Tested by Steve Lockett


11 FT HARDY MARKSMAN XT

£169
Boasting a full warranty, and supplied in a cloth bag and plastic tube, this rod should not let you down.
At 11 ft, it may be a little short, especially with a 21 in. cork handle. A keeper ring and metal butt cap show the class of this rod, but add to the weight. At 197 gr, this is one of the heaviest rods on test.
I feel two Fuji cradle rings on the butt, plus nine on the tip leave the Marksman a bit under prepared for really top control.
SCORE: 27/30

11 FT DRENNAN SERIES 7 PUDDLECHUCKER

£79.95
Excellent price for a well featured rod, as one would expect from Drennan.
A well padded rod sleeve and three wraps keep everything safe when travelling. The very soft action is great for stopping hook pulls at the net.
Duracork ends on the butt for long life. Two cradle and one stand-off ring on the butt, plus ten on the tip give excellent line passage.
At 11 ft, it is a little short, and the 21.5 in. cork butt and soft action will cost in performance. Also feels quite heavy.
SCORE: 27/30

11 FT MAVER REACTORLITE

£149.99
This rod could be so very good, but is quite heavy with an over long handle. Supplied in a plush Velour bag, the 11 ft blank has a very good stiff action, which bends easily under pressure.
The 22 in. cork handle is a long way from the butt ring. Has only two rings on the butt section, plus ten on the tip so line control is quite good, but not exceptional. Nicely finished, with black whipping and red detail, a keeper ring and metal butt cap.
SCORE: 27/30

11 FT 6 IN. SHIMANO SPEEDMASTER PELLET

£149.99
A very soft action is great for playing fish, but not so good at casting. Heavy 179 gr rod suggests lower grade carbon.
The handle length at 19 in. is good, the weighting will suit some, but is not so good for holding the rod for long periods. Fittings, like the graphite reel seat are very good quality. Three rings on the butt section and 11 on the tip give very good line control.
Comes in a ready rod sleeve, but it has no padding. Three supplied rod wraps are very good.
SCORE: 27/30

11 FT 6 IN. GARBOLINO G MAX

£179.99
Quite possibly the best performing rod on test, feeling very light in the hand and having a most delicious action. This rod could be held all day with no problems and the longer blank helps when fishing at distance.
The butt section, with a 19.5 in. cork and EVA handle, and three Fuji Alconite rings is very slim. Shaping on the reel seat adds comfort where needed.
10 stand-off rings plus a tip are whipped in black on the grey blank. Comes in a tough Nylon bag.
SCORE: 28/30

11 FT MIDDY X-FLEX 4G

£105.99
A very slightly soft action suits bigger fish at shorter distances, but is not too powerful for smaller pasties. Still has enough backbone to control casting.
The grey blank looks good, with a smart black whip and electric blue detail. Comes in a Nylon bag.
The cork handle with EVA foregrip and sculpted screw down reel seat is comfortable. With two rings on the butt and nine on the tip, it is let down on line control compared with others here.
SCORE: 28/30

11 FT SHAKESPEARE MACH3 XT

£79.99
One of the original short rods and still a strong contender. The 17.5 in. butt makes handling very easy, two cradle and one stand off ring here aid line control. 11 rings on the tip section match a very soft action suiting smaller carp and lighter floats.
Now supplied with a couple of rod wraps, a padded ready rod sleeve, soft bag, and a plastic tube for ultimate protection. Fuji Alconite rings, a keeper ring, cork handle and EVA foregrip on a screw down reel seat keep the quality right up there.
SCORE: 28/30

BEST BUY


11 FT 6 IN. FRENZEE PRECISION

£139.99
The 20.5 in. cork handle is possibly an inch too long, but with an EVA foregrip and metal butt cap, plus a Fuji branded reel seat, it feels comfortable.
Two cradle plus one stand-off ring on the butt, then eight stand off and the tip ring keep line moving smoothly. The all black whippings on same coloured blank look neat and include a whip on the female ferrule of the tip section.
Beautiful recovery on casting, yet still has that smooth through action needed for playing big fish. Comes in a padded sleeve with plush wraps.
SCORE: 29/30

NOTE: All products tested July 2012. All prices correct at the time of going to Press. Angler’s Mail do not take responsibility for price or product changes or current availability.

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