Spro Mobile Stick Review by John Cheyne

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Rod Name Mobile Stick 80M
Manufacturer Spro
Rod Type Travel Spinning
Length 7’10” (240cm)
Casting Weight 5-15g
Action Fast

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If you are anything like me, then you will take just about every opportunity to fish that you can get. I’ve carried a little Shimano telescopic rod in my car for years and it’s always done a pretty good job for me for quick light lure session on canals and rivers, but at just 6 foot it’s a bit short for fishing dropshot and  as the more specialised rods I have for the majority of my fishing have improved and been upgraded it has begun to feel a little clumsy and agricultural. In short it lacks finesse and as I’ve improved my own standard of ‘light game’ fishing using little shads, dropshot lures and mini-cranks, it feels less and less up to the job. So I decided I needed to find an alternative, something I could keep in the car or pack in a standard backpack with my laptop, that would cast little shads, spinners and cranks, but that would also do a decent job as a drop shot rod. After a lot of google searching and chats with other anglers I finally decided to get myself a Spro Mobile Stick. Did it live up to expectation and manage to cover all the bases I was hoping for ?  read on and find out !

First Impressions

Well the first big difference between my old Shimano and the New Spro rod is that the Spro is a multi-peice rather than a telescopic. The rod comes nicely presented in it’s own custom made divided rod bag and packed in the bag it is very small indeed. Despite being well over 7 foot when assembled the rod packs up to a very near 43cm, which will fit in any standard backpack very easily.

The rod fits neatly into the rucksack that I carry my laptop in. So the rod certainly lives up to it's "mobile" name tag

The rod fits neatly into the rucksack that I carry my laptop in. So the rod certainly lives up to it’s “mobile” name tag

The first time you assemble the rod, you get a real feeling of quality as each section fits nicely into the next and the whole thing feels very solid when put together.

The joints go together very nicely and are finished with a neat two-tone whipping.

The joints go together very nicely and are finished with a neat two-tone whipping.

The split-grip handle is a cork/EVA foam combination with a slightly unusual rounded cork front-peice which I actually quite like. The real seat screws upwards and seems nice and solid. There’s some nice detail on the rear grip where a band of cork has been inserted into the foam just for looks, which I also think looks very smart.

The front of the handle is a slightly unusual rounded snap that tapers towards the rear, but it's comfortable and I rather like the look.

The front of the handle is a slightly unusual rounded snap that tapers towards the rear, but it’s comfortable and I rather like the look.

The rod is ringed throughout with lightweight single legged rings. They are nicely spaced and seem to be pretty strong as I’ve had no issues of bent rings despite the fact that the rod has been carried in a rucksack on the Tube in London during rush hour on a number of occasions.

The rings are light, but tough and I've had no issues with them getting knocked or bent despite giving the rod a pretty tough time.

The rings are light, but tough and I’ve had no issues with them getting knocked or bent despite giving the rod a pretty tough time.

I was very keen to see what the tip of the rod was like as I was hoping it would be sensitive enough to use for drop shotting and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not as micro thin as some LRF solid tipped rods, but it’s certainly fine enough to give you good feedback when dropshotting for perch.

The tip is a nice compromise, strong enough to cope with cranks and larger shads, but still with enough finesse to allow you to use the rod for drop-shotting.

The tip is a nice compromise, strong enough to cope with cranks and larger shads, but still with enough finesse to allow you to use the rod for drop-shotting.

TESTING TIME

The first few outing we gave the rod were casting various sizes of shads mounted on jig heads, to see what the blank could cope with. We started at the lower end and fished with a tiny 35mm Cultiva Micro worm on a 0.8g Xesta star size 8 jig head and worked our way through about 14 lures right up to a 9cm Savage soft 4-play with a 7g jig head. As soon as you start using the rod, you immediately notice that the action is very “tippy” if you hook a fish (or a snag!) and bend into it it’s only really the top 2 foot of the rod that bends, this is because of the rods fast action and delicate tip and is ideal for fishing for small fish as it means the rod is nice and sensitive.

We tried the rod out with a big range of jig-headed shads, split tails and grubs. It coped with everything in the photo with ease. It was only when we approached the upper end of the rods casting weight that we felt less confident in setting hooks and working the lures properly. (can you name every lure ?)

We tried the rod out with a big range of jig-headed shads, split tails and grubs. It coped with everything in the photo with ease. It was only when we approached the upper end of the rods casting weight that we felt less confident in setting hooks and working the lures properly. (can you name every lure ?)

The rod performed beautifully right up to using 3 inch lures with 7g jig heads, so a combined weight of about 12g. However above this weight the tippy action started to mean that the rod was bending, just to work the lures and once we got into jig heads above size 1 or 1/0 at the biggest we felt there wasn’t really enough backbone to set the hooks properly. So if anything I feel the rod is slightly over-rated at 5-15g. It actually coped pretty well with lures that weighed as little as 1.5 g..not perfect, but not bad, so we would say that in practice the rod should probably be rated more like 2-12g and it’s ideal casting weights are 5-10g. Basically perfect for general perch work. It’s ideal for use with braid up to about 15lb bs.

