Now here is a lovely rod-and-reel combination that is equally at home casting wagglers on stillwaters as it is trundling big top and bottom floats along rivers - assuming they ever get back within their banks.
Shakespeare’s product manager James Robbins was keen to point out the versatility of this new Superteam duo when it was unveiled at the company’s trade show several months ago, explaining how he had designed the rod to be capable of extracting roach and skimmers using light gear, as well as handling much larger harder fighting quarry such as chub and carp with beefier kit.
If true, this would make it the ideal pleasure or club angler’s tool, suited towards those who do like to floatfish on lots of different venues throughout the season, but who don’t want the expense or hassle of carrying around loads of different rods and reels.
So with the rivers sadly well out of sorts, my choice was to take the ‘Shakey’ all-rounder to a mixed commercial fishery for a short session. And there are few better and more obliging in the way of a dipped float than Wood Lake at Northamptonshire’s Wold Farm. This pleasant-looking day-ticket venue is nicely flanked from the winter winds by a wood on one side, helping to make it feel a few degrees warmer even on the coldest of days. Oh, and it’s stuffed to the gunnels with a variety of healthy looking, hard-fighting carp, skimmers, tench, rudd and roach. What more could you ask for?
The perfect reel for use with this type of float rod would ideally be a front drag model with a body size no smaller than a 2500 or larger than 3500. This unsurprisingly puts the latest Shakespeare Superteam 35FD model solidly in the frame as the perfect partner. A reel line of 4lb will ensure that the combination will cast any type of light float with ease, while still providing enough protection for hooklengths of up to around 0.20mm should you be targeting big fish.
The blank is constructed with a versatile progressive action that shows signs of being on the tippy side when it’s first put under pressure. This is actually what you want in a good match rod that has a lot to cope with. It’s made with a fine hollow carbon tip and top section that is designed to handle small hooks, gossamer lines, and cast light floats, while the moderately powerful middle and butt section help massively when playing bigger fish.
The rod does everything asked of it well enough, just as James had suggested it would. I wouldn’t necessarily want to trust it with hooklengths of under 0.10mm and neither would I attempt to cast big pellet waggler floats with it, but as an all-rounder with a sensible price, it gets the thumbs-up from me.