The best fishing gifts for Christmas

The Christmas period is fast creeping upon us so what should you buy your fishing mad friends and family? Forget the socks, get them something they'll love from their favourite past time with our pick of carefully-selected fishing gifts...  


FISH PILLOW from £16.99
For anglers who fall asleep thinking about fishing! We love the Gaby Giant Carp Pillow or the Gaby Giant Pike Pillow. There's also a perch version too! 


You can never have enough floats! This is our pick of five patterns you can't coarse fish without, including clear insert and straight wagglers, stumpy pellets wagglers, shouldered stickfloats for rivers and straight balsa wagglers. Learn more about this perfect Christmas gift HERE


For the angler who uses every excuse in the book for not catching, they've been collated on this fridge magnet! 

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FISHING MUGS from £5.99
Can you be considered a proper angler if you've not got your own mug for a brew on the bank? Try the Mayfly Art Common Carp Mug, the Just Fish I Love Fishing Mug or if you're feeling 'carpy', the Gardner Camo Mug. For the more daring, the I Love My Wife version is great! 

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FLASK £19.99
A warm flask of tea, coffee or soup is the perfect accompaniment to a cold winter's day on the bank. The Gentlemen's Hardware Stainless Steel Flask is pretty indestructible and for something slightly more novel, but still practical, try the Hook Line and Sinker Cream Flies Flask


A useful pocket tool featuring an 8cm ruler, hook disgorger/file, penknife blade, straight pin and storage compartment, get it HERE

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Cool novelty slippers/sandals made from tough PVC, for beach, pool or home. Surely the gift of 2018? Get them HERE.


Handpainted and personalised with the name or message of your choice! It's 9cm high and delivered in its own gift box. Get it HERE.  


Customise your car or van with this very carpy vinyl sticker, available in black or white. Please note, Range Rover not supplied!


A high quality heavy base tankard, with the option to personalise with a name or message too. 

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2018 CALENDARS from £10.99
Choose from a range of versions, including the Fishing Cartoon-A-Day, the Lure Of Fishing 2018 Calendar and for something slightly more edgy, the Carponizer erotischer Karpfenkalender 2018, a current best seller on Amazon. 

10 items of coarse tackle you can't fish without this autumn

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Despite colder nights and shorter days, autumn is a time of plenty where coarse fishing is concerned. 

Just about all fish species feed well in one last bid to pack on weight before the colder weather sets in and you can enjoy some super sport. We've put together a list of essential tackle to kit yourself out with to take advantage of this key part of the fishing year! 


Small feeders
Fish such as carp and F1s wont be attacking a feeder as aggressively as in summer and with the water cooling down you'll need less bait to hold fish in the peg. A big feeder might risk overfeeding them too, so it's time to step down to much smaller frames. Good choices are the new Mini range of Hybrid Feeders and Mini Inline Method feeders from Guru, or the Preston Inline Dura Banjo


As water in autumn becomes colder it also becomes clearer and a bait presented on its own away from any kind of frame can often be best. Fish with corn or 8mm pellets and loosefeed over the top too. In-line versions such as the Guru In-line leads and Preston Match Cube are virtually tangle free, you can even remove the Match Cube from the line and replace it with another without breaking the rig down. 


Visible floats
Bright days are a feature of autumn and with the sun low in the sky it can be difficult to see a float tip properly. For pole fishing for anything apart from small silverfish, try going for a hollow plastic bristle which catches the light and shows up really well, even when dotted right down. We recommend the Preston Inter Carbon or Maver MV-R float patterns. 


Good rests
It's important to start being a bit more patient and to be prepared to wait longer for bites. Invest in a good set of front and back rod rests, with a back rest meaning you won't have to hold the rod or be tempted to strike at line bites. Is there a better rest combination than the Guru Reaper front and Reaper rear rest heads? We don't think so!


Go back to pellets
On commercial fisheries you'll often notice that groundbait tends to lose its effectiveness for carp the clearer and colder the water becomes. Therefore it's time to make the switch back to feeding 2mm micro pellets around the feeder or in shallow water such as islands and margins. In the long run it works out cheaper to buy pellets in bulk, like HERE


Smaller hook
For situations where you used a size 16 hook in summer, it's now time to scale down to a size 18. Fish feed much less aggressively in the cold so a smaller hook weighs less and is likely to achieve more bites. It doesn't necessarily have to be a finer wire hook, as long as it's small and strong. The Kamasan B911 is a good all year round choice, especially in its X-Strong version, as is the Guru LWG


Go down a grade of elastic
It's time to reconsider your pole elastics as the thick, bagging grades of summer are now likely to be too brutal as you may bump fish, especially if you've scaled down the hook size. So think about going for a light to medium grade hollow on commercial fisheries, blue Daiwa Hydrolastic is a good all-around choice , as is Preston Hollo in 9h or 11h grades.

A great tip is to set your elastics soft when you fit them, as hollows can be harsh on the strike if they're too tight. You can always tighten a slack elastic up a bit but if you've got a puller bung or puller kit in you can't slacken an elastic which is too tight! 


Pole pots rather than catapults
Cut down your feed as we move through autumn and winter. Catapulting baits such as pellets around the float is a great way of catching on the pole in the warmer months but now it's a better idea to keep your feed much tighter, as fish are less likely to chase baits around. So get a pole pot on the end, those with sprinkle-type lids are ideal for regulating a few pellets into the swim at time. Try the Map Flexi Pots or Frenzee Soft Clear Pots. 


Centrepin reel
Autumn is a great time for trotting, with rivers generally still at low or normal levels. On fast to medium-paced rivers, a centrepin reel is a great bit of kit for putting a float through, but you'll need enough flow to be able to pull line from the drum at the speed of the current.  

The good news is that centrepin reels are relatively simple bits of kit, relying on the rotation of the drum, so you don't need to spend loads of money to get the benefits of one. We've fished with The Wensum at just £39.99, a great bit of kit for the money, but if you can't get on with 'pins', then a small fixed spool such as a Daiwa Ninja 2500 is ideal.


To go with your centrepin you'll need a good selection of floats. The faster the water the thicker the top you should choose, and likewise the deeper the swim the heavier the float you should use. An alloy stemmed shouldered stick is a good all-around choice for most species, or there's also a special offer set of 14 varied river patterns HERE

Best fishing seatboxes of £350 or less

What should you look for when buying a seatbox?

Seat - Look for a comfortable seat with plenty of padding as you're likely to be sat on it for five hours or more. Lots of seats will also incorporate a pole support at the front too, to wedge the end of the butt section into to take the strain of it. 

Draws, units and trays -  Front and cross draws area great for storing all your terminal gear such as line, hooks, shot and disgorgers. It's imperative that the draws are easy to access and close to hand. You might find it easier to pull out a cross drawer from the side than a front draw from between your legs. Draws are often built into box units which you can add or take off the box. Other units include pole rig trays, which can often be stacked up on top of each other in the space below the main frame module.   

Footplate - Most seatboxes have a footplate attached, which either slides out from under the main module or folds up against it. Two legs similar to those on the box should keep the plate sturdy at the front.  

Legs - Good boxes will feature adjustable telescopic legs so you can get the box level on all kinds of slopes and surfaces. Large surface area mudfeet help keep things stable or prevent sinking into mud. Most box legs are 20-36mm in diameter so attachments for them reflect this. 

Backplate - Some boxes have a solid back plate but this isn't essential. It can smarten a box up but obviously it may add a little bit of extra weight too.  

Our top 8 picks

(In no particular order)

  1. MAP H30 Lite Seatbox
  2. Daiwa 160 Seatbox
  3. Matrix P25 System Seatbox
  4. Preston Onbox 360 Seatbox
  5. Maver Signature Series 8 Seatbox
  6. Browning CC Competition Seatbox
  7. Garbolino Match GBM-05 Seatbox
  8. Sensas Power 760 Seatbox

1.MAP H30 Lite Seatbox

"Lite by name, light by nature"
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Draws: Shallow drawer unit, deep drawer unit | Trays: None | Legs: 30mm | Footplate: Sliding | Pole Support: Yes  


•Lightweight and very easy to carry
•Side draws are easy to pull out and access
•Quality durable pole seat
•Legs have screw inserts for attachments


•No base unit or trays supplied

The baby of the MAP box range, it's exactly as it's 'lite' name tag suggests. It doesn't weigh very much as it's a stool designed to take up minimal space and is ideal for short sessions or long walks on canals and rivers. 

We love the H frame design which means you can alter the height of the footplate to get comfortable, without having to add or subtract draw units from above to do so. 

Another great little design point is the screws on the side of the legs, which can move through 180 degrees to face the front or the back of the box, again saving a bit of space. 

2. Daiwa 160 Seatbox

"Built to last... typically Daiwa"  

Draws: Two front drawers, two shallow side drawers | Trays: Deep tray plus 14cm base | Legs: 25mm | Footplate: Sliding | Pole Support: Yes  


•Long telescopic legs and stable mud feet
•Rubber hand wheels make it easy to tighten the grip on legs
•Thick padded seat
•Nice deep 14cm base gives space for reels and hooklength boxes etc.    

