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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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!