Commercial match anglers who insist on the best will welcome Maver’s new Signature rods.
Coming in at 11ft and 12ft, the Pellet Wagglers deliver a full parabolic fish-playing action to target carp and F1s of any size.
Superbly lightweight at only 141g and 157g, respectively, they really come into their own when lightning-fast strikes are required. Both will cast floats of between 2g and 8g, and can be used with reel lines from 3lb to 8lb.
Classy rod furniture includes high-quality SiC guides on the high modulus carbon blank, Fuji graphite screw reel fitting, EVA twist grip and a folding hook keeper ring.
Maver’s new 13ft, 14ft, 15ft and 16ft Classic Float rods have been designed and extensively tested by Welsh International Lee Edwards. They are intended primarily for river fishing, but will handle conventional waggler or sliding float tactics on deeper natural stillwaters too.
With their fine, hollow tips they are a dream to fish with when teamed with light lines and small hooks, and have already accounted for many winning match nets of dace and roach.
Although finesse is paramount, the three-piece rods’ middle sections have enough power to cope with chub and barbel from pacy swims. Instant response on the strike combines with a crispness that lifts line from the water in the blink of an eye.
Key features at all four lengths include comfortable EVA twist grips either side of the reel seat. These are slightly oversized to leave no gap between the handle and the user’s palm.
The upper reel seat grip is moulded to enable perfect placement of thumb and forefinger while holding the rod.
Contributing to sleek looks and understated cosmetics, the guides, whippings, blank and reel seats across the Maver Signature range are of a uniform black – sure to attract admiring glances.
Price: Pellet Wagglers from £189.99, Classic Floats from £229.99
Now that spawning is well and truly out of the way, commercial fishery carp are properly on the munch, and can be seen cruising the upper layers, picking off morsels passing in front of their noses.
It’s now that pellet waggler tactics start to come into their own, especially on venues dominated by big carp. But these fish, it seems to me, have learned the knack of feeding on the periphery of loosefed pellets.
They actually shy away from anything that hits the water with a resounding ‘plop’ – a total reversal of how the original pellet waggler tactic came into being, when noise would draw fish into the swim.
Anyway, to keep pace with that development, more modern tactics involve the use of lighter, clear, fully-loaded wagglers.
Few things are more satisfying than building a pellet waggler swim. Start feeding little-and-often and provided you are reasonably accurate with a catty, the fish will gain confidence. Get it right and they’ll soon be swirling at the pellets every time you feed… all of which tees me up nicely for this very modern new float rod from Matrix.
Matrix doesn’t brand this a pellet waggler rod, preferring to call it a ‘Carp Waggler’. This reflects the rod’s all-round pedigree, rather than it being a one-trick pony.
The super-slim two-piece blank’s equal-length sections allow it to be brought to the water ready made-up, saving time. It’s also incredibly light, being built from an ultra-high-modulus carbon cloth.
Key build features include premium grade slim ceramic guides that allow great distances to be achieved even with light lines and floats. There’s a unique detailed weave print on its butt section, and a tiny side-fixed keeper ring, which is a bit ‘Marmite’ in my opinion.
The Carp Waggler’s 11ft length lends itself perfectly to use on small and medium-sized commercial pools with casts up to 35m. I reckon it’s at its best casting floats weighing from 3g to 10g, with reel lines from 4lb to 8lb.
The blank has a parabolic, almost all-through fish-playing action to deal with everything from tiddlers to Titans. That perfectly suited the few hours I spent tempting a selection of carp from Decoy’s Elm strip lake.
With a niggling side wind to contend with, I spent the first hour or so of live-testing chopping and changing my way through any number of sizes, shapes and styles of waggler. Eventually I settled on a short crystal finned version carrying enough weight to cut through the wind arrow-straight.
The rods can actually cope admirably with floats from 3AAA right the way up to 10g.
In addition, thanks to the blank’s hollow tip section, it generates sufficient tip speed to instantly lift line from the surface, making hitting the quickest of bites relatively easy.
The hollow tip also offers a fair degree of recovery, giving it more casting potential than a spliced rod. Just one word of warning – in my opinion this isn’t a rod for heavy splasher-type wagglers, and certainly wouldn’t be up to coping with a big whack against a headwind. It simply doesn’t have the backbone for that. But for 90 per cent of commercial waggler fishing it will do just fine.
What the Matrix Carp Waggler does have going for it in spades is an ability to cope with very big fish on light gear, when its parabolic/through action takes on a superb lunge-absorbing curve. It works as a perfect cushion, preventing hook pulls and snap-offs.
There's nothing not to like about this latest Matrix Horizon offering. It’s light and comfortable in the hand, casts straight and true, and has more than enough casting power to hit the 30m mark. Ideal for floats, and fish of all sizes, it’s a true commercial fishery all-rounder with a very high standard of build that is more than matched by its performance.
Multi award-winning carp rod manufacturer Free Spirit has added eight new Power Feeder models to its top-end Hi ‘S’ match range.
Two years of input from some of the UK’s best feeder anglers have gone into the design of these long-cast rods. Specials are two- and three-piece blanks in 12ft, 13ft or 14ft lengths, all rated to a maximum 120g (4oz) casting weight. The souped-up Distance versions of the Specials will whack out up to 160g (5.6oz) – a really hefty payload.
In terms of build, High ‘S’ Feeder rods are up there with the best. High-end Kigan anti-frap guides and cut-away Fuji reel seats not only give the rods plenty of transmission and feel, but will accommodate larger big pit reels.
All Free Spirits rods are made from super-slim, ‘perdurable’ (non-scratch) Japanese low resin 40-tonne and 24-tonne carbon cloths with a 1k weave, which results in a sensational matt finish.
The blanks boast wickedly responsive casting actions, super-fast tip recovery and ultra-chuckability for bream and carp on big open waters.
Other key features on the new Distance Feeder models include long, hollow quivertips in the same material as the rest of the blank. These ensure a smooth, even power transfer, and longer casts can be made with smaller/lighter feeders. This suits the rods to situations when less feed at long range is called for.
Handles – abbreviated or full cork – are a standard 22ins but can be customised by Free Spirit to whatever length best suits you.
As you might gather by now these are high-class performance rods with a price tag to match, but then the best is never cheap. Overpriced they are not.
For the live test I chose a noted big bream water, Earlswood’s famous Yachting Lake. The bream run large, are no pushover to catch, and are regularly targeted in matches. They tend to feed quite a long way out, making them the ideal subject for live-testing a distance-casting bream rod.
My chosen Free Spirit model was the new two-piece 12ft Power Feeder Special – a first-rate bream weapon with enough backbone to chuck Method feeders at carp.
Put this rod together and you already know you’re on a winner. The sublime slimline blank, with its demure carbon weave and matt finish, is a thing of beauty, while the perfectly spaced Kigan guides add to its aesthetic qualities.
