Gear of the Year 2015 - Part 1
Sometimes I sit down and think about whether getting older in any way calms the various obsessions, but it doesn’t. I am more obsessed with extreme metal (music) than I was this time year, I love fishing even more than I did twelve months ago, and my obsession with the fishing tackle involved with lure fishing especially just keeps on growing. Why? Well that’s one thing I reckon getting older does give you - who cares why? It is what it is. When I changed websites earlier this year to the one you see here, I thought about leaving the Fishing Tackle section behind and saving myself a certain amount of time and effort with firstly getting it onto here, and secondly doing what I can to keep it updated. A number of people have said to me this year how much they continue to use this website as a resource, and the traffic going through here reflects this. I am glad I kept the section going and I hope it continues to help some of you out. Fishing tackle and what it can do for us continues to fascinate me, so here’s Part 1 of my Gear of the Year 2015.
Lure rod of the year 2015 - Major Craft Skyroad Surf 9’6’’ 5-28g. A no-brainer really. It’s hard to see how an all round lure rod for bass fishing could get much better than the Skyroad Surf 9’6’’ 5-28g rod, and the fact that you can pick it up for around £180 in the UK and Ireland is an absolute frigging steal. Sure, I might have snapped the first one I had for review (check here), but I am 99.9% convinced that it was my fault. When a new tip was kindly sent out to me I then lent the rod to a couple of mates on our September trip to the Copper Coast area in Ireland, and both guys now own this rod, which says a lot if you ask me. I have been lucky enough to have used some class lure rods this year (click on Reviews under Blog Categories on the right of this page), indeed I have some more here at the moment that are getting used and abused as and when the weather allows, but this Skyroad Surf stands out like a beacon it’s so ridiculously good. Serious value for money.
Soft plastic lure of the year 2015 - White senko. It’s got to be the senko, and especially in the white colour as my eyes have been firmly opened up to white senkos at night on a few Irish beaches we have been fishing this year (here for example). I haven’t translated that success to my local marks here in south east Cornwall, but I have a heap to learn about lure fishing at night around here. That aside, catching bass on straight-retrieved white senkos in the middle of night is electric stuff. White senkos aren’t the easiest lure to get hold of here in the UK, and they look about as plain and unexciting as possible - other colours work great of course, but there seems to be something about the white at night, and also in coloured water (check here). If you can’t find them here in the UK, then check out various US fishing tackle websites as the senko was “born” over there and it’s a very common freshwater bass lure. Such a killer bass lure and it strikes me as a little daft how tricky they can be to get hold of in the UK.
Best Accessory 2015 no.1 - Lunker City Texposer weedless hooks. Nope, they are not remotely new, but I have come back to these excellent hooks and I see little reason to not keep on using them. They last great in saltwater, they are nice and sharp, easy to rig of course, not very expensive, and the 5/0 size especially suits me perfectly for 5’’+ soft plastics. Aside from wrasse fishing I can’t actually remember the last time I lost a weedless hook, and with how these texposer hooks last in saltwater that makes for some fantastic value for money if you ask me. Worth tracking down, albeit I still can’t find a better weedless hook than the Varivas Gran Hooking Master - Monster Class (awesome name!!) in sizes 1/0 and 2/0 for wrasse fishing.
Best Accessory 2015 no.2 - Coast HL44 Dual Colour LED headlamp. Cheap and brilliant, indeed I can’t see how you angler could go wrong with this headlamp (review here). I wanted certain things from a lightweight headlamp for bass fishing especially and this one has done it all for me, and at under £30 delivered it’s a bargain. I have used this headlamp in the pissing rain with no hassle at all. Brilliant. Crumbs, I still have nightmares about those great big headlamps and great big battery packs we used to have to use.
Best Accessory 2015 no.3 - Mend-it. Not new, not very exciting, but anybody who fishes with soft plastics should own some of this stuff if you have interest in helping your lures last a bit longer.
Best value for money braid of the year 2015 - Sunline Super PE8. OK, so around £30 a spool ain’t exactly a budget line, but I really feel that this is a lot of braid for the money when it’s compared to other stuff I have fished with (review here). It’s not the thinnest of braids, but it just seems to be so tough and long-lasting, indeed I stand by my initial thought that this Sunline Super PE8 is an 8-strand braid for anglers who don’t like 8-strand braids if that makes sense. I loaded a couple of spare spinning reels with the 15lb version for our clients in Ireland who needed to use some gear, and believe me when I say that by doing that the line then goes through hell - from bass to pollack to boat to bass then pollack then wrasse etc. Very impressive I reckon.
Best fishing item I simply can't do without 2015 - Costa del Mar polarised sunnies, and for me it’s specifically their Permit Frames with the 580G Green Mirror lenses. There are reams of different Costa frames available, but the Permit fits my face the best and they just keep on going and going. I have yet to ever scratch a 580G Costa del Mar lens which is pretty amazing considering how much I wear them - outside mind you. Anybody wearing sunglasses inside should be slapped hard with a stinking wet tuna if you ask me, bloody celebrities included. I have seen other polarised sunnies out and about, but nothing has come close to tempting me to stray from my Costas. Not cheap, but in my opinion there is no better polarised sunglasses company out there. The best, end of.
Best way to carry my lures when I’m fishing 2015 - HPA bag. Again. Try as I might I still can’t find another way of so easily carrying a couple of the smaller size of washable lure boxes and always having them at my side than my HPA Bag. OK, so my old one eventually started to split just under the zip and I had to get a new one, but that was after I reckon over a year and half of hard use, and at the price I don’t see how you can go wrong (check here). The use of a shoulder strap with this HPA bag makes it feel so light that you hardly know it’s there, and whilst I do look around and try the odd different thing out, nothing yet has parted me from this simple and cost effective setup. Via plenty of deep wading this HPA bag spends a fair bit of time underwater and for the life of me I can’t find signs of saltwater damage on the thing. Sure, a bit of stitching eventually gave out, but that’s some serious value for money if you ask me, and most importantly it’s just a very simple and effective way for me to carry all the lures I could need for a session without getting in the way and driving me mad - whilst being close to hand and easy to change things as and when I want.
Worst Buy 2015 no.1 - Simms G3 Guide boots. I would strongly advise any of you who might fish in saltwater not to buy these wading boots. After how frigging awesome their sadly discontinued Rivershed and indeed older Guide boots have done for me and so many anglers I know, it was a real shame to be assured by Simms’ product manager at the iCast show that their new G3 Guide boots were the toughest wading boots they have ever made, and then have them fail on me two times over. A great big steaming pile of grizzly bear scat to that!! Not only are the eyelets on mine rusting out (as per here, and before that I had a wading stud come up through the soles and that first pair had to be replaced), but now the soles are coming away and I am trying to get a full refund on the boots. Very expensive and very rubbish sadly, and from such an awesome company as Simms I find it a real shame. They made wading boots that happened to work perfectly in saltwater before these G3 Guide boots and I fail to understand how they can’t still be doing so.