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Alan Stevens

Just One Thing

I don’t normally major on rod and reel reviews for one simple reason in that I believe so much is down to personal fishing style, budget and of course the unique conditions of our own local marks. I am not against product reviews to be clear and read, and learn, a lot each week including all the contrary comments, arguments and banter that bounces back to the author despite his best intent. My point is that there is no right or wrong, just personal taste, style and budget to match the conditions we chose to fish against. Whatever you are fishing with, I wish you well.

It also is of course a common conversation on the various groups we all read that we have an abundance of equipment. Fellow essex anglers have been sharing pictures of our various collections and I have to confess, guilty as charged, I have a ton of kit. The most common question in the Stevens household is ‘how much kit do you need for goodness sake…’ sound familiar?

A question I keep getting asked across the various forums and from fishing friends is ‘if you had just one piece of equipment you had to use forever, what would it be?’ There is of course no answer to this unless you confine your adventures to one single type of fishing. Having no intent to go down that route I proudly justify my plethora of rods, reels and general tat. But for the spirit of answering the question that does not seem to go away let me try to answer it. Maybe it helps if I ask the question in a different way. As when I ask it as ‘what piece of fishing equipment do you always have with you regardless of your plans’ then the answer is simple – for me it is my Shakespeare Agility EXP 11.6ft travel beach rod

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I love this little beauty. It chose me on a trip to Go Outdoors when, whilst the family were shopping for clothes or something, I popped upstairs to the fishing section to pick up a replacement float. The rod was calling me towards it and when I picked it up it just felt perfect. The slim carbon blank, balance of the pivot from the rod seat, weight, flex, it just felt right. It was a wand. I could not put it down and of course had to buy it. 

This rod has five equal sections and comes in a hard case, making it the perfect companion that now goes with me everywhere. It has flown enough miles to qualify for its own BA executive club gold card. 

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It is so easy to use in any conditions with huge degrees of control and accuracy, it possesses adequate power for reasonable casting and yet has superb sensitivity with minimal wind oscillation. Coping endlessly with weights between 4-8oz it sits perfectly in a sand spike just as it can be held for hours on end when using medium to heavy lures. It is advertised as a multiplier reel matched rod but I fish most of the time with it using an Okuma fixed spool reel and it performs really well with this, just as it does with my Penn Mag 525. The rod is just so versatile.

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And this is where this rod comes in to its own. I love to go to the beach with a plan but also an open mind. For me there is nothing like walking the coastline at dawn or dusk, scouting for clues to define your approach and then having the tools to hand to seize the moment. This jack of all trades allows you to do exactly that. With rod in hand, a simple beach spike and a backpack containing a small selection of terminal tackle, baits and a few lures you are set. Free to roam and find the perfect fishing spot for that moment in time. 

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No need for beach barrows, oversized tackle boxes and and a long wheel base truck to ferry your kits to and from the beach. Just a small pack, your favourite rod in hand. No hassles, no dramas. Just a lovely set up to be out in the fresh air with at any time of year. If this rod was a dog it would be a cockapoo named Charlie, as whoever sees me using it asks where can they get one. It puts a smile on my face each time I am out with it and it sure does catch fish. 

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