Review: Sufix Gravity 2 Fast Sinking Braid

Sufix Gravity 2 Braid Review

I am reasonably new to using braid for my fishing, but with 95% of my fishing being lure fishing I gave it a try about a year ago when I got some free braid with a reel that I bought. I have tried a couple of brands over the last 12 months which have been OK but nothing that has compared to this Gravity 2 braid by Sufix. It spooled up like any other braided line, but upon the first cast and retrieve I immediately noticed the difference.

I have been using this braid for 2 months now. The first comment I would like to make is that I have not yet had a single wind knot using the Sufix braid! (an issue that I have suffered with other lines, despite their claims at being resistant to wind knots). This line is so much easier to work with and hasn’t suffered from loose loops falling off the front of the spool, even when cast into the wind and retrieve line without tension. Off to a great start already, and I haven’t even covered the main features of the line.

Sufix Gravity 2 braid spools onto a fishing reel really nicely

The Gravity 2 line by Sufix is a fast sinking braid, which for lure anglers is a great thing especially when using lightweight soft plastic lures that sink slowly anyway. I normally use a 18-24″ fluorocarbon leader which sinks very quickly, and I can clearly see the Gravity 2 braid sinking very soon after it hits the water (1-2 seconds). This allows me to stay in contact with my lure as much as possible.

In addition to the very pleasing performance of this line, I can definitely vouch for its abrasion resistance. I fish some extremely rough and snaggy ground, (there is no other way to find sea bass here in Cornwall), and when I change lures I tend to put the rod down and sometimes accidentally trap and rub the line against the rocks. There is no sign of abrasion damage at all, never had a break off on the line. If it can withstand the way I fish, I just cant fault it.

Features:
  • Constructed of 2 Gore Performance Fibers and 2 Ultra High Molecule PE fibers for fast sinking
  • Improved sensitivity and bite detection
  • Quicker and more efficient hook-sets
  • Very high abrasion resistance
  • Easy handling, long and accurate cast
  • Extreme strength, minimal stretch

Sufix Gravity 2 fast sinking braid sinks as quickly as Fluorocarbon line

I am really impressed with the Sufix Gravity 2 braid and although I have only tried three or four other braided lines for comparison, this line is by far the best braided line for my type of fishing that I have used so far.

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Review: Wüsthof Grand Prix II Fillet Knife

Wüsthof Grand Prix II Fillet Knife Review

I love to bring home a fish or two for the table, and over the years I have attempted a number of seafood dishes which usually go down well with the family. Although the fish were always tasty and fresh, I have always had difficulties with preparing and cleaning the fish to a “restaurant standard”, even with plenty of practice some of the fillets looked as though they had been hacked up by a blind woodsman.

Different species of fish can be wildly different in terms of anatomy, with different bone structures to consider and thickness of skin. It really pays to have the right tools for the job, specifically a really good fillet knife. A sharp, flexible fillet knife will allow you to cut and de-bone fish with minimum wastage and there is less risk of you losing a finger while doing it.

I have used the Grand Prix II Fillet Knife by Wüsthof a few times now, and it is absolutely superb! This is a 7″ fillet knife and is perfect for the preparation of all of the fish that I eat, Mackerel, Sea Bass, Pollock, Cod, and Sea Bream. The knife is very comfortable to hold, and the blade is designed perfectly for cutting fillets with minimal effort, and also for precision cutting around bones.

Wüsthof was founded in Germany over 200 years ago

Product Highlights:

  • Precision-forged from a single blank of high carbon stain-free steel
  • Full tang that is triple riveted to the handle for precise control
  • Precision Edge Technology (PEtec) yields a blade that is 20% sharper with twice the edge retention
  • Tempered to 58⁰ Rockwell
  • Specially developed polypropylene handle, designed for comfort and control
  • Full bolster and finger guard

The Grand Prix II Fillet Knife is one of Wüsthof’s full tang blades and is precision forged from a single piece of high carbon stainless steel. The picture below shows the very thin flexible blade with a little pressure applied, this allows precision cutting whilst manoeuvring the blade as close to bones as possible (to avoid wastage) through the contours of the fishes body.