•We'd have liked slightly stronger clips to secure the strap to the box

There's a choice of red or blue graphics with the Daiwa 160 seatbox but either way it's smart and sturdy.

The long telescopic leg system is excellent and allows the box to be securely extended to some height, which is useful on uneven banks or if you want to get into the water in shallow margins. We've also noticed that it uses a non-marking mechanism in the tightening process to prevent unsightly damage to the legs.

Once sat on the box, the draws are easy enough to pull out and access. We also like the quality of the no-nonsense clips used to get into the base and under the seat. Well made and comfortable.

3. Matrix P25 System Seatbox

"Small but very practical"

Draws: Double front drawer unit, Deep drawer unit, single tray unit | Trays: Winder tray under base, single tray unit | Legs: 25mm | Footplate: Sliding | Pole Support: Yes


•Fully height adjustable
•Very comfortable pole seat
•Very organised drawer units
•Weighs 14.5kg

•This is a compact design so it's not the easiest to use for larger sized anglers

A compact design-type of box but despite this it's surprisingly solid and has some great features. We particularly like the excellent drawer unit system, especially the dividers in the deepest unit.

It's fully height adjustable so you can tailor it exactly to get your feet level on the footplate without having to add or remove units. This is especially useful when long pole fishing. 

There's something very comfortable about the slightly-squeezy material used in Matrix seatboxes and this is no exception, it even has a built-in spirit level. The anti-warp footplate is also very stable. All in all a very good, versatile choice.  

4. Preston Onbox 360 Seatbox

"The box/chair hybrid"
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Draws: None | Trays: Single tray under seat | Legs: 23mm | Footplate: Sliding, available as an extra | Pole Support: No


•Very comfortable padded seat
•The seat rotates 360 degrees
•Back rest which folds over too
•EVA side tray supplied, stores under seat

•Minimal storage and draw space 

This is the only Preston box available in shops for less than £350. It's more of a hybrid between a chair and a seatbox so it's perhaps unfair to compare it directly with the other seatboxes on test. However what you do get is a very comfortable, adjustable fishing station to face in any direction you want!

This isn't a box for the match angler who likes to carry a box with draws upon draws of terminal gear and trays of rigs contained within it. If you only take a little bit of gear or you want something lightweight for short sessions or long walks, this is right up your street. Likewise if you like all the comforts of a chair but you want to pole fish, this gives the best of both worlds.  

The legs are fully adjustable, telescopic 23mm versions to cope with all banks and the wide frame makes this nice and stable. If you want to pole fish, a footplate is available as an optional extra so you can get your feet level.  

5. Maver Signature Series 8 Seatbox

"An impressive fishing station"  

Draws: Double front drawer unit, shallow cross draw unit | Trays: Stacker system unit | Legs: 30mm | Footplate: Sliding | Pole Support: Yes

PAY AROUND: £349.99

•Two different sets of tightening hand wheels on the legs attached to the main unit prevent the legs bending
•Great divider system in the draws
•Stacking module supplied
•Wheel kit supplied

•The large tightening hand wheels face outwards which means the box takes up a lot of space

Squeezing into this price range by the skin of its teeth, the Signature Series 800 is a big box with plenty in its package. It's smart and flash but it's also very well thought out. 

Each of the four legs on the main box frame has two tightening hand wheels. Not only does this help stop the leg bending, it means the height of the box can easily be altered in relation to the footplate, without having to add or subtract units.

The legs are long and telescopic so you can use this on all banks or in the water itself. The anti-slip cassette footplate is solid and inspires confidence in being able to stand up on it. You even get a wheel kit and barrow arms to fit on for transportation. All in all a very comprehensive box for serious anglers.  

6. Browning CC Competition Seatbox

"Short legs and light frame" 

Draws: Deep cross draw unit | Trays: Under seat space, two shallow trays, one deep tray, unit lid | Legs: 25mm | Footplate: Sliding | Pole Support: Yes


•Quite compact and lightweight
•Reliable clip system
•Good tray and stacker units
•Screw attachments on legs
•Solid footplate  

•Short legs although more conventional longer versions are available

We like the cassette-style footplate to reduce weight, yet it still remains reassuringly sturdy. 
And with the Z shape-type design, you don't get a big bulky frame, again saving space and weight. 

The short legs have been purposely designed for anglers fishing from level platforms, in the water or on fishery pegs, to reduce weight and also to keep the box low to the ground. If you do need longer legs then sets are available. 

Slightly unusual in terms of design but a practical box with plenty of optional add-ons in terms of tray units. 

7. Garbolino Match GBM-05 Seatbox

"Nice design and good value"   


Draws: One combined double front/cross
drawer unit | Trays: Under seat space, base tray | Legs: 25mm | Footplate: Sliding | Pole Support: Yes


•Very smart box, finished in Garbolino blue
•Thick padded seat
•Long telescopic legs with good mudfeet

•We're being picky here but even with the legs set at their lowest, the box is a bit high off the ground  

A continental-style box which we think is especially good for pole fishing.

If you want to carry plenty of shallow unit rig trays, there's loads of space underneath the main seat unit to stack them high. And you can easily pull out the drawers to get to get quick access to terminal tackle.

The legs are long and telescopic, for use on all banks, and the height means that you'll be able to get any side trays or attachments close to hand. Also the slide out footplate is nicely solid.  

8. Sensas Power 760 Seatbox

"A big box with a few nice add-ons"

Draws: One combined double front/cross
drawer unit | Trays: Under cross drawer space, double tray unit, unit lid | Legs: 25mm | Footplate: Sliding | Pole Support: Yes


•Wide mud feet
•Comfortable padded seat
•Secure tightening knobs
•Long telescopic front legs for trays
•Built in bars at the back of the box for attachments
•Quality wooden draws

•Not the lightest box to carry 

A big box and a comprehensive set up for pole and international style fishing. It features some quality components, including the wooden draws, and a Sensas World Champion back plate.

Design wise, a few small points have been carefully thought about. The front two legs on the box module itself are deliberately much longer than the other four, which means you can have your bait waiter or side tray at a height you can reach easily. Also there is an adjustable bar built into the back of the box on each side which extends vertically to allow you to fit other attachments such as brollies onto. 

This isn't the lightest box to carry and transport but this is reflective in its build quality and size. It's also quite a high box as standard so you may need to lose a unit from the top module.       

The best method feeder fishing rods under £100

What should you look for when buying a feeder rod?

Action - The stiffer a rod, the higher its loading point becomes, and the better it casts. But a Method rod still needs to have a sweet tip-to-middle progressive action so it can be used with smaller hooks and lighter lines. When you’re looking to buy a rod, take a reel, thread it up and get someone to pull the line at an angle away from you. You’re looking for a seamless curve without flat-spots, plus plenty of feeling.

Line guides -  The butt guide should be positioned around 18 inches away from the leading edge of the handle. Lined guides are usually standard on all modern feeder rods with SICs being the most popular. Some Method rods have double-legged guides throughout, while others only have a double leg on the butt. Single-legged guides obviously weigh less but can be prone to twisting, so just be careful when putting the rod away. Most 11ft models carry nine guides, discounting the quivertip.

Spigot - The spigot is an area of added stiffness which interrupts the smooth line of any rod. For a Method feeder model the male spigot needs to have at least 2mm of thickness to withstand the inertia of the cast. Spigots should always have a snug fit, but should never meet or the rod will twist, slip and may even fall apart. 

Handle - Handles on a Method feeder rod depend how far you need to cast. So the longer the rod the longer the handle.  On 11ft to 13ft models it should be long enough to enable the angler to create a pivotal arm action when casting. Shorter rods tend to have shorter handles so they're easier to manage when you're only casting up to 30m or so.

Quivertips - All Method rods come with a selection of (normally three) push-in quivertips, made of either carbon or fibreglass. Fibreglass tips are softer and definitely offer better registration, so they're more suited to shorter rods and smaller fish. Stiffer carbon tips come in when you're going for bigger fish or casting a long way. 

Reel seat - The seat should produce a smooth line along the top and bottom of the handle while locking the reel securely into position. Fixed reel positioning at the top of the handle is also crucial as this aids casting performance. Screw-down style EVA thumb grips add extra grip. The original Japanese Fuji reel seats are often considered the best available. Most feeder rods are fitted with a standard 20mm DPS seat which can be used with reels up to 5000 body size.  

Our top 8 picks

(In no particular order)

  1. Preston Innovations Monster Method Feeder
  2. Maver Genesis Pro 10ft Feeder rod
  3. Daiwa Yank N Bank Carp Feeder 10ft
  4. Frenzee FXT Match+ 9ft Feeder rod
  5. Free Spirit CTX 9ft Feeder
  6. Matrix Method Master 11ft
  7. Middy Baggin Machine 10ft Carp Feeder
  8. Shimano Force Master Commercial 10ft Mini Feeder

1.Preston Innovations 12ft Monster Method Feeder

"Great action and well thought out"

Length: 12ft | Pieces: Two | Tips supplied: 1oz, 1.5oz & 2ozReel seat: Screw down | Handle: Part cork / EVAKeeper ring: Yes

PAY AROUND: £99.99

•Three quivertips with good choices of test curves
•Lovely progressive action with enough backbone for casting
•Large line guides on the lower part of the blank help achieve distance


•We're being extremely picky here but a larger butt guide and one less line guide in total would improve casting distance

Preston's new Monster Method rods are slightly different to its Dutchmaster range, especially in the action stakes. Where the Dutchmasters are mostly casting rods for long range and silverfish, the Monster Method blanks boast a much softer, through action, which comes into play for smaller hooks and slightly shorter ranges with Method, Pellet Feeder and Banjo tactics.     

