LRF rod review by Andy Mytton

Dorset Fishing Rods 0.5-3.5g Solid Tip Rod - Review by lure angling expert Andy Mytton.

Andy Mytton with a lovely lure caught perch.

6ft9" / 3.5gMax / 4lbMax

I first used this rod back in October 2014, it was a stock rod built by Richard for himself but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it- one year on and having used it 3-5 times a week for the past year I'm ready to write this review.

There is no mistaking this rod is an LRF finesse rod crafted to allow you to enjoy and get the best out of light lure fishing, with a casting rating of 0.5- 3.5g you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a delicate rod - this couldn't be further from the truth. It excels with the smaller fish in and around harbours but has the forgiveness to allow you to stop large fish that often appear when you are least prepared. 

At 6ft 9” this rod is perfect for everyday use in harbours especially in and around boats and harbour walls, rivers and canals. Due to the blanks action it suits many different techniques such as drop shot, jig head, Texas, split shot, Cheburashka and even small metals.  

The rod has an extra fast action with quite a firm solid tip for the casting rating of the rod, as you may know no two solid tips are the same and the one on this rod is absolutely perfect for the species we encounter in the UK with the only exception being pike and zander in freshwater. The solid tip is firmer than those found on Aji rods and some of the lower end LRF rods and I really like this as it gives me confidence to pull into the fish setting the hook firmly and allowing the blank to take over. In lower end and even some higher end blanks the join between the solid tip and the blank can take away a lot of the feel leading you to missing shy bites - this blank really is at the top of its game when it comes to bite detection. 

I always balance this rod with a Shimano 1000 size reel- either a Stradic Ci4 or Rarenium depending on the line I choose to use which is normally a 3lb FC mainline or Sunline 6lb Small Game PE. 

Freshwater

I spend a lot of my time LRF fishing for flounder, bass or species hunting so you may think it's strange that I refer to perch fishing firstly with this rod. I like to use this rod for 'bites' fishing for perch where numbers are more important than size, using a simple drop shot rig with a size 14 hook the rod really excels.

Perch like to inhale the lure in the same way that a bass does, having a solid tipped rod transmits less resistance to the fish and the sensitivity of this rod along with its fast action allows you to react quickly for even the smallest of bites. When numbers count in matches or 1v1 head to head fishing with friends this can make all the difference to your results! 

42cm stripey!

One other use I really enjoy is split shot fishing for roach and rudd using tiny lures on the drop, the fast action and solid tip allows you to feel and hook rudd and roach that smash at small lures on the drop and run once they have taken them - without the forgiveness of the tip and the balance of the blank I don't think I'd have half as much success on this method. 

LRF

Whether you are fishing along the harbour wall for blennies, scraping the bottom, fishing OTD or drop shotting this rod has you covered. 

One of my favourite methods in the harbour is either jig head or Cheburashka - working the bottom layers with worm or shrimp type lures for flounder and bass. The extra fast action of the rod sees the rod loading nicely, the tip remains firm and doesn't fold allowing you to achieve a good distance on the cast, as the blank is firm for the weight of it and you are able to fish sink and draw with ease which isn't usually the case with a solid tipped rod. The sensitivity transmits the feel of the bottom to your hands making it easy to distinguish the type of ground you are fishing over and even the smallest of bites are transmitted which allows you to make decisions on whether to continue a retrieve or pause to allow a bite to develop. 

What happens next is the most important part of this rod for me, it's flexibility when you hook a fish. I see it as having 3 gears which I've learnt to love.

First gear is for the micro species, this is an extra fast finesse rod, it's naturally not a poker as it's so light but for it's rating it's insanely stiff. If you hook a blenny, goby or small wrasse your only likely to work the tip, this is fine and more than acceptable allowing you to swing the fish in with speed whilst the solid tip cushions any movement and protects your hook hold.

The second gear is for the larger pollock, wrasse in the 1lb bracket and bass that you find in and around harbours - basically anything that's going to try to make a dive or pull back a bit, this rod can more than handle them fast enough to ensure you pull them away from trouble but not without putting a smile on your face whilst it does it. 

The third gear is reserved and is there for peace of mind when you are surprised by a larger fish, surprisingly I've had bass to about 5lb, decent mullet, flounder to 3lb and wrasse to 4lb on this rod and with only a few losses I have managed to land 90% of large fish hooked. Where this rod excels where others fail is it bends into a nice parabolic curve when something decent is hooked.

I have had flounder and bass smash me at my feet whilst stood on bridges and they have ran underneath away and the rod has bent nicely into a parabolic curve allowing the drag to engage and buying me time to take control something other rods I own have failed me on before. 

One fish that springs to mind on the rod was a 38cm wrasse caught from Mevagissey harbour during the Cornish Lure Festival. I thought I was fishing alongside a rock for a blenny that was in it's shadow, as the rock moved It was clear that the rock was actually a wrasse as it turned and hit my lure sending the blenny off hiding and gave me heart palpitations as it bolted back down one of the ledges in the harbour. The rod more than coped and within no time I was netting a lovely wrasse to the amazement of onlookers. 

