Preston Innovations Ascension feeder rods review

Lee Kerry has delivered a blinder

Preston Innovations Ascension feeder rods review

by Angling Times |

IT CERTAINLY isn’t every day that you get to go fishing with an England international angler, let alone with a new type of rod that he helped design. But that’s exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago when I met up with double Preston Innovations Feeder Masters champion Lee Kerry on the banks of Meadowlands Fishery in Coventry.

This venue plays host to many top matches and is regarded as one of the UK’s premier winter silverfish feeder waters. That suited Lee and me down to a tee, as the plan for the day was for him to talk me through the advantages of using one of Preston’s new Ascension Feeder rods, while hopefully catching a few fish along the way.

Now, I have to own up and tell you that I saw Preston’s five new Ascension rods a couple of months back at the firm’s annual international trade show. There, the ever-meticulous Lee talked me through their tech spec, design and tactical uses. So confident and enthusiastic was he that I felt I had to ask him, time permitting, whether we could meet up and have a fish with them – if only to prove that they were as good as he claimed.

WATCH NOW! See the rods being put through their paces on our Angling Times YouTube channel.

Well, the day finally arrived, and I was raring to go. Lee had described what these rods can do with such conviction that I’d have bought a pair off him even before wetting a line with them!

I was also hoping to learn something that I could put to good use for my own feeder fishing. Little did I realise what the rest of day held in store, or how profound the experience would be.

As you’d expect, when you arrange something like this the weather decides to do its best to turn the day into a disaster. As I scraped the frost from the windscreen for the fourth morning in a row, I guessed we’d only need one net.

It isn’t every day that you get to go fishing with an England international angler
It isn’t every day that you get to go fishing with an England international angler

Meadowlands was shrouded in mist, and a chill greyness was hanging around like the ghost of a fart in a small car. As I pulled into the car park, Lee had already arrived, as had Preston’s Joe Carrass. He’s no mean angler himself, and he takes a brilliant photo. Thom, who was filming the whole spectacle, turned up just as we were loading the tackle up.

A quick slip and slide down the hill to pegs in the twenties and Lee was quickly set up.

He’d chosen to fish with the 3.4m (11ft 4ins) Ascension Feeder rod, the ideal length for the casting distance and weight of feeder he was going to use.

Lee had chosen a braided mainline attached to an 8lb mono leader, even though he was only fishing at 30m. That threw me, as I normally equate braided lines with distance casting or spod/Spomb tactics. Lee, though, calmly explained that whenever it’s allowed, he always uses braid as it helps him to read the swim.

Lesson two followed immediately. Read the swim, Lee? Yes, mate… watch!

As he cast in (hitting the clip hard), and after the feeder had hit the bottom, he would tighten the braid by moving the rod along the rest until he felt that it was set in a straight line. But the feeder never moved so much as an inch. Lee had built this soft, cushioning effect into the top area of the rod purposely to allow him to tighten it all up while only needing to move the rod-tip to do so.

It’s no wonder that Lee is one of the best feeder anglers in the world
It’s no wonder that Lee is one of the best feeder anglers in the world

Once the braid was tight, by making a tiny adjustment on the reel the tip-end was set so as to show a barely discernible curve. Lee emphasised that the quivertips had been specially designed to do this.

But why? Well, Lee was now able to read, via the tip, exactly what was going on in his swim and around the feeder. True to his word, the tip rattled and plucked. “That’s just fish moving around the bait, but it isn’t a bite, they’re just around the feed,” he said.

“A bite will see the tip go round and stay round.” And so it did, and that was the first fish of the day, a small skimmer.

I’d learned more from this one cast than I had for years doing it my way. It’s amazing that we as anglers (well, me mainly) become so blinkered and set in our ways. It’s no wonder that Lee is one of the best feeder anglers in the world.

It was clear to me that the blank was designed for use with a braided mainline, but that isn’t written in stone!
It was clear to me that the blank was designed for use with a braided mainline, but that isn’t written in stone!

Now it was my turn. Honestly, I felt less nervous when I sat my O-levels – which, for those of you too young to know, were school leavers’ exams.

I lost the first fish by striking too early and proceeded to miss the next four bites, which weren’t bites at all apparently, they were fish moving around the feed… Lee was right!

He also uses these signs on the tip to understand when and when not to feed. But this is supposed to be a tackle test – so back to the rod.

It was clear to me that the blank was designed for use with a braided mainline, but that isn’t written in stone! The rods come in five different lengths up to 4m, all with different casting ranges and maximum weight loadings. That way you can choose a model to suit the venues you fish. Each one has plenty of casting clout.

The fish-playing actions are all very similar and flawless, without a sign of flat spots or twists. I’d rate them as being on the soft side of progressive, ideal for lighter lines and smaller hooks. But if you hook a rogue carp, it won’t mess you around.

Let’s make no bones about it, the Ascensions are a very special range of rods, crafted by one very special angler.

Price: £104.99 - £139.99

Let’s make no bones about it, the Ascensions are a very special range of rods
Let’s make no bones about it, the Ascensions are a very special range of rods

The Ascension range explained

WHAT PRESTON SAYS:

Ascension is a family of rods designed to excel at natural water fishing, with a beautiful crispness that gives you the correct casting action to suit each rod length while retaining a stunning fish-playing action. Ascension continues Preston Innovations’ legendary reputation for producing rods!

International anglers Lee Kerry and Arnout van de Stadt played a key role in developing the Ascension series. They demanded a rod range that would cope with fishing all venues in Europe, and, with their help, Ascension has delivered.

The 3.2m and 3.4m models are beautiful rods for short-range work. They feature soft actions, perfect for targeting roach, skimmers and bream at short to medium range.

Looking for a top all-rounder? The 3.6m 60g Ascension is simply incredible, featuring a dynamic action that allows a large range of feeders to be fished at 60m while retaining a subtle touch for playing fish.

If longer casts are required, the 3.8m, 80g and 4m, 120g rods will deliver the performance needed.

All Ascension rods are supplied with three carbon quivertips which blend perfectly into the Ascension range.

Preston Innovations Ascension feeder rods
Preston Innovations Ascension feeder rods

Which one is best for you?

ASCENSION 3.2M (10FT 8INS) 30G

THIS rod is purpose-designed to target roach and skimmers with small hooks and lighter lines at shorter ranges. It comes with 0.5oz, 0.75oz and 1oz carbon tips.

ASCENSION 3.4M (11FT 4INS) 40G

IDEAL for medium-range fishing with feeders up to 40g. At 3.4m, this provides the soft action needed to use with small hooks and light lines, but it has enough power in reserve to ensure bigger fish can be dealt with. The 3.4m is supplied with 0.75oz, 1oz and 1.5oz carbon quivertips.

ASCENSION 3.6M (12FT) 60G

THE ultimate all-rounder in the Ascension family. Preston wanted to design a feeder rod that could do it all, and this model is just that. Perfect for skimmers and bream from 30m to 60m, with a range of different feeder sizes. The 3.6m is supplied with 1oz, 1.5oz and 2oz carbon quivertips.

ASCENSION 3.8M (12FT 6INS) 120G

IF LONG casts are your goal, the immense power of the 4m Ascension will have you hitting your long-distance marks with ease! This rod is not only incredible for launching feeders to the horizon, it’s also great for big river fishing when you are faced with a powerful flow. The 4m is supplied with 3oz, 4oz and 5oz carbon quivertips.

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