The Mobile Stick is in it's element while fishing on canals and small rivers for small to medium sized perch. being so transportable it's perfect for urban fishing as you can carry it on the bus or tube without anyone even knowing you are going fishing !

The Mobile Stick is in it’s element while fishing on canals and small rivers for small to medium sized perch. being so transportable it’s perfect for urban fishing as you can carry it on the bus or tube without anyone even knowing you are going fishing !

I caught plenty of nice little perch on little shads and I also had fun chucking some little cranks and micro-jerks. The bites even from the smallest perch can be felt easily enough as the blank transmits them very well and there’s very little need to watch the rod tip constantly. When hooked the rod is light enough to make them fun to catch and anything over a few ounces puts a nice bend in the top section.

The rod makes catching little canal perch good fun and it is equally happy throwing little swim baits (like this tiny BBZ) and cranks.

The rod makes catching little canal perch good fun and it is equally happy throwing little swim baits (like this tiny BBZ) and cranks.

Another fun little stripey this time caught on a hard bait grub.

Another fun little stripey this time caught on a hard bait grub.

Next up I wanted to find out how the rod coped with drop shotting. I did all the testing on my local canal where the perch tend to average about 3oz so it was more a test of finesse fishing than using it to target bigger fish. The rod was teamed up with a Spro Sportsarc reel, 12lb 8strand braid and rigged with a 7g drop shot weight and a size 8 owner Mosquito hook and some 7lb FC. Lure wise I used mostly Cultiva Micro Worms,  Ecogear Aqua Katsu Mebaru Shirasu 2” and Jackall Jacoknuckle 2″ shads. This is where the extra length of the Mobile Stick comes in really handy as it’s 7′ 10″ give you much more control over the lure than a shorter rod would. Once again the sensitivity of the rod was pretty good, maybe not as perfect as a top range purpose built solid tipped finesse rod, but more than adequate for catching perch, which tend to bite pretty hard anyway. In fact I must admit just owning this rod has made me fish canals for small fish a lot more than I was doing previously.

Drop-shotting on the local canal.

Drop-shotting on the local canal.

It’s not just small fish that I’ve managed to catch on the Mobile Stick though there have been a few better fish and some nice surprises too. I took the rod out to the World Predator Classic Event in Holland and although I decided not to use it during the main competition I did have a lovely perch of around 3lb using it during practice. The perch out there really scrap and so it was a great test of the rod under pressure, which it came through with flying colours.

This fat Dutch perch gave me a real battle but the Mobile Stick coped admirably.

This fat Dutch perch gave me a real battle but the Mobile Stick coped admirably.

I’ve used it for targeting the perch on the LACC stretch of the Grand Union Canal as well where I’ve had a couple of bonus Zander on the drop shot, so although it lacks a little bit of backbone to set the hooks in the boney mouths of Zeds if you are using 2-3″ shads with relatively large jig heads, it’s more than capable of catching them when your using  small finesse shads or a drop shot set up.

A drop-shot caught Zander from the Grand Union canal in Warwickshire.

A drop-shot caught Zander from the Grand Union canal in Warwickshire.

I even managed to fluke a lovely Brown Trout on it from a river I was trying to catch Chub from the other week and again the Mobile Stick coped well with the battling fight that ensued.

A bonus Brownie caught while Chub fishing using the Mobile Stick.

A bonus Brownie caught while Chub fishing using the Mobile Stick.

CONCLUSIONS

All in all I absolutely love the Mobile Stick. It packs away into a tiny space, it’s very nicely built and it bridges the gap beautifully between being a shad casting rod and a drop shot rod. I’ve even used it for a little bit of LRF work while on holiday in Cornwall and it did a great job at that too (although when it comes to LRF I’m a real novice so I’d take my recommendation for saltwater work with a pinch of…err salt!). If you’re looking for a travel rod that will be mainly used for catching perch, I can’t imagine there is a better rod out there. After using it for over 6 months week in week out, I’m pleased to say that I can really recommend it and at around £80.00 it’s a real bargain as well. If you want to spend £400 on two different, two piece rods, then yes you will probably get even better performance both for casting small plastics and working the drop shot…but the Mobile Stick won’t be far behind and it’s a lot cheaper and easier to transport. I haven’t been so happy with a Spro rod since I bought my first Godfather vertical jigging rod..and that is high praise indeed !

Gold awardThe Mobile Stick is awarded a Gold Medal by Luretour

Full Details of the Mobile Stick Range can be found in the Spro Catalogue HERE

Mobile Sticks are available from good Tackle shops all round the country, but if you are looking for one mail order we can recommend the service we have received from The Pike Shop who had the rods in stock when this review went live.