Make no qualms about it however, this 12ft version still has enough backbone to cast beyond 60m and will handle big fish while still retaining a nice soft action to ensure that every hooked fish ends up in the net.

We reckon it could also double up as a bream rod or a useful model for chub and bream in running water. The Monster Method just scrapes under the £100 mark by the skin of its teeth but in our book it's worth every penny! 


2. Maver Genesis Pro 10ft Feeder rod

"Slim with casting power... typically Maver"  

Length: 10ftPieces: Two Tips supplied: ThreeReel seat: Screw downHandle: Part cork / EVAKeeper ring: Yes

PAY AROUND: £64.99

•Rod blank is slim in diameter
•Good through action at this price point
•Soft action makes the rod ideal for short range and smaller fish
•Excellent reel seat
•Keeper eye can be flicked to a flat position when fishing with the rod

•A little bit of wobble on the cast
•Distance between the handle and butt guide is long for a short rod
•The lightest no1 tip is extremely thin and could be prone to damage

This high modulus carbon 10ft two-piece rod is the perfect short range tool for modern commercial fishing with a variety of tactics. It has a soft action and highly sensitive tips so we suggest this is best used for small method and pellet feeders or bombs, even though it has a maximum claimed casting weigh of 80g.   

It features a good matt carbon finish and top quality fittings throughout. The handle is mostly cork with EVA at the top and bottom for grip. It isn't too long either, which is ideal on a 10ft rod for short chucks.

Full of nice touches and slimline throughout, we say this rod represents excellent value for money at £64.99. 

3. Daiwa Yank N Bank Carp Feeder 10ft

"Quality build and finish"

Length: 10ftPieces: TwoTips supplied: 1oz, 1.5oz & 2ozReel seat: Down locking EVA fore gripHandle: Part cork / EVA Keeper ring: Yes

PAY AROUND: £76.99

•Great-looking low-glare finish, especially around the base and guides
•Lots of power to play larger fish and punch out casts, even at a 10ft length
•The cork handle has a flattened area near the base for extra security when holding the rod
•Excellent line guides

•The action is fairly stiff through the middle so this is more suited to bigger fish 

The Yank N Bank Feeder is built for bagging up sessions, exactly as its slightly cringeworthy name suggests. That's thanks to its powerful blank, which boasts a good progressive action.

Ideal for bomb and feeder tactics on commercial fisheries, this rod will easily cope with casts of 40 yards or so to island or far-bank features.

It's supplied with three super slim push-in tips from 1oz-2oz which are handily colour coded so you can instantly identify each. Supplied with a rod sleeve and reel pouch, which is handy if you want to leave it already rigged up and broken down. 

4. Frenzee FXT Match+ 9ft Feeder rod

"Short with a soft action"

Length: 9ftPieces: Two | Tips supplied: 1oz, 1.5oz | Reel seat: Screw downHandle: Part cork / EVAKeeper ring: Yes

PAY AROUND: £79.99

•Very soft action minimises hook pulls
•Slimline blank
•The handle is a sensible length although we'd have liked a little bit more cork at the top end

•Only two quivertips supplied
•Lacks a bit of backbone through the middle for casting and larger fish  

This medium-price range of rods sits in between Frenzee's FXT range and its Match Pro. Featuring a metallic blue whipping on the butt section and black whipping throughout, we like the stylish, slim diameter blank.

This isn't a rod to chuck to the horizon or use for big carp, as by Frenzee's own admission it's casting distance is up to 35m. What it is ideal for however, is short range work for fish up to about 5lb, especially F1s, with small feeders and small hooks.

It's a lightweight rod with a decent through action, which is great fun to use.  

5. Free Spirit CTX 9ft Feeder

"The new kid on the block"  

THE PACKAGE: Length: 9ft Pieces: Two Tips supplied: ThreeReel seat: Screw downHandle: Cork / EVA thumb gripKeeper ring: Yes


•Fantastic progressive action with loads of power
•Anti-scratch finish
•Supplied with both glass and carbon tips
•Slim diameter blanks  

•We'd have preferred completely orange quivertips to the white or white/orange supplied

Free Spirit has an enviable reputation for producing high performance rods in the carp and specimen market. In 2016 it turned its attention to the coarse market too and the first result was the CTX float and feeder models.  

A Bi-Axis weave gives the blank a classy 'carpy' appearance and it's tough and long lasting too. Scratch the blank and you can simply wipe it off.

What is similarly impressive is the rod's performance. It's slim and extremely light, yet packs a great progressive curve with plenty of power.  It oozes class and by our reckoning performs considerably beyond its sub-£100 price tag. 

6. Matrix Method Master 11ft

"Progressive action and a reliable performer" 


Length: 11ftPieces: Two | Tips supplied: 1oz, 1.5oz | Reel seat: Screw downHandle: Cork / EVA thumb grip | Keeper ring: No

PAY AROUND: £69.99

•No bounce on the cast
•Great for accurate and slightly longer casts
•Controlled progressive bend  

•Not the slimmest rod blank on test
•Only two quivertips supplied
•No hook keeper ring

As the name suggests, this is a rod with a commercial fishery emphasis. It's also one offering tremendous value for money in our book.  

What's immediately noticeable about the 11ft blank is the fast taper diameter from butt to tip. This gives it a high weight loading area towards the tip end of the carrier section and enables the rod to hold rock-steady before, during and after casting.

This lack of movement also improves the rod’s distance overall casting and accuracy, and during testing it handIed 30g flatbed feeders with ease. We'd have liked a keeper ring to store the hook in but the rod's performance makes up for this. 


7. Middy Baggin Machine 10ft Carp Feeder

"Nice design and good value"   


Length: 10ftPieces: TwoTips supplied: Two Reel seat: Screw downHandle: Part cork / EVAKeeper ring: Yes

PAY AROUND: £59.99

•Excellent deep secure reel seat
•Wide line guides throughout improve casting distance
•Decent through action

•The blank is soft and doesn't have loads of backbone for casting 

For the technical bit, this rod is built using a Synaptic carbon cloth. When combined with resins it allows the blank to be strong and flexible, while retaining a good degree of lightness and stiffness.

The handle section is particularly worth a mention, a decent mix of EVA and cork, although we'd have preferred slightly more cork. It's a well thought out length with a thicker end rim to prevent slipping and the reel seat is deep with a skeletal design to reduce weight.      

It has a soft, progressive tip action that starts to tighten up quickly just past the middle of the blank for casting. Middy make some very good rods for the money these days and this is definitely one of them - at £59.99 its difficult to criticise.  


8. Shimano Force Master Commercial 10ft Mini Feeder

"A 13m version of a top end power pole"

Length: 11ft Pieces: TwoTips supplied: 2oz, 3ozReel seat: Screw downHandle: Part cork / EVAKeeper ring: No

PAY AROUND: £34.99

•Extremely low price
•Double-legged guides giving added strength and stability on the butt
•Plenty of power for casting

•The carbon tips supplied are a bit on the pokey side and not very bright

This is by far the cheapest rod on test but it's here for a reason - because of it's performance at this lower price point. 

Picking up the two-piece XT40 graphite carbon blank, it's nicely constructed, with two quality double-legged guides giving added strength and stability on the butt. The seven lightweight but flexible single-legged guides are well spaced along the carrier section.

It's very much at home casting flatbed Method, open end or pellet feeders weighing up to 40g. As mentioned the tips are slightly pokey, but they have the effect of stiffening up the end section, which in turn improves the casting performance of what is quite a soft blank.

Reel lines of anything between 5lb and 10lb would be fine with this rod, as would hooklengths as low in diameter as 0.12mm. The softness of the second section helps to give the blank a parabolic (constant rate of curvature) type of action.


The best fishing poles under £1,000

Fishing the pole is a great way of presenting a rig very accurately for all kinds of coarse fish, including carp, bream, tench and roach.

It means you can fish tight up to features such as islands up to 16m away and use light tackle to get more bites, because no casting is involved. 

You get what you pay for when purchasing a long pole, which ranges from as little as £50 to nearly £4,000! We're going to focus on the best poles you can buy for less than £1,000.

What should you look for when buying a pole?

Rigidity & balance - How straight is a pole and how quickly does the tip recover after applying a strike? Stiff poles tend to have much less 'bounce' at the tip end. Balance is all about correct 'feel' as you don't want it to feel top heavy i.e pulling away from you. 

Wall strength - The thicker a section diameter the stronger it's likely to be, but also the heavier too. Look for signs of reinforced points at vital areas such as the end of the joints too.