This fillet knife has a very thin flexible blade used for deboning and filleting fish

One of my all time favourite eating fish are Mackerel. I enjoy catching them because they fight so well, and they taste amazing pan fried in a bit of olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I used the Grand Prix II fillet knife to take the two sides off with very little effort and probably the best fillets I had ever cut.

Filleting Mackerel properly

Starting at the head I cut through the skin on the back and down each side just behind the pectoral fins. Then I cut into the fish and when I felt the resistance of the back bone I turned the blade and cut towards the tail, using the blade to feel my way along the length of the back bone.

The sharpness of the blade meant that cutting could be done with very little pressure (no hacking or sawing required), therefore I could really concentrate on what the blade was cutting, and I could feel exactly where the bones were situated. The end result was two perfect Mackerel fillets, very little wastage, and I still had my fingers!

The 7″ blade is also suitable for larger fish, I have also filleted a 6lb Cod that I caught (approx 60cm in length) with this knife, no trouble at all. Cod are a little trickier to prepare then Mackerel because they have a rib cage that needs to be cut around and thicker skin to be removed. I would be more than confident to tackle a 10 or 15 pounder with the Grand Prix II, if I could ever catch one!

Cutting a side of Mackerel with a fillet knife

How to fillet a Mackerel, two perfect fillets ready for cooking

The Grand Prix II fillet knife performs incredibly well, especially when I compare with some of the knives I have used before. The blade is very durable and allows me to confidently fillet fish. I can now transform my catches into fine tasting (and fine looking) table-fare. The Grand Prix II Fillet Knife costs £84.00 and is available to buy here.

Although Wüsthof knives are dishwasher safe, I prefer to wash my fillet knife manually and store on a knife block. This keeps the knife from being tumbled around with other items in the cutlery tray or drawer. Wüsthof also make knife sharpeners to maintain a clean and sharp edge to the knife, I prefer to use a sharpening stone (or Whet Stone) for my knives.

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Review: Kirkbeck Fishing Bag by Chapman Bags

The Kirkbeck 14 is a compact canvas and leather bag that is perfect for fly fisherman. It is manufactured in the UK by Chapman Bags

As a roaming fisherman, I tend to spend as much time on the move as I do actually fishing. I like to travel light to make life easier when I am hiking to my fishing marks, and scrambling through undergrowth and over rocks. With this in mind, I am quite specific when it comes to selecting fishing luggage, paying attention to storage space, materials, and finally if it looks good then that’s an added bonus. Fisherman are not usually known for their fashion sense, but I really appreciate a traditional style fishing bag that is well made.

Chapman Bags, based in Carlisle, have been making traditional shooting and fishing bags since the 80’s. They have a huge range of bags made from canvas, leather and tweed, all manufactured in England. I chose one of their Kirkbeck 14″ bags (as shown in the pictures) in the “Khaki” colour. I also opted for the white waterproof rubberised bag liner.

The Kirkbeck 14 has a large netted pocket on the front that will hold fly boxes and fishing accessories

The Kirkbeck bags are made from waterproof cotton canvas with leather trim and solid Brass buckles and hardware. I also love fly fishing for Sea Bass, and so the Brass fittings will endure exposure to salt water without spoiling. The adjustable shoulder strap is also made of canvas, and is nice and wide, making it comfortable to carry (even when wet). The British leather trim is well stitched and finishes the bag off perfectly. In terms of looks, the Kirkbeck 14 is very pleasing to the eye, now lets look at it from a practical perspective….

The main compartment (full width of bag) is the perfect size for the assortment of fishing tackle and fly boxes that I carry, with room for a small drinking flask of Earl Grey and a sandwich too. There is also a small (5″ x 6″) slip pocket on the inside, this is designed to hold your fishing license, and would probably fit a few small fishing accessories too.

In the front of the bag are two 6″ wide bellowed pockets, perfect for more fly boxes (or another sandwich), and the military grade cotton webbing creates another generously sized pocket that is almost as big as the main compartment. A great deal of storage space is available on the Kirkbeck 14.

