Browning Black Magic bomb and feeder review

Browning has pulled four inspirational new feeder rods from the hat, at a price that won’t bring on the hot flushes. 

The Black Magic quartet is made up of Distance, Stillwater, River and Bomb (live tested) rods. All have a matt black gloss finish with matching whippings set off by classy red and silver detailing. Ceramic lined guides, a good length cork and EVA handle and a secure locking reel seat all add to their aesthetic appeal. 

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The carbon composite blanks are fast-tapered to hit the horizon, with the weight of the feeder loading high on the tip section. But it’s not all about casting clout, as the softly progressive, almost through action demonstrates. It offers reassuring cushioning against hook-pulls when targeting soft-mouthed skimmers and bream, or pursuing chub and roach with small hooks and light hooklengths. 

Regular readers can’t fail to notice the number of short feeder rods I’ve reviewed of late – am I stuck in a rut? Well, no… I reckon this reflects the massive popularity of feeder fishing these days, and 9ft, 10ft and 11ft rods are especially sought-after. 

For commercial fishery work their reduced length helps with casting accuracy, and their progressive action can’t be beaten for targeting F1s and carp. 

All this brings me nicely on to the live test venue – the day-ticket Stretton Lakes, just off the A1 halfway between Peterborough and Grantham. This peaceful and fishery has four lakes on site.

These tend to attract pleasure anglers rather than ardent matchmen. The complex does, though, have a rectangular match lake with islands running along the middle, just perfect for very short-range feeder and bomb tactics. What better place to put Browning’s Black Magic C-Picker Bomb rod through its paces?

There’s a choice of 8ft 2ins, 10ft and 11ft lengths, the longest being selected for live test duty. 

The carp in this pool show a distinct preference for baits presented on a tiny Method feeder, especially if it’s cast tight into the gaps between the islands. It’s not much of a chuck distance-wise, but the lake does test a rod’s casting accuracy which, in this case, was arrow-straight. 

I reckon the blank will cope easily with casting up to 30g (although Browning rates it to 50g). That kind of goes against its ‘bomb rod’ tag, as I reckon ‘lightweight feeder rod’ describes it better. Effective casting distance tops out at around 30m.

However, it’s swings and roundabouts with this rod. Its non-locking fish playing action quite literally makes up for any shortcomings. If I had to criticise anything, it would be the top section that doesn’t blend all that seamlessly with the stiffer butt section, not that this affects its performance in any way. 

I should also mention that I’m a lifelong fan of single blaze-coloured quivertips. I don’t like green or yellow, and I wouldn’t normally be seen dead with a banded multi-coloured tip. 

I have to say, though, that this is the fourth Browning rod I have live-tested with the red and yellow Euro banded tip. It’s a proper attention-grabber – a bit like the rod itself. 

Price: £49.95