Henry Gilbey
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Graphiteleader Argento Nuovo GONAS-932M 9'3'' 10-35g rod review

The more I learn about the Japanese rod brand Graphiteleader, the more I am realising how revered their Argento range of bass lure rods is. I have never picked up any of the older rods in this range, indeed my only experience so far with the Argento lure rods is a few of the "budget but awesome" RV range (check here) and of course that scarily impressive 9'6'' Super that I reviewed here. The fact that Graphiteleader has just launched a brand new Argento Nuovo range is something that I must presume is a pretty big deal to a number of lure nuts, and I must admit to being pretty excited about seeing them myself after my eyes were somewhat opened with that 8'6'' Argento RV especially. I must once again give credit to those nice people at Lure Heaven for bringing these rods into the UK and making them available to the likes of you and me, and especially because it saves us having to go through the rigmarole of "blind" importing rods all the way from Japan ourselves. I believe these Argento rods will be up around the £400 mark, so they ain't exactly at the budget end of the spectrum, and if it helps, I haven't got even the slightest bit of interest in your opinions as to whether these UK prices are cheap or not when compared to what they can be bought for in Japan. Why don't we pat the backs of the people who make this gear available to us (to make a profit of course, they ain't charities) instead of moaning about UK versus Japanese prices etc. when in fact they bear so little correlation to each other...........

Anyway, I got to spend a few days over in Ireland fishing with the 9'3'' Graphiteleader Argento GONAS-932M that is rated to cast 10-35g and has an action rated as Fast, with a Medium power rating. If you follow this blog and read my ramblings then you'll know that I am hardly a fan of the longer lure rods, or at least I wasn't until I began messing around with a few of the higher end Japanese bass rods that are trickling into the UK. I wish I could explain how a "longer" rod can actually feel nowhere near its length if that makes sense, and from the moment I picked up this 9'3'' rod I never for one second felt remotely uncomfortable using it when compared say to the 8' long Daiwa Branzino or the 8'6'' Argento RV. OK, so either I'm the only person who feels this and therefore I am plain wrong, or else there is actually something pretty special going into rods like this - which I suspect there is because I have picked up various longer lure rods over the last few years which categorically did feel long and a bit sloppy or unwieldy. But not this 9'3'' Argento, holy cow not remotely..............

A few years back and I could never have imagined that I would be referring to a lure rod around the 6-28g mark being a "regular" kind of casting weight for virtually all my bass fishing, because surely you need something far heavier don't you ? Well I used to think I did, but not these days - each to their own of course, and perhaps you do want a slightly more powerful rod for your own fishing. Now I am in no way an expert at this kind of stuff, in fact I do all I can to avoid experts and everything the word conjures up, but this 9'3'' Argento Nuovo feels like an incredibly precise "next step up" from my more "regular" 6-28g kind of lure rod - I hope that makes sense. Some rods claim by their rating to be another step up in power but aren't in reality, or otherwise they are but you then lose that "steeliness" and instead they get floppy and heavy - whereas this out and out weapon of a rod just so flawlessly is that next step up, and it does so with such ease that you almost don't even think you are using a more powerful rod - which I mean as a massive compliment to the rod by the way. Yes, the rod does feel more powerful in the hand when you give it a waggle (as indeed it's meant to being 10-35g rated), but now take it out fishing and use all the regular hard and soft lures and it does so with serious ease. OK, your 6-28g rod is making perhaps a more efficient job of the lighter lures and say some of the weightless soft plastics as indeed it should be, but the more I fished with this 9'3'' 10-35g Argento Nuovo, the more I began to realise how ridiculously efficient it is. Even Del was taken aback by how far it was putting out something like a 6'' Hawg Wild senko fished weightless, but then he might just have been kind about my casting !! Every single thing about this 9'3'' Argento Nuovo smacks of absolute quality, although I did think that I might miss there not being any kind of duplon grip for the back of your rod hand to sit on - which when I fished with the rod I didn't even notice, in fact the back of my rod hand sat just fine on the reelseat as I am sure it was designed to do. It's a stunning bit of kit. Very fast, very "steely", but not remotely too powerful or stiff just for being stiff's sake - this rod has all the feel you could ever hope to need within the casting weight parameters. Check this video here of the rod under load.

The heaviest hard lure I might carry these days seems to be the Xorus Patchinko, and like with the Apia/IMA rod I have been playing with I could not help but giggle as this missile-like surface lure went out almost a silly distance. Not for one second was the Argento even trying, and there's me winding it up as much as I can yet it felt like there was masses more to give if needs be. As much as the APIA/IMA rod is rated up to 34g I believe, these are two very different rods in that the 10-35g Graphiteleader is without doubt a noticeable and very defined step up from the 6-28g range, whilst the APIA/IMA feels to me like a seriously awesome rod in the say 4-30g range that can be pushed a little bit more if needs be - which I mean as a compliment to both rods if that helps.

If the idea of a rod in the 6-28g class strikes you as too light then this 9'3'' Argento needs to be on your list of lure rods to look at it if you are into the idea of spending this sort of dosh on a fishing rod (I believe it will be listed on the Lure Heaven website sometime soon). Use the lighter stuff and do it just fine, but now step up a gear with say pushing the bigger and/or heavier lures out there into the rough stuff and I reckon you've got one of the most impressive fishing rods I have ever come across. It's insane how good this fishing rod is and I can now better see why many lure anglers so revere these Argento rods. This 9'3'' rod likes to be pushed, yet when you are doing so it just feels so effortless - it felt as efficient to fish with a 14g IMA Salt Skimmer as it did a somewhat heavier Xorus Patchinko, and I reckon I was bumping the 12g shore head Fiiish Black Minnow just fine with it. Regular hard lures just go out there like arrows. This rod is a machine, plain and simple, but it's a machine with a huge amount of soul if a rod this (relatively) long and powerful can have soul - which it does, and in spades as well. Another rod that I will be in mourning for when it goes back...........