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Reins

Japanese manufacturers Reins have a fantastic reputation for producing innovative, original soft baits that work as effectively on European fish as the do Japanese fish. Reins has long been one of the most popular “street fishing’ brands in Europe and France in particular. Their distribution in the UK however has always been rather patchy so it’s it was great to hear that freshwater specialists The Lure Lounge will now be stocking a good range of these fantastic baits. Here’s our overview of the lures on offer.

Already in stock are:

Aji Adder Shad

 

The Aji Adder Shad is the result of a collaboration between Deps and Reins and is rightfully regarded as one of the finest finesse shads available. At just 5cm long the Adder is perfect for tempting shy perch and can be fished on a light LRF style jig head, on a carolina rig or drop shot style. The ribbed body not only creates extra disturbance in the water, but is also a great carrier for added scent.

The Aji Adder Shad is the result of a collaboration between Deps and Reins and is rightfully regarded as one of the finest finesse shads available. At just 5cm long the Adder is perfect for tempting shy perch and can be fished on a light LRF style jig head, on a carolina rig or drop shot style. The ribbed body not only creates extra disturbance in the water, but is also a great carrier for added scent.   Buy Aji Adder Shad

Aji Meat

 

The Aji meat acts as the perfect halfway house between an imitation fry and worm. It's shape an action leave it somewhere between the two, depending on how you work it. At just 4cm long and with a slim whip like tail the meat is perfect for finesse perch fishing or LRF work in saltwater.

The Aji meat acts as the perfect halfway house between an imitation fry and worm. It’s shape an action leave it somewhere between the two, depending on how you work it. At just 4cm long and with a slim whip like tail the meat is perfect for finesse perch fishing or LRF work in saltwater.  Buy Aji Meat 

Aji Ringer

 

At just 4cm long this tiny pin-tail is another finesse lure that work particularly well both for perch on canals, rivers and stillwaters as well as a wide variety of "rockfish" in saltwater.

At just 4cm long this tiny pin-tail is another finesse lure that work particularly well both for perch on canals, rivers and stillwaters as well as a wide variety of “rockfish” in saltwater. Buy Aji Ringer

Aji Ringer Shad

The Ringer Shad's slim profile and ribbed body is an absolute fish magnet and is best fished using a fine wire LRF style jig head.

The 4cm long Ringer Shad’s slim profile and ribbed body is an absolute fish magnet and is best fished using a fine wire LRF style jig head. Buy Ringer shad 

Bubbling Shad

The bubbling shads undulating ribbed body  is made from a tough but very supple material that provides the maximum outline yet folds up incredibly easily when a fish hits. At 7.5cm this is the perfect size for decent perch, but will also catch Zander, chub and pike.

The bubbling shads undulating ribbed body is made from a tough but very supple material that provides the maximum outline yet folds up incredibly easily when a fish hits. At 7.5cm this is the perfect size for decent perch, but will also catch Zander, chub and pike. Buy Bubbling shad 

Bubring Shaker

The Bubring Shaker is a lure that just screams "PUT ME ON A DROP_SHOT RIG!!!!!" the textured ribbed body and the undulation at the tail allow it to have an amazingly attractive action in the water that big perch can't resist !

The Bubring Shaker is a lure that just screams “PUT ME ON A DROP_SHOT RIG!!!!!” the textured ribbed body and the undulation at the tail allow it to have an amazingly attractive action in the water that big perch can’t resist ! Buy Bubring Shaker 

Ring Shrimp

Whether you are imitating a shrimp in saltwater or a small crayfish in freshwater or you just want something that looks "buggy" the ring shrimp is a cracking little lure. This is the sort of lure that is never completely stationary as even if drop shotted without any movement the slim floating legs and claws will tremble and move in the water.

Whether you are imitating a shrimp in saltwater or a small crayfish in freshwater or you just want something that looks “buggy” the ring shrimp is a cracking little lure. This is the sort of lure that is never completely stationary as even if drop shotted without any movement the slim floating legs and claws will tremble and move in the water. Buy Ring Shrimp 

Rockvibe shad

The rock vibe is one of the most unusual shads on the market. It flat undulating body is finished off by a heavily ribbed tail section and rounded paddle. It's instantly recognisable both by anglers and fish..who seem to just love it !

The rock vibe is one of the most unusual shads on the market. It flat undulating body is finished off by a heavily ribbed tail section and rounded paddle. It’s instantly recognisable both by anglers and fish..who seem to just love it ! Buy rockvibe shad

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The final of the Fox Rage sponsored British Lure Angling Championships will be held at Chew Valley in just 11 days time and exciting is mounting as we get closer to finding out who will win this years inaugural event. The fishing at Chew is from boats and the draw for who will fish with who was made yesterday and has thrown up some very interesting pairings.

One of the favourites for the final will be John Horsey as Chew Valley is his home water where he fishes almost every week of the year and provided a guiding service. Along side him will be The Angling Trust’s Polish born Building Bridges Manager Rado Papiewski who recently became a full UK citizen. There will be a few anglers who are a little envious of Rado who should benefit from John’s knowledge of the water.

