Saturday's Open Day at Chesil Bait'n'Tackle - what a blast. I can't get away from how impressive this den of temptation is as a fishing tackle shop, and especially if you are into lure fishing. Obviously I do love a bit of nice fishing tackle, but let's put that aside for a moment and just enjoy the fact that there is surely no better hobby, sport or pastime than fishing out there - why? The people. Some of us are perfectly happy being on our own and some of us thrive as more social beings, but whatever kind of person you are, it's a day like Saturday which simply confirms to me again that fishing is so awesome because of the anglers and the people (mostly anglers) who work within it.
I could talk to anglers all day long, in fact I did just that on Saturday!! I know that it amazes non-anglers how we can go fishing yet still yap about fishing nearly all the time when we are not actually fishing, but I just love it, and on a day like that at Chesil Bait'n'Tackle I consider myself extremely privileged to have met and talked to so many anglers. I like meeting people and I like talking to them about their fishing. Put a bunch of anglers together and it's amazing how quickly we can start talking a kind of language that must sound alien to non-anglers yet to us is our way of life. I must admit to being pretty amazed at just how much lure fishing is going on along this rather stunning Dorset coastline, plus a whole heap of freshwater stuff when the rivers are open especially - not long now guys!! Local guide Adrian's night time lure fishing for big chub sounds rather awesome for starters.
I kinda pride myself on being fairly "up" on the good lure fishing gear that we are increasingly seeing here in the UK and Ireland, but holy cow has that tackle shop got some gear!! If I had been in a full on gear buying mode I dread to think how much dosh I could have dropped on Saturday. Hell, I worked with Shimano for a while, but Mike kept disappearing into his den of temptation and coming out with these Shimano spinning reels that I had never even seen before.
How awesome does that new Biomaster SW-A 4000 feel as a lure fishing reel? I bet you could pull the plug out of the ocean with it, but it's essentially as light as my Sustain 4000. The new Stradic C14+FA looked pretty sweet as well. I also met a couple of guys who have bought the Shimano AR-C Aero C14+ spinning reels and are loving them as much as I am - check my review here. Sometimes I think I might be seeing stuff with gear that is a product of my overactive imagination, but one of the lads reckoned that he was also seeing an increase in casting distance with that wider kind of spool on the reel. Good to hear.
Now I don't want to embarrass the bloke, but I was so pleased to finally meet Richard from Dorset Fishing Rods - we have spoken on the phone and emailed back and forth, and on Saturday I finally got the chance to put a face to a voice and have a proper yap (albeit I could have cheerfully spoken to the guy all day long, what a fascinating, knowledgeable and just thoroughly nice bloke). Wow does Richard custom build some incredible lure fishing rods for saltwater and freshwater fishing, and he has got what I believe is a rather scary collection of blanks. Seriously, his build quality is just staggering, and it kinda helps that Richard is also a lure fishing junkie who delights in experimenting with all manner of blanks, rings, fixtures and fittings.
As I said, fishing is so much about the people to me - so how cool is this? Richard has kindly given me one of his custom built 8'6'' 8-28g lure rods to have a play with and then give away on this blog - this rod is one of Richard's new T-Russell BXL blanks (Bass X Light) and I have to say that it feels pretty sublime (couple of bass yesterday evening on it, gorgeous rod), to the point that I could end up holding a competition for the rod but kinda "inventing" the winner - me!! Richard has also lent me one of his custom built 9'6'' 8-28g lure rods to have a proper go with. Also built on a T-Russell BXL blank, this is a pretty long lure rod for me, but after having a few chucks with one the other day thanks to a nice bloke I met on the rocks a few weeks ago, I defy anybody not to pick this thing up and not get a tape measure out because it just doesn't feel anywhere near 9'6'' long. I also got to see the 9'6'' 10-30g version of that 9' Major Craft Skyroad that I like so much (review here), and I nearly asked for a tape measure there and then. Crumbs, there's some great kit around.
Well obviously I can't finish up without talking a bit about the almost outrageous lure selection that they've got in Chesil Bait'n'Tackle, including some stuff I have never even seen before. Ever seen the MegaBass SP Zonk 77 Sinking Lipless Minnow? Might have had a little play out in their demo tank. How about the smaller DUO Realis Pencil 85? Looks like a pretty interesting surface lure and I heard some good reports. I saw some incredible looking colours of the killer MegaBass X120SW that I have never seen before, and those Savage Gear Sandeel Slug things look pretty interesting as well. Thanks so much to the Chesil Bait'n'Tackle lot for having me along and looking after me so well with loads of cups of tea and lunch, and also to all the anglers I met who came and said hi. Is there any better pastime than fishing? Me thinks not.
And a not remotely full strength England very nearly went and beat the mighty All Blacks on Saturday morning - holy frigging cow it's going to be a monster of a game this weekend. I will not be watching one single second of the football world cup, but this is one seriously exciting England rugby team that so seriously seems to be going in the right direction, and the parallels to the 2003 World Cup campaign are pretty interesting to say the least. Yes, getting highly overexcited about it all. To have belief and pride again in the England rugby team is feeling pretty damn good.