Recently I had the chance to revisit Masterline, now Masterline Walker, and have a look at some of the exciting product developments going on.

Dick Tallents, Managing Director, was enthusiastic as he very kindly led me around the showroom - and small wonder. With a determined drive to upgrade their tackle to seriously high quality products while still retaining ambitiously low price tags, he has a great deal to feel justifiably proud about.

Not that it has been all plain sailing mind. Working with tackle giants Jarvis Walker has been an eye-opening and occasionally humbling experience. 'We know a few things about fixed-spool reels,' they told him and promptly redesigned every fixed-spool reel in the range, bringing in know-how from the Australian market to produce a robust and dependable set of fixed-spools to handle every conceivable fishing trip in the UK and beyond.

And they should know! Fixed-spools are part of the bread and butter of Australian fishing, where they are expected to contend with fish displaying the kind of power and stamina that would make British anglers turn green at the gills with pure envy.

Nor are the contributions from Jarvis Walker, welcome as they undoubtedly are, the only news that he has to share with us. 'We are very proud to once again be able to distribute Ryobi tackle to the UK,' he told us, showing us cases filled with sophisticated rods and reels, like the new Arctica range. Two of the range that I particularly liked were the new feeder and match rods, perfect for estuary fishing in the upper reaches and mullet. These beautifully sensitive rods come with extenders that enable them to be set to your own individual preference, adjusting them to the length that you want and then twisting a simple locking ring to secure them in place. Simple - and extremely effective.
For a serious piece of kit, they are very good value too. The feeder rod, which comes complete with three tips, has a retail price tag of 129.95, but you have only got to pick up and feel the rod to know that it is worth every penny. As I said, a serious piece of kit, as is the match rod, which comes with a price tag of 119.95.

Twirl the handles on the matching reels and you get an instant sense of the precision engineering that has gone into making them. These are sophisticated tools but also incredibly light and easy to hold with Duralumin bodies, spools and side plates for uncompromising toughness and durability. They feature five ball bearings, infinite anti-reverse and a smoothness which is both impressive and reassuring. Not cheap, like the 69.99 model shown here, but very good value for the discerning angler in search of quality tackle.