John Horsey

Having qualified on Chew, If John Horsey wins the final, he will have managed to lift the trophy without having left his home water !

Rado is no stranger to big pike and will enjoy fishing with John.

Rado is no stranger to big pike and will enjoy fishing with John.

Chew is an interesting choice as a final venue, as it offers a significantly different challenge to many of the qualifiers especially those which were fished on canals. Adam Kirby won two of these canal qualifiers and featured well in others by using finesse tactics and catching large numbers of perch, it will be fascinating to see how Adam and other anglers who qualified by fishing canal venues will adapt to the big fish paradise that is Chew Valley. Adam is paired with Ben Davis who made the final by fishing the Chew qualifier so he will at least be able to depend on his boat partner for some venue knowledge.

Adam Kirby (top right) will be partnered with talented all rounder Ben Davis (bottom centre) seen here both getting top six finishes at the K&A canal qualifier earlier this year.

Adam Kirby (top right) will be partnered with talented all rounder Ben Davis (bottom centre) seen here both getting top six finishes at the K&A canal qualifier earlier this year.

Another angler who is tipped to do well is Steve Collet who most anglers will recognise for his regular appearances on the cover of Anglers Mail. Steve is a highly successful all round angler who has a huge amount of experience both as a match angler and as a lure anglers, which is a rare combination and should give him a real advantage in the final. Steve is also paired with Andy Chalmer who made his way to the final by qualifying at Chew and so has already proved he can find the fish at the venue.

With a boat partner who has already had success at Chew and a background of both predator fishing and top level match fishing, Steve Collett will be on of the favourites

With a boat partner who has already had success at Chew and a background of both predator fishing and top level match fishing, Steve Collett will be on of the favourites

Other names to watch include Paul Parnell who won the originally Chew qualifier and is known to everyone who fishes with him as a fish magnet, Greg Bafia who has a knack of finding fish when others are struggling as he proved at the Zandermania event earlier this year and will be keen to use some of his home-made soft baits on Chew pike. Steve Moore might be a good outside bet as well, as he has an excellent knowledge of the water and is no stranger to big pike.

Representing Lure Tour will be John Cheyne who is partnered with Matt Boast. Both anglers qualified via Chew so have proved they can catch fish on the venue and given a little bit of luck either of them could feature at the end of the event.

John Cheyne with a big fly caught fish from Chew

John Cheyne with a big fly caught fish from Chew

One of the great things about the final is that the guys aren’t having it all their own way as both Sarah Collins and Joanna Davies have qualified in recent weeks. It will be fascinating to see how they do on the day !

Jo Davies will be one of two women in the final. Jo qualified by winning the final qualifier at Ferry Meadows

Jo Davies will be one of two women in the final. Jo qualified by winning the final qualifier at Ferry Meadows

 

 

Below are all the final pairings in full

First Drawn- Second Drawn
Adam Kirby- Ben Davis
Simon Nicol- Sarah Collins
Carl Garrett- Jakub Portykus
Mike McGuire- Lee Garner
Paul Oakenden- John Wheeler
Ben Tregonning- Nick Marlow
Clint Walker Ade- Walker
Richard Haines- Alex George
Andy Chalmer- Steve Collett
John Cheyne- Matt Boast
Stephen Bates- Piotr Malinowski
Dean Pilgrim- Greg Bafia
Rado Papiewski- John Horsey
Dan Sissons- Bill Dowding
Adam Moxey- Olivier Gayer
Shane Close- Merv Jones
Gareth Finney- Kevin Jones
Ben Thomas- Stuart Turner
Alan Buckingham- David Smith
Andrew Terpilowski- Marcin Kwasniewski
Alan Brown- Dariusz Swierzko
Mariusz Rokicinski- Ben Church
Mark Taylor- Grzegorz Pawlak
Paul Parnell- Piotr Kruszewski
Kamil Drapala- Steve Moore
Slawomir Perzynsk- Ben Humber
Chris Lambert- Lee Harper Smith
Philip Medhurst Ollie Jenkinson
Lee Brackley Joanna Davies

 

Good luck everyone !

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AGM BIG PIKE GRUB REVIEW

Lure Name Pike Grub
Manufacturer AGM
Lure Type Softbait Grub
Length 25cm
Weight 75g
Price £2.75

Big curly tail lures have been one of the most successful types of lures for pike fishing for many years now. The Musky innovations BullDawg has become legendary and has probably been responsible for the capture of more big pike in the UK than any other lure. However the Bulldawg and lures like it come with a couple of issues for your average Pike anglers. Firstly they are pretty expensive. A standard Bulldawg retails for around £20 here now in the UK, which is a lot of money for a lure which might lose it’s tail to the very first pike you attract. Of course you can buy all sorts of copies and derivatives these days including the Savage Gear Alien Eel and Diawa Dictator which are often around half the price, but that’s still quite a lot of cash. Secondly they all have built in weight and normally a wide array of hooks, which means that if you want to fish shallower or in weedy situations you have to buy a number of different version to cover all the bases, which again means even more cost and quite a lot to lug about.

