THERE are two commercial carp tactics you can bank on when it’s cold, especially when faced with an open-water swim. One is a straight lead set-up with punched bread discs, the other is a small blockend carp feeder with maggots.
Both tactics can have their moments – but when it’s close to freezing, with gin-clear water, the bread has the edge, and popped-up pieces of sliced white always seem to sort out the bigger fish.
On the other hand, the maggot feeder seems to dominate proceedings when you’re faced with really cold but very slightly coloured water – even more so when F1s figure among your target species.
Most anglers tend to favour 8ft to 11ft quivertip models for these winter commercial tactics, depending on the venue and how far they need to cast.
Watch the video HERE: https://youtu.be/hIA3ZLYBG5M
The rod under test this week falls under the umbrella of light-feeder or bomb rod – your standard Method feeder rods will do at a push for winter tactics, but they don’t have quite the finesse you need when you’re using light hooklengths and small hooks, should you need to scale it all back a bit. And although you can get away with opting for bigger hooks when using a bread disc rig, for instance, hookholds on semi-dormant carp are often precarious at best.
You also need a softer-actioned rod to show up finicky bites that can be little more than a small drop-back, or a series of rattles on the quivertip at this tricky time of year.
The simple fact is that rods with a mellow action across their top sections will help you to put more fish in the net, and light rated (0.5oz-1oz) quivertips that are easy to put a slight bend into without moving the lead or feeder are absolutely essential.
Plain old glass quivers are about right for winter, mainly because fibreglass quivers are softer and less springy than carbon, and just fine if you don’t need to cast more than 40m.
There are quite a few exceptional rods on the market sitting within the ‘finesse feeder’ category, one being Shimano’s flagship Aero X7 Finesse Feeder. It’s a joy to fish with, but it carries a hefty price tag.
So, what do you do if you’re on a tightish budget and looking for a half-decent short-range light feeder rod for winter commercial work?
Allow me to introduce you to Shimano’s very affordable two-piece all-carbon 9ft Finesse Feeder. It comes with two carbon quivers – yes I’d have preferred just the one glass tip, and if I owned the rod I would set about finding a glass quiver that fitted it.
Its fast response and progressive fish-playing action are well suited to F1s and carp, and it can handle chucking out leads and feeders up to 60g (2oz), which is pretty impressive for any short rod.
It also certainly has enough muscle to cast out a weighty Method feeder, but it definitely is a softer-actioned type of rod.
Its fast-tapering blank has sufficient backbone to cope with bigger carp when the need arises, yet it possesses enough finesse to be teamed with smaller hooks and lighter lines when targeting F1s using maggots.
I found that out while I was using it with a small maggot feeder and light terminal kit at Decoy’s Six Islands Lake on the coldest day of the year we’d had so far. Watch the video that accompanies this test and you’ll see that the margins are frozen. More to the point, you’ll understand what I mean about the rod’s mellow action, and what it can be used for.
However, this is far from being a namby-pamby bit of kit that couldn’t fight its way out of a wet paper bag.
Somewhere through its mid-section runs a strand of steel that will dissuade any lump with ideas of swimming underneath a platform rather than into your net from doing so.