Let me tell you how to land a bass completely wrong and break your rod in the process

I have been loving fishing with this utterly sublime, lighter lure rod, the Favorite Skyline SKY-862M 8’6’’ 6-21g - every time a bass hits my lure I can’t help but give out a little yelp with how much of an excited jolt down my arm that hit is on a rod as precise as this. I don’t have a heap of experience with the lighter lure rods we might press into service for bass fishing, but I can’t see how a rod like this can get much better than this particular Favorite Skyline.

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So I took it over to Ireland with me the other day, ostensibly to use with the OSP DoLive Stick in the various estuaries I was sure we were going to spend a bit of time fishing - which we did, and as per my recent blog posts from when we were out there, we had some outstanding bass fishing. And yes, as per always, I am sure there are other lures which might have worked as well, but so far I haven’t found a soft plastic that I can fish weedless and weightless that floats my boat anywhere near as much as the DoLive Stick. So I’ll keep on buying them, fishing with them, and yapping about them until I come across something better.

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Anyway, so we’re fishing away in some very shallow, clear water, and I go and hook a bass on this Favorite Skyline rod. If I didn’t yelp with excitement then I certainly jumped out of my skin at the hit - the feeling from fishing with a lighter, ultra-sensitive lure rod when you are working your lures a bit is brilliant. The fish is soon ready for landing and unhooking, but bear in mind here that we are wading, there’s nowhere to drag the fish out of the water for unhooking, and I have got my camera gear in a rucksack on my back - but all this is no excuse I can assure you for some truly piss poor angling coming up!

As always I am using a barbless hook with my DoLive Stick (the 5/0 Owner Twistlock hook which I happen to think suits the lure perfectly), and because the fish is around 4lbs and I have some photos already of fish like this from the trip, I am going to go for a quick release which I have done successfully on many occasions. I will grab the leader with one hand, stick the rod under my arm, and with my now free rod hand I will remove the barbless hook so the fish swims off without me ever needing to even touch it or take it out of the water.

So I do exactly that - I grab the leader, go to stick the rod under my arm, but before I can do this the fish suddenly goes to charge off, and because I haven’t got a secure grip on the (wet) leader - I usually wrap it around my hand a couple of times but for some reason didn’t do so this time - the fish can suddenly move off. I bet you can imagine what happens next - my rod tip could not have been in a worse position, and a split second later I am down to a roughly 8’ Skyline instead of the more usual 8’6’’ Skyline. This may not be a traditional case of high-sticking as such, but in other respects it was - through my own stupid fault I allowed my rod tip to get into a totally unnatural angle when the fish suddenly lunged away. Modern carbon rods are amazing bits of kit, but they still obey the law of physics, and I am left standing there like a right tit.

This episode was 100% my fault, indeed there is no doubt whatsoever that my bag angling caused this awesome rod to break. A much more powerful lure rod might have held up to what I put it through when cocking up the landing of that bass, but I don’t want to be fishing with a rod like that with where and how we were fishing that particular session. These lighter lure rods are that bit more fragile, indeed the tip on this Favorite Skyline SKY-862M 8’6’’ 6-21g is a big part of what makes this lure rod so special, but as with landing say a bonefish in skinny water on an 8 weight fly rod, you need to show a bit of care for these things and categorically not do what I so stupidly did!

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Trip over as far as that rod went, and I was gutted mainly because we did a lot of shallow water soft plastics fishing over in Ireland to which this Skyline is perfectly suited. I changed over to fishing with the new HTO Nebula M 2.7m (9’) 7-35g - I hadn’t fished with it for over a week because I lent my review copy to a friend, but it’s often when I come back to certain rods after not using them for a while that I am able to reconfirm in my head what they are really like, and this 9’ Nebula is an absolute freak of nature it is so ridiculously good, and for not much over the £100 mark it is a joke, end of. I had other, more expensive “regular” casting weight lure rods with me in Ireland, but I chose to fish with this “budget” 9’ 7-35g HTO Nebula because it’s so damn good. As special as this rod is though, it isn’t the delightfully light Favorite Skyline which I broke. Another example of fishing like a tit! Here’s hoping that a new tip doesn’t cost too much……….

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