When the first post arrived in the AT office - 9.30am on a wet Tuesday - there was little to quicken the heartbeat, and the best offer of the morning looked to be the first brew of the day from Doris on the tea urn.
Then behind me came the unmistakable squeak of the delivery trolley - front right has trouble with its bearings.
‘Angling Times - package from Frenzee!’ came the call. It was a big package too. This was no pole pot or accessory - judging by the cardboard coffin this was a stash of new rods.
I don’t test much gear these days - I’m too busy staving off the bean counters from accounts, or playing political correctness with Human Resources department (where did that lot creep up on the world from?) But as the cardboard casket was opened and the sleeved rods removed one by one, there were two pieces of carbon that caught my eye.
‘That’s definitely got my name on it!’ my eager mind announced as I hastily tried to plot how I could get my hands on it before realising I was actually the boss and greed had never stopped me before.
It was the latest 10ft bomb rod - super-sleek, stick-thin, and capable of sending headshakes through your arm as if they were electrified.
I’ve had a few bomb rods in my time. The orginal Sigma Wand from Shakespeare, then there was a little weapon from Wayahead, and the twin top
IM8 from Drennan. All superb pieces of kit in their day, but no longer in active service.
I kicked my chair away from the desk, careered across the corridor, and in one clean motion swept the rod from the arms of my features editor Steve Stones.
“I’d be leaving that one to me if I was you,’ came the order as I shuffled back to the computer.
“I’m going to catch roach on it - just like in the good old days,” I vowed.
And so the meticulous plan was hatched.
I’d teamed up the Frenzee Precision alongside some of the best products on the market today. A Daiwa TDR reel, loaded with the brilliant new Preston Innovations Power Max line in 4lb, a 16g Drennan maggot feeder, 0.11mm Reflo hooklength, and a size 18 B560 Kamasan wide-gape swept point hook.
I’d decided to target silverfish at my local carp water Bluebell Lakes, in Tansor. Bluebell is a favourite haunt of most of the boys on the paper as, away from the huge mirrrors and commons that most people travel for, are an abundance of alternative species. Including lovely, plump roach.
I settled down on my seatbox, picked out a far-bank tree stump as a marker to aim for, clipped up the spool at 25yds, and began casting my maggot feeder, crammed with whites and reds, into the 14ft deep swim. I cast regularly for the first hour to build up the swim. Despite a howling crosswind, the delicate bomb rod was able to punch the light feeder through the north-easterly ensuring it landed on the money every cast.
I used to find ‘wands’ a little gutless in the mid-section, a common failing that could often lead to misplaced casts when you were pushing the carbon to the limit, but the Frenzee showed none of this ‘jelliness’.
As with gravel pit roach in winter, you just have to keep plugging away until the witching hour arrives. I can’t really explain what happens - perhaps it’s light density - but from a dead peg you suddenly get a bite-a-chuck. Its not that the fish have arrived - everyone gets bites at the same time - its some form of natural trigger that sends fish wild.
Just after lunch (an out-of-date Ginsters pastie that could have well been made from the Frenzee coffin lid) the first roach topped in the ripple and this was followed minutes later by a flicker of the quiver. I’d opted for the 1oz carbon tip - it comes with 0.5oz and 1.5oz alternatives - and although it clearly registered, I was too late manoeuv-ring myself for the strike.
A quick retrieve and rebait and I was back out, this time leaving the duplon/cork hybrid handle across my knee in preparation for the bite.
A micro flick of the quiver developed into two steady pulls and I lifted straight into her - the compact nature of the rod meaning I just avoided snaring the reeds around me - short rods are a massive advantage in tight pegs you’ll encounter at many UK stillwaters.
The rod held a most perfect curve - this was a cracking piece of progressive carbon, ideal for the lunges of big silverfish - but there was still a reserve of power. There was never a sense of being under-gunned.
On just a small, fine-wire hook, I’d have been worried about bouncing big silvers off at the net, but the outcome was never in doubt. First fish of the day was a roach pushing the 2lb mark - what a way to christen a piece of kit!
And the fish simply kept coming. As a balanced set-up - rod, reel, line - this is the finest outfit for roach I’d ever used, such was the sensitivity and my trust in every component’s design.
I’ve never wanted a day’s work to carry on so much in my life. Big roach on a pencil-thin rod that delivers a pulse to the fingers allowing you to feel every kick and lunge has to go down as the ultimate in angling. But then again, I am from ‘up north’ and us northern lads love big roach.
Cosmetically, the rod is simplistic and understated - finished in black and featuring quality lined guides. But then so are most carbon rods these days.
Having a bomb rod in the holdall isn’t about lording it up with graphics, etched butt caps and hi-tech reel seats - this is about being a proper angler, someone who doesn’t just want pounds and ounces in his net, but also a big, contented smile on their face.
Frenzee is starting to make a name for itself in the market after initially launching with accessories, and if its other rods live up to the Precision 10ft Bomb Rod (RRP £139.99), then I suggest you check out the range. Trust me, you’ll love ‘em.