Yesterday was another really interesting day out here - it is not much use to spend all my time wandering around the show looking open-mouthed at all the kit on display. Granted, you could do this, and I did myself for the first few hours on Friday, but in truth I need to learn as much as possible.
I have talked at length with one of the most respected and highly successful specialist shore anglers out here, and he is completely obsessed with fishing for bass. Kinda sounds like plenty of us does it not ? This particular person is using a rod no longer than about 8' for all his shore fishing, and very specifically the Tenryu Super Mix 240. I wanted to know why.....
An angler like this guy wants a rod that can very easily switch from fishing more "conventional" hard plastic lures over to various soft plastics on either jig heads and or free swimming. Then he might go and put on a tiny 25g vertical jig, rigged with 1/0 assist hooks, and cast it close to one hundred metres and really search out huge areas of water by making this shiny piece of metal sink and flutter all the way in.
So are there rods out here that can do this ? And bear in mind that they are very different bits of kit to the ultra-fast action rods that the French love to use for fishing with hard plastic lures - essentially the things we are most used to using. I am seeing a lot of companies out here who are launching lots of specialist "do it all very efficiently" bass rods that are used for both hard and soft plastics, and might stretch to a little bit of very light vertical jigging if required. You can easily buy individual rods that are designed purely for what I would now term the three different bass fishing methods out here (hard lures, soft plastics, and vertical jigging), but it is interesting to see the "crossover" rods.
Tenryu without doubt is top of the three out here - the distinctly red rods are drawing big crowds all the time, and I see lots of guys walking around with red Tenryu rod bags that they have just bought. The Tenryu range is massive, and I want them all !! Dream on perhaps......
The Tenryu Super Mix 210 (say 7'), 240' (8') and the 270 (9') are the all round, "cope with it all very well" rods, and they feel stunning to pick up and waggle. I already know of a fair few bass anglers from Jersey who are using these particular rods, and if there is one rod I would now buy to really get me into fishing with the mountain of soft plastics available, it is going to be the Super Mix 240. Better get saving !! The shore guy was talking me through the reasons behind the Super Mix 240 specifically, and I could really see exactly what he was getting at.
But there are also plenty of awesome cheaper bass rods out here that will do the crossover style really well - I have talked a lot with the guys over at Sakura and Hart specifically, and there are some outstanding bits of kit for sensible money. The popular lengths for a rod that can do it all are without doubt 7', 8' and 9'. Bearing in mind of course that a lot of the bass anglers are fishing from boats of course, but around 8' seems to be the most popular length for this kind of rod, for both shore and boat work.
There are also loads of more regular spinning rods out here, but what in the UK I would now term "specialist bass plugging", the French anglers call spinning for bass - this is using more regular hard plastic lures like the ones we all love. Surface, sub surface, stick baits, wanderers, you name it, bass love 'em. So a "more regular spinning rods" out here is generally lightening quick to use.
Spinning (or plugging) rods out here are virtually all very fast action and seriously light. Gorgeous bits of kit at plenty of different price ranges, but you can see how the French bass anglers have so wholeheartedly embraced the fact that fast rods are far more efficient at working hard plastic lures from boat and shore. The length of rods range from 10' down to 7', and I have not seen a lure rod for bass yet that is over 10' long, and you can see that guys are more than happy to fish with the shorter rods. My own Tenryu Red Dragon Express is close to 10', and it is the most incredible rod to fish with, but I have to say that I would fish with a 9' specialist plugging rod off the shore with no worries at all. The Rod Bar 270 comes to mind.
Anyway, lots more to think about. Time now to go and get some coffee and wake Trevor up who is sleeping (and snoring) in the bed next to me - nice !! I am flying back to the UK tonight, and I am so glad I came out here. It is the lads from Jersey that I know who first told me that I had to come to this show, and I owe them another debt of thanks for switching me on to this stuff.