There are times on big waters where you need a feeder rod capable of powering out a heavy payload a long, long way. A fully loaded Method, blockend or open-end feeder in the larger sizes is way too much for a general purpose feeder rod rated to 20g-30g – so what’s the alternative?
Enter the latest Shimano Speedcast Feeder range of rods. There are three in all – the standard 12ft 60g (the subject of this live test), a 13-footer rated to a whopping 90g, and an interchangeable 12ft/13ft model with the same rating.
Without a doubt these are specialist tools, and not the sort of thing you’d take to your average commercial fishery where a 40-yard lob is all you need.
Their slimline profile is achieved using a special HPC200 High Pressure Carbon cloth that is said to provide a more even distribution of material in the blank, while Shimano’s unique Biofibre technology improves the strength, balance and action of the rods.
The furnishings are absolutely top notch too. The classy looking matte grey blank of the 12-footer boasts a full set of lightweight Fuji Alconite guides for a slick, smooth line flow. And in common with top-end match rods from many other major manufacturers there’s an original front screw-fitting Fuji DPS reel seat on its cork and EVA handle. These days this super-reliable fitment is almost a ‘must have’ at the quality end of the rod market.
The hugely popular Makins Fishery at Wolvey was the live test destination, where for the second time in three weeks I would be meeting with that up-and-coming youngster Steve Ringer, no doubt eager to learn more about the finer points of match fishing at the knee of the master.
So, with Mr Ringer seated on the adjoining platform and lost in admiration I set about running the rule over the Shimano Speedcast 12ft/60g rod. First up, casting disciplines – after lining up with a far-bank marker and clipping up the new Technium 3000 SFD reel that I had paired with it, I sent my feeder 50 yards, three-quarters of the way across an open water pool.
I repeated the cast several times, and on every occasion the feeder flew straight as a die. In my opinion the rod won’t over-reach itself with payloads well over the 60g recommendation, in fact I reckon anything under about 30g (1oz) isn’t heavy enough to generate the degree of compression needed to get the best from it.
The blank’s fish-playing action is aggressively progressive, although it does start to soften out a little through the middle section when you’re playing a big fish, making hook pulls at the net unlikely when netting. Other than that, it suffers a bit for having glass fibre push-in quivers.
Yes, these are great for targeting bream and skimmers in stillwaters, but they simply don’t work with such a powerful rod. They have poor recovery speed and wobble around, slowing down the cast. The good news is that I am pretty sure Shimano sells its 1oz, 2oz, and 3oz carbon quivers separately, and this would negate this nagging little problem altogether.