I came across this new lure rod in the rather impressively stuffed full of lure gear Seaview Angling tackle shop in Plymouth - the Nomura brand of lure gear is being imported into the UK by the longstanding Kiddy Wholesale people. The first thing that came to mind when I picked up this interesting and aggressively priced Nomura Isei Light Game 2.35m (7’8’’) 12-36 lure rod was how interesting it felt as a wrasse fishing rod. I have no doubt that a rod like this has various applications outside of simply wrassing with it (kayak fishing?), but that’s what first struck me about the rod, that’s how I have fished with it, and that is how I will review it.
Does around the £100 mark buy you a proper lure rod that can deal with presenting various soft plastics to wrasse on Texas rigs as I have been doing, and then having some guts to help skull-drag them out of some rocky lair that they have a very urgent desire to get back to? In a word, yes. I think the 12-36g rating is a bit of a shame though because it implies that this 7’8’’ Nomura Isei Light Game is a bit of a poker and not much else - when it isn’t, indeed I don’t think it’s a 36g top end lure rod at all. Nope, to me it’s a rather nice say 8-28g wrassing rod that is perfectly happy bumping simple Texas rigs along the bottom. There seems to be plenty of “feel” and enough guts to set hooks and wrench wrasse out - I landed wrasse to about 4lbs on the rod without feeling undergunned - and to me it’s a rod that confirms my initial impressions when I first picked it up.
I kinda like the minimalist handle design when my hands are nice and dry, but I can’t stand it when my hands are wet - why oh why do some manufacturers put those utterly pointless carbon looking/feeling grips on a rod (the short foregrip on this particular rod) that then are as slippery as a slippery eel when your hands are all wet from say unhooking and releasing a wrasse and itching to get your gear back in the water because the fish are on the feed? It was the same on that lovely 8’ Daiwa Branzino a few years back that came via Daiwa France - what a rod, but just about the most annoying grip/screwlock where the back of my hand sits behind the reel that I have ever come across. Nope, the minimalist grip on this Nomura rod doesn’t do it for me when my hands are wet, but at the price and with how the rod performs it’s not remotely a deal-breaker in my mind. As ever, it could just be me and you might all love this style of grip. I don’t, and especially when I am trying to horse a wrasse out with wet hands.
If you are into your wrasse fishing or are looking for a shorter lure rod with some decent lifting power then it’s very much worth having a look at this Nomura Isei Light Game rod. There are a few other rods in this Isei range that are shorter and rated lighter, but I have only seen this 7’8’’ 12-36g one and it’s a pretty impressive bit of kit for around £100. Yes, it bugs me that you aren’t getting Fuji guides, but at least they are K-Guide lookalikes that work just fine and perhaps I am being unrealistic at the price. I happen to think that the red tip on the rod makes it look a bit gimmicky, but as with the handle that is merely my taste. I must admit that I haven’t exactly been looking hard for wrasse type lure rods recently because I am happy with what I have here, but I am glad I stumbled upon this Nomura rod. Bashing wrasse on soft plastics is a complete blast if you ask me, and I see no reason why anglers should not be going for more specialist gear just as they are with bass fishing.