If you like catching carp close in then it's well worth investing in a margin pole. These short models are super-strong and are great with heavier elastics and even extreme situations, when you don't want to risk breaking your more expensive main long pole. Here's a selection of the very best margin models available...
PRESTON INNOVATIONS MONSTER ROLLER PULLA 8.5M, £139.99
WE SAY: Very well balanced, light and manageable but without compromising on strength. A great bit of kit from Preston and we love the addition of the Roller Pulla bush already on the pole, for stripping out elastic to land fish quicker. Whether you're looking for big fish or a big weight of fish, this will handle either with ease.
•Pre-fitted with a Roller Pulla Bush
•Mini extension, pole holdall and tubes
DAIWA YANK AND BANK POWER MARGIN 9.5M, £199.99
WE SAY: Forget the slightly cringeworthy name for a second, this is a classy margin pole which boasts some of the features of Daiwa's top end long poles. And what a great package this comes with, involving three separate power kits to give you the option of having different elastics set up.
•Slide easy finish
•785g at 9.5m
•20+ elastic rating
•Two spare power top kits
SHIMANO BEASTMASTER MARGIN 850B 8.5M, £159.99
WE SAY: Beast by name, beast by nature! Capable of a 20 elastic or even more, this is a beefy margin pole with a surprisingly thin diameter, making it very easy to fish with. We also love Shimano's famous Ultra Sound Sanding System finish, which is super smooth through the hands. If you need to ship the pole back quickly to pull fish away from snags in the edge, this finish is a serious advantage.
•XT60 Biofibre Powered Carbon
•Rated to a 20 elastic
•Ultra Sound Sanding System
•S.A.S. Shimano Alignment System
•Reinforced Joint System
•Supplied with a spare top 2 power kit
•Includes Competition Holdall
MAP TKS POWER MARGIN 8.5M, £195
WE SAY: A light and slim tool for carp crunching and another real powerhouse . A nice touch is that if you own an existing TKS pole the top kits are fully interchangeable! An optional 1.6m Parallel Extension (£59.99) is also available if you need a margin pole that is slightly longer than normal.
•Ultra Strong carbon
•Anti friction finish throughout
•Reinforced band on all kits for drilling
•Section alignment system
•Pre Bushed Power Kit + 1 Extra
•12 Month Guarantee
MIDDY EXTREME M2 10M, £169.99
WE SAY: Length wise this is definitely about as long as a 'margin pole' goes, in fact you can use it for fishing in front of you too at the full 10 metres. This is a seriously strong bit of kit with a whopping 30 elastic rating! A 4m 'M1' version is also available.
•Extra power top 2 kit and a mini butt, supplied in carry case
•Free 30 elastication kit
•G-pulse carbon technology with slik-slide finish
•30 strong elastic rating
•Pull it wrap on 3rd and 4th sections
•Weight 699g (excluding mini butt)
ZEBCO XITAN REVOLUTION XTREME MARGIN 9.5M
WE SAY: A real high-end margin pole which is light and stiff, and is equally usable for other types of fishing too, including silver fish. Comes with large diameter 5.5mm kits which don't need cutting back to fit a strong elastic. We also love the half butt protector which fits on the 5 and 6 sections to prevent any damage to the main sections.
•Sections 5/6 Pole Protector butt section
•2x 5.5mm SLKP's
•Quality tubes for pole & topkits
Barbel fishing is definitely one area where you can't compromise on rod choice. If it's not up to the job you simply won't land this hard-fighting fish! Here's our guide to the best barbel blanks to go for on a £100 budget.
KORUM BARBEL ROD 13FT 2.5LB, £83.99
WE SAY: At its 13ft length and with power in abundance, this is the ideal big river rod for somewhere like the Trent or Wye for example, where powerful flows and big feeders are the order of the day. With a highly visible white tip for excellent bite indication.
•2.5lb powerful tip section
•High modulus carbon blank
•Low profile silicone lined guides
•Full cork handle
•Maximium casting weight: 8oz
•Line rating: 10lb – 15lb
DAIWA POWERMESH BARBEL 12FT 2.75LB, £100
WE SAY: A rod which is at the more powerful end of the barbel spectrum with its hefty 2.75lb test curve rating. It will cast 4oz weights with ease, we recommend this one for big fish, big rivers and even floodwater conditions.
