Favorite Shooter SHT-962MH 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod review - £194.99 UK price

If a lure like the Xorus Patchinko II is in your armoury and you regularly fish sea conditions which require the use of sub-surface lures such as the long-casting and incredibly grippy IMA Hound 125F Glide, then I would suggest you do all you can to check out this sub-£200 Favorite Shooter 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod. Wow. This thing is a frigging machine of a rod, indeed the only niggle I could possibly have here is that there isn’t a more “regular” 9’6’’, say 6-28g version of this rod in Favorite’s (sea bass) Shooter range that has the same sort of action and build, because this 15-35g one is a peach. Readers of this blog will know that I have a thing for Major Craft rods, and especially the sub-£200 Skyroad range, but this Favorite Shooter 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod shares the same kind of rarified air - out and out class that really could easily cost a bunch more………..

OK, so with the range of locations and conditions that I might fish the most, together with the majority of the lures I could end up using for my own bass fishing, this Favorite Shooter 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod would not be my everyday rod as such, but these days I regularly find myself turning to something that bit more powerful when conditions and/or location dictate. As much as I might love fishing soft plastics rigged weedless and weightless for example, it’s not much cop trying to fish a 6’’ OSP DoLive Stick straight into a bouncing bit of SW wind and sea (I don't like adding any extra weight to them). Tucked away from it might be a slightly different matter, but when the sea starts to properly bounce and you start needing to getting bigger stuff out there, this rod does it without breaking a sweat.

This Shooter is that white line - so my kind of lure rod!

This Shooter is that white line - so my kind of lure rod!

I like the build of the rod - Fuji Alconite guides and Fuji reelseat - and I am a sucker for those slightly more chunky duplon grips like I found on the considerably more expensive and a bit more powerful again APIA Foojin’R Grand Swell 96MH 9’6’’ 7-42g (review here). The handle length on this Favorite Shooter 9’6’’ is perfect for me, but I think it’s far better if I acquire a screenshot above from the outstanding Art of Fishing website which shows so much brilliant information on this and so many other rods - and of course you can find this particular Favorite rod right here.

The Shooter reel seat with the sublime Shimano Exsence C14+ 4000XGS spinning reel

The Shooter reel seat with the sublime Shimano Exsence C14+ 4000XGS spinning reel

This Favorite Shooter 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod is perhaps a medium/fast kind of action, but without remotely being too much. I don’t want some scaffold pole of a more powerful rod that rips my shoulders apart with repeated casting. You can really feel the mid-section loading up and helping launch something like the Xorus Patchinko out there a true country mile, and I very nearly reached my backing when I properly wound up the 30g “seems exactly the same as the discontinued Bass Bullet” Westin Kongetobis. Granted, distance is not remotely everything, but the chances are that by turning to a rod such as this means you’d at least like the ability to help punch stuff into decent headwinds. I can’t stand fishing windier and rougher conditions when the tip on a lure rod bounces around all over the place and makes trying to control your line even harder than it already is - and the tip on this Favorite is just fantastic. Working the Patchinko or a surface lure along those lines at range is so efficient with this rod, and it almost goes without saying that bumping Fiiish Black Minnows around is just as satisfying, and especially that new 18g Search jig head rigged with a 120mm body.

So this lure rod is a definite step up in power over something like the so good it’s a joke Major Craft Skyroad Surf 9’6’’, but if you were after the one lure rod and you tend towards the heavier lures and/or bouncier conditions then this Favorite Shooter makes a lot of sense. What a rod for punching bigger lures out into a good surf for example, or pushing rougher conditions out on the rocks. I reckon the 15-35g rating is just about spot on and I have a feeling there is more there if required, but pushing a rod over its stated casting weight has to be up to the individual angler. Me? I would never do it!

Any complaints? Well not about this rod because it’s a serious bit of kit for the money, but as I said at the start, I can’t help but think that Favorite have missed a few tricks with the rods that are currently available in their “designed for seabass” Shooter range. There’s a 9’ 15-35g, but I’d love to see a 9’ 7-28g as well, and there’s this fantastic 9’6’’ 15-35g we have been looking into here, but I’d love to see a 9’6’’ 7-28g in there as well. This is only the second Favorite rod I have reviewed here on my blog, with the first being that utterly sublime Skyline 8’6’’ 4-16g (and I now have the brand new Skyline 8’6’’ 6-21g here now, help, it’s a disgrace it’s so nice!), and I know squat about their future plans with this Shooter range. Get those more all around casting weight rods in there and I think that Favorite has real potential to take on the Major Craft Skyroad range with how good this 9’6’’ 15-35g Shooter is…………..

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Do you think what bass are feeding on at different times of the year then affects how they hit your lures?

If you take into account the simple fact that I haven’t been chucking lures around for bass at night for that long, and my number one lure has been a simple white senko with a 5/0 or 6/0 (barbless) weedless hook in it, then my experiences are probably different to a lot of you here who might well have been night lure fishing for far longer. Since about early April when we started to connect with a few bass at night around here, without a doubt our experiences with how they are hitting these lures are different to say the back end of last year…………….

And I wondered if any of you here have any thoughts or opinions about bass seeming to hit lures - and therefore whatever they are feeding on - either differently to other times of the year, or quite possibly they are feeding on different food which requires a different approach from these perfectly magnificent fish that so many of us chase and obsess about. Please leave a comment below with any thoughts and observations you might want to share with us.

When I am casting and straight-retrieving lures at night - ok, so it’s mostly been the white senkos as per the video below - I do expect a few hits from fish that don’t result in hookups, indeed don’t we all get that with lure fishing? If every single touch or hit resulted in a landed bass then no doubt our catch rates would increase, but over the last month and a half or so, well I can’t recall in my relatively short time at seriously chasing bass at night on lures when we were getting so many hits from fish which came to nothing - and I’m talking about a few hits as well which seriously feel like the bass is trying to pull the rods out of your hands.

A few weeks ago I distinctly remember the first hit I got that particular night, and honestly it felt like the bass had a hold of the end of my white senko and was pulling back against me. I swear I could almost feel the stretch in the senko as the bass pulled back, but without hooking up. So if the bass are intent on hitting the tail of the lures at this time of year - which they seem to be around here - then as per the photo below which is how I am rigging a white senko for night fishing, unless the bass inhales the whole lure then how is it going to get hooked?

OK, so occasionally they have been hooking up, but the conversion ratio of hits to hooked fish has been way down when compared to other times of year when I have been fishing the same way at night. I can’t help but wonder if the bass are dialled into a different food source that requires a different approach from them, and because we have been putting the same lures in front of them which they are obviously interested in perhaps regardless of which (real) food source brought them in close to the shoreline (habit perhaps, like salmon “feeding” on a fly in a river?), does this translate to less hooked fish for us anglers?

