A lure rod designed for bank and boat fishing needs to tick all the boxes in terms of stiffness and sensitivity and we think we’ve found the ideal tool in the Abu Garcia Victis 30g option.
On first inspection this 6ft 6ins rod looks fairly pokey, with a fast action, but put it through its paces and a gentle giant is revealed, with a fish-playing action more in keeping with a rod three times its asking price.
Angling Times staffmen Ian Jones, Chris Haydon, Freddie Sandford and Sam Curtis regularly get out and fish a local waterway in their lunch hour for pike, zander and perch – the perfect opportunity to review the 30g Abu Garcia Victis rod.
How did they rate it? Here’s what the lads had to say...
News reporter - Chris Haydon
“This Abu Garcia rod is perfect for targeting pike and zander on larger jig heads of 10g-plus.
“Its stiffness makes it useful for punchy casts, and when it’s loaded correctly great distances can be achieved. While it’s probably not the best rod on
the market for perching with micro-lures, it doubles up as a good tool for vertical jigging.
“During testing I caught a cracking perch of 2lb on a 5g jig head, along with a small pike.
“Both bites were easily detected through the rod, which landed the fish with ease.”
News reporter - Freddie Sandford
“Despite its 30g rating, the 6ft 6ins Victis can still be used for fishing with smaller jig heads and spinners.
“On a recent session we arrived at a local water to find pike smashing fry tight into the margins, and the short rod enabled pinpoint casting into small gaps in the reeds.
“The rod was tested with pike to around 5lb, and there was still enough give in the rod’s somewhat stiff action to cushion the lunges and sudden runs of these fish.
“Although the rod wasn’t designed for this sort of fishing, my results highlight its versatility.”
Web producer - Sam Curtis
“Abu Garcia’s Victis rod is a convenient size for any angler who wants to travel light – and given our limited time on the bank it was the perfect accompaniment to our lunchtime session.
“The Victis was a real joy to cast – with a 30g rating it could chuck 5g-10g lures with ease. A stiff yet responsive tip made playing pike a pleasure.
“For me the rod was probably a bit too heavy for the fish we were targeting on the day, and I would probably prefer one of Abu’s lighter-rated models.”
News editor Ian Jones
“As we only have an hour over lunch to fish we need to get to the bank fast, and at just 6ft 6ins long the Victis slides into the back of the car with ease.
“I was surprised at its sensitivity, considering its 30g rating. There are lots of perch in the water we fish and you do hook a few on lures meant for pike or zander – but none of the satisfaction and enjoyment of the fight was lost with these smaller fish.
“I was particularly impressed with its fast action, which is vital when fishing for zander in deep water. You need to keep in touch with your lure at all times, and this rod let me do just that.
“We fished from the bank on the day but I’d love to test this rod properly on a deep reservoir which is where I think it’ll show its true potential.
“The dual-screw reel seat is a unique feature that I’m yet to find on any other rod.”
Light lure fishing has captured the imagination of UK anglers to an amazing degree in the past two years.
This has seen an influx of tackle rarely spotted in British tackle shops as most kit designed to fish this style had been the preserve of European, American and Japanese anglers. One such manufacturer of fine lure fishing tackle is Quantum. Offering a huge range of different rods to cover all styles of lure fishing, it was towards the lighter end that I looked to test.
The rod, a one-piece Quantum PT Accurist Spin is available in five different weights and lengths – from the shortest 1.98m (rated at a casting weight of 7g -21g) to the longest, two-piece 2.55m (CW 12g -74g) model. The 2.03m (CW 3g-12g) model I tested is a one-piece blank. This makes the rod more responsive when fishing lighter jig heads and hard baits, as there is no joining spigot to reduce the ‘telegraphing’ of the ‘working’ lure through the blank and into the angler’s hand. This is further enhanced by its new and improved build using lightweight HSX54 graphite construction.
