Shimano Aero X5 13ft Float rod review

Shimano’s new X5 Float harks back to the heyday of fishing

Shimano Aero X5 13ft Float rod review

by Angling Times |

ONCE upon a time, in angling’s age of innocence, fisher-folk would gather by the water’s edge and winkle out silvers with 13ft float rods.

These rods were treasured family heirlooms handed down from father to son, spawning generations of anglers religiously tutored in the gentlemanly art of floatfishing.

Because feeder fishing hadn’t been invented, the 13ft float rod reigned supreme. It was the be-all and end-all of angling kit, in an age when everything moved at a more relaxed pace.

Commercials were nothing more than advertisements on your black and white telly, long poles held up phone lines, and nobody had even heard of F1s. King carp did exist, but they were mystical creatures rarely seen by angling’s rank and file. Occasionally they fell to willowy, heron-like gents clad in floppy hats and cravats, and skilled in the dark art of flavouring par-boiled potato hookbaits.

Romance aside, tackle then wasn’t a patch on what it is today. Yet I do sense a resurgence in the demand for a classy 13ft float rod. They never really went away and are still the No1 choice for those who like to trot a bait down a river.

But there is another, more recent need for long float rods. You only need to look at the latest floats from Guru, Middy and Drennan to see that light pellet wagglers, or those for fishing maggots up in the water, are transforming the sport.

Almost gone are the chunky, hefty ‘splasher’ floats. The latest models are far lighter, shorter-bodied affairs that land with the delicacy of fairy touching down on a petunia. A waggler that doesn’t dive deep on entry, or make a racket, is sure to catch even more fish quicker than ever, as carp wise-up quickly to being caught day in, day out on the same old methods and baits.

Top pellet wag anglers have known for some time that bigger fish tend to sit off the edges of loosefeed. They still react instantly to a bait hitting the surface, but not if it’s a splash-bang-wallop affair. The upshot is, these lighter, smaller floats need a longer rod with a bit more finesse than your standard pellet waggler model can muster. It needs to cast the float far enough and yet make it land with little more than a ‘plip’.

So, with all the above as food for thought, I’m taking a long hard look at a decent middle-of-the-road 13ft float rod – Shimano’s latest Aero X5. This three-piece gem is built using a superior Nano-carbon, making it light in the hand, responsive and crisp on the cast, with adequate line pick-up speed.

Shimano Aero X5 13ft Float rod
Shimano Aero X5 13ft Float rod

It also boasts 15 super-light Seaguide XOG anti-tangle guides. One of them on its butt section is a double-legger while the rest are singles. It also has a full 23.5ins cork and EVA handle and a keeper ring.

The gunmetal grey finish is emblazoned with classy high-gloss black whippings, with blue trimmings on the butt section.

Without a doubt the 13ft Aero X5 looks the part. A quick inspection of the blank showed it to be built around a reasonably fast-taper three-piece mandrel. Its hollow carbon tip section has a progressive action ideally suited to waggler work and well able to cope with the odd bigger fish, should it come along.

Considering I’d parked my seatbox on a peg between two islands at the leeward end of Decoy’s Willows Lake, that was just as well, because it holds some quite formidable lumps.

Threading a short one SSG pre-weighted float on to a 13ft rod was a strange experience. At first it didn’t look or feel quite right, but once I’d got into the swing of things it all fell into place, with a regular cast and feed routine. But don’t for one minute think that a 13ft model with a full-length handle can be thrown around with the same abandon as you would a two-piece 10ft or 11ft purpose built pellet waggler rod. That isn’t going to happen unless you have the grip and wrist strength of a power lifter.

My advice would be, like in the old days, to slow it all down a tad. Just feed a little more frequently, cast a little less often and concentrate on getting that cast to land silently bang on the money every time.

On the day, the Shimano Aero X5 proved its casting versatility, and handled really nicely. My word, it would certainly make a great wag ’n mag rod for big chub which, to be fair, it was probably originally invented for.

The Shimano Aero X5 proved its casting versatility, and handled really nicely
The Shimano Aero X5 proved its casting versatility, and handled really nicely

The tip section has a through action with a pleasing degree of cushioning, so you can use light lines and small hooks, but it can also pile on the pressure when it’s needed. It has just enough tip-whip to cast light floats from 3AAA (2g) up to 20g and it’ll achieve decent distances, but you’ll need to load your reel with 3lb or 4lb mainline.

This isn’t the definitive answer to the modern commercial float rod I’m seeking, but that doesn’t stop it from being a cracker.

Price: £139.99, www.shimano.com

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