Fishing Rod Review: Tri-Cast Excellence 8ft Power Wand

Tri-Cast’s rod-building reputation is built upon two core values – power and strength.

So when the Lancashire company’s new 8ft Excellence Wand dropped on to the Angling Times tackle desk, more than a few eyebrows were raised.

The word ‘wand’ conjures up images of flicking a little maggot feeder down the edge of a river to catch a quality roach or a big perch – not, as Tri-Cast bills its new arrival, a rod for banging out hefty carp and F1s from a modern UK commercial fishery.

Could the Excellence lay claim to both finesse and power without compromising both? I’m happy to report that a thorough going over at the remarkable Decoy Lakes fishery, near Peterborough, confirmed that appearances can be highly deceptive.

Before getting on to the fishing, though, let’s look at the history of the Excellence Wand and how it came to be. The initial idea was for Tri-Cast to work with multiple Matchman of the Year Andy Bennett to create a short, light bomb rod for winter fishing when the fish don’t pull that hard. It ticked all the boxes, and at that point both parties thought beyond the January and February chill.

Could the Excellence deal with high summer, when fish go like the clappers? 

There’s a gap in the market for a short tip rod that can let you chuck a bomb on top of your long pole line or down the margins when the wind makes fishing the pole impossible... and that’s what got Tri-Cast and Andy interested.

A few tests in search of big summer carp soon proved that the rod could indeed take a hammering and give as good as it gets. At this point the Excellence began to be marketed as the perfect short rod for all seasons.

So, on to Decoy and the Horseshoe Lake’s big carp and F1s. With unseasonal gales to contend with, this looked set to be the ultimate test! Clearly the rod is extremely light in the hand, as a wand should be. The two pieces weigh just 108g and are rated to a 5lb line and a 30g casting weight. You’re not going to throw miles with the Excellence, but that’s not what it was built to do.

Supplied as standard are three carbon push-in quivertips in matt black, as opposed to having a coloured end. I prefer the latter, but thinking about it, a carp bite is savage so you’re not going to be striking at little knocks.

Plopping a 15g Method feeder tight up to the far-bank reeds was easy enough, and despite a stormy cross wind the Excellence had sufficient backbone in the cast to direct the feeder just where I wanted it to go. 

Too soft a casting action and you’d not be in control, but that’s not going to happen with this rod. In fact, I’d say a good cast could be achieved if you were to fish a 30g feeder and put plenty of welly into getting it on to the spot.

A bite wasn’t long in coming, and immediately the rod hooped round almost all the way to the handle. That did set an alarm bell ringing. It’s a lovely action to behold, but how the hell would I guide a fish away from all those lily pads dotted around the lake?

The moment of truth came 30 seconds later, when the carp decided enough was enough and ploughed off to inspect the pads. Winding down, I pulled and pulled hard, and the fish stopped stone dead. 

It might not look it at first glance, but there’s an acre of power in the bottom half of the rod, and that was even more evident at netting time. The 6lb mirror was bundled in with the minimum of effort.

Several more chunky F1s followed before it was time for a look in the edge. 

A bait tub of micro pellets had been chucked in, and the boils and waving tails weren’t far behind. First drop in and the rod ripped round to the bite of a 3lb barbel before the first of a trio of big carp followed suit.

At such short range, a savage bite can bust you if the rod is too stiff, but owing to the beautifully soft action of the Excellence, there’s never any danger. 

That, to my mind, makes it the ideal rod for edge fishing or chucking on your pole line – exactly what Tri-Cast built the Excellence for!

Our verdict: I’d happily use this rod on the river in winter with light hooklinks, such is its finesse, but the Excellence is built for carp and it puts a lot of its rivals to shame. There’s silk and steel in equal measure right throughout the 8ft of carbon, and if you invest in one, I’d say sit back and enjoy your fishing with this rod because it really is head and shoulders above anything else out there.

Price: £179.99

Korum 13ft carp float rod

Tech spec

  • Weight: 325g
  • Line Rating: 8lb - 15lb
  • Eight ceramic line guides
  • Full cork handles
  • Heavy parabolic action
  • Matt black finish

Now here’s something a little bit different from Korum, a new range of Carp Float rods in 12ft and 13ft lengths.

With 1.5lb and 1.75lb test curves, what’s so unusual about that, you may ask? Well, they are intended to put the fun and pleasure back into carp fishing, by enabling anglers to use stealthy float tactics rather than today’s more usual straight lead or Method feeder approaches. 

The K-Flex carbon blanks have a powerful parabolic action that kicks in steadily as pressure is applied, and both rods will handle big carp with aplomb. Other key features include matt black livery, full cork handles, and rugged nylon reel seats with black metal hoods. You also get eight light, double-legged ceramic-lined guides.

The downside is that such a powerful progressive action reduces casting capabilities a tad, so if you’re harbouring notions of using one to plonk a 4AA waggler 30 yards out, forget it. They will indeed reach such distances, and more besides, but only when partnered with heavier floats from 20g upwards.

That’s not a negative in my book, as I reckon their longer lengths and superb action make these ideal stalking rods –  the extra reach can be used to delicately present a baited hook close to marginal reeds or snags.

I can already hear mutterings that most stalking rods are short 7ft to 9ft affairs for dropping leads and PVA bags into holes in weed. But find a reed-fringed lake, get your chest waders on and put a few free offerings into likely looking spots. Chances are you’ll find a few fish feeding, and now you can silently drop a bait right on top of their noses, with instant and explosive results.

The reed-fringed waters of Willowbrook Lake in Northants play host to plenty of decent-sized fish that like to roam around the margins looking for spilled feed. So on a quiet Monday morning, armed with little more than a landing net and a boxful of corn, I wandered around the fishery with the 13ft Korum Carp Float rod. 

Twitching lily stems revealed something moving down below, so I scattered a few grains of corn over the area and lowered in a small straight waggler shotted with three No8s spread down the line. Instantly my double corn hookbait was snaffled, and in a torrent of spray and boils the fish bolted off, leaving a wake worthy of any torpedo. 

This is the moment when any carp rod worth its salt steps up to the mark. Tightening down on the reel’s clutch and holding the rod on the horizontal plane, I applied side strain that slowly but surely brought the fish to a halt. 

The rod’s heavy parabolic action had more than done its job in tiring the carp, yet at the net it had enough flexibility in the tip to absorb my quarry’s last-minute lunges without risk of a hook-pull or a parting of the line.

Price | 13ft £44.99 | 12ft £42.99 |

Angling Times verdict

What a great rod from Korum this is! It’s loads of fun to use, with exactly the right blend of fish-playing power and finesse, and perfect for margin fishing when really big fish are on the cards. Its two-piece build means it can be easily carried to the bank ready made up, and is therefore ideal for a short evening stalking session with a float in the margins.

Mark Sawyer