Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

I have finally found my bass rod......

Anybody who has followed this blog for a while will know that I have been searching for my ultimate bass fishing rod, and today I can announce that my looking is over - the plugging rod I have here now is as good as it is ever going to get, and I am completely over the moon with it. Very light to hold, lightening fast to cast and fish with, and actually designed for bass fishing, not just spinning - believe me, there is a big difference when you finally get to fish with a rod like this one. It is quite simply the most stunning rod that I have ever picked up. I have taken it out for a proper thrashing and this is the one I have been looking for. How can a grown man get so excited by a fishing rod ?

The Tenryu "Red Dragon Express" is designed by the most technically advanced bass anglers in Europe today, the French, and then made in Japan. The kind of modern bass fishing that goes on in France is something we should all be learning from and some of the rods, lures and techniques they are using simply blow us away. The Tenryu rod I have here is 2.9m long (nearly 10') and is rated to fish with lures of 20-60g - there are plenty of Tenryu models available, but you will not find them for sale in the UK. Check here for a specialist Jersey fishing tackle shop that stocks the rods, and these guys seriously know their modern bass fishing. Give them a shout and ask about the awesome Tenyru range of bass rods. You also need to speak to them about their range of bass lures, some of which I have never even seen or heard of before. Nothing ever beats speaking with anglers who use the products they are selling.

But why is this Tenyru rod so special ? The fact that it has been designed to fish with lures for bass is vital here, for mostly we are using regular spinning rods that we press into service for bass fishing. Don't get me wrong, plenty of spinning rods out there will do just fine for bassing (like the one I spoke about the other day, see here), but take it from me, when you pick up and fish with a purpose-built modern bass rod like this one, the difference is staggering. This Tenryu has a lightening fast action and casts lures like proverbial bullets - but the casting is almost secondary to the ease with which you can now work surface and sub-surface lures. For ages I have been looking for a very stiff, ultra-fast actioned rod for my bass fishing, not because I catch loads of big bass (I wish !!), but because it is so much easier and more efficient to work these modern lures we use with an ultra-fast, purpose designed rod. I cast various lures today as far as I could, mainly to see just how well the rod could work them at range, and my jaw nearly hit the rock on which I was standing. Firstly, the lures went further than I have ever seen, with less effort, and then talk about an instant pick up. Because the tip does not collapse into the retrieve, the amount of rod tip movement you have to impart to get surface lures to work properly is a lot less. And I mean a lot less. Getting a lure to walk the dog at extreme range has suddenly become a whole lot easier. Working poppers all the way in has become really very easy indeed. Actually making surface lures work properly at range is vital if you are trying to cover lots of ground, and now I feel I can do it very effectively. It would be a waste of time fishing with a specialist rod like this if you don't use braid as your mainline. It is also very easy to fish lures very accurately at close range into gullies and holes, with no more than a flick of this incredible rod. Overall I feel that I am fishing that bit more efficiently, and that extra boost of confidence can not be measured.

It's hard to put into words just how different this Tenryu rod is when compared to our "normal" UK spinning rods - I had a feeling when I first picked it up that it was something special, but you can't feel just how good it is until you take it fishing. I like the red colour of the rod and the lightweight Fuji rings. The reelseat works great and is very comfortable to fish with for long periods. The butt cap is even made of tough rubber so that you won't trash it if you tend to use the bottom of your rod as a wading stick. Overall the build quality is excellent. I now know exactly what I have been missing in my bass fishing.

But there is a downside, and that is that a rod like this costs a fair bit. I know plenty of anglers will throw their arms up and refuse to even contemplate spending serious money on a "spinning" rod, but then this is not just a spinning rod. I also know that a number of anglers will happily spend what it takes to get the tools they want for their fishing. This Tenryu bass rod I have here is as specialist as a top-end fly rod or beachcaster, so in my mind it is worth every single penny. If bass fishing is seriously your thing, check these Tenyru rods out. I hear that the Rod Bar Model 270 is a seriously special bit of kit as well. There are also various Tenryu rods that work very well for bassing off boats. I have a feeling that these outrageous red rods are going to catch on among the bassing community over here.

I was out yesterday photographing a fly fishing feature with Nick Hart, and we had an awesome time, with Nick catching come stunning brown trout from Colliford reservoir up on Bodmin Moor. Some of the rain we had was off the scale, but we got the job done - I have developed a technique of jamming a big golf umbrella down through my wading jacket and then taking photos from underneath. It actually works really well. If I have time I will post a few shots on this blog tomorrow.

I have to pack some things together now for my trip to the Florida Keys. I am heading out to stay and fish with Rodney Goodship who runs the excellent guiding operation Fish the Dream, check here for full details. I fly on Saturday and return a week later, hopefully after tangling with some suitably large tarpon. Bring it on as they say !! I should be able to keep the blog updated while I am out there.

Oh, and I blanked again for bass this morning - conditions seemed pretty good, but the water was a little coloured up. I felt really confident of seeing a fish though, but at least I got to thrash this new rod of mine and fall in love with it. If you ever see a flash of red lightening out on the coast, it is most likely me hurling another lure out there with my Tenryu !! I am not a technical angler, but I have found the ultimate bass rod.