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by Angling Times |

ANYONE whose fishing trips don’t always go exactly to plan can relate to this week’s live test. And that means all of you!

Traditional match fishing lore dictates that in the chilly waters of winter we should cut right down on how much bait we use. And okay, I confess that my sixth cast in 20 minutes using a big Method feeder full of micros might have been over the top.

The truth is, I was struggling. There’d been a frost that morning, an easterly wind was howling across the water, and I didn’t really know much about the Big Lake at Bain Valley Fisheries in Lincolnshire, where I’d pitched up to put Preston’s turbo-charged 13ft 2ins Distance Master rod through its paces.

I clocked the chap two pegs away who’d turned up about an hour earlier. Perched on a tatty old fishing chair, he looked friendly enough, so I gave him that ‘who knows?’ shrug of the shoulders familiar to all anglers who haven’t got a clue what to do next.

Talk about being taken down a notch or two. Without even looking at me he muttered: “Thee can put it in, but thee can’t take it out,” alluding to the fact that I might have been a bit gung-ho with the bait.


I was determined to put on a show for my critic, and I figured that a mesmerising long-distance cast would surely impress. Standing up on my seatbox footplate, I adjusted the line drop to halfway down the blank and made sure I caught his eye while unleashing a monster cast.

A lightning-fast swoosh of the rod followed, using every inch of its extra-long handle. It was casting perfection, proper textbook stuff, or so I thought.

The ‘crack’ of snapping line was audible in the next county as my 45g Method feeder flew straight up through the ozone layer. After what seemed an eternity, the old boy broke the silence. “Thee’s loosefeeding feeders now then as well?”

In my eagerness to impress, I hadn’t noticed the coil of line that had worked itself around the back of the spool! Cue the arrival of photographer Lloyd, who asked my tormentor if he’d caught anything.

“No, but it’s entertaining just sitting here watching your pal,” he replied.


When you need to find a fish, staring at the water can sometimes be your salvation, and sure enough, I saw one show way out in the lake.

I didn’t wish the niggly neighbour good luck as I hurriedly bundled everything back into the car, and two minutes later I was round the other side of the lake. I already had full confidence in the Preston Distance Master’s casting capabilities… it was my own that needed sorting out. Changing from a Method feeder to a 60g straight lead and a hefty 12lb shockleader, I reckoned popped-up bread discs fished as 18ins-high zig rigs would surely do the business.

The slightly thicker knot between mainline and shocker whizzed through the rod’s oversized guides as the steely mid-section kicked in, fairly sizzling the lead out well past 100 yards.

For such a supreme casting tool, the rod felt remarkably responsive and tactile, and the crisp tip section generated very little in the way of recoil or post-cast bounce. I was mightily impressed. Barely had the reel line tightened against the 2oz quiver I’d chosen to use when its eye-catching fluoro-orange tip dropped back. It was a typical bite on popped-up bread from a winter carp.

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Because I was using a suspended hookbait, rather than snatching the rod from its rest, I wound down cautiously until I made contact with the fish which, feeling the pressure, bolted in a bid for freedom.


At moments like that you realise why all the best 13ft-plus Distance Master Feeder rods are made with short carrier sections. It enables the top section to respond with just enough cushioning to make hook-pulls highly unlikely, even from carp and bream hooked at the longest of ranges.

And there was no danger of such a thing happening with this pretty hefty carp, which I was able to lead towards my waiting net with the absolute minimum of fuss.

The Distance Master comes with 2oz, 3oz and 4oz carbon quivertips, all boasting large diameter rings, and a couple of inches of reinforcing around the top of the carrier section joint point to a rod that’s been designed by top anglers who really know what they are doing.

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Make no mistake, this is a ‘keeper’ of a rod that will become a firm favourite the first time you use it. And, compared to many of its ilk, it offers superb value for money.

Price: £245.99,

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