These days I am rarely carrying a bass lure with me that weighs much more than about 24g I reckon - and more important to me than that upper end is the fact that I am increasingly wanting to be able to effectively fish with the lighter stuff as well on the same rod. That might be soft plastics on jig heads, weightless plastics, smaller surface lures that still cast like missiles, or some of the smaller hard lures, and it makes sense to me to be looking for rods that are designed to give me those options. It interests me how many of these Japanese lure rods that they build for their own (sea) bass fishing seem to be created along these lines, hence me looking more at their rods.
I have a kind of sneaking admiration for such a well-respected Japanese brand like Graphiteleader being open enough to state that yes, we are getting these "cheaper" Argento RV lure rods built in China - because of the cost I am assuming. I just don't see a problem where gear is made as long as it's good, and I can assure you that a lot more fishing gear than you realise is coming out of countries like China - think about what a label like "Designed in the UK" actually means for example. But so what ? I do not mean for one second that lure rods of around £150-170 are cheap, but compared to many other lure rods we can now get our hands on these GL Argento RV ones are potentially some serious value for money. I played around with three models from the RV range........
The Argento RV 862ML-PE - 8'6'' long, rated 6-28g and described by GL as having a Fast action. This rod comes built with specialist braid/PE guides. I do like this length of lure rod and hand on heart I reckon this is one outstanding bit of kit, and at around £150 I believe it's very good value for money (and yes, I can remember very well when I used to see a spinning/lure rod as no more than an add-on to my beachcaster collection - now look at me). If you want a rod that is better suited to blasting out the much bigger lures into wild, rough seas then forget all about this 862ML-PE and go for something else (the 9'6'' one ?), but this 862ML-PE is the kind of lure rod that I would describe as a pure delight to fish with. Yes, it's pretty fast, but I would not say it's fast say like a Tenryu Rod Bar 270 is for example. Japanese (sea) bass rods from my limited experience just seem to be completely different to French ones (potential blog post ?), in that for the most part they are just so effective to cast and fish lures with. This 8'6'' Argento has a very "crisp" or "steely" kind of action and it just makes for a very easy rod to use. The tip seems fine on surface lures, and I love it with weightless senkos for example. Whack out a hard lure in the weight range of something like an IMA Sasuke 120 and the rod just goes into overdrive. It's one of those lure rods that feels a bit like a wand in the hand, in that it does what you want and is not trying to take over if that makes sense. It's an out and out "serious" lure rod that I think represents incredible value for money.
Argento RV 962M - 9'6'' long, rated 10-35g, described by GL as a Regular-Fast action. Bearing in mind that I don't read or understand one single word of Japanese, I can't decipher any information from the GL catalogue I have here and as such I am making up my own mind on what these rods seem to be able to do - rightly or wrongly I might add. I feel that this longer rod is best suited to blasting out hard lures such as minnows, bigger paddletails/shads and perhaps the larger senkos and Slug-Go lures. This 962M puts lures like these out a country mile with such ease. A longer rod like this is not going to be as "crisp" or "steely" as say the 8'6'' version, but I don't think it's meant to be either. The more you can bend a rod on the cast, the chances are that the further your lures will go if you have a solid casting technique, but somehow these Japanese rods just recover so ridiculously fast. Another very easy rod to fish with, and from my brief play it felt most comfortable to me when you are blasting and retrieving. Which it does with consummate ease.
Argento RV 902ML - 9' long, rated 6-28g, described by GL as having a Regular-Fast action. The 9' Argento RV feels like it can do everything that the shorter 862ML-PE can do, but it's a little bit longer - and as such it is not quite as "steely" as its shorter sibling. It is the kind of rod that I know would keep on growing on me the longer I used it. From my brief experience with these three rods I would have no hesitation in saying that they are all "proper", grown-up lure rods, and I am so pleased to see them selling well below the £200 mark. I firmly believe that rods like these are giving some very serious bang for their buck to us anglers.