WINTER isn’t exactly the best time to fish a commercial – or any other type of venue, come to that. But Shakespeare has some great new rods to help make your next cold-water session a success.
The iconic brand has introduced no fewer than 11 new rods to its legendary Superteam stable this season.
Although at the moment the cold weather is enough to curb the enthusiasm of even the most battle-hardened angler, Shakey’s new 9ft, 10ft and 11ft two-piece Light Feeder rods will still be of interest, and here’s why!
Even if you can steel yourself to brave the cold, carp and F1s will often back off well into the lake as soon as you start fishing for them. So, rather than building the swim up with feed, as you would in spring or summer, it can pay to have a cast around the swim from left to right or vice-versa using a light bomb or feeder set-up.
The idea is to search the entire peg without causing too much disturbance, and this is where a short rod of between 8ft and 10ft (such as the one being live tested) can help to winkle out those bonus fish.
With this truncated tool it takes just seconds to sink your line and drop the rod on a rest. It makes short-range overhead casts effortless, and you’ll be surprised how accurate your casting has suddenly become.
But it’s not just the length of the rod that’s important – it needs to have the correct fish-playing action if it’s to be a Goldilocks (just right) winter winner. Ideally the quivertip needs to show up the smallest of indications. The blank’s top section should be light enough to cope with small hooks if you need to use maggot baits, and have enough finesse to deal with hooklength lines down to 0.11mm without you worrying about snapping off every time you lift into a bite.
Oh, and just for good measure it needs to be able to cast feeders or leads weighing up to 30g and have enough steel to keep you in control when you hook a bigger fish – in all likelihood an enraged winter carp.
The bloke who said: “They don’t fight as hard in winter,” either hasn’t ever caught one when a frost is on the ground, or he doesn’t know his carp from his bream. It seems to me that big winter carp are fitter than at any other time of year, and they take great exception to being dragged out of the icy water into the even icier air.
So, to find out if Shakespeare’s latest offering – the 10ft Light Feeder rod – could cut the mustard on one of the coldest days so far this winter, I arranged for few hours at Decoy.
The entire venue was at my disposal, because nobody else was daft enough to wet a line, so I dropped the seatbox on Cedar peg 5, which is noted for two things. It’s stacked with fish, but its lack of cover also makes it the coldest spot I could possibly have picked. So, after braving an icy easterly gale for 30 minutes I decided that maybe a move was in order.
Peg 1 on Damson usually holds lots of fish too. Not today, though, and although I had the occasional liner, I was yet to see a bend in the rod.
Decoy’s Six Islands Lake is a banker in freezing weather, or so I told Jacques the photographer, whose blood was by now starting to solidify.
The fish in here love a grain of corn, and sure enough, only two hours later the green-tipped quiver nodded twice before pulling round. Okay, so the shutter on Jacques’ camera had frozen solid, but a few hot breaths on the button and we were back in business.
The blank’s action is on the tippy side of progressive, ideal for light lines and small hooks but with a bit of poke through its mid-section to deal with the odd lump. The fast taper allows you to chuck easily enough up to a full 35 yards should you feel the need to.
Shakespeare rates the rod for use with lines up to 10lb, and as it’s dressed in SiC braid-friendly guides, with a decent cork and EVA handle, its build quality suggests that Shakey is on the money.
My only tiny reservation is that the rod is a graphite mixture, rather than pure carbon, but at the price – including 1oz and 1.5oz carbon quivers – who’s going to quibble?