Right, Bass Anglers... listen up, this is a big one!
'Fiiish Black Minnow'
Fiiish, not Fish. Count the i's. One... two... three of 'em.
Quite why we didn't tell you about them when we got home from the show in Nantes last year, is anyone's guess. But thankfully, we got a massive slap in the face this year and I would be a sod to keep them from you any longer.
Fiiish are a French lure manufacturer based in Brittany. Brittany is certainly one of the capitals of (sea) bass fishing in Europe, if not the world. All over France, sport fishing has caught on massively in the past decade and bass are top of the target list. This has lead to a major tackle revolution - specifically lure fishing tackle. While it's fair to say this is starting to happen here in the UK, the French have quite a lead on us. While the French still rely on tackle from other parts of the world, as we do, the extra experience (and demand) has lead to home-grown tackle - designed in France for the French market. This is important to us Brits. There is no question about the quality and performance of tackle from countries like Japan, of course not, but one thing that sets French tackle apart is that it is designed for the very same fish (probably the 'actual' very same fish) in very similar conditions to our own. To me, watching what the French lure anglers are up to is a no-brainer.
We came across Fiiish and the Fiiish Black Minnows last year at the Salon Europeen des Peches en Mer in Nantes - a huge saltwater fishing tackle show devoted almost entirely to lure fishing. Despite the fact I'd never heard of them before it was apparent that these lures were highly sought after by French anglers. There was a big buzz around the Fiiish stand, even without speaking the language, you could taste it. My slant on the interest was that they had been reviewed by one of the many bass/lure specific magazines available in France, and they had received much praise - and a heap of good bass.
The range of lures isn't massive - although slightly extended this year. The Fiiish Black Minnow is a soft body lure featuring a robust paddle tail, on a very nice, articulated jighead. The range has now been extended to 6 sizes of lure body - 70mm, 90mm, 120mm, 140mm, 160mm & 200mm. Each is available in up to 4 colours, including a silver, olive-back combo that I often fall for. The jigheads are available in three designs and up to 9 weights, ranging from 3g to 120g. I'm making this sound more complex than it is - find the diagram hereabouts to make more sense of the range.
Hooks to fit each articulated jighead are available separately to complete your favourite build. Or you can buy a complete lure, with a spare lure body in a single pack for ease. I felt there was more value in purchasing a 3-pack of bodies, a 2-pack of jig heads and a pack of hooks but the pre-made bundles make sense also.
This year Fiiish have expanded their product range with other items including lure rods (cool looking but too early to consider seriously yet) and clothing. The Fiiish Bass Logo is about the best you'll see on a hoodie - I bought one. They could be an even better seller than the lures!
Uber cool fishing brand for sure and I'm pleased to have learnt that Top Water Lures are importing them into the UK about now - so expect your favourite lure retailers to stock these super special lures very soon. I'll leave you with a video to whet your appetite. Enjoy the footage. Bon appetit!
More information here: www.fiiish.fr (Google does a half decent translation into English)
If you've already heard enough and want to try them for yourself, they can be purchased from www.BassLures.co.uk