The waterproof interior can be clipped into place to protect the contents of the bag from water ingress

The optional rubberised waterproof lining just clips inside the main compartment on 4 x Brass poppers, this can also be detached if preferred but I think that it would be an advantage to keep it in place.

The Kirkbeck 14 costs £139, with the optional waterproof liner costing £16.00. The bag is perfect for my needs, I love the traditional satchel style and it is the ideal size for the tackle I need. The materials are also very high quality, with fantastic craftsmanship. I really recommend this bag to any fly fisherman, or lightweight lure fisherman looking for well made fishing luggage. If you are looking for something a little bigger, the Kirkbeck 16″ has the same features for £149.  Also check out the full range of fishing, shooting and lifestyle bags on the Chapmans Bags website.

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Review: Saltwater Bento Swim Bait – Lures by Lunkerhunk

SalwaterBento swim baits by lunkerhunt imitate small baitfish, the best lures for sea bass

I have been building up my arsenal of soft plastic lures over the last few months and I have been on the look out for lures that imitate small bait fish really accurately, arguably the best kind of lures for predatory fish like Sea Bass. I came across the Lunkerhunt website and they have a really good range of soft plastics that are aimed at Bass fishing in the US and Canada, but I was really thrilled to find their Bento swim baits range including their new 5.5″ Saltwater Bento that fit my criteria for a being a potentially great UK Sea Bass lure.

The image above shows (from top to bottom) – Saltwater Bento 5.5 inch “Maui Maui”, Saltwater Bento 5.5 inch “Mackerel”, Saltwater Bento 5.5 inch “Anchovy”, Swim Bento 4.5 inch “Parrot”

Soft plastic lures with holographic core and realistic eyes tend to trigger more bits from predatory fish

These baits looked good enough for me to eat and I simply had to get my hands on them to try them out on the Sea Bass and Pollock in our UK waters. The lures are incredibly life like, with a holographic core running the length of the body section, and a keeled “shad” style tail. These lures also have very realistic holographic eyes which I believe also helps triggers bites too. My success rate using lures with eyes is noticeably better than without.

These Lunkerhunt saltater swim baits can be rigged on a weedless hook

I will be fishing these into really snaggy rough ground marks, and so I have Texas rigged them up using Varivas Gran Hooking Master weedless hooks with a 14g cone shaped worm weight. Size 5/0 or 6/0 hooks fit the 5.5″ Saltwater Bento, and size 2/0 or 3/0 hooks fit the 4.5″ Swim Bento.

These soft plastics are very soft and so they have a really nice natural action. I prefer to fish them on a slow straight retrieve from the rocks or shore, as the rips and undercurrents tend to take the lure and make it “work”, but I am also looking forward to drop shot fishing these lures from the kayak over shallow reefs this summer – I will post catch reports soon. Huge thanks to Lunkerhunt for sending me these lures to try!

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Review: Varivas Gran Hooking Master & Monster Class weedless hooks

Varivas Gran Hooking Master and Monster Class weedless hooks

In my opinion the Hooking Master (heavy wire) and Monster Class (ultra heavy wire) weedless hooks by Varivas Gran Company are an absolute must have for the tackle box of any lure fisherman wanting to fish Texas rigged soft plastics over snaggy ground.

They are very strong and hold their sharpness really well making them ideal hooks for the speciment Bass and Pollock angler. The extra wide gape is perfect for fishing a wide variety of soft plastic baits including larger baits for wreck or reef fishing. The smaller sizes are great for chucking out a Texas rigged worm or sandeel into rocky weedy gulleys.

The extra wide gape of these weedless hooks allows me to hook up bigger soft plastic lures like shads

I have not had the pleasure of hooking into a fish big enough to bend these hooks out as yet, but after forgetting to reset my rig a couple of times I have been snagged up in the reef and they don’t bend out easily, I have 40lb braid on my offshore jigging reel and the braid snapped before the hook bent out with plenty more strength in it I’m sure.