Anyway, so I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and because by my nature I am happy to try different stuff and risk a bit of failure, I decided to try and do something about converting more hits to hooked fish. It’s obvious the bass are happy to hit a lure with a profile like a senko - which as we know is doing very little in or indeed on the water when you wind it straight in - but I need to try and get a hook in the arse end to see if I go and hook more fish. As per the photo above I have tried putting a regular J-hook into a senko, and via the use of a Gemini Link Clip I have been able to get the hook further back in the lure body, but actually I haven’t given this enough time yet. A lad on Facebook kindly suggested threading a leader all the way through a senko with a baiting needle and then tying a treble hook on so that it’s now right on the arse end of the lure - what an ingenious idea, but I quickly found that the leader started cutting through the (soft plastic) body of the lure down where the treble hook sits.

So a few nights ago I head out on my own to go fishing, and I come across another angler who is fishing the same area as me. He must be as daft as me, because it’s a savage yomp and very out of the way, but conditions and tides are spot on and I feel very confident. If you read this blog or have met me, then I hope you have realised by now that it’s just not my thing to boast about my own catches and I genuinely couldn’t give a stuff who catches more or less fish - as long as I feel I’m learning all the time and hopefully becoming a better angler. Now I have met this guy a few times before and he knows exactly what he’s doing, but on Thursday night he didn’t land a single bass whereas I think I landed six or seven fish - ok, the biggest was about 4lbs, but I put my catching and him not 100% down to my changing lures almost straight away.

I caught a small bass pretty quickly on my usual white senko and weedless hook setup, and to be fair this bass did what you hope a fish would do - it jumped all over the lure and essentially hooked itself. But straight after that I started to get a few bumps and niggles from bass which didn’t hook up, so I did what I had been thinking about and promised myself that I would do if and when this happened again……………….

There was a reason for my blog post about senko sized needlefish the other day - if we are catching bass and getting plenty of hits on slim-profiled lures around the 5’’ and 6’’ size, then if I am going to start really getting into this whole needlefish thing, why would I want to start chucking out much larger lures? Needlefish come from the US striped bass market, and for the most part stripers are somewhat larger fish than our bass and are often feeding on larger bait than our bass might - hence the larger lures.

Anyway, after that first bass the other night was followed by a bunch of hits but no hookups, I changed straight over to a simple needlefish that was rigged with two size 4 (barbless) treble hooks as per the photo above, indeed that is the exact lure I caught the rest of my bass on the next night - I photographed it the morning after that night fishing session. Whilst this needlefish is not off the shelf as such, Jim’s Lures seem to be making a bunch of them now - check here for starters - and they are a similar size to the Wave Fishing 5’’ Bamboo Sticks I have been using and loving for so long now (way before I started night fishing with them).

So how do I know that my putting on a needlefish worked better that night? Because the other angler who was fishing with a senko/weedless hook setup didn’t land a fish. He got a bunch of hits but didn’t hook a single fish - and the bass I landed were all lightly hooked for the most part on one single hook of the bottom treble, and if this doesn’t mean that they were hitting the lure from the arse end then I don’t know what does. I went from a bunch of hits not connecting to suddenly connecting with a far higher percentage of fish hits. Oh, and I’m fishing it exactly the same was as I am a white senko - whack it out and wind it in.

You could of course put this down to a one off, or perhaps the fact that the bass weren’t exactly monsters, but I went out again the next night with my mate Mark who I would back to outfish me more often than not - and the same thing happened. I didn’t even bother with a white senko and started the session with one of Jim’s Lures needlefish again, whereas Mark went with the white senko. Again I didn’t catch anything remotely large, but Mark didn’t land one fish yet I landed and released perhaps ten bass - with every single one being lightly hooked on the rear treble hook. He was getting plenty of hits on the white senko/weedless hook setup, but didn’t connect with one fish. Of course I offered him a needlefish lure to hook on, but he wouldn’t take it so the session actually ended up being another interesting experiment.

Granted, the bass I caught were not big, and I am sure there will be plenty of nights this year when larger bass will inhale the white senkos as per usual - but what does it for me is thinking about the problem, trying something out, and seeing it work. That’s the whole crux of fishing right there for me. It’s nothing to do with me catching and the other lads not, not at all, rather I have proved to myself that I am heading down a potentially productive road by starting to use needlefish more and more at night (accepting of course that there is far more to these lures than simply whacking and winding), and also that aside from the needlefish I mentioned in that blog post the other day, here in the UK it’s not exactly that easy or indeed cheap yet to get hold of a variety of needlefish. Will this situation change? We shall see, but it seems that having that hook on the rear of a simple, senko-like hard lure has gone and caught me a few bass when my “regular” lure wasn’t doing the job. And yes, my next experiment as such is to swap that rear treble for a single hook, because as much as I dislike trebles in the first place, I absolutely frigging despise them swinging around in the middle of the night when you are doing all you can to keep any light off the water.

Fishing eh? The day we stop learning is the day we become experts, and wow do I hate that word.

Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you any more to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.

Two hours of fishing (ok, blanking) in the driving rain and not a drop of water got in anywhere - result!

The fact that I didn’t bother the scoreboard in some pretty tidy conditions is by the by here, but yesterday morning I spent the last two hours of the flood tide thrashing various lures around in the rain, and I mean it was proper driving rain, with a bit of breeze as well. As good as some our waterproofs are, I must admit that I’d expect to get back to the car and at least have wet sleeves where the water has trickled in around the cuff area on a waterproof jacket, plus find that a bit of water has got in down the front via me often fishing directly into the bit of breeze and driving rain………….

But I couldn’t find a single drop of water inside of my waterproofs yesterday. Sure, I don’t expect my waterproof jacket to leak (the outstanding Vision Kust jacket), nor my waders which I have been using solidly now since I really started going after the bass again this spring - review to come in due course, but so far they seem to be an impressive pair of breathables. I have been doing a couple of things slightly differently in the pissing rain though, and I think these “tricks” as such have been helping to keep the water out of the areas I described earlier.

I’ve gone back to wearing a baseball cap when it’s raining as I really think it helps the hoods on these waterproof jackets work that bit better. A baseball cap is a pain when I am photographing, but then my photographic opportunities in the pissing rain are somewhat limited anyway, so I’ll wear the cap and quite happily take how it helps to stop most of the water getting in the face area of the jacket and trickling down my front.

