This is shaping up to be the year of the long-range feeder rod.
Most major tackle companies have either launched new models or added to their existing ranges.
The growing popularity of feeder fishing has spurred rod designers and product teams into developing models that will chuck leads to the horizon on big, open UK venues such as Ferry Meadows, Meadowlands and Barston Lakes, where bream and skimmers are match fodder but carp are also likely to be present.
Enter Drennan’s latest Acolyte family member, the three-piece 13ft Distance Feeder.
Drennan doesn’t hold with new rods that each boast its own specific casting distance or weight rating. Instead, in typical ‘ticks-all-the-boxes’ fashion, the company has taken its time to produce one rod that does it all.
The 13ft Distance Feeder has a crisp, responsive parabolic action, and comes nicely furnished with braid-friendly, low-profile double and single-legged SiC ceramic-lined guides.
You get an original Fuji DPS screw-down reel seat, full-length cork handle, and three bespoke carbon quivertips with test curves of 3oz, 4oz and 5oz. These have enlarged guides for the smooth passage of shockleader knots, eliminating the friction and congestion that at best will slow down the cast and at worst can lead to crack-offs.
The rod took shape over two years, and was tested on a wide range of venues by many top international anglers. Drennan says it’s ideal for use with 6lb-10lb mono or 0.8mm-0.12mm braid. It’s said to be able to chuck feeders and bombs to a maximum of 3.5oz (100g) up to 100m, if you have the necessary casting skills, of course.
With all that information under my belt, where better to run the rule over the new Drennan Distance Feeder rod than one of the best long-range bream venues in the UK – the currently out-of-form Ferry Meadows?
I’ll tell you now, as apart from catching a few ‘wasps’ and ‘skerrets’, the exercise was a complete disaster!
The un-breamy combination of sun and lack of wind was exacerbated by the annual Peterborough school holidays, which saw gangs of kids going afloat in a dazzling array of imaginative watercraft.
Most of the little treasures ended up thrashing the water to a foam directly above my carefully fed spot… bless ’em!
I can, at least, vouch for the Acolyte’s casting clout – it will chuck a hefty feeder a very long way, with unerring accuracy. My chosen spot was slightly to the left of a marker buoy around 70 yards out into about 8ft of water.
I was using a big cage feeder packed with groundbait, chopped worm, caster and dead reds, and once I’d got used to pushing through the rod’s fairly fast action I hit the clip firmly every chuck.
The blank lived up to its maximum casting weight rating of 3.5oz (100g), and anything over 50g positively sizzled through the rings.
However, you need to adopt a flatter, carp-style overhead casting action to launch heavier feeders and leads any distance, even though the blank will take them in its stride.
What I’d say about this very well thought-out distance weapon is that it takes some getting used to.
Don’t be afraid to give it a proper whack… its fast tip recovery speed and impressive backbone will withstand all the rigours and stresses of long-distance work.
Since the live test I have given the rod another outing and can report a good ‘feel’ through the blank, matched with pleasing mid-section sensitivity – ideal for bream and skimmer work. Nor did it let me down when the inevitable carp muscled into my swim.
Our verdict: another Acolyte winner for me from Drennan. Nicely put together, it’s very classy looking, with dependable fittings, and shows all the signs of having been designed and tested by those who know what to look for in a rod. I rather fancy it would make a quite superb summer barbel feeder rod, as well as a respectable tool for long-range winter carp, too.