The handle is made from EVA and features ergonomic grips on both the reel handle and butt section. Weighing only 95g (just over 3oz) it is perfect for using all day without fatigue. All lure rods are rated between Very Fast through to Soft. This rating indicates the stiffness of the blank and how quickly it will recover after casting. Basically, the faster the rod, the less the tip shakes and wobbles after casting!
Very fast rods are inclined to feel a bit like ‘broom handles’ while soft rods are great for playing small fish, but lack the butt power for casting distances. I found the Quantum PT Accurist Spin to be Fast, and combined with the light Casting Weight rating of 3g-12g, makes this rod a bit of an all-rounder for fishing light lures.
To put the rod through its paces and to test its versatility, I decided to both drop shot on my local river Nene, before going to the other extreme, vertical jig fishing into depth of 70ft on the mighty Rutland Water, the biggest man-made lake in Europe. For drop shotting, the river was not in the greatest of trim, quite dirty and carrying an extra 2ft on its normal levels. This worked in my favour in some ways as I needed to use a drop shot weight of 12g to hold station in and around the river’s various features.
With a handful of small perch and one getting on for a pound, the rod coped admirably with the prevailing conditions. For part two, it was on to a boat on a bitterly cold Rutland Water. Faced with depths of over 100ft in some areas, it is often necessary to use jig heads from 30g up to 50g. But, as you are vertical jigging – dropping the lure off the rod tip, and not casting – a light, fast rod like the Quantum PT Accurist Spin is ideal for targeting massive shoals of 1lb-4lb zander.
The heavy jig heads enable you to keep bow in the braid to a minimum, so you are able to work the lure correctly and ‘keep in touch’ with the bait while bouncing it along the bottom. On a slow day, with a few missed bites, the best fish of the test was a 5lb 9oz zander, taken in around 70ft, a few yards off the pumping tower. It put up one hell of a scrap from such a depth, but was easily tamed.
I would class this rod as decribed ‘on the tin’. It is a lighTt spinning rod, a little heavy for pure drop shotting and notquite heavy enough for some of the larger soft plastics and hard lures. But, as a light, middle-ground rod, it is brilliant. Having a very ‘tippy’ action, but with plenty of grunt in the bottom end, it is a lure rod that will serve you admirably whether you’re targeting bigger perch, zander or up to double-figure pike. It’ll certainly be in the boat on my next Rutland trip!
Casting weight: 3g to 12g
Multi-coloured CNC EVA handle
Sic Fuji guides
Daiwa has added five Light Lure rods to its predator portfolio. The Japanese firm, who can also boast one of the most sought-after light lure rod ranges around in the form of their prestigious Orient-inspired Gekkabijin models, has obviously studied our own lure market carfully before releasing its latest offerings. These rods not only fit the bill perfectly with regard to our drop shot, jig and spin tactics, but they are also sensibly priced at a penny under £60.
The rods offer plenty of scope for the avid lure enthusiast and can be used with light spoons, plugs and shads, as well as the smallest of soft imitations in the case of the two Dropshot models.
These are sure to prove hugely popular, and come in 6ft 6ins or 7ft lengths. Interestingly, they have been designed by Daiwa with identical casting weights from 1g-9g.
If you enjoy working small lures, the Small Plugger rod (3g-14g) should be ideal. The slightly heavier actioned Shad-Caster rod has a 5g-21g rating, while the all-round 8ft Crazy Cranker rod will handle casting weights of between 7g and 28g to cope with larger lures when pike are the main quarry in your sights.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Daiwa has introduced a small but concise range of rods for our fast-developing lure market.
After all, the global tackle manufacturing giant has acquired and applied more knowledge about developing and constructing short rods for predatory fish than any other company on the planet.
This is a fact that becomes evident within moments of assembling one of the latest Specialist Light Lure Dropshot models.
The ultra-thin two-piece blanks, made frompremium grade carbon, have lightweight single-leg ceramic braid-friendly guides and pleasing cosmetics on a comfy cork split handle.
There’s a tough plastic screw-down hooded reel seat, and a hook-keeper is thrown in for good measure.
