Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

A new kind of fishing tackle shop

"The Art of Fishing" is a brand new fishing tackle shop right in the middle of the bustling Barbican area of Plymouth, and last Friday I got the chance to drop in there and see what it was all about (you can find the shop here by the way). When the sun shines down here the Barbican comes alive with loads of people wandering about, and right in prime position sits one of the most outstanding tackle shops that I have ever walked into. Believe me, I love tackle shops, but this new Art of Fishing feels more like one of the numerous fly fishing shops that Nick Hart and I dropped into when we were out in Montana a few years back. You walk in and it feels almost like you have walked into anything but a fishing tackle shop..............

Only a few years ago it would have been easy to laugh at a fishing tackle shop in the south west that did not stock bait or bait fishing gear, but with times a changing like they are I take my hat off to Ben and his team for being so bold as to open up a second lure fishing specialist tackle shop - the original one is in St. Merryn in north Cornwall, and if that is one is like an Aladdin's cave of shiny lure fishing gear, this new Plymouth venture has a lot more space and loads of light to really allow everything to shine so to speak. Matt and Mark are in the shop most of the time I believe, with Ben coming across from Cornwall a few days a week, but the most important thing to me is that these people are all lure fishing nuts and they can actually speak from experience when they are helping customers out (with offloading their life savings on shiny fishing gear). I love the way the shop is laid out. There's plenty of space, indeed it hardly feels like a traditional tackle shop at all, but you are going to have to go there to understand what I mean. And holy cow is there some lure fishing gear in there !! Yes, there is some seriously high-end stuff, but what really floats my boat is that there is also lots and lots of "proper" lure fishing gear for some very sensible money. Nobody can possibly go into this new tackle shop and complain that lure fishing is in anyway elitist or out of their reach budget wise, and I think that's very important for the future development of this style of fishing. Here are a few items that instantly jumped out at me if that is any help............and believe me, I need help in a fishing tackle shop like this !! Just being able to pick up so many of these rods you read and hear about is great.

Now what might the princely sum of £60 buy you as regards a "proper" lure rod ? Take a look at the Spro Vortezza spinning rods when you drop in there and you might just get a shock. I reckon the 7' 3-28g Spro Vortezza S70ML would make a great wrassing on plastics rod, and the longer 8' 3-28g Spro Vortezza S80ML might well be a cracking all round lure rod. They feel like lure rods instead of just spinning rods if you get my drift. I believe that Ben will be offering a "get started on wrassing with plastics" complete kit sometime soon.

Mark showed me a dinky little 7'4'' Garbolino Majister lure rod that is rated 1-5g and sells for £90, but I reckon that it would deal with a bit more than that and thus take this thing into the realms of a hugely fun lure rod for the small hard and soft lures. And talking of lures, well there is a massive selection in the shop. The kind of selection that weak-minded people like me should really not be seeing. Hard lures, soft lures, little LRF lures, loads of spinning reels at all kinds of prices, hooks, lines, you name it, if think of something that might be needed for lure fishing then you can get the chance to actually see it and handle it in this new shop.

I also got to see some Major Craft lure rods for the first time which I thought were very interesting indeed, and I will be seeing more of them sometime soon for some proper tests/reviews. The Major Craft Crostage Hard Rock for example strikes me as a serious bit of kit to go and do some harm on your local wrasse population with. I would never say that £195 is a "budget" lure rod, but it's buying what struck me from wiggling it in the shop as a serious amount of rod. This Crostage Hard Rock is 7'6'' long, rated 7-28g and it feels awesome in the hand - more than "just" a wrassing rod as well. There was one of the Major Craft Solpara rods in the shop that came in at below the £130 mark from memory, and to me it felt like another "proper" out and out lure rod for sensible money. And if you are looking for a serious travel rod for your lure fishing then the four piece £200 Major Craft Crostage CRS 964ML (9'6'', 10-30g) to me felt about as good as a £200 lure rod can possibly feel - but in four pieces for ease of transport.

I also saw one of the Graphiteleader rods that I have been itching to have a look at, but with prior experience this time around I almost had the self-control not to go and pick it up. Note the word "almost" though. I am in love with my new Graphiteleader rod (the Tiro 832M-MR), but the lighter Tiro 7'9'' 4-22g GOTS-792ML seems like another of those "why did I ever see this rod ?" bits of kit. I have heard some stuff about it, and I am going to try and get hold of one for a bit of a test/review, but in the hand it felt exactly like I hoped it might feel. Sublime. I have no clue how these rods have the tips that they do, but if you are looking for a, all round lure rod then you need to see this one. No, around £340 is not remotely cheap for a fishing rod, but this is a specialist bit of kit. What a fantastic new fishing tackle shop and I wish every success to Ben and his team. You can look around to your heart's content and I was even made a great cup of coffee that I am sure aided in my coming away with a few packets of soft plastics !! Believe me, it took a great deal of willpower not to give my card a right hammering. Drop in, give in, live it............