They should have called this new rod Longcast. Holy cow I don’t think I have ever put lures out so far, and it’s because this new, “budget” Major Craft Firstcast FCS-962ML 9'6'' 10-30g lure rod is so easy to compress if you need to wind it up. Seriously, something already very long-casting like the IMA Hound 125F Glide just absolutely flies on this rod, and even the white senkos on a beach in the middle of the night seem to be going miles. This Major Craft Firstcast 9'6'' 10-30g lure rod is the cheapest Major Craft rod I have fished with so far, and whilst I am a tackle tart of the highest order, I will gladly admit to being very excited to get my hands on one of their new budget Firstcast range to see what £110 might get on the lure rod front.
OK, so it’s a gun of a rod, and timing is not remotely critical. Easy, easy, easy. Seriously, it’s not right how well lures go out on this thing, but of course distance isn’t close to everything with a lure fishing rod, and because I am carrying one lure rod with me when I go out fishing, I need that one rod to be able to do a lot for me. This 9’6’’ 10-30g Firstcast is a “proper” lure fishing rod that will work for plenty of anglers - it’s very easy to like, it’s just an easy rod to fish with, and it’s going to cope with most of what we might want to throw at a lure rod like this. If you have £110 to spend on a lure rod and you’re interested in a 9’6’’ rod that will deal with the sort of lures many of us choose to fish with then I can’t really imagine how your money could go any further really. Sure, you could find a cheap poker of a rod that you might think wow, this feels like a real man’s rod when you waggle it, but then you go fishing with it and you’re left wondering why it’s so heavy and cumbersome and you are struggling to fish properly with lighter lures. Nope, I am all over rods that I can actually get something out of.
But what are you giving up for £110 as opposed to say £180 for the next level up Major Craft Skyroad Surf 9’6’’ 5-28g? Well there’s no doubt that the Surf is a big step up in precision, and I really notice it when fishing with surface lures especially - very different tips on the rods for starters, but then that tip on the Surf is a freak of nature. Sure, you’re going to have no great issues working surface lure on the cheaper Firstcast, but I can’t pretend it’s an outright delight to do so. It works just fine, you will catch and land fish, but then I fish with that £70 more expensive 9’6’’ Skyroad Surf and it’s a completely different story. Same with working soft plastics especially, save for when we are casting out say a white senko at night and doing no more than slowly straight retrieving it. You aren’t going to notice less precision when you aren’t actually working lures as such, indeed I love using the 9’6’’ Firstcast when I am fishing like this - because it’s so damn easy and efficient. Getting my Fiiish Black Minnows out into a run of current is great on this Firstcast as well. They fly!
The handle on this 9’6’’ 10-30g Major Craft Firstcast is a little longer than say my “perfect” 9’ Truzer, but as is usually the case I don’t even notice it after a while - and of course we all like different handle lengths anyway. The actual handle design is not exactly awash with sophistication, but it’s a Fuji reelseat with fairly slim Duplon grips and it works fine. The guides again are Fuji, and whilst they are not as small and low profile as on the more expensive Surf, again I can’t find fault and I am really liking how much rod I am getting for £110. I didn’t like the 9’6’’ Major Craft Crostage because it was too soft and through for me - although I have subsequently learnt that it’s a rod designed for lure and bait fishing in Japan (check here) - but this cheaper again Major Craft Firstcast FCS-962ML 9'6'' 10-30g lure rod is a different story.
If £110 is your absolute ceiling when it comes to buying a “proper” lure fishing rod then do all you can to check this Major Craft Firstcast 9'6'' 10-30g lure rod out (and I haven’t seen any of the other rods in the range yet). It’s a lot of rod for the money and it will work well for heaps of anglers. If though you can beg, borrow or sell organs to raise the extra £70 required to buy the 9’6’’ Major Craft Skyroad Surf when you will be getting a lure rod that is in a different league, make no mistake. The Surf has no right to be so good at its price point, but then this Firstcast is also a lot of lure rod for the dosh. All credit yet again to Major Craft for making lure rods like this at the prices they do, and then I also take my hat off to the Nice Fish lot for bringing them into the UK and getting them into some of the more forward thinking tackle shops. I have found this rod for sale at Veals Mail Order and Chesil Bait’n’Tackle if that helps.