After fishing a session up on the north coast the other day, we dropped into Ben’s den of temptation in Wadebridge - the Art of Fishing tackle shop to those folks who have a better grip on their lure tackle spending - ostensibly for Mark to pick up a lighter lure rod that he has had his beady little eyes on trying for a while now, but of course it’s always good to see what new stuff Ben has got in…………
Anyway, there was an angler in there who we got talking to, and he had driven down from Somerset I think he said to have a proper look at the lure rods on display as he was after a new one. I really enjoy meeting and talking with other anglers, and especially when they are kind enough to tell me that they read my blog and actively enjoy doing so. Anyway, the rod that Ben had helped this angler to pick out was the Shimano Moonshot S906M (9’6’’, 8-42g) which from a few waggles felt amazing, and especially at the £169.99 price. Wow it makes me wonder yet again how much harm a company such as Shimano or indeed Daiwa could do here in the UK if they actively researched (asked?) what gear we really want to see. Now this guy was actually after a slightly more powerful lure rod than the Major Craft N-One he currently has, hence that 8-42g rating he went for, but the first thing I asked Ben was “do Shimano do a lighter version of that 9’6’’ Moonshot?”
Well they do, but it’s not available in Europe. I must admit that I had never heard of the Shimano Japan Moonshot range of bass lure rods, so I go looking on the Shimano Japan website, and as per above I discover that there are a number of rods in what is a sub-£200 range of rods that I am sure would perfectly suit our market, and no doubt other European countries as well - but for some reason there seems to be this assumption from whoever picks the rods that come into Europe and the UK that if you go to say 9’6’’ long, it’s got to be more powerful. But why? There are the 8’6’’ 6-28g and a 9’ 6-28g versions available in Europe as well, and going from the incredibly useful rod information on the new Art of Fishing website, that 9’ Moonshot as per the curve diagram below looks so like my kind of lure rod. Buying rods blind is not easy, but crumbs does the information on this website make the leap of faith as such so much easier to make.
Sure, it’s handy to get access to the next step up in power over the more regular say 6-30g range, but what about the lure anglers who really like using 9’6’’ rods as an all round kind of lure rod where something in the 6-30g region would be perfect? I have got the slightly more expensive, “next range up” Shimano Dialuna XR S900ML (9’, 6-28g) here for testing at the moment (crumbs, curve diagram below), and whilst there is then a longer 9’6’’ 8-42g version available here in the UK, again there exists a 9’6’’ 6-28g version over in Japan in an extensive range of (sea) bass lure rods - but again it’s not being made available over here. Why? And what about the lighter lure rods around say 5-21g casting weights?
Is it a UK or indeed European sort of mentality that stems from the days of longer spinning rods tending to be for the salmon and sea trout world, when the longer they were the more powerful (and heavy and floppy) they seemed to need to be. And yes, there was a time when I could see no point in using longer lure rods, at least that is until I began to fish with some of the specialist Japanese (sea) bass rods that can feel so incredible at longer lengths and in that all important 6-30g range. If a 9’6’’ rod feels as good as a 9’ rod in my hands then I will quite happily use it, but it still seems that some of the tackle companies simply aren’t aware of what a lot of us want to see.
Which of course begs the question - who does the research and where do those people inside these companies look for their information?! I remember really liking a couple of those white coloured Shimano Stradic lure rods (felt so like Tenryu rods but at much, much cheaper prices) when I was working with Shimano, but again, I went through the rods they offered in the range and straight away came up with a couple of models that I thought were missing. I tried and tried and tried to get to the bottom of who I needed to speak to in order to try and see if I could get something done, but I got nowhere.
So once again it’s a lot of credit due to the small companies who have been importing the likes of Major Craft, Graphiteleader etc. into the UK over the last few years, plus forward thinking UK companies such as HTO for having the balls to launch their awesome Shore Game lure rods, and especially that freak of nature that is the 9’6’’ 7-35g. By no means is a longer rod necessarily a better rod, I don’t mean that all, but when cherry-picking specific rods from already established ranges, why do the longer rods almost automatically have to be the more powerful rods? Where’s the choice for us consumers? Let’s say that angler I met the other day falls in love with his Shimano Moonshot S906M (9’6’’, 8-42g) and fancies buying the lighter 9’6’’ version next. What does he do? He buys from abroad, instead of from here in the UK. What a shame………...
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