•High grade carbon blanks with 1K woven carbon
•Fuji DPS reel seat
•Full cork handle
•Stainless steel frame guides
•Lightweight LS ceramic rings
•Aluminium butt cap
•Supplied in padded rod sleeve
SHIMANO ALIVIO AX BARBEL CLASSIC 12FT 1.5LB, £74.99 |
WE SAY: Fantastic action but definitely one for smaller rivers and close range work, due to its soft middle. Fantastic action, this is a lot more than just a barbel rod as a 1.5lb test curve makes it ideal for chub or stillwater bream and tench work too. We love the choice in tips too and a power version of the rod is also available.
•Stylish cork handle
•Three push in quivertips
•One Avon tip
JOHN WILSON QUATTRO 12FT AVON QUIVER (25TH ANNIVERSARY LTD EDITION), £99.99
WE SAY: We'll never tire of the sight of John's Avon rod bending into a barbel in his famous Go Fishing videos, followed by his infectious laugh! In all seriousness his Masterline range of rods are worth a serious look and this limited edition 'traditional-style' Avon is a good choice for smaller rivers and short chucks. Definitely fit the heaviest 1.75lb supplied tip for barbel though.
•Two piece construction
•Spigot joints for improved actions
•Quality AAA cork handle
•Four full length 6ft tips included
•1.25lb and 1.75lb Avon tops
•1 3/4 oz + 3oz spliced quiver tips
•Fully lined guides
FOX ROYALE SPECIALIST BARBEL 12FT 2.25LB, £84.99
WE SAY: A real powerhouse of a barbel rod, perfect for when you need to cast large feeders, big PVA bags or heavy leads to hold bottom in strong flows. Another plus point we noticed is the large and evenly-spaced SLIK guides, which will go some way to stopping debris jamming the guides in flood conditions.
•Lightweight low resin carbon construction
•SLIK guide system
•High quality 17mm reel seat
•Matt black finish
•High grade cork handle
JW YOUNG BARBEL MULTI TIP TRAVEL 12FT, £99.99
WE SAY: A handy little travel rod for anyone thinking about sneaking in a spot of barbel fishing when they’re on holiday or short on storage space. Ideal to tuck away in the boot of the car, the five-sectioned 12ft carbon blank has a powerful through action, able to deal with good-size barbel. A standard non-travel version is also available at the same price.
•Slim and lightweight blank
•Full cork handles and fore grips
•DPS style reel seat
•With quivertips of 2.5oz, 2oz and 1.5oz
•Fully lined guides and hook keeper ring
•High quality guides and overbindings
Method feeder fishing is one of the most popular ways of catching larger coarse fish such as carp and bream.. Here's our pick of the very best 'match-style' rods to choose for this great technique...
DAIWA AIRITY FEEDER 10Q, £320
Available in lengths starting at 9ft but running up to a 12/13ft combo. It's 10ft version is perfect for all but long range work. Total class in a feeder rod.
•X45 compression zone for accuracy / power
•Quicker blank recovery
•Hybrid tip and multi length editions
•Megatop carbon quivers
•Unique Tournament reel seat
•Shaped EVA and cork for comfort
•Line rating 2-8lb
BROWNING SPHERE BOMB, £219.99
A Method feeder rod doesn't have to be long, stiff and powerful. At close to medium range for smaller carp and F1s a blank such as this one, with a soft progressive action, is bang on. It means less hook pulls and more fun!
•Length: 3m (9ft 10ins)
•Max recommended casting weight: 50g
•Spare quivertips: 0.5oz, 0.75oz, 1oz, 1.5oz
SHIMANO SPEEDMASTER AX COMMERCIAL 9-11FT MULTI FEEDER, £124.99
An very slim and lightweight blank with an incredibly responsive action, typical of the Speedmaster range. The beauty of a 9-11 style rod, which Shimano has really made its own, is that you can choose the length to suit the distance required. At 9ft it's a great little rod for short distance.
•Nanoalloy carbon technology
•HPC 100 carbon fibre blank with added Bioﬁ bre for strength
•Shimano custom reel seat
•Split cork/EVA handle
•With three carbon quivertips
PRESTON CARBONACTIVE MINI PLUS 11FT 6INS METHOD, £149.95
If you need a bit of power to contain large carp, or you need some backbone to punch a feeder out a little bit further in the 40 - 60m range, a Mini Plus such as this is perfect. Mini rods offer great actions at very comfortable, manageable lengths.
