On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Wadebridge in north Cornwall to check out the new Art of Fishing tackle shop. The people behind these shops have outgrown their first place in St. Merryn and a larger premises was I presume the logical step along with their shops in Plymouth and Falmouth. I can't help but admire the fact that fishing tackle shops like these exist these days, and the continued growth in lure fishing is so much to do with it.
Ben has got a brand new Japanese rod range in that sees most of the models coming in at under the £200 mark, and from what I saw there were some serious feeling lure rods that are going to work great for "our" bass fishing, as well as the wrasse and LRF stuff - the brand is called Slash. There was also a new and very keenly priced brand of soft plastics in the shop called Z-Man, plus a heap of new jig heads and cleverly weighted hooks as well as countless other items I did not get a chance to look at.
I was also shown some massively impressive feeling Sakura lure rods called "Loondaka" - the rods in the shop were I believe around the 7'4'' mark, and from memory the two rods rated up to I think 25g and then 35g were just ridiculously light and felt very, very responsive. I know the Tenryu SP 73M is one hell of a rod that quite rightly has a great reputation, but from admittedly only a few waggles these Sakura Loondaka rods at around the £300 mark felt more than interesting. If I was in the market for a sub-8' lure rod that I could use from both boat and shore (kayak ?) then I would personally be having a very close look at these Loondaka ones.......................
If I had one minor criticism though, and it comes from me so loving the visual side of fishing, I can't help but wish that perhaps there was a touch more "colour" in the new shop, and perhaps in the Plymouth one as well. Look, they are hugely impressive places to go and buy fishing tackle, and you will get all the help and advice you need on some amazing gear, but I kinda wish that there were a bunch of big photos or perhaps colourful Japanese fishing tackle adverts/posters etc. up on the walls (above the fishing gear ?) to add just a splash of colour and "life". I could look at fishing tackle all day long, believe me, but a side of me would love to see a touch less "sterility" - at the end of the day though I don't have a clue about running a shop and I can only take my hat off to the people who do. What a fantastic new tackle shop.
I have finally managed to get my hands on the brand new surface lure from MegaBass - it's called the "XLush". It's 113mm long and weighs 17g, and although I have only had a couple of quick plays with it I reckon it might be something rather interesting. I want my surface lures to cast really well, and this one flies. You can get this new MegaBass XLush to "wake" by simply winding it in, or you can walk the dog with it/slide it from side to side - when you do this the "gills" in the side of the lure's head emit a stream of bubbles that of course don't get me going at all !! I reckon that you can also work the lure a bit like a conventional popper - it pops a bit from the head and sometimes darts under water. This new lure might or might not be coming with me to Ireland later on this week..........
And talking of Ireland, I hear that it's not too late to enter the 2nd Irish Bass Festival that is being run out of the Absolute Fishing tackle shop in Tramore. Give the lads a shout about entering here, and then check here for some really good value for money travel and accommodation. Get some half-tidy conditions and there could be some serious bass caught over the three days. Hope to see you over there.
Three of us had a few hours on the bass yesterday morning. I was worried that the water might be blown after Saturday's winds, but when we got down there conditions looked simply stunning and expectations were pretty high. John got done on the edge of a reef by a bass he saw and put at around 4/5lbs (it's a great looking mark, but there are ledges everywhere), but after that bit of excitement we had not one more sniff of interest from anything resembling a fish. I can't help but feel that things have still not got going properly here in the south east Cornwall yet, but at least I know that this spot can take a lot more sea than I originally thought.
If you read my outpourings on this blog then you have most likely guessed that I have a bit of an "issue" with lure rods especially, and when it comes to the Japanese brand Graphiteleader I tend to go weak at the knees. John very kindly brought down the 9'3'' 10-35g Argento Nuovo that I had recently bought "because I couldn't not" (yes, I know, it's pathetic, but in my defence there has just been a significant price drop on them), and yesterday Andy had a proper thrash with the one rod in the Nuovo range that I knew nothing about, the 9'6'' 10-32g - which of course I had to have a few chucks with. What is it with these things ? I know I use the word awesome a lot, but they are some serious bits of kit - yet again accepting that I obviously get on really well with these Graphiteleader rods and you may well not.
OK, so I like the higher-end gear, but I do of course recognise that not many anglers will or indeed can spend serious wedge on fishing tackle. I have started to play around with some great value for money lure rods around the £100 mark that I will get up on the blog in due course, and I also have a 9' long 7-28g lure rod here that retails for £50, and in the hand I have to say that it feels pretty damn impressive. Honestly, this Shimano Yasei Red Dropshot 2.7m rod feels like for £50 that it's a serious bargain, and that it's a "proper" lure rod and not remotely some floppy/heavy bit of carbon fibre that would be better off used for runner beans. I also saw the 8' long 7-28g Shimano Yasei Red Twitch lure rod in the new Art of Fishing tackle shop on Saturday, and this one retails for around £60. Wow !! Very fast, nice and light, I bet this would make a great lure rod for sub-surface and surface hard lures, plus it would do all manner of plastics I am sure.
Fishing aside, just how awesome were the Lions on Saturday morning ? What a game of rugby. OK, so we might have been asked a few questions out wide on the defence, but a couple of the tries were right out of the top draw and I can only hope that the injury to Jamie Roberts is not too serious with the first test coming up on Saturday. I love Lions rugby, and I love how I am cheering on players from Wales, Scotland and Ireland when in early 2014 I will be once more be wishing them all manner of ill fortune during the Six Nations. Oh, and Justin Rose won the US Open last night. Overall a great weekend !!
Monday morning metal madness - Amon Amarth, "Cry of the Blackbirds" - enough said ? One of the most immense, catchy as hell, give me cause to ride a horse into battle with a great big spear in my hands metal songs ever written.