Salon Europeen des Peches en Mer
For the past few years we have made the trip over to Nantes for the Salon Peche en Mer fishing show. An overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo and a bit of a road trip down to Nantes gives us plenty of time indulge ourselves in non-stop fishing conversation, which is sweet relief from the work based panic that builds up to a weekend away.

For anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to attend this event it's a lure angler's dream with all the main players involved and the bonus of largely being relevant to what we do over here in the UK. Or should I say the UK lure scene is now relevant to what our French counterparts have been doing for some time. The sheer amount of information to digest is huge and we are still working through various catalogues and creating a virtual shopping list for the year ahead. But here are a few highlights to whet the appetite for the upcoming season.

Reins Professional LRF RodSakura Loondaka RodsThis is the new Reins Aji Ringer Professional rod, built for LRF and street fishing it features a tubular tip that behaves like a solid tip making it lighter and less top heavy than some of the solid tips available currently. Not yet officially released you won’t get much change if any out of £500 but let me promise you it’s a quality rod. Very light in the hand and beautifully built.

There is a buzz about the new Sakura Loondaka rods and this was my first chance to take a look. Very handsome and clearly built with some backbone these rods could be compared to the top end Hearty Rise gear, starting with a 7? 2-15g and running right up to a 10’ 15-90g these rods will sell big in the French Bass market and as the trend for jigging and heavy shad fishing from boats in the UK increases they are well placed to make a big impact.

Daiwa Darting JigheadsDaiwa always have a cool stand and among the huge array of rods are some gems. The ever popular rockfish range of products are very nice, as are the new Branzino spinning rods complete with AGS carbon guides. But what often stands out are the affordable items and the new Darting jig heads will be within everyone’s reach. With a cut face these heads will ‘dart’ erratically when twitched and can be used with a variety of plastics. I picked up a few packets and look forward to trying them out soon.

Fish Arrow Flash J Lures
These Flash J fish arrow shads are lovely plastics that will appeal to Bass, Wrasse and Perch anglers alike which makes them a great lure to have in the bag. They have a reflective strip built within that sets them apart from most other similar shads. Only time will tell if they will catch as good as they look, but first impressions are that they should have fish crawling all over them.

Fiiish Eel Prototype LureFiiish Black Eel Prototype
Not meaning to ruffle any feathers but although the Fiiish Black Minnows clearly catch fish I find them too complicated. Of course it may just be that my plumber's fingers are not suited to putting them together quickly but I can’t argue that the guys at Fiiish certainly put their heart and soul into their products and this lure is the latest. The ‘Black Eel’ is so fresh it’s yet to be revealed fully but this half looks pretty good and the other half will not be supplied with sand!

The Ultimate Fishing stand always attracts a lot of attention with stacks of top end gear. The Tenryu European range was in full force again and I am starting to understand the value of the pricey red rods. I was quite taken with the Ultimate Fishing branded Armageddon rods, stripped back and stealthy in appearance these rods felt better than I had imagined. The 68L in particular was well priced and would be a well placed rod in the UK market.

Like I say I am still getting through the leaflets and pictures from the busy weekend and the birth of my little girl on the final day stole my focus a bit, not least because of a mad dash across France to get home for the arrival! But once again a brilliant weekend full of inspiration and very friendly people. Lastly a big thanks to my good mate Adam for getting to Rennes airport in time to get me home and see my little girl being born. Cheers mate.

Armageddon Lure RodsOne Up ShadsMars Parallel ShadLure Demonstration

Looking forward to a cracking 2013 and wishing everyone good angling.