From the Welsh valleys, Frenzee has just introduced three quality rods for the commercials, starting at a very modest £55.
The Pro FXT series includes 9ft and 10ft Feeder rods and an 11ft Waggler. All boast cork and Duplon handles, screw-down reel seats, and high quality SiC lined guides.
How does Frenzee do it for the price? It’s all down to the blanks, which are a blended carbon composite material that is much cheaper than carbon itself. But before you dismiss these tidy little rods as being inferior or second-rate, let me tell you that under certain circumstances a composite material is every bit as good, and at times even better, than thoroughbred carbon.
You do have to accept that the Pro FXT rods aren’t power casters, but that said, most modern commercials are not vast expanses of water. Casting accuracy, rather than chucking over the horizon, is of more value.
One such venue where this type of rod comes into its own is the tiny day-ticket College Lake at Aynho – handily close to my Oxfordshire home, although I must confess I’d never fished it before. However, I’d always seen anglers dotted along its banks whenever I drove past, so I reckoned it must hold a fair few fish.
So when the opportunity arose to live test a short-range feeder rod I thought I would take a closer look at the venue. A quick walk round revealed a comma-shaped lake several hundred yards long, fishable only from one bank, and 20m-40m wide, peppered with beds of rushes and lilies. However, despite all these obvious fish-holding spots, many years of match fishing on snake lakes has taught me that casting up to a bare bank with a Method feeder tends to work well on narrow watercourses like this.
So, ignoring the obvious fishing spots – much to the amusement and disbelief of Angling Times cameraman Lloyd Rogers – I opted to fish a short section of featureless open clay bank. Faced with a cast of around 30m, the two-piece Frenzee 10ft Pro FXT Feeder rod felt quite soft in the hand, without being floppy, and proved more than capable of casting a 30g feeder the required distance. The carrier section is stiff and quick enough in its recovery to make very accurate casts at short range, perfect for my far-bank tactics.
A few casts and half-an-hour later, while Lloyd was still chiding me about ignoring the blindingly obvious spots to fish, the tip simply dropped back as the feeder slipped down the shelf. In response I wound down quickly – the line pick-up was quick and clean as the Frenzee Pro FXT pulled into the fish. It has a seamless fighting curve without flat spots, and what could be best described as a softly progressive action.
There’s enough grunt in the blank’s bottom end to deal with big carp, and it has lots and lots of pulling power, but this is not at the expense of ‘feel’, which is why this rod is such a pleasure to use.