It seems an age since Angling Times last live-tested what could be described as a ‘proper’ river float rod. I’m talking about the sort of finely-honed tool that would thrive in the hands of an accomplished angler, who could manipulate it with a surgeon’s precision while indulging in such time-honoured fishing methods as running through with the waggler or holding back with a stick float.
Despite the ultra-modern appearance and design spec of Daiwa’s new 13ft Airity Waggler, it is in a very traditional 13ft match rod that is perfect for all types of natural venues and tactics. Constructed around an ascending tapered blank that you’re either going to love or loathe, this rod really does take you ‘back to the future’ by blending highly distinctive new design features with traditional fishing usage.
Ingeniously designed using cutting-edge carbon technologies, it looks like no other, handles like no other, and having now used one, I can tell you, that it fishes like no other, with such a crispness and sensitive feel that it left me truly dazed.
The striking silver and black graphics on the butt section give the rod a look all of its own and, matched with the fast ascending taper that blends seamlessly into the Italian-style sculpted handle with its unique reel clip-down reel seat, once seen the Airity rod is never forgotten.
But, a match rod without a proper cork handle? I can hear the protestations of the old school brigade now. My reply would be, just wait until you have picked one up before condemning it because, I can virtually guarantee, that even if the revolutionary looks, larger- than-normal butt diameter, and lack of cork handle initially put you off this rod, once you’ve held one of these carbon water wands, you will become completely fixated, and might even start referring to it as ‘My Precious’.
For live testing purposes I had decided to take the Airity Waggler to my local Cambridgeshire River Great Ouse in Godmanchester, a fittingly picturesque setting to test such a rod. However, on arrival I found the water running, or rather ‘standing’, as low and clear as I had ever seen it, and I must admit that my confidence took a nosedive.
A waggler fished into what little flow there was seemed to be my only option. The area just above the quaint-looking Chinese Bridge, where the river started to narrow, seemed a likely-looking hotspot although, to be honest, the huge shoal of red-finned dog roach that I could see wafting around in the cabbages beneath the bridge also helped my swim choice.
With a 3AAA straight waggler set up with a small bulk and two dropper shot, I began feeding maggot and hemp, with double bronze maggot on the hook. The deftest of overhead casts was all that was required to send the float arcing out across the water, and mending the line behind the float was again nothing more than an effortless flick of the wrist.
The blank is just so light in the hand that it could easily be held throughout a match without causing any discomfort. The fast taper of the blank produces an ultra fast casting speed and tip recovery action, but it also helps to give the rod a progressively tippy type of fish-playing action.
Although I was mightily impressed by both the casting potential and lightweight feel of the rod, it paled into insignificance when compared to the simply astounding amount of sensitivity that is transferred through the blank.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t tempt any of the big roach from their sanctuary among the cabbages, but over a few short hours I did manage to compile a decent net of smaller fish of various species, each and every tiny movement of which on the end of my line was sensed. It feels as though you are actually holding the fish between your fingers, with every flick of the tail, even from tiny fish like bleak, being felt.
In summary, I can say that the Airity is a truly incredible 13ft waggler rod, built from a beautiful modern-styled blank which affords an amazing amount of sensitivity and is lightweight and super fast in every department.
Looks-wise, you will either love it or hate, it really is a ‘Marmite’ rod!
Has it got any downsides? Very few is the honest answer. It certainly isn’t the cheapest, although the ‘best of the best’ rarely are.