The 11ft Specimen is the second rod in the superb new Greys TXL range to be live tested in the space of two months – and with good reason. The 14 rods in total, all at budget prices, are as good as any on the market.
The original 11ft Prodigy Specimen rod had proved to be a best seller, so you would hardly expect there to be many changes made this time round. However, key improvements have been made, including new SiC lined guides and a quality full cork handle. Add to these an enhanced fish playing action and the TXL is sure to maintain its billing as the star of the show.
Owning an 11ft specimen rod, no matter how good it may be, is not to everyone’s taste. But if this one is used as a ‘jack of all trades’ rather than being seen as a specialist barbel, chub, pike or indeed short-range carp rod, it will serve up an outstanding performance as an all-round multi-functional big fish tool.
I had always been intrigued by the big chub rumoured to haunt the crystal clear waters of the River Nene around Peterborough. However, after many fruitless attempts to catch one over the past few winters, my quest had become a standing joke with my colleagues at Angling Times.
So, with words of encouragement such as “it’s going to be chub four, Mark nil” and“Blankety Blank, Blankety Blank” ringing in my ears, I made my way down to the river armed with little more than a few tackle bits, a bucket of bread, a landing net and, of course, the 11ft Greys Prodigy TXL Specimen rod.
Now, I am way too long in the tooth to believe in things such as lucky rods. But from the moment I threaded the 6lb reel line though the ceramic guides I had a good feeling about it. I also rather fancied that the two-sectioned blank’s slightly beefed-up through action would have just the right amount of steel in the lower butt section to handle big chub, especially when guiding them away from snags without pulling the hook or breaking the line.
First cast saw a 30g open-end feeder loaded with punch crumb cast across the small river – an easy job, since the blank could well have coped with casting weights up to 2oz and distances up to 40m. A few casts later and it happened – the tip rattled, and rattled again, before pulling round in that unmissable ‘chub on’ way.
Locking down on the reel and applying a lot of side strain was going to be the only way to prise the fish away from its branchy lair, and the Prodigy Specimen did this with a flourish that would have had people standing up to applaud its performance. Then, once the fish was into clear water it was a case of not rushing things, allowing it to duck and dive around while I remained in control of the whole situation. Moments later the big white lips and bronze scales of the best chub that I have landed in a long time slipped over the rim of the waiting landing net.
Maybe I do believe in lucky rods…now!