Whether it’s for use with a link leger, three-hole cage feeder, baby Method feeder or a simple straight lead, we all reach for the same trusty bomb or wand rod.
Although this is usually a tactic to fall back on when the wind and tow are too fierce for the float, a short-range bomb or feeder approach can be a great method in its own right, especially in the cooler months.
Short and light, the right tool will have a soft action, capable of delivering small leads precisely at short range. Yet it will still be able to handle good-sized fish on comparatively light lines. Here are eight models that take our fancy…
DAIWA MATCHMAN 9FT METHOD FEEDER
This new rod, available in the shops soon, impressed us hugely. Light and smooth with a fast recovery, you can fish smaller hooks and light feeders for roach and skimmers with confidence, but the action is parabolic enough to handle F1s and bigger carp.
WHY WE’D BUY IT: Superb value, this great little rod will handle many of the demands of a rod costing more than twice its price. Stunning performance for a small outlay.
Price: £49.99, www.daiwasports.co.uk
PRESTON MONSTER X WANDZEE
This 7ft, one-piece tip rod is perfect for ultra-short-range work such as underarming a Method feeder or casting overhead to far banks or islands 10m-20m away.
Supplied with 0.75oz, 1oz and 1.5oz tips, the soft parabolic blank will bend right through to the butt.
WHY WE’D BUY IT: There’s no better rod for fishing at the sort of range where others would opt for a short pole. It’s so soft and short, it’s like playing fish on a drop shot rod! This is a fun rod that really adds to the enjoyment of catching every fish.
Price: £84.99, www.prestoninnovations.com
MIDDY BOMBPROOF 9FT FEEDER
An entry-level rod with lined guides and screw-up reel seat - features not often found on rods in this price range. Owing to its soft nature and the shorter ranges it’s designed to be fished at, even seasoned anglers will happily fish with one of these. Supplied with 1oz and 2oz tips.
WHY WE’D BUY IT: As cheap a fishable rod as you can get, you can’t go wrong with this! Ideal for infrequent use, beginners or those on a tight budget.
Price: £29.99, www.middytackle.com
PRESTON INNOVATIONS 10ft SUPERA SL
A beautiful (Super Light) version of the popular 10ft Supera rod. Although mega-soft, it has a slightly more parabolic action than the longer 11ft version, making it a great winter commercial rod for use with small feeders or a straight lead approach for F1s and carp or roach and skimmers all year round.
WHY WE’D BUY IT: This rod helped Lee Kerry win two Feedermasters finals with huge weights of roach and skimmers. The very definition of a wand.
Price: £143.99, www.prestoninnovations.com
FREE SPIRIT HI-S F1 FEEDER SPECIAL 9FT
Light and sensitive enough to detect the slightest of movements, this rod has a distinctly tippy yet progressive action to absorb the darting runs and fast lunges of F1s. Weighing only 100g, the Hi-S comes with carbon quivertips of 0.75oz and 1oz that merge seamlessly into the blank. There’s a choice between full cork or abbreviated handles.
WHY WE’D BUY IT: The choice for the angler who wants the ultimate performance from a short and light feeder rod. You can be confident that a missed bite or lost fish cannot be blamed on the rod!
Price: £249.99, www.freespiritmatch.co.uk
CADENCE CR10 9FT FEEDER
Just the ticket for commercials, the CR10 9ft Feeder has a lovely progressive action and is just as much at home casting small Method and maggot feeders as it is bombs and straight leads.
For under £100 you get a strong, slim carbon blank, Fuji Alconite guides and Fuji DPS-HPS reel seat, and an old-school Triple A full cork handle.
Versatile, with its 1oz, 1.5oz and 2oz tips, it’s ideal for reel lines up to 8lb and casting weights up to 60g.
WHY WE’D BUY IT: A brand with a reputation for no-nonsense quality and performance at a stripped-down price.
Price: £99.99, www.cadencefishing.co.uk
SHAKESPEARE SIGMA WAND 1880
THIS is the rod that started it all! The historic glass rod has had many incarnations over the years, yet the original has a special place in many anglers’ hearts.
Years ahead of its time, its short length and super-soft action matched with a sensitive tip made it an absolute must for picking off smaller shy-biting fish at short range. Spare tips are stored inside the butt section.
WHY WE’D BUY IT: Technology may have moved on, but our fondness for a bit of angling history hasn’t. Although they take some finding, even mint condition examples seem to go quite cheaply on the second-hand market.
Price: Pay around £40
DRENNAN 9FT ACOLYTE ULTRA FEEDER
The stylish and delectable 9ft Acolyte Feeder comes in both Ultra (light-actioned) and Plus (stepped-up) versions to cover all commercial species within close casting range. The Acolyte Ultra is the first-choice F1 rod for many top match anglers, who claim its cushioned yet progressive action is as good as it gets for putting together a winter winner.
WHY WE’D BUY IT: A high performing rod with a huge degree of cushioning, and it doesn’t cost the Earth.
Price: £159.99, www.drennantackle.com