The gear that worked in the Keys - Part 1

There is no better way to either instil confidence or form opinions on fishing gear than getting the chance to use it and thoroughly abuse it on serious fish that actually do put the stuff through a little bit of hell. We got that chance out in the Florida Keys the other week. As I have always said, I am one of the biggest fans of "our" bass fishing out there, and as much as it's the actual fishing and environment that gives our bass fishing gear a work out, it ain't really the bass doing so. Outstanding fish, but we have to be realistic......

I hear lots of talk for and against the "red rods" from Tenryu, indeed at times you could be mistaken for thinking that there has been some kind of dark conspiracy that is aimed at getting us all fishing with them. But then that's a part of fishing that holds no interest to me, the "speculation" that can sadly be so rife at times. The simple fact is that the French designed, Japanese designed red Tenryu rods work really well. No, they are not cheap, and yes, some of the earliest models had some issues with the actual build quality, but the simple fact is that as fishing rods they work very well. Some anglers like the actions, and some don't. Horses for courses if you ask me. There are plenty more models I would love to play around with, but from my own personal experience I would still choose the mighty Super Mix 240 if I could only ever have one Tenryu (please bear in mind that I can only actually rave about the gear that I personally know).

Cian and Paul both brought a Tenryu Super Mix 240 over from Ireland with them, and I definitely encouraged them to use the rods for a lot more of the Keys fishing than I think they envisaged. It's ok for me, I travel a lot for my work, and I get the chance to see all kinds of anglers using all kinds of gear on any number of different fish, but it does of course take a leap of faith to use your bass fishing tackle on species that grow much larger and fight a whole lot harder as well. All credit to Cian and Paul - the drags on their reels were wound up tighter and tighter as the week progressed (nothing to do with me !!), and very quickly they latched on to how much pressure you can put back on the fish without breaking off. I am of course presuming the use of decent knots, line, swivels, hooks, lures etc. Both of them put their Super Mix 240s through hell in the Keys, and I never looked at their rods for one second and though that they might be undergunned. But there was none of this going light for going light's sake. I don't believe in any of that rubbish. Balanced gear that makes fishing a whole lot more fun, but with every ability horse the fish and get them in nice and lively for a proper release. I like it when tackle shop owners are proud to use the gear that they sell on their shelves, and that is exactly what Cian did with his Super Mix. Give him a shout here, and especially if you are ever thinking about heading over to southern Ireland for some bass fishing. Which is exactly what I am doing in a couple of weeks.........

Nick gave a couple of the Sakura Mazzera lure rods some serious grief, and as with the Tenryu rods they came through with flying colours. I have fished for bass a fair bit with that stunning Mazzera 802 M (10-30g) lure rod, indeed it's one of those rods like the smaller Mazzera 742 ML (7-21g, see here) that I can't for the life of me work out why more bass anglers have not switched on to. Lots of rod for the money if you ask me, and Sakura as a tackle company I think are hugely impressive. It's great that as anglers we are getting access to more and more gear at all price points, and personally I give credit to the people who work their socks off to bring this gear to the UK market.

One bass lure that I have photographed, played with a little, but for some reason not given proper fishing time to is the MegaBass XPod. Not any more though. Granted, it might have been for barracuda and not bass, but Nick was at times getting far more interest from these fish when he had an XPod on. I can not claim to having much idea what all those different lip positions actually do to the action of the lure, but close it all the way up for starters and the XPod has one hell of a an action on the surface that I reckon bass might kill for at times. A real criss cross walk the dog action with one hell of a "click clack" noise from the moveable internal ball bearing I presume, and it casts pretty nicely as well. More to come........