2009 review - my best fishing reel

Is it possible to be in love with a spinning reel ? Even if it's not possible (but I have my suspicions), is it normal to be even thinking like this ? But true love runs deep when it comes to my 2009 fishing reel of the year - the Shimano Stella 4000FD (see here for lots of info, a lot of which goes right over my head). Later on in 2009 I finally gave into my longings and got one of these little spinning reels to mainly use with my Tenryu Super Mix 240 as a kind of "ultimate bassing" combination, and it's like they were meant to be together. Made for each other in fact. All I did was to facilitate their union and then pleasure in the use of two such incredible fishing products. But that's quite enough of that....

I don't drive a flash car and I don't believe vinyl is better than CDs, but I can tell you that the pleasure derived from fishing with a top of the range spinning reel like the Shimano Stella 4000FD is a totally sublime experience. There are some outstanding reels out there for not very much money at all, but you pay your money and make your choice. I wanted the best and I got what I deem to be the best. Fishing is everything to me and I took the decision to acquire the smoothest, most enjoyable reel to use that I have ever come across. Everything about it just feels perfect to me.I just like using it, plain and simple. It works really for my bass fishing, whether working surface lures, cranking minnows, twitching stuff or playing with soft plastics. And that drag system is just sublime - wind it up tight, give the fish some proper grief and let the reel do its work.

I reckon I have heard more garbage in 2009 about spinning reels than I have ever heard in my life. Sure, a very small number of reels simply don't work properly from the box (and the onus has to be on the manufacturer to front up and mend reels when this very rarely happens) but whenever I hear stories of various reels breaking down, my first thought is always angler error. Right or wrong, that is my opinion. Bass fishing is great, but the bass is hardly an outsize species that is going to put undue strain on a decent modern spinning reel. Monster tarpon over a season maybe, but not a few bass. How about excessive saltwater, sand and grit in a spinning reel though ? A recipe for disaster unless you go the whole way and use something like a waterproof Van Staal. It's up to us the anglers to look after our gear the best we can and then accept when we have messed up and caused problems with the reel. If you want to go swimming with your reel, buy a proper waterproof one. Otherwise wash it off with a bit of freshwater, put some oil in it from time to time, and make sure to get it regularly serviced. I presume you service your car each year ? Do the same with your reels if you want them to keep on working properly for a long time. It's a special order, but ask these guys here about a Stella 4000FD if you want to give in like me and get one.

Make sure to start the new year off with a huge slice of one of the most consistently awesome online fishing publications out there - the first issue of Catch magazine is out now, so make sure to check it out right here. Honestly, I can't work out how the guys keep on getting so much talent together within these virtual "pages", but what I do know is that Catch mag fires me up every single time I look at it. Check out how good fishing can look.

I am going to publish the winner of the photo competition later this week, so make sure to check out who has won one of those awesome Grauvell rods that are fast making a good name for themselves. Somebody out there is going to get a very cool late Christmas present.......