The cuffs on a waterproof jacket are my main bugbear though, in that for all the good and bad jackets I have worn over the years, I still haven’t come across a sleeve/cuff design that keeps all rain out when you are actually fishing - your hands are coming up and down etc. while you cast and retrieve, and therefore water tends to find a way in and you end up with wet sleeves. Does it really matter? No, I suppose not, but it’s a pain and I’d like a solution.

I can’t remember where I got this idea from, and it may well have been some kind soul on here or on my Facebook page, but I bought some cheap and cheerful sweatbands off Amazon, and blow me down if they aren’t stopping water getting inside my sleeves anymore. Yesterday morning I put my Vision Kust jacket on, did the sleeves up so they were snug - I don’t like doing them up so sodding tight that I can’t fish properly - and then put a couple of sweatband down over my wrists so that they were covering the inner sleeve bits on the jacket. I am sure that a lot longer than two hours in a monsoon might mess this system up, but my two hours yesterday morning saw this simple sweatband solution work a treat. The sweatbands were pretty damp from the rain, but they had obviously absorbed the rain that tried to work its way in. Having dry sleeves after that amount of rain sure is a new experience. Simple stuff I know, but ain’t some of the best stuff often like that?

Costa del Mar new Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses review - are these the best polarised lenses for our conditions?

If I could have the Costa del Mar 580G Green Mirror lenses surgically welded to my eyeballs then I’d book in for the operation right now - if there’s a better polarised lens for bright conditions especially then I haven’t yet come across it, and believe me, I have worn all kinds of polarised sunglasses all around the world in all kinds of light conditions. In my opinion, Costa del Mar polarised lenses are the best. That Green Mirror lens colour on tropical saltwater flats especially are just awesome, and for the most part I really like that same lens colour in our somewhat changeable conditions as well. As is so often the case, the best stuff costs, and Costa is not a cheap polarised sunglasses brand.

So when I first strapped a pair of the Costa Tuna Alley sunnies to my face with these brand new Sunrise Silver Mirror 580P lenses in them, well I wasn’t remotely sure. If it helps, the 580P Costa del Mar lenses are made from polycarbonate and are also cheaper than the 580G (glass) lenses - I have used both kinds over the years, and whilst I have yet to put a scratch on a glass Costa lens, I have managed to put a couple of tiny little scratches on their polycarbonate lenses - but as for noticing a big difference in how well the different lenses perform? OK, I like to think that I can easily see how the glass lenses are superior, but out in the real world? I’m not so sure. The 580G and the 580P lenses are all outstanding, and what lens colour you might prefer is a personal thing.

So whilst I have used most of the Costa lens colours over the years, I keep coming back to the Green Mirror, hence the world looking somewhat different when I first used this brand new Silver Sunrise Mirror lens colour. Above is a screenshot lifted from the Costa del Mar website which is their representation of how this new lens colour makes the world around you look, and whilst I’m not convinced by how accurate this visual representation really is, yes, there’s a strong kind of yellow, silvery contrast boost sort of cast to these new lenses. I found this blurb about these new lenses: “The Sunrise Silver Mirror lens is described as ideal for low light situations, great for any sight casting applications and Costa’s most versatile lens for changing light conditions. It allows 30% light transmission compared to the typical 10% to 12% and does this successfully while maintaining a 99% polarisation efficiency – making it the highest light transmission of any polarised lens on the market.”

“Having been in field testing with some of our pro staff since last summer, the early indicators are that we have a game changer,” said John Sanchez, Vice President of Product Design for Costa. “It will transform the way sight fishing anglers approach wearing glasses throughout the day. The Sunrise Silver Mirror sharpens contrast all day, but performs best under the toughest low light conditions, making it ideal for dusk and dawn performance and cloudy fishing days. The mirrored finish also helps deflect harsh light away from the eye to ease eye strain and help reduce eye fatigue.”

Do those sort of light conditions sound at all familiar to those of you who fish in countries such as the UK and Ireland? I do love a bit of sunshine, but surely we are more used to rapidly changing weather, with light levels often all over the place? Give me my 580G Green Mirror lenses on a big blue sky day - and to be honest I think they do pretty damn well in variable light as well - but in reality? Well as I said, I wasn’t so sure when I first gave these new Silver Sunrise Mirror lenses a go, but I stuck with them and how different the world looked when I first put them on. Very different to what I have been so used to for so long now, but wow am I glad I stuck with them!

To the point that these new Costa del Mar Silver Sunrise Mirror sunnies now don’t leave my fishing rucksack. It’s almost as if this big US company has had a look at the sort of light conditions we get over here and decided to make the perfect polarised lens for us - obviously this is not the case, but after a lot of time with these new lenses I am now of the opinion that they are a bit bloody brilliant for our conditions. They take the light and boost it right up - contrast is very important to me with my photography, and I love how these yellow/silvery tinged new Costa lenses really help to boost contrast when the light is a bit flat. OK, so I wouldn’t choose these particular lenses if I was heading off on say an Indian Ocean photo fishing job and the often insane brightness levels, but even when our own light gets bright I find these Silver Sunrise Mirror lenses good to wear.

And obviously from a purely polarisation point of view they are outstanding, indeed I had a slightly embarrassing situation the other day which I shall blame entirely on these new Costa lenses! When I am fishing with mates, I ask them to carry a walkie-talkie principally so that if we are fishing a distance apart they can give me a shout to come and photograph a nice bass or something like that - providing there’s a rockpool or whatever to safely put the fish in while I make my way over………...

Anyway, Mark and I are out fishing the other day, and we are a few hundred yards apart and out of sight of each other - he comes on the radio to say he’s just landed a bass and did I want to come over and photograph it? Yes I did, so Mark puts his bass in a rockpool and I make my way over while he carries on fishing. As I start clambering down the rocks I spy his bass sitting high and dry on the rocks, so I radio down to him to say something along the lines of: “Mark you dopey tit, you haven’t put the bass in a rockpool.” “Yes I have” comes the reply. But there’s the bass, sitting on the rocks but not in a rockpool. Bless him, he must have lost his marbles I am thinking to myself. Seriously, all I can see is his bass NOT in a rockpool…………..

Not a great photo I know, but I am having to hide the backdrop.

Not a great photo I know, but I am having to hide the backdrop.