The long hollow quivertips (3oz and 3½oz) arguably add a touch too much stiffness to the action. But in full casting flight you realise that this is all part of Free Spirit’s intended package, a feature clearly adapted from the company’s distance casting carp rods.
The Power Feeder whacks out any type of feeder with no tip bounce, and indeed instant tip recovery. Cast, my word it certainly can cast…. 30g weights don’t even register on the blank, 40g weights power out without a hint of a wobble, while 50g weights, thanks to the blank loading quite high on the second section, still get blitzed.
I stopped at that weight, wanting to concentrate more on the fishing, and getting a feel for how the blank copes with bin-lids on match tackle. My set-up was a 10lb fluorocarbon shockleader to a 5lb reel line, a 0.17mm hooklength and a size 14 hook baited with two small pieces of worm.
Not a single fish was lost during the test, and a progressive action decidedly on the tippy side was no problem. The rod has enough cushioning through its mid-section to cope with headshakes and last-minute lunges without the hook pulling.
Expensive, yes, but if you’re seriously into your distance bream fishing this rod could be for you. Classy looks and furnishings are matched by a high-octane casting performance that may well give you an added edge.
I would have been happier with a 2oz quivertip, but having spoken with Free Spirit’ boss Simeon Bond I’m told that these will be available very soon.
At long last the carp on commercials are up in the water and ready to be targeted using float tactics.
The obvious choice is the pellet waggler, a tactic that will dominate matches all over the UK in the next month or so.
Few things are as satisfying as building up a pellet waggler line. Feed little and often, keeping the pattern tight, and fish will start to swirl at your feed pellets as soon as they hit the water.
Then, if you can deftly land a waggler by feathering the cast so your hookbait lands behind your float with an enticing little ‘plop’, you’ll reap the rewards.
If you ever get a chance to watch master pellet waggler anglers such as Perry Stone or Warren Martin conducting their way through a symphony of pulled strings, you’ll know where I’m coming from.
All this brings me nicely on to Middy’s latest Arco-Tech K-335 11ft/12ft Carp Waggler rod. Like all those in the range it has a soft, parabolic action to subdue large commercial carp. Key features include a slim, full cork handle and KTS smooth flow guides.
‘Match This’ winner Chris Cameron helped develop the Arco Feeder rods, while Kieron Rich is behind the Waggler versions – hence the rigid mini-butts with a Kevlar wrap, which strengthens up the section to pile on some real stopping power if need be. A foot-long extension which can be added without tackling down is another feature of Arco-Tech rods.
I wasn’t surprised that Middy has come up with something a bit special in the pellet wag department. Since the launch of the quite exceptional 3G X-Flex rod a few years ago the standard has been upheld with super fish-playing actions, lightness in the hand, super-fast line pick-up, accurate casting, and an all-round performance better than most.
On the live test at the impressive day-ticket Stretton Lakes my plan was to put the 12ft Arco-Tech through its paces on the carp lake with a heavy pellet waggler at distance, then drop down to the smaller match lake in the afternoon to target its stockies with the rod in its 11ft mode using smaller floats, hooks and baits.
The morning session was a bit of a disaster as far as fishing went, as three hours of non-stop pellet pinging with a rod that cast straight as a die failed to interest the carp, which were preoccupied with spawning in the margins.
I can, though, report that the blank will handle reel lines up to 8lb (just about, as the guides are quite small) and floats up to 10g with some ease.
A change to the match lake saw its stockies queuing up for a 6mm pellet, hung 18ins below a 2AAA straight peacock waggler. Using a smaller, less obtrusive float with lighter lines and smaller hooks seems to be the way forward on commercials these days, and in this respect the new Middy Arco-Tech is sure to gain many friends.
It has just about enough whip in the tip section to propel a lighter float, as long as you drop down the reel line diameter accordingly.
The blank, although admittedly not the fastest in the world, is still nicely responsive, with a softly progressive action across the top section that morphs into steely carp-stopping power going into the butt.
Constant feeding while holding the rod proved painless on the wrists, and the handle was just the right length to manoeuvre effortlessly around my body
The new Arco-Tech 11ft/12ft Carp Waggler is right up there with Middy’s best. With a softly progressive action but just the right amount of backbone, it’s light and comfy in the hand, and casts straight and true with enough tip-whip to hit the 40m mark with larger floats.
Line pick-up speed isn’t the fastest, but there’s enough finesse to handle light lines, hooks and floats even when big fish are on the cards.
Price: £119.99 (multiple deals)
After around 20 years away, Daiwa’s iconic Powermesh carp rods have returned to the fold.
Seven models span three 12ft rods with 2.75lb, 3lb and 3.5lb test curves. There’s also a distance-casting 13ft, 3.5lb rod, as well as Spod, Floater and Stalker versions, so all bases seem to be covered!
The Powermesh heritage is still spoken of in hushed tones by carp anglers of a certain age, although the new breed are a far cry from their classic namesakes.
These latest rods are slimmer, faster and considerably lighter than the old-school favourites. The one thing they still have in common with the classic Powermesh rods is unbridled power – but more of that later!
Clearly Daiwa, currently designing and constructing its best-ever carp rods across all price points, hasn’t skimped on materials and furnishings for its latest Powermesh offerings.
The slimline blanks boast a strengthened high-grade woven carbon build. When called upon to do so they serve up more than enough casting power for long-distance and PVA bag work.
The astonishing parabolic fish-playing action, as you can see from the image, tightens up quickly across the rod’s mid-section so you’ll stay in charge when faced with hard-fighting big fish in snag pit swims.
As to fittings, these new Powermesh rods are finished to a very high standard, incorporating original Fuji DPS reel seats, slim profile shrink grip handles, stainless steel frame guides with lightweight LS ceramic-lined rings (including a 50mm butt guide) and an aluminium butt cap.
With ‘demanding situations’ a high live test priority, a trip to Oxfordshire’s Clattercote Reservoir was arranged. The big carp on this prolific runs water respond best to long-range solid bag and margin tactics, although the latter option is not for the faint-hearted. Rods need to be picked up and locked up fast to stop fish (as the Drifters sang) going ‘under the boardwalk’.
My choice of rod, the 12ft 3lb test curve Powermesh, can be found online as part of a ‘buy two or three’ package for as little as £84.99.
Now, you may be wondering why, when 3lb-plus tc rods are so popular, I chose the 3lb option. It’s quite simple really, and worthy of note if you’re a prospective customer. Having handled the entire new Powermesh range last October, I felt the 3lb rod was at least the equivalent of a standard 3.25lb or even 3.5lb Daiwa model.
What’s more, having now fished with the rod, I am qualified to say that it’s a fair bit more pokey than its rating would suggest.
That’s almost certainly down to its crisp action rather than its test curve, but bear it in mind if you’re looking to buy a set.
That is a course of action you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re in the market for a set of quality, high-performance carp rods at a sensible price.
They cast brilliantly, will play the biggest of fish superbly well and, I may add, would make awesome French kipper weapons.
