I own a few expensive lure rods yet I am choosing to go out fishing with a more “budget” rod that retails at around £120 here in the UK. Why you might ask? Because it’s so damn good and I can’t get enough of it. A few years ago it was the Major Craft 9’ Skyroad that came along and completely changed my opinion on what seriously good lure rods needed to cost (nothing has changed, the Skyroad is still as good as it ever was), and then along comes the brand new HTO Nebula M 2.7m (9’) 7-35g lure rod and changes things all over again when it comes to a more regular priced, “do it all” 9’ rod for the majority of my lure fishing.
Yes, it’s that good, and yes, I like it more and more the more I fish with it - it just can’t be right how much rod this thing is for the money! I reviewed the 7-35g version the other day, but for some reason this particular rod got very popular very quickly and HTO are now out of stock until January 2018 I believe.
So up until the other day I hadn’t seen any of the other rods in the five strong range, but thanks to the nice people at the Art of Fishing tackle shop I have the more powerful HTO Nebula MH 9’ 12-42g here, and if it’s any help this rod is just as good as the lighter 7-35g version. Sure, it’s more powerful - and you may or may not want that extra power - but it’s still just as much truly serious lure rod as its sibling which I can’t put down. I would love to know how HTO manage to get these rods made for so little money - we’re talking Fuji reel seats and guides - and I absolutely love how they are using nice small guides which I think makes a positive difference to the way the rod behaves.
What I really like here is how the 12-42g Nebula feels so similar to the 7-35g version, but it’s a tad more powerful. It bends the same way, I love how fast both rods are, they are very light, they have really good looking curves when being cast or bent into fish, indeed I am still struggling to find a single thing about either rod that I don’t like. I don’t work with HTO by the way, but I take my hat off to the people involved with bringing rods as good as this to our market for so little money - as I said, to the point that I am choosing to fish with these rods over far more expensive bits of kit.
Don’t let the 12-42g rating put you off this HTO Nebula by the way, because as much as it can easily cope with the 42g end (and I reckon it would deal with plenty more if required, plus they both make stunning boat rods), if you were looking for a more powerful lure rod that could also deal pretty damn well with soft plastics such as the 6’’ OSP DoLive Stick then this thing does a hell of a good job. Sure, I’d choose the sublime 7-35g version for the bulk of my lure fishing needs because it is that bit more subtle, but when things get a bit bouncier out there, or I am looking to blast heavier lures out into a bit of surf, well the 12-42g version is about as good as it gets if you ask me. I’d love to see a 9’6’’ version of both rods, because if HTO could retain those wonderfully steely, crisp actions you’d have some incredible longer lure rods.
What’s really interesting for me is when our clients over at Thatch Cottage in Ireland might need to use a lure rod, and this time around a few of our anglers ended up fishing with both the 9’ Nebula rods I had with me. One lad has already bought the 12-42g one because he got on with it so well, and I have a feeling that some of our anglers are now waiting for the 7-35g version to come into stock. What makes our (guiding) lives much easier is if the guys who need rods can go from location to location and species to species and keep using the same rod because it’s so versatile - from beach to rocks to boat, from bass to pollack (shore and boat) and wrasse, I can’t trip these HTO Nebula rods up. OK, so this 12-42g version would be a slightly more specialist rod for a lot of the bass fishing I might do from the shore, but that doesn’t change a thing for me - this is another incredible lure fishing rod at a price which I personally think is a bit of a joke. As I said, I don’t work for HTO, but if I did? I’m not sure I’d have put these rods out for so comparatively little money, put it that way. They're too good........
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