Major Craft Skyroad SKR-902ML (9', 10-30g, £199) lure rod review
If you read these fishing tackle reviews on here then you might well be thinking that this Henry bloke is a bit of a tackle tart with all manner of issues surrounding lures, rods, reels, lines etc. Well guess what ? I am. I love fishing tackle. It absolutely fascinates me and I really enjoy the opportunities I get to play around with different bits and pieces. You are intelligent enough to make your own mind up about the gear you yourself want to use for your fishing, but I hope these reviews I write might go some way towards helping a few of you out..............
Anyway, a while back and a rod tube turns up out of the blue with a note from the Nice Fish people to please have a go with the enclosed rod if I felt like it, and if not simply to have their couriers come and pick the thing back up. Well of course I can't exactly not have a peek at the rod (do they not know about my "issues" with fishing tackle ?), but before that initial waggle and I'm taken back by a few things about the rod almost straight away. Wow it's light, holy cow those are some very small rings towards the tip, and yes please, I really like those combination cork/duplon handles that I first came across on the awesome APIA rods - and at that sub-£200 price we have some potential here.
I am lucky in that I get to play with all kinds of fishing rods (but in some respects this is also unlucky because it messes with my head), and to be honest a lot of what we are seeing is just so impressive these days that in some respects the price doesn't mean that much. I don't mean to be blasé about it at all, but under £100 for example can get you a really "proper" lure fishing rod (check these rods here, here and here for example), and around the £150-200 mark can sometimes buy a lure rod that I reckon is almost too cheap for what it is because it's just so impressive (like this rod here).
I get how some anglers might or might not get on with certain lure fishing rods for how or where they fish, but I honestly can't for the life of me see how anybody could actively dislike this new Major Craft Skyroad SKR-902ML (9' long, 10-30g casting rate). Forget all about the fact that the rod is a penny or so under the £200 mark because this is without doubt one of the most easy to use yet almost scarily efficient lure rods that I have ever come across. Remember of course that these are merely my opinions, but wow is this an easy rod to like..............
Sure, 9' might be too long or too short for you, and ok, the rating of 10-30g might be too light or too heavy for you as well. You might not like cork/duplon handles and those rather small rings might freak you out, but it's impossible to get away from just how utterly "correct" this Skyroad feels to fish with. Not too poker-stiff, not too soft, and every part of the rod feels like it's working seamlessly. It's a machine of a rod, but it isn't going to remotely rip your arms off.
Look on the Major Craft website at this new Skyroad range of rods (here) and this 9' 10-30g one is described as having a "regular" action, but I have to ask what on earth that actually means. "Regular" to me implies "soft" (rightly or wrongly I might add), and this rod is not remotely soft, indeed I hate fishing with soft rods. So what does "regular" actually mean, because this Skyroad to me feels as fast as you like. Nope, it's not "stiff" as say some of the more French style of lure rods might be (or indeed that rather impressive Shimano 8'1'' Stradic here, a rod in my mind to compare to the far more expensive French Tenryu range), but then it's not even close to being soft either. Yes, there seems to be a great deal of confusion about rod actions and/or recovery rates - because fast does not mean stiff and slow does not mean soft - I think ? To me this rod has a kind of very powerful through action - is that called "progressive ?" Lure rods that work like this now make so much sense to me and how I fish, and yes, what I want from a lure rod has of course changed over the years.
I've tried all kinds of lures that I might fish with on this 9' Skyroad and managed to catch a load of fish along the way as well. My mate even had a go wrasse fishing with it and pulled out a cracking 5lb fish without any undue hassle at all. Sometimes I can use a rod and think that perhaps it's not liking a particular method that much, but try as I might and I can't get this Skyroad to slip up on me. I could feel a 12g/120mm body Black Minnow bumping back down onto a sandy bottom at range and in rough conditions when I was fishing sink and draw with the lure. I smashed a bunch of bass off the top with the rod and you honestly have to see how effortless this thing is at blasting all manner of sub-surface minnows out there to believe it. And yes, the rod doesn't worry at all about then being asked to fish soft plastics rigged weightless/weedless. A true all-rounder if you ask me, and that is what I want from a lure rod that I am going to use for bass fishing from the shore.
I am seriously struggling to find anything about this rod that I don't like. Sure, the rings towards the top of the rod are pretty small, but I haven't had any leader knots catch in them (using this knot here of course), so I've given up worrying about it. The rod may well be rated 10-30g, but it feels pretty damn good to me when I use lures under 10g, and yes, it absolutely animalises the larger Patchinko and a 7'' Megabass DOT Crawler out there if needs be - I feel happy rating this rod at 7-30g . You'll be moving the rod somewhat faster with a lighter lure, but then that's just physics. Look, there is nothing at all that I dislike about this rod. I hesitate to call an item of fishing tackle "perfect", but with where I am these days with my lure fishing, this rod is as close to that as I have come across - whatever the price. I cannot tell you how good it feels to fish this thing with my Sustain 4000FG spinning reel on there. Sure, I am doing some work with Shimano these days, but forget all about that because this 4000 size Sustain is without doubt the most awesome lure fishing reel that I have ever fished with - and wow does it like being strapped to this stupidly good Major Craft Skyroad SKR-902ML.
Monday Morning Metal Madness - This stuff does what it says on the tin - the mighty Hail of Bullets don't mess around with dancing up and down the fretboard in an orgy of technical time changes that a lot of so called "modern death metal" is. I need soul in my music. I want to feel the emotion pouring from my speakers/headphones. This is proper death metal through and through, and this is a new song off their upcoming album "III The Rommel Chronicles". Anybody who has been listening to this kind of music for a long time will recognise the vocals straight away. I fail to see how it gets much better than this, and on stormy Monday morning ? Gotta hand it to me !!