The Musky Innovations Bulldawg is the market leader when it comes to big curl tail soft baits for pike. But they are expensive and less adaptable than fishing with something you rig yourself.

The Musky Innovations Bulldawg is the market leader when it comes to big curl tail soft baits for pike. But they are expensive and less adaptable than fishing with something you rig yourself.

The above is one of the reasons we seem to increasingly use unrigged big grubs when we want to fish a large curl tail lure. They are cheaper, you can rig them how you want, and you can weight them how you want and generally they are more adaptable and also more disposable. The introduction of the Savage Gear Real Eel has also meant that more anglers have started rigging their own big curl tails rather than just using Bulldawgs and bulldawg copies.

Generally big grubs have a body with a circular cross section and an undulating ribbed body. Some taper at the nose, some don’t but generally they are all variations on a theme. What’s more they work very well and are easy to fish, but somehow they don’t quite have the presence in the water that Bulldawgs have.

mogambo-walleye2

Most big grubs, like this Kalin’s Mogambo, have a body with a circular cross section

So when we saw that Allan at AGM had started selling a big grub with an unusual almost boat hull shaped body, we immediately ordered some to try them out.

The body of the AGM Pike Grub is almost like an upside down Bulldawg, with its felt top and rounded underside.

The body of the AGM Pike Grub is almost like an upside down Bulldawg, with its flat top and rounded underside.

TESTING TIME

The first thing that strikes you about the AGM Pike Grub when you actually get one in your hand is that it is a big old lump of soft plastic ! They boat hull body really does make them seem a lot bulkier than a more standard Mogambo style grub. In fact it reminds us a little bit of a Delande Super Sandra (although thankfully it looks a lot less phallic !). The moulding itself is a little rough and ready with a few pin bubble marks on the outside of the lure, but the soft plastic itself is a nice balance between softness and toughness. The two tone colouring on the Charteause/green and Blue/pearl ones is also a nice touch, although I must admit I’m a big fan of plain white soft baits, so the white one is the one I have fished the most. Actually there is a slight difference in the moulding between the two tone versions and the plain colour versions we bought, as the two-tone ones have a raised eye, while the plain ones have a recessed eye. In use I doubt this makes any difference and I suspect the tolling has been updated by the time the two tone ones were produced, as they have a lot less flash on them and are generally more neatly finished.

Rigging couldn’t be easier, you just need a bloody big jig head ! Thankfully I have a stock of Savage gear XL jig heads and the 7/0 version is perfect.

The Pike Grub rigged with a 15g 7/0 Savage XL jighead. We tried colouring the eye in with a red softbait marker to add a target area for the pike.

The Pike Grub rigged with a 15g 7/0 Savage XL jighead. We tried colouring the eye in with a red softbait marker to add a target area for the pike.

In the water the big Grub has an interesting rolling action, but the shape of the body helps to keep it keeled and it only rolls so far. The tail as you would expect has a lovely sweeping curling action and the lure is a breeze to work effectively. In fact you can just chuck it out and reel it in ! However the fact that you decide how many hooks to attach means that when it’s rigged with just one simple jig hook you can let it drop right to the bottom and twitch it along without worrying about picking up debris. Something you can’t do with a Bulldawg. Of course it would be easy enough to add stingers if you are worried about not hooking up properly with one single, or you could use a harness and have trebles slung under the body, but we didn’t really feel it was necessary.

The two tone versions have a great finish to them and look very "fishy"

The two tone versions have a great finish to them and look very “fishy”

So what did the pike think ?  well not surprisingly they loved them ! first time out on Pitsford and we were struggling to get a fish. We had a few follows on other lures but the fish seemed a bit reluctant to commit themselves. I popped on the big white grub and cast it a few times trying to get a feel for how fast it sank and what was the best speed to retrieve it at. For some reason the big all white flank was annoying me a bit, so I took one of  my soft plastic felt pens out of the bag and coloured in an eye in red. Now whether this made any different for not I don’t know, but on the very next cast I’d only turned the reel handle twice when there was a savage take and a pike was attached to the other end. It wasn’t a big fish, maybe 6lb or so, but it was a good start.

Fish number one grabs fancies some Grub !

Fish number one fancies some Grub !

in the next hour I had a another couple of hits that didn’t stick (I didn’t want to add a stinger as there was a lot of weed about) but then soon enough another thumping take saw the biggest fish of the day at about 13lb grace the net.

A much fatter fish fancied the grub next, unfortunately by this time the rain was hammering down and there was even more water on the lens !

A much fatter fish fancied the grub next, unfortunately by this time the rain had started and there was even more water on the lens !

