Firstly, this is a totally unbiased review of the following gear that I bought myself purely to see what it’s like. HTO lure game 8′ 5-25g and Daiwa Ninja 2500
Picked this rod up locally in Ryde IOW and sourced the reel online, first impression of the rod was wow – it feels like a rod with a higher price tag – it genuinely felt like high-end in the hand, just a little less “bling” on the finish – though it does look really good! The stainless guides, comfortable reel seat and stainless bands look great, and the handle is a good length to tuck under your elbow. Giving it a wiggle I thought the recovery was quick for a £59.99 rod, with a nice delicate tip.
The reel arrived today and is light (270g) smooth and looks the part. Loaded it up with some mono backing and 20lb j braid and the line lay is perfect. Honestly surprised at this price point at the quality and features – it doesn’t have a sealed drag however so will be careful not to give it a dip. Putting the two together felt like a good match – light, comfortable in the hand and wouldn’t look out of place anywhere or in any company in my opinion. I even started to question the need for more expensive gear!
I loaded my bag with a selection of soft plastics and headed out to a rocky shallow ledge and tied on a black minnow with a shore head (12g I think?!) and 120 body and started flipping it out. The reel is so smooth!! The first thing i was impressed with was the recovery on the cast, it put out a lure a long way in the calm conditions and the feel through the delicate tip was spot on – every knock of the ground, kelp etc. was bang on. You could feel the lure bumping along in the cross current nicely. All that was missing was a fish. (I then lost the lure on a pot rope) wounded.
I used (and lost) a few lures tonight, FBM, Artic Minnow, Juno Eel with 5g swing jig, and an ILLEX I swim shad (I think it called Steven?) as well as an Evo Stix eel with the lightest lead head (what an awesome vibration this lure gave by the way, first time using one)The set up didn’t get tested by a fish, but I really hit it hard with the casts, I loaded it up with extreme pressure when snagged up and didn’t experience a single wind knot all evening.
For a sub £120 setup I was actually blown away. I know you don’t hear many bad reviews but I couldn’t fault it and look forward to seeing how it stands the rest of time this season. I’d initially recommend both rod and reel to anyone looking to spend this kind of money on a lighter outfit. I’m not sure if I want to blast a big patch or needle but let’s be honest, you don’t buy a 5-25g rod for that purpose anyway. I’ll let you know in 6 months how it’s taken the abuse of a solid season!
Tackle Review Text and images © Rhys Hunt –U.K.B.L.F
Simple, Effective, Timeless – Lunker City Slug-Go
It seems each season there is a ‘go to’ soft lure which comes to the fore and dominates for some time … whilst these may be, in their own right, good lures they tend to drift off the scene and in a year or two people have moved on. However, there is one lure which has seems to stand the test of time and remains a staple in many lure boxes up and down the coast – the Lunker City Slug-Go.
Origins -The brand and model has come from our American cousins were the lure has been deployed in fresh and saltwater for decades. Perhaps what is most notable is the use of the 7inch and 9inch versions for Striped bass. I have said before that our UK and Irish bass fishing is really a melting pot of American, French and Japanese tackle and techniques and it is with the Slug-go that we have seen a fusion of this Striper classic with weed less style hooks wander over to our shores.
Size, colours and material. -They come in a range of sizes including: 3″, 4″, 4.5″, 6″, 7.5″, 9″ and 12″
So, there is something there for all species … I have used the 3″ and 4″ variants before for sea trout and anything bigger than that is ideal for bass … even the 9″ models which can be rigged with a 9/0 weedless hooks or a tandem rig. Regarding colours … well let’s just say last time I looked there were over 60 variations so there will be something out there to suit your requirements!
I have always done well on Arkansas Shiner, Black and Albino. The plastic in the Slug-Go, unlike other soft lures, is pretty tough and durable making it a real veteran lure which can be rigged and rigged again fish after fish. Don’t be fooled though in thinking that because it is tough it has sacrificed any action … They really look the part in the water and have a lovely little shimmer as the tail kicks and flicks with imparted action in the rod.
Value for money-The price of course fluctuates depending on the size but if we take the 4.5″, 6″ and 7.5″ (most common sizes) and look at the figures you will see they are very well priced compared to other soft baits and given their durability … well it’s a no brainer.
4.5″ RRP £4.99 (10 per pack)
6″ RRP £6.99 (10 per pack)
7.5″ RRP £6.99 (5 per pack)
Leaving an impression! I will never forget the scenario even though it was quite a while ago … It was a cold April afternoon and I was wading the inside of an estuary with my father. It was the first time we had been at the location and up until this point I had never caught a bass on a soft plastic. My rig was a simple 4.5″ Slug-Go in Arkansas Shiner on a 7g jig head. I was simply wading and casting into the open sandy areas and twitching the lure around and then … whack! The rod slams over and off the bass went on a little short run.
It led me a merry dance through the weeds and across several boulders before landing what was, my first bass on soft lures. This fish was responsible for an obsession which has grown ever since with soft lures and especially deploying them in estuaries. I won’t even attempt to total up the pennies spent since …!
Versatile Rigging In terms of rigging options … well the world is your oyster here really but below are a few ideas to get you started:
•Weightless – The use of a simple wide gape or hitch-hiker style hook and no added weight. Ideal for fishing very shallow, rough ground.
•Belly Weighted – Works well when you need a little more weight for casting or to swing higher in water column.
•Jig Head – Perfect for twitching, like I talked about above. Also great for bumping in current or flow.
•Tandem – This set up is really for the 7.5″ or 9″ size and for open water fishing were you use two single hooks, one rigged near the nose and the other over half way back.
Now I find myself fishing with the larger 7.5″ size more and more – I won’t leave for a fishing session without at least having a packet in my bag. They aren’t always my first choice but I don’t feel comfortable leaving them at home!
If these have managed to escape your box up until now then I would strongly suggest you grab a packet for the season …
Text © Steven Neely and images © Fishonlures
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