Tested by Duncan Charman
Designed for launching big baits to the horizon and, with a semi-parabolic action, this rod will absorb the lunges of a big fish under the rod tip. Its thick blank and weight of 400 gr creates a clumsy feel and, as it is overgunned for margin work and unforgiving for small livebaits, it lacks versatility. Good quality reel seat with part Duplon handle, six eyes including the standard 40 mm butt ring. Toning down the graphics, replacing the gloss varnish with matt and paying attention to less paint/varnish run would improve its cosmetics.
The rod has nine ultra low friction Aluminium Oxide double-legged guides, incorporating a 30 mm butt ring. These are claimed to increase casting distance; however, on testing no benefits were noticed. The handle is a continuation of the blank and feels as if it’s unfinished, awaiting a warm cork or Duplon handle to be fitted. The metal areas that finish off the Fuji reel seat will feel cold when using the rod. Finished in matt black, it has a medium fast action, weighs in at 350 gr but the guide spacing looks clumsy to me.
This rod will undoubtedly appeal to those on a budget, a great first time pike rod and one that will cope with most situations required from a less experienced angler. This rod has its drawbacks though. It’s thick, unforgiving and heavy and a weight of 500 gr makes it unsuitable as a spinning or casting rod, more at home for deadbaits in close. Surprisingly it’s fitted partly with a cork handle and six bulky but a little fragile single-legged anti-friction MATSUKU guides.
Specifically designed as a carp rod, but will double up for pike and cover most eventualities. Lacking the more classic warm cork or Duplon handle and with its cosmetically pleasing reel seat it looks aimed at the more designer orientated angler. With a slim blank and being the joint lightest rod at just 300 gr it incorporates ‘Active Compression Technology’ and comes with a balanced progressive action. With seven quality guides including a 40 mm butt ring, line clip and finished in matt black, it will catch your eye but it comes at a price. If you shop around you might find it cheaper.
This specifically designed deadbait rod boasts a high quality lightweight 325 gr carbon blank with a grey matt finish and understated graphics. It has a fashionable full-length cork handle and a quality reel fitting with six Fox Slik Guides including a 30 mm butt ring. During casting the rod felt a little stiff. Although more comfortable at distance the rod will still perform with small livebaits or when fishing the margins.
This specialist rod has both carp and pike in mind and is a good all-rounder. With a weight of 344 gr it’s not the slimmest of blanks but incorporates a full-length cork handle and six robust double-legged Hardlite stainless steel guides. The Vibra Lock reel seat feels a little uncomfortable, however this is just a minor point. The rod cast a soft bait easily and accurately, although ideally it’s more comfortable punching big baits out at distance. A cosmetically pleasing rod finished in matt black with red touches on the whippings.
A specialist rod with barbel, carp and pike in mind. Slim, it’s the lightest rod tested at just 300 gr. Its semi-parabolic action is ideal for casting a bait to the horizon but also when using smaller, softer baits in close. Fitted with a full-length quality cork handle and a Fuji reel seat the rod feels extremely balanced, especially when playing a fish under the rod tip. Seven braid-friendly SiC guides and a matt black finish. A great all-rounder.
The best looking rod tested, available from Kent’s The Friendly Fisherman. At first, I felt the action was over exaggerated, however when tested it cast a soft sardine some 15 yards further than all the other rods. Its sweet action makes you feel in complete control of a hooked fish. It has a popular warm full-length Duplon handle and its slim woven high modulus carbon blank is finished in a stylish Kevlar pattern. Fitted with seven braid-friendly aluminium oxide guides it will do almost every task asked of it, however, its action may not cast a big bait as far as some of the other rods tested.
NOTE: All products tested January 2010. 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.