Length: 15ft (4.75m)
Weight: 5.75oz (163g)
Recommended reel lines: 3lb-5lb
Recommended hooklengths: From 1.5lb
Other rods in the Acolyte Ultra range: 13ft, 14ft
There have been one or two rather unfortunate instances involving long rods and me. Like the time a 17-footer exploded in my hands as I cast a Bolo float into the River Severn, or when the top six inches of another snapped off as I bent it a little to bait a hook. Long rods and I were definitely not a marriage made in heaven.
So you can perhaps imagine my reservations when I first set eyes on Drennan’s new Acolyte Ultra 15ft float rod. The rod looked and felt fantastic. Slimmer at the butt than any other 15footer I’d picked up, it was also unbelievably light. It tips the scales at just 163g (5.75oz). All well and good, but would my long-rod jinx continue to haunt me?
Longest in a range of three, slightly beefier Acolyte rods which have been added to the original range, the 15ft Ultra is designed primarily for rivers. The extra length improves float control no end when trotting sticks, Avons and Bolos along flowing water.
But it has other uses, and one of these is as a margin rod on lakes for good-sized fish – perfect for a test right in the middle of the river closed season. And 10 minutes into the session at Northamptonshire’s beautiful Ryson Lake, my long-rod demons were beginning to be exorcised as a 3lb tench lay in the landing net.
Rest assured, this is a very special rod. Despite its extra length, there’s no top-heavy feel and there’s no extra weight added to the rod butt, which has been an easy fix to such problems in previous long rods, not from Drennan I might add.
It was perfectly balanced with the 3000-size reel I used and the rod’s action remains fast and crisp at the tip, with the middle section coming into play when required.
My chance to test this last comment came towards the end of the session. After that first tench, and few decent roach and skimmers, something much more substantial took my waggler-fished sweetcorn on a size 16 hook to 0.14mm hooklength and 5lb Supplex main line.
I didn’t hold out much hope of landing what was clearly a big tench as it ploughed under the tree to my right. In fact I piled on more pressure than I probably should, but after one particularly scary moment when I felt the line scraping against a unseen underwater branch, I eventually netted what was certainly my biggest tench ever.
I loved using the Acolyte Ultra 15ft. How many will Drennan sell? Well, the company deserves to sell a lot and with the resurgence of river floatfishing thanks to events like RiverFest, I sincerely hope they will. Britain’s anglers deserve the chance to use this most impressive of rods. Now to give it an outing on the rivers - June 16 can’t come soon enough.