Henry Gilbey
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Apia Grandage 96ML 9’6’’ 7-28g lure rod review - £309.99 UK price

Crumbs does the Japanese fishing tackle brand APIA make some serious lure fishing rods, and this new Apia Grandage 96ML 9’6’’ 7-28g lure rod is from their new Grandage series of lure rods that I believe replaces their previous and extensive Foojin’R range. I have fished with and reviewed a number of APIA rods over the years (see here), but funnily enough the one I used that I liked but definitely didn’t love was the previous incarnation of this new Apia Grandage 96ML 9’6’’ 7-28g lure rod, the Apia Foojin'R Best Bower 96MLX (9’6’’, 6-32g) lure rod (review here).


But wow is this new Grandage 96ML a whole different ball game - I liked this one from the first cast, and over a couple of sessions with it I grew to seriously like it and not really want to hand it back. By no means is £309.99 a remotely insignificant amount of money to spend on a lure rod, and for that price you have every right to expect a well built rod. This rod has all that in spades with a bloody nice handle/Fuji reelseat plus Fuji SIC guides - and at that 9’6’’ length with a 7-28g rating I kinda know what I want so that the whole package feels like proper value for money. We are after all getting pretty close in price to the outstanding HTO Shore Game S962MLM 9'6'' 7-35g lure rod (review here).


From my experience of a fair number of APIA rods now, they don’t seem to try and make the out and out lightest lure rods in the world and instead seem to concentrate on an overall feeling of robustness and confidence (this one is quoted as weighing 175g) - which I really like. Pick this Grandage 96ML 9’6’’ 7-28g lure rod up and fling a few lures out and very quickly I am feeling supremely confident that this rod will simply deal with things. It’s a different feel from say the 9’6’’ 10-30g Major Craft lure rods that I have fished with - not better or worse I might add, just a different overall feeling of serious robustness against a slightly “finer” feeling I get from the equivalent Major Craft rods. I am glad we are seeing more APIA rods trickling onto the UK market because I think that their lure rods are well suited for the rough and tumble of UK and Irish bass fishing. 

Casting a 6'' DoLive Stick

Casting a 6'' DoLive Stick

And this Grandage 96ML 9’6’’ 7-28g lure rod does the lot. Not for one second am I advising you to go and overload this rod, but because it’s not mine and if it breaks on me then that’s part of the testing process, I deliberately cast my increasingly beloved 25g/120mm Fiiish Black Minnow combination which comes in at around 35g. The rod wasn’t stressed even when I was seriously winding this lure up, indeed if I was putting a rating on the rod I think I’d be calling it 10-35g which to me ties in with how robust a fishing weapon this rod is. This thing is a machine yet it’s got plenty of finesse with say a 6’’ OSP DoLive Stick if needs be, and then wind a Patchinko or indeed the increasingly lethal Patchinko 125 up and you can put them out of sight if needs be. Please don’t go overloading it and blame me if something goes wrong, but this Grandage 96ML 9’6’’ 7-28g lure rod is one capable bit of lure fishing kit.


This Grandage 96ML 9’6’’ 7-28g lure rod is faster and far more precise/steely than the previous generation Foojin'R Best Bower 96MLX, and if you read my lure rod reviews then you will know how much I am drawn to rods like this. A 4000 size Shimano spinning reel feels about perfect on the rod to me and over the course of a couple of sessions in some bouncy conditions I deliberately went through my two lure boxes to see if I could trip this rod up, but to be honest it’s so accomplished and so damn nice to use that I just got on with enjoying fishing with it and landed a few bass on it as well. As I said, I tend to like APIA rods and this Grandage 96ML is the sort of rod that if I owned would be getting a hell of a lot of use with the sort of lure fishing for bass that I might do through the course of a season. If I was in the market for a “proper” 9’6’’ lure rod around the £300 mark then I’d be sorely tempted to go for this Apia Grandage 96ML 9’6’’ 7-28g, and with how good this one is I can’t wait to see more of the Grandage range as they come onto the UK market…………


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