Preston Innovations’ Carbonactive Mini rod series - short, ready-rods tailored to catching match carp and F1s on feeder and float tactics – has proved amazingly successful.
They were first introduced more than seven years ago (how time flies) and back in the day they set the bar high as being the best two-piece, reduced length commercial rods available. To this day they remain very sought-after.
So the obvious question is, why fix something that doesn’t appear to be cracked, let alone broken? Preston’s brand manager Scott Geens explained: “The company felt the range had become a little dated as materials and build specifications evolved, so the blanks have been improved to produce even more power and casting accuracy.
“They of course retain that familiar progressive non-lock-up action associated with the whole Carbonactive Mini range.”
So, the official line would seem to be that improvements have been made all round. In addition, there are a couple of new rods to look at, both 10ft 6ins long – the Mini Method and Power Float. Both are very much in keeping with modern commercial rod trends, offering the extra power and backbone required to cope with the ever increasing size of fish being caught from commercial waters.
The model on live test duty – the Mini Plus 10ft 6ins Carp Feeder – was used by England international Des Shipp to destroy the field in this year’s Maver festival at Whitacres. In a recent conversation with Bristol’s finest at the recent Tackle & Guns trade show my ears pricked up when Des told me that this was the best feeder rod in terms of casting accuracy and fish-playing action that he had ever laid his hands on. Coming from a man who not only fishes for England but could also complain for his country, that says a lot.
To prove the rod’s improved fish-playing clout I needed to do something a bit different from the usual commercial carp live test, so it was off to the top lake at Wold Farm fishery in Northamptonshire, home to some very big and fit barbell, to see how it would cope with some stillwater Bertie bashing. Unfortunately the lake wasn’t wide enough to fully gauge the rod’s accuracy and distance-casting qualities. However, the new Mini blank’s fast tapering recoil-less tip, matched to what is clearly a bit more backbone through the middle section, does give it a fairly stiff feel. I’m in no doubt that it would propel a 30g-plus Method feeder a good long way.
I can, though, confirm that the blank has a quite extraordinary ability to pile on the pressure without locking up, folding up, or snapping a hooklength. Its seamless flat spot-free progressive curve just keeps on bending, and then bends some more. It has that indefinable ‘just right’ feel, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it with mainlines between 6lb and 10lb with hooklengths from 0. 12mm-0.22mm.
No wonder Des Shipp described it to me as ‘like having a single rod that can be used for five different styles of straight lead and feeder fishing, including distance skimmer work’. Quite some recommendation, that.