I tend to fish with larger, chunkier shads and minnows that require the extra gape to ensure that the hook is adequately exposed when a fish takes the bait. Often when I target Sea Bass, I spend a lot of time stalking fish in shallow snaggy swims, when I get a take I want it to be well hooked.

wide gape weedless hooks

I have tried out the Hooking Master hooks (available up to size 5/0, and 10/0 for the Monster Class hooks) and I can easily hook up my chunkiest plastics with total confidence. The picture above shows a size 5/0 heavy wire hook (on the left) and a size 6/0 ultra heavy wire hook (on the right).

These hooks are available at a really good price, £2.95 per packet from Veals. I highly recommend these and I have selected them as my go-to hook for most of my lure fishing.

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Review: Rokk – Adjustable Fish Finder Mount for Railblaza Starport

Scanstrut Rokk Mount Review

Spring 2015 has been quite a quiet one in regards to kayak fishing, good conditions have not coincided with time off work. Therefore I have found quite a bit of time to tinker with my kayak, swapping out fittings and making improvements to the layout of the cockpit.

I eventually found time to fit my new Garmin Echo 501c fishfinder that I got for Christmas, and have been out on the water a couple of times with it which has been fantastic. The only issue that I encountered (which was a bit of a stinker) was that my previous fishfinder mount failed on the second trip out. With that lesson learnt, I have been looking to swap out my fishfinder mount with something far more reliable.

I am really pleased to be able to try out one of the Scanstrut Rokk Mounts for my Garmin Echo 501c. The Rokk Mount fits Railblaza StarPorts making it the perfect solution for me as I have several StarPorts installed on my kayak, including a TracPort 350 Dash intended for my fish finder and other devices. For those of you who don’t have a Railblaza StarPort installed, you can fit a StarPort really easily, or the Rokk mount is also available with screw on mount to attach straight onto your kayak.

Scanstrut Rokk mount for Railblaza StarPort

When ordering the Rokk Mount, it is important to note that there are several top plate designs available to fit the base of your fishfinder. I needed the RL-502 top plate which fits Garmin GPS MAP 400-600 / Echo 100-550 / Echo Map 50s; Raymarine Dragonfly & Dragonfly 7.

The Rok mounts, tilts and rotoates in all directions-then locks tightly into position

As soon as I un-boxed the Rokk mount, I could immediately tell that it had been built to last years. Here are the full product specifications:

Set & forget – Metal on metal, ball and socket system gives smooth,secure adjustment.
Zero loss of clamping force over time.
Fully versatile and easily adjusted – Simply unlock, reposition, lock again.360° of rotation. 270° of tilt.
Locking design ensures high clamping force with minimal user effort.
Extreme marine durable materials – Corrosion resistant marine grade aluminium,316 stainless steel and
glass filled nylon.
Super tough – Engineered to withstand high shock loading.
Quick fit – Supplied with complete fixings for your installation.
RAILBLAZA StarPort base – Offers a unique, portable mounting option.

The Rokk mount is very compact, this individual top plate is made to fit the Garmin Echo series

The Rokk mount unfortunately doesn’t come with a free packet of crisps, the photo illustrates the size of the Rokk mount. I was quite surprised at how compact the unit was, I expected it to be much larger (by my interpretation of images I had seen online). Deck space on my kayak is at a premium, and so the compact size is definately a good thing.

The picture shows the RL-502 top plate attached to the Rokk mount with a hex screw, the underside of the top plate has a square shaped recess where the Rokk mount fits into tightly and then the screw holds it in place. The top plate cannot rotate on the screw at all.

The screw holes on the top plate are aligned perfectly to accomodate the Garmin Echo base. Scanstrut include all of the necessary screws and fittings to attach the Garmin base onto the top plate (all nuts and bolts are marine grade stainless steel) – I actually opted to use some black nylon nots and bolts to attach the Garmin base, because they are black and I can cut them down flush to the nut.

The Rokk mount is very well constructed, pretty much indistructable

The StarPort attachment allows me to fit the Rokk mount in any of my onboard StarPorts. I placed the Rokk mount at my feet on the Railblaza TracPort 350. By adjusting the Rokk mount, I can get the Garmin head unit to sit forward by about 3-4 inches – just far enough to allow me to reach the Garmin control buttons.

