Henry Gilbey
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HTO Nebula 9’6’’ (2.9m) 7-35g lure rod review - £149.99 UK price

I still haven’t come across a regular sort of casting weight 9’ lure rod in the £100-150 price bracket that I feel can live with the outstanding HTO Nebula 9’ (2.7m) 7-35g (review here), but from the moment that rod arrived here for a bit of a thrashing I was wondering why the powers that be at HTO Towers didn’t also have a longer 9’6’’ rod in the range that still covered that essential 7-35g range. Well they do now, and as much as I am still hugely impressed by the 9’, a part of me thinks that this new HTO Nebula 9’6’’ (2.9m) 7-35g lure rod might well be a slightly better rod again. I will explain why………


The 9’ 7-35g Nebula is in my opinion a hell of a lot of lure rod for the money. It’s very, very fast and pretty stiff overall albeit it’s not too much rod because of that 7-35g rating and how well it can load if you get things right on the casting front. This new and slightly longer 9’6’’ version is still a pretty stiff sort of very fast lure fishing rod, but without a doubt that extra 6’’ length manages to smooth things out a bit - you can feel the whole rod bending that bit easier through your hands when you wind things up. It’s still very light with an amazingly thin, stiffish tip that really works for me and many ways in which I might lure fishing for bass within that 7-35g range, the handle is spot on (slightly longer than on the 9’), I seriously like the small Fuji guides used on these rods, and even if the prices have gone up slightly with what I guess are currency fluctuations and so on, I still think these Nebulas represent incredible value for money.


I had the prototype version of this 9’6’’ Nebula here for a while last year, and I thrashed the living daylights out of it before handing it over to a friend and telling him not to hold back for a single second with the rod. This lad hits a lure rod seriously hard! There’s no point me repeating myself with what I think this rod can and can’t do when essentially it can do exactly the same good stuff as the shorter 9’ version - here’s that review - but I do also think that with the extra bit of length, this 9’6’’ 7-35g Nebula also makes a really good surf lure rod for those times when you aren’t going to be chucking lures over the 35g mark. As with the 9’ Nebula, I have hit 35g metals on this 9’6’’ version as hard as I can hit a lure, and they just absolutely fly - the rod is not straining which of course suggests you could cast heavier lures, but I am choosing to stay within the recommended casting weights because I want a rod to be working efficiently rather than overload it and have to hold back or risk breaking it.


And it’s that stiffness in the tip on this 9’6’’ Nebula that I think makes it such a good style of surf lure rod. Obviously if you need to go hurling much heavier lures out there then this rod is not for you (have a look at the weapon that is the 10’ 15-56 Nebula, review to come, weapon!), but I like this particular Nebula for surf fishing because the tip isn’t flapping around in the breeze - and if there is one thing that bugs the hell out of me when chucking lures out into a decent bit of surf, it’s a rod tip that flaps around like a badly rigged spinnaker (with thanks to my two girls for that sailing analogy, for I know less than nothing about sailing stuff). When I am whacking and cranking metals especially, I want that metal to go out as far as I can get it and and then for the tip to sit nice and still on the retrieve - and this Nebula does just that. Together with everything else it can do for me I can’t really see how it’s possible to get more “proper” lure fishing rod for the money.


If you want something a little less stiff or “obvious”/lightning fast then drop a bit more cash on the outstanding and subtler Major Craft Triple Cross EU Custom 9’6’’ 10-30g (review here), but damn I do like this 9’6’’ 7-35g HTO Nebula. I can see this 9’6’’ Nebula working very well for a lot of anglers, and I also have the new 4-piece travel version of the 9’ 7-35g Nebula here for a bit of a thrashing - review to come in due course. So there you go - these rods are so accomplished I am honestly left wondering if and when we might see another range of lure rods around the same price that can live with the Nebula family………..

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