Tips: 1oz, 2oz and 3oz
Casting weight: 60g
Handle: Full cork
Middy produces impressive commercial fishery rods these days, with everything from close-quarter snake lake models to powerful horizon-hitting beasts. And what’s more, there’s something to suit every depth of pocket.
Close to the pinnacle of Middy’s comprehensive feeder rod range sits the latest new and improved 11ft Nano-Core XK55-2 World Pro Feeder. Don’t be deterred by the RRP because it can be found at a lower price around £159.99 if you shop around. That said, it’s still a lot to lay out by anyone’s standards, so what exactly would you be buying? Well, for starters you get an ultra-slim (it’s just over 3cm circumference at the butt section), ridiculously light, two-sectioned carbon fibre blank, and the result of the very latest Nano-Core technology. This translates into a rod with lightning-fast reflexes, immense strength and flexibility.
The understated non-flash matt-black coloured blank has undergone a unique high-pressure vacuum curing process that forces out any tiny air bubbles, ensuring a consistent performance and a flawless finish. Other luxury touches include three push-in carbon quivertips rated at 1oz, 2oz and 3oz, plus eight ceramic-lined double and single SiC guides. An ultra-thin full cork handle furnished with a screw-down reel seat completes the classy designer furnishings.
Middy claims the rod will cast bombs and feeders up to 60g using mainlines up to 10lb and hooklengths up to 8lb – pretty much standard manufacturer-speak for a commercial feeder rod of this quality. But in my humble opinion, top-end models should always have that bit extra, the ‘wow’ factor if you like. You’re already paying for the classy furnishings, fittings and carbon technology, but without that noticeable edge to the rod’s performance all that counts for nowt – and that applies to all tackle brands.
And so to the live test, to see if the improved spec and build XK55-2 did indeed have the ‘wow’ factor. I headed to a new day- ticket venue for me, Townsend Lakes, near Wisbech, deep in the Cambridgeshire fens. The finned residents of the venue’s Woodpecker Pool are said to come in all sizes, responding well to most open-water straight lead and feeder tactics.
Assembling the rod, you cannot help but be impressed by its pencil-slimness and lightness in the hand – in fact, I found the full cork handle a tad too skinny for my own assortment of butt rests, and would suggest that any prospective buyer should look for a small U-shaped abbreviated rear rest of the sort favoured by carp anglers.
The rod’s two sections are of equal length when a quivertip is fitted and, as the XK55-2 comes with its own carry bag, it can be carried made-up saving time on the bank. I wasn’t wholly convinced by its suggested 60g maximum casting weight. For me, the top end of the quivertip carrier section has a little too much play for that much casting weight, and while there is no denying its impressive post-cast tip recovery speed, this rod is clearly not of the ‘give it a whack’ breed. If you miscast and take out the top section it’s likely to have been a very expensive non-cast.
And there end my criticisms. The fact is, the performance of this new and improved version of the Nano-Core X55-2 11ft World Pro Feeder will have you purring with satisfaction. It has a wondrous amount of torque and feel, with a handling aptitude right up there with the very best.
The immaculate high modulus carbon blank has a phenomenal crispness and line pick-up speed, which is blended with a super-responsive continuous (non-locking) parabolic action. This steadily strengthens and tightens the more you pull, enabling you to subdue any size or species of fish in double quick time without any hook-pulls or snapped lines. And it’s this superb action where the rod’s ‘wow’ factor I was looking for kicks-in. Think of it as a bit like stepping out of your old family saloon and into a works rally car, but once you adapt to the change its all systems go – only you won’t have to strap yourself in!
A genuine high-performance rod for the commercial fishery connoisseur, this top-end model will comfortably handle most weights of flatbed feeders and straight leads up to 40g (1.5oz). Its flexibility and superb parabolic action make it equally at home with a maggot or small cage feeder with light lines and small hooks for F1s, skimmers and silvers, and targeting bigger winter carp with bread