Our verdict: The new Powermesh carp rods have enough grunt to safely cast the heaviest of leads, and will outcast virtually all other carp rods in their price bracket.
The fish-playing action is unrelenting, putting you in control at all times – these rods are worthy inheritors of the iconic Powermesh name.
Price: £169, but shop around and look on the internet for multiple deals
The Sonik Sports brand is very familiar to pursuers of big carp, less so to commercial match and pleasure anglers.
All that is set to change, though, as the company is about to introduce an impressive new rod collection dubbed the Sonik SKSC commercial range.
The six rods comprise 9ft, 10ft, and 11ft Commercial Feeder rods, and three Pellet Waggler rods in the same lengths.
I’d originally intended to live-test a matching pair for both disciplines, but a recent spell of cold weather had well and truly put paid to fishing up in the water using pellet waggler tactics – so it was a case of feeder or bust. I chose the 10-footer.
However, before we move on to the bank, let me tell you a bit more about Sonik’s new SKSC range.
The rods have been thoughtfully designed, and are nicely constructed to meet the basic needs of the pleasure or match angler. They have modern, progressive fish-playing actions with plenty of backbone, making them ideal for commercial carp – a bit of added steel provides enough grunt to tame the odd zoo creature.
The slim, two-piece equal-length blanks are built from a high-grade 24 tonne carbon cloth and furnished with quality titanium oxide lined guides and a screw-down reel seat with EVA thumb grip. The decent length handle is a cork and EVA combo.
I’ve left the best bit till last – the price. If you want performance on a tight budget, you’ll need to fork out just under 40 quid!
So, what’s the rod capable of? It’s the ideal tool for short to medium-range casting, comfortably chucking 45g weights 40 yards-plus. Anything more and the rod will start to overload, which affects distance and accuracy.
It will handle mono reel lines between 5lb and 10lb, and can be safely used with hooklengths down to 0.12mm and hooks as small as an 18.
I kicked off the live test at Horseshoe Lake on Steve Gregory’s Rushfield complex, using a 30g flatbed Method feeder loaded with micro pellets, and a banded 6mm pellet hookbait – which proved to the liking of a string of stockie carp and F1s.
Although bites were at times quite savage, the fish responsible for whipping the rod’s top section round were at best bantamweights. However, I can happily report that nothing came unstuck as I quickly reeled them in – the 10ft SKSC has more than enough tip cushioning to deal with smaller fish without pulling hooks, even when you’re bagging.
A change to a lighter feeder, so as not to spook the fish, and a larger 8mm pellet hookbait cast down the margin, came up Donalds!
Two commons, one just over 10lb, put a serious bend in the rod, allowing it to show its full fighting curvature.
As you can see from the brilliant image captured by Angling Times staff photographer Lloyd Rogers, all the power in the rod is loading from just above the mid-section area, proving the blank’s steely resilience. In my book, that makes it the ideal commercial carp Method feeder rod.
Ever since pellet waggler tactics evolved to help anglers catch more and bigger carp from commercial waters, Shakespeare has had a top-selling rod for the job out there on the market.
Shakey’s award-winning Mach 3 XT Micro Pellet Waggler, for example, was a cutting-edge tool of its time, to be found in the holdalls of pleasure fishermen and matchmen of every skill set.
The tactic has stayed much the same over time, requiring a repetitive ‘feed, cast, feed’ sequence. Any changes revolve mainly around the type of venue we are now targeting, rather than anything more fundamental with the tackle itself.
Larger open-water venues such as Boddington, Larford, Barston and Meadowlands require longer, stiffer-actioned rods that will cast heavy floats and pack enough punch to play and subdue big fish.
Smaller commercial venues, such as snake lakes and 20-peg pint-sized pools pools, tend to be tackled with shorter 9ft, 10ft and 11ft rods, many of which are two-piece graphite blanks with a non-locking progressive action.
Even so, these can feel that bit heavier in the hand, and are not quite as quick at their tip-ends as all-carbon rods when it comes to lifting line from the water.
All this brings me nicely to this week’s live test rod, Shakespeare’s second generation Agility 2 Pellet Waggler 11ft, which is as close to an all-round pellet waggler rod as you’d wish to find.
At a push it will mix it up with heavier floats and big fish, while at the other end of the scale it can be used with small hooks and light floats for winter F1 fishing.
The live test at Decoy’s Beastie Lake proved the rod’s all-round mettle. I started in an open-water peg using 6lb mainline, a 0.17mm hooklength, size 16 hook and a 6mm banded pellet, all suspended beneath a hefty 10g pellet waggler to combat a nasty side wind.
Trying to keep the float still long enough to attract a bite proved nigh on impossible, and from experience I know that carp (no matter how daft) will not chase down a hookbait being dragged sideways across a swim!
So, despite my best efforts, all I had to show for an hour’s fishing was a couple of F1s, whose appetite obviously outweighed their intelligence. However, despite that niggling easterly, the rod cast the float straight and true and fairly whipped line from the surface on the strike.
A move to a quiet corner with a small island opposite proved just the ticket, and a much lighter 3AAA float proved no problem to cast for the Agility 2 Pellet Waggler 11ft. The rod’s reduced length handle is easy to manoeuvre around the body when feeding with one hand – an essential attribute – and the blank is impressively light and comfy.
Casting range I would put at 40m tops with a 15g float, that being as heavy as I’d want to chuck around with this rod, although Shakespeare does give it a 30g maximum casting weight.
Line pick-up speed is quite exceptional, thanks to its all-carbon build and fast taper design.
Seaguide double and single-legged stand-off lined guides, a quality cork and EVA handle, secure screw-down reel seat and a keeper ring add to the joy of fishing with this rod.
Its progressive, not to say slightly tippy, action gives it plenty of grunt, and helps make it an absolute pleasure to use.
Our verdict: It never fails to amaze me how Shakespeare has this happy knack of pulling something a little bit special out of the bag every year. The new Agility 2 Pellet Waggler 11ft looks, feels and performs every bit as well as rods costing three times its asking price. Slim and very light to hold for long periods, it makes easy work of feeding with a catapult. A viper-fast strike speed will help you connect with equally rapid F1 bites, even a respectable casting distance away.
Just before Christmas I was privileged to visit Browning’s German HQ and give their four new Hyper Carp Method rods a waggle.
Right away I felt these would be perfect for commercial fisheries back home, although at the time Browning seemed uncertain whether they would be available in the UK. However, I banged on and on to the company to release them, and to send me a couple of samples in for a live test. These the makers eventually did, so now I can deliver my verdict.
Now, Browning’s Sphere feeder rods are among the best money can buy, and these Hyper Carp Method rods are not a poor man’s version of these. They have an altogether different feel and action. There’s enough flexibility in the blank to pan large skimmers and bream without fear of hook pulls – the cushioning effect kicks in high up on the second section. This gives the mid-section a good deal more backbone, which you’ll really appreciate when the rods are being stressed to the limit.
