Henry Gilbey
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Some thoughts and highlights from the weekend’s European Sport Fishing Show

So the second ever European Sport Fishing Show has been and gone, and as with last year I think the location is perfect and I take my hat off to the organisers for sticking their necks out like they so bravely do and putting this show together. In truth the show seemed busier last year and I am sure that the “getting it out there” to us punters could be done more effectively over time, but to be honest what surprises me the most is some of the lack of support from the fishing tackle trade……….

Bear in mind that I work in fishing but of course don’t make or distribute of sell fishing tackle. For many years now I have had all manner of people within the UK tackle industry banging on at me about the need for a fishing show that encompasses lure and/or fly fishing specifically - and now we’ve got one because a few brave people have decided that enough is enough and we have simply got to have one. So why were far too many key players not at the show? Where the hell are the big boys like Daiwa, Shimano, Hardy, Greys, Penn, Savage Gear, etc.? With the amount of fly and lure guy these companies do you’d have thought they would want to show it off to the fishing public.

And then where were some of the smaller companies? Where was somebody like Veals Mail Order with all their Varivas and Teklon lure gear especially? Where was HTO with their awesome Nebula and Shore Game rods and all their lures and bits and pieces? I hardly saw a Fiiish lure at the show, and so on. I am also surprised that more of the internet based lure fishing companies especially don’t go along to this show and help anglers to put faces to business names and also show off and of course sell a load of the increasingly impressive lure fishing tackle we can get our hands on. Don’t get me wrong, it was an impressive show and in time it could grow into something frigging amazing, so surely parts of the tackle trade are their own worst enemies - moan when there isn’t a show, then don’t go to a new show because their might not yet be quite enough footfall, but how on earth do you grow the footfall if you aren’t in there helping to grow it by showing off and selling fishing tackle and associated gear that anglers can come along to see and buy?

Anyway, I could go on and on about the above. We so need a fishing show like this in the UK and I can’t wait for the 2019 one. From my point of view it was awesome to be there in conjunction with the RNLI, and whilst this is very early days with the whole trying to make our fishing that bit safer so that we do get to come home to our families instead of becoming a tragic statistic, it’s really interesting to get to talk to more and more anglers about all this. I showed a brand new video at the show and I believe and I can put it onto YouTube sometime very soon. Here’s some info from the show that I know will be of interest to lure anglers:

Once again the Art of Fishing tackle shop had a hugely impressive stand, and they have my total respect for sourcing and selling the excellent and seriously good value for money Crewsaver lifejackets on sale at the show, with all profits on the sale of them going to the RNLI. I believe these lifejackets will be on their website this week as well, so keep an eye out - for a smidgen under £80 you can buy a seriously good auto-inflate lifejacket, the Crewsaver Crewfit 165N Sport - check my review of it here. I also got to waggle all the rods in their brand new Tailwalk Borderless “EGinn/do any kind of lure fishing” range - holy frigging cow, and I seriously mean that. I can’t recall waggling a more impressive overall range of lure fishing rods before and I have come away from the show actually wanting to buy and own a 10’+ lure rod for the first time ever. These new Tailwalk EGinn rods are on a scary-good introductory deal at the moment and it’s taking all my will power not to invest. A lot of anglers were quite rightly fawning over the the utterly delightful and lighter lure weight Tailwalk EGinn 86L-R, plus the “do it all” Tailwalk EGinn 96ML-R. I’d happily take them both, plus that longer Tailwalk EGinn 106M-R as I said earlier, but damn the Tailwalk EGinn 88M absolutely blew me away. If you like very light and wonderfully “crisp” lure rods then you have to check out these new rods.

I got to see a lot more rods in the new Major Craft Triple Cross range over on the impressive Todber Manor stand, and thanks to the kind people at Chesil Bait’n’Tackle I took away a hugely impressive feeling Triple Cross TCX-982Surf 9’8’’ 10-45g “Surf Style” lure rod to give it a proper thrashing. Damn this rod feels nice and it’s the perfect time of year for me to get my hands on a lure rod like this. I also saw a very impressive looking wrasse-style lure rod, the new Major Craft Triple Cross Hard Rock TCX-802MH/S 8’ 5-30g, and there is also a slightly longer Major Craft Triple Cross Hard Rock TCX-902H/S 9’ 5-35g - both would make serious wrassing rods, plus they would also work well as bass rods for those of us who like nice fast, very “crisp” actions. I am also becoming more aware of just how many technical metals especially that Major Craft are making, and I really like the prices as well. I have used an IMA lure similar to this Major Craft Jigpara Surf 28 (28g) that absolutely slayed for me on a session over in Ireland last year, so I can’t help but like how this Major Craft one seems to be along similar lines but considerably cheaper! I have also been told that these particular Major Craft slow jigs here and here have been pounding bass for some shore anglers this year. Did I resist at the show? Did I hell!

Great to see a much bigger Sufix lines/VMC hooks stand this year, indeed I am starting to test out some new Sufix lines that will come onto the UK market early next year I believe. If you read my blog then you know how much I like Sufix lines, and these new ones do feel rather special. I was so sorry to hear that the nice people at Lure Heaven could not make the show right at the last minute for family reasons, and I wish them all the best.

Always good to see the Vision fly fishing people, and they were telling me about a few new clothing and wading related products that I can’t wait to get my hands on next year for a proper test. They also assured me that there are no plans anywhere in the future to stop making their consistently brilliant Vision Ikon chest and indeed waist waders (review here) - thank you Vision!

I was so impressed that Aaron Insley the custom rod builder from Cornwall had a stand at the show, and he was showing me some brand new blanks he has got in which were of serious interest. I am not sure how much I can say about these blanks yet, but in due course I am hoping to get my hands on one of them for a bit of a test, and damn it felt impressive as a surf fishing rod. Holy cow can Aaron build fishing rods, indeed I would urge you to connect with him on Facebook or on 07858 478102 to discuss either his new lure blanks or if you’ve got any kind of fishing rods that need a rebuild etc. Aaron told me that he can now get hold of those great feeling Winn Grips rod grips and handles and I am sorely tempted to ask him to put some on a lure rod of mine.

Do I look highly intelligent or slightly confused?!

Do I look highly intelligent or slightly confused?!

The more time I spend with the RNLI people, the more I am learning about all manner of fishing safety related stuff, and as much as I am further down the road with lifejackets especially, I still have so much to learn about them. What could be better than getting some one on one lessons from the guys about how to properly rearm a lifejacket and then repack it ready for using again? There will be lots more to come on this and I have come away from the weekend understanding so much more about how to look after and service my own lifejacket. My eternal thanks to the truly awesome RNLI.

Anyway, I’ll leave it there for the time being. Great to catch up with a bunch of our clients, great to talk fishing with so many anglers, I always enjoy seeing so many of the fishing trade people I have got to know over the years, and I so hope that next year more of the lure fishing trade especially gets right behind this fantastic new show and helps it to move onwards and upwards so that more of us fishing tackle junkies find ourselves drawn to Bristol because our tackle-addled brains call us there like homing beacons. So well done to the organisers, you deserve so much credit.

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