Henry Gilbey
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Favorite SkyLine 862ML (8’6’’, 4-16g) lure rod review - around £270

The price aside, a review of a lure rod rated to cast lures no heavier than 16g which I have been using for some of my early season bass fishing recently raises two questions straight away. Firstly, can a rod rated this light cope with landing potentially big bass, to which I would suggest once again that with our bass it isn’t the size or power of the fish that’s the problem, rather it’s where we might hook them and what might work against us when a fish is hooked - rocks, weed, current, rough conditions etc.

And secondly, would lure anglers who fish for bass think about adding a rod rated “only” 4-16g to their armoury, to which my reply could be that it makes no difference to me because I don’t sell fishing tackle - but in reality it takes a combination of location and conditions to be able to effectively lure fish for bass with a rod this light. If you need to chuck bigger lures into gnarlier conditions then obviously you’re not going to turn to a rod that’s designed to deal with 4-16g lures, but what about those anglers who prowl quiet bays, calm early mornings on the open coast, or estuary edges on the hunt say for moving fish? Crumbs, this Favorite SkyLine 862ML feels like it has been born to do that sort of thing and fish soft plastics like the killer OSP DoLive Stick etc………..

This rod is one of those rather unique lure rods that just makes me smile when I am fishing with it, and that’s because in this case it’s such a pleasure to wind this lightweight wand up and let a lure fly out there, and then working lures with it makes me smile even more. This is the first Favorite rod I have fished with, and whilst they do a huge range of fishing rods at all kinds of prices (I waggled a fantastic feeling 9’ 9-28g Favorite Cobalt the other day and I couldn’t believe it cost a measly £59.99!), I believe that these Fuji Torzite ringed SkyLine rods are some of their highest end products - around £270 is not cheap for a fishing rod, but when I think about other rods I have fished with and how much they cost, personally I think this 8’6’’ 4-16g SkyLine I have been using represents good value for money.

Yes, it’s not as if I have a lot of experience of considerably lighter lure rods for bass fishing, and one could argue that this SkyLine was not actually designed with bass in mind, as per the blurb here from the Favorit website: “The concept of this rod - a long-range shore light jig and rockfishing. The basis of the concept - to cast over the horizon and get the fish from "far edge ". The rod has increased power capacity that allows getting the fish on the shore very fast, even the big ones in difficult conditions. Using high modulus carbon provides the highest sensitivity. Skyline is suitable to use with different kind of rigs, like classic jig-heads as well as line rigs, like Carolina and light drop-shot rig.”

So there you go, but in mind I still think this thing’s an absolute peach for targeting bass with various soft plastics rigged weedless/weightless especially (obviously the DoLive Stick comes into play for me here, not that I am obsessed with this lure or anything!), and then a smaller surface lure like the killer IMA Pugachev’s Cobra is just amazing else to work across the top on this rod, and to be honest it’s not half-bad at working my beloved IMA Salt Skimmer as well. You can bang all manner of smaller minnows out there if needs be, but to me it feels like the rod wants to sit nice and lightly in your hand and be worked (caressed?).

Casting sequence with a 6'' OSP DoLive Stick

The very fast action allied with that light rating gives such a feeling of “crispness” and precision that as much as a rod this light could not be an everyday bass rod for me because of where I often fish and the conditions I often face, it can feel a bit strange initially to go back to the heavier rated rods with how utterly delightful this Favorite SkyLine is to lure fish with. As much as I will err towards a rod around say 10-30g for the bulk of my bass fishing, in reality I could use a rod this light a fair amount. If a fishing rod can be a wonderfully light, sensitive and amazingly precise magic wand then this Favorite SkyLine 862ML (8’6’’, 4-16g) is it. You pick it up and it makes you go looking for those situations when a lure rod this light is going to work for you on the bass fishing front, and then of course there are any number of other saltwater and freshwater scenarios that I have not explored which I am sure would suit this rod perfectly.

I am fine with the cork grips, the handle length works for me and I like Fuji Torzite guides although of course they ramp a rod’s price up, indeed the only thing build wise I would like to change is that bit of the handle where the back of your hand rest on while you cast and work lures - ok, so it’s a bit of a textured kind of hard surface (carbon fibre?) that does the job, but I do prefer cork or duplon. It’s not remotely a deal breaker for me, simply what I prefer.

Shamelessly borrowed from the excellent new Art of Fishing website!

Shamelessly borrowed from the excellent new Art of Fishing website!

I seriously, seriously like the lighter Major Craft Skyroad 9’ 7-23g rod, but this more expensive Favorit SkyLine is that bit lighter rated again and as such I don’t want to compare them because they are not like for like. As I said earlier though, I don’t have a lot of experience with much lighter lure rods for my bass fishing, hence me mentioning that Skyroad. I can push the 7-23g Skyroad conditions wise that bit more than this particular Favorit rod, but that’s pretty obvious when you look at the casting weights. I so like the action on the 4-16g SkyLine that I can’t stop dreaming about how if Favorite could retain the same sort of action then make say a 9’ 5-20g and then a 9’6’’ 6-28g version. I reckon rods like that with this sort of action could be about as good as a bass lure rod could get. Wow this Favorite SkyLine 862ML (8’6’’, 4-16g) is one hell of a lure rod. Oh, and it’s not my rod, so I deliberately overloaded the thing and cast the new Savage Gear Line-Thru Sandeel in the 12.5cm/19g size (which is actually just over 20g when rigged) to see how it did, and to be honest it felt pretty damn good. I am categorically not saying that it’s ok to go and overload the rod, just that I wanted to see what would happen.

And I have found out recently that a new Favorite SkyLine rod is about to hit the market, another 8’6’’ model, but this time rated to cast 6-21g. Crumbs………..