Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

"Do it all" lure rods - Japanese style

You will know by now of my drive to find those kinds of lure rods that I think can do almost everything I ask of them, in that I have zero interest in carrying two rods with me when I go lure fishing, and therefore the more my one rod can do for me, the more useful it is to me. And the more I love it. Is that right, to love your fishing rods ? Let's not go there perhaps. As much as I love learning and understanding how the French anglers approach their lure fishing and their fishing tackle, I guess that it had to be a natural progression to really start looking at and doing my best to learn about more of the Japanese gear. We all use a number of Japanese lures, so I suppose it has to be inevitable that in due course their lure rods begin to cross one's radar.........

I was at the Tackle and Guns show yesterday, and whilst my principal reason for being there was to have a work meeting, of course I took the opportunity to walk around, see people I know, and then take a look especially at the increasing amounts of lure gear being shown. Over the last year as well I guess, more of these Japanese lure rods have been almost creeping up on me, and without a doubt thanks to a number of companies/individuals we are now getting to see more and more of them in the UK marketplace. Yes, of course, fishing tackle is a business and these people have to make money, but I can't help but give them credit for researching and sourcing these products. We, the end users, we are the ones who benefit because we then get more choice, and I really believe that informed choice can only be a good thing in fishing.

If you had asked me a year or so ago what I wanted as my "do it all" lure rod, I would have most likely said nice and easy, please give me either the Tenryu Super Mix 240 or the Grauvell Teklon Concept Spin 802ML. Take nothing away from these rods because they are awesome and they will continue to land lots and lots of fish for lots and lots of anglers. But, if I did not try to keep on learning and adapting then I would end up standing still, and I just can't do that.

If I look in my lure box then aside from perhaps a 30g casting jig, in reality the heaviest lure I am going to be casting might be no more than 22g, and even then most of them weigh a lot less than 20g. I do need to have the option of dropping right down and fishing either some of the small hard lures like the (killer) MegaBass FX9 or the (killer) IMA Salt Skimmer and of course any number of soft plastics. The lighter and more sensitive my lure rod, the better I can cast and fish with the lighter stuff when I need to - but I can still bang the heavier lures out (say the DUO Tide Minnow 145S - sinking). One of the rods that a lot of anglers have turned to over the last few years is of course the Tenryu Injection SP 73M. If you had seen the kind of fishing and fish that I have seen these "little" rods cope with then you would never, ever doubt that a "little" rod can easily do it. But as much as I think the Injection is one hell of a rod, I have wished from day one that I could have a rod that can do similar stuff but at 8' or even a little longer. I want it to be incredibly light, I want all the feel, sensitivity and touch in the world, I don't want it to simply collapse because it is longer, and I still really want a very "steely" feel to it for want of a better word. Anybody can build a stiff poker of a rod that is just stiff for stiff's sake. But to build rods with a very crisp, fast action yet masses and masses of feel - now that is not so easy. But it seems to me with what I am learning that there are a bunch of Japanese rods out there that do exactly this - and it is now that we are really starting to see some of them for sale here in the UK. Now for the most part they are not cheap, but then they are incredibly versatile and specialist bits of gear. The more I get to know about them, the more I am thinking that they are perhaps some of the most useful "do it all" lure rods that we can get our hands on.

This is by no means any kind of definitive list, but here are some of these kinds of rods that I am personally aware of. I don't actually own any myself (yet, lots of self-control needed), but I have fished with a few, and I also got to see a few more at the show yesterday. I have a lot more to learn about them, but it has certainly got me thinking a whole bunch more - and that surely has to be a good thing ? Might be an expensive thing, I know that much !! And before you might think so, to me there is absolutely no need to doubt that any of these rods can quite easily cope with the biggest bass that any of us might ever hook off our shores. It ain't the size of the fish, it's the terrain, the sea state, current and state of our line, clips and lures that loses us fish. Plus some plain bad angling in certain situations if we are honest with ourselves. And yes, I have been guilty of it a couple of times this year on some potentially special bass.

Nories "Flatfish Program" Rough Surf 88 10-40g - see here. I have played with this rod and it amazed me back then, and it will fish very happily with far lighter weights. With what I am understanding now, in due course I will try and play with one again. Holy cow. What a rod. Forget all about the "flatfish" bit, because this is one hell of a bass lure rod for us. Ben sells them, and this is his personal "go to" rod as well. Can't ask for more than that. All credit to the bloke for tracking these Nories rods down and getting them in his shop. Go see !!

MegaBass XOR Shadow XX SXX-85L 5-21g - I blogged about this rod the other day, see here. Far too good for the money.

The 8'6'' 8-28g rod from Dorset Fishing Rods - see my blog post here. This rod really got me thinking about this whole subject. Richard builds amazing rods.

MegaBass XOR Independence IX-83L 7-21g - see here. I picked up this rod at the Tackle and Guns show yesterday and almost immediately put it back down and walked away, doing my best to get it out of my head and pretend I had never seen it. First "wiggle" impressions ? Help. I know you need to fish with a rod, but this felt like something a bit off the scale. But then I have now convinced myself that I never actually saw it..............

Graphite Leader Tiro-F 8'9'' GOTS-892L-F/F 7-32g - see here. I also picked this rod up at the show. Not good for the brain. Can't believe a lure rod that is nearer 9' than 8' can feel that light and "steely". Felt out of this world it was so nice.