Conclusions

All in all we like the AGM Pike Grub a lot. It’s cheap, adaptable and has a big presence in the water but a small effect on your bank balance. It’s outline is more fish like than many other alternative curl tails so offers something different. It’s the sort of lure that would be perfect for fishing snaggy rivers like the Wye , Severn to Thames, where losing lures is an occupational hazard and so finding cheap lures that work is important. At less than £3.00 a go you can afford to chuck them at snags and drag them along the bottom, where you know you’ll eventually get snagged up. The boat hull shape keels the lure nicely and and while the finish isn’t anything like as sophisticated as a Dawg or a Savage Real eel it still seems to catch fish pretty effectively.

A table full of grub..from the bottom clockwise - Delande Super Sandra, Savage Gear Alien eel, Savage Gear real eel, Standard mogambo grub, AGM Pike Grub, Jumbo Mogambo grub

A table full of grub..from the bottom clockwise – Delande Super Sandra, Savage Gear Alien eel, Savage Gear real eel, Standard mogambo grub, AGM Pike Grub, Jumbo Mogambo grub

 

Build Quality There was a little bit of “flash” on some of the lures we bought, but the choice of material is excellent and they seem to stand up to pikes teeth surprisingly well. (7/10)
Quality of finish The two tone version look very nice, but there is evidence of pock marks where tiny bubbles have become trapped in the mould. The fish won’t mind but these are not as nicely finished as some more expensive lures (6/10)
Performance What the Grubs lose in their slightly rough and ready finish, they gain in their performance..this is a nice design that casts well, fishes well and makes pike bite ! (9/10)
Value For Money It’s not often we give ten out of ten for a lure on any category, but at less than £3 for 10″ and 75g of pike attracting rubber this lure gets the max ! (10/10)
Variety of Options Available Only one big size, but plenty of colour options (7/10)
TackleTart Factor Ok these are not the latest 3D designed, lifelike masterpieces but they do have a big lure, big fish no nonsense feel about them..this is the sort of lure truck drivers would use ! (8/10)
Overall innovative design, amazing value and fish catching ability defeats the slightly agricultural finish on these big beauties..what are you waiting for..go buy some ! (8/10)

LTSilverThe AGM Pike Grub is awarded a Silver medal by Lure Tour

The Pike Grub is available from AGM Products

 

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Southern Leopard.2

Captain Ken Clone Frog Review

Lure Name Clone Frog
Manufacturer Captain Ken
Lure Type Topwater Frog
Length 50mm
Weight 10g
Price £7.99

Searching the internet for cool looking lures is something that most of us probably do. It can cause you a bit of heartache though as very often you will find something that looks really interesting only to find that it’s impossible to get hold of locally and the cost of importing can be prohibitive. It was on one of these internet lure searches that I first came across the Captain Ken Frog. It looked lifelike, neat and had a very interesting hooking system. I was intrigued. The only trouble was that they didn’t seem to be available outside of the USA and I didn’t have any plans to travel stateside or import a bulk lot of lures anytime soon. In truth I almost forgot about Captain Ken’s cute little frogs until I happened to have a conversation with Martin Ferret of the LureLounge. “What lures would you like to be able to buy in the UK that you can’t currently get hold of ?” he asked me, and before long I was directing him to Ken Daubert’s website and showing him the Clone frogs. Well long story short a few months later he called me to say he had stock and did I want to try one out….YES PLEASE !

The clone comes in a blister pack, includes a spare set of legs and about a dozen hook bands

The clone comes in a blister pack, includes a spare set of legs and about a dozen hook bands

THE LURE

The main body of the Clone Frog is made from a fairly tough foam material that is buoyant but not excessively so. It has a lovely simple oval shape and nice moulded in eyes. All in all it’s pretty small for a frog lure at just 5cm long. Through the middle of the body runs a stainless steel wire that acts as both an anchor for the legs and also the attachment point for the front mounted hook. The legs themselves are made from a rubber like material and have moulded in “broken ankles’ so that the large froggy feet sit facing forward when at rest.

A nice shot of the Clone Frog at rest on the water. Note the way the lure sits fairly low in the water and that the feet face forward when at rest.

A nice shot of the Clone Frog at rest on the water. Note the way the lure sits fairly low in the water and that the feet face forward when at rest.

Our first impression of the materials used is that they are a nice half way house between being soft enough to feel froggy (the body compresses nicely when you squeeze it between thumb and forefinger) and tough enough to survive the teeth of pike. This was one of our concerns before we got our hands on the lure and an ongoing problem with most soft frog lures, as they are virtually all designed for the Large Mouth Bass market in the USA and therefore are not really designed to stand up to the razor sharp teeth of pike. Virtually all the “hollow-body” frogs on the market are very prone to being ripped and cut by pike teeth which means they get waterlogged easily and stop working so well. So we were keen to see if the Clone Frog was able to take more abuse.

Our first test of the frogs leg action was on my garden pond, where there is just enough room to work it over about 6 feet of clear water. The action is very pleasing and life like as the legs work backwards and forwards in a very realistic manner when the lure is worked with short downward sweeps of the rod tip. Maybe the best way to illustrate this is to let you watch some footage of the lure in action that has been produced by the manufacturers.

