These latest Daiwa Whisker DF (Danny Fairbrass) signature carp rods enjoy the same extensive development and design criteria used in the construction of the higher-priced Daiwa Infinity and Longbow DF models.
But far from being the poor relations, the silk matte-finished blanks appear to be custom-built.
Specifications in common with the rest of the DF family include 50mm butt guides and spacings, dependable DPS reel seats and super-slim shrink tube flared handles.
These rods are as handsome as anything you’ll find on the bank, and their performance is what you’d expect after extensive field-testing by some of the country’s best known carpers.
The fact that these rods are manufactured by Daiwa here in the UK (albeit it Scotland) has also had quite a substantial bearing on their development. Making on-going adjustments to their casting potential, fish-playing action and furnishings benefits from a hands-on approach that wouldn’t be possible with rods made in the Far East.
I am not knocking rods made abroad – many of the best blanks on the market have sailed here in container ships – but there can be no denying that making tweaks to blanks and their fitments is very difficult when you have to go back and forth across the world.
So what do the McWhiskers hold in store for the potential customer?
To find that out it’s best to go out and catch as many fish on as many different methods as possible, and where better that Northamptonshire’s day-ticket Boddington Reservoir? Although very much a match venue, it now holds more than its fair share of twenties and is well on the way to becoming a top runs water.
My chosen weapons for the test were three 12ft, 3lb test curve models – the most popular choice, as it permits a diversity of methods and tactics. All three rods were matched-up with Daiwa’s latest Crosscast BR 5000LD reels loaded with 12lb mono, and whie I don’t tend to choose freespools for my own fishing, I must stress how impressive these reels are. They purr like a panther when a fish strips line from them – but more of that later.
What these 3lb Whisker DF rods offer the angler with a very big tick is casting potential. Their fast-taper action loads casting weight high up the top section, giving them plenty of tip speed. Add in a marked lack of post-cast recoil and have a blank that needs to be fully compressed if you’re to get the best from it.
Distance-casting is still largely in the hands of the angler. Any stiff rod will help you add on a few yards, but your casting action needs to be sound, practised and, above all, confident. The fish-playing action I would describe as ‘aggressively progressive’ and well suited to upper doubles rather than scamps. That isn’t a criticism, as these rods are aimed at the already skilled carper rather than the novice.
They are ideal for bag and stick work, but big Method feeders can be propelled ridiculous distances with them too. They would be equally at home on the banks of big French carp waters as they were in the concrete and rock-strewn surroundings of Boddington Reservoir.