With the Garmin set up and installed on the Rokk mount, I can press any of the buttons, move the fishfinder around, rotate it, tilt it, and turn it. With just a small turn of the white tightening knob, the Rokk mount clamps down hard and holds its position perfectly.

Verdict: I cannot praise this product highly enough, its completely bomb proof, and the perfect solution for my fishfinder mount. I have tried other brand products which have failed me, but this little beauty is so well constructed I have total confidence in its performance. Another top product from Scanstrut. The Rokk Adjustable Mount for Railblaza StarPort is available for around £55-£65.

Visit the Scanstrut WebsiteClick Here
Rokk Mount Technical InformationClick Here

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Review: Hoggs Neoprene Lined Field Boots

I have been looking for decent Wellington boots for so long now, actually nearly a whole year. Why so fussy? Well its got a lot to do with the grip more than anything, to me that’s just as important as them being waterproof. The kind of places I like to go are usually near rocks or cliff tops and so a good foothold is vital for safety. So I have been searching and searching for something that allows me to walk on slippy grass verges, seaweed covered rocks, or muddy shingle slopes without taking a tumble every 5 minutes, as sure footed as a mountain goat (hopefully)!

The search is over, and I am extremely pleased to be able to try out some of these Neoprene lined field boots by Hoggs of Fife.

Hoggs Field Sport - neoprene lined field boots

Specifications:

  • 4mm high-density durable neoprene lining for extra warmth and comfort
  • Removable cushioned EVA insole with memory foam inserts for excellent shock absorption
  • “XSTrek” high-performance compound Vibram® outsoles for class-leading grip, abrasion resistance, comfort and durability.

Natural rubber field boots lined with neoprene

To put these boots to the test I took them along to a local spot I know near Portreath. The walk begins at Battery Hill where the South West Coastal Path heads steeply up a muddy gorge onto the cliff tops. About half a mile on, past Ralph’s Cupboard, and deviating from the footpath slightly the boots held grip really well down the grassy verges and then onto the rocks in an un-named cove (one of my secret Wrasse fishing marks). The scramble across the boulders was hard work because it had been raining and so they were extra slippy, and I began to find real confidence in the boots although they are not strictly designed for this type of use.

At the other end of the cove are some fantastic rock pools and I paddled through them to the deepest parts where you can often find a good sized crab or two. I was only wearing thin cotton socks, but the neoprene lining of the boots was doing a fantastic job of keeping my feet warm in the cold water. By tightening up the gusset straps a little more, I was able to pull my feet out of the mud water without losing a boot.

Side gusset with fastener for easy access

I was quite surprised (and relieved) at how well the field boots performed when the waterline was only an inch from the top. Some boots that I have used in deeper water collapse inwards at the top under the water pressure letting water in, but the Hoggs boots are made from quite thick rubber, and with the addition of the neoprene lining, they keep their shape well.

TIP: when I have been wading in salt water, I always wash down boots with freshwater afterwards, this prevents any degradation caused by the salt water and keeps them in good condition longer.

I am really happy with these boots and although they are designed as “field boots” I have tested them over various difficult and often unpredictable terrains with great results. Check out the photo below that shows the grips that I am so impressed with. The soles are Vibram XS-Trek which have been designed for stability and comfort, and the motto that is printed on the label states “tested where it matters”. Anything that keeps me upright whilst clambering around a rocky Cornish shoreline is definitely worthy enough to achieve a “test – passed”.

Hoggs field boots have really good grip

The boots maintain a classic “field boot” look and will be perfect for my hunt days in Autumn and Winter as-well as my coastal exploration trips throughout the year. These boots are available to buy at Fife Country for £75.00 – click here

 

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Review: Banshee Tri-Tip Boat Rod by TF Gear

Banshee Tri Tip Boat Rod by TF Gear

After a lot of on-line research, comparing different brands, and prices I finally got one of TF Gear’s  Banshee Tri Tip boat rods to play with. I’ve been on the look out for a boat rod for kayak fishing and I really love the fact it is 3 different rods in one. The Banshee Tri-Tip rods offers me the durability to cover all the types of inshore fishing that I enjoy at a really great price.

