NOT so long ago – only last November, in fact – I ran the rule over one of Preston Innovations’ affordable new Ignition Feeder rods.
On that day I chose to use the two-piece 9ft model, one of a series of six that also includes the 12ft two-piece Method Feeder rod that’s on live test duty this time around.
One reason for wanting to get an early season look at this rod’s performance was to check out its casting performance when laden with a fully-loaded Method feeder.
Now, there’s no denying that graphite-built rods (basically a mixture of carbon and glass fibre) have superbly cushioned fish-playing characteristics, especially in the shorter 9ft, 10ft and 11ft lengths.
But I must admit to being slightly sceptical as to how Preston could have made a 12ft graphite rod capable of chucking a Method feeder a decent distance that wouldn’t still be wobbling around at its tip end long after the cast had been made! It’s always best to check out a new rod’s credentials before you buy it, no matter how cheap or pricey it may be.
So, armed with all the kit I needed for a spring Method feeder session, I loaded up the car and headed off to Lincolnshire’s day-ticket Bain Valley Fishery, where all the lakes are named after WW2 planes – very fitting for the area.
Hurricane is a large open water where previous experience had proved that the carp like to sit well out towards the centre, a good 75 yards away. That would prove more than a fair test for the 12ft Preston Ignition Method Feeder rod. As we all do, I had the radio on as I drove up to the lakes, and once the BBC news had gotten through the latest Covid-related stuff the weather man came on and announced that it was likely to be ‘hazy’ in the east of the UK.
The car’s temperature gauge was showing it was only 50C out there, and to me it was even duller than another weekend without match fishing, football without a proper crowd, or the basic bloke necessity of going down the pub!
Any thoughts of midges hatching in the ‘haze’ were dashed in a flash as I opened the car door – it was bloody freezing out there, and the peg I wanted to fish had the wind blowing straight into it. Just to make things even more interesting, the water was clearer than a nun’s conscience.
I climbed back into the car and was pondering whether to feign injury and abandon the live test as soon as Thom, my ace photographer, turned up. Then, as I sat there gazing out over the water, with the car’s heater going full blast to warm me up, I thought I saw a fish show. Then another popped its head out as if to say: “You gonna have a go then, mate?” Too right I was!
Now, sure enough the fish were, as I suspected, sitting right out in the middle of the lake, so with this in mind I tied a 10lb shockleader on to the Preston Magnitude reel I had teamed with the rod. Rather than attempt to crash a Method feeder out there, I thought I’d kick off with a 1oz bomb and a popped-up bread disc.
Well, what can I say? The Ignition rod fired up faster than a Merlin engine and hurled the bomb straight on to the mark, which impressed me greatly!
Thom the photographer had just pulled up and, bang on cue, the rod-tip pulled round in a graceful arc. The fighting action kicked in and, just like that of its shorter 9ft sibling, it was fabulous… cushioned perfection that absorbed pressure without too much mid-section bite.
Let me tell you this, no matter what your ability, whether you’re a hardened open matchman, a club angler or a pleasure fisherman, if you’re looking for the perfect winter carp bread rod then this is it.
Obviously the Ignition is labelled up as a 12ft Method Feeder rod so, as the live test progressed, I tied on a variety of different feeders to see just what it was actually capable of.
One thing it can definitely do is cast a fully-loaded 30g feeder a fair old distance, 60-odd yards easily and 70 yards at a push.
But this lovely mellow-actioned graphite creation does have its drawbacks – nothing too painful, but the more casting weight you load on to it, the less distance you’ll achieve.
But face it, most commercials don’t require you to fish at Boddington Reservoir distances or with super heavyweight feeders. With a bomb and bread discs, or bomb and pellets, and small to medium-sized feeders, it’s a delightful tool, especially in cold water conditions when lighter lines and smaller baits may be needed to attract bites.
From my experience, if you load it up with casting weights from 1oz-2oz (28g to 56g) you should still get plenty of casting distance from it.