Well, I was due a blank…


After singing the praises of the new rod including the fact I hadn’t ‘blanked’ with it, the title of this post says it all really! I had planned to head down to one of the usual haunts down in Dorset on Sunday and despite being thrown a last minute curve ball as an option (cheers Rich!) I thought it best to stick to plan. To be honest the signs weren’t encouraging beforehand with easterly winds forecast which never seem to really produce here. Nonetheless, by 4:15am I was on the road but it was not a pleasant trip down there in the darkness with thick fog all the way. When I arrived, still in the fog and pitch black, it didn’t sound good either with some hoofing waves crashing in.

I made my way round the foreshore all the while listening to the relentless waves pounding in – there wasn’t much wind but it was obvious there was a serious swell out there and as it got light so it proved – easily the biggest waves I’ve seen down here though the pictures don’t do it justice… the amount of surfers who turned up during the day was testament to what it was really like though! It wasn’t choppy at all but because of the swell and crashing waves the water was filthy which was not encouraging conditions to throw a lure into. A little colour, yes, but this was almost black in parts where the silt was washed off the shore.

Still, I was intent on giving it a go and there were some good deposits of weed around which might help me out on the rising tide so I had a little hope… hope which unfortunately evaporated slowly as the session progressed. I did not get even a knock all day – not one!!  Sub-surface lures were more often than not getting clogged with weed, surface lures faired little better and even the soft plastics on the Texposer hooks I tried failed to entice anything. It was just one of those days where it was all wrong.

It was good for my fitness though – not just climbing over rocks and boulders but also hop-scotching backwards as I played chicken with some of the bigger waves that looked like they might get me seriously wet. It was challenging conditions to say the least!

Did manage a couple of nice sunrise pictures though!



A disappointing session on the fish front but I do love it down in this part of the world and as the saying goes ‘a bad days fishing is better than a good day at work’… and it’s true in my book!

Hopefully, if the weather holds and we aren’t plunged into a cold snap there will still be sessions to be had down here and hopefully a bass or two to be caught… fingers crossed.

Until next time…

Custom built…..from Dorset Fishing Rods


This year I’ve certainly done a lot more lure fishing from the shore than maybe I have done in the two or three previous years. Partly this has been down to things not coming together very favourably to get out on the kayak… usually one, or a combination of, weather, work, and family commitments have conspired against me but I’d be lying if I said that was the sole reason. Unlike kayak fishing sometimes it’s nice just to grab a rod and a few lures and simply fish without the hassle of having a truck load of kit to take with you which you then have to scrub down when your finished at the end of the day!

With this in mind I decided to treat myself to a new rod specifically for my lure angling. Unlike fishing from the kayak, where I wasn’t bothered as much with the quality of the rod because they take such a battering, I wanted the lure rod to be of decent quality. The reason being there’d be much less risk of me losing it to Davy Jones’ Locker fishing from the shore, I’d probably be using it a lot more frequently, and with a bit of common sense I should be able to keep it in better nick than any of my kayak rods. It goes with the territory… kayak sea fishing equals lots of salt water exposure – lure fishing from the shore equals a fair bit less…. that’s the theory anyway!

So I began the search for a good quality lure rod that ticked as many boxes as possible in terms of what I needed it to do and how I fished. The main criteria being that it should be as light as possible for those long days fishing, ideally be capable of casting lures in the 10 – 40g bracket, have a fast action, a length which would pack a punch on the beach but short enough to fish rockier marks, and above all be fitted and finished with quality components that are going to stand the test of time… if I look after them. To find a rod that can tick all these boxes is no easy task and was always going to mean paying a premium price for an off the shelf option which unfortunately in my opinion are often over-hyped and over priced. That said I did look at a range of rods including some of the Tenryu red rods and Century offerings and whilst they all had their good points I was never completely sold on any of them. Increasingly, I was being drawn to the idea of a custom built rod but if I was spending a decent whack on it, which I thought I might have to for the quality of the blank, fittings, etc., I wanted to be sure of what I was getting.

As luck would have it a few months back I was introduced to Richard Cake of Dorset Fishing Rods based near Dorchester. Richard’s rod building is a small operation but encompasses all manner of rods for different angling disciplines. The thing that drew me to Richard above anything else, aside from the good things I was hearing and reading about his rods, was the fact that first and foremost he is a lure fisherman who could very likely relate to what I wanted from a custom built lure rod… was this too good to be true?