Weight - The weight of a pole isn't a massive issue, especially if you need a power pole. Of far more importance is how stiff it is and it's overall balance. 

Finish - This will determine how easy a pole is to ship in and out through your hands. Some finishes have taping, others have a slick/painted finish, e.g the butt sections. 

Spares package - How many spare top kits or extras such as half extensions and cupping kits you get with the pole. Some poles offer packages tailored to power or general match fishing.

Our top 10 picks

(In no particular order)

  1. Preston Innovations Pro Type 510 pole
  2. Daiwa Matchwinner C3 pole
  3. MAP TKS 401 2G pole
  4. Shimano Beastmaster AX Commercial 16m pole
  5. Middy Nano-Core XP35-2 pole
  6. Maver Oculus 799 pole
  7. Browning 2 EX-S 50#1 pole
  8. Matrix Nemesis 1000 pole
  9. Garbolino UK5 Procarp Match pole
  10. Tri-Cast Venom Pro Competition


1.Preston Innovations Pro Type 510 pole

"Good all-rounder with the package to boot"

THE PACKAGE: 16m Pole | 4 x Roller Pulla Power Kits | Match Kit | Kup Kit | Kups and Adaptor | Half Extension

PAY AROUND: £849.99

•Good wall strength, including reinforced butt sections
•Section alignment arrows to line the pole up for maximum performance
•Good package, including Roller Pulla Kits and half butt
•Excellent finish, even in the wet 

•Loses stiffness a little at 14.5m and 16m lengths

A great improvement on Preston’s original Pro Type poles, this new top-of-the-range 510 boasts plenty of small but key add-ons, including the Roller Pullas and section alignment.

It’s usable at its longest lengths and would be every bit as good at bagging carp as it would at snatching silvers. What’s more, the spares package doesn’t need further investment to make the pole compatible with a host of venue types. 

If you're a keen match angler this is absolutely bang on for the money, although to get the best out of it performance wise we'd recommend hollow elastics of a 12 or below, not thick heavy versions.  


Daiwa Matchwinner C3 Pole

"Smart and reliable... typically Daiwa"  

THE PACKAGE: 14.5m pole | 3 x Power top three kits (4mm tip) | Phex | Cupping kit with cups | Short No4 section | Mini extension | Holdall and tubes


•All spare match and power kits are pre-fitted with with 3mm/4mm pure PTFE bushes
•Mini extension protects the more expensive end sections when used
•Eye-catching silver butt sections, usually more associated with Daiwa's top end Tournament, Air and Airity models
•Nicely rigid at its full 14.5m length

•No optional 16m section available. You'll have to upgrade to another pole to go longer, although the Match Winner range is all fully compatible. 

You'll love the sheer range of features incorporated into this mid-range pole. Daiwa has strategically placed reinforced areas on the pole only where they're needed most, so you don't get any unnecessary extra weight. 

Steely rigidity is a feature of most of Daiwa's poles, even here at a £700 price point. And it's a pole which definitely looks the part too. 

Great performance and well-balanced at 13m and 14.5m lengths, this is a good all around choice and there's plenty of change left from £1,000 too!  



3. MAP TKS 401 2G

"2G takes the TKS range even further - stiff and superb finish"

THE PACKAGE: 14.5m pole | Pre-bushed puller match kit | 3 x pre-bushed puller power kits | 2 x pre bushed match puller kits | Rigid cupping kit with cups | Reinforced mini extension | Deluxe pole holdall

PAY AROUND: £849.99

•Very stiff pole for the money
•Excellent anti-friction finish
•Comprehensive package includes six top kits and a cupping kit 

•TKS top kits are very long and may need cutting back further to make them more manageable
•Pole sections are quite thick in overall diameter.

How could MAP improve its highly-acclaimed TKS range further? Well its introduction of the 2g versions for 2017 have done that and more. 

The 401 2g is 48g lighter than its predecessor, despite maintaining the same mandrel and remaining deceptively strong. At 14.5m it's very good for it's sub-£1,000 price tag and you'll be able to react quickly to fast bites from fish such as F1s. 

We love the finish on MAP poles like this as it makes them very easy to ship and generally use. A bit more re-inforcement around the joint ends might have been useful to prevent wear, although this would undoubtedly have been at the sacrifice of adding a bit more weight.


4. Shimano Beastmaster AX Commercial pole

"As strong as a margin pole but usable at long lengths"

THE PACKAGE: 16m pole | 6 x Top 2 Gen-X Power EV kit | 1 x Top 2 Gen-X EV cupping kit | Holdall

PAY AROUND: £899.99

•Extremely strong with impressive wall strength
•Great Super Slik finish
•Reinforced Joint System protects the pole ends against wear and cracks.
•Slim diameter sections.
•Pole supplied at a 16m length as standard.

•This isn't a light pole because it's a commercial fishery pole

This isn't a new pole, in fact it's six years old, but it's testament to the Beastmaster's popularity that it hasn't been superseded by Shimano and is still going strong. And strong is definitely the operative word here.

Make no mistake about it this is an out and out pole for commercial fisheries. Granted it's by no means the lightest but it does mean you can do absolutely anything with it, from heavy margin work to fishing up-in-the-water long. 

Remember you can use a carp pole such as this for roach fishing, but you can't use a roach pole for carp fishing! Surprisingly well-balanced at full length with an emphasis on power.

5. Middy Nano-Core XP35-2 pole

"A consistently good performer with loads of extras thrown in"  

THE PACKAGE: 14.5m and 16m pole options | 3 x additional Karp 2 kits | Cupp kit | 4 x elastication kits | Rigid Extra-Short 4th | Safe-Zone mini reversible butts | Carry case

PAY AROUND: £899.99 to £975

•Options to buy at two different lengths depending how far you need to fish
•Great extras including the short no4 to stiffen the pole
•Weighs only 870g at 13m

•Not the best at full 16m length but this is to be expected at a sub-£1,000 price point

Middy has really stepped up its game in the pole market in recent years at all price points and the XP35-2 is no exception. 

What is impressive is the bonus extras supplied with this pole. We love all the little touches such as the EVA domed ends on the reversible half butt, extra short number four and even the elastication packs so you can rig the pole up or use immediately. 

All top kits are reinforced for a 'pull it' area to fit a puller-type bush. We definitely recommend using a puller system rather than the standard bungs supplied in the elastication pack, especially if you intend to fish hollow elastics or elastics heavier than a grade 6. 


6. Maver Oculus 799 pole

"Lightweight and very well balanced at this price point" 

THE PACKAGE: 16m pole | Match kit inside the pole | 3 x Powerlite power kits, slotted & bushed | Mini extension | Cupping kit & cups | 3 x EVA clean caps | Deluxe pole holdall & protective tubes

PAY AROUND: £899.99 

•Very lightweight pole weighing just 810g at 13m, including the mini extension
•Excellent Suncore anti-friction finish
•Topkits already fitted with bushes and puller slots
•Teflon joints on sections 3 - 6 to add longevity

•We'd have welcomed a few more top kits or a cupping kit included in the package to match that of its competitors

Maver has long been a key player in poles around this price mark and the Oculus 799 is no exception. 

A serious contender in the sub-£1,000 stakes, the finish and minimal weight of this Reglass pole makes it a real pleasure to fish with. It's typically 'Maver stiff' even at long lengths, certainly as good as you'd expect for under £900.    

There's little not to like about this pole, even down to the Teflon joints to reduce wear on the heavily use lower sections. It's performance, plus that of its bigger brother the Oculus 999, certainly surprised our Tackle Editor when tested last year. 

7. Browning 2 EX-S 50#1 pole

"Comprehensive package although we're not sure about the graphics"   

THE PACKAGE: 16m pole | Five spare pre-bushed top-2 kits | Extra third section | Cupping kit | Square Pole Protector half butt


•Pre-bushed top kits nicely cut back
•A 14.5m package is also available if you have no use fort a 16m section
•The square pole protector is a nice touch, making it more comfortable on the elbow when fishing at long lengths

•At 16m it's nowhere near as easy to fish with as at its 13m and 14.5m lengths

Putting the slightly weird and wacky name aside for a minute, you'll find an all-around pole with an emphasis on all kinds of fishing, not just out and out carp crunching. This is reflected in its elastic rating of a size 16. 

Browning has put an emphasis on keeping this pole light and stiff, without sacrificing strength and it shows. We love how well reinforced the potentially vulnerable sections ends are, particularly on the larger butt sections which can be prone to cracks when held near the end and applying a hard strike. 

Overall this is a really well thought out pole, it even includes special 'grip' areas near the tops of the fourth, fifth and sixth sections to help when shipping and breaking down. 


8. Matrix Nemesis 1000 pole

"A 13m version of a top end power pole"

THE PACKAGE: 13m pole | 3 x Top 5 Kits | Ethos holdall  

PAY AROUND: £899.99

•Great finish for shipping
•Sections fully interchangeable with the top of the range original Nemesis
•A 16m package is also available if you can stretch to £1199
•Top five kits means plenty of spare sections  

•Not the lightest pole here, especially at the longer lengths

The Nemesis 1000 is the younger brother of Matrix's flagship original Nemesis pole, but it's less expensive and has more emphasis on power and strength.

