The other day I travelled down to Woking to meet with Barry from The Lure Box. The reason for my visit was primarily to pick up some equipment that Barry wanted MD and me to test. The Lure Box was very generous, and I look forward to the next few weeks of trying out all the new gear. I will slowly, as time and the weather allow, do a few reviews about the different bits of equipment and give my thoughts. A bit more about that later.
Now the important bit. We went fishing! The day before I arrived, Barry went to have a look at some venues and reported back that the local river levels looked good for a bite or two. I was quite surprised as most of the rivers I travel past daily are in flood. I was excited to fish in a new river.
When I arrived at Barry’s home, he had some rods set up and asked if I wanted to give them a go. As the local man he also had some ideas for lures to use. Who am I to argue? I love trying new things and I especially like trying quality fishing gear! Barry presented me with my setup for the day all ready to go. What a nice bit of kit it was too. I fished with a Westin W4 Lightstick 3-10g rod fitted with a Shimano Stradic 3000. This is a well-balanced setup and light enough to wield all day without any fatigue. This beautifully smooth Shimano masterpiece was loaded with Sufix 131 Braid 0.6PE 15lb as mainline and a 4ft Sufix Invisiline 10lb leader with a 30cm section of AFW Surflon trace wire at 11lb
and a BFT Fastach Snap #2 on the business end... lure choice yet to be decided. I knew this setup was going to be a joy to fish with and was not disappointed.
Barry took me to a beautiful little pool in the middle of nowhere. After a long hike we ended up in a place where I thought: "If something happens to Barry, I will never find my way back!". The minute we arrived there was a swirl on the surface, the fish were active and feeding. My adrenaline levels went up a notch. My lure was in before Barry could undo his lure from the clip. A few casts in and nothing but a couple of touches… encouraging but frustrating. Barry finally managed to get me out of his way far enough to have a cast with his Frankenstein lure. You might remember that a little while ago Barry pulled a Rapala Peto and Otus apart to see if the tails are interchangeable; well they are!
He kept the Firetiger Otus tail on the Burbot Peto body and this was his first choice lure. That Otus tail is extremely animated and in the river’s back eddies with the slightest of water movement it looks really enticing. Three casts and Barry was in with a decent fish! A few moments later we had a pristine river pike on the bank.
Barry fishes barbless and there was no difficulty to remove the trebles using a set of Svartzonker heavy duty long nose pliers.
A great start. With nothing more from this stretch we decided to move.
The rest of the morning was very relaxed with us talking and reminiscing more than we fished. You know what it is like when you go fishing with mates and the company is good. Surely that is why we go fishing with friends – to share our joint passion for fishing. We did carry on fishing but with much less intensity. I am sure we could have had a very fishy day had we fished hard as they were biting, and the conditions were perfect. Nonetheless, we both had a great day.
Just before lunch, Barry took me to one of his favourite spots. It is a very good looking river stretch with many interesting features. Barry, with local knowledge, gave me a 10cm Shad Teez in Dirty Harbour, mounted weed less on a Trokar Magnum 3/0.
My first cast towards the far bank was good but my retrieve was too fast as Barry corrected me (always listen to the locals!). I slowed my next cast right down, that was the ticket. I caught my first fish, another beautiful little river pike nicely hooked with the Lazer Sharp Trokar Magnum, again unhooking was a breeze with the barb crushed.
A few casts later I lost the lure. Trying to get into the little holes on the opposite bank I caught it on an overhanging tree and to cut a long story short, this is where that lure now lives. Having lost one of Barry’s lures I decided to have a look in my box for something similar, I got out another 10cm Shad Teez and mounted it on an the same hook, which is very weedless. This is one of my favourite ways to rig the the Shad Teez and similar lures like the new SPRO Iris Pop-Eye, the action of these slim bodied shads is amazing on a belly weighted hook, with a superb rolling action very different to anything else I've used. This time I went for the Bling Perch pattern, MD’s absolute favourite colour for the Shad Teez.
A couple casts later and I’m in again, this time a fin-perfect little perch, these fish are fast becoming my favourite species to fish for, truly beautiful fish, regardless of size.
The W4 Lightstick was an absolute pleasure to use, it was light but with a strong backbone. It was perfectly matched with the Stradic 3000 size reel. The whole setup was perfect for what we were doing – walking along the river and making casts into likely looking spots, prospecting. I think this is a very good setup for the mobile angler who loves fishing small rivers and canals. I would even like to give it a go from the kayak.
After fishing Barry and I had a spot of lunch at the pub. Afterwards we went to The Lure Box HQ, where Barry introduced me to a few items that he wanted our opinion on. I also bought a couple of rods that I look forward to trying out. I bought a W3 UltraStick 7’ ML 7-28g,
perfect for a bit of light jigging. Additionally I took home a W3 Bass Finesse Crank T Baitcasting rod 7’/210cm ML 5-15g. The last one is a one-piece rod that I am very exited about I last fished with a one-piece rod for Largemouth Bass in South Africa many years ago.
MD and I would like to thank Barry for his generosity, and we look forward to working with him in the future.