, these tend to be some very serious bits of kit that are aimed at "mega species" such as GTs, tuna, deep water AJs etc., but even for stuff as relatively straight forward as most of us do (albeit the gear can get a hammering), the prices of spinning reels varies wildly.

I don't mind admitting that I am a bit of a tackle tart and I do like to fish with nice shiny gear if I can. This doesn't make me a better angler and it most likely doesn't catch me more fish (even if I do try to convince myself of the opposite!), but for me there is a particular pleasure in using a well designed, light and smooth running spinning reel for my lure fishing. With what we put the stuff through there is of course a perfectly valid argument that most spinning at some point lose that "fresh out of the box smoothness", and some reels over time gain a really solid reputation as a reliable workhorse - the previous Shimano Rarenium model for example. I am sure the new one is really good, but it hasn't had enough market time yet.

You can't get away from the fact that most of our eyes are drawn to fishing tackle that looks good/modern/well designed etc., and when I was over in France in early December I spent a couple of days out on the boat. When I got onto the boat and looked around at the gear, there was one spinning reel in particular that caught my eye. Sure, from memory there was a Stella and a new Certate somewhere there, but I found out that that spinning reel that I first picked up to have a closer look at was in fact around the £100 mark - the new Daiwa Exceler, and I have seen this reel online for around £75. What's it like?

Well I have got one here to have a go with, so in due course I will report back, but from simply picking it up and turning the handle etc. I have to say that it feels pretty damn impressive. Light, smooth, and yes, it looks very good, for me the size is right for most of the lure rods I might use, and it just seems to smack of a lot of reel for the money. Time will tell of course how long it stays nice and smooth feeling for, but I have to admit to being hugely impressed by how "not remotely budget" this new Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA looks. It just doesn't look or indeed feel like a more budget reel when you take it out of the box and admire it. Yes, I admit, I admire spinning reels!

Call me blinkered, but when it comes to spinning reels for UK and Irish lure fishing I tend to struggle with looking beyond Daiwa and Shimano. I am sure there are other spinning reels out there at comparable prices that match up - but I can't tell you about them because I don't have experience of them. If that changes then I will report back, but for me it's Daiwa and Shimano, and over the last few years I have used a number of different spinning reels from each stable, and at all kinds of prices as well.

That Shimano Aernos FA range I reckon is some serious reel for the money, but then when their new Exage FD series of spinning reel came out I got to have a proper go with one of them but could not get on with it. The reel fished well, but as per where that red line points in the photo above, I found the reel stem (is that the right word?) to be too short for the way that I naturally hold onto a fishing rod that has a spinning reel strapped to it. I don't know about you, but my natural grip for lure fishing is with the reel stem sitting in the middle of my four fingers, as in two fingers either side of where the reel sits on the rod. Now I wish I knew why, but on the Shimano Exage 2500FD that I tried, the stem was too short and the main joint on my third finger kept on butting up against the back of the stem. It drove me mad and I gave up using the reel. Why is it made like this? I wish I knew, because those Exage FD reels have such a good reputation and I would have loved to keep on fishing with the one I had to see how it did for me.

None of that with this Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA, indeed it sits on a lure rod and in my hand pretty much perfectly. Sure, the the drag knob feels a tiny bit plasticy and the drag itself has that slightly louder kind of click that most cheaper spinning reels seem to have, but it all feels fine when you pull line off the reel, and anyway, I do my best not to give my UK and Irish fish any line as it is. I love that you get a spare spool and I really like how the reel has obviously been designed to look impressive - and quite right I say. Why should an angler who can't or indeed won't spend fortunes on a spinning reel have to fish with something that looks cheap?

As much as I like the nice shiny stuff, there is of course a valid argument that it might just be better to buy a cheaper spinning reel such as this Daiwa Exceler (or the Shimano Aernos etc.), hammer it to extinction, and then buy a new one - because for the price of something like the admittedly very desirable Shimano Sustain or the Daiwa Certate Mag Sealed, you could in fact go through a number of reels like the Exceler and still be quids in. I would bet that some of you reading this do exactly that already. Give me some time with this new Exceler 3000-HA and I will report back, but initial impressions are more than favourable. Nope, it's hardly the best time of year to be out there lure fishing, but if you don't go, you'll never know.............

All meetings start at 7pm.

As regards my blog post from Wednesday, whilst we wait to hear if what is proposed actually comes into being, many of us who shore fish of course are fully aware of the levels of inshore netting that go on around our coastline. By all means we can't help but want spawning bass to get some proper protection offshore, but for all that we hear about smaller boats doing less harm ec., you can't tell me that what I view as the insane amount of inshore netting that goes on is doing any of the fish stocks any good at all. Look at Ireland - nope, it's not perfect, but in theory there is no inshore netting allowed over there, and look at the average size of bass for starters. Take a look here for example at the level of interest that the Cornwall IFCA (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority) say that they have been getting, and then check here and above for details about a bunch of meetings around Cornwall that I believe could be a chance for anglers to at least be heard. Is the internet age the time when multiple voices can be more easily and effectively heard? Dare we hope?