You'll find this pole isn't the lightest but where commercial fishing is concerned lightest isn't always best. It means you can use the Nemesis 1000 with complete confidence, especially in windy conditions when you can really hang on to it.

On the downside for less than £1,000 you'll only get the 13m version. But this is reflective in the fact that, performance wise, this is getting towards a top-end commercial pole. And if you don't go out to 14.5m and 16m lengths then the 13m length is fine, as it will also double up for margin work.


9. Garbolino UK5 Procarp Match pole

"A versatile 13m model with some nice touches" 

THE PACKAGE: 13m Pole | 3 x Power Lite Puller kits fitted with PTFE Pullers | Power Lite top 2 kit | Half reversible multi extensions to fit 11.5/13m sections | Two-piece Potting kit and pots | 10 x PTFE bushes | Deluxe holdall

PAY AROUND: £799.99

•Good package, especially with the custom fitted puller slots, which work brilliantly
•Very light and stiff at full 13m length
•Reversible half extensions protect the butt sections       

•A 14.5m section would have been nice, although there are various length models and packages in the Procarp range to suit

Garbolino says that the UK5 Procarp Match is the lightest and most rigid pole in the Procarp range and they're not wrong. 

To achieve weight reduction it has used higher grades of carbon-fibre cloth, but with special attention paid to all the key section stress areas and joints. This means super-strong ‘anti-ovalling’ female joints with reinforced areas picked out in blue – they are tough as old boots.

This is a very responsive pole but then again at 13m it should be. It's when the 14.5m and 16m sections are added that the real test comes for any pole. Unfortunately if you want that from this range then you'll have to spend considerably more. 

In summary, given its performance at its maximum stated length, this pole represents very good value for money with the strength to match. 


10. Tri-Cast Venom Pro Competition

"Rigid pole with some serious 'bite' 

THE PACKAGE: 14m pole | Big Bore top kit inside the pole | 3 x Big Bore Power top 2 kits | 1 x Xtra Stiff Cupping top 2 with 2 cups | Pole holdall with tubes | Baseball cap and towel

PAY AROUND: £829.99

•Exceptional section wall strength and joint reinforcement
•Stiff and well-balanced, no top heavy feel

•Dated graphics
•We'd have welcome further touches such as section alignment arrows 

Tr-Cast has long been associated with super strong poles but in years gone by some felt that this was at a compromise of weight and overall performance. Not any more.

The Venom Pro's high modulus carbon fibre cloths, with newly developed resins, make for a lightweight, poker-stiff pole. At its full length its stiffness makes hitting fast bites or fishing up in the water an easy task.

What this pole does best of all is land fish quickly. It’s a power house rather than an all-rounder, yet we're pleasantly surprised to report that it’s not overly heavy or difficult to manage. 

It does exactly what Tri-Cast says it will – handle anything that swims in a commercial fishery.


The best carp fishing rods under £100

If you're going to go carp fishing seriously you'll need two or three rods which are up to the job. Your choice of test curve really depends on the distance you'll need to cast, with around 2.5lb/2.75lb at the lower end of the scale, and up to 3.5lb if you need to really give it some welly. We've selected some of the best rod choices to go for on a £100 budget! 

Daiwa Mission DF carp rods

BUY NOW for £99.99 at Chapmans Angling
A range of 12ft rods with high performance blanks which carry the cult Danny Fairbrass name. We love the slim diameter and finish of the Mission DFs, a great sub-£100 choice. 

•Slim high quality blanks
•Low profile shrink tube handle
•50mm butt guide
•Matt finish
•2.75lb, 3lb and 3.5lb test curves

Fox Warrior S carp rods

BUY NOW from £69.99 at Chapmans Angling
Original Fox Warriors were a huge hit and the S range ensures that this rod continues to evolve with the times. With a great progressive, through-action whatever the test curve, a true all rounder with a low-end price point but a high-end feel! 

•Fox SLIK guides
•Gun-smoke butt cap and laser-etched Fox head
•18mm DPS reel seat
•Nine different versions, including spod and marker

Free Spirit CTX 9ft Creeper rods

BUY NOW for £99.99 at Chapmans Angling
Free Spirit rods are iconic in 'carping' circles and you'll struggle to find a version for less than £100. There is one however, the baby of its carp range, the 9ft Creeper with EVA handle. As its name suggests its perfect for stalking at close range.

•Fuji DPS reel seats
•Stainless steel collars
•Full EVA handle
•Estimated test curve 2.75lb
•S-Lite rings
•Slim blanks

Nash 12ft KNX carp rods

BUY NOW from £69.99 at Chapmans Angling
Really good value rods in 2.75lb, 3lb and 3.5lb test curves, the KNX has a fantastic matt black blank and gloss black decals. Perfect for small to medium-sized carp waters where casts of up to 75 yards using solid PVA bag and mesh sticks are needed.

•Ergonomic soft touch rubber reel seats
•Full EVA Duplon handles on KNX Carp Rods
•Abbreviated Shrink grips on KNX Spod/Marker
•Exclusive Flexor guides for reduced blank distortion and greater power transmission
•50mm butts
•Isotope slot and laser etched decal in butt
•Spigot alignment markings

Shimano Tribal Carp TX 2 rods

BUY NOW from £84.99 at Chapmans Angling
Slim and powerful rods, typically Shimano. They're great for casting yet you'll find plenty of action in the top and middle sections too, to avoid hook pulls. A range of lovely-looking blanks with a few nice touches such as black cosmetic wrapping with pink tipping. 

•Lengths 10ft to 12ft
•XT60 blanks
•DPS-type reel seat
•Shimano stainless steel SIC guides
•Thin rubber grip
•Plastic line clip

Wychwood C-201 12ft carp rods

BUY NOW for £84.99 at Chapmans Angling

A range of forgiving rods which are ideal for fishing at a variety of ranges, thanks to the test curve options, which run from 2.75lb up to a hefty 3.5lb for out and out distance work. With traditional high grade cork handles and an interesting combination of a 1k weave tip and a 3k weave for the rest of the blank.

•High grade cork handle
•Multi-Layer Technology
•Japanese sourced carbon construction
•3k/1k warbon weave finish
•Black screw lock reel seat
•Blacked Sea Guide Rings
•Laser engraved butt cap
•Line clip
•50mm butt ring
•Lifetime warranty from Wychwood

Avid Carp Traction carp rods

BUY NOW from £84.99 at Chapmans Angling
Avid has placed a lot of emphasis on the action of these rods and it shows as they boast a lovely progressive 'old school' style. Great value carp rods which get the thumbs up from us, with the softer test curve 2.5lb and 2.75lb available for considerably less than £100. 

 •3k weave with high quality matt finish
•Reactive parabolic carbon technology
•Matt black guides with 50mm butt ring
•Full length Japanese Shrink Wrap handle
•18mm Supa-lite reel seat
•Laser engraved butt cap
•Tapered line clip

The perch fishing tackle you must have

The complete guide to all the tackle and bait you need for Perch fishing, from floats and lures to lines, rods and reels. We'll help you catch one of the UK's most popular predatory fish!    


Fishing close in with a float is one of the most enjoyable ways of catching big perch. Look to fish next to features such as reeds and bushes, or if there are none the base of the near shelf where the bottom flattens is good.
•Straight peacock wagglers - Sensitive and great for baits such as worms and prawns in static water. BUY NOW £1.99 each at Chapmans Angling
•Drennan Loafer - Thick tops, great for livebaits or flowing water
BUY NOW £8.50 for a set of 5 on Amazon


Small spinners such as Mepps have long been a favourite of the perch angler but in recent years soft plastic lures have taken the UK by storm. Now thousands enjoy drop shotting and jigging with small colourful plastics on lakes, canals and rivers. Here are some of the best patterns for perch...
•Fox Rage Spikey Shad pack £5.99 on Amazon
•Fox Rage Micro Spikey Fry Shad pack £4.50 on Amazon
•35 soft baits and 10 jigheads set £6.99 on Amazon


Short soft specialist lure rods are ideal. A good dropshot rod around 6ft 6ins-8ft in length is an ideal all-around choice for soft plastic lures. Jig rods tend to be slightly stiffer and are good for bigger fish and boat fishing.
Angling Times Abu Garcia Complete Dropshotting Kit Special Offer, £59.99
Korum Snapper Twin Tip Dropshot rod £52.99 from Chapmans Angling
Daiwa Specialist Light Lure Dropshot rods £62.99 from Chapmans Angling
Fox Rage Ultron 2 Dropshot from £79.99 from Chapmans Angling


Match the hook size to the type of bait used but generally you'll be looking at size 4 to 10, with a wide gape and medium gauge wire. A lot of commercial fisheries will only allow the use of a barbless hook but if not, go for a microbarb. A full barb may not always properly penetrate the bony mouth of a perch properly.  Sizes 4 and 6 are ideal for livebaits, prawns and whole or double lobworms. Sizes 8 to 10 are for smaller worms or worm sections.  
Kamasan B983 £1.35 at Chapmans Angling
Drennan Super Specialist £1.73 on Amazon
Fox Rage Dropshot Powerpoint £4.99 at Chapmans Angling


