A WHILE back my work college and fellow Angling Times tackle tester Dan Webb spent a day at Makins Fishery, running the rule over one of Daiwa’s latest Matchman rods, the 9ft Mini Method.
Now, the ever-fastidious Dan isn’t one to wax lyrical about any item of fishing equipment unless he’s sold on it. So when he wrote that “he wasn’t fussed if your budget is £50 or £500, this rod is well worth a look”, well, I had to find out for myself.
I made a few calls to Daiwa HQ to see if they had Matchman rods in stock, which they did, and hey presto! Last week a big tube arrived from bonny Scotland with a few float and feeder variations for me to run my eye over.
Hurriedly I made a call to Daiwa’s talented Ryan Hayden, who’s not only one of the UK’s best specialist big-fish anglers, but also one of the best angling photographers I’ve ever met.
A window of opportunity was offered and eagerly accepted, and we made arrangements to meet up at the recently refurbished Decoy Lakes, just outside Peterborough.
Daiwa says its new Matchman Method Feeder rods were developed in response to the ballooning size of carp in commercial match waters.
Big-name anglers, including Will Raison, have had lots of input into the design of these rods which, despite being as strong as shirehorses on steroids, deliver a crisp, sweetly progressive fish-playing action.
There are 9ft, 10ft, 11ft (on test) and 12ft versions to choose from, depending on how far you want to cast. In common to them all are two graded push-in carbon quivertips – which, for the 11ft model, means a 1oz orange-topped tip and another of 1.5oz in fluoro yellow.
The fast-taper blanks are made from a high-quality carbon cloth, and are quick off the blocks when it comes to picking up the line on longer casts.
The quartet of two-piece rods all have equal-length sections with the tips fitted, making them easy to carry around. Key features include a classy-looking gunmetal grey gloss-coated blank, dressed in black with red-tipped whippings, and good length cork and EVA handles with screw-down reel seats.
Furnishings are simple and functional, with premium grade low-profile ceramic-lined guides and a simple fixed keeper ring as a nice finishing touch.
The 11ft Matchman Method Feeder was my rod of choice for live test duty. This is my preferred rod length for tackling most commercial fisheries that I visit. The rod is primarily a tactically flexible feeder and straight lead tool and, as such, is likely to sell very well.
It carries a maximum recommended casting weight of 50g, but by my reckoning you’d be safer casting loads of up to 40g, using reel lines of 5lb-8lb.
I was hoping it would have more than enough clout to sort out commercial fishery carp that have neglected to sign up for Weight Watchers.
To prove its mettle, I settled into a peg on Decoy’s big-fish Beastie Lake.
The swim gave me a chuck towards a paddle aerator, something to aim at in open water, while a reed-fringed island with a bank in front of me would test the rod’s accuracy
I teamed it with a standard inline 30g flatbed Method feeder, which flew 40 yards arrow-straight and bang on target. Once I’d clipped up, I was confident of it easily hitting 50yds with just a bit more ‘push-pull’ on my part, but anything much over the 40g mark and I was concerned it might struggle to go the distance or maintain
What the Matchman Method Feeder rod does have going for it in spades, though, is a superb fish-playing action, the result of some serious scrutiny and field-testing by the Daiwa consultancy team. Sweet as a nut, back of the net, and more fun than a day at the fair, it’s little short of commercial carp heaven at a super bargain price.
The rod bends exactly how, when and where it should, and has more than enough backbone to heave a reluctant lump over the rim of the landing net, just as I did towards the end of the live test.
As you can see, this beast gave me a proper run-around, especially when it tried with all its might to get its head underneath the platform.
I don’t need to say much more about how flexible a backbone this rod is blessed with – the picture says it all.
Oh, and as Dan alluded to in his appraisal of the 9ft Mini Method Feeder Matchman, these new Daiwa rods not only punch way above their weight, but represent superb value for money. You have both our words on that!
Price: £49.99, www.daiwasports.co.uk
DAIWA MATCHMAN 11FT PELLET WAGGLER ROD
WITH sport on the feeder slowing down as the sun climbed higher in a cloudless sky, it seemed daft to not have a few casts with Daiwa’s new 11ft Matchman Pellet waggler.
With so many fish showing, it seemed that a spot of deft dobbing with a small waggler was likely to bear more fruit than trying to feed a pellet waggler line.
Now, I’ve handled plenty of budget-priced pellet waggler rods in my time, and by and large they’re graphite (mixed glass and carbon) affairs. Yes, their fish-playing action is forgiving and seamless, but they’re potentially as sharp and crisp as a pre-dunked Rich Tea biscuit, and about as tasteless.
However, much like a certain 11ft rod that I tested last summer whose name I won’t be revealing here, the Daiwa Matchman is scarily good for the price.
It’s very responsive, and has just the sort of build taper for use with a wide variety of floats. There’s enough mid-section punch to floor the biggest of commercial carp. Okay, it’s a bit heavier in the hand than a more expensive two-piece pellet waggler, and for me the handle is a tad too long, but it’s nothing that five minutes with a junior hacksaw wouldn’t sort out.
As for fittings and finish, it’s a real dead ringer for the 11ft Matchman Method Feeder also on test, except that the float rod is ringed (as it should be) with stand-off lightweight guides.
My final thought was this… I still can’t quite believe that for under £100 you can now own two super commercial rods covering float and feeder tactics.
Not so long ago they would have cost three, if not four, times as much.
Price: £49.99, www.daiwasports.co.uk