I reckon it’s a bold move for a UK company to develop two lure fishing rods for shore based bass fishing that are retailing around the £300 mark, but then if you keep an eye on the TronixPro lot then you can’t fail to notice how intent they are on shaking up the UK fishing tackle market - and I take my hat off to them. Will they sell a load of these (not cheap) lure rods? I haven’t got a clue, but full marks to them for giving it a damn good go……….
First impressions of this rather smart HTO Shore Game S882LML 8’8’’ 7-28g lure rod are good. I am a sucker for a decent neoprene rod bag even if I don’t actually find the need for a rod bag very much, and via my love affair with the Major Craft Truzer range of rods, I can’t help but be drawn to a lure rod rung with Fuji Torzite guides. Do they catch me more fish? Nope, but that’s besides the point. I like them and they smack of quality. I can live with the reelseat but I do wish it had a bit of a grip for my reel hand (see here, it’s the same design as on their longer 9’6’’ rod), and the noticeably short handle length sits well with the rod and how it fishes (I bet this rod works well on a boat). There is a little clip just above the foregrip where you can clip lures into, and I can even clip these rather fantastic Breakaway Mini Links in there if needs be.
So how does the rod behave when you take it out lure fishing? Well I mean this as a big compliment - it would be a shame to buy this rather deft lure rod and do nothing with it but “whack and crank”, as in the rod’s so light and wand-like and responsive that it really is pleading with you to do so much more with it than simply blast lures out there and crank them back in. By all means clip something on like the IMA Hound 125F Glide hard lure, blast it out and wind it back, but you can do that just fine with any number of lure rods. Nope, it’s when you are casting out say a DoLive Stick, a senko, a lighter hard lure or smaller surface lure and you are lightly gripping the rod and deftly working the lures back to you (and yes, sometimes I do actually do this!) - this is when this 8’8’’ HTO Shore Game rod really comes to life, and it’s a frigging dream to fish with it like this. When a rod feels like a simple extension of my arm is when I know it’s a bit special, and this is exactly the feeling I get here - the tip tightens up to the braid after the cast as you start to work your lure back and rod simply comes to life. Wand-like. Rather bloody lovely.
It might well be rated 7-28g, but that stated casting weight I think in some ways does the rod a little bit of a disservice if that makes sense. The rod will deal with the heavier end of its casting rating if you really need it to, but to me this rod is more of a say 5-24g lure fishing rod, and I seriously like this. I have fished with plenty of lure rods that sit just above this rod on the casting weight front (the 10-30g Major Craft rods for example), but it’s not that easy to find a wand of a lure rod like this that so enjoys the lighter stuff. As with the majority of these rods we use for lure fishing, you have the ability to land any bass that swims on them, and this thing’s got oodles of power if needs be - but you’re not going to buy it as a skull-dragging weapon because this rod isn’t like that. I actually think it’s interesting how there’s such an obvious gap between the 8’8’’ and 9’6’’ HTO Shore Game rods, and I must assume that this is by design.
Do I need a lure rod like this for my lure fishing? Well I could quite easily own this rod and end up using it for a fair percentage of what I do as regards bass fishing, but as for you? That would depend on where you live and how you either choose to fish or are almost forced to by terrain and conditions etc. I would love to spend time for example wandering a local estuary that I have my eye on for bass with this rod in hand, a soft plastic on the end, and say a light spinning reel around the Daiwa 2500/Shimano 300 size, indeed I have been using the 2016 Daiwa 2500 Certate on this 8’8’’ HTO Shore Game rod and they go very well together. If you need to fish with bigger lures and/or are needing to deal with bigger seas etc. then I would look at this rod’s bigger brother, the longer and absolutely outstanding 9’6’’ 7-35g version. As with that longer 9’6’’ HTO Shore Game rod, well done to the TronixPro people I reckon and I hope that anglers get to see these rods in the flesh because they are some seriously special bits of lure fishing kit.