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Shimano Dialuna S96M 9'6" 8-45g lure rod review - £250+

Two rods into this new Shimano “Dialuna S” rod range now and I’m sold. There’s a complete range of seriously impressive lure fishing rods here that Shimano Europe are for reasons way above my pay grade either missing out on by seemingly doing so little with the limited range they list on their website, or else aren’t even bringing most of the rods into Europe in the first place. I understand completely why carp fishing is the big thing, but why oh why do these big companies do so little with the increase in bass lure fishing when they’ve got so much suitable and gear over in Japan that is perfect for the way so many of us go about our lure fishing? Brick walls and bashing one’s head anyone? Simply not understanding the modern lure fishing market and the arguably unique ways in which it is evolving and growing?

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Anyway, via the nice people at JDM Fishing Tackle over in Ireland I got to fish with the stunning little Shimano Dialuna S90L 9' 5-25g rod last year (review here), and that one rod from the newish Dialuna S range got me seriously interested - and when my brain starts bouncing about something I find it almost impossible to let it go. In their mighty wisdom Shimano Europe and therefore Shimano UK list I think four of the new Dialuna S lure rods on their respective websites, but now go looking for a UK stockist of these rods and you’d be better off trying to see a leprechaun (I hear that a lot of Guinness can help on this front). I did try communicating with Shimano UK to see if they might get me access to this Dialuna S96M 9'6" 8-45g lure rod, but I got nowhere, so I took a punt and bought this rod. Bear in mind here that I had never seen this rod in the flesh. I justified this gamble to myself on the basis that I should be able to sell the rod if I didn’t like it and not lose out too much.

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But I haven’t sold it, and I am not about to either. I absolutely love this Dialuna S96M 9'6" 8-45g lure rod - in my opinion it’s essentially the perfect, “next step up in power but effortlessly usable” lure rod for bass anglers who find themselves needing to fish with heavier lures and/or battle bouncier and windier conditions. Damn this is one hell of a lure fishing rod that I know a lot of anglers would seriously get on with.

I had at least an inkling that this 9’6’’ 8-45g version could be good because of how impressive the lighter 9’ 5-25g Dialuna is, but I was never going to actually know until I gambled on this 9’6’’ 8-45g version and went out fishing with it. I have fished with a hell of a lot of very impressive lure rods now that cover up to say 35g, and whilst I have fished with a fair few “next step up” ones as well, I honestly can’t recall fishing with one that I like quite as much as this awesome Shimano Dialuna S96M 9'6" 8-45g lure rod - which then makes me doubly frustrated that we aren’t seeing a whole load more from this extensive Shimano Japan range here in Europe. Check here for how many rods are in this big, new Dialuna range and you will understand where I am coming from - and I have the Shimano Dialuna S96ML 9'6" 6-32g lure rod here now that I am fishing with and evaluating for a review (it’s outstanding!).

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Okay, so this Shimano Dialuna S96M 9'6" 8-45g lure rod hasn’t quite got the finesse levels of the amazingly versatile Tailwalk EGinn 106M-R 10'6'' Max 45g (review here), but to me they are slightly different types of “next step up” rods. I can turn around in some bouncy conditions and put a 6’’ DoLive Stick into a gully very effectively with both rods, and fishing a surface lure like the killer Whiplash Factory Spittin’ Wire is equally as effective - but to me the Tailwalk has got that upper hand in the subtly stakes. Both rods will do your Patchinkos and Hound Glides and Black Minnows and so on, but with how powerfully this fast as you like Dialuna bends I do feel that I am able to push something like the 42g Savage Gear Sandeel harder than on the Tailwalk. And so on. Both rods handle a big range of lures and with how a lot of lure anglers fish for bass I reckon either rod could be a “go-to” if you need that 45g top end rating - depending on what sort of length you like your lure rods to be.

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Every single thing about this Shimano Dialuna S96M 9'6" 8-45g lure rod smacks of quality, from the handle design which massively floats my boat, to the weight and balance and guides and so on. Whilst this Dialuna is a more powerful rod and a bunch of different reels feel good on it, the best two reels I have used on the rod have been the slightly heavier Penn Slammer III 3500 (review here) and also the Penn Spinfisher VI 3500 (review to come). This Dialuna 9’6’’ 8-45g is a light rod, but for some reason that bit of extra weight on the reel at the butt-end of the rod makes it feel perfectly balanced in my hands. Make me choose and it’s the awesome Penn Slammer that remains welded to this rod.

You may never have need for a lure rod like this, but before you go writing a 45g rod off and also bearing in mind that the 8g lower end rating is a bit generous, I do truly like this Dialuna with a DoLive or smaller surface and hard lures and so on. Step up a bit though and it’s almost not right how far I can put the missile-like Shimano Exsence Silent Assassin 129 lures in the F and S versions on this rod (the new Hound Glide?), as I said earlier I can blast a 42g Savage Gear Sandeel at my absolute full power, the 35g and 45g Savage Gear Psycho Sprat metals go silly distances - and yes, this rod works great in the surf - bumping Fiiish Black Minnows with the rod tip up feels great, and overall I reckon my gamble has gone and seriously paid off. I’ve found my ultimate next step up lure rod that I find myself fishing with more and more because it offers me so much.

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If this rod sounds like it might be for you, I need to warn you that tracking it down might not be all that easy. In theory you can ask a Shimano dealer to get it in for you, and I do see this rod listed on a few European fishing tackle websites if you go looking. Be aware that Shimano UK are listing the older Dialuna “XR” range in their 2019 catalogue - which is really helpful - so if you do ask for the rod, make sure to quote the exact rod name/code from this blog review. The JDM Fishing Tackle lot over in Ireland list this rod, together with a bunch more of this newish Dialuna range - they will either have the rods in stock or else they will get them in on request I believe. Hell, you might even be able to find this Dialuna in stock in a UK tackle shop if you go looking, but don’t hold your breath! I like this Shimano Dialuna S96M 9'6" 8-45g lure rod a huge amount, but if you can’t find it then my next rod off the rank in this “next step up” category is the equally good, subtly different, and usually far easier to find Tailwalk EGinn 106M-R 10'6'' Max 45g.

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