Additional benefits

The build quality of the rod is exquisite, Richard's attention to detail is one of many reasons that I struggle to look past custom built rods, he has a plethora of guides, reel seats, corks and handles along with other fancy embellishments to make your rod to your own particular taste. 

If you are a heavy user, one thing I would recommend would be to request a sleeve to be placed between the real seat and the butt of the rod in the same way that I have on this rod. This gives protection to the blank but only adds minimal weight and most importantly I think it looks cool. 

Alternates

I've looked around and have struggled to find an off the shelf rod in the same casting range with a similar action to this, a lot of the rods I have picked up have been either too soft as they have been designed for Aji or are just too heavy in comparison.

 

Pros and Cons 

 

Pros

Capable of handling most of what you will encounter in fresh and saltwater.

More feel than others in it's class.

Slick, sexy, elegant styling.

 

Cons 

Not as forgiving with smaller fish when they are tearing and running with the lure.

 

Final thoughts

This rod has allowed me to take my fishing on to another level, without it I do not believe I would have developed as quickly as I have.

 

Finally, if I were to recommend that you buy the rod for one reason over all of the other points above it would be feel. Feel being the most important part of all lure fishing.

If you have any questions please get in touch.

Andy Mytton

This rod was used by Andy in a Tightlines program fishing for flounder last year, if you missed it click on the link and have a look! 

Flounder fishing Weymouth - Sky Sports Tightlines

I would like to thank Andy for taking the time to write his review, tight lines everyone!

A quick session whilst the weather allows......

Myself with a plump Dorset bass, Black Fiiish Minnow caught.

Finally a chance to get out and cast a few lures again chasing bass.

A first light meet up with Marc from Cornwall and Mark (Dorset Bass Guide) saw us take in 3 different marks to find some feeding fish at different states of tide. Bass caught by all of us in November so happy with this especially as 3 fell to surface lures.

Mark Padfield with a fine Dorset silver.

Quite a lot of the water around at present is coloured so it's making the most of the areas that can give some clarity and find the fish.

Gunfish 117 doing the business.

New blank testing is underway!

Back last year a few plans were made about designing a blank for the UK bass angler, so after approaching a couple of companies who couldn't do what I was asking for I finally found one! Talking and testing with Mark Padfield (Dorset Bass Guide), we are a step closer and almost there with the blank that will be ready for next year. Yesterday gave us some great results, slim, lightweight and punching above its weight; what more could I ask for! Casting the lighter range lures down to 6g, then hitting out the likes of the large Patchinko  and other lures at 28g without even the hint of not being able to take it. With strong winds yesterday it was ideal to give it a blast and test the feel when the extra casting weight was required. Bouncing the Black Fiiish Minnow gave all the feedback that I had hoped for through the tip showing every twitch and move the lure made along the bottom; working surface lures was effortless. So much more I'd love to say, but at present I have to keep something under my hat!

Ireland October 2015 - chasing bass on lures.

Autumn bass hunt on the Copper Coast.

Richard Cake - DFR custom rod builder with a 74.5cm prime Irish bass weighing 9.9lbs

With one trip already cancelled this autumn, we set about making the decision to go again. Winds and weather looking good so the ferry was booked. 2 days later and the weather played against us and changed 180 degrees to less favorable conditions!

This has to be one of the funniest and most enjoyable trips I've been on, laughs all the way to the end...........What makes a trip like this, good company when the fishing is hard, the proverbial piss take out of every member (if you can't take it, don't give it!) and some good fish.

Martin had bass to 6lbs, Mark had bass to 7.2lbs and Steve caught his new pb at 7.3lbs. Steve was also the angler who caught the most fish, top angling buddy.

Ireland 'loved' me again with a prime autumn bass measuring 74.5cms and weighing 9.9lbs, I just love this place!

Only Martin has caught himself a bigger bass in the UK this year with the rest of us catching bigger bass in Ireland, hence the reason we go there chasing bass on lures. There were a few fish hooked & lost and we all felt for Martin as we saw his rod have a savage take and the rod went over into a large weight on the other end only to be lost a short while after, this would of been a big bass on the other end!

Between us plenty of bass from 4lbs, 6lbs and 7lbs and my 9.9lbs beauty.

Steve - new pb of 7.3lbs.

One of Martin's fine bass

Mark with a 7.2lbs bass.

As always we have a little side bet.......terms agreed. Team Dorset (Mark & I) & Team SWAT (Steve & Martin). 5 euros on the biggest bass & 5 euros each on the longest fish from each angler in the team combined, Team Dorset taking the money this year!

With winds changing from south west, going to north west then swinging to the east it was a hard trip that gave us all some bass. The rain gave us a soaking and the strong winds sand blasted the skin, a great trip none the less with plenty of laughs.

Cups of tea and new tackle from Cian at Absolute Fishing in Tramore along with a couple of meals at the local curry house in the evenings when not fishing.