For all the fish we might see or catch, for all the fantastic places that fishing can and does take us to, at the end of the day so much of fishing to me comes down to the people. I love working on my own in fishing and I suppose I am a bit of a loner at heart, but my job within this wonderful industry has given me so many friends and brought me into contact with so many good people - and an event like the recent and rather fantastic Tackle and Guns show just reinforces the whole people thing for me. Sure, most people are at the show principally to show their products to the trade or else look for products to sell in their outlets, but also a show like this brings all these people together - fishing is a fantastic industry and I am proud to be a part of it.
I got to meet people like George from TronixPro who is bringing more and more lure fishing gear into the UK. I had no idea for example that he is now the UK distributor for YGK lines - I have not used these lines but I hear plenty of anglers raving about them. I finally got to see one of these Hart X3 lures up close and personal on the TronixPro stand as well. I bet it flies big time, and I am aware that I need to start learning about these pencil things (is pencil lure the right term ?) for my bass fishing. I loved putting a face to a name and having a chance to talk with David Edwards for example, the man behind the Bug Bond products that my friend Nick Hart raves to me about. What a nice bloke. I could have chatted to him for ages but I was very aware that he was inundated with potential customers. I met a mad keen angler by the name of Will Harding who has an excellent blog called Next Generation Angling - check here. Almost just as I was about to leave I saw the Buff stand and I went up to the main man Henry. Now I met Henry only once about three years ago at the CLA Game Fair. I love Buffs and I own a load of different ones for various uses home and abroad, so I went and said hi to Henry and said that there was no way he would remember be, but he did and could not have been more friendly. What a great bunch of people, and he even gave me one of their new Hood Buffs to use for my fishing and to see how I got on with it. Now how kind is that ?
I spent a fair bit of time talking to the two people behind the French lure brand Fiiish - they were based on the Top Water Lures stand and seemed to be generating a lot of good interest. I am at the bottom of the learning curve when it comes to effectively fishing paddletails/shads for bass, but what a great opportunity to speak with these guys and learn more, and I really enjoyed asking Matt how he came up with the whole Black Minnow concept. Really interesting stuff, and we are making plans for me to head over to Brittany and photograph some of their fishing. He did in turn tell me a fair bit about the next Fiiish product concept they are working on, but I promised not to say a word. I saw no photos or prototypes, but Nick Roberts and I did stand there rather open-mouthed as Matt described the new lures to us and how it worked etc. Good for them I reckon and I have nothing but respect for people like that who work on taking an idea to market and actually making a business out of it.
Those thoroughly nice people behind Lure Heaven looked to be busy nearly all the time over the two days. I did get to see the lightest 8'3'' Graphiteleader Argento RV, and from a few waggles it feels pretty serious. I have also got a few ideas bashing around this head of mine and I got to see plenty of other Graphiteleader rods that do various different jobs within lure fishing, and to be honest this rod brand continues to blows me away. I am sure that there are other rod brands over in Japan that have ranges of rods like Graphiteleader, but since I am not personally in the habit of ordering rods "blind" over the internet from Japan that I have never even seen let alone held, I will tell you about fishing gear that I actually get to see and use. And yes, it's because I know various people within the industry that I am able to get my hands on some of this gear and test it out - which of course is really kind of them. The people factor again. I am going to have to class the new Argento Nuovo range of bass rods as "distinctly worrying", in that if you are of a weak disposition then I would stay away !! I can't for one second pretend that I've been into lure fishing all my life and that I know everything there is to know about it, but having a problem for nice fishing tackle aside, when you see proper fishing tackle that is specifically designed to fish with so many different kinds of lures in so many different ways, it doesn't half keep on opening your mind to where this all might go. I also got a glimpse of the Toray bass mono (yes, mono, not braid) and it looked mightily interesting indeed.
I would also class the APIA rods that I saw and waggled on the Top Water Lures stand as "distinctly worrying" or indeed "potentially problematic". I am happy to say that it's some of these faster action Japanese rods that are without doubt changing and I suppose shaping my thoughts and opinions on the slightly longer lure rods, and I am starting to have various impure thoughts about some of these APIA lure rods (like I do with the Graphiteleader stuff). Daft names they might be, but five APIA rods in particular felt very, very interesting - the Neon Night, Flow Hunt, Night Hawk and the Angel Shooter, plus the more "budget" Foojin'go Red Line Premium Tuned 86ML.
There was without doubt an increased buzz about the whole lure fishing thing at the T&G show, indeed I was even speaking to people working on various coarse fishing magazines who were yapping about all kinds of lure fishing in both salt and freshwater. It was interesting to hear lots and lots of chat about this whole LRF or ultra-light lure fishing thing going on, and how the perception of it amongst some people being that it's no more than blenny-bashing with modern fishing tackle is far from the truth. What is not to like about men, women and children getting out fishing and catching lots of weird and wonderful fish of all sizes ? People, fishing, fish, excitement, fun and fresh air. Does life need to get any more complicated than that ?