Selecting the right rod requires a lot of thought and needs to be based on your fishing type. Rod actions and styles are unique to different categories of angling, a good example being match rods, which have smaller line guides and much tighter ringing patterns than carp or specimen versions. Reel seats tend to be more compact as well. Cork is still widely used on the handles around them, although EVA and synthetic rubber cork grips are popular too.
At Carp.com, we research the vast choices of rods on the market and break them into groups, making it much simpler to select coarse, match, specimen, feeder and float, fishing models. Additionally, we provide information for each rod and the blank type. This type of knowledge allows coarse or competition anglers to make the right choice, matching rods to their style of angling and the types of venues being fished.
Rods are one of the most high-profile items anglers invest their hard-earned cash in, and we are aware it takes time to build trust with our customers. That’s why when researching rods, we want you to be happy with every purchase you make from us. You might be a fanatical match angler, small fish sweepstakes with a few mates, or be perfectly happy wetting a line on your own. We aim to treat everyone equally.
Once they become serious about their sport, many anglers build up a good selection of rods. Having the right tools for the job makes a big difference, changing methods and objectives to suit various venues, target weights or species. A match angler might not want to use a pole all the time, realising there will be many situations when feeder or running line float fishing will bring better results. That's the fun and art in fishing, changing your approach to suit the conditions and switching between versatile angling methods.
Coarse Rod Actions, Rings & Handles
Fishing rod companies create their products in a variety of ways to make many different types of actions, covering varied styles of fishing. Actions refer to how a rod bends and its recovery speed. Also, how a blank plays fish and casts. Rods are made from different grades of carbon, with lower modulus models being cheaper and slightly heavier, while more expensive high modulus versions are faster, lighter and more responsive. In effect, the more you pay, the better your experience on the bank is likely to be. But it’s not quite as simple as that because sometimes manufacturers will mix low and high-quality carbons together in the quest to get moderate, all-round actions.
Once a carbon blank has been built, the fittings are added, such as line guides, whippings, hook keeper ring, handle and reel seat. At this stage, the product takes on its unique look and style. Rods need to look impressive to attract angler’s attention, no matter how brilliant their actions are for casting and fish playing. Anglers hold rods for long periods, so lightness and good balance are critical factors too. Another thing to note is many expensive rods typically use Fuji line guides and reel seats, which add to the cost because they are highly regarded and much copied. However, leading tackle companies also use alternative fittings; most are still of excellent quality, with in-house brand names added to boost the rod’s advertising material.
The ringing pattern on most coarse float rods usually starts 40cm up from the leading end of the handle, slowly reducing to 10cm towards the tip ring. It’s different again with feeder rods where the butt ring might be set even higher up the blank, while quivertip eyes are positioned much closer together to allow for the bite indicator’s bendy nature under pressure. Reel seats vary considerably, although many are based on Fuji’s popular DPS model, which accepts the shoe sizes found on most coarse reels on the market.
Varying carbon blends make rod actions different and affect their test curves, although the latter aren’t normally given on coarse and match rods, which have forgiving tip sections that are hard to gauge. It’s more about descriptive actions. A through action means the rod is soft and forgiving, while a fast taper signals a blank is much stiffer. Progressive actions hit a happy medium of having a soft tip section, gradually building up reserves of power moving lower down the blank. Some rods are super sensitive, so you can feel everything happening from line bites to positive takes, while others are more about fish playing strength and casting power.
Many match and coarse anglers still prefer cork handles on their rods, while others are happy switching to EVA, a durable foam material. Many rods boast both options, with cork surrounded by EVA grips. Another choice is a harder rubber cork compound, which is extremely robust and balances well with short lengths of cork set in-between. However, most traditionalist anglers won’t shift away from cork, which they argue has a better-quality feel. Cork comes in various grades. Lower grades don’t look as good or last as long, while the highest Flour Grade is expensive but more durable and looks amazing. But even then, cork discolours with time and begins to show its age. EVA is a rubber-type material heated and pulled over the base of rod blanks, allowing ergonomic shapes to be created on rod handles. It’s extremely hard-wearing, can easily be cleaned and does not damage easily in use. Thanks to both cork and EVA being popular, handles formed with a mixture of these materials are generally a safe bet.
How Feeder Rods Work
Feeder Rods can be used with open or closed-end feeders. Open-end models are often called groundbait feeders, while designs with end caps are used primarily with maggots. In basic terms, groundbait holds the loading in open enders. It can have free bait mixed in as an extra attractor or be used to sandwich loose freebies in the middle of the feeder. Groundbait designs generally have side weights. Lighter and smaller sizes are used at close range, medium combinations for further out, heavy feeders for casting long range, or when fishing in fast-flowing water. Blockend feeders work similarly, increasing sizes and weights for longer range casting or fishing fast-flowing water. The slight