All this and more I was to discover at Clattercote Reservoir, whose resident carp were wide awake and raring to go. My chosen rod from the Hyper Carp Method range was the 12ft version, which I reckon to be the pick of the bunch. With an 80g maximum casting weight, it has the length and three-piece build specification to launch a flatbed Method feeder a very long way. In my hands, however, it felt most at home with feeders up to around 40g.
The guides (including those on the quivertip) have sufficient inner diameter to allow the safe passage of 10lb shockleaders, which you need on most feeder venues requiring a mega-chuck.
Well, I hear you say, there are already dozens of long cast feeder rods on the market. What makes these from Browning so special?
For a start, the Hyper Carp Method will cope with all sizes of carp with some style, yet has enough flexibility to stay in touch with bream and skimmers right up to the net. Distances of 80-100 yards can be reached without you needing to be a tournament caster! And the price is remarkably reasonable for what you get.
The live test, I’m relieved to say, proved that the Hyper Carp Method rods are every bit as good as I’d hoped, and then some.
Once I got used to the blank’s fast taper action I was hitting the reel clip with a loaded 30g feeder at around 80 yards every time from a seated position, while standing up and giving it a proper whack I was getting past 90 yards. That was using a 4000 sized reel without a shockleader. I was left wondering how much further I could push its muscular cousin – the 12ft Hyper Carp Method Distance rod, with its £149 price tag – if it were fitted with a big reel and a shocker! This beast will chuck a 100g feeder with ease.
Back to the rod on test, and its fish-playing action proved remarkable. Even when subjected to huge pressure from proper lumps it showed no signs of locking up. After a few bream had put in an appearance not a single fish of either species was lost – which, as any Clattercote regular will tell you, is impressive.
The Hyper Carp Method is the best rod of its kind and at its price that I have ever handled.
Okay, the multi-banded Euro colours of the quivertips may not be to everyone’s liking. But I’ll tell you this – you certainly can’t miss them which, to be fair, is the general idea.
This was one of the best live test days I have ever had, made even better by the presence of Mark Eves and Phil Ringer, who are highly entertaining, class angling acts.
Price: £139 (but shop around and you’ll find it cheaper)
In a recent trip to Browning’s impressive HQ in Germany I was shown a range of Method feeder rods not originally designed or intended for the UK market.
However, their pedigree says otherwise. Start with a fast-taper, high modulus carbon build, giving a flat spot-free and progressive fish-playing action.
Add an array of impressive fitments such as graded push-in carbon quivertips and perfectly spaced lined guides capable of being used with shockleaders.
Top that off with long cork handles that generate the power to propel a feeder an awfully long way. No wonder it quickly became apparent that these rods were spot-on for the senior inhabitants of our commercial fisheries.
Happily, I am able to report that after a re-think by Browning, the quintessential big-fish quartet of Hyper Carp Method rods are now available here in the UK in lengths of 10ft, 11ft and 12ft.
A souped-up 12ft distance casting model is also available.
Their eminently affordable pricing should appeal hugely to anyone fishing matches or enjoying pleasure sessions at venues such as Boddington, Larford and Clattercote – in fact any open expanse of water holding decent-sized fish.
Watch this space for the exclusive live test next week on these superb new Method rods. Going from shortest to longest, maximum casting weights are 2oz, 2oz and 3oz, with 3.5oz for the Distance model.
Price: 10ft £125, 11ft £129, 12ft £139, 12ft Distance £149
Drennan's introductory Red Range rods are comfortably affordable, well-appointed and perfectly designed for the job in hand.
That said, I was somewhat perplexed when the two latest family members – the Combo Method Feeder/Pellet Waggler and Combo Carp Feeder/Carp Waggler rods – arrived on my desk. As first glance the pair, finished in Drennan’s trademark burgundy colour, looked like Tweedledum and Tweedledee – identical twins.
What’s more, it wasn’t that many years ago that combination rods only graced the sports pages of your mum’s Kays or Grattan catalogues. Such ‘one rod does it all’ tools were hideously heavy, multi-sectioned and multi-handled affairs, claimed to be suitable for everything from fly-fishing for trout to boat fishing for pike. In reality they were useless for everything.
Thankfully, such horrors are well behind us. Modern-day combo outfits are mainly well thought-out, intelligently designed and fully usable for all their stated applications. Most importantly, they are affordably angler-friendly, and all these praises can indeed be heaped on the Red Range Combo pairing.
As you’d expect from Drennan, both rods are very nicely furnished with lined guides throughout, secure screw-down reel seats, hook keeper rings, and a single push-in glass quivertip – 3oz for the Carp Feeder and 4oz for the Carp Method.
These rods are clearly targeting novice and junior anglers with limited tackle knowledge, and yet choosing between the two could be a confusing process. So, having fished with both, allow me to state the differences between them.
The Method Feeder/Pellet Waggler Combo has a bit more power, and is ideal for big fish using heavier kit. With its feeder top section fitted it will easily handle 30g-plus Methods, while with the Pellet Waggler section fitted it will cast floats weighing up to 15g.
The Carp Feeder/Carp Waggler model has a lighter action, suiting it to maggot, pellet, open-end and small flatbed feeders.
Fit its waggler top and it will cast floats upwards of 4AAA, offering a little bit more tactical flexibility.
For the live test, I decided on a joint appraisal, setting up both Combo models – the Carp Method in feeder mode and the Carp Waggler as a float rod. The chosen venue was the ever-productive Stretton Lakes just north of Peterborough, just two minutes off the A1.
The carp lake here holds decent-sized fish, and while it’s not as easy as your normal commercial day-ticket fishery, the carp here are always scale- and mouth-perfect, and fight like demons.
The Carp Method Combo with a 30g flatbed loaded with micro pellets has a maximum casting range of around 60 yards. Much further and you are going to lose some accuracy. However, once a fish is hooked the blank has a resolute flat spot-free progressive action, with enough backbone to give double-figure fish nightmares. I’d suggest reel lines from 5lb-10lb, matched to hooklengths of 0.15mm upwards.
The Carp Waggler Combo has just about enough tip flexibility and whip to cast normal straight wagglers carrying 4AAA or more.
The blank’s soft, semi-through action makes it ideal for taking on smaller carp and F1s, as well as tench, chub and big bream, using reel lines from 4lb-8lb and hooklengths of 0.14mm and beyond.
Our Verdict: These latest additions to Drennan’s Red Range are sure to be hugely popular with the solar-powered pleasure angler.
If you are reading this as a tackle shop owner, and you get a potential new customer that wants to have a go at commercial fishing, or someone on a tight budget looking to invest in new rods with commercial fishery potential, than I doubt there is anything better than this pair of beauties currently on the market.
Price: £85.95 (both models)
Now here’s a thing… what do you get if you cross the world’s best feeder angler with the world’s best rod manufacturer? The answer? Cast’izm.
