Short rods have proved a huge hit with pleasure and match anglers targeting commercial fishery carp and F1s, especially when using straight lead and feeder tactics.
Not only does their reduced length promote casting accuracy, ideal when a hookbait may need to be delivered with pinpoint accuracy, the quivertip ends can be tucked out of harm’s way down the side of a platform, preventing them from bouncing around in the wind and making it easier to see shy bites.
There are many different makes, types, lengths and styles of these petite rods to choose from with all popular tackle manufacturers producing them in droves.
When faced with such a bewildering array it can be difficult to make the right choice but I would always opt for proven reliability, and this is where Preston Innovations Carbonactive Mini rods really stand out from the crowd.
The Telford-based company was among the first to make reduced length commercial fishery rods with the Carbonactive Mini series proving a huge success and quickly becoming the market leader.
This superb rod collection is now in its second generation, after Preston recently introduced its latest Mini Plus range, of which this 8ft 6in Carp Feeder is the shortest, rated to fish lines of 3lb-8lb and supplied with glassfibre push-in quivertips of 3/4oz and 1oz.
However, don’t think for one minute that this bantamweight tool couldn’t handle a tussle with a decent sized kipper, because the whispish pencil-thin, two-piece blank is more than capable of dishing out a fair amount of punishment, something I found out while live testing it at the ever popular Makin’s Phase Two Reptile Lake.
Like all commercial lakes in winter, the fish in Reptile shoal up and sit tight, often in the hardest areas of the lake to reach. But if you find them a good day is on the cards.
The winning tactic is easy enough; you simply need to drop a light bomb or tiny feeder, with a couple of maggots, single grain of corn, or punched bread on the hook, on top of the fish.
The trick is making your rig land with little more than a plop.
This is where really short rods like the Mini Plus Carp Feeder come to the fore, as once you have the distance marked, the casting accuracy they are capable of producing means you can hit exactly the same spot time after time.
Bites are normally slow pull-rounds, which on this particular model will seem exaggerated, mainly because of the thin and fast tapering profile. Strikes are rarely called for in this situation, as the fish are already hooked, the blank whipping the line from the water in the blink of an eye.
Once a fish is hooked the blank takes on a sharply progressive fighting curve, with the tip acting as a cushion and the rest of the top section soaking up all the pressure. The stopping power is delivered from the butt section and it produces enough grunt to quickly subdue the feistiest of fish.
Preston claims the rod is ideal for all snake lakes and small ponds, which undoubtedly it is, but I feel this is underplaying the rod, because for my money it has more than enough beef to cope with small-river chubbing sessions as well.