The new red rod has been christened.......

    OK, so it might only have been a mackerel that hit my lure, but for a couple of seconds I thought it might have been a (very) small bass. Whatever the case, first light on Saturday morning was about as stunning as is possible - Andy and I were at the top of the cliffs just before 4.30am and there were rivers of mist pouring down the valleys, over the cliffs, and down to the sea. Completely breathtaking. Conditions looked about as good as you could get them, and I was that excited to get down to the mark that I slipped on the wet grass and ripped my waders on some loose rocks as we made our way down !! Andy thought I was going to slip over the edge of the cliff, but believe me when I say my main priority was to protect my brand new red rod. Not a scratch on it, phew !! AquaSure to the rescue for the waders.....

    About my fifth cast and I hooked up with the mackerel - you don't know how badly I wanted it to be a little bass !! To be perfectly honest, the light was that impressive that a part of me wanted to put down the rod and just take photos all the time. I want to catch bass, but I also want to photograph good looking fishing. Everything about the conditions were perfect for photography and fishing, and you don't get that all the time. I realised that I had put a rip in my waders as I crouched down in the water to take the photo you can see above - that electric feeling as you line up the shot and then a general feeling of cold starts seeping around your lower half. Always a shock, but I've done it enough times to almost make it worth starting my own wader factory. The Greys G-Series are fantastic waders, but nothing is going to withstand somebody like me slipping over onto some sharp rocks. I ain't exactly petite !!

      Andy caught a small pollack and a wrasse on his lures, plus he had a fish follow and then turn away - he could not say for sure that it was a bass because he didn't get a good enough look, but the behaviour of the fish suggests it probably was. I expected to see a few bass coming to our lures, but they weren't playing ball and I am not quite sure why. Perhaps it's just a case of the fish being slower to establish themselves along the stretch of coastline that we are fishing. Gotta keep at it though. It was the kind of morning when just being out there on the rocks as a new day started was reward enough. Got back home and went for a picnic to the beach with my wife, two girls and Jess. A perfect day. Then we went over to north Cornwall on Sunday to see some cousins of mine and we spent the whole day on the beach over there (picnic again) - not a cloud in the sky and properly warm. Nothing beats England when the sun is shining. What an awesome weekend.

      A few early thoughts on the new red rod I bought, the Tenryu Super Mix 240 - we are generally not used to lure fishing with shorter rods over here, and I so nearly went for the Super Mix 270 because I am almost conditioned to think "longer is better" all the time. But I took on board all the advice that the French bass guys gave me at the Nantes show and went for the 240, roughly 8' long version. And I am so glad I did. What an awesome bit of kit.....

      I reckon the Red Dragon Express that I have been using for over a year is a sort of ultimate, out and out shore fishing, hard lure bass weapon - very fast action, "crank lures hard and abuse fish" kind of thing. Of course you can use soft plastics with it, and you'll smash fish no problem, but it is more of a modern style plugging rod. A staggering fishing rod.

      Then take the Tenryu Rod Bar 270 and 240 - now we are looking at bass rods that are more comfortable using both hard and soft plastic lures. Hugely powerful, very fast actions, but just that degree more give and feel in the tip section. I would guess that the Rod Bar 270 (roughly 9' long) is the most popular model among UK bass anglers who have switched on to these kinds of rods. I would happily fish with both these rods all of the time. I don't own them, but I have used them both. But remember, I am an angler, and I am weak willed when it comes to fishing tackle......

      And then we come to my new weapon, the Super Mix 240 - a proper, purpose-designed crossover bass rod. This thing is like a wand to use, and I mean that in a hugely positive way. Very light, massively responsive, stacks of power from the mid section down through the butt, and a tip that does what you ask it do to. Increasing numbers of bass freaks I know are using this rod for all their boat fishing, but take it from me when I say it is simply awesome to use off the shore. We may traditionally be used to longer rods, (we're getting there though) but this thing chucks hard plastic lures like bullets - they fly out. It loves soft plastics big time, and I can really feel a whole load more with the extra sensitivity in the rod. I knew how well the rod was designed to give the extra degree of feel you need to really work soft plastics properly, and I am over the moon that it does exactly what I thought it would. Lots more playing required though......

      But the new rod almost amazes me most when casting and fishing the more "conventional" hard plastic bass lures that a lot of us use the majority of the time. I really like the hard, fast action of the Red Dragon Express, but the Super Mix 240 just has something very different about it that is really starting to grow on me already. Like I said, it's like fishing with a wand. More info in due course......need to get out and fish with it some more, but I can already visualise the spots where this rod is going to slay over in Ireland. Emigration ? Who said that ?