That, for those of you who have had your head stuck in a groundbait bucket for the past month or so, is the name of the new feeder rod range designed by Steve Ringer and manufactured here in the UK by Daiwa.
These all-black beauties kick off with an 11ft 6ins rod capable of casting up to 60g (2oz) and suited to open-end and pellet feeder work, as well as a straight bomb. It will handle commercial carp and silvers with equal panache.
The 12ft 6ins version (on live test duty) is Mr Ringer’s favourite, very much at home on large, open bream venues such as Ferry Meadows and Bough Beech.
Its 80g (3oz) casting band is well capable of handling Method and Hybrid feeders.
After those two come the ‘big boys’ of the Cast’izm range, both really long-distance casters.
The 13ft 6ins rod can handle 100g (3.5oz) and is claimed to chuck more than 100yds, suiting it to rocket and window feeder work where every inch of distance is important. Natural venue species and commercial carp are meat and drink to it.
The biggest Cast’izm, 14ft 2ins long and with a maximum casting weight of 120g (4.2oz), is ideal for big rivers such as the Trent and Severn, and I suspect it will go down well with those who fish matches on the wide and deep canals of the Netherlands.
Despite their reasonable price, no corners have been cut with the Cast’izms. Their latest HVF Nanoplus carbon construction imparts a clean, crisp action, and a rapid tip-end recovery speed adds yards to the cast.
The three-sectioned models all have a carrier section, and to prevent any flat spots at the joints Daiwa has employed its unique V-Joint system that retains seamless and progressive curvature at all times.
Large-diameter K guides help to prevent tangles and speed the passage of line. Interestingly, the three carbon push-in Tournament Distance Tips are graded to match the rod’s capacity, although other test curves are available too. These are exactly the same tips as used on Daiwa’s top-end SLR rods. Enlarged ring diameters prevent tangles and possible crack-offs, and their wide spacing contributes to casting performance.
As for the live test itself, the only thing in plentiful supply was the rain. I knew full well that Ferry Meadows, near Peterborough, had been in poor form since last September but, after all, this is exactly the kind of place these rods are designed to be used at.
The 12ft 6ins Cast’izm fairly sizzled out every breed of feeder known to man. Matched with the right sized reel, it’s a lean, mean casting machine that loads the weight of the feeder high on the blank to keep pre-cast bounce to an absolute minimum. What it’s like to play a fish on I can’t say, as that bit didn’t happen.
As Arnie said: “I’ll be back”… later in the year, when it’s warmed up a bit, and the bin lids are lifting.
These four Cast’izm rods make up possibly the best long-range feeder quartet on the planet. The design influences of a world-class angler are clearly visible.
The right type of guides, and extra spacing between the rings on the carbon quivers, provide fluid casting power. The longer handle gives added speed through to the tip, so even if your casting action is a bit on the slow side you’ll achieve longer distances.
A progressive mid-section action makes the use of reasonably small hooks and lightish lines possible without fear of lost fish.
But there’s still enough severity in the the butt section to deal out punishment to big commercial carp.
What’s not to like? This is a rod fabulously designed and brilliantly built for use anywhere, for everything.
Price: £169.99 (12ft 6ins version)
Matrix says its new Horizon Carp Feeder rods were developed to cope with the ballooning size of carp in modern match waters.
Mark Pollard has had lots of input into the design of all four rods which, despite being as strong as Shire horses on steroids, deliver a progressive action.
There are 9ft, 10ft (on test) 11ft and 12ft versions to choose from, depending on how far you want or need to cast. One thing in common to all is three graded push-in carbon quivertips of 1oz, 1.5oz and 2oz test curve.
The fast-taper high modulus carbon blanks are quick off the blocks when it comes to line pick-up and casting accuracy.
All have equal-length sections for ease of transport, a uniquely detailed weave print on their butt sections and decent length cork and EVA handles. Incorporated into these are screw-down reel fittings, while the blanks are furnished with low-profile ceramic-lined guides and a keeper ring as a finishing touch.
The 10ft Carp Feeder, my Horizon rod of choice for live test duty, is primarily a tactically flexible feeder and straight lead tool and, as such, is likely to sell well. There’s no maximum recommended casting weight, but by my reckoning you’d be safe with anything up to 40g.
The same goes for the line rating (or lack of it), but again, for me, anything between 4lb and 8lb would be fine – just the job for any commercial fishery whose carp have failed to sign up for Weight Watchers.
I needed to get the Horizon Carp Feeder rod to a water where bites come readily to a variety of tactics, so where better than Buttonhole Lake near Wisbech, in Cambs?
A swim opposite a paddle aerator gave me something to aim at in open water, while a large island away to my right would challenge the rod’s distance-casting prowess.
A standard inline 30g flatbed Method feeder flew 30 yards arrow-straight and bang on target. Once I’d clipped up, I reckoned it would hit 50 yards with just a bit more ‘push-pull’ on my part, but around the 40g mark the rod began to show its casting limitations. However, towards the end of the session I was still chucking a 30g feeder a good 65 yards-plus. On commercials that’s equivalent to hitting a six out of the ground at Trent Bridge!
What the Horizon has going for it is a superb action, which has obviously come in for some serious scrutiny and field-testing from the Matrix consultancy team. Sweet as a nut, back of the net, and more fun than a day at the fair, it’s just perfect for the job.
The rod bends exactly how, when and where it should, and has more than enough backbone to heave a reluctant lump over the rim of the landing net.
As you can see, this beast gave me a proper run-around, especially when it tried with all its might to get its head underneath the platform.
I don’t need to say much more about how flexible a backbone this rod possesses – look at the image and drool at its fast, progressive fighting action.
The latest Matrix Horizon Carp Feeder rods look, feel and fish just right, with a very high overall level of performance.
On the commercial fishery front, they have just about enough flexibility to be used for carp of all sizes, plus big F1s.
The 10ft model is ideal for Method, maggot and pellet feeder work, and would be equally at home throwing straight bomb set-ups for bigger fish.
It’s worth noting that all the Horizon quivertips are interchangeable with those on Matrix Horizon XC and XS models.
Online tackle retailer Chapmans has produced quite a few decent rods under its own Stillwater brand since its inception.
But it’s fair to say that most have majored on economy rather than performance. Until now, that is!
Chapmans, in partnership with Daiwa, has just released an 11ft Pellet Waggler and a 10ft Mini Method Feeder rod under its new Stillwater Shuriken banner – and the pair fairly sizzle in terms of build quality, performance and quite astonishing value.
Both are made from slim, equal-length two-piece carbon blanks of some distinction. The 11ft Pellet Waggler is rated to reel lines up to 8lb, and designed for carp and F1 fishing. The 10ft Mini Method Feeder will handle 40g feeders, and comes with 1oz and 1.5oz push-in carbon quivers.
Key furnishing features on both include pleasing all-cork handles, aluminium oxide lined guides, classy gloss black whippings, and a keeper ring as a nice final touch.