Now, let me set the scene, I travelled down to Richard’s one Sunday morning in June simply to have a chat about what he does, how he does it, and to have a look at examples of his work. I had no plans to commit to anything with him and always had at the back of my mind the off the shelf rods I had previously seen, which although I had misgivings about, were still options nonetheless. After initial introductions Richard was immediately very upfront and pointed out clearly before we started looking at anything that he had no problem whatsoever if, after we’d looked at some of the options he could provide, I was not interested and simply wanted to walk away. In fact he went further than that and actively discouraged me from making any commitment without going away and reflecting on what I may or may not have decided on – this was no hard sell, quite the opposite in fact. What it did do was give me confidence that I was dealing with someone who was keen to provide the best quality product he could, that matched what I was looking to get from a custom built rod, with the budget I had at my disposal.

Before looking at examples of his work or any components he uses Richard simply sat me down with a cup of coffee and went through how I fished… was I mainly fishing from open beaches? Was I fishing rocky areas? What type of lures was I predominantly using? How and where does my hand grip the rod and reel? What type of reel? Braid or mono? What sort of length sessions do I put in? My preferred speed of the rod? The list goes on but it was clear it was all designed for Richard to narrow down possible configurations that might appeal to me.

The initial part of this process involved Richard showing me examples of rods he has built and one’s currently being built – the standard was impressive and above all attention to detail was first class. These were of varying lengths anywhere between 8’ and 10” 6’ with different configurations on each. Already my mind was buzzing with possibilities but I was being drawn to a rod that was 8’ 6” in length simply because a lot of my lure fishing is in rocky areas where accessibility with a longer rod might be more challenging… it was still open to debate though. To confuse me even more Richard then brought out blanks he had in the 8’ 6” range and the first thing that struck me was the featherweight lightness of them against the recommended casting and line weights – it was difficult to comprehend how blanks so light could cope with the specified casting and line weights to be honest! These Japanese blanks were T-Russell one’s with a casting weight of 8 – 28g… pretty spot on for most lures I use to be honest but if I was going to spend the money on a custom build was there anything else that could tick the box of retaining the lightness but able to cope with the 10g – 40g casting weight? It was at this point Richard introduced me to the St Croix blanks he had recently acquired from the USA. These were something else and with a casting weight of 10 – 50g they pretty much nailed the casting weight I was looking for with a line rating of 10 – 25lb… all this from a fast action blank and still retaining the lightness I was after. If I was going to go the custom built root this was the blank that ticked the right boxes… sometimes something just feels right and this was one of those occasions.

Choosing the blank turned out to be the easy part as from there on for the next 3 hours, over more coffee, we went through in detail each part of the process of configuring the rod with the right guides – with the right spacing for the blank, the reel seat position, the type of grips including the positioning, the weight of these fittings , the weaves to be used, trim items including the script to be embedded on the rod and so many other small details I can not now recall! At this point I had still not committed to anything and as I’ve said previously nor would Richard allow me to commit. He promised to put every detail down in an e-mail for me to digest at a later date when my mind had stopped racing with all the options he had just put before me! To be perfectly honest I was already sold – I had 100% confidence that Richard would deliver exactly what I wanted come what may and importantly give me an after sales service you just can’t buy off the shelf. True to his word the email duly arrived with the agreed configuration and a price which was extremely reasonable given the quality of the components.

My chosen configuration was as follows:

  • Blank 8ft 6′ St Croix fast action 10-50g / 12-25lb line class
  • EVA grips – split grip formation
  • Fuji IPS reel seat with silver colour metal decal band on edge of EVA to seat.
  • All metal work to be silver coloured components.
  • Thread colours black & metallic steel blue.
  • Pacific Bay Minima 4 TiCH/TiCH, titanium carbide coated, single leg guides.
  • Personalised scripting on rod.

I knew there would be a bit of a wait from the moment I paid my deposit, something Richard had spelled out to me, because he had other rods to finish plus had a hand operation to deal with. So, it was with baited breath I waited over the rest of the summer but it really was worth the wait when mid-September Richard gave me the call to say it was ready.


The result is stunning… even down to the cloth bag it was presented in! The first thing that struck me was the weight – or lack of weight I should really say – just 150g… barely 6oz. I knew the blank was light but when you consider all the components and layers of resins added the lightness of it is incredible. The finish is equally impressive with the scripting, weaves and resin application faultless and the guides lined up to perfection with the Fuji reel seat. It really is a classy piece of work by any standards… and all this before you even give the rod a wiggle!

When you do give it a flex the first thing you notice is just how fast it really is – it is exceptionally quick to recover and whilst it has a stiffness to it the profile of the blank means it has just the right flexibility in it in my opinion.