Until I take my sunglasses off. Now who’s the tit?! There is his bass sitting in a nice little rockpool, as happy as can be and waiting for me to take a few photos and then be gently slipped back. OK, so polarised sunglasses should of course help you see into the water by cutting out a lot of glare, but I can never recall literally all the water disappearing like that! I genuinely could not see a drop of water in that rockpool with these new Sunrise Silver Mirror sunnies on. Having called Mark a tit at least three times over the radio, there’s me now eating a healthy portion of humble pie! I am really liking these new Costa del Mar new Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses and I can’t wait until they make them available in my all time favourite Permit frames from Costa. I know Farlows and Sportfish tend to carry good stocks of Costas if that helps, and also speak to the nice people at Chesil Bait'n'Tackle

Does fishing get any more ridiculously exciting than in this video?

I guess we are all made slightly differently, and some anglers and indeed people live for dreaming about and doing their utmost to experience a bit of something more out there - and some people don’t. I reckon I’d happily lure fish for bass until the day I can’t do it anymore - or until there are none of these fine fish left in the sea - but within me is the need to see different places, meet different people, and fish for or at least see different species of fish from time to time.

Via my working in fishing I have been lucky enough to see and also catch many different species of fish, and some I’d describe as about as good as a purely fishing experience is going to get - tarpon have to be up there as just about the most perfect sporting quarry a human being could target with on bait, lure or fly for example, just as say bonefish surely have to be the most perfect skinny water species going. Closer to home of course we have our bass, but I’d put a decent pollack from an out of the way place right up there as well as something that more anglers need to experience. Not just for the fish, but also for the places and people you meet whilst chasing down these dreams - the overall experience. Hell, if it was only about the actual fish I don’t think I’d still be fishing.

GTs are insane fish, pure and simple!

What do I mean by that? When everything comes together in a kind of sensory overload, when at that moment in time fishing means absolutely every single thing and you want to bottle it all up and stay right there for ever. It’s not as if bass are the biggest fish in our seas for example, but for me it’s always going to be a combination of so much cool stuff that comes together which makes me obsess about fishing for them. But the world’s a big place and there are some fish out there which to me are kinda not entirely normal.

We’re talking about fish that are so ridiculously powerful and dirty and almost scary to go and hook that when you see or connect to these things your mental guidelines for what true fish power really means are instantly and forever realigned. Carp obviously get big, but would anybody be almost scared by their power and aggression? Same with catfish etc. Me thinks not. Nope, some fish punch way, way above their actual weight and sit there as a kind of ultimate warrior that demands total dedication, skill, serious tackle, time, effort, money, luck and any number of other factors in order for the angler to come away with occasionally getting one over on them - and note the word occasionally!

Watch the video above from those gloriously mad Morning Tide anglers and I defy you not to go weak at the knees at how insane that fishing is, indeed if it doesn’t freak you out when I would suggest you need go and see somebody. Chucking lures at GTs from the boat may for the most part produce the absolute biggest fish, but having done a little bit of it - and of course loved every second of it - for me it doesn’t reach the extra level of buzz at catching these insane fish from either the rocks, or what I have seen the most which is fly fishing for them on shallow sand flats. I did land a GT from the rocks a few years ago on a lure very much like a GT Ice Cream, and whilst the fish from memory was “only”  about 40-50lbs, I do remember the frigging thing nearly pulling the rod out of my hands while the waves were also knocking us clean off our feet at the same time. It’s not remotely everyday fishing, but thanks to pretty damn cool videos like this we can get a taste of what else is out there in the waters of this amazing planet.

Shimano Dialuna XR 900ML 9’, 6-28g lure rod review - Shimano Japan rod now available in the UK - £249.99 RRP

On the one hand I want to jump for joy that Shimano UK are finally making a few Shimano Japan (sea) bass products available here in the UK, and on the other hand I want to cry with how hard I tried to get Shimano UK to at least explore this possibility when I was doing some work with them a few years ago - I think the phrase banging your head against a brick wall describes my efforts pretty damn well! Anyway, it seems that things are slowly changing, although if I was Shimano I’d be shouting from the rooftops about this stuff, and especially when their JDM bass gear is as awesome as this particular rod……….

If you go looking at Shimano Japan, you will find that they do a big range of bass fishing tackle that I can’t help but assume is going to work well for the way we tend to go about our own fishing. Same with Daiwa Japan. OK, so it’s not as if Shimano Europe or UK are exactly flooding our markets with lots of lovely bass related goodies, but at least it’s a start, and that start from what I can tell is the introduction of four of these Dialuna XR rods in the Shimano UK catalogue, four slightly cheaper Moonshot lure rods, plus two models of the stunning looking Exsence C14+ spinning reels - and I have the 4000 size here which I have been fishing with for a bit now, review to come in due course. I kiss the handle as it turns. Sorry!

Anyway, so I have the £249.99 RRP Shimano Dialuna XR 900ML lure rod here, and it’s 9’ long and rated to cast 6-28g. First off, and I know this is nothing to do with how the rod fishes, but I absolutely love the handle and grip design because it works perfectly for me and there is duplon over the screw-lock bit with then sits under my rod hand when casting and retrieving. Happy days! Whoever is responsible for the design of these rods has obviously gone out, fished in the real world, got wet hands, and then come up with that handle/grip. Seems pretty simple to me.

Casting sequence at 11 frames per second


I first picked this rod up when I was in the Art of Fishing tackle shop, and from the first waggle I was really keen to get my hands on it and get it out fishing. A waggle is but a waggle (or wiggle?), but from the off this Shimano Dialuna XR 900ML felt like my kind of lure rod - and yes, I am drawn more to faster, “steely” lure rods. I am not saying lure rods like this are better or worse, just that I do like a “steely” feeling of precision, and this rod is in that category for sure. I feel very comfortable fishing with 9’ lure rods. OK, so some of the better 9’6’’ rods I have fished with can do a damn good all round job as well - Major Craft Skyroad Surf 9’6’’ especially, HTO Shore Game 9’6’’, Truzer 9’6’’, X-Ride 9’6’’ etc. - and whilst I am more than happy to use any of those rods, there is just something about the way a really good 9’ rod sits in my hands when I am fishing soft plastics rigged weedless/weightless especially. These lures are an increasingly important part of my bass fishing and as such I can’t help but be drawn to rods which I think fish a good variety of lures really well.

And this Shimano Dialuna XR 900ML is a seriously good lure fishing rod, to the point that whilst this is my first experience with a Shimano Japan (sea) bass rod, I am now left wondering how much other seriously good stuff that company has over there that I’d love to see - the more expensive Lunamis and Exsence lure rods for example, plus a whole heap of their hard lures etc. So is this lure rod worth around £250 or just below?