However, it isn’t just its stunning build quality that helps this rod to earn a big thumbs-up from me. It also has a very impressive transmission that enables the user to feel every little knock and tremble on the lure, especially, when using a thin braided mainline.
I must also admit that this is the first drop shot rod with a white tip section that I thought was anything more than a needless added extra, and I’ll tell you why. It’s nothing to do with its reflective white colour – something I still don’t see as being necessary.
However, the end of this rod has a seamless flat spot-free 14ins of solid graphite or similar spliced-in tip which has just enough spring, tension and action to help with casting and hook-setting, tempered with exactly the right degree of softness.
This enables you to work a lure with precision and dexterity.
During the live test I was able to tighten up the mainline to a tiny 4g weight without dragging it along the bottom. This, in turn, allowed me to drop the lure on to the bed of the marina while keeping the weight static – a presentation that worked really well for small perch in the cold and dirty water conditions I was faced with.
Like most drop shot rods this one has a progressive fish-playing action, but without the backbone to handle really big critters.
This is not meant as a criticism – let’s face it, 99 per cent of the time it’s perch that fall to drop shot tactics, with anything over 3lb considered a proper specimen.
The rod’s tactile transmission, lightness in the hand and ability to twitch tiny imitations to resemble a tempting snack for a passing stripey are far more important than having enough backbone to bank a big esox. Superb little rods!
These new Daiwa Dropshot rods both come with exactly the same fittings and weight casting ratings of 1g-9g. So the only decision you have to make if you fancy owning one is, which length to go for?
Even then, with only 6ins between them at 6ft 6ins and 7ft, it isn’t really going to affect performance much.
If you do fish water over 6ft deep, though, I would advise the longer model. The action of both is perfect for small lures, giving lots of ‘feel’. They are light and easy to hold for long periods. Pound for pound I would say these are the best bespoke drop shot rods on the market right now.
This eye-catching new range of rods is designed for all light lure work and can be used with tiny spoons, plugs and soft lures. Incredibly lightweight, and with plenty of feel and transmission, they will make catching every fish a joy. The two drop shot models feature spliced-in solid carbon tips for added sensitivity.
These Fox Rage Warrior Spin Rods offer exceptional value for new recruits to lure fishing, or any angler operating on a tight budget.
Made from a lightweight carbon, they feature the unique Fox Slik guides, have a seamless progressive action and are furnished with high grade cork handles and top quality reel seats.
They are suited to bank and boat fishing alike, and come in 210cm and 240cm lengths with three ranges of casting weights to choose from – 10g-30g, 15g-50g and 20g-60g.
This delightfully soft, progressively actioned Quantum Centex Felchen 240 rod is designed for fishing at depth for whitefish in Alpine lakes and rivers.
The locals fish from boats, using a team of artificial nymphs rigged paternoster-style with a weight on the end of the line. Sounds a bit like drop shotting? That’s what I thought.
I reckon this little beauty would make one of the best lightweight perch drop shot rods you ever will see. The 2.10m rod, currently being coveted by National Drop Shot champion Nick Fletcher, could detect the beats of a butterfly’s wings, and weighs in at a ridiculous 86g.
It comes with light and medium push-in carbon quivertips, and can be ordered from any Browning retailer.
A recent trip to the Browning factory near Hamburg left me staggered at the sheer choice and volume of drop shot tackle now available. We Brits look to be catching up fast on the Continentals in our understanding of this specialist lure fishing technique, and judging by the number of anglers I see jiggling soft plastics from canal towpaths, not to mention the amount of drop shotting kit in tackle shops, we should soon be a major force to be reckoned with.
But just what have those Germans got that we haven’t – other than footballers who can win penalty shootouts? On the drop shot front, quite a bit really – but the good news is, nearly all the kit is available at retailers with Browning accounts.
My rod and reel pairing for this live test is not only exceptionally pretty to look at, but highly affordable – and the combo does all that’s asked of it.
