I am an absolute sucker for any quality piece of fishing tackle, be it a rod, a reel, a lure, or even a hook. There is
just such a difference between holding a piece of quality tackle in your hand, compared to something that is going to last you a only few trips before bombing out.
On a recent trip that I did up to Kosi, I had a chance to test drive some of the new tackle that is being brought in
by iFISH and it proved to be out of the top drawer.
I have never really been very good at the art of throwing artificial lures off the beach unless they are composed of a soft plastic and have a lead-head attached to them, and I have been wanting to get into the ‘shore game’ (throwing spoons and plugs a long way on spinning tackle off the shore) style of fishing for a while now. After looking through the tackle that iFISH is distributing and developing, it didn’t take long for me to decide that theirs was the right equipment to give me the best chance at catching fish on this technique that was new to me.
The one Item that really sold me is the new 11’ Assassin Spinmaster 2X heavy shore game rod. Apart from being
a thing of beauty, it has an action that is so well suited to the ‘shore game’ style of angling that, in my opinion, it is a must-have for anyone who wants to throw lures between 2oz and 5oz to target the bigger game fish species off the beach. Unlike many of the other rods on the market, this one has been specifically designed and built to cast 50lb braid and can handle up to 70lb with ease.
The blank that this rod is built around is very unique: it is made up of three different-tonnage Toray carbons, with the base being 30-ton, the mid-section 24-ton and going right down to 8-ton near the tip. On top of this, the blank is put together using nanoresin technology that allows it to be light and at the same time extremely strong and surprisingly durable. The components on the rod are of the highest quality with a Fuji winch, Fuji Alconite guides and a tangle-free tip to prevent the braid from wrapping around the tip guide on the cast.
I have spent many hours throwing with this rod now, and in my opinion it is the most comfortable-throwing 3oz to 4oz. With a 3oz needle-nose plug and 50lb braid, the rod consistently throws between 100m and 130m. When it comes to the Iron Candy spoons, its favourite weight to throw is a No. 3 and this it can throw close to 150m when fished with 50lb. I took the chance when I was at Kosi one day and went right down to 10lb Berkley FireLine with the No. 3 Iron Candy to try and get onto some of the back reefs. I could not believe how far the spoon was going.
I didn’t have any way of measuring any of the casts, but I have no doubt that some of them were very little shy of 200m. I did, however, put on a 5m leader of 50lb braid to prevent throwing the spoon off on the cast.
Unfortunately, there were very few decent kingies around and I didn’t get to test the full pulling power of the rod on a fish but, by using the light braid and hitting the back reefs, I managed to get two nice bluefin kingies whose iridescent colours made up for their limited size.
I have always liked the shape and colours of the Iron Candy spoons, but have had one serious complaint in that the paint chipped off them really quickly if you bumped them off a few rocks or after a fish or two had savaged them. I got some of the new batch to take to Kosi that are being imported now, fully made up with Daiichi Soy Ring hooks, hyper wire split rings and a brand new, even better and much, much more durable finish that they get right through some complicated 3-part bonding process.
After fishing a full week with the spoons and catching some fish on them, not one of them had anything more than a few minor scratches that didn’t even go through the outside coating into the foil. The colours that I found to be the most productive on this specific trip were: chartreuse, glow, hot orange and pink. I am sure, however, that on a different day, any of the colours can work. One thing I did notice was that if you catch a few fish at a spot on a certain colour and the bite goes quiet, you can often get a few more bites by changing to a different colour.
Fish are far from stupid and they quickly learn after a few of their mates have been taken out that it’s not a good idea to bite that little chartreuse fish that swims past all on its own. If, however, you change the colour to, say, a pink or glow, you can often bluff them into biting a few more times before they spook totally.
Without a doubt, it is better to use fluorocarbon as a leader material, especially when venturing further
north into the crystal clear, more tropical waters.
I was shown a pretty easy shortcut, though, that makes your leader last a heck of a lot longer. Keep a pair of split-ring pliers in your pocket or bag with your spoons while you are fishing and on each of your spoons have a split ring on the front.
Tie a small power swivel only to the end of your fluorocarbon leader. This way, every time you want to change your spoon, all you need to do is unclip the split ring on the one spoon and clip on the next one. This means that your expensive fluorocarbon will last a heck of a long time.
I have barely scratched the surface of ‘shore game’ angling and I still have a huge amount to learn but, from what I can see, there are few more exciting or rewarding ways of catching fish off the beach.
Just make sure that you have the right tackle for the job. iFISH is expanding its range with lots more exciting stuff to come. By the time you read this, the Assassin Amia should be available. This is going to be the younger brother of the 11’ 2X heavy and is promising to be the ideal rod for throwing 1oz to 2oz plugs and No. 2 Iron Candy spoons.