Well I happen to think it is, but you need to know what kind of lure rod it is - it’s very fast, erring towards powerful for its casting rating and wonderfully steely. Something like the outstanding 10-30g 9’ Major Craft Skyroad I would suggest will fish lighter lures more comfortably, and whilst both rods have casting weights which are roughly the same, this Dialuna XR excels a little higher up it’s casting rating. As I said, I like steely rods so I feel very comfortable fishing the 14g 6’’ OSP DoLive Stick on it for example, and it’s incredibly adept at blasting out hard lures such as the IMA Hound 125F Glide. Working surface lures like my beloved IMA Salt Skimmer or the bigger and heavier Xorus Patchinko on a rod this fast and precise is a dream. It just sits in my hand and works for me, and you can see how quickly the thing recovers in the short casting video I put together above - and thanks as always Mark for helping me out.

So much useful info here from the Art of Fishing website, thanks Ben!

So much useful info here from the Art of Fishing website, thanks Ben!

I haven’t cast them side by side, but I can’t help but be reminded of the outstanding but considerably more expensive Major Craft Truzer 9’ 10-30g when I am lure fishing with this Shimano Dialuna XR 900ML, and I mean that as a big time complement. I reckon there’s a small degree more precision on the Truzer, but both rods are so how I like a regular casting weight sort of 9’ lure rod to be. I also can’t help but like how much cheaper this Shimano Dialuna is. I have blogged about how much the 9’ Truzer floats my boat and I am also aware that there are anglers out there who have suffered breakages with it - mine continues to do brilliantly, but if it were ever to snap on me for whatever reason, I’d go straight for a rod like this Shimano Dialuna. It’s that impressive.

Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you anymore to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.


I’d like some needlefish type lures around the size of a 6’’ senko, perhaps a little heavier - what are my options here in the UK?

You need to bear in mind here that my experience and knowledge of using needlefish style hard lures for our bass fishing is at best limited, indeed to learn loads more I would urge you to read Keith White’s recent guest blog posts on here. I know that these simple lures tend to come from the US striped bass world, and for the most part the ones I keep seeing photos of on social media etc. are fairly large. Obviously big lures catch bass, but with how well the 5’’ long Wave Fishing Bamboo Stick does for us at night especially, I’d love to be able to track down some similar sized hard versions.

Do I need bigger needlefish? Well I don’t feel like I do at the moment, and in an ideal world I don’t want to be forced to use a more powerful lure rod just because I want to clip a heavier needlefish on. If a 5’’ or 6’’ senko nails bass for me, including my longest measured bass from the shore on the white 5’’ Bamboo Stick, then to be honest I feel just fine fishing with lures around this size. Recently we have been catching a few bass at night on the white senkos, but also getting a bunch of hits that haven’t resulted in hookups, and as much as I don’t like treble hooks a great deal, I clipped on a senko sized (hard) white, incredibly basic looking needlefish I picked up many moons ago over in the US (5.5’’, 16g, why oh why didn’t I buy a stack of them?) - it’s got a couple of size 4 trebles on it, and straight away I began converting more of those bangs into hooked fish.

So a part of me simply wants to be able to clip on a hard senko as such, with the added weight of the lure giving me what I hope is a little more control in a crosswind especially, plus added stability, casting distance of course, and hopefully increased hooking power when the bass for whatever reason aren’t fully committing to the senkos like they often do. Basically I’d like a senko sort of size needlefish to fish them as we tend to fish a senko at night - whack it out and wind it in, as per the video above. Seriously, for all that there is to lure fishing, doing no more than this can be frigging deadly - right place, right time of course, and accepting that I have a world of learning to be done on using needlefish.

So what are my options? Well there aren’t many here in the UK, at least not that I can find. You’ve got Jim’s Lures here in the UK, a guy who I haven’t met but have corresponded with a bit, and from what I can gather he makes an array of different lures - including some senko sized needlefish which I think are pretty damn impressive. You can find a bunch of Jim’s needlefish right here, and it’s these sizes and weights which I have tried and liked - Jim was kind enough to send me a couple to try recently, but I must admit that a larger version didn’t do it for me very much. It looked nice in the water but cast like a bit of a dog, so for the time being I will stick with those weights and lengths here. Jim hasn’t got a website, but you can connect with him on Facebook - search for Jim’s Lures. The lures don’t come rigged and they are not on the cheap side, but these are specialist bits of kit that have been made specifically for our market.

Super Strike is a highly respected lure brand amongst striper anglers over in the US, and from time to time the excellent Mr. Fish Jersey tackle shop has the smaller 140mm/28g models in stock - keep an eye on this page here. I have got a couple of these in white and I am starting to really like them, but for our bass fishing you might want to bin the heavy duty hooks and replace them with the weight of hooks we might use. Be careful as well with how these particular needlefish swim - I lost one the other night to a rock because I assume I was reeling it in that bit too slowly for the shallow, rocky ground we were fishing over. I think I might have cursed, but only the once?

And of course you have the custom built route, and for that you need to connect with Hendrik Strydom on Facebook. This guy is a lure making genius, plain and simple, and whilst I know he is getting busier and busier with his custom lure building, I also know that he is always willing to talk with anglers about creating lures for them. I bought a couple of needlefish style lures off Hendrik last year and they are works of art which also nail bass! The custom built route is obviously not the cheapest, but Hendrik’s lures are worth every single penny.

So there you have it. I know exactly what I want, but getting it off the shelf here in the UK ain’t exactly easy. Sure, needlefish are hardly the most exciting looking lures in the water, but the fact is that these straight stick style hard and indeed soft lures do serious harm at night especially. I am at less than day one with my needlefish experience, but as I said earlier, on this blog post I am simply coming from the angle of wanting a hard version of a senko. Please, please leave me details in the comments section below if you know of anywhere in the UK that is selling lures like this. Thank you.

Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you anymore to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.

Why do some tackle companies assume that us anglers only want the more powerful longer lure rods? What about the “regular” longer rods?

After fishing a session up on the north coast the other day, we dropped into Ben’s den of temptation in Wadebridge - the Art of Fishing tackle shop to those folks who have a better grip on their lure tackle spending - ostensibly for Mark to pick up a lighter lure rod that he has had his beady little eyes on trying for a while now, but of course it’s always good to see what new stuff Ben has got in…………

Anyway, there was an angler in there who we got talking to, and he had driven down from Somerset I think he said to have a proper look at the lure rods on display as he was after a new one. I really enjoy meeting and talking with other anglers, and especially when they are kind enough to tell me that they read my blog and actively enjoy doing so. Anyway, the rod that Ben had helped this angler to pick out was the Shimano Moonshot S906M (9’6’’, 8-42g) which from a few waggles felt amazing, and especially at the £169.99 price. Wow it makes me wonder yet again how much harm a company such as Shimano or indeed Daiwa could do here in the UK if they actively researched (asked?) what gear we really want to see. Now this guy was actually after a slightly more powerful lure rod than the Major Craft N-One he currently has, hence that 8-42g rating he went for, but the first thing I asked Ben was “do Shimano do a lighter version of that 9’6’’ Moonshot?”

