Shimano Purist X3 12ft 2.25lb TC Barbel rod review

“It’s the swiss army knife of barbel rods”

by Angling Times |

It strikes me that when the Romans invaded England a fair while back it must have been quite a challenge for them. They could hardly book a ferry to get here, or arrange to stop off somewhere nice for nibbles and ice cream.

I mention this only to state that whatever obstacles Julius Caesar and his legions faced, they were surely not as insurmountable as trying to catch a barbel from a low and clear tidal Trent in the bright sunshine, as the flood tide filled the river with more rubbish-strewn debris than the aftermath of the 2022 Glastonbury Festival.

‘Difficult’ is the word that springs to mind – and, after two visits and several tactical and bait changes, the end result remained the same. I have since come to understand that a biteless blank day is far easier to endure mentally than putting in a full 12-hour shift, only to be bust up in the rocks at the eleventh hour after playing a monster bertie… still, mustn’t grumble, eh?

Putting all that aside, though, and a taking a step a little closer to reality, the fact is that getting your hands on a really good barbel rod is a bit like buying a new ‘for best’ suit.

You can have it tailor-made and cut to a style that suits you, which will cost you dearly. Alternatively, you can buy an off-the-peg ‘me too’ number at significantly lower cost.

The problem is, though, will that budget-priced suit really do the job for you when it comes to attending those special occasions such as weddings, funerals and christenings?

For me, buying any barbel rod strikes a chord with what I’ve just been saying. No argument, there are plenty of sensibly priced ‘off-the-peg’ models available, some of which are very good indeed.

But how many are able to cope with everything a big, fast-flowing river can throw at them, especially when you need to step up to heavier terminal tackle? I suppose the temptation for most of us is to buy yet another rod to cope with a particular type of flow, somewhere between gentle and full-on flood. The problem with this scatter-gun approach is that all too soon you’ll have accumulated enough rods to support an allotment full of runner beans!

Well, not any more! Enter Shimano’s Purist B3 12ft, 2.25lb test curve rod. This two-piece beauty, just one rod in a whole new family of four Shimano Purists, will take on just about any challenge.

It has enough casting prowess to handle feeders up to 6oz, but still retains enough finesse and cushioned softness to be used with lighter feeders or straight lead bagging set-ups.

The rod is built around a Progressive taper full carbon blank with a 3k weave for additional casting and fish playing power. It also boasts a fine-tuned tip section (with a white top for enhanced bite detection), Shimano’s proven Hardlite guides for durability, and a full cork handle with a screw-down reel seat.

The hard-wearing alloy butt cap on the end of the handle is an essential on any barbel rod, which will nearly always be stood up on its handle with the tip pointing skywards.

The rod is said by Shimano to have been designed without compromise to offer the serious barbel angler a combination of the best fish-playing and casting actions and ‘custom built’ cosmetics.

Having spent the best part of 25 hours fishing with a pair of these, I’ve no issue with anything that the manufacturer has to say about it. I was actually quite surprised by its reasonably modest price that was way under my expected valuation.

Make no mistake, this is a sturdy, no-nonsense tool capable of handling anything but the most extreme big-river situations. While I can freely admit to not having banked a fish on it, I did play one for long enough to have an opinion and make a considered comment about its fish-playing prowess.

Sharply progressive, it houses plenty of gutsy pulling power around its mid-joint area which will always put you in the driving seat when playing a barbel. Shimano has been clever in making the end of the tip section sensibly soft, which gives plenty of cushioning for your hooklength when a big fish bores down. It also offers very good bite detection – I’m not talking about those unmissable moments when the rod hoops over, but when you get those more subtle rattles and plucks that are all to easy to miss when using a powerful rod.

Price: £119.99

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