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Out of the bag
This rod comes with a 30 inch Duplon handle/butt section and 3 interchangeable tips of varying size (10, 20, and 30lb class). All top sections have bright fluorescent Orange tips which looks fantastic against the dark blue Nano Carbon blank. The reel seat is strong and well made,and tightens right down (without fear of threading the screw), and the guides are smooth lined and really well constructed. Although TF Gear are effectively giving you 3 rods for the money, they haven’t skimped on quality at all.

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I did bend tests using all three tips and all were extremely responsive and progressively stronger with a great action throughout, with enough muscle in the lower section to apply pressure on bigger fish when needed. I would even be confident doing some reef jigging with the 10lb class rod.

Specifications

  • Versatile Tri-tip design
  • Custom locking reel seat
  • Super slick guides
  • High quality Nano carbon blank
  • The most versatile boat rod ever
  • Length: 7’6′
  • Rating: 10, 20 & 30lb
  • Sect: 2+2
  • Price: £69.99 at Fishtec

High visibility tips
Usually my rod is in my hand when kayak fishing, but i sometimes put the rod into a rod holder and the orange high visibility tips on the rod tips are especially useful in low light conditions (early morning or late evening sessions).

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10lb class
This rod has the most sensitivity and is perfect for jigging for squid, or fishing baited feathers for Black Bream and Garfish. It has enough muscle to handle Codling or a decent Bass. It also casts a 30 gram lure really well too. This is my go-to rod for general spring/summer fishing.

20lb class
Perfect for all round fishing, bottom bait fishing for Plaice or Turbot, or jigging for Pollock over rough ground. It has the guts to pull up decent sized ray or strap Conger too. I’ve hauled up some good codling on this rod too with no troubles, with enough action to still enjoy the fight. I also tried this rod while drift fishing the bottom with a 4oz lead, the tip doesn’t go crazy when drifting over a rippled sandy bottom (no false bites), but shows any real bites clearly. This probably my favorite tip of the three.

30lb class
Great for heavier jigging over a wreck, or bigger baits for Bull Huss and Smooth Hound. I don’t do a lot of big bait fishing on the kayak but we do have a number of inshore wrecks to fish around the Cornish coastline that are worth checking out for larger Pollock and the occasional Ling.

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Verdict
I have been using this rod for a few months now and I am really pleased with it, its definitely a keeper and is so well made it will last me for years. I have bought TF Gear rods in the past that are still serving me well even with heavy usage. Fantastic rods and well worth the money, I really like this brand.

One more thing don’t forget to check out their TF Gear Babes Calendar here, a must have item of décor for the fishing tackle shed!

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Review: Snowbee Raptor LRF rod & Kuroshio reel

Snowbee Raptor lrf rod and Kuroshio reel review

So “LRF” is apparently a thing, and has been for quite some time. Back when I first started fishing (now I’m making myself sound old), it didn’t really have a name – messing around with tiny lures (or bait) using a ridiculously light rod that would bend double under the strain of an 8oz trout was an experience I sought after as a young lad, in the streams back up home in Yorkshire.

The sport now known as LRF means that fisherman (grown adult men) are not at all embarrassed to pull out a 6-7 foot rod and start flicking out lures in search of some amazingly fun sport…and why should they be?

To further my interest in LRF, I wanted to kit up with a good quality rod and reel for the job. To be able to cast ultra light lures and work the lures effectively through the swims, I needed super light tackle. Snowbee make some fantastic light spinning rods in their Raptor range. I have been fortunate enough to be able to try one of their Raptor 4-12 gram rods and also one of the new Kuroshio spinning reels.

Snowbee Raptor LRF rod

Specifications:
The Raptor 4-12 gram rod is a two piece 7ft 2 inch rod, and the slightly heavier of the two rods in the micro range. The top 40cm of the rod is constructed of solid carbon allowing maximum flexibility and with single leg guide rings this rod is designed to be ultra lightweight and sensitive.