Well they do, but it’s not available in Europe. I must admit that I had never heard of the Shimano Japan Moonshot range of bass lure rods, so I go looking on the Shimano Japan website, and as per above I discover that there are a number of rods in what is a sub-£200 range of rods that I am sure would perfectly suit our market, and no doubt other European countries as well - but for some reason there seems to be this assumption from whoever picks the rods that come into Europe and the UK that if you go to say 9’6’’ long, it’s got to be more powerful. But why? There are the 8’6’’ 6-28g and a 9’ 6-28g versions available in Europe as well, and going from the incredibly useful rod information on the new Art of Fishing website, that 9’ Moonshot as per the curve diagram below looks so like my kind of lure rod. Buying rods blind is not easy, but crumbs does the information on this website make the leap of faith as such so much easier to make.

Shimano Moonshot 9' 6-28g

Shimano Moonshot 9' 6-28g

Sure, it’s handy to get access to the next step up in power over the more regular say 6-30g range, but what about the lure anglers who really like using 9’6’’ rods as an all round kind of lure rod where something in the 6-30g region would be perfect? I have got the slightly more expensive, “next range up” Shimano Dialuna XR S900ML (9’, 6-28g) here for testing at the moment (crumbs, curve diagram below), and whilst there is then a longer 9’6’’ 8-42g version available here in the UK, again there exists a 9’6’’ 6-28g version over in Japan in an extensive range of (sea) bass lure rods - but again it’s not being made available over here. Why? And what about the lighter lure rods around say 5-21g casting weights?

Shimano Dialuna 9' 6-28g

Shimano Dialuna 9' 6-28g

Is it a UK or indeed European sort of mentality that stems from the days of longer spinning rods tending to be for the salmon and sea trout world, when the longer they were the more powerful (and heavy and floppy) they seemed to need to be. And yes, there was a time when I could see no point in using longer lure rods, at least that is until I began to fish with some of the specialist Japanese (sea) bass rods that can feel so incredible at longer lengths and in that all important 6-30g range. If a 9’6’’ rod feels as good as a 9’ rod in my hands then I will quite happily use it, but it still seems that some of the tackle companies simply aren’t aware of what a lot of us want to see.

Which of course begs the question - who does the research and where do those people inside these companies look for their information?! I remember really liking a couple of those white coloured Shimano Stradic lure rods (felt so like Tenryu rods but at much, much cheaper prices) when I was working with Shimano, but again, I went through the rods they offered in the range and straight away came up with a couple of models that I thought were missing. I tried and tried and tried to get to the bottom of who I needed to speak to in order to try and see if I could get something done, but I got nowhere.

So once again it’s a lot of credit due to the small companies who have been importing the likes of Major Craft, Graphiteleader etc. into the UK over the last few years, plus forward thinking UK companies such as HTO for having the balls to launch their awesome Shore Game lure rods, and especially that freak of nature that is the 9’6’’ 7-35g. By no means is a longer rod necessarily a better rod, I don’t mean that all, but when cherry-picking specific rods from already established ranges, why do the longer rods almost automatically have to be the more powerful rods? Where’s the choice for us consumers? Let’s say that angler I met the other day falls in love with his Shimano Moonshot S906M (9’6’’, 8-42g) and fancies buying the lighter 9’6’’ version next. What does he do? He buys from abroad, instead of from here in the UK. What a shame………...

Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you anymore to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.

Guest blog post - Marc Cowling - How to find and fish Bass marks part 5 - Positioning Bass

"This is part 5 of a 6 part series of how to find your own Bass marks and how to fish them. In the next week I will also cover the final part:

Part 6 - Predatory Bass

So what are 'positioning' bass?

Positioning bass are those that are 'waiting' or 'holding' in predetermined areas or zones, generally waiting for items of food (prey) to swim near them or for other items (worms, prawns etc.) to be washed unsuspectingly towards them. 

What to look out for

In the image below, the arrows depict the direction of the flow/current/waves, therefore bringing food items with them. In a similar way to Part 1 of this series 'Depressions' found here, rather than continually travelling with the current, bass will often wait for short periods for the flooding tide and/or wave movement to bring the food to them - before moving on to the next spot. 

The trick here of course, is that if you can find 2 or 3 of these types of areas within set periods of a tide, then you can sometimes move with the fish. Clearly working out these patterns takes a lot of homework and time.

Similarly, in a scenario like this where the reef runs off into a gully (that is running parallel to the main area of rocks) bass will often hold on the ebbing tide, in the knowledge that small fish (gobies etc.) will need to either find a suitable rock pool (to hide in until the tide comes in) or be stranded when the water retreats - this is often why an ebbing tide can be more productive on some marks.

In relation to my own marks, I tend to find that bass will wait, hold or position themselves more often on an ebbing tide than the flood...

An example of a flooding and ebbing tide venue.

An example of a flooding and ebbing tide venue.

Bases and Fingers

Other excellent bass holding points can be at the base of fingers, or large areas of rock, exposed to wave and tidal movement. The first image below is of an area of reef where fingers of rock are very prominent. 

What I have found is that in calm (on a spring tide) or moderate (on a neap tide) wave conditions is that bass will often wait at the base of (tight on the seabed) of such areas. A lure that is cast upstream of these zones and retrieved in as naturally a way as possible (think small surface lures mimicking a wounded, disoriented fish or weightless, weedless lures) towards them, is a very effective way of inducing a take from a bass.

An example of an ebbing tide mark at low tide

An example of an ebbing tide mark at low tide

Also, don't be afraid to fish over or near to submerged rocks. In the picture of a deeper mark below, where there is a finger of rock just below the surface, I have had many bass on surface lures worked over this, and similar zones  - you just have to time bringing the lure over the rock just as a larger wave conceals it. Bass will generally fight on or near the surface (rather than diving for the bottom like a pollack) therefore, lure fishing like this is risky (in that you may lose the odd lure) but very achievable and often rewarding.

An example of flooding tide mark at high tide

An example of flooding tide mark at high tide

Furthermore, I remember bait fishing on a mark on the River Yealm a few years ago (before anglers were routinely using weightless weedless lures), where a lugworm trotted down in the flow with the minimum of weight attached accounted for a dozen or so, admittedly small Bass. The fish were simply holding up at the base of a large finger rock that was at a 45 degree angle to the strong current.

Remember! - Fish right up to your feet!

