SHAKESPEARE can be credited with many iconic rods, including the featherweight Sigma Wand and the beautiful President and Boron Mach 2 float rods. All are legendary successes.
This year the tackle firm, founded in Michigan in 1897, has given its best-selling Superteam range of rods a radical makeover. The full Superteam collection now consists of four new Float rods, four Light Feeder rods, and three Method Feeder models in 9ft, 10ft and 11ft lengths, the latter of which is the subject of this week’s live test.
It’s quite interesting that Shakespeare has seen fit to launch three rods that many anglers would consider to be a little bit short for Method work, because most models carrying the ‘Method Feeder’ tag tend to be 12ft affairs, built to cope with casting heavy weights a fair old distance.
However, it turns out that Shakespeare has very deliberately designed these three latest rods for short-range work, either on or just past the pole line, or down the margins when targeting really big fish.
Chasing those close-in leviathans is something I find myself doing more and more on commercials in summer, but basically – because I tend to overfeed – this was leading to loads of liners, foul-hooked fish, and language that would make any trooper blush.
Instead, dropping a Method feeder down the edge and then sitting on my hands for five minutes works a real treat for me. With no more snap going in, the only feed in the swim has your baited hook in it.
Missed bites are a thing of the past, as your rod will fold in half when you do get a bite – you’re never going to miss it! As a bonus, the swim will also get a breather without foulers running amok through it.
It’s my guess that these three little Shakespeare Method charmers will be a hit with all commercial fishery anglers, leaving aside my own failings. First, the most expensive 11ft model (on test duty) comes in at a penny under £65, with the 9ft and 10ft rods even cheaper.
These shorter rods are very easy to cast short distances, and when the wind gets up you can simply nestle the tips between your keepnets.
Turning to looks and build, although these are affordable rods Shakespeare hasn’t scrimped on their furnishings or construction. They’re nicely ringed with braid-friendly SiC guides and built from a 30T high-density carbon cloth. They boast a classy looking matt black finish, tipped off with gloss black whippings, and a cork and EVA handle with a reassuringly secure screw-down reel seat.
So, how did Shakey’s new Superteam Method rod actually perform? After all, the two-piece 11ft blank is an unusual length for a Method feeder rod.
A rare creature our test rod may be, but after a very short spell of using it you’ll quickly appreciate what Shakespeare has actually produced.
The shortness helps with casting accuracy, and as far as casting between 14.5 and 16m on a pole line is concerned, you can comfortably make an overhead chuck without it feeling badly wrong!
But it’s not just about a rod for the pole line. This one would also be absolutely spot-on for commercials with islands and features at the 30m-50m mark.
It will cast a Method feeder of 40g-plus with little effort on the angler’s part, and at a push it could probably propel a small 30g feeder a fair old distance too. That said, don’t buy it if you’re just looking for an out-and-out casting tool, which it certainly isn’t. The blank has enough backbone to cast arrow straight up to around 50 yards, but beyond that it will be maxed-out and the cast may wander off-line a little.
But, as they say, what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts. In this rod’s case that amounts to plenty of gain in its softly cushioned tip action, harmoniously blending into a butt section that can generate plenty of stopping power.
Putting all that together, we have a rod that can safely be used with light lines and small hooks for targeting F1s, skimmers and small carp. Don’t worry, it still has enough machismo to cope with larger carp when they do turn up.
In my opinion the rod is more than just a Method feeder tool, though, although it performs well enough in that department. However, If you fish a commercial venue that responds well to hard pellets fished long on the pole line, this little rod may well be the answer to what to do next when the fish back off out of pole range.
Used with a simple bomb and hair-rigged pellets, its casting accuracy and softness of tip make it bang-on for short distance pellet work even when using small hooks. And it still has the backbone to cope with the odd big kipper.
Price: £64.99, www.shakespeare-fishing.co.uk
See the exclusive video of the test at: www.anglingtimes.co.uk/shakespeare-super-hub