Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

There's a reason I don't tend to talk about rods dealing with the actual bass in my reviews

If you read my tackle reviews here, and more especially the rod reviews I write (check here), then you might have noticed that I rarely talk much about my thoughts on whether the various rods might or might not cope with the bass we catch. OK, so I am not beset with hordes of hungry double figure bass crawling up my line, but I have had enough experience of somewhat larger and more powerful fish to have come to the conclusion that these lure rods I enjoy messing around with simply aren’t going to struggle with any bass we might end up hooking from our coastline.

I don’t waste my time writing even more words on whether so and so lure rod might or might not deal with bass because the actual size or power of “our” bass in my mind is not really relevant when any of these rods would perfectly comfortably deal with the largest bass we could ever hope to see. These rods we use are plenty powerful enough to deal with far larger fish than we are lure fishing for from our shores, indeed I can only think of one rod that I have played with (and not reviewed in fact, mainly because I disliked it so much I only gave it a few hours and left it the hell alone after that) in the last few years that I think might struggle, indeed I caught a half-tidy bass on this particular rod and got a bit of a shock when I was trying to pull seven bells of hell out of the fish and the rod just as good as folded up on me. That one rod has been the exception though, because most of these rods in the say 5-35g category are plenty strong enough for our rather lovely bass.

We are talking about a perfectly wonderful species of fish here that let’s face it, however much we might dream, we simply ain’t going to hook one from the shore in the UK or Ireland that will go over 20lbs. Whilst I love the way that bass scrap, if they are taking loads of line off you then in my opinion you’re being far too generous. Horses for courses though, because I know that some anglers love to fight their fish for ages and ages until they essentially give up and ask to be landed please because they are as good as half-dead from exhaustion. Sorry, but you might have guessed that overly light drag settings are a bit of a bugbear of mine.

The rod we fish with is but one part of the equation though. Not all bass fight the same as you know. I believe that on a straightforward scrap, any of the rods I have reviewed here for example have more than enough guts to land the largest bass we could ever hope to see, but when in fishing do things ever go to script? Put a good fish in really bouncy conditions and now you’ve got a whole different set of problems to overcome, but from a purely bending the rod into a fish point of view, I would hazard a guess that most UK and Irish lure anglers ain’t hooking bass and pushing their rods anywhere close to the max. How about conditions, angler error, current, sharp rocks etc. coming into the equation? And yes, I said angler error - surely you can be honest enough to admit to losing a few fish because of plain old bad angling? What, me?

Look at the top photo above of Nick Roberts rod bending an APIA rod during the cast - doesn’t it amaze you how much they will actually bend? Now look at Andy in the blue jacket above - he is bent nicely into a bass in some fairly heavy conditions, but as much pressure as he is exerting, the rod ain’t anywhere close to being maxed out. A massively talented angler who I no longer fish but from whom I learnt so much about these awesome fish once told me that he had maxed out the Tenryu Red Dragon lure rod on a decent bass in a run of current, to which I replied something along the lines of me thinks not. No way. Sure, as much as current makes good bass feel even heavier and stronger and it’s another part of the overall equation that we have to deal with, the Red Dragon is a hugely powerful lure rod that can land far bigger fish than bass will ever be.

We all lose fish from time to time. It’s part of fishing is it not? The bass I lost before last Xmas still haunts me (see here) for example, but I know for sure that I didn’t lose the fish because the rod I was fishing with at the time was struggling - because it categorically wasn’t. Think about the size of GTs that the fly guys catch on 12-weights for example, and as much as bass are my favourite fish on earth, GTs they are not. Lure fishing rods fascinate me if you hadn’t guessed, and because I am of the opinion that they can easily deal with the size of fish, I am far more interested in how they work for me as regards fishing the different lures and methods. I had the roughly 6lb bass above just before heading off to Ireland a couple of weeks ago, and although I hooked it in a decent bit of current and it scrapped well, I gave the fish a decent bit of grief and gave it no line - yet the lure rod I was using (without doubt the best value for money lure rod I have ever come across, review to come) was never under any undue strain at all. Have a good weekend, and may spring come back someday…….