As the interest in what I would term "modern-style" bass fishing seems to keep on exploding, I am constantly being asked about the kinds of rods I might advise somebody to invest in for fishing all these different kinds of lures we are getting our hands on these days. Fishing rods are a very personal thing, and I am never sure whether I am actually qualified to dish out advice on these matters when there are guys out there who know more than I will ever know, but here's a few Monday morning thoughts....
As yet, most of the more specialist kind of plugging rods that are being used are still coming to us via France or Japan - and if you do your homework these days, you can pick up some real bargains. And I mean the kind of plugging rods that really work well and will deal with all manner of hard and soft lures (plus land the fish of course). I would love to be able to say "go out and buy plugging rods from UK tackle companies", but so far I am unaware of any UK fishing tackle company who has grabbed the bull by the horns and delved into the rapidly growing sector of the market. Perhaps one day this might change ?
Above is a photo of North Devon bass fisherman Nigel Gullon being guided by Patrick Gallagher (see here) over in south east Ireland, and Nigel was using a plugging rod that I first really became aware of over at the Nantes bass show earlier this year. Nigel knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to bass fishing - he did not want to spend what is a hell of a lot of money on a red Tenyru rod, so he did his research and bought the Sakura Shukan 8'6'', a rod that is not that expensive, and for the money is just insanely good for this type of bass fishing. We simply do not have a history of making spinning/plugging rods like this here in the UK, yet for sensible money, this Sakura Shukan is one hell of a rod. Fast action, light, powerful, very well built, and something to fish both hard and soft lures with ease. I know how much Patrick rates these Sakura rods because he now stocks them and is selling loads to his anglers. Talk to him about them right here. Mick also sells them over in Jersey, contact the guys here. Personally, if I had got one of these Sakura rods early last year and knew no different, then I would be more than happy to use them for my own bass fishing. A lot of rod for the money - apparently they are now selling for around £130, or the equivalent in Euros. I know of no other plugging rod out there that is such good value for money.
......but the problem is that I stumbled on these red Tenryu rods early last year, via Mick at Mr. Fish over in Jersey - and therefore I lay the blame for my red love affair firmly at his door. There are a huge number of rods in the Tenryu range, and arguably you could do no wrong with using at least five or six different models for our shore fishing over here, and perhaps a few more off the boat. I own two of them, and in a perfect world I would like to own a load more. If somebody comes to me now and says "what is the best bass rod I can get my hands on, cost be damned ?", then now I reckon the answer is a very easy one.
The Tenryu Super Mix 240. There it is. In my mind, unquestionably the best all round modern-style bass plugging rod for fishing with hard and soft lures, from shore and boat. Of course, as I said earlier, rods are a very personal thing, but with the Super Mix 240, I seriously can't think of any kind of angler who won't get on with it, and so far I have yet to come across a bass fishing situation that this rod does not cope with. As a "do everything with hard and soft lures really well" kind of rod, it's the best out there - but only in my opinion. The Red Dragon Express copes a little better with the bigger and much heavier lures (as it is meant to), but it simply does not have the feel of the Super Mix - the new Tenryu Injection is obviously better suited to a higher degree of finesse fishing with smaller hard and soft lures especially (as it is meant to), but it is not designed to go much heavier. It's a bit of a case of how specialist do you want to get ?
I need to carry one rod with me when I go bass fishing, and this one rod has to give me the confidence to chop and change between methods at will, from rocks, tide rips, estuaries, beaches, rough seas, calm seas, distance and close range work, surface and sub-surface lures etc. I am not into carrying say three different rods, especially since I have always got various amounts of camera gear on my back as well, and increasingly the only rod I carry is this Tenryu Super Mix 240 (see some more thoughts on this rod here).
I am not paid to say this, and I do not work for Ultimate Fishing. I bought this rod because I reckon it's the best one I can get my hands on (my thanks still goes to Bruno at Nantes for his invaluable advice on this rod, see you in October), and I can't be more honest than that. It is not cheap, and I even reckon that there are rods for less money out there that are finished off better, but the actual rod part is just plain and simply outstanding. I am not an angler who is into the really technical side of fishing, and the ins and outs of rods and reels don't do a huge amount for me, but there are various bits and pieces I am sure we all own that just fit the bill. This Tenryu Super Mix 240 is that bit of kit for me. You can now get Tenryu rods from Mick here, and also from Patrick over in Ireland here. Your money, your choice. Just don't blame me if you get into these rod rods and can't kick the habit.............