Henry Gilbey
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Favorite Shooter SHT-962MH 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod review - £194.99 UK price

If a lure like the Xorus Patchinko II is in your armoury and you regularly fish sea conditions which require the use of sub-surface lures such as the long-casting and incredibly grippy IMA Hound 125F Glide, then I would suggest you do all you can to check out this sub-£200 Favorite Shooter 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod. Wow. This thing is a frigging machine of a rod, indeed the only niggle I could possibly have here is that there isn’t a more “regular” 9’6’’, say 6-28g version of this rod in Favorite’s (sea bass) Shooter range that has the same sort of action and build, because this 15-35g one is a peach. Readers of this blog will know that I have a thing for Major Craft rods, and especially the sub-£200 Skyroad range, but this Favorite Shooter 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod shares the same kind of rarified air - out and out class that really could easily cost a bunch more………..

OK, so with the range of locations and conditions that I might fish the most, together with the majority of the lures I could end up using for my own bass fishing, this Favorite Shooter 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod would not be my everyday rod as such, but these days I regularly find myself turning to something that bit more powerful when conditions and/or location dictate. As much as I might love fishing soft plastics rigged weedless and weightless for example, it’s not much cop trying to fish a 6’’ OSP DoLive Stick straight into a bouncing bit of SW wind and sea (I don't like adding any extra weight to them). Tucked away from it might be a slightly different matter, but when the sea starts to properly bounce and you start needing to getting bigger stuff out there, this rod does it without breaking a sweat.

This Shooter is that white line - so my kind of lure rod!

This Shooter is that white line - so my kind of lure rod!

I like the build of the rod - Fuji Alconite guides and Fuji reelseat - and I am a sucker for those slightly more chunky duplon grips like I found on the considerably more expensive and a bit more powerful again APIA Foojin’R Grand Swell 96MH 9’6’’ 7-42g (review here). The handle length on this Favorite Shooter 9’6’’ is perfect for me, but I think it’s far better if I acquire a screenshot above from the outstanding Art of Fishing website which shows so much brilliant information on this and so many other rods - and of course you can find this particular Favorite rod right here.

The Shooter reel seat with the sublime  Shimano Exsence C14+ 4000XGS spinning reel

The Shooter reel seat with the sublime Shimano Exsence C14+ 4000XGS spinning reel

This Favorite Shooter 9'6'' 15-35g lure rod is perhaps a medium/fast kind of action, but without remotely being too much. I don’t want some scaffold pole of a more powerful rod that rips my shoulders apart with repeated casting. You can really feel the mid-section loading up and helping launch something like the Xorus Patchinko out there a true country mile, and I very nearly reached my backing when I properly wound up the 30g “seems exactly the same as the discontinued Bass Bullet” Westin Kongetobis. Granted, distance is not remotely everything, but the chances are that by turning to a rod such as this means you’d at least like the ability to help punch stuff into decent headwinds. I can’t stand fishing windier and rougher conditions when the tip on a lure rod bounces around all over the place and makes trying to control your line even harder than it already is - and the tip on this Favorite is just fantastic. Working the Patchinko or a surface lure along those lines at range is so efficient with this rod, and it almost goes without saying that bumping Fiiish Black Minnows around is just as satisfying, and especially that new 18g Search jig head rigged with a 120mm body.

So this lure rod is a definite step up in power over something like the so good it’s a joke Major Craft Skyroad Surf 9’6’’, but if you were after the one lure rod and you tend towards the heavier lures and/or bouncier conditions then this Favorite Shooter makes a lot of sense. What a rod for punching bigger lures out into a good surf for example, or pushing rougher conditions out on the rocks. I reckon the 15-35g rating is just about spot on and I have a feeling there is more there if required, but pushing a rod over its stated casting weight has to be up to the individual angler. Me? I would never do it!

Any complaints? Well not about this rod because it’s a serious bit of kit for the money, but as I said at the start, I can’t help but think that Favorite have missed a few tricks with the rods that are currently available in their “designed for seabass” Shooter range. There’s a 9’ 15-35g, but I’d love to see a 9’ 7-28g as well, and there’s this fantastic 9’6’’ 15-35g we have been looking into here, but I’d love to see a 9’6’’ 7-28g in there as well. This is only the second Favorite rod I have reviewed here on my blog, with the first being that utterly sublime Skyline 8’6’’ 4-16g (and I now have the brand new Skyline 8’6’’ 6-21g here now, help, it’s a disgrace it’s so nice!), and I know squat about their future plans with this Shooter range. Get those more all around casting weight rods in there and I think that Favorite has real potential to take on the Major Craft Skyroad range with how good this 9’6’’ 15-35g Shooter is…………..

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