Out of the rod bag:
When I first took the Raptor out of its mesh rod bag (a nice touch by Snowbee),  I was a little nervous of how fine it was, I gave the rod a good flex and immediately began to see that although the tip was ultra sensitive, the whole blank curved up really nicely giving an indication of hidden power.

I gave the rod a few light whips through the air, and a wobble or two (as I always do with a new rod). The Raptor has a glistening dark blue/black sheen on the blank, with contrasting silver logo detail and silver guide rings that have really pleasing profile, and so tightly whipped / sealed. – my excitement was growing.

Snowbee Raptor LRF rod rings

The top section of the handle screws down the reel seat nice and tightly, and the upper portion of the lower EVA grip saddles the reel seat, this gives a neat grip area around the reel that is comfortable to cast with over and over again. The rod butt is nicely shaped and tapers out at the very end to form a good profile for easy grip.

Although the rod is only 7ft 2 inches, the reel and grips are really nicely positioned for comfort and control, I have quite long arms but the Raptor fits inside my forearm really nicely (perfect for effortlessly flicking out lures).

Snowbee Raptor reel seat

Snowbee Raptor rod butt

Kuroshio SK-2000 Spinning Reel
Snowbee’s full range of Kuroshio reels range from the SK-2000 up to the SK-5000 model. I have been fortunate enough to be able to give one of the SK-2000 reels a spin, which fits and balances the 4-12 gram rod perfectly.

Out of the box this fishing reel oozes with quality, the uber elegant Japanese design of the new Kuroshio fishing reels is more than just pleasing to the eye. I especially love the design of the handle and Japanese logo detail at the base of the foot stem.

The reel feels fantastic, with smooth and positive movement. I tested the bale arm which feels solid, little effort was needed to turn the handle with the 5.1:1 gear ratio to re-engage the bale arm (with a pleasing metallic click).

Constructed from precision cast aluminium with CNC machined aluminium spool, hub and handle makes it strong and really lightweight (262g/9.3oz) perfect for LRF and light spinning!

The reel has a satin black powder coated finish gives the reel maximum saltwater and chip resistance. The gears and mechanics are made from stainless steel and brass. This is really crucial to me, my style of fishing involves a lot of climbing over rocks and sometimes the rod and reel will take a dip in the water en-route, a reel that will not quickly corrode from the inside out is a truly valuable asset.

Snowbee Kuroshio reel

As you can see in the picture above, the reel is loaded with braided line, Snowbee sent me a spool of the 7kg / 0.08mm Tuf-Line XP, which is a rounded mutli-filament braid. The spool holds 137m of line which filled the SK-2000 spool perfectly, I backed the spool with 1 turn of tape to give the braid a foundation to grip into, and gave the reel its first bit of action loading up the line.

Snowbee Kuroshio reel loaded with braid

Lets go fishing!
With the rod and reel set up, and a selection of Snowbee “Stinger” lures as bait, I headed up to one of my local rock marks on the North Coast (near Newquay). The mark produces Wrasse, Pollack and the occasional Bass, and has some nice deep pools and boulders to work lures through.

I took it easy with the first cast, to make sure I didn’t get any wind knots in the braid.  The soft plastic “Stinger” grubs are only about 5 grams and I loaded it up with a 5 gram cone shaped worm weight (so 10 grams of weight to cast).  Even my cautious first attempt sent the lure flying a good 30 yards. The retrieve of the reel is perfect for this style of fishing, I like to vary the speed when using lures, but the 5.5.1 gear ratio allows a fairly rapid retrieve when needed.

The action of the rod is truly effortless, the blank is springy but powerful for its size. I snagged the lure in some weed a couple of times and bent the rod double, luckily I didn’t lose the lure but it allowed me to appreciate the potential for some serious fun if I hooked into decent sized fish using this light tackle.

With an easterly wind blowing, the odds were stacked against me but I had a couple of bites (nothing landed though). The combination of the lightweight lures, braid and lightweight tackle made the bites easy to detect. It was probably only a tiny Pollack but by the way the rod tip whipped round it might as well have been a 12 pounder – tremendous fun!

