Power rating: 6lb
Extras: Side keeper ring
You could do worse than use the Redditch tackle giant’s products down the years as a means of charting the development of the modern match fishing rod in terms of materials, furnishings and specifications.
A potted history of Shakespeare notables would show the fibreglass Match International as a rod ahead of its time. This was followed by the excellent, if rather expensive, President which I believe was the first carbon fibre rod to be built with a spliced-in tip.
Then we had the superb Mach 2 Boron which held centre stage with matchmen for many seasons, but was eventually superceded by the Mach 3 carbon. Since then we have been blessed with the firm’s high-modulus carbon Superteam model, launched in 2014.
Shakespeare did, of course, introduce many other match rods but those listed above were widely recognised as being as good as it got back in the day. Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that match fishing was all about using a waggler or stick float to catch winning nets of roach, chub, dace, perch or bream, the tool of choice being a 13ft, three-piece.
The finesse to deftly flick a small waggler across a canal, cleanly pick up line from the surface when long trotting and cast bodied wagglers or sliders into deeper water on rivers and lakes, are qualities we expect of any good match rod.
That brings me nicely on to Shakespeare’s Superteam 13ft match rod which really is a jack of all trades and will take all these tasks in its stride. Yes, this rod was first introduced a few years back, but that doesn’t make it in the least bit tired or dated. It remains to this day one of the best all-round match-style float rods that few others can hold a candle to.
The three-piece pencil slim carbon blank is nice and light in the hand, making it easy to hold for long spells, and a requirement of any good river rod. Worthy of note are its zirconium oxide guides that enable almost friction-free line travel, very useful when trotting a river at the pace of its current.
Its fast, progressive action doesn’t lock up under stress, so when you hook into a really big fish the blank will absorb and keep absorbing its runs and lunges with no fear of the line snapping. At the same time it has the backbone to boss fish away from snags.
Live testing the rod was interesting, as I already had some idea about the Superteam’s performance from an earlier Angling Times review. This time, rather than take it to a carp puddle or river, I thought I would test the blank’s sharpness and line pick-up qualities on a deep venue I knew held some big roach and decent ide.
Waggler tackle with small hooks and maggots, coupled with a nagging easterly side wind, wasn’t perhaps the ideal mix for a decent day’s fishing. But I needn’t have worried – Shakespeare’s finest 13ft of carbon cast a hefty three-swan insert waggler with ease and unerring accuracy.
With the float set at 12ft deep, line pick-up speed was central to hitting bites and the rod didn’t disappoint, connecting time and time again with the most tentative of enquiries.
As the fish responded to the feed they started coming up in the water, and bites became lightning-fast.
Now the line needed to be whipped from the surface at a rate of knots, and yet again the rod performed impeccably. Not merely a jack of all trades but a master of them all.
Another pure class floatfishing rod from the Shakespeare stable and perfect for silverfish, the Superteam 13ft is tactically flexible and ultra-reliable. Use it with confidence, however light the terminal tackle. Its anti-locking nature and progressive action allows it to cope with sizeable fish, something that cannot be said of many old-school float rods.