There is nothing more frustrating than lifting the lure out of the water just as a bass makes that last-ditch attempt to grab it - especially if it's a big one... In the image above, I have hooked many bass that have seemingly appeared out of nowhere. I firmly believe that on this, and similar marks (with a bit of depth immediately in front of you) that the fish are either waiting directly at the base of the rock, or they're slowly swimming extremely close to it - see my post here.

Also remember that bass can and will swim in and around rocks/reefs in very rough conditions - something that I will write about in the final part of this series - Predatory Bass.

The result you want from a bass fishing session - they're beautiful aren't they!

The result you want from a bass fishing session - they're beautiful aren't they!

Best-Grip wading studs review - nice and cheap and quite possibly the best wading studs I have ever used

I have used wading boots with studs in them for that long now I can’t really imagine what it’s like not to have a decent grip out on the rocks, indeed I continue to wonder why on earth I didn’t know about boot studs when I used to practically live in hiking boots for my bait based rock fishing especially.  

As with all stuff, some studs are better than others, and if you want a classic example of some of the most expensive wading studs I have ever invested in being just about the biggest pile of poo imaginable, then look no further than the perfectly awful (and not bloody cheap) Simms “Hardbite Star Cleat Boot Studs”. Less than a week of hard use with a brand new set, and in that time at least half of fell out of a pair of the older, brilliant Simms Rivershed wading boots, with the rest of the studs wearing totally flat - hell, I’ve still got the replacement box of studs here at home from when I complained about how rubbish they were, unopened and unused, sitting there and reminding me that spending a load more doesn’t automatically get you better performance. Crumbs, I can find these studs online in the UK for £3.49 per stud or £28.99 for a pack of ten. Ouch!

Thanks to Mark I started using the excellent Orvis Posi Grip studs a fair while back and never had a single issue save for one bad batch I think when Orvis changed the material but obviously saw sense and soon changed back to the good stuff. Now I would be most likely still be using these excellent Orvis Posi Grip studs if it hadn’t been for me finally coming to the end of my tether with so called wading boots and going down this Dunlop safety boot route - more than seven months of use by the way and save for a minor looking split around the heel area on one of the boots, they are still going strong.

I could not get those Orvis wading studs to properly set into the soles on my Dunlop boots, so thanks to some invaluable information from a Portuguese bass angler I know, I ended up with a set of Best-Grip studs that I bought online from here - £15 delivered for a set of 20 code 1100 studs, but first time around with these studs and you will need a tool to screw them into the sole of your boots, and I had one already from a few years back when I first tried some Best-Grip studs - I think it they would been the 3000A code which I found don’t sit in a sole as well as the smaller 1100 code. The trick seems to be to only screw them into a level as you can see in these photos here, and then they just don’t move around at all and keep providing one hell of a good grip.

OK, so a blog post about wading studs is not exactly the most exciting thing in the world, I know that, but I took a close look at the soles of my Dunlop boots yesterday to see how the studs were doing, because the grip I get when out on the rocks continues to be outstanding - surely after six months of use they have to be wearing down, bearing in mind of course that I am not exactly Larry Lightweight on my shoes and boots? Nope, indeed apart from some discolouration of the actual studs, I can’t see any wear and tear on them at all - that little stud bit which sticks out (tungsten carbide tipped apparently) look as good to me as they did on day one, and I find that quite remarkable with how little they cost and how much grief I have been giving them over all manner of surfaces for more than seven months.

As per the screenshot above that I grabbed from the SupaTracks UK website, you can get different specifications of Best-Grip studs, but this time around I chose to listen to that Portuguese lad and go with the 1100 ones that he uses on some evil ground along their rugged northern coastline. So even if my Dunlops were to fall apart tomorrow, that’s £40 for seven months use so far (£25 for the boots and £15 for the studs), and to be honest I will be taking the Best-Grip studs out of the Dunlops as and when they might fall apart and putting them in the next pair which I have here, ready and waiting. And if I was still wearing hiking boots for the bulk of my fishing like I used to, I’d sure as hell be putting a set of these outstanding studs in them as well.

I blanked, and I loved every single second of it

On Saturday morning I didn’t catch a fish let alone get a meaningful hit off a bass, but I loved every single second of it. Sure, we all want to catch a load of decent fish, but do you find that sometimes the place and conditions and way you are actually fishing combine to give you such a sense of excitement that not ending up landing any fish doesn’t remotely bug you? Everything felt so damn good I was expecting a hit literally every time my lure came through the water, but I left the actual catching to Mark!

We’d been watching the forecast for a few days and then checking the swell predictions on Magic Seaweed, and every single thing was pointing to this particular spot being in perfect condition for a few hours on Saturday morning’s ebb tide. Even if all that stuff comes together though, you’ve still got to hope there are a few fish around, and you then have to trust that one or both of you are going to be in the right place at the right time fishing the right way to catch some of them……….

Which Mark was, and I very evidently wasn’t! I know that banging surface lures out and seeing bass smash into them is about as good as it gets, but increasingly I would put fishing with soft plastics that have no extra added weight (weedless/weightless) on a lighter rod and reel setup up there with surface work, and especially when you have those fizzy conditions over perfectly stunning broken ground that could almost be a poster for where to go looking for bass. Hard lures are obviously always going to be a big part of my bass fishing, and especially with some of the conditions and locations we all like fishing, but it’s such a different feeling when you are retrieving a hard lure and a bass nails it to when you are “deftly” working a weedless/weightless rigged soft plastic on a lighter setup especially. As I have said many times on here before, never in a month of Sundays could I ever have imagined how varied and absorbing lure fishing for bass could really be. Talk about all consuming.

Is it the glorious directness of this way of fishing that is so exciting? On the one hand you’ve got the sight and drama of all that fizzing water tumbling around the rocks and reefs combined with the actual technique we are using, and then at night on the white senkos you take that sight element away and it’s the feel side of this type of fishing that is heightened even more. I love watching a fish smash into a surface lure, but holy cow I also lust after that jolt when a bass hits a soft plastic that you the angler are helping bring to life. Maybe it’s a tap, tap and you need to keep moving it to induce a proper take, or perhaps it’s one of those hits which is almost so shocking that you’re into the bass before you fully realise what is going on. Wow it floats my boat, and that’s even without my managing to bother any actual bass on my part on Saturday morning!