Verdict:
So my ambition to try out a really good quality LRF rod and reel has definitely been fulfilled. When it comes down to lightweight fishing tackle I think that it can be difficult for some manufactures to get the balance right – but Snowbee have nailed it with this rod, Raptor Rods are really well made with great action and attention to detail. The RRP for this rod is £88.99 and I feel that is a great price for such a fantastic piece of kit.

The Kuroshio reel looked and performed amazingly well. Although I am using the SK-2000 for LRF, the reel could easily be used for slightly heavier lure work and I am looking forward to trying it out for Bass and Scad later in the year (+ of course they make the Kuroshios in bigger sizes too). It retails at £119.00 which is more than I paid for my last spinning reel, but the design and the materials are top notch. A spinning reel is on the go constantly and needs to be built to last! This set-up is gonna be getting some serious use over the summer!

All Raptor Spinning Rods come with the Snowbee Original Purchaser Lifetime Guarantee.
Check out these links to the tackle on the Snowbee website.
Raptor Spinning Rod
Kuroshio Spinning Reel

Posted in Fishing and Hunting | Leave a comment

Review: Fitting a Scanstrut deck seal to a kayak

Scanstrut deck seal review - fitting to a kayak

As part of my kayak build project, the installation of my fish finder requires me to run cables from the cockpit of the kayak, through the plastic and into the hull cavity. This fitting needs to be watertight as I regularly launch the kayak into surf and I definitely don’t want any water leaking into the kayak (for obvious reasons).

I came across this deck seal by Scanstrut. The deck seal comes in 316 stainless steel with options for 16mm to 40mm connectors. I went with the 16mm “mini” version as I only needed to route two thin cables. – click here to see it on their website.

The deck seal looked well constructed, with the two halves (screwed together) fitting tightly. In the box, Scanstrut provide 4 x rubber grommets (or “cable glands”) to accommodate for a variety of cable diameters, they also included a non-drilled grommet which you can drill yourself if the others aren’t the right size.

attach the lower part of the deck seal over the hole using self tapping screws

Fitting the deck seal was far easier than I had expected. After I had decided on the position, I drilled a 14mm hole through the plastic and stuck the adhesive waterproof ring around the hole. The base section of the deck seal (pictured above) was fixed using 3 x self tapping screws (included with the kit).  The screws held really well, no additional fixing was required – it felt solid.

feed the wires through the hole and secure the rubber grommit

The cables were passed through the hole (easy), and then I fitted one of the rubber grommets. The grommets are designed to have a split from the hole in the center to the outer edge, this is so that you can bend it outwards around the wires and then close it up again.

Getting the right hole size is crucial to it being watertight, I tested mine after the installation with a hose pipe (all good!).

The final step is the attach the outer section, to do this you need to push the rubber grommet (with the wires running through) into the recess on the inside of the outer section. Its a really tight fit (to keep things watertight), I found it easier to push it in with a bit of wood doweling, but don’t use anything sharp as it might damage the rubber.

Once the grommet is located correctly, just screw on the outer section – hey presto! The deck seal looks really neat, and I m 100% confident in the fitting.

screw the upper part of the deck seal in place - job done!

Overview:

  • Watertight installation
    Tapered bung forms watertight seal. All units are supplied with a closed-cell base seal – 100% waterproof. All models have been IPX6 and IPX7 tested and approved.
  • Easy and Reliable Installation
    Captive nuts make for easy assembly and also allow reliable repeat installations. Each unit supplied with both pre-drilled and blank inner seals to make your installation as easy as possible.
  • No need to remove cable connectors
    Split-seal option does not require connector removal during install
  • Multi-functional Dome shape
    Aesthetic dome-shaped profile provides a stronger, impact-resistant design (no sharp edges to hit your foot on!) and outer dome provides additional water shield.
  • Your Choice of Materials
    30% Glass-filled Nylon – UV-stable, hard-wearing or 316 stainless version available
Posted in Kayaking, Outdoors | Leave a comment