Those of you who already know their Tempests from their Titans and their Delkims from their Microns should also be familiar with the company Free Spirit and its Hi S Carp rods.
These have been star products for many years – hardly surprising considering that Free Spirit boss Simeon Bond, as well as being a top carper in his own right, boasts more than 25 years of rod-building experience.
Just a few months ago his brand launched its, let’s say, slightly more affordable CTX range of rods, and these have gone on to become arguably the fastest-selling specimen rods around, finding favour with the budget-conscious big-carp angler.
The CTX series covers a dozen models in all, catering for just about every scenario, from small runs waters (as used for the live test) through to extreme-range casting venues, where the special S.U. models are called for.
With test curves starting at 2.5lb and progressing up to 3.5lb, with 12ft and 13ft models as well as matching Spod and Marker rods, there really is something for everyone.
Without going too deeply into the technical blurb, it’s safe to say that each rod is built to exacting specifications, using a complex manufacturing process that integrates two different tonnages of carbon cloth before an X-Wrap goes on for additional strength.
The process results in an extremely strong, ultra-light and slim blank, much as you would expect from a firm whose products are so much in demand.
The new CTX rods’ cosmetics and furnishings are impressive by anyone’s standards. Understated graphics are tastefully positioned on the non-scratchgunmetal Perdurable-finished blanks. Fitted as standard are original Fuji DPS reel seats incorporating stainless steel collars and 40mm and 50mm ‘S’-Lite butt guides. These lend a great modern yet classic chic to the range.
Looks are all very well, but these days carp rods needs to to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. With a huge upsurge in day-ticket runs waters, all carp rods these days are likely to catch lots of fish, and those with little or no fish-playing or casting clout ge found out double-quick!
Now, it just so happens that close to the Angling Times offices is a cracking little runs water called East Delph, just outside the Fenland town of Whittlesey. On this type of smaller fishery I focus on fishing fun and enjoyment, so I always choose a light test curve rod – in this instance it happened to be the 12ft, 2.75lb Free Spirit CTX. This type of rod should serve a multitude of uses, having just enough backbone to cast 2oz leads with small solid PVA bags and being ideal for all chods, margin work and middle-distance casting.
It should also have a very tactile and softly progressive fish-playing action, to make the playing of a big carp an unforgettable experience. This CTX 2.75lb rod did the lot at a canter. Okay, I know it’s more in vogue these days to use 3lb or even 3.25lb test curve carp rods, but believe me, this one not only has the build credentials to match its top-end Free Spirit Hi S stable-mates, but it offers a performance to rival that of most other rods in its class.
Fishery details: www.eastdelphlakes.com