•Line rating 3-8lb
• EVA handle fitted with a soft-touch reel seat
•With a glass tip rated 2oz and a 2.5oz carbon tip
•Fold-down keeper ring
GARBOLINO ALTIMA COMMERCIAL PICKER, £129.99
Garbolino has long made some great short feeder and bomb rods, offering superb value too, rods. The latest, the Altima Commercial Picker, features a really lightweight, slim blank and a great action to boot.
•HM carbon construction
•Ultra slimline blank
•Quality lined guides
•High density Eva/duplon handle
•Screw down reel fitting
•Three push in tips
MATRIX CARP MASTER 10FT MK2, £149.99
The Mk2 version of Matrix's popular Carpmaster feeder rod retains its same classic long section design and outstanding fish-playing action. But there’s a little more steely backbone through the mid-section. The handle is longer, making for easier casting up to a range of about 40m.
•High modulus carbon blank
• Semi-parabolic fish-playing action
• Optimum handle lengths for fish-playing and casting
• Quality guides
• Cork/EVA handle with soft-touch screw down hood reel seat
• EVA transport holder block
• Interchangeable tips
MAVER DIAMOND FEEDER, 10FT 6INS, £189.99
A flagship model which is highly versatile, for most coarse species. Ever since the rise of the Reactorlite series, Maver rods have become synonymous with thin sensitive tips and blanks, yet a deceiving amount of power. The Diamond is no different and its 10ft 6ins length is perfect for lots of Method fishing situations.
•EVA twist grip
•Top quality full cork handle
•High quality lined guides
•Quality graphite screw reel fitting
•Folding hook keeper ring
No carp or specialist angler fishing multiple rods would be without a reliable bite alarm. Likewise you can use one to fish a 'sleeper rod' to one side of you while you enjoy float fishing with a main rod for example. Here's a pick of the best mid-range models...
DELKIM EV PLUS, £64.49
Delkim is the holy grail of bite alarms and its mid-range version is packed full of buttons and features, with six choices of LED colour. Uses its piezoelectric, digital and microcontroller technology. It might sound complicated but Delkims are surprisingly simple to operate.
NASH SIREN SR5, £49.99
Wireless alarms with very good build quality, common to all the Siren series. The SR5 is very sensitive and accurate, with extreme range remote performance. Excellent value for money.
FOX MICRON MR+, £64.00
Top quality digital circuitry and also features Fox's unique D-Tec Sensing System and CNC Machined Tru Run roller wheel, which is found on the company's top-end N-series of alarms. With its own dedicated receiver and weatherproof sealed case. Incredible 200m signal range, not that you should ever be that far away from your rods!
JRC RADAR CX, £45.99
Great array of features for a sub-£40 alarm, including volume, tone, sensitivity, travelling LED and digitally amplified sound. Receiver compatible with a choice of four bright LED colours. All weather proof, with double sealed electronic parts.
WYCHWOOD AVX-S, £45.99
A really interesting design which uses Wychwood's in-built snag ear system. The purpose designed snag ears can be extended for use then collapsed within the alarms robust and weatherproof casing. All volume, tone and sensitivity settings can be changed at the touch of a button.
We've racked our brains to bring you the best coarse fishing reels on the market for £50 or less. Don't open your wallet until you've checked these five crackers out!
DAIWA NINJA FD, £49.99
Incredibly smart and striking, this is a reel which looks and performs like something twice its price. Super smooth and benefits from a host of Daiwa features such as Twistbuster, Infinite Anti-reverse, a graphite body and an Air Rotor.
SHIMANO BAITRUNNER ST FB, £49.99
With the world-famous Baitrunner lever feature, which puts the reel into freespool, paying out line after a bite until you are ready to pick up the rod. The XT-7 spool has Varispeed for better line lay and casting accuracy and Power Roller gears to reduce line twist on the retrieve.
BROWNING COMMERCIAL KING CK, £49.99
Small sizes and shallow spools, perfect for short to medium casts on modern stillwater fisheries. One-touch folding handle, sensitive 'click-stop' vernier front drag, safe nylon line clip in a lined recess. In a striking white.
OKUMA CEYMAR C FIXED SPOOL, £30 - £44.99
A really solid reel featuring a corrosion-resistant graphite body, Precision Elliptical Gearing system and heavy-duty, solid aluminum bail wire. With a narrow Blade Body design and a skeletal spool to reduce overall weight.
MITCHELL 300 PRO FD, £50
Mitchell has taken its hugely popular 300 series and elevated it to new heights. A carbon hybrid drag, open rotor, machined aluminium spool and a staggering 10 bearings give this high performance features. The front drag and handle closely resemble the original.