Henry Gilbey
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Tailwalk Saltyshape Dash Seabass 90ML 9’ 7-28g lure rod - £179.99 UK price (have I finally found a sub-£200 9’ lure rod that can live with the 9’ Skyroad?)

You many not need or want a 9’ lure rod rated to fish lures from 7-28g, but if you have any inkling for a rod like this then I implore you to either find a way of checking out the quite incredible Tailwalk Saltyshape Dash Seabass 90ML 9’ 7-28g lure rod at the Art of Fishing tackle shop in north Cornwall, or else take a leap of faith and trust me here when I tell you that this rod is easily up there with the single best sub-£200 lure rod I have come across so far, the outstanding Major Craft Skyroad 9’ 10-30g (review here) - and in some respects quite possibly a little bit better again…….

I have tried over the last few years to find a 9’ lure rod rated within that all important say 5-30g range AND which comes in at a sub-£200 price here in the UK that I like as much as the Major Craft Skyroad 9’ 10-30g - but up until now I haven’t found one. I still think the 9’ Skyroad is that good. Sure, I have fished with better 9’ lure rods, but they have cost a lot more than £200. Personally I think that under £200 is an important price point for what we might term modern lure rods these days, and even then it’s not an insignificant amount of money to spend on a slim bit of carbon that you are going to contort again and again as you put all manner of lures out there in all manner of conditions.

Even if you don’t need a lure rod like this, and accepting 100% that lure fishing rods are incredibly personal things, I still would struggle to see how any lure angler who fishes for bass could not enjoy this rod. It’s just “right” - it’s nice and light, it’s got plenty of power but also plenty of feel for the soft plastics, I can’t help but like how this well balanced 9’ lure rod sits in my hands, and the fastish action on this Tailwalk to me is just about perfect for lure fishing. Having now fished with this rod a proper amount, I can understand exactly why Ben at the Art of Fishing has chosen this sublime Tailwalk Saltyshape Dash Seabass 90ML 9’ 7-28g lure rod to be the one rod on his website against which all the other rods are compared as regards the curve charts - this rod just like an all round 9’ lure rod should feel.

I guess the handle design could be a Marmite sort of thing - I have fished with these open kind of reel seats before on some APIA rods I think it was and I am perfectly comfortable with how this Tailwalk is configured. I thought it might be a bit of a problem to really get a good grip on the rod with wet hands, but it’s fine. OK, so I’d prefer a bit of duplon or cork for where the back of my reel hand sits on the rod, but I am coming to the conclusion that wanting this all the time on rods could just be me. I happen to like how that slightly open kind of design on the reel seat above where the reel stem sits naturally fits your hand when it’s closed over the rod, as per the photos above. Cian, I need my hand model back!

Casting sequence - 9' Tailwalk with a 6'' OSP DoLive Stick (15g rigged) - thanks as ever Mark

I don’t really like to try and compare lure rods, but then I can’t really get away from how this Tailwalk might stack up against my sub-£200 9’ yardstick of the last few years, the awesome Major Craft Skyroad 9’ 10-30g. The Skyroad is a great rod that works incredibly well for so much of our lure fishing here in the UK and Ireland - when put up against this 9’ Tailwalk you can feel how the Skyroad has more of a powerful throughish soft of action, whereas this Tailwalk has a faster action where you can really feel the grunt in the butt and mid-section, leading through to a wonderful tip. And the tip blends in perfectly if that helps. Yep, I can’t not bring out that word when trying to describe this Tailwalk Saltyshape Dash Seabass 90ML 9’ 7-28g lure rod - it’s as steely as you like, and I like steely lure rods. As I said earlier, every single thing about it just feels right. It’s as if a lure rod company got inside my head and built the sub-£200 lure rod that I really want to fish with, indeed it’s the sort of blank that is so good that Tailwalk could easily strip it down, rebuild it with Fuji Torzite guides etc., and flog it for a whole lot more.

Gotta love how Ben at the Art of Fishing is constantly working on his lure rod information

Gotta love how Ben at the Art of Fishing is constantly working on his lure rod information

So there you go - finally I have found a sub-£200 lure fishing rod that I like as much as the 9’ Skyroad. Is one better than the other? Well I guess the action on this Tailwalk suits me a smidgen better, but give me a few casts to adjust back to the timing of the Skyroad and I find that one working perfectly for me as well. I reckon this Tailwalk deals with the heavier lures such as the Xorus Patchinko a little better than the Skyroad, and I put that down to the extra power in the butt section of the Tailwalk. Both rods feel as good to me when I am fishing soft plastics rigged weedless and weightless such as my beloved 6’’ OSP DoLive Stick, but to be honest all manner of lures within the casting ratings go really well on these two rods. Which one would I buy if I was after a lure rod like this for under the £200 mark? Either - they are both incredible lure fishing rods. Is that called sitting on the fence? Whatever the case, again it’s hats off to the people who make this kind of incredible lure fishing tackle available to us here in the UK.

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