You don't need anything fancy for general bait fishing for perch, a standard 3000 sized coarse match reel is more than adequate.  For lure fishing you'll be holding the rod all the time so you'll want something smaller like a 1500 or 2000 version, which makes for a really light set up and even more enjoyment!     
Daiwa Ninja FD 3000A £49.99 at Chapmans Angling (Bait fishing)
Korum Snapper KDS 2000 £42.99 at Chapmans Angling (Lure)
Sonik AVX 2000 Lure Reel at Chapmans Angling (Lure) 


A monofilament reel line of about 6lb is about right for perch. For dropshot and jig fishing you'll want a thin braided mainline however, which has no stretch, so you can feel every tap on the line and set the hook. 
Maxima Chameleon 600m £15.65 at Chapmans Angling 
Fox Rage Jig Silk £14.99 at Chapmans Angling


Perch do respond to certain flavours and additives when bait fishing. They're best when used on your hookbait, to make it stand out from any feed. Red seems to be the most tried and tested colour for colouring baits, especially prawns.   
Dynamite Robin Red Liquid £8.99 at Chapmans Angling
Van Den Eynde Predator Plus £6.35 on Amazon
CC Moore Liquid Worm Protein Extract £11.49 £11.49 on Amazon


How to start carp fishing

Specimen carp fishing is the fastest growing form of freshwater fishing in the UK so here's our guide to all the tackle and bait you need to get started and the best deals we can find for you. Who knows, before long you could become the next Danny Fairbrass or Terry Hearn!


With fish from double figures up to 40lb or more possible, you'll need to step up your gear considerably. A typical carp rod is 12ft long and boasts a test curve of between 2.5lb and 3.5lb, for big fish and potentially long casts. Judge the rod to the type of venue - you don't need a 3.5lb version on a five acre lake! Heavier test curves mean stiffer actions which cast further while softer rods are better at close range. A pair of rods will double your chances of catching but three rods can be a bit too much for all but very experienced carpers, as hooked fish can wipe out other lines.

FOX WARRIOR CARP RODS from £63.17 on
SONIK S3 from £39.99 at Chapmans Angling
SHIMANO TRIBAL VELOCITY from £55 at Chapmans Angling
NASH KNX from £69.99 at Chapmans Angling


Carp reels run from 6000 up to 10000 class, although exact sizes differ slightly between manufacturers. Models can be categorised into either freespool or big pit versions. Freespools include a baitrunner-style facility to engage when waiting for fast runs while big pit reels typically have a large body and oversized spool, designed to be used with the front drag. 

Wychwood Riot Big Pit from £54.99 at Chapmans Angling
Wychwood Riot Big S Black from £54.99 at Chapmans Angling
Daiwa Black Widow A from £69.99 at Chapmans Angling
Shimano Baitrunner ST RB from £34.99 at Chapmans Angling
Nash BP-10 Fast Drag from £54.99 at Chapmans Angling


Unless you're faced with an extreme snag situation, a monofilament mainline of around 10lb to 12lb is more than adequate. Avoid fluorocarbon as a mainline as it's springy and difficult to use. Also avoid braid as a mainline until you become an accomplished angler fishing at distance, because you're liable to lose fish with the lack of stretch.

DAIWA SENSOR from £9.32 for almost 1,000m on
KORDA CARP LINE from £8.61 for 1,000m at
GARDNER GT80 from £19.99 at Chapmans Angling
ESP SYNCRO XT from £19.95 for 1,000m at
BERKLEY CONNECT CM90 from £17.87 at


Coated braid hook links are preferred for carp fishing. This is stiff so doesn't tangle and is very safe and strong. Strip the coating off near the hook to give the bait more natural movement. In terms of hooks, a reliable, wide gape eyed pattern is a must. Here are some of our favourite patterns but some exceptional ready tied rigs are also available, whether you're a newcomer or seasoned carper!
KORDA DF READY RIGS from £1.99 each at


NASH FANG HOOKS from £4.49 at

KORDA WIDE GAPE From £3.78 at


Carp fishing is as complicated as you make it and there are loads of different rigs for different purposes. For starters however, a simple, easy rig is with a lead lip attached on the end of the mainline. Clip the lead on but don't push the tail rubber over it too tightly. Under extreme pressure the lead will come off, for example when snagged. Attach your hooklength to the lead clip, an 8ins length is about right.   

CARP LEAD SETS from £3.99 at
KORUM LEAD CLIPS from £2.35 at 


Boilies are by a mile the most popular big carp bait going.  Modern shelf life boilies are ideal but stick to a tried and trusted brand. Try a size of around 14mm 15mm or 16mm. 
You can use the same on the hair-rig, or you can go for pop ups. 

CC Moore boilies from £9.99 at
Mainline Cell boilies from £11.75 at
Sticky Baits Manilla boilies from £11.99 at
Dynamite The Source boilies from £11.99 at
Sonubaits Code Red boilies from £22.99 at


A good set is paramount. You can buy wireless alarms with receivers to transmit a signal to your bivvy too. You'll also need a set of bobbins to use with alarms to register drop backs, as not every bite will tear off to the horizon. 

Delkim EV Plus £64.49 at
Nash Siren SR5 £49.99 at 
Fox Micron MR+ £64.00 at


You'll need something to hold your rods and bite alarms whilst waiting for a run. Bank sticks with or without buzzer bars are one option but pods are easy to set up and are great for all surfaces. Always remember to have to your nearest line guide on your side of the bite alarm, to avoid the risk of losing the rod! 
Rod pods from £13.95 at


Go for a landing net of at least 40ins in size, so we're talking a triangular specialist version rather than a spoon. 
42" Landing nets from £11.96 at


You'll need to be prepared for longer sessions and overnight stays on lakes so some sort of shelter is a must. A brolly system tends to be an open face shelter so is probably better for warm weather and shorter sessions. A bivvy can be fully zipped up to keep the elements out. 

JRC Contact 1 Man Bivvy £59.36 at
Korum Carper 1 Man Bivvy £70 at Chapmans Angling
Chub RS Plus Shelter £80 at Chapmans Angling
Korum Day Shelter £85.49 at


If you're going to be serious about your carp fishing and you intend staying for a full day or more, a bed chair is great for reclining on. For overnight stays a sleeping bag will also be needed with it. 

JRC Contact Lite Bedchair £79.99 at Chapmans Angling
Daiwa Infinity Sleepeezy £100 at Chapmans Angling
TF Gear Deluxe three leg £69.99 at Chapmans Angling 


Looking after your catch is paramount, especially when you've got a large carp in the landing net ready to bring onto the bank. Invest in a large unhooking mat with plenty of padding, ideally with walls or a flap to keep the fish contained, or a cradle. Always wet the mat with a bucket of water before a fish goes on it.  

TF Gear Hardcore Packaway Unhooking Mat £39.99 at Chapmans Angling
Fox Easy Mat £59.99 at Chapmans Angling
NGT Jumbo Folding Carp Fishing Cradle/Inner Padded Mat £37.99 on Amazon

A guide to the best polarised sunglasses for fishing

A pair of polarised sunglasses is one of the most useful accessories an angler can take fishing. The lens removes surface glare so you can see clearly beneath the surface and also makes it easier to see floats and rod tips in direct sunlight. Put on a set and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them! Here are some of the very best... 

BUY NOW for £18.49 from  

These glasses incorporate a tinted, bi-focal magnifying panel with a dioptre of +2.50 so you can see clearly when undertaking fiddly tasks close up.

Lenses available: Amber, grey

BUY NOW for £14.99 from

The large grey tinted lenses make spotting fish on bright sunny days much easier. The frames have a dark camo finish and are supplied with a woven E-S-P neck cord, cleaning cloth and protective case.

Lenses available: Grey

BUY NOW for £14.99 from

These sporty wrap-style glasses feature charcoal grey frames with a satin finish and flexible thermo-grip temple tips and nose pads for a comfortable fit and to prevent slipping.

Lenses available: Mirrored blue

BUY NOW for £17.17 from

These glasses feature black and grey carbon effect frames in a durable wrap design. The inlaid rubber temple tips provide a non-slip and comfortable fit.

Lenses available: Brown, grey

BUY NOW for £18.99 from

With ‘carpy’ green frames and high quality Revo lenses with a green tint these stylish glasses look the part both on and off the bank. Ideal for overcast and low-light conditions.

Lenses available: Revo green

BUY NOW for £19.99 from

Wraps have been designed to fit perfectly around the face and eliminate unwanted light penetrating from the side. A unique vent system at the top increases airflow and prevents mist/fog build up.

Lenses available:
Brown, amber and Switch

BUY NOW for £17.99 from

Hi-Lo glasses offer you the dual benefit of having interchangeable amber and grey lenses to suit varying light conditions. The amber are perfect for overcast days and the grey for bright sunny days.

