Preston Innovations has given its best- selling Carbonactive Mini-Plus rods a significant makeover and added this two-piece 11ft 6ins Method feeder tool to the range. Right from the start Mini-Plus rods were a hit with commercial match anglers, as the reduced-length blanks, with their trademark forgiving yet powerful action, were ideal for getting carp to the net very quickly.
Despite significant changes, all the new Preston Mini-Plus rods retain their non-locking action and trademark ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ feel. However, they do appear to have been built around slightly faster tapering blanks. This, far from being a negative quality, gives them more casting speed at the tip when they are wound up, always a useful quality when going for extra distance.
Cosmetics and furnishings on the new rods have been upgraded too. The whippings on the glossy jet-black blanks now boast classy red trimmings, and depending on the model you get either single or double-legged low profile ceramic-lined guides.
The cork and EVA handle is fitted with a soft-touch reel seat which is not only pleasingly comfy to hold, but clamps the reel stem close to the blank. This is handy if, like, me you have short fingers. To round off the technicalities there’s a fold-down keeper ring, always nice to see.
So how did the Carbonactive Mini-Plus actually perform? After all, the two-piece 11ft 6ins blank is an unusual length for a Method feeder rod, which would more commonly be found in standard 12ft and power 13ft versions. Yes, even shorter method feeder rods are available, but these are really designed for fishing down the edge, not for distance casting.
A rare creature our test rod may be, but with the help of match aces Des Shipp and Tommy Pickering Prestons has come up with something that’s absolutely spot-on for commercials with islands and features at the 30m-60m mark.
That point was brought home to me when live-testing the model at Suffolk’s day-ticket Hinderclay fishery. Like so many others, this complex has centre islands on a couple of its lakes, and accurate 40m chucks to these are essential from the relevant pegs.
The Mini-Plus will cast a small 30g fully loaded feeder with little effort on the angler’s part, and I would suggest that at a push it could propel a large 45g Method feeder a fair distance. That said, don’t buy it if you are just looking for an out-and-out power casting tool, which it isn’t.
The blank has enough backbone to keep a straight cast, even if you need to lean into the cast in the teeth of a strong headwind, and the lack of tip recoil and bounce helps as you approach the casting distance limit.
I am fast becoming a fan of the longer-than-normal quivertips Preston is using these days on its feeder models, blending as they do into the blanks with no flat spots. The Mini-Plus comes with a glass tip rated at 2oz and a 2.5oz carbon tip. In truth, because bites are usually bold wrap-rounds as the fish hook themselves against the weight of the feeder, I reckon an even heavier 3oz tip would be useful, and contribute to longer casts.
That said, the softer glass tip does make the rod a little more flexible, should you want to use it for open-end feeder work for bream. Thanks to the blank’s forgiving action, it is well suited to this tactic.