How on earth does a lure rod company go about replacing the Skyroad range of lure rods? I don’t pretend to be a businessman who knows about this sort of stuff, but I do recognise that product ranges need to be refreshed from time to time. Various Skyroad rods were in my opinion so damn good that I wish they could have been made forever, but product life cycles and all that I presume brought about them being discontinued - and then this new Major Craft Triple Cross range appeared.………...
Fishing tackle is of course a very personal thing, but if there was one lure rod that forever changed my thoughts and opinions on what could be done for the money it was the Major Craft 9’ 10-30g Skyroad, and then some more rods from that range as I got to try them out. We still have an 8’6’’ and a 9’ Skyroad over in Kerry that have been used and abused like you would not believe yet they carry on without a whimper whilst I “gently” ask our clients not to go overloading them with Bass Bullets etc. when fish fever takes hold!
Anyway, so the rather nice people at Chesil Bait’n’Tackle kindly sent me a Major Craft Triple Cross 9’6’’ 10-30g rod as soon as they got them (note - NOT the brand new EU Custom version), and because I was so excited to see what Major Craft had done with this new range I took it out bass fishing as soon as I could - but try as I might I just didn’t fall for it like I was so hoping I might. It’s a bloody good rod that will catch a lot of anglers a lot of fish, but for me there just wasn’t that overall “crispness” as there is on the (discontinued) Skyroad Surf 9’6’’ for example. As ever though, fishing rods are incredibly personal things and my mate Mark for example really enjoyed fishing with it, and we had a client in Ireland back in July for example who had bought one of these Triple Cross 9’6’’ 10-30g lure rods and he was getting on with it brilliantly - which yet again proves that we simply can’t all love the same fishing rods.
Because I review fishing rods like this on my own time, I fished with this new rod a couple of times and then left it alone to move onto something else. Naturally I rang the nice people at Chesil Bait’n’Tackle to tell them what I thought - which let’s be honest is only my opinion and what the hell do I know anyway? - and to say thanks very much but it made me mourn for the Skyroad rods even more.
What Major Craft and the people at Chesil Bait’n’Tackle (who are now fully responsible for importing a growing range of Major Craft gear into the UK) do is of course none of my business, but blow me down if a while later I don’t get the news that together they have come up with a brand new “EU Custom” range of Triple Cross lure rods that would be sitting alongside this current Triple Cross range and would I like to try one of these new ones? Apparently these “EU Custom” rods are that bit faster and steelier and damn right I am starting to get excited all over again, and in due course this Major Craft Triple Cross EU Custom 9’ 10-30g lure rod which I am reviewing here arrives. There are four rods in total in this brand new Triple Cross EU Custom range:
TCX-902L/EU Custom – 9ft – 7-23g (I have this one here at home for some proper testing this autumn)
TCX-902ML/EU Custom – 9ft –10-30g (the rod I am reviewing here)
TCX-962ML/EU Custom – 9ft 6in – 10-30g (so, so want to see this one)
Okay, so I have given you the build up and story behind this new rod, and because you have got this far I’m going to make this nice and easy for you - take the (discontinued) Skyroad 9’ 10-30g, add let’s say something like 20% more steeliness/crispness, and you’ve got this rather bloody brilliant Major Craft Triple Cross EU Custom 9’ 10-30g lure rod.
As much as I am happy to fish with cork handles like on most of the Skyroad rods, at the end of the day I do prefer a duplon grip long term, and we’ve got them on all the Triple Cross rods. I also like the fact that this particular Triple Cross EU Custom rod has a slightly shorter handle length than on the comparable Skyroad. I have fished a lot with this rod and I have also handed it to various anglers I know plus a few of our clients over in Ireland as well, and praise for it has been universal. It’s just a really, really good 9’ lure fishing rod that in my opinion works so well for how so many of us fish for bass here in the UK and Ireland.
I would fish the bigger Patchinko on the Skyroad 9’ 10-30g rod, but you knew you were getting towards the top end of the rod in the “how much more is there to give” stakes when you really started to wind a lure like this up. Not on this new Triple Cross EU Custom rod though. Holy cow does this 10-30g rod animalise a lure like the Patchinko and keep on going. I very much agree with the 10-30g rating on this rod if that helps - twitching a 6’’ DoLive Stick around is great, the Patchinko 125 goes out like a dream, fishing any number of hard lures is as good as you’d expect, but then say I need to work along a reefy bottom with the 120mm/18g Search Head Black Minnow combination which comes in at a shade over 28g and this Major Craft Triple Cross EU Custom 9’ 10-30g lure rod doesn’t break a sweat.
So yet again I have to hand it to Major Craft here, plus of course the bods at Chesil Bait’n’Tackle. We’ve got a 9’ 10-30g lure fishing rod for just under that £200 price bracket which is an absolute peach for how so many of us go about our bass fishing. I know a lad who has been fishing extensively with a sample of the Triple Cross EU Custom 9’6’’ 10-30g rod and he is raving about it. He has landed bass to over 10lbs on this rod from the shore, and if he ever parts company with it for a while then it’s going to come down to me for another thrashing around various parts of Cornwall.
But I guess you want to know if I think that this new Major Craft Triple Cross EU Custom 9’ 10-30g lure rod is a better rod than the discontinued 9’ 10-30g Skyroad? Bearing in mind that I have fished with a hell of a lot of lure rods at all kinds of prices since I first got my mitts on that 9’ Skyroad, and then as much as I don’t really like trying to compare lure rods, well yes, I’d take this new Triple Cross EU Custom over the Skyroad. I like that extra dollop of steeliness, I prefer the duplon grips and the overall handle design plus the fact that it’s shorter, and what floats my boat a lot here is that we are still looking at a hell of a lot of proper lure fishing rod for for a penny under £200. Hail the new Skyroad then!
I am heading back out to Ireland tomorrow for a couple of weeks of co-guiding work in Kerry, so I will update the blog when possible. I’ve got a 500 mile drive on my own tomorrow with a 3.5hr ferry crossing in the middle, talking to myself about all things lure fishing all the way and listening to various rugby, cricket and serial killer podcasts, plus some new episodes of Season 4 of the “My Dad Wrote a Porno” podcast which cracks me up no end.
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