Lenses available: Amber, grey

BUY NOW for £18.99 from

The brown tinted lenses are great all-rounders and work well in both dull and bright conditions. The arms and nose pad have ergonomic rubber grips which means these shades can be worn comfortably for long periods.

Lenses available: Brown

BUY NOW for £19.99 from

The unique design of the Nash Micro-Pak glasses means they fold down into a compact package capable of fitting in the smallest of pockets.

Lenses available: Amber, brown

BUY NOW for £17.89 from

The Wychwood Aviators have been retro-styled to mimic the look of the classic, long-lived Aviator design. Equipped with Category 3 TAC lens they perform best in really bright conditions.

Lenses available: Grey

The best coarse fishing carryalls & bags

We've put together a compilation of the best coarse fishing carryalls and tackle bags that money can buy. Don't shell out until you've checked out this luggage selection...


BUY NOW £26.15  

WE SAY: This twin tier, lay flat bag is ideal for storing items like pole rollers up to 700mm in length, seatbox accessories and pole roosts etc. When the bag is fully opened both compartments can be accessed with ease, and both have wipe-clean bases. As the bag lays flat when opened, your zips are always kept off the ground so there’s no chance of them getting clogged up with mud.
Manufactured from a tough and durable material with carry handles and a large padded, detachable shoulder strap.

DIMENSIONS: 400mm (h) x 720mm (w) x 200mm (d)


WE SAY: There’s loads of room in the spacious main storage area and a zipped wide compartment. A further outer pocket is perfect for storing landing nets or sidetrays etc. There are two end pockets for bits and pieces and a very well-padded carrying handle and shoulder strap.
The sturdy wipe-clean base will prevent the bag from getting wet and dirty on the bank.
Zips are large and robust and don’t stick when opening, plus the  buckles on the outer pockets also feel sturdy and substantial enough to withstand plenty of use.

DIMENSIONS: 450mm (h) x 550mm (w) x 200mm (d)


Chapmans Angling £59.99 £64.59

WE SAY: Well thought out and cleverly designed so you can be super organised on the bank. There are two main compartments for storing box accessories, tackle and items of bait as well as an outer zipped compartment for nets, riddles and sidetrays. All of the compartments fold out for easy access to tackle and bait. There’s an additional keepnet pocket with drainage holes on the outside. A hard durable base provides extra protection and ensures longevity and the reinforced lower edges prevent wear on key areas.

DIMENSIONS: 430mm (h) x 670mm (w) x 380mm (d)


BUY NOW £26.64
Chapmans Angling £34.95

WE SAY: Tough and durable, with all the features a regular match or pleasure angler could ask for – especially on a budget. It boasts a protective rubberised base which can be wiped cleaned and an extra large front pocket for housing keepnets and sidetrays. The large main compartment will easily hold all the gear you’ll need to take for a day on the bank and there are additional external zipped pockets at either end. With comfortable EVA-covered carry handles and an adjustable padded shoulder strap are also included.

DIMENSIONS: 400mm (h) x 500mm (w) x 200mm (d)


BUY NOW £34.99
Chapmans Angling £41.99

WE SAY: A compact 45 litre carryall with two front and two zipped end pockets, which can house a wide combination of nets and accessories. The large main compartment is suitable for bigger items of tackle and there is also a front compartment for storing keepnets and landing nets. A padded shoulder strap and oversized zips increase reliability and improve performance.
The bag is constructed from a wipe-clean material which so you can keep your luggage looking like new.

DIMENSIONS: 400mm (h) x 500mm (w) x 200mm (d)


Chapmans Angling £74.99

WE SAY: One of the more expensive pieces of luggage in this buyers’ guide, so is it worth the money? Well, in a word, yes. As soon as you pick up this bag you can see why it's a favourite among many match anglers. Well constructed and manufactured to a high standard, it feels solid thanks to the tough, PVC-backed fabric nylon and highly durable reinforced plastic. There are three external pockets and a large main compartment, plus a supplied twin net bag. This securely clips into the keepnet compartment. Also includes two groundbait bowls.

DIMENSIONS: 500mm (h) x 600mm (w) x 240mm (d)


Chapmans Angling £36.99

WE SAY: The Frenzee Match Pro luggage range has been designed around the needs of modern anglers and styled to suit with value to appeal to everybody. The external pockets are handy for storing baits and small items of tackle and the central compartment will hold pretty much everything else you’re likely to need. The outer net and tray pocket is shallower than most bags but will still store a keepnet. Oversized zips open easily and they all feature easy-pull rubber grips. The base is reinforced for durability, with a padded shoulder strap too.

DIMENSIONS: 350mm (h) x 750mm (w) x 350mm (d)


Chapmans Angling £32.50 £35.49

WE SAY: Xtreme luggage is hard wearing, practical and designed as a fully modular system. This 50-litre capacity bag is a compact version of the Mega Carryall but will still hold an Xtreme Cool/Baits Bag and Xtreme Accessory Cases in a neat modular format. The 840 denier super-tough nylon material wipes down easily and there is a tough coated twin-skin reinforced material at the base for added durability. Not only ideal for commercial match anglers but also ideal for river anglers who don’t want to be weighed down by too much kit.

DIMENSIONS: 400mm (h) x 500mm (w) x 200mm (d)


BUY NOW £50.74

WE SAY: A 55-litre capacity bridges the gap between the 50-litre Small Carryall and the 70-litre Large Drennan versions. It's made from tough, waterproof fabric with a padded shoulder strap and carry handles. The hard, moulded base  is incredibly sturdy and rigid enough to ensure the bag retains its shape. Along with two handy zip-up side pockets it also has two full-length pockets for items such as keepnets, landing nets, riddles and trays, and a small zipped internal storage pocket under the lid.

DIMENSIONS: 400mm (h) x 550mm (w) x 250mm (d)


BUY NOW £26.99

WE SAY: A medium-sized bag with an easy access main compartment and two additional internal pockets. It has a strong padded adjustable carry strap and two carry handles that combine with an internal Velcro strap for security on long walks. An external net pocket with drain holes – something a lot of more expensive bags don’t feature – and a restraining strap, will easily hold a large keepnet and landing net. You'll even get change from £30 for this!

DIMENSIONS: 400mm (h) x 600mm (w) x 300mm (d)

The best margin fishing poles for carp

If you like fishing for carp close in, in the margins, then it's well worth investing in a margin pole. These short models are super-strong and are great with heavier elastics and even extreme situations, when you don't want to risk breaking your more expensive main long pole. Here's a selection of the very best margin models available... 


WE SAY: Very well balanced, light and manageable but without compromising on strength. A great bit of kit from Preston and we love the addition of the Roller Pulla bush already on the pole, for stripping out elastic to land fish quicker. Whether you're looking for big fish or a big weight of fish, this will handle either with ease. 

•Weight 460g
•Pre-fitted with a Roller Pulla Bush
•Mini extension, pole holdall and tubes


WE SAY: Forget the slightly cringeworthy name for a second, this is a classy margin pole which boasts some of the features of Daiwa's top end long poles. And what a great package this comes with, involving three separate power kits to give you the option of having different elastics set up. 

•Slide easy finish
•Section alignment
•785g at 9.5m
•Mini Extension
•20+ elastic rating
•Two spare power top kits


WE SAY: Beast by name, beast by nature! Capable of a 20 elastic or even more, this is a beefy margin pole with a surprisingly thin diameter, making it very easy to fish with. We also love Shimano's famous Ultra Sound Sanding System finish, which is super smooth through the hands. If you need to ship the pole back quickly to pull fish away from snags in the edge, this finish is a serious advantage.

•XT60 Biofibre Powered Carbon
•Rated to a 20 elastic
•Ultra Sound Sanding System
•S.A.S. Shimano Alignment System
•Reinforced Joint System
•Weight: 478g
•Supplied with a spare top 2 power kit
•Includes Competition Holdall


WE SAY: A light and slim tool for carp crunching and another real powerhouse . A nice touch is that if you own an existing TKS pole the top kits are fully interchangeable! An optional 1.6m Parallel Extension (£59.99) is also available if you need a margin pole that is slightly longer than normal. 

•Weight 488g
•Ultra Strong carbon
•Anti friction finish throughout
•Reinforced band on all kits for drilling
•Section alignment system
•Pre Bushed Power Kit + 1 Extra
•Pole Bag
•12 Month Guarantee

MIDDY EXTREME M2 10M, £169.99

WE SAY: Length wise this is definitely about as long as a 'margin pole' goes, in fact you can use it for fishing in front of you too at the full 10 metres. This is a seriously strong bit of kit with a whopping 30 elastic rating! A 4m 'M1' version is also available. 

•Extra power top 2 kit and a mini butt, supplied in carry case
•Free 30 elastication kit
•G-pulse carbon technology with slik-slide finish
•30 strong elastic rating
•Pull it wrap on 3rd and 4th sections
•Weight 699g (excluding mini butt)


WE SAY: A real high-end margin pole which is light and stiff, and is equally usable for other types of fishing too, including silver fish. Comes with large diameter 5.5mm kits which don't need cutting back to fit a strong elastic. We also love the half butt protector which fits on the 5 and 6 sections to prevent any damage to the main sections. 

