Anybody who has been following this blog throughout the course of the year will find it no surprise that my standout favourite rod of 2009 is the Tenryu Super Mix 240. Never in my fishing life has one single length of hi-tech carbon so changed my opinion on what constitutes a decent fishing rod, and first and foremost I have to put the "discovery" of this 8' length of magic down to Bruno Pebe of Ultimate Fishing over in France. Not only is he one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, but Bruno is also one of the finest, most forward-thinking bass fishermen that I have ever had the fortune to come across.
Bruno is the guy who first showed me the Super Mix 240 back at the Nantes Salon de Peche fishing show in February 2009, and after spending far too long talking back and forth about the reasons for using a rod like this for our bass fishing (give the guy his dues, he never tried to sell it to me, it was me pressing the poor bloke for information), I took the plunge, gave Mick a shout, and got one for myself (see here). And the more I fish with this outstanding bass rod, the more I keep on wondering how on earth Ultimate Fishing could go about improving a rod like this.........how many rods can you say that about ?
Debate all you like on the pros and cons of an 8' rod versus say 9' or 10' for bass plugging, but as yet I have not come across one single convincing argument as to why an 8' rod can't do all (and in fact plenty more) that a more "traditional" longer rod that we are all so used to using can do. I fully admit that this Tenryu Super Mix 240 has completely changed my views on what makes for a good bass plugging rod, and while my near 10' Tenryu Red Dragon Express is a perfect out and out hard plastic lure fishing rod that is off the scale brilliant, increasingly I am after one single fishing rod that can be used very effectively to chop and change methods and techniques at will. I don't want to carry two rods when I am out bass fishing. I want one that can fish all kinds of lures, both hard and soft, in a variety of different ways. Show me a better rod for doing this than the Super Mix 240 and I will bite your hand off. I don't have a very good technical knowledge of fishing rods, but there is just "something" I can't properly describe in the tips of these red rods that makes them incredible to fish with.
A part of me does not feel right making my rod of the year an expensive one, but I believe in being completely honest and simply giving it as I see it. I am not saying that the Super Mix 240 is the best bass rod out there, but I am saying that it is easily the best out of the rods I have personally fished with or come across. I have been using and abusing the Super Mix for the better part of 2009 and so far I can't find any flaws or problems, indeed I just like it more and more. If I had found something wrong with it, I would tell you - I really enjoy fishing with and spending time with the Ultimate Fishing guys I know, but they do not pay me to say what I am saying about their rods and I don't do any work for them. Still the cheapest guy I know for these awesome red Tenryu rods is Mick over in Jersey (see here). He uses them, his mates use them, and lots of his customers use them. What more can I say ?
I am going to be really interested to see more and more specialist bass plugging rods coming onto the market here in the UK next year, and already I have come across that lighter 8' Grauvell rod that I believe is something seriously special (see here for my early thoughts). More good rods at various price points is good for anglers, and anything that enables more anglers to start using better and better bass rods is a great thing in my mind. Hold and fish with a rod like the Tenryu Super Mix 240 or the 8' 10-40g Teklon Spin and I can bet you that within about five minutes you will be wondering how on earth you survived without them. There is nothing wrong with change. Change is a good thing. Learning new things is so important to becoming a better angler. The guys who want to bury their heads and hark back to the good old days when spinning rods were like tank aerials and 12' carp rods worked surface lures nice and easily - let's leave them behind and embrace all that is good about this rapidly evolving bass fishing world.