And it doesn’t stop there, as I found out while live testing the wonderfully named Shuriken (pronounced ‘Shirken’) room-mates at Decoy’s icy cold Lou’s Lake. Happily, while one side of the horseshoe-shaped water was solid with ice, the other, where I was fishing, gave more than a fair impression of a balmy August afternoon, rather than a bone-chilling mid-February freeze.
But enough of the weather – let’s take a closer look at the Shurikens. It wasn’t until I got the rods back home and started delving into their construction details that I was even aware that Daiwa had a hand in their creation. However, within a couple of minutes of using them, I recognised that unmistakable steely ‘Daiwa feel’ running through the mid-sections, making them more than a match for the largest of commercial fishery denizens as well as pasty-sized stockies and F1s.
Not that these two rods are in any way cheapo whopper stoppers – both sport a quite superb and sweetly progressive action.
The seven white-tipped whippings on the 10ft Mini Method Feeder quivertips are brilliant. Regular readers will know of my dislike for quivers with anything other than a daub of blaze or orange paint on their ends. But I must admit that my attention was mesmerically drawn towards the white whippings, making missed bites very unlikely.
The 11ft Pellet Waggler has a very similar progressive action to its stablemate, but the tip-end is very slightly softer, giving it more whip and making it easier to cast light floats – in this rod’s case from around 4AAA (3.5g) upwards.
My first carp of the year on the float fell to a corn skin bait, set 3ft feet deep and cast tight against a line of Norfolk reeds – basically the waggler equivalent of dobbing.
Given the size and fighting spirit of the fish caught, I can certainly vouch for the power in reserve that still has enough cushioning to permit the use of reasonably small hooks and light hooklengths.
What's not to like about this pair?
The fact that you can buy both Shuriken rods for less than the price of a top-end feeder or pellet waggler weapon makes them a real steal.
Ideal for all but the largest of commercial fisheries, they have impressive fish-playing and casting actions, are very nicely furnished and fitted out, and combine good looks with an equally good performance.
- Slim, lightweight matt black carbon fibre blank with progressive casting action
- Double leg black SiC guides and anti-frap tip ring
- 50mm butt guide on all 3lb tc models and above
- Fold-friendly ringing patter
- 17mm black DPS reel seat to house the largest of big pit reels
- Line-friendly custom contoured Sonik line clip
- Slim Japanese shrink-wrapped butt grip
- Black anodised butt cap, laser etched with Sonik’s ‘S’ logo
It's said that you only ever get what you pay for, and 99 per cent of the time this is true – especially with fishing equipment.
But occasionally something goes against that old adage by offering true value for money, matched by a performance to enthuse over.
Take Sonik’s excellent and affordable Vader X carp rods. They start at just £64.99. For that small sum you might expect a budget composite material with an action either poker-stiff or more wobbly than jelly on a plate. Not a bit of it!
The bang you get for your buck is a slim, light, carbon fibre rod, tastefully dressed with high-gloss black whippings over a non-flash gunmetal grey blank. Double-legged black SiC lined guides are fitted throughout, starting with a 50mm butt ring and ending with an anti-frap tip ring. There’s also a dependable 17mm black DPS reel seat to take big pit reels.
Subtle white graphics, a slim Japanese shrink-wrapped butt grip and a custom contoured Sonik line clip all add up to a rod that wouldn’t look out of place on carp venues of the utmost cultishness!
The 12ft, 3.25lb test curve model on live test duty can be used for everything from Method feeder to solid PVA bag work. Other rods in the Vader X range include 12ft (2.75lb and 3.5lb), 13ft (3.5lb) and a rather handy 4.5lb test curve hybrid Spod and Marker rod.
Although pitched by Sonik as a medium-to-long-cast tool, the 3.25lb tc model can be used for close-range and margin work too.
During the live test it easily chucked a 4oz lead more than 75 yards. This is quite a pokey blank, but unlike many of today’s ‘value for money’ carp rods this one retains sufficient cushioning in its progressive action to absorb the lunges from big lumps without risking hook-pulls. Use it with Method feeders, PVA sticks, solid bags, or straight leads up to 4.5oz.
Verdict: Sonik Vader X carp rods are very decent medium to long-range big-fish tools. Ideal for the novice carp angler, they are well built and nicely furnished, with an action perfect for pits and lakes where distance casting is paramount.
Preston Innovations bills its Carbonactive Supera range as the ultimate all-round rod collection.
The eye-catching ensemble, in a jet black gloss finish, features short 9ft and 10ft feeder rods – the 10-footer stepping up for live test duty – as well as 11ft 6ins and 12ft 6ins models. An 11ft pellet waggler rod completes the set.
And if you think that little lot favours feeder over float, remember that these days feeder rods outsell their floatfishing counterparts by at least six to one.
My initial thoughts were the four feeder rods shared a softly progressive, through action.
Soft blanks cushion against hook-pulls when targeting skimmers and bream, or chub and roach with small hooks and light hooklengths.
Followers of my Live Test slot might point out that I seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut right now, reviewing so many short feeder rods. In my defence, these are extremely popular for winter commercial tactics, offering pinpoint casting accuracy and an action perfect for dealing with F1s, stockie carp and the odd lump.
All this brings me nicely on to the live test venue – Stretton Lakes, just off the A1 halfway between Peterborough and Grantham. This peaceful and well-kept fishery has four day-ticket lakes that are more popular with pleasure anglers than matchmen.
The rectangular carp lake holds fish of all sizes, every one of them scale, fin and mouth-perfect.
These commons and mirrors show a definite taste for baits presented on a Method feeder cast to within half a rodlength of one of two small islands. This tactic tests a rod’s casting attributes.
In the 10ft Supera Feeder’s case they are just what you’d expect from a top-end Preston Carbonactive model – arrow straight. This rod will cope with up to a 30g loading, and its effective casting distance tops out at 35m-40m. Much past that and you’ll find your feeder or lead wandering off line.
However, any lack of distance-casting prowess is made up for by a seamless, non-locking action. This takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s something rather special.
The rod has a pleasing sense of transmission and ‘feel’ when dealing with your fishy quarry.
A new style of handle, with an enhanced EVA grip block on its end, provides a firm, non-slip grip, but that may well prove a Marmite moment for some.
To that you can add three graded, colour-coded push-in quivertips which all blend seamlessly into the carrier section without any flat spots, and top-end low profile lined guides throughout.
The new top-of-the-range Preston Supera 10ft Feeder rod is ideal for short-range commercial tactics, especially in swims just beyond a pole line. Build quality and furnishings are undeniably good. Casting flatbed Method feeders up to 30g with precision and accuracy is where it really scores, and its soft fish-playing action can see you land soft-mouthed fish that in winter can make all the difference between winning matches and becoming pools-fodder.
If you’re a fan of short-range casting for carp and F1s, take a close look at Maver’s MV-R Commercial Mini Feeder rods.