So how has it performed? Well, so far in four outings I haven’t blanked so it can’t be bad! I’ve been using it mainly with a Daiwa Fuego reel and it has felt nicely balanced. Casting is effortless with a mere flick of the wrists pinging an average 18g lure fizzing into the distance. The rod comes into it’s own though when working the lure – though light it can be worked really hard to get the optimum action out of the lure without wearing your shoulder, arm, or wrist out in the process! I’ve largely used with shallow diving and surface lures and it twitches and retrieves superbly but the biggest plus is, because of the lightness, you can really feel your lure working in the water. Then there is the moment you connect with a fish – again because of the lightness of it you feel every hit, every run, and break for freedom the fish make… the biggest I’ve taken on it so far was a 5lb fish and it felt double that… yet there was never the feeling you were stretching the rod to anything like it’s outer limits – it just seems to effortlessly take everything in it’s stride.


That’s pretty much all I can think of to say on it based on my first impressions and as you will have gathered they have been exceptionally good. Negatives? Only that I’m now sold on custom built rods and that could have serious consequences for my pockets in the future! I really can’t find any negatives so hence my review may seem a bit ‘gushing’…but I make no apology for that as Richard’s approach and workmanship are first class. I could very easily have spent a similar amount of hard earned cash for an off the shelf option which no doubt would have performed admirably but the thing is about the custom built route is that everything about the rod has been tailored to my needs, with my input, then built superbly… and that just makes it feel a bit special.

Until next time…

A load of pollacks!

Day off today meant the chance to fish but with light easterly winds it’s never the best conditions to be honest. It was a bit of a dank and wet day as well so I decided to experiment a bit and try a spot in Dorset I’ve fished before but only really one area of it.  If I caught then all the better.

It’s a bit of a trek down to the shoreline and then my plan was to head east for a kilometre along the coast. It took a while as the terrain is not the easiest but soon enough I was fishing though the dankness continued…

There was a bit of movement in the water but it was gin clear all the same. First few casts on the Feed Shallow were uneventful so I switched to a Zonk and started to get follows from wrasse, some decent sized one’s too, but none taking bar this smaller one…

There was no sign of bass though so I decided to head back on myself and then west from my original start point. I walked right round to areas I’d previously fished and immediately took a small pollack…

Followed by another and another and another, they were there in plague proportions and taking any lure I threw out there – lost count in the end how many I had  but eventually I did manage a couple of schoolies to add a bit of variety…

More pollack followed but no more bass so as the light went I started the long hike back – it was still drizzling as it had been all day!

All in all I shouldn’t complain, good to still be catching bass this late in the year albeit they were only schoolies  and although the pollack were a pain in the backside at times they were fish nonetheless!

Here are a few other pictures taken today…


Until next time…

Harder going….

Managed to sneak a hastily arranged trip down to Dorset at the weekend for a few hours with Nobby, plus we met up with Richard from Dorset Fishing Rods, and one of Nobby’s work mates, Mo, who was down there as well.

Early-ish start, on the road by 4:30am to hopefully catching the rising tide with high water at 9 o’clock. Was blowier than expected when we arrived in the pitch black but soon enough we were rigged and ready for the trudge along the shore. In the early dawn it was difficult to judge the clarity of the water where we were initially fishing but as the sun got a hold it showed that actually the water was quite green and maybe not as clear as we had hoped for at this rocky mark.

That said it wasn’t long before Richard bagged a small pollack and then a bass of around 3.5lb. Nobby and Mo had walked on round the shore and had a couple of follows from bass but nothing to show for it.

My luck was similar with a single follow but nothing taking so I decided to head back round to a bank of washed up kelp we’d earmarked on our way round. We thought it might be worth a few casts as the kelp was washed back into the sea on the rising tide. The water here was even cloudier but nevertheless it did give me my one and only fish of the day – a schoolie of about 1.5lb…

Fish was taken on the Kimono II – the same lure I’d had success with on my last trip down here. That was the last of the fish action for any of us even though we fished all the way back.The water clarity meant it was hard going.

It was also an extremely big tide so it was interesting wading our way round in parts and extremely slippery in places… yes we all took a tumble at some point but luckily nothing broken – bones or rods!


On the rod, it was again a joy to use and so far I haven’t blanked with it …… long may that continue though I have probably just cursed it! I know I keep promising but I will get round to reviewing it shortly!

So, not a bumper session but nice to be out there fishing in good company. I think opportunities to fish might be few and far between in the coming weeks depending on all the usual factors of time, weather, work and family commitments but you never know.

Until next time….