Henry Gilbey
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I have finally gone and fallen in (shore fishing) love with the 25g Offshore jig head that goes with the 120mm (no.3) Fiiish Black Minnow

So you know, and I have said this plenty of times before on here - I do some work with Fiiish over in France, but they are not paying me to promote their gear for them, indeed their very “Frenchness” would consider it a bit vulgar if all I did was try and get you to buy their stuff - that sort of promotion is up to their distributors and team members etc and not me. But I do use a lot of their awesome products for my fishing and I see nothing wrong with telling you about it on here, so as ever, if you don’t like, please don’t read……………

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Anyway, ever since I first started fishing with the killer Fiiish Black Minnow it’s been their 120mm (no.3) size that has always done it for me the most in shore fishing terms - and yes, I haven’t spent nearly enough time fishing the smaller Black Minnow 90mm which I know works so well for so many anglers. Anyway, the 12g Shore Head that fits the 120mm Black Minnow suits a lot of my fishing, and a fair while ago I started banging on about a jig head for that size Black Minnow that would sit between the 12g Shore Head and the much heavier 25g Offshore Head. I was nothing to do with the design of the newish 18g Search Head, but I was rather happy when Fiiish brought it out.

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But I can’t recall needing to turn to their 25g Offshore Head for the 120mm body for my shore fishing. On a few occasions from the boat - and I am thinking specifically of the time that Nick Roberts and I spent with Matt the Fiiish designer on his RIB off the coast of NW France a few years back - this particular Black Minnow combination has been deadly, but as much as I tried it for some of my shore fishing (and it’s a combination that weighs a not insubstantial 36g), primarily due to where I tend to do a lot of my fishing and the weight of jig heads that I tend to need, I just haven’t found much of a need for a paddletail/jig head combination that weighs as much as this.

But wow did that change last Friday, indeed it interests me how the generally more hectic north Cornwall coast often requires a bit of a different approach. A very kind angler gave me a shout on Thursday morning and suggested that my mate Mark and I should do all we could to get ourselves along to where he’s been fishing and smashing a heap of bass recently. So we did. Cue a 2.45am alarm call in the early hours of Friday morning and Mark and I were on the road by 3.30am and obviously yapping all things fishing the entire way there. Anyway, thanks to this very kind person we ended up fishing a mark that required a bit of a different approach to much of our fishing at home - whacking paddletails as far as possible into a serious run of current over rough ground and a bit more depth than I tend to fish around me. It’s not a place for your more regular lure rods and as such Mark and I took along a more powerful rod each. As ever for our bass it’s not the size of the fish that dictates the choice of rod, rather where we are fishing and how we need to fish to stand a good chance at catching.

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Anyway, the guy we were fishing with does really well on the 42g Savage Gear Sandeels especially and the 42g Westin Sandy Andy lures which do look rather impressive. I don’t have any of the Westin lures but I increasingly like the Savage Gear Sandeels when a bit of whacking out and cranking in with a paddletail is required, and sure enough these deceptively simple lures started to produce a few bass for Mark and I. When I turn to a Black Minnow it is often for working along or near the bottom on a reef or in a run of current, but just before I had left home early that morning I literally had a flashback to the time when Matt from Fiiish had said to Nick and I on the boat as we got closer and closer to a scary mass of surging white water “wait, wait, wait, cast” and the three of us all hooked into bass as our 25g/120mm Fiiish Black Minnow lures dropped through the water column - so I put a couple in my lure box just in case…………

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And if there is one thing that I am always going to do when there’s a bunch of fish around is have a a bit of a play. Thanks entirely to this kind lad we were into a bunch of bass and as I said on a Facebook post the other day, if fishing got any more fun than this then they’d classify it as a drug and ban it. It’s some blast to fish new waters with a highly skilled local angler, and if there is one thing I am going to do in a situation like this it’s watch what the local guy does and learn all I can - Steve fishes with a Tenryu Shore Dragon 11'6'' 20-80g lure rod for example, a weapon that he has been using over ground like this for a number of years now, and with how he is needing to fish I can see why. He can get the lures right out there where he needs to be and he can literally lift bass up to about 6lbs straight in on the rod and onto a big wet rag he has put on the rocks behind him as an unhooking mat (respect, and also for the barbless approach). It was also very interesting to see how such an experienced angler who fishes a lot on his own and very rarely sees other anglers wears an auto-inflate lifejacket because he thinks it would be stupid not to. Respect again.

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Anyway, I digress - there’s a load of bass around and it’s time for a bit of a play. I need some distance and neither the 12g/120mm or 18g/120mm Black Minnow are going to properly get me out there and also keep my lure down in that raging current. Out comes the lure box and on goes the 25g Offshore Head/120mm body Black Minnow combination that I have yet to feel the love for when from a shore fishing point of view - and three casts later I have fallen in love about as fast as a teenager might with their first fling (but obviously not like my eldest, nearly 14 year old daughter might one day scarily soon because I own a big chainsaw and she’s not going out until she’s 29!).

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Holy cow does that 25g/120mm Black Minnow combination fly, and when it hit the water out in that lovely run of current I snapped the bale arm over (on the increasingly impressive Penn Slammer III 3500 spinning reel, this thing is a machine) to maintain contact with the lure on its way to the bottom and me then starting a medium straight retrieve - but the lure never got to the bottom. As on the Fiiish RIB in that insane water off the coast of NW France a few years ago, I felt a tap, tap on the lure as it was dropping, so I quickly wound into the lure and struck - bass on! Three times in a row this getting nailed on the drop happened on Friday morning, plus I caught a few more fish on the 25g/120mm Black Minnow when I was retrieving it a little slower than I might the Savage Gear Sandeel, and how much fun is it when a bass absolutely slams into your lure when they are feeding in current?

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I am not going to try and compare the Black Minnow to the Savage Gear Sandeel because I think they both have their different uses, indeed as I said earlier I really like the Savage Gear as a “whack and crank” paddletail - but to me there is something special about the Black Minnow when you have enough water in front of you for it to have a bit of time “on the drop” before it hits the bottom. I don’t know how fast the 25g/120mm Black Minnow falls through the water column, but unless I am mistaken it was the one paddletail that produced bass on the drop on Friday morning. Both lures have various strengths and weaknesses to me, but as I am sure you can imagine, I have been going through various storage boxes on the hunt for any Fiiish 25g Offshore Heads that I had put aside in the past………..

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