•Sections 5/6 Pole Protector butt section
•2x 5.5mm SLKP's
•Pole Holdall
•Quality tubes for pole & topkits



Best barbel fishing rods, £100 and under

Barbel fishing is definitely one area where you can't compromise on rod choice. If it's not up to the job you simply won't land this hard-fighting fish! Here's our guide to the best barbel blanks to go for on a £100 budget.  


WE SAY: At its 13ft length and with power in abundance, this is the ideal big river rod for somewhere like the Trent or Wye for example, where powerful flows and big feeders are the order of the day. With a highly visible white tip for excellent bite indication.

•2.5lb powerful tip section
•High modulus carbon blank
•Low profile silicone lined guides
•Full cork handle
•Maximium casting weight: 8oz
•Line rating: 10lb – 15lb


WE SAY: A rod which is at the more powerful end of the barbel spectrum with its hefty 2.75lb test curve rating. It will cast 4oz weights with ease, we recommend this one for big fish, big rivers and even floodwater conditions.

•High grade carbon blanks with 1K woven carbon
•Fuji DPS reel seat
•Full cork handle
•Stainless steel frame guides
•Lightweight LS ceramic rings
•Aluminium butt cap
•Supplied in padded rod sleeve


WE SAY: Fantastic action but definitely one for smaller rivers and close range work, due to its soft middle. Fantastic action, this is a lot more than just a barbel rod as a 1.5lb test curve makes it ideal for chub or stillwater bream and tench work too. We love the choice in tips too and a power version of the rod is also available. 

•XT30 blank
•Stylish cork handle
•Three push in quivertips
•One Avon tip


WE SAY: We'll never tire of the sight of John's Avon rod bending into a barbel in his famous Go Fishing videos, followed by his infectious laugh! In all seriousness his Masterline range of rods are worth a serious look and this limited edition 'traditional-style' Avon is a good choice for smaller rivers and short chucks. Definitely fit the heaviest 1.75lb supplied tip for barbel though.  

•Two piece construction
•Spigot joints for improved actions
•Quality AAA cork handle
•Four full length 6ft tips included
•1.25lb and 1.75lb Avon tops
•1 3/4 oz + 3oz spliced quiver tips
•Fully lined guides



WE SAY: A real powerhouse of a barbel rod, perfect for when you need to cast large feeders, big PVA bags or heavy leads to hold bottom in strong flows. Another plus point we noticed is the large and evenly-spaced SLIK guides, which will go some way to stopping debris jamming the guides in flood conditions.  

•Lightweight low resin carbon construction
•SLIK guide system
•High quality 17mm reel seat
•Understated cosmetics
•Gunsmoke cappings
•Matt black finish
•High grade cork handle


WE SAY: A handy little travel rod for anyone thinking about sneaking in a spot of barbel fishing when they’re on holiday or short on storage space. Ideal to tuck away in the boot of the car, the five-sectioned 12ft carbon blank has a powerful through action, able to deal with good-size barbel. A standard non-travel version is also available at the same price. 

•Slim and lightweight blank
•Full cork handles and fore grips
•DPS style reel seat
•With quivertips of 2.5oz, 2oz and 1.5oz
•Avon-style tip
•Fully lined guides and hook keeper ring
•Rod tube
•High quality guides and overbindings

The best Method feeder fishing rods that money can buy

Method feeder fishing is one of the most popular ways of catching larger coarse fish such as carp and bream.. Here's our pick of the very best 'match-style' rods to choose for this great technique... 

Available in lengths starting at 9ft but running up to a 12/13ft combo. It's 10ft version is perfect for all but long range work. Total class in a feeder rod. 

•X45 compression zone for accuracy / power
•Quicker blank recovery
•Hybrid tip and multi length editions
•Megatop carbon quivers
•Unique Tournament reel seat
•Shaped EVA and cork for comfort
•Line rating 2-8lb

A Method feeder rod doesn't have to be long, stiff and powerful. At close to medium range for smaller carp and F1s a blank such as this one, with a soft progressive action, is bang on. It means less hook pulls and more fun!   

•Length: 3m (9ft 10ins)
•Sections: 2
•Max recommended casting weight: 50g
•Spare quivertips: 0.5oz, 0.75oz, 1oz, 1.5oz
•Weight: 133g

An very slim and lightweight blank with an incredibly responsive action, typical of the Speedmaster range. The beauty of a 9-11 style rod, which Shimano has really made its own, is that you can choose the length to suit the distance required. At 9ft it's a great little rod for short distance. 

•Nanoalloy carbon technology
•HPC 100 carbon fibre blank with added Biofi bre for strength
•Fuji guides
•Shimano custom reel seat
•Split cork/EVA handle
•With three carbon quivertips

If you need a bit of power to contain large carp, or you need some backbone to punch a feeder out a little bit further in the 40 - 60m range, a Mini Plus such as this is perfect. Mini rods offer great actions at very comfortable, manageable lengths.

•Line rating 3-8lb
• EVA handle fitted with a soft-touch reel seat
•With a glass tip rated 2oz and a 2.5oz carbon tip
•Non-locking action
•Fold-down keeper ring

Garbolino has long made some great short feeder and bomb rods, offering superb value too, rods. The latest, the Altima Commercial Picker, features a really lightweight, slim blank and a great action to boot.  

•HM carbon construction
•Ultra slimline blank
•Quality lined guides
•High density Eva/duplon handle
•Screw down reel fitting
•Three push in tips

The Mk2 version of Matrix's popular Carpmaster feeder rod retains its same classic long section design and outstanding fish-playing action. But there’s a little more steely backbone through the mid-section. The handle is longer, making for easier casting up to a range of about 40m.  

•High modulus carbon blank
• Semi-parabolic fish-playing action
• Optimum handle lengths for fish-playing and casting
• Quality guides
• Cork/EVA handle with soft-touch screw down hood reel seat
• EVA transport holder block
• Interchangeable tips 

A flagship model which is highly versatile, for most coarse species. Ever since the rise of the Reactorlite series, Maver rods have become synonymous with thin sensitive tips and blanks, yet a deceiving amount of power. The Diamond is no different and its 10ft 6ins length is perfect for lots of Method fishing situations.

•EVA twist grip
•Top quality full cork handle
•High quality lined guides
•Quality graphite screw reel fitting
•Folding hook keeper ring

Best mid-range fishing bite alarms

No carp or specialist angler fishing multiple rods would be without a reliable bite alarm. Likewise you can use one to fish a 'sleeper rod' to one side of you while you enjoy float fishing with a main rod for example.  Here's a pick of the best mid-range models...

Delkim is the holy grail of bite alarms and its mid-range version is packed full of buttons and features, with six choices of LED colour. Uses its piezoelectric, digital and microcontroller technology. It might sound complicated but Delkims are surprisingly simple to operate. 

NASH SIREN SR5, £49.99
Wireless alarms with very good build quality, common to all the Siren series. The SR5 is very sensitive and accurate, with extreme range remote performance. Excellent value for money. 

FOX MICRON MR+, £64.00
Top quality digital circuitry and also features Fox's unique D-Tec Sensing System and CNC Machined Tru Run roller wheel, which is found on the company's top-end N-series of alarms. With its own dedicated receiver and weatherproof sealed case. Incredible 200m signal range, not that you should ever be that far away from your rods! 

JRC RADAR CX, £45.99
Great array of features for a sub-£40 alarm, including volume, tone, sensitivity, travelling LED and digitally amplified sound. Receiver compatible with a choice of four bright LED colours. All weather proof, with double sealed electronic parts. 

A really interesting design which uses Wychwood's in-built snag ear system. The purpose designed snag ears can be extended for use then collapsed within the alarms robust and weatherproof casing. All volume, tone and sensitivity settings can be changed at the touch of a button. 

Top 5 coarse fishing reels, £50 and under

We've racked our brains to bring you the best coarse fishing reels on the market for £50 or less. Don't open your wallet until you've checked these five crackers out! 

Incredibly smart and striking, this is a reel which looks and performs like something twice its price. Super smooth and benefits from a host of Daiwa features such as Twistbuster, Infinite Anti-reverse, a graphite body and an Air Rotor.  

With the world-famous Baitrunner lever feature, which puts the reel into freespool, paying out line after a bite until you are ready to pick up the rod. The XT-7 spool has Varispeed for better line lay and casting accuracy and Power Roller gears to reduce line twist on the retrieve.

Small sizes and shallow spools, perfect for short to medium casts on modern stillwater fisheries. One-touch folding handle, sensitive 'click-stop' vernier front drag, safe nylon line clip in a lined recess. In a striking white. 

A really solid reel featuring a corrosion-resistant graphite body, Precision Elliptical Gearing system and heavy-duty, solid aluminum bail wire. With a narrow Blade Body design and a skeletal spool to reduce overall weight.

Mitchell has taken its hugely popular 300 series and elevated it to new heights. A carbon hybrid drag, open rotor, machined aluminium spool and a staggering 10 bearings give this high performance features. The front drag and handle closely resemble the original.