Browning’s new Sphere rods are aptly described by the European tackle giant as being ‘from a different world’.
Made from the very highest quality carbons, every aspect of their design is engineered to produce a finished product that is as near perfect as it can be.
The Sphere blanks are said to be the slimmest and lightest high-modulus carbon rods available, and features include superb ultra-low-friction ‘skeleton’ SiC guides throughout, plus an ergonomic, weight-reducing handle which transmits more ‘feel’ through to the angler.
Between them the seven Sphere Feeder models cover every possible aspect of feeder fishing, from lightweight two-piece silverfish models through to 4.2m (13ft) firm-actioned rods capable of handling heavy leads in raging torrents.
Browning claims the rods will add yards to your cast, yet remain responsive enough to safely play soft-mouthed fish like skimmers and withstand the thumping head-shakes of really big bream without fear of hook-pulls.
That is quite some claim. I have seen and used many really good bream rods in my time, but nothing has ever been absolutely perfect – until now, that is!
From the moment I first handled these rods in Browning’s German factory I knew they were a bit special. The first clue to their excellence came during a conversation I had with Bob Nudd at this year’s Big One show. Bob excitedly handed me one, proclaiming: “This is the best feeder rod I have ever seen.” Praise indeed from a five-time World Champ with a lifetime of match and festival wins.
Recent sellout match attendances at open-water bream venues such as Peterborough’s Ferry Meadows had brought me a spate of ‘which rod?’ emails. These, along with questions from anglers on the bank asking about distance feeder rods, were all the excuse I needed to ask Browning to send in a Sphere for review.
This they duly did, and I received a 3.90m (12ft) three-piece Feeder M that I was assured would be ideal for long casting to big bream in open water.
Now, let’s clear one thing up, these rods are eye-wateringly expensive, with prices from £249.99 right up to £399.99, so you would expect them to be more than reasonable. However, they do come with four matching push-in tips which offer the ultimate in bite detection.
Settling into permanent peg 127 on Ferry Meadows’ Overton Lake, it was time to get some bait in. Clipped up at a modest 60 turns on the 4000-sized reel, the rod delivered a fully loaded 30g feeder bang on to the spot every time. Even a niggling headwind did nothing to affect accuracy or distance.
After 20 minutes of constant casting to get some feed out, I unclipped the reel, tied on a heavier feeder and unleashed the beast – ‘awesome’ is the only the word that does this rod justice.
The power kicked in through the middle section, the carrier was virtually recoil-less, and 90 turns later the feeder was back in my hand. Now I wouldn’t claim to be the best caster around, probably only just better than average. But never before had I chucked a feeder so far with so little effort.
But would this rod prove too stiff to play a big bream on? We’ve all been there – up pops the feeder, the bream starts shaking its head, and the rod doesn’t cushion the weight of the feeder being tossed around, so out comes the hook.
It’s the saddest sight in match fishing, staring at an empty landing net head with a big swirl behind it.
Suffice to say, this rod handled the situation with consummate ease – every fish was brought to the net early, apparently increasing the likelihood of a hook-pull, but everything stuck fast.
I could go on and on about the virtues of this rod, but I’ll leave you with this thought… don’t buy any other distance feeder rod until you have seen a Sphere.
Without doubt these Spheres are the best rods Browning has ever produced. Casting with breathtaking performance and accuracy, they have unequalled fish-playing powers, and are aesthetically unlike any others. If the rest of the Sphere Feeder series is anywhere near as good as this 12ft medium test model than Browning has created something out of this world.