So, enter the Quantum Magic Perch. This two-piece carbon, epoxy-coated rod comes in 2.1m, 2.4m and 2.7m versions. My choice for canals would be its shortest incarnation, which rather handily happens to be this week’s live test model. Its graphics are top-notch – who could resist the realistic perch scale design along the butt section? More practically you can add braid-friendly SiC guides, full cork handle, low-profile concealed lockable reel seat and cut-away thumb and forefinger recess which put you directly in contact with the blank.
The rod, according to Quantum, is tailored more towards light spinning than drop shotting, which is reflected in its 3g-18g casting weight parameters. This means it has enough backbone to chuck a fairly large lure around, but this is very much a bespoke perch rod. To that end the blank has a fairly soft progressive action with a fair bit of give in the tip section.
A stiffer-tipped rod seems to help impart the required jagging movement that makes imitation baits wiggle, and this one has an awful lot going for it. Nicely light in the hand at just 134g, very easy to manoeuvre around obstacles thanks to its short length, its cork abbreviated handle is warm and comfy to hold, even on the coldest of days.
The best bit, though, is the price – at just £47.99 it’s a steal.
This high quality yet affordable rod from Daiwa is absolutely spot-on for drop shotting. This type of short spinning rod is well suited to smaller venues, which is why on a very cold and windy winter’s day, it accompanied me to several predator hotspots along the tiny Oxford Canal.
But exactly what should you be looking for in a decent drop shot rod? As you’re going to be holding it for long periods of time it definitely needs to be lightweight and this whispish little beauty certainly is that, weighing a mere 4.3oz. It is also essential that the blank has just the right amount of stiffness in its tip to work the lure properly. If it’s too soft, it will simply pull-round cushioning the lure’s movements against the casting weight. If it’s too stiff you not only lose the rod’s sense of feel and transmission, it is likely to be too gutsy for the size of fish you’re likely to be catching, and will pull out the hook.
What you’re looking for is a compromise between these two characteristics and this pencil thin, two-piece, high modulus carbon blank designed for casting light weights between 2g and 10g delivers them delightfully well. It can impart lots of movement with a simple flick of the wrist, and has more sensitivity than a rom-com chick flick.
It also has some very impressive and tasteful furnishings, including a proper cork handle with a wooden butt cap, an original Fuji reel seat and superb braid-compatible titanium oxide lined guides.
Rarer than hen’s teeth, more in demand than Leonardo DiCaprio at a hen night, the Snapper is almost certainly the UK’s fastest selling drop shot rod.
If advance sales are anything to go by, this modest eight-footer could be big-fish brand Korum’s ultimate success story in the rod stakes.
So what makes it so highly thought of among anglers and tackle shop owners?
Obviusly its affordable price has a lot to do with it, and there’s added value in that you get not one, but two short (10ins) quivertips. The carbon version works best with payloads ranging from 5g-12g, while the lighter glass tip is recommended for use with 1g-7g, making it better suited to smaller drop shot soft plastic lures and their associated weights.
Having two separate tips on a single carrier top section gives the rod considerable tactical flexibility. This is something I was to appreciate as I put it through its paces on a bitterly cold day on a high and icy River Nene, near Peterborough.
The weather was bitter, even by Russian standards – but more of that later! Before telling you what our Soviet comrades get up to on a freezing mid-January day I should reveal more about the Korum Snapper Twin Tip Drop Shot rod.
The build makes a nonsense of its budget price. Quality fixtures all round include a lightweight reel seat that positions your fingers directly against the blank for maximum vibration and feel. The abbreviated handle is easy on the eye and imparts a nice sense of balance, as well as suiting single-handed conventional and underarm casts in tight spots.
The fully lined ceramic guides are braid-friendly, and I can’t see any angler wearing a groove in them. The all-carbon two-piece blank, with its black gloss finish, boasts a sharply progressive action that kicks in around halfway down the top section and retains more than enough grunt through its butt to set the hooks decisively – important when hard-mouthed pike and zander take the lure.
If I were to be really pedantic and picky, I could say that the blank is a fraction over-gunned for smaller perch and mini-pike and zander on canals. But fit the sensitive glass quivertip and it’s absolutely ideal for jigging a tiny drop shot lure around on an elastic and fluorocarbon leader.