 

Testing Time

Still watching videos and plopping around in my garden pond is no way to test a lure, so we’ve been fishing with the Clone Frog for about 3 months now and here is what we think.

Pike

When you think of topwater frogs you immediately think of Pike, so that was the species we concentrated on when it came to testing the Clone Frog. Our first venue was a small estate lake that is one of my club waters. It’s perfect for frog fishing as it has large areas of lily pads, clear water and a good head of fairly small pike. However before you can fish the Clone Frog you have to rig it, and that involves attaching the specially designed hook to the front of the lure and then attaching the small rubber band that acts as a weed guard. Well I can tell you this operation takes a little bit of practice, especially if you are as ham fisted as me. The band goes over the little retaining wire on hook easily enough, but it takes a little bit of practice to become quick at stretching it across and on to the barb of the hook quickly and efficiently.

hook close up

Thankfully frog fishing is a warm weather occupation as I wouldn’t fancy trying to get the band in position with freezing cold hands. The first time we tried it maybe took us five or six attempts before we could get the band in place, but once you get the knack it’s fairly easy and doesn’t cause an issue in the long term. You get about a dozen of these little bands in the pack with your frog, but they usually disappear when you get a fish and you are likely to lose a few during fishing too, so making sure we could get more supplies of these was one of our first concerns. Luckily loom bands are all the rage with young kids at the moment and they are ideal replacements and dirt cheap so there shouldn’t be too many worries on this score and if loom bands suddenly go out of fashion I’m told that the original bands that ken used were orthadontal bands used on braces for teeth which are available cheaply on ebay.

This Gif is another illustration of how the legs work in practice.

This Gif is another illustration of how the legs work in practice.

Once set up we were keen to get fishing and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the little frog casts. It doesn’t go as far as a big Spro King Daddy, but considering it’s size it flies through the air pretty well. First cast was straight into a lily bed to test the weedlessness of the hook system and impressively the frog just ploughed through everything. he happily popped on top of pads, worked his way through stems and swam nicely across the gaps.

Great frogging country. The little estate lake was perfect for testing the Clone Frog

Great frogging country. The little estate lake was perfect for testing the Clone Frog

 

On the third cast I brought it right in to the bank in about 5 inches of water to get a better look at the leg action when a jack of about 4lb shot out from a nearby club of iris’s and engulfed the clone. I was on such a short line and it was so unexpected that I had no chance to strike. All I could do was lift the rod tip and low and behold the hook was firmly embedded in the side of the pike mouth. A short scuffle later and the Clone had it’s first victim on the bank.

Help let me out !! The Clone is engulfed by it's first pike

Help let me out !! The Clone is engulfed by it’s first pike

Since that first pike I’ve had 11 hits on the Clone frog and 7 of them have resulted in hooked and landed fish, which is a very decent hook up ratio for frog fishing as far as I’m concerned. All in all the Clone has performed very well as a pike lure and although all the fish have been pretty small, that’s mostly because I have been restricted to a couple of very well shaded lakes due to the hot weather we have experienced over the summer. Both lakes are ideal for frog fishing but neither of them turn out pike of any real size. Does the Clone attract big fish ? well only time will tell, but I can’t see why not.

What a fish sees from behind !

What a fish sees from behind !

CHUB !

As well as pike, the other fish that immediately sprung to mind when looking at the Clone were Chub, it’s a perfect Chub mouthful and I’ve been meaning to do some more topwater chub fishing for some time. A few years ago I used to regular fish for Chub on a local river in the evenings using Heddon Crazy Crawlers and had quite a bit of success. So I was quite excited to revisit the hotspots and see if the chub fancied a frog. Getting the chub to hit the Crazy Crawler usually involved either bringing it past overhanging trees and using in on the tail of the weirpool. So it was the overhanging trees I tried first and after an hour of fish less casting I was feeling a little bit dejected, however as the light faded a little and some cloud cover appeared, things began to look more chubby. I cast on to the bank behind some willows and plopped the frog into the water, three little twitches to make the legs work and SMASH a big chub gob opened up in a spray of water and the frog disappeared ! Oh yes the Chub do like Clone frogs !

Belter, chub like this are suckers for the Clone Frog

Belter, chub like this are suckers for the Clone Frog

An hour or so later the rain started and a cast to the tail of the weir pool induced another big swirl and this time a good sized pike was bending the rod into a healthy curve. This was the biggest fish yet for the Clone and although it was only a low double, it does show that bigger fish will take the little frog.

That's a bit more solid !

That’s a bit more solid !

