Let's analyse bass fishing with lures here in the UK and Ireland for a minute - with our realistic hats on we surely have no problem accepting that as exciting as "our" bass fishing can be (and I'm talking about shore fishing here), we are not dealing with particularly big or brutal fish. This doesn't for one second diminish how awesome bass fishing is, but I get a fair few emails asking about fishing gear, and a percentage of those emails are naturally about lure fishing rods.
It makes me feel a little proud if you like that anglers want to get in touch to ask for my advice, but of course I am in exactly the same boat in that I also seek help and advice from a number of different sources. One thing I try to get across to my girls in fact is to be interested, to ask questions, to want to be better informed about stuff they are interested in. As lure fishing is becoming more popular, so this naturally leads to many anglers having numerous questions - me included. Sometimes these emails/FB messages etc. are along the lines of "Henry, I'm looking for a rod I can use for lure fishing for bass, it needs to be able to deal with lures around the 50/60g mark".
Really ? As I said earlier, if we really examine "our" bass fishing, we are fishing for a fish that let's be honest is very rarely going to weigh more than 10lb - so it's not as if we need a particularly powerful rod for subduing our quarry, as spectacular as they are of course. We're not trying to skull-drag sulking conger eels out of very deep water or 'orrible rough ground, indeed bass are not known for being dirty fighters as it is. Nope, a 50/60g kind of lure rod isn't required to cope with the size and strength of bass.
Go and have a close look at a typical lure box (or ten) that you would take out fishing with you. What is the heaviest lure in there ? Unless you are fishing particularly deep or rough water all the time, then I bet you there isn't a lure in there anywhere close to 50g or even 60g - please bear in mind here that I base a blog post like this on the sort of bass fishing I do or spend time around. Plenty of anglers do well on those Savage Gear Sandeels, but I would question why on earth you would need to use the 42g size over the 23g one for shore fishing. If the 42g version is in your box, let's take it out of the equation for the moment - and now look at the maximum weight of your lures.............
If you fish your more typical bass ground from the shore then I would be surprised if you've got a lure in there over 30g, and more likely 28g and below - with something like the Patchinko quite possibly now being the heaviest thing in there. We've worked out that you don't need a 50/60g lure rod for the power of the fish, but now we're finding out that for many anglers they don't need that kind of lure rod for the lures they fish with either. So why not use a lighter rod ?
The scrap from a fish is obviously something to be enjoyed, but do I want to prolong it any more than is absolutely necessary to get that fish in ? Nope. Big, fish, small fish, I don't care - I want them in, and I want them in within the shorted period of time possible. I am not about to go lighter just to increase my "enjoyment", and I don't get any notion of going lighter to lengthen the time spent fighting the fish. You go fishing to catch fish and giving them more of a chance than you need to just makes no sense to me. Surely we invest in all this technology and learning about watercraft to try and load the dice in our favour as much as possible ?
Nope, the reason I am fishing with lure rods generally no heavier than around 30/35g at the top end is due to where I fish and how I need to tackle that kind of ground. And the more I learn about tackling different terrains with different lures and all manner of different techniques, well this is what influences the power of my lure rods. A few years ago I had no clue that you could for example smash bass in clear, shallow water on what are some pretty "boring" looking soft plastics rigged weightless/weedless that don't actually weigh very much or do anything remotely exciting - and therefore I was not looking for my lure fishing rod to be able to deal with these kind of techniques.
But I am now. The first "proper" lure fishing rod I fished with was the rather special but powerful Tenryu Red Dragon Express, a rod that very much opened my eyes up to the fact that lure rods were somewhat different to spinning rods. Would I personally want to be using this rod these days ? No. It's still a great rod and no doubt it suits a number of bass anglers and how they might fish, but for me it's just too much rod for how I myself am tending to fish these days (never say never though, especially with lure fishing). Where and how I fish influences many of my decisions about fishing tackle - rods, reels, lines, lures, bags, footwear, clothing etc. The better suited my rod is to the sort of lures I am fishing with, the better I believe I am using my lures, and the more feel and contact I reckon I am getting - which considering this is what I am after and that so much of fishing is about confidence, it makes some sense doesn't it?