If this blog sometimes comes across as a Major Craft fan club then I make no apologies - bearing in mind that I can only mess around with the rods that certain kind people are good enough to help me get my hands on, then in my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, Major Craft are making the best value for money lure rods for how we tend to do our stuff here in the UK. There is quite possibly another very good “budget to medium high end” lure rod brand out there that offers such a wide range of rods as Major Craft, but I haven’t come across it yet. I am doing my best to try and find a Major Craft rod that I don’t actually enjoy fishing with, but it’s not easy - I did have a few chucks with the fairly cheap 9’6’’ 10-30g Crostage in Ireland in September and it’s not for me at all (too soft etc.) - so how about this new Major Craft N-One NSS-962ML 9’6’’ 10-30g lure rod?
Pretty simple really. This rod is an absolute disgrace how good it is. Sure, you can probably save a few quid by importing one from your second cousin’s pet rattlesnake in Outer Mongolia, but even at the full UK price it’s a steal, and if I am to buy a lure rod then I make no excuses for wanting an easy replacement deal if something were to go wrong with it (any rod can break, but of course it’s never the angler’s fault). So what does around the £220 mark get you?
A hell of a lot of rod for a start. I love the the slightly shorter 9’ 10-30g N-One (review here), and I am fast falling for this 9’6’’ model. The somewhat more expensive 9’6’’ 10-30g Truzer (review here) was my top lure rod of 2014, and it still blows me away how good it is, but the more I get to fish with this particular N-One, the more I am left wondering if Major Craft have got their marketing strategies a bit wrong here by making these new N-One rods this good. The Truzer hasn’t suddenly become a worse rod, just that this new N-One is that good I can’t help but question if it’s now worth spending the extra money to get the Truzer. Yes, the Truzer is a bit more rod overall (that bit “tighter”), as indeed it should be, but wow this 9’6’’ N-One is an impressive creature.
There’s not much point in me telling you how this 9’6’’ N-One performs with the various kinds of lures and techniques I might use for my bass fishing, because to put it bluntly I can’t get it to feel uncomfortable with anything. The chances are that you are fishing with lures and techniques that I may well not be and can therefore trip this N-One up, but I sure as hell can’t. I feel that I should be finding something wrong with it, but how can I when this rod suits me so well? It’s so light, responsive and downright easy to use that to be honest I find it just as wand-like to fish with as the shorter 9’ version, and because I find this longer N-One a touch more comfortable at blasting out the larger lures in bouncier conditions than the 9’ version, if I was looking to buy one I might end up frying my brain with which one to go for. Not a bad problem to have with rods costing a little over the £200 mark if you ask me.
OK, so in a perfect world I’d like a bit more duplon for the back of my right hand when it sits on the reelseat (I am right-handed, so it’s my forward hand on the rod if you like), but that’s nitpicking really because I can’t find anything else to complain about with this 9’6’’ N-One. The handle length is a little longer than on the shorter 9’ rod (36cms against about 30cms), and this feels quite right on the longer rod. The action on the rod works for me - nice and fast but not remotely a poker, and as with the 9’ version, there’s just something so damn easy about lure fishing with this rod. You just don’t need to lash into it to get the best out of it, although there’s a bit more “steel” overall in this 9’6’’ over the 9’, and I really like how this makes it feel like a natural progression via the length over the 9’ N-One. I’d still find choosing between the two a dilemma though.
I don’t know what more to tell you really. The 9’ Truzer (review here) is a faster, pokier rod than the comparable 9’ N-One, but when it gets to this longer length I’d find it hard to choose between the 9’6’’ Truzer, 9’6’’ X-Ride (review here) and this 9’6’’ N-One - the more expensive Truzer and X-Ride rods (same blanks anyway) are a touch faster and steelier, but this N-One is just so easy. Money no object and I am sucker for knowing that there’s a very expensive set of Fuji Torzite guides on a Truzer, but aesthetics aside and I am finding it remarkably hard to look much beyond this £220 Major Craft 9’6’’ 10-30g N-One. Rods are of course very personal things, but unless you are needing to fish with bass lures way over the 30g mark then I can’t really see how any angler couldn’t at least appreciate fishing with this 9’6’’ N-One. The spanner in the works is the remarkable and roughly £40 cheaper again Skyroad Surf 9’6’’ (review here), which is officially a joke it’s so cheap for what it is. Which one would I buy? Not easy, put it that way. If you are anywhere near Chesil Bait’n’Tackle or the Art of Fishing you should be able to see this rod in the flesh.