HTO Shore Game S962MLM 9'6'' 7-35g lure rod review - around £310
It’s going to be a sad day when the courier comes to pick this lure rod up, because I really don’t want to say goodbye to it. Holy cow this (TronixPro) HTO Shore Game S962MLM 9'6'' 7-35g rod is a weapon - so, so my kind of lure fishing rod, indeed it’s as if I could have asked for nearly everything I wanted from a “just that smidgen more powerful” than the 10-30g 9’6’’ Major Craft rods I have fished with a lot over the last few years - and then got all that in this rather special HTO rod. Yes, £310 is a lot of money for a lure fishing rod, and yes, I can’t imagine that the rather clever TronixPro people are going to sell millions of them, but their new HTO Shore Game S962MLM 9'6'' 7-35g lure rod is one hell of a bit of kit and I reckon it would work fantastically well for plenty of of anglers.
I haven’t put the 9’6’’ Major Craft Truzer up against this new HTO rod, but from memory I am pretty sure they share a lot of their DNA, and that’s meant as a big complement - a similar kind of overall feel and action, albeit this 7-35g HTO rod is that smidgen more powerful overall, and I like that. Until I come across something better, the 9’6’’ Truzer is my ideal lure rod of that length if you like, so I am sure you can understand my loving this HTO one because it reminds me so much of the Major Craft Truzer - with that slight increase in power as I said. I haven’t got a clue how far I can cast a lure and it means squat of course, but a few times the other day at a spot on the Copper Coast I caught the Xorus Patchinko “just right” in some bouncing conditions with a lively onshore/slight right to left wind, and I am pretty damn sure I have never, ever put that particular lure out so far. You know when you giggle because a lure seems to go so far? The rod’s a casting machine, but don’t let that hide the fact that it’s the most stunning rod for fishing any number of different lures and techniques.
We fished a lot with white senkos at night over in Ireland the other day, and this 9’6’’ HTO Shore Game does it really well, albeit you don’t actually need that bit more power for how and where we're fishing with them. It’s a stunning rod for working surface lures - I love the fast action and how the tip helps me work surface lures so easily and efficiently, and bumping Black Minnows in current is awesome on this rod. I don’t really understand powerful/fast rods that then give way to a soft tip, so the way that this 9’6’’ HTO Shore Game rod just bends “correctly” if you ask me therefore suits me so well. I can’t tell you much more about the rod from a fishing point of view other than I think it’s a frigging stunning bit of kit.
OK, so I have a bit of an issue with the handle design, but that may well be a personal thing. When my hands are nice and dry I have no problems at all, but when it’s lamping down with my rain or my hands are wet from releasing fish or crashing waves etc., then the lack of duplon at the rear of the reelseat annoys me because my grip on it is now not so good. Not for one second would it stop me buying this rod, but yes, I do prefer something like duplon or cork behind the reelseat instead of simply the securing nuts and then grooved plastic of the actual reelseat. But hey, I fished just fine in some filthy weather and bouncy conditions with the rod. And yes, I love the Fuji Torzite guides on the rod and the actual handle length is perfect for me.
I like how this 7-35g 9’6’’ HTO Shore Game rod is that little but significant step up in power from something like the stupidly good (and should cost far more if you ask me) 9’6’’ Major Craft Skyroad Surf. We’re not talking say the Major Craft X-Ride 9’6’’ 15-42g levels of power, but I would guess that the TronixPro people have done their homework with this rod and reckon that the 7-35g rating covers the bulk of how we go about our shore based bass fishing here in the UK and Ireland - and I do have half a clue about how much thought, work and testing went into this rod and indeed the shorter/lighter one (review in due course). Bloody well done I reckon. If I was after a lure rod that was aimed squarely within that 7-35g range then I’d be more than happy to drop around £300 of my money on this HTO Shore Game S962MLM 9'6'', and at the end of the day I can’t tell you how much more I like it than that (I have found the rod for sale here if that is any help). Perhaps I need to kidnap the courier so he can’t take the rod away!