More and more sizeable waters are opening their gates to pike fishing, where generally the fish are much larger, so the need for specialist heavy-duty gear has never been more apparent.
Drennan brand E-SOX has stepped up to the plate with three new beefed-up versions of its ever-popular Series 7 Spincast lure rods and simply called them E-SOX Piker Lure Rods.
They are available in 8ft (RRP £69.95), 9ft (£79.95) and 10ft (£89.95) lengths, all manufactured from high-modulus carbon fibre, and sporting super-comfortable cork handles, smart black and green whipping, Fuji reel seats and discreet hook holders.
The main differences from their lighter counterparts are the extra half-pound test curve for each version – the 8ft rod now boasting 1.75lb, the 9ft 2lb and the 10ft 2.5lb – and stronger double leg Fuji guides.
As you would expect from any Drennan product the finish is superb and attention to detail is second to none. However, looks are one thing but how would they perform under the pressure of constant casting and, hopefully, tackling a large pike?
I got the chance to put the nine-footer through its paces at a large Lincolnshire mere which I know holds a good head of pike, some reaching weights into the mid-twenties. Because it is very weedy I chose a floating Zagtail lure so I could work it from the surface down to around a metre– close enough to the weed and where the pike would be lurking.
Any lure rod needs to have very distinctive characteristics – light and comfortable enough to be able to be held for long periods, sufficient tip action to accurately cast even small lures a good distance and, most importantly, the guts in the middle section to persuade a big, angry pike to keep away from underwater obstructions.
It passed the first and second challenges with flying colours, aiming the lure just short of some overhanging branches where I was sure a hungry predator would be lurking. After a few casts the rod got its third test, first from a couple of suicidal jacks and then eventually something altogether more substantial.
This brute was in no mood to come to the boat and made a number of determined excursions towards a sunken branch. It was at this point, as I leaned into the fish, that the middle section kicked in and quickly brought the beast under control, a long lean 21-pounder.