 

Conclusions

Overall the Clone is a neat little lure that is easy to love. It casts well, it hooks well and it has a fun action in the water. It stands up pretty well to pikes teeth and our model has now caught nine fish and only has  one small bit of foam missing that a tooth has removed, which doesn’t effect the action at all. The legs work really nicely and also seem to be very good at withstanding pikes teeth. It is important to store the lure with it’s legs straight as they are in the packet though, other wise they will take on a bend and won’t have nearly such a nice action. If you do this accidentally, try heating them in very hot water and then storing them the right way for a couple of days, it usually does the trick. The hook that is supplied with the lure is quite small, so this may cause issues with really big pike, but I doubt it. The one down side is that you only get one hook with the frog, so you really don’t want to lose it !

This shows nicely how the fairly low water float of the Clone mimics a real frog.

This shows nicely how the fairly low water float of the Clone mimics a real frog.

It’s well worth getting a few sharpie markers out and making your frog look more life like if your feeling artistic. both the body of the frog and the legs take colour well and so you can make your frog as individual as some of the amazing ones Ken decorates himself.

A Ken Daubert decorated frog in "brown pickerel"

A Ken Daubert decorated frog in “brown pickerel”

This gorgeous hand coloured one shoes how the hook rig works nicely.

This gorgeous hand coloured one shows how the hook rig works nicely.

Build Quality Nicely put together with a good choice of materials and an innovative hooking system. (8/10)
Quality of finish Ken sells some custom coloured version in the states for serious cash, but the ‘Clone’ version is less embellished to keep the cost down..still it means you can customise it yourself ! (7/10)
Performance casts well, easy to fish, great leg action and high hooking ratio (9/10)
Value For Money Not the cheapest of lures for it’s size and there are lots of cheap frog alternatives on ebay these days, but it’s nice to have something that not everyone has got and the hook up ratio makes it worth the extra cash (7/10)
Variety of Options Available Only a couple of colour schemes available in the UK and no spare hooks currently available means that your options rate limited (6/10)
TackleTart Factor These frogs are so cute that dog walkers will stop and watch while you fish with them and everyones kids will want one as a toy. It’s cook to have something different ! (8/10)
Overall A nice alternative to all the hollow body frogs, great action and deadly for Chub. We like it ! (7.5/10)

LTSilverThe Clone frog is awarded a Silver medal by Lure Tour

The Clone Frog is available from LURE LOUNGE

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Making up drop-shot rigs while you’re out fishing can be a pain. It takes time to get everything set up and it’s hard to do sometimes in the wind are rain. Carrying made up Drop-shot rigs can be equally tricky though, up till now I’ve had a few ready made rigs stored in my trace wallet, but they are fiddly to get in there are fiddly to get out and you can’t really store them with the weight attached.

The little yellow Rigrap 8512 is just 8cm long and less than 2cm thick, so very easy to pop in your pocket or store in a waist bag or rucksack pocket

The little yellow Rigrap 8512 is just 8cm long and less than 2cm thick, so very easy to pop in your pocket or store in a waist bag or rucksack pocket

Well this week we got sent a product that we think will change the way we store ready made lure fishing rigs forever ! Fishing Matters are the distributors for a number of very well known brands in the UK such as Partridge hooks, American Fishing Wire products and Cox & Rawle. They have just started distributing the Rigrap range of anglers storage solutions and they were good enough to send us a sample of one of their little Rigrap 8512 yellow cases and it’s absolutely perfect for storing a made up drop shot rig.

Here is the little RigRap 8512 case with one of my dropshot rigs inside. If you wanted to you could even leave the lure on the hook when you put it away as there is plenty of room in the middle.

Here is the little RigRap 8512 case with one of my dropshot rigs inside. If you wanted to you could even leave the lure on the hook when you put it away as there is plenty of room in the middle.

The cases just snap open and shut and have a very neat layout which makes it easy to load them with a drop-shot rig, or indeed any rig you like. There is plenty of room on the middle to include the weight and you could even leave the lure on the hook if you want to put the rig back in the box ! One of the other nice things about the boxes is that they are transparent, which means it’s easy to spot which one you want if you carry a few with you.

Here's the box closed, as you can see it's still easy to identify the contents.

Here’s the box closed, as you can see it’s still easy to identify the contents.

Another nice feature is the number of drainage/air holes the cases have. This means saltwater anglers can rinse their rigs off after fishing without even having to open the case…just run them under the tap and leave them to air dry.

The above is a nice graphic which shows exactly how the Rigrap cases work.

The above is a nice graphic which shows exactly how the Rigrap cases work.

The 8512 size cases come in packs of four and we believe they will sell at around £6.99 for four, which we think is pretty good value. No doubt there will be plenty of stockists popping up over the next couple of months and stock has only just arrived in the country, but we believe they will be on sale at Glasgow Angling very soon

RIGRAP_Yellow_8512_Packaged_4_to_a_blister_pack

There’s lots of other products in the range too, so it’s well worth taking a look at the Rigrap website at www.rigrap.com

 

there are lots of sizes of Rigrap available and individual Rigrap cases can be 'snapped' in to purpose made holders and cases

there are lots of sizes of Rigrap available and individual Rigrap cases can be ‘snapped’ in to purpose made holders and cases

 

 

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