Carp deity Terry Hearn would rather barbecue and eat his thermal socks than put his name to a rod that didn’t measure up in every department.
So you can be assured that specialist big carp brand E-S-P is on to a winner with this signature Terry Hearn Classic, built to Terry’s own exacting specifications.
Terry, who over many years has logged an almost supernatural string of big-fish captures, including a British record, can lay claim to being the most famous carp angler of all time, but it doesn’t naturally follow that he would make an exceptional rod designer.
That said, I have been privileged enough to be in his company on a few occasions, and he has always struck me as the real deal. He exudes an air of calmness, doing things in a cool and calculated way, and is certainly not a man who would use an item of tackle that was less than perfect.
Last summer I had the pleasure of witnessing Terry playing and landing a very big kipper. He did it with what I thought at the time to be a really nicely-actioned rod that showed a great ‘feel’ for the fish – rod and angler were at one. At the time I couldn’t muster the cheek to go and take a closer gander at that rod of his, although I was very intrigued, as it did look a little longer than a normal carp rod.
Now that E-S-P has released its 12ft 9ins Terry Hearn Classic, my guess would be that what I saw a saw in action was an early prototype.
So, what could a mere mortal like myself expect to gain from using this magical masterpiece? To find out, it was off to a local runs water. Capturing another Mary (Terry’s legendary but sadly deceased Wraysbury forty) wasn’t on the cards, but perhaps the odd Sharon or Tracey or two would put in an appearance.
Tactics and testing on the day ranged from using solid PVA bags and mesh sticks, through to distance casting with running lead and chod rigs. The Classic proved very capable of handling leads and bag weights of 4oz-plus with consummate ease. And at 12ft 9ins, those extra nine inches really do make a difference in terms of adding a few yards to the cast.
As you might expect from E-S-P, nothing is left to chance with the build of this rod. The high modulus carbon blank is reinforced with a tough woven overwrap for added strength, and it boasts a fine array of quality furnishings.
Noteworthy are the single-leg ceramic-lined SiC guides, specially chosen to reduce overall weight and improve the rod’s action and balance. They are perfectly positioned along the blank, tapering from a 40mm butt guide to a 12mm tip ring.
The very slim EVA handle, just 0.75ins in diameter and 26ins long, has a flared collar above the original Fuji DPS reel seat. A machined stainless steel butt cap and moulded E-S-P line clip complete the rod’s classy accoutrements.
Over several hours of testing I managed to slide a few fish over the net cord, topped off by a game upper double which put up an impressive scrap and perfectly revealed the rod’s forward, almost tippy progressive action.
Oodles of extra poke waits to come through its lower middle to butt sections, should you need to dish out some real punishmentor cast to the max. But this is not at the expense of feel… this is a very tactile fish-catching tool and, just like the legend who has put his name to it, quite exceptional.