In any case, this is a multi-purpose rod which, with its carbon quivertip fitted, is more than capable of throwing a decent-sized lure around for pike. I made that changeover after seeing a big pike swirl at my little drop shot lure as it hit the water and could immediately appreciate the rod’s much pokier feel. Sadly, the pike didn’t come back for seconds, hardly surprising given the colour and temperature of the water.
And so to those crazy Russians, who must observe the single most stupid custom known to man (and, on the day, a few women too). It involves taking off all your clothes, then jumping into the nearest freezing cold water.
They chose to do it while I was conducting this particular tackle test on the Nene, and Angling Times cameraman Lloyd Rogers and I were completely agog – we thought we were witnessing a mass suicide.
However, after several completely unwanted rescue attempts it seems we had stumbled upon Peterborough’s resident Ruskies taking part in their annual ‘freeze your bits-off’ day… to call it ‘mental’ doesn’t even come close!
Depending on when were born, you would have witnessed some, if not all, of the following significant events: England winning the world cup, decimalisation, man walking on the moon, the birth of commercial fisheries, the Krankies live, mobile phones and social media.
So what’s the next big thing? Well, for anglers, without a doubt it’s drop shotting - the fishing sensation that’s sweeping the nation.
This arm of the sport has been a huge hit in Europe for many years, but it’s only recently that it has started to appear at UK venues, and unlike nearly all the other disciplines within our sport, there is no national team competing with other countries, or individual world champions showing everyone else how it should be done.
In an attempt to learn more about it, I have spent the last couple of months grabbing every spare hour I can find to wander the towpath of the Oxford Canal using a selection of rods, reels, and other drop shot paraphernalia in an attempt to gain a better understanding of what works best, and why.
While I’m not yet a leading authority on the method, I am getting to learn more about the tackle. So without further ado, here is my first ever drop shot rod-and-reel combination review.
The Shimano Yasei (which apparently means ‘wild’ in Japanese) Red Spin Perch 190 is actually classed by its manufactures as more of a spinning rod than a drop shot tool. However, after trying out quite a few different rods, I can vouch for the fact that this 6ft 3in, two-piece model does make a first rate drop shot and light spinning companion.
It hasn’t got the finest or most sensitive tip that I have seen or used on a rod of this type, but do not let that detract from its uses. In fact I am fast forming the opinion that drop shot rods with slightly stiffer tip sections seem to impart an enhanced speed of dart and jerk movement into the lure.
In addition, the petite nature of this blank makes line control on short accurate casts much easier. It also allows you to easily work the lure very close to the near bank, something which is of paramount importance when fishing up against moored boats or along the fish-holding deeper water which often found on stretches of canal with sheet metal pilings.
Although crisp on the strike, this rod couldn’t be classed as savage, but it does have more of a fast-parabolic rather than a through-type of fish-playing action. This definitely powers-in toward the middle of the pencil-thin carbon blank when it’s being put under stress which has, unfortunately, caused me to pull-out of a couple of small zander. However, in the rod’s defence, I have seen this happen to other people I have been out fishing with, so I am guessing it’s a common enough occurrence with this particular species of fish.
Like I said earlier, it’s still very much a learning process for everyone, but if you fancy having a go – without wanting to spend too much of whatever you have left in the wallet after the seasonal break - then the red Yasei gets the green light from me.
From £29.99 (5ft 1-11g version) up to £44.99 (10ft 50-100g).
The Catana range has been a main stay of Shimano’s lure rod collection for many years, however, these DX versions are brand new for 2015. Benefitting from a total upgrade across all 23 models in the DX range, these two-piece rods feature Vibra Sport reel seats, a XT30/40+Geo Fibre blank and easy access hook keepers.
The 198cm 3-14g costs £79.99, the latter two models RRP at £89.99.
Available in three models - 198cm 3-14g, 225cm 3-14g and 255cm 4-18g – these blanks are very light and tippy, perfect to impart life into any drop shot lure. Features include Fox SLIK guide system for maximum abrasion resistance with braided lines, screw down reel seat and slim premium EVA handle.
