These tiny wands are called Ticklers – did Ken Dodd invent them so his Diddy Men could go fishing?
Well, oddly enough, no. These pint-sized single-sectioned Carp and F1 models are the latest additions to Browning’s popular Commercial King range. There’s nothing new about short or indeed single-sectioned rods, and few would argue against their having a place in the modern commercial match angler’s rod holdall. That is just where you can tuck your Tickler after a match, and very easily at that.
Simply remove the quivertip, place the hook into its retainer and reel up any slack line. Then it’s just a matter of folding the reel handle flat before sliding the rod into its slim, protective tube. There are no bands, sleeves or broken tips to worry about – the rod can be taken down and put up again quite literally in seconds.
For live test purposes I carried both versions to my peg at Monkhall Fisheries in Shropshire, ready made-up inside a standard rod bag containing five tubes plus a few mini pole extensions (and if you’re wondering about the blue colour of the water, it’s from a fish-safe dye used to keep weed growth to a minimum). Just to have them so close to hand and ready to use without the need to transport yet another rod holdall to the peg further endeared these rods of restricted growth to me. Yes, obviously they have their limitations, but for ease of transportation and convenience they tick my box.
The pair consists of a surprisingly substantial Carp Tickler model with a 50g (1.7oz) maximum casting weight, suitable for reel lines up to 8lb, and the lighter F1 rod with a casting weight of 35g (1.5oz) for reel lines up to 6lb breaking strain. The Carp Tickler has enough clout in its progressive fish-playing action to cope with specimens of 10lb-plus, while its lighter F1 counterpart shares the action while remaining just about light enough to handle small hooks and fragile hooklengths without risking hook-pulls or breakages.
During the live test, I fished for carp in deep water with the Carp Tickler set up with a 0.75oz straight lead and hair-rigged bread discs. I rigged the F1 rod with a 20g Drennan Carp feeder, size 18 hook and double maggot for fishing in shallower water up against an island.
During the session the wind got up from nowhere and, within seconds, wickedly cold snow flurries were driving across the lake. It really was ‘batten down the hatches’ stuff, but my fishing didn’t suffer at all, as the shortness of the rods had allowed me to tuck the rod-tips right into the bank. I hit every bite, and even when I had the brolly up I could still see the quivertips. As a bonus, I found I could net fish without having to negotiate the canopy of my brolly.
Well, I must admit to being completely sold on these new Browning Ticklers. I really liked the concept – packing away and setting up rods has never been easier or more lacking in fuss and drama. Being able to stick them inside my pole holdall was another big plus point. I found the Carp Tickler a little on the heavy side, and although I wouldn’t hesitate to use it for summer Method feeder margin work I would probably furnish myself with a pair of the F1 Ticklers for winter commercial fishing, preferring their softer cushioning action.