Now I accept completely that there have to be a few soft plastics out there that do the same or indeed better job than the OSP DoLive Stick, but from my own messing around with stuff, I haven’t yet found another “twitchbait” style soft plastic lure that gives me the perfect combination of casting weight (15g rigged on a weedless hook, and they frigging fly), “grip” into some surprisingly lively seas, durability, and whilst I blanked on Saturday morning, every single time I’ve got a DoLive Stick clipped or indeed tied on the end of my leader I feel about as confident as it’s possible to feel. I feel pretty confident saying that Mark feels the same way as he caught his bass on Saturday on the 6’’ DoLive Stick, plus had a potentially tidier fish run his leader over a nice sharp bit of reef. As I said, I didn’t catch a damn thing, but those few hours will live long in my memory.

Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you anymore to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.

Daiwa 2016 Certate 3000 and 2508PE spinning reels review - both north of £300 here in the UK

What I’d love to be able to write here is that these two Daiwa 2016 Certate spinning reels are some of best spinning reels to lure fish with that I have been lucky enough to use, because in many respects they are - but there are a few issues that are niggling me about these stunning looking bits of fishing tackle, and with the prices of these 2016 Certates being what they are (north of £300), I am left with a few questions………….

If you know anything about Daiwa Certate spinning reels then you will have half a clue about how nice these things are to fish with - over a proper length of time now I have been using the 2016 model Certate 3000 (about the same size as a Shimano 4000 spinning reel) and the smaller Certate 2508PE (roughly Shimano 3000 size) which has the shallow spool for braid that I think is a really good idea. I have not fished with these reels exclusively, but over time I have ended up using them a lot I suppose. They are very light, they provide an intensely pleasurable experience when you go fishing with them, they are beautifully designed, and from what I can gather, much of each reel is meant to be safely sealed against saltwater getting into the vitals thanks to Daiwa’s Mag Sealed technology.

Nearly a year ago I wrote a preview of the faster retrieve rate Daiwa Certate 2016 3012H High Speed, but after a week or so of intense use in Ireland it went a bit “grindy” on me and it was duly shipped back to Daiwa UK. A big thanks to Daiwa UK by the way for kindly getting me access to these reels. Anyway, another high speed 2016 Certate was duly sent out to me, but that one went “grindy” as well, and after not that much use either. So that one was shipped back to Daiwa. Man down, twice, and they are not exactly budget reels either. I am still waiting to hear what went wrong with them.

Anyway, so that’s me done with the Daiwa Certate 2016 3012H High Speed, or at least it is until I know what went wrong with the two of them and whether I was simply an unlucky sod. Credit to Daiwa UK, they then kindly sent me out the regular speed 3000 and the smaller 2508PE models and I have had them strapped to various lure rods on and off ever since. Now to be fair to both reels, they have performed perfectly from the first day I started fishing with them, but of course my previous all too brief experiences with the high-speed versions have gone and spooked me a bit.

Now whatever this Mag Sealed technology does or doesn’t do, you are simply not meant to go drowning spinning reels as per this one here and expect them to keep running beautifully smoothly - the sealed Van Staal ones excepted, although I’d rather bass fish with an actual coffee grinder than one of those reels. If the Mag Sealed technology helps to keep saltwater out of the innards of the reel via “normal” use then that is just fine by me, but until it is proved otherwise to me, I just don’t believe that a Mag Sealed line roller area is keeping any more saltwater out than a non-Mag Sealed one. I am quoting here directly from the Daiwa 2017 catalogue: “Mag Sealed Line Roller - Line roller parts are also subjected to sand and saltwater via the line. By applying the Mag Sealed waterproofing the line roller is protected from those severe conditions helping maintain the performance, sensitivity, and smooth, rotational feel. First adopted in the EXIST this now features on the CERTATE. It also maintains the anti line twist performance of the roller”.

So why my reticence here? Well a mate of mine who lure fishes for bass a lot ended up buying a pair of the pre-2016 3000 Certates which I believe have a Mag Sealed line roller as well, but after a load of use, one of the reels seized up around that roller bearing area - to be fair to Daiwa UK, they took the reel back under warranty and sorted it out for him, but this experience spooked the bloke, so he unscrewed the line roller assembly on his second Certate and found early signs of rust on the little bearing in there. He oiled it up and it has been fine ever since, as has the one that was serviced, but he keeps a close eye on the line roller area on both those reels now and chooses to ignore the fact that Mag Sealed technology I think is meant to prevent this from occurring. I have a feeling that you are not actually meant to go opening this part of the reel up because of the Mag Seal thing, but if saltwater is actually getting in and you do nothing about it, what then? I think the Daiwa Certates come with a two year warranty, but do you want to be sending your reel away just because the roller bearing has seized up, when regular rinsing in freshwater and oiling the bearing could seemingly prevent this?

But where you might ask is the relevance to these newer 2016 Certates? Well via Daiwa and me, this mate above was sent a 2016 Certate 3000 to use from about late spring last year, and he used it solidly I believe until about the end of September. He looks after his gear and will rinse reels down etc., but I asked him not to go opening the Mag Sealed bits of the reel and oiling anything up so that it was a fair test of the system as such. Let’s call it six months of bass fishing with lures then, and by the end of that period, the reel was essentially knackered. OK, as before it’s under warranty, but should a £300+ spinning reel be knackered after six months of lure fishing?

These two 2016 Certates that I have here continue to perform flawlessly though, albeit I chose to take a peek inside the line roller on both reels the other day and unless I am mistaken I could see early signs of rust on what looks like an open (as in not sealed up) bearing. The roller bearings on both reels did not feel remotely rough to be fair, but I wanted to check them, and I liberally oiled both of them up with regular oil. I absolutely love lure fishing with both reels, indeed the smaller 2508PE model together with the lighter 9’ 7-23g Major Craft Skyroad fishes the 6’’ OSP DoLive Stick about as well as I can imagine a rod and reel setup being able to do, and the little Certate also fared just as well on that stunning Favorite SkyLine 862ML (8’6’’, 4-16g) lure rod I was using recently. And yes, I am completely obsessed with DoLive Sticks in case you hadn’t already noticed, but there is a reason, and that’s because I feel so damn confident every time I clip one on.

I loaded the Certate 2508PE up on day one with a 135m spool of 18lb/0.12mm Sufix Performance Pro 8 braid and literally four or five turns of mono backing and it is still as sweet as it was on day one. Same with the larger Certate 3000 that sits so well on 9’ and 9’6’’ lure rods. If I was in the market to spend this sort of dosh on a reel then I would like to know how accessing the line roller area to keep an eye on it and oil it up if needs be (as you would with regular reels, wouldn’t you?!) might affect my warranty, but there you have it as it stands right now. Two divine spinning reels that I love fishing with, but also two reels that I have various reservations about which niggle away at me, and especially if you consider their price as well.

Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you anymore to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.