Interesting to see some Shimano Japan bass fishing tackle in the new Shimano UK 2017 catalogue

Are the bigger UK tackle companies slowly but surely waking up to the increasing interest in lure fishing for bass in the UK and Ireland? I note with interest how there are now a few JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) items in the new Shimano UK 2017 catalogue (you can see their 2017 new products here), and Daiwa have been offering a few of their JDM Morethan lure rods for a year or two now, plus numerous spinning reels of course. I think I have a fairly good understanding of the different marketplaces and the relative size of the “modern bass fishing market” compared to what many anglers think it surely has to be, but bearing in mind how slow to react these bigger companies tend to be here in the UK, I do wonder where bass fishing tackle might go now that a couple of the big boys in the tackle trade are increasingly getting in on the act…………..

I love how the bass lure market here in the UK over the last few years has tended to be driven tackle wise by a number of smaller but specialist companies who decided that it was time to start offering us the consumers the sort of gear a lot of us are now taking for granted as being readily available. Go through a Daiwa or Shimano catalogue from a few years ago and I bet you struggle to find say a 9’ lure rod rated say 8-28g that is suited to saltwater lure fishing for bass, yet I bet many of us have called that kind of lure rod “normal” for a while now. Same with a number of Japanese hard lures from companies such as IMA, DUO, MegaBass etc., plus any number of soft plastics from around the world. I can remember very well laying eyes on my first ever IMA lure at the CLA Game Fair not that many moons ago for example.

And now we have a couple of the bigger boys getting in on the act with a small but interesting array of JDM (sea) bass fishing tackle, and I also note how Shimano make specific references now to “sea bass” lure fishing in the new 2017 catalogue. Yes, of course, these companies have always offered big ranges of spinning gear, but it is only recently that they have begun to offer specialist bass lure gear from their Japanese arms that can suit the way that so many of us go about our bass fishing here in the UK and indeed Ireland.

I waggled a few of the roughly £250 RRP Shimano Dialuna XR “Sea Bass saltwater spinning” rods in the Art of Fishing tackle shop before Xmas and they felt very much like my kind of bass rods, plus I got to fish for a couple of days with the £249.99 RRP Shimano Exsence C14+ 4000 size spinning reel which felt suitably sublime (but then most spinning reels do feel like this straight out of the box, and only time will tell how they might last in a saltwater fishing environment). I can’t tell you any more about these rods and reels save for they were designed by Shimano Japan and the lengths/casting weights of the Dialuna XR rods are well suited to the lure weights that most of us fish with from the shore on a regular basis.

I wonder if a company like Shimano (and indeed Daiwa) which has such a highly developed range of bass fishing tackle over in Japan will ever bring more of these rods and reels into our marketplace, and whether they will make their extensive hard lure ranges available to us consumers (junkies?). I have heard some very, very good things about the Shimano Exsence range of bass lure rods for example and they sound right up my street. I also see that Shimano have launched a new, sub-£20 8-strand braid onto the market, called “Kairiki”, which I must assume is designed to compete against the fantastic and similarly priced and specced Daiwa J-Braid. Interesting times ahead…….

I would like to say a huge congratulations to Del and Vikki who got married on Valentine’s Day earlier this week. My wife and I plus our two girls and of course Storm boarded a little plane at Land’s End airport last Saturday afternoon in the pissing rain and a bit of a gale (we got to the Isles of Scilly in plenty of time for that truly epic England v Wales Six Nations march, holy frigging cow talk about a nerve-jangler!), but come Tuesday and their wedding day was blessed with the most glorious February weather imaginable. Obviously Del and I did a bit of wrassing on the morning of his wedding. We were incredibly honoured to be asked, and spending a few more days in one of the most special places I know on this earth doesn’t get any better. We went for the most glorious walk imaginable on Wednesday morning, had pasties on the beach for lunch, and then flew back to the mainland later on that afternoon. As good as it gets if you ask me. Congratulations Del and Vikki!