Multi award-winning carp rod manufacturer Free Spirit has added eight new Power Feeder models to its top-end Hi ‘S’ match range.
Two years of input from some of the UK’s best feeder anglers have gone into the design of these long-cast rods. Specials are two- and three-piece blanks in 12ft, 13ft or 14ft lengths, all rated to a maximum 120g (4oz) casting weight. The souped-up Distance versions of the Specials will whack out up to 160g (5.6oz) – a really hefty payload.
In terms of build, High ‘S’ Feeder rods are up there with the best. High-end Kigan anti-frap guides and cut-away Fuji reel seats not only give the rods plenty of transmission and feel, but will accommodate larger big pit reels.
All Free Spirits rods are made from super-slim, ‘perdurable’ (non-scratch) Japanese low resin 40-tonne and 24-tonne carbon cloths with a 1k weave, which results in a sensational matt finish.
The blanks boast wickedly responsive casting actions, super-fast tip recovery and ultra-chuckability for bream and carp on big open waters.
Other key features on the new Distance Feeder models include long, hollow quivertips in the same material as the rest of the blank. These ensure a smooth, even power transfer, and longer casts can be made with smaller/lighter feeders. This suits the rods to situations when less feed at long range is called for.
Handles – abbreviated or full cork – are a standard 22ins but can be customised by Free Spirit to whatever length best suits you.
As you might gather by now these are high-class performance rods with a price tag to match, but then the best is never cheap. Overpriced they are not.
For the live test I chose a noted big bream water, Earlswood’s famous Yachting Lake. The bream run large, are no pushover to catch, and are regularly targeted in matches. They tend to feed quite a long way out, making them the ideal subject for live-testing a distance-casting bream rod.
My chosen Free Spirit model was the new two-piece 12ft Power Feeder Special – a first-rate bream weapon with enough backbone to chuck Method feeders at carp.
Put this rod together and you already know you’re on a winner. The sublime slimline blank, with its demure carbon weave and matt finish, is a thing of beauty, while the perfectly spaced Kigan guides add to its aesthetic qualities.
The long hollow quivertips (3oz and 3½oz) arguably add a touch too much stiffness to the action. But in full casting flight you realise that this is all part of Free Spirit’s intended package, a feature clearly adapted from the company’s distance casting carp rods.
The Power Feeder whacks out any type of feeder with no tip bounce, and indeed instant tip recovery. Cast, my word it certainly can cast…. 30g weights don’t even register on the blank, 40g weights power out without a hint of a wobble, while 50g weights, thanks to the blank loading quite high on the second section, still get blitzed.
I stopped at that weight, wanting to concentrate more on the fishing, and getting a feel for how the blank copes with bin-lids on match tackle. My set-up was a 10lb fluorocarbon shockleader to a 5lb reel line, a 0.17mm hooklength and a size 14 hook baited with two small pieces of worm.
Not a single fish was lost during the test, and a progressive action decidedly on the tippy side was no problem. The rod has enough cushioning through its mid-section to cope with headshakes and last-minute lunges without the hook pulling.
Expensive, yes, but if you’re seriously into your distance bream fishing this rod could be for you. Classy looks and furnishings are matched by a high-octane casting performance that may well give you an added edge.
I would have been happier with a 2oz quivertip, but having spoken with Free Spirit’ boss Simeon Bond I’m told that these will be available very soon.