8ft Twin Tip: £49.99
7ft Lure: £39.99
8ft Lure: £44.99
Brand new to the Snapper range, Korum have released three predator rods, an 8ft Twin Tip Drop Shot, 7ft and 8ft Lure rods. The Drop Shot rod comes with a 1g-7g glass tip and a 5g-12g carbon tip for maximum response regardless of the size of lure used.
The two Lure rods (10g-30g and 20g-50g) are perfect for all types of lure and jig fishing.
In launching its Agitator Drop Shot Rods Wychwood is bang on trend, but all four have been designed, created and field-trialled here in the UK specifically for use on our smaller canals, rivers and lakes – unlike many others on the market.
The 6.3ft to 9ft two-piece carbon blanks are incredibly responsive, with lots of finesse and feel in their tip sections, ideal for super-lightweight drop-shotting techniques. The abbreviated handles, white tip whippings and braid-friendly triple-leg guides should put them among next year’s best sellers.
A new series of six lure rods covers a whole host of casting weights and tactics for use in both fresh and saltwater situations.
Sure to be hugely popular is the 7ft Drop Shot rod suitable for lures from 3g to 20g. It has a fast, progressive action, and the EVA handle offers comfortable fishing and feedback to the angler working tiny lures.
Designed primarily for the massive German predator fishing market, these carbon rods aren’t cheap, but they feature some of the best advances in rod-making.
They look and feel fabulous in the hand thanks to an adjustable counterbalance weight in the butt that gives the rod a light feel when a reel is attached, and the reel seat is designed to transmit superb feedback when working lures and playing fish.
This telescopic spinning rod range is expected to be amongst the best-selling new Shimano models of the forthcoming year.
Their telescopic design allows them to be stored away easily in the boot of a car or the cupboard of a holiday home making them ideal for those ‘let’s have a chuck moments’.
The comprehensive eight rod range comes in two casting weights of 10gr to 30gr and 14gr to 40gr and could be used for anything from surface stalking carp to spinning for pike.
More and more sizeable waters are opening their gates to pike fishing, where generally the fish are much larger, so the need for specialist heavy-duty gear has never been more apparent.
Drennan brand E-SOX has stepped up to the plate with three new beefed-up versions of its ever-popular Series 7 Spincast lure rods and simply called them E-SOX Piker Lure Rods.
They are available in 8ft (RRP £69.95), 9ft (£79.95) and 10ft (£89.95) lengths, all manufactured from high-modulus carbon fibre, and sporting super-comfortable cork handles, smart black and green whipping, Fuji reel seats and discreet hook holders.
The main differences from their lighter counterparts are the extra half-pound test curve for each version – the 8ft rod now boasting 1.75lb, the 9ft 2lb and the 10ft 2.5lb – and stronger double leg Fuji guides.
As you would expect from any Drennan product the finish is superb and attention to detail is second to none. However, looks are one thing but how would they perform under the pressure of constant casting and, hopefully, tackling a large pike?
I got the chance to put the nine-footer through its paces at a large Lincolnshire mere which I know holds a good head of pike, some reaching weights into the mid-twenties. Because it is very weedy I chose a floating Zagtail lure so I could work it from the surface down to around a metre– close enough to the weed and where the pike would be lurking.
Any lure rod needs to have very distinctive characteristics – light and comfortable enough to be able to be held for long periods, sufficient tip action to accurately cast even small lures a good distance and, most importantly, the guts in the middle section to persuade a big, angry pike to keep away from underwater obstructions.
It passed the first and second challenges with flying colours, aiming the lure just short of some overhanging branches where I was sure a hungry predator would be lurking. After a few casts the rod got its third test, first from a couple of suicidal jacks and then eventually something altogether more substantial.
This brute was in no mood to come to the boat and made a number of determined excursions towards a sunken branch. It was at this point, as I leaned into the fish, that the middle section kicked in and quickly brought the beast under control, a long lean 21-pounder.