Major Craft Seabass Custom 882M 7-35g

Major Craft Seabass Custom 882M 7-35g

“I want an 8’6″ – 9′ bass lure rod that is feather-light, balances beautifully and is extremely light in the tip alongside being able to effortlessly launch, and work (at range) substantial lures like the Xorus Patchinko II. Further, it needs to be capable of whisking 8-14g weedless soft plastics deftly into the margins or tide runs and smashing 15-24g hard diving minnows out into a raging gale whilst allowing me feel everything and transmit, directly and simultaneously, my every rod and reel movement”

Above is a quote taken from a blog post I wrote just over a year ago now (that I know from the analytics on my website that lots of you have been reading just recently!) in which I described in as much detail as I could muster precisely what I ‘personally‘ looked for in a bass lure rod. Some of this information later appeared within a recent Sea Angler Magazine article of mine (within Issue 595 here) with the complete version highlighting the vital components when looking to purchase a new rod such as:

  • Rod weight
  • Rod Balance
  • Casting Weight Range
  • Action
  • Sensitivity
  • Rod Length

The ‘gist’

If you haven’t already discovered this lengthy blog post of mine then you can find it here, but if you have read and digested the information contained within it then you would have got ‘the gist’ as it where, – which is my preference for a shorter rod and my constant quest to track down and ultimately utilise one rod, and one rod only for my bass lure fishing, as I truly do believe there are rods out there that are capable of doing everything I would ask of it/them within the entire spectrum of circumstances and conditions I find myself in – a genuine ‘all-rounder’ then.

Of course, in highlighting these attributes I am not exactly being the ‘dream influencer’ here in the eyes of a fishing tackle company, as it does make sense for them to tempt you or I into potentially purchasing a shorter version of a particular rod with maybe a lower casting weight range, in addition to the longer version, capable of handling heavier lures perhaps…?

Fussy

Anyone who has been guided by me or has fished with me will know that I am exceptionally ‘fussy’ in respect of what I ‘expect’ from any fishing rod. Again, I draw your attention to the post I wrote alongside my opening quote above – I am not easy to please I can assure you! But whilst completely accepting that one angler may be looking for different things from the next, and that decisions can be influenced by the type of ground that you intend to fish over and within, every so often a fishing rod, or indeed a range of rods, comes along that really does stand out.

If you have been following my exploits over the past few years then you will know of my ‘love’ for the Major Craft Skyroad range (and in particular the 86ML 10-30g) in addition to the superb (yet arguably brittle) X-Ride and Truzer models – the latter of which I have limited experience of I have to admit. The N-One was and is also a brilliant lure rod and one that I have wholeheartedly recommended to many of my clients to their subsequent joy when they’ve headed out fishing with it.

Then there’s the Triple Cross range which succeeded the models above… For £200 they are very good rods, that importantly, also proved to be exceptionally robust. However, if you blindfolded someone and asked them to use a Triple Cross and then a Skyroad or the X-Ride I would hazard a guess that they’d prefer the lighter, more precise and overall ‘special’ feeling when in your hand that the Major Craft rods of the that earlier era possessed.

Moreover, even now, every rod I pick up and use is instantly compared to the 86ML Skyroad, to the extent that I ‘purr’ whenever I can ‘borrow one’ as well as still having a butt-section of a Skyroad and a tip section of the X-Ride that I slot together and hand to clients just so they can appreciate what a beautifully balanced and spectacularly good lure rod should feel like – I am not joking either – what a hybrid this is!!!

So does this all-new, high-end, Torzite-ringed, high modulus Mitsubishi carbon blank combine the exceptionally precise, crisp and general wonderful experience of using it that was prominent in the earlier brilliant Major Craft rods whilst retaining the bullet-proof qualities of the more recent Triple Cross range? It is a resounding ‘Yes’ from me.

The brief

When back in October 19 I was invited to ‘look after’ a prototype 8′ 8″ Major Craft rod how could I resist! The brief was simple: use it, tell us what you truly think and how or if it can be improved – oh and try to break it! Incidentally Henry Gilbey has been testing the other rod in this exclusive family (which is the 9′ 6″) over the same period, and I believe there are only 100 of each ‘2021’ variant being manufactured – initially at least.

I’ve still got the text message on my phone that I sent to Mike at Tacklewave Ltd (the gentleman who has developed and commissioned these models) – one that simply read “Wow! What have you done here!” The two facets that immediately struck me when I first handled and loaded this rod on the cast was how wonderfully ‘fast’ the action was (bending in the top third of the blank) and just how incredibly light it was – I believe the first prototype I had weighed 108g, which for a rod supposedly capable of casting lures up to 35g seemed remarkable.

So what was the first lure I attached? You guessed it – a 35g metal! Seriously, although the Shimano Vanquish I’d recently purchased at the time wasn’t filled to the brim, I can tell you that I almost ran out of braid as the lure entered the water an extraordinarily long way out from the shingle beach – there was some serious power in this blank!

Next up, a lure that is loved by many (including me) was attached – the 140mm 26g Xorus Patchinko II. It obliterated it, and what’s more, it continually and consistently did so in almost precisely the same smooth, straight and perfect trajectory every single time – the hallmark of a ‘bloody good blank’ in my book. How would it handle an IMA Hound Glide, a smaller hard minnow, a weighted paddletail (Fiiish Minnow) and last but not least, the famed OSP DoLive Stick I wondered? Beautifully was the answer, with every single flick of the wrist or quicker pulse in the retrieve transmitting directly to the business end – just what I love!

I was mightily impressed, as to me, the blank looked and felt like a more powerful version of the sublime X-Ride – with that extra bit of grunt in the mid-section. Above all though, the tip-section was so light I hardly knew I’d attached i. This was something a bit special, and although I am ever so slightly biased towards a bass lure rod that I think is the perfect length (at between 8’6″ and 8’10”) it was right up my street and remains so despite all of the fabulous rods I have extensively utilised over the past 18 months.

Below is a slideshow of some the bass I have landed on the prototypes of the Seabass Custom:

Long time coming

Although I cannot take any credit at all for how the 8ft 8″ rod performs (and in all honestly, the only thing I would have even considered was maybe softening the final few inches of the tip a smidge – and even this is just a very personal preference based on the conditions in which I regularly fish at night in exceedingly tranquil conditions and with weightless soft plastics) what I can reveal is that I have had some influence on the way that the final production model looks and the Torzite rings that adorn its length – as quite simply, the blank is so good it deserved them!

Furthermore, I did convince them to market the rod as having a ‘Medium’ or ‘M’ power rating rather the planned ‘Medium-Light’ or ‘ML’ in line with the blank’s casting prowess, that ‘fast’ action, and the fish fighting/battle sapping capabilities. These completed ‘Limited Edition’ rods weigh 117g (the 8’8″) and 126g (for the 9’6″) respectively, which considering their power is amazing quite frankly.

This Major Craft Seabass Custom series has been a long time coming on a number of levels. The pandemic delayed its release date by a year at least most certainly, but from an avid bass lure anglers’ perspective I firmly believe that this new rod/blank, one that has been designed from scratch and not a ‘re-hash’ of any previous model as far as I am aware, places Major Craft right back at the top of the tree in regards to how a rod should not only perform, but how it should feel in your hands – it really is that good.

So there you go, not so much a review but more an honest endorsement based on 18 months of personal usage alongside and in conjunction with some the finest rods out there from companies such as Tailwalk, Yamaga Blanks, Shimano and Daiwa.

The Major Craft Seabass Custom 882M 7-35g and 962M 7-35g can be purchased from the following online retailers:

Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling

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