The shorter, 8ft version has a wickedly fast progressive action that will propel any feeder or straight lead up to 30g around 35yds without too much effort.
Anything past this distance and you’d be better off using the 9ft version. At first the eight-footer feels a tad tippy, but it’s just the job for F1s and smaller stockie carp, minimising the likelihood of hook-pulls or snap-offs at close range. The rod is suited to reel lines from 4lb-8lb, and hooklengths upwards of 0.13mm.
The pencil-thin carbon blank breaks down into two 48ins sections with one of its three (½oz, ¾oz and 1oz) quivertips fitted. Match the rod with a small 2500/3000 reel and it’s all ready to go inside your holdall.
It makes things so much easier if you always carry a short feeder rod to your commercial peg.
All the colour had dropped out of the water at Decoy’s Willows Lake, venue for the live test, forcing the fish to shoal up tighter than normal in winter. However, a small maggot feeder, with a couple of maggots as hookbait, will always fetch a response from the odd F1 – you just need minimal feed and accurate casting.
I have to say I found the 8ft MV-R very much to my liking. It cast, as expected, straight as a die, and on a small platform it was easy to get into position without a lot of faffing around. Tippy it may be, but that suited me fine as I landed several fish up to about 3lb.
I have handled enough short feeder rods to know that this one has a steely enough backbone to handle much bigger fish. A wobble wand it certainly isn’t!
This rod is flat-spot free, with an impressive fish-playing pedigree to suit commercial waters. It would also make a handy summer margin Method tool.
It’s not cheap for such a short rod, but then, you always get what you pay for.
For me, a big plus point was the equal length sections, making it a doddle to transport ready made up in a carryall.
The latest Tri-Cast Trilogy Long Range Feeder rods target those who fish big open waters for bream and skimmers and cast heavy feeders a long, long way.
There are three versions – Medium (12ft), Long (13ft) and Extreme (14ft). As you’d expect from a company that designs and builds carbon rods right here in the UK, Tri-Cast has again pushed the boat out, with quality materials and the best possible furnishings. Add to this high modulus and high tonnage carbon cloths and we are talking rods that are close to perfect.
All three models have stiff butt and lower sections to help power out big feeders and pick up line at distance. At the same time, the softer tip sections make for easy bite detection and the confident playing of fish. These rods can handle small hooks and reasonably light hooklengths – you are unlikely to pull out of soft-mouthed bream and skimmers.
Tri-Cast kindly sent me all three of these new rods for live testing. The 14ft Trilogy Long Range Extreme, I reckon, would be ideal on very deep, wide European canals where you need to chuck to the horizon.
That left me a choice of the 12ft Medium or 13ft Long rods, and as I wanted to test their distance-casting properties I opted for the 13ft model.
I was somewhat strapped for a suitable venue, with most local rivers and lakes being out of sorts, but Decoy’s ever-reliable Beastie Lake holds shedloads of skimmers and F1s. If I cast up the lake, either side of the island, I was sure to get more than a decent feel for the way the Long rod would perform.
Out went a 20g Drennan maggot feeder into open water 50m-55m away to my right. The 13ft Trilogy is supposed to be able to handle a 120g (4.2oz) casting weight, a tad optimistic perhaps, but 20g was on the light side to get the best from it. Anything around 3oz, though, and the blank’s old-school fast taper construction kicks in.
Be in no doubt, properly loaded the blank will help you to fairly sizzle out a feeder or straight lead past the 100m mark.
When you play a fish the stout backbone and a softish top section free of flat spots makes the rod seen quite tippy in the hand. But take it from me, it copes beautifully with the headshakes that big bream are so prone to.
All three rods come with 1oz, 1.5oz and 2oz push-in carbon quivertips, enlarged diameter guides that can be safely used with shockleaders and braid, and new winch reel seats that will withstand intense casting pressure and remain rock steady.
With an upsurge in the popularity of feeder fishing (we can thank the England Feeder team and the exciting FeederMasters series for that), the demand for top-class distance-casting rods has never been greater.
Sadly, for those on tight budgets, the carbon content and high design specifications of rods that measure up to the job mean they don’t come cheap!
That said, the Tri-Cast Trilogy, although quite expensive, is not stupidly priced, yet it’s up there with the very best.
The blank’s old school fast taper design results in an impressive amount of casting grunt, nicely balanced by just the right amount of cushioning that ensures hooked bream stay hooked!
Fancy keeping fit and healthy while you fish? Then have a wander round your local canal, lake or river with a light lure outfit – it’s better than the gym and a good deal less sweaty.
Pack rod, reel, landing net and a few lures and you’re ready to go. If you’re an urban angler it’s a given that there’ll be some free fishing close to your doorstep.
Listen up, then, while I tell of a recent drop shotting session I had while running the rule over a rod, reel and lure combo from Fox Rage’s latest Prism range. Lincoln seemed the ideal destination, riddled as it is with small waterways including the upper River Witham, the Fossdyke Canal and Brayford Pool.
All hold huge shoals of small silver fish, not surprisingly preyed upon by pike and perch.
The day got off to a very slow start on the normally pike-prolific Brayford Pool, which lends itself well to a jigging approach. Even the latest Rage Fish Snax Dropshot Fry lures, with their colourful multi-fibre tails and a provocative ‘eat me’ wiggle, failed to bring a take as I worked them across this large expanse of water.
On, then, to the Fossdyke Canal, usually nailed on for a few ‘wasp’ perch at least. By now I’d changed to a drop shot set-up, using a small-bodied Rage Fly multi-fibre tail lure that can be made to dance and jiggle in a most enticing manner. I twitched this for a good hour, but the perch had clearly done one.
Then, right before my very eyes, surfaced the reason for this fish famine – a fully grown dog otter with a head the size of a cocker spaniel and jaws to rival those of a shark. He and his missus, completely unfazed by the hordes of onlookers, worked their way back down the Fossdyke and into Brayford pool, feasting on hapless perch as they went.
I don’t blame the otters – they are only doing what comes naturally. Problem is, the fish are Lincolnshire born and bred, but these otters are not!
Despite the lack of fish during the live test, I can happily report that the pencil-thin, 210cm 5-21g two-sectioned Rage Prism Dropshot Rod is light in the hand, with plenty of ‘feel’, and will whip out the lightest of lures without a problem. The classy understated white whipping on the two top guides impressed me no end, although you normally feel the pluck of a bite (especially when using braid) well before you see the tip move.
The tip section has just the right blend of stiffness and cushioning to drive a small hook home, neither too pokey nor too flimsy – many other modern drop shot rods can’t do this but still seem to satisfy the tackle tarts who think slimmest is always best.
Exceptionally light and comfortable in the hand, the 210cm (6ft 10ins) Rage Prism makes an ideal small-water roving rod. There are also 240cm 5-21g and 270cm 7-28g versions.
The one on test had a fast, crisp casting action yet retained plenty of sensitivity where it was needed. The high modulus carbon blank has a softly parabolic fish-playing curvature, perfect for smaller perch and zander, although there’s enough mid-section backbone to cope with the odd larger fish too.
Yank n Bank is a brand you might well associate with out-and-out hauling power – the name says it all, really.
Yet the latest rods of this ilk to be released by Daiwa are not all in the bruising doorman class.
There are four Match/Float rods, three of which (10ft, 11ft and 12ft) are Pellet Waggler models. The other is a lightweight three-piece 13ft rod aimed at the silver fish angler.
Six Feeder models include 9ft and 10ft Mini Method rods, and of the two 11ft Method Feeder rods, one is a Power model to tame feisty commercial carp.
They are all light in the hand, with a rapid line-pick-up and a crisp, progressive action.
From comments made to me at a recent trade show, Daiwa is expecting great things from these latest incarnations of its famed Yank n Bank rod range.
Sure enough, all 10 rods are a significant improvement on their predecessors (which were themselves no slouches). Certainly the finish is far better than that on all previous Yank n Bank models.
Live testing a rod, no matter how good it may be, always tends to be a hit-and-miss affair in winter – after all, the fish are shoaled up tightly, and can be somewhat reluctant to have a munch.
However, if you can find them you’re always in with a chance, and it was with knowledge gleaned from recent Decoy winter leagues that I knew a few fish could probably be found out in the middle of the Elm strip lake.
That suited me, as I had wanted to get a much closer look at Daiwa’s latest 9ft Yank n Bank Mini Method Feeder rod since first clapping eyes on one. It struck me at the time that it could be the perfect tool for fishing at 18m-25m, just beyond pole range, and be very well suited to taming the odd bigger fish – Decoy has its fair share of these Gruffaloes.
However, there’s a huge selection of short feeder rods out there now, so what would make this 9ft Yank n Bank offering stand out from the crowd?
For starters, the asking price of just £89.99 is pretty impressive, and you’ll be able to get it even cheaper if you shop around.
Technically it’s extremely well built from high-grade carbon cloth, with a one-tonne carbon weave along its classy gloss black butt section.
This combination not only helps to firm up casting distance and accuracy, but ups the weight it can comfortably handle and provides added steel through the backbone for extra fish-playing control.
The geeky stuff does not end there – the blank’s carrier/tip section boasts a low-glare tape finish. This, although completely at odds with its shiny butt section, imparts a light feel matched with a crisper line pick-up and post-cast tip recovery .
To all that you can add quality furnishings such as stainless steel guide frames with lightweight lined guides, aluminium hooded screw-down reel seat, woven carbon butt frame with rubber cap, ready rod carry case, and a keeper ring as a nice final touch.
On the bank, all this carbon alchemy morphs into a pleasingly lightweight tool which is more than capable of casting 30g with little sign of strain.
Casting performance is further enhanced by its high weight loading point – this enables it to achieve pinpoint casting accuracy, ideal for tricky short distance casts to just past the pole-line.
Obviously it is hugely important to keep your feed pattern tight, and the short 9ft rod is perfect for this, enabling you to keep the bites coming once the fish have been located.
The Yank n Bank’s three graded 1.5oz, 2oz and 3oz push-in carbon quivertips are all well matched to Method feeder use (as it name suggests), although the supplied lightest quivertip is just about soft enough to be used in conjunction with a half-ounce bomb.
Personally I prefer the heaviest, stiffest tip for Method fishing, as that way the fish hook themselves.
The fish-playing action is rapidly progressive, with most of its curvature spread across the top couple of feet, very much in keeping with all modern style short rods.
The seeming lack of playing action should not be taken as a criticism, though, as there’s still enough bend in the rod to absorb the lunges of the heaviest fish, with enough cushioning effect not to drop smaller fish.
However, the purist F1 fanatic may find the rod a tad overgunned for hook sizes above an 18, and hooklengths under 0.12mm.
If you're in the market for a quality Method feeder rod for use on smaller lakes, or casting just beyond pole range for decent-sized fish, the new 9ft Daiwa Yank n Bank Mini Method is the ideal tool. Surprisingly steely, it will handle the largest commercial carp while retaining just enough softness to make it usable with lighter set-ups for smaller fish.
Wth daylight hours reduced in winter, many anglers, myself included, much prefer to fish short sessions rather than spend days on end sat in a bivvy and carting mountains of tackle around.
It’s much more enjoyable to grab a rod, a net, a small rucksack and a couple of loaves of bread and wander the banks of your local river searching out a chub or two. The Greys Toreon Tactical Quivertip is the perfect tool for this. It's as versatile as a Swiss Army knife.
There are four lengths available in the range – 10ft 6in, 11ft 10in, 12ft 6in and 13ft – to cater for the needs of every stillwater and river coarse angler. They're just as much at home dishing it out on running water as they are bagging up at your local commercial or lobbing out a feeder on a large natural venue.
For this live test I’d chosen the 11ft 10in version, as at this length it’s a great
all-rounder. It’s just about short enough to creep into tight overgrown river swims, although if this is what you're primarily going to be using a rod for then the 10ft 6in model would be recommended.
This is also long enough to chuck a feeder to islands and open swims on commercials. Unlike most feeder rods, which come with two or three push-in tips, the Toreon Tactical Quivertip comes with five, ranging from 0.75oz to 3oz.
The rod also features a detachable butt grip which not only makes it more compact for storage, but also gives you two handle length options. There are nine lightweight gunsmoke SiC line guides on the rod and six equivalent guides on the five quivertips.
To test the rod I headed off to the tiny River Ise in Northamptonshire. This is a tributary of the River Nene and requires a stealthy approach at the best of times to avoid spooking the resident chub.
The fact that the water was fairly low and clear meant I’d have to be extra stealthy. Tactics were kept simple. My reel was loaded with 5lb mainline on to which I threaded a running link leger stopped by a buffer bead over a small swivel.
A piece of breadflake was pinched around a size 10 hook and cast into a deep pool between two shallow stretches of river. I'd baited the mouth of the pool and a couple of other spots along the far-bank reeds with a couple of small balls of mashed bread.
The first few spots didn’t produce a single knock, but a cast towards an overhanging tree saw the tip tremble before it pulled around in a classic chub bite.The fish was quickly steered away from the branches and, after a couple of jagged lunges, a small chub, was drawn over the landing net.
The next two casts produced a couple more chub of a similar size.
At almost £140 there are certainly plenty of cheaper rods on the market. But when you look at what you get for your money I think this rod is worth every penny. If you do a spot of river fishing, as well as the odd session on a commercial carp water, and enjoy feeder fishing for bream, it will cover the lot. And the range of five tips supplied with it really do make it suitable to a wide range of duties.
James Furness, Editor, Improve Your Coarse Fishing
Length: 11ft 10in
Tips: 0.75oz, 1oz, 1.5oz, 2oz, 3oz
Handle: Full cork
Reel seat: Screw lock
Guide type: SiC
Hook keeper: Yes