So what does just less than £100 buy you these days when it comes to a lure fishing rod ? I make no apologies for the fact that I enjoy fishing with lure rods that cost far more than I could ever have imagined spending on a mere "spinning rod", but there are of course many anglers who can't or won't spend serious dosh on fishing rods - hence this review of a £100 lure rod. Just how much rod can you get for this amount of money ?
Well I still have a bit of a thing for that Grauvell Teklon Concept Spin 802ML, but these days there is a lot more choice out there and this is great for us anglers. Now you are either going to love or hate the idea of an all-white fishing rod, because this 8'1'' long 10-35g Shimano Stradic is just that - white all over. Personally I reckon it looks pretty smart and I have no issues with the colour at all, although I could imagine a bunch of mates taking the piss with regards to white sticks etc. - but then who would have imagined a while back that there would be bright red lure rods around for example ? And I love how these coloured rods "jump" out in photos.
The rod is rung with genuine Fuji guides, and although I like the reelseat, I must assume that at this price it's not a Fuji one. Does this matter ? Not if you ask me, indeed if you want higher end fittings then you're going to have to pay a higher end price. Can you imagine only a few years back that a £100 fishing rod would be rung with genuine Fuji guides ? I am not sure how comfortable I feel calling a £100 "spinning rod" a budget rod, but compared to the rods that are increasingly being used by lure anglers I think it's a pretty fair term to use in conjunction with this Shimano Stradic. Budget in price it may be, but it's a "proper" fishing rod when it comes to fishing...........
So what's it like to lure fish with ? Well if it helps, I think this Shimano Stradic SSTR81M is a serious lure rod and I can't really see how anybody with £99.99 to spend on a fishing rod could go wrong really - if they are after a rod with this kind of action that is. This white Stradic is more a "French style" lure rod if that makes sense. I don't actually know who designed the rod, but if you like a very fast action and a pretty stiff tip on a lure rod then you will feel right at home with this thing. If for example you can't or won't stretch to say a (reassuringly expensive) red Tenryu lure rod then you should check out this thing.
There isn't a lure I use that this Shimano Stradic can't cope with. Yes, before anybody asks, it absolutely whacks a Patchinko out there, and yes, I reckon the quoted 35g top end is correct. You can get the lighter lures out there ok if needs be, but this rod is much happier blasting the heavier stuff, and at range with a surface lure it's great for example. I can't get away from it being happiest say cranking sub-surface minnows or working larger surface lures rather than say deftly (me ?) twitching and pausing a 5'' senko, but you can do it, and you can put some serious gears on fish with it.
I reckon it makes a pretty decent wrassing rod as well if you are fishing with say 10g and heavier cone leads on a Texas rig, but we are talking about a pretty powerful lure rod here - which when I think about the rod action in fact makes me think that it will work well for a lot of lure anglers. The simple fact is that the more French style of lure rod action works great and suits many anglers down to the ground, and I can't imagine there's a bass that swims in our waters that can't be landed on this rod - taking into account various different factors of course.
I am an angler though, and because I am an angler I sometimes want what I haven't got. Of course I would love it if our seas were full of big bass. I would love it if reality TV was banned forever and I'd feel pretty awesome if England won the next rugby World Cup. This Stradic is a really good rod for the money, but with the quality that this rod has already, I would love to see how an 8' and even a 9' model would feel in the 7-28g rating - don't change the action or feel of the rod, but just make the whole thing a natural step down as regards casting weight. Some anglers would of course be happier with the current 10-35g model, but there's never any harm in dreaming is there ?
You might want to know this (disclaimer) - I have recently started doing some work with Shimano UK, so you can of course choose to take my words in whatever way you want. If you want to believe that Shimano UK have got so much money that they are paying me to say nice things about their gear then that's just fine and I can't do anything to dissuade you, and quite frankly I have little interest in trying to justify how I make my living anyway. I have had nothing whatsoever to do with designing or even influencing any Shimano fishing tackle (although I hope to one day), but via my beginning to do some work with them I can of course get easier access to bits and pieces of gear that I want to have a look at - and increasingly I believe that companies like this do in fact have plenty of gear that lure anglers should be seeing - and I am doing what I can to find the stuff.
Monday Morning Metal Madness - I stumbled upon the rather obscure Ukrainian band Drudkh a few years back and ever since then their album "Blood in our Wells" has been up there for me as one of the best examples of this kind of slower, more "organic" black metal if you like that gets in your head and won't let go. I accept completely that this kind of music might not be remotely up your street, but close your eyes, give in to this track, and in time you'll find the dark side of your soul.......................