When a good mate of mine suggested that as tackle editor of Angling Times I should take a long hard look at Angling Direct’s Advanta Discovery rods I admit to having been slightly sceptical.
My previous experience of own-brand rods over the years had left a lot to be desired, to be honest. However, for friendship’s sake I rang Angling Direct’s commercial manager Stewart Downing, and arranged to pick up the Discovery RVS rod range.
Stewart, no mean angler himself, said he’d had plenty of input into the rods’ design and build, which somewhat allayed my fears about any lack of quality.
Turning them over in my hands I was more than pleasantly surprised by the rods’ looks. The lightweight, gunsmoke grey two-section blanks are clearly made from quality carbon cloths. Fittings include natty carbon-effect 18mm DPS reel seats with gunmetal grey hoods, and old-school full cork handles without a trace of Duplon or EVA to be seen.
Understated decals add to the classy look, and the rods are ringed with decent-sized ceramic-lined guides throughout. I was very impressed, especially given their low prices.
The one that really caught my eye was the Discovery RVS Twin Tip Power S/U Barbel rod.
Unusually, this bertie-beater comes with two identical-looking top sections emblazoned with luminous white tips, but with test curves of 2.25lb and 2.75lb, giving the user loads of tactical options.
I live reasonably close to the Trent, the UK’s best barbel river by a country mile, so it made perfect sense to go there with the Discovery Twin Tip. I knew just the swim!
Gunthorpe Island is fishable on a syndicate ticket, but I’m allowed on there every now and again. ‘Forceful’ does not come close to describing the heaving cauldron of white water that greets you at Gunthorpe Weir. The deafening torrent ripping over the sill fills the stoutest heart with trepidation but it’s a stunning assault on the senses, with clouds of spray and that unmistakable aroma of river.
Every now and again the wind whips cotton balls of white foam from the water’s surface, and these rise into the air and vaporise as though they’d never existed. Magical stuff!
I rigged the Advanta with 15lb reel line, 12lb hooklength and a super-strong hook, and should really have gone even heavier.
This is not a distance-casting rod – its progressively through action is geared more towards helping you land big, aggressive fish than chucking 100 yards. But for hitting 70 yards with hefty kit and lines, the rod quite probably performs better than some costing three times as much.
By Gunthorpe’s standards it was a slow day. I’d mistaken one bite for weed on the line and lost the fish (my fault), so next time the tip pulled round I was all over the rod like a cheap suit.
Piling on the pressure, I was impressed by the amount of grunt the rod’s mid-section put out. Being a twin tip, it’s versatile, too. The 2.25lb top is ideal for all normal work, while the meatier 2.75lb top is perfect for fast, deep rivers, even those swollen by floodwater.
You could, in fact, have a matching pair of these for the price of one expensive barbel rod that in my humble opinion would not do the job any better.
Pound for pound, the Discovery Twin Tip Power with its 2.25lb and 2.75lb test curve top sections is arguably one of the best barbel rods on the market. You’d be hard-pushed to find a rod of its type to match it for the asking price.
It will tackle powerful rivers such as the Trent, Severn or Wye with its lighter top section in place, while for heavy leads and the meatiest of terminal kit the 2.75lb top comes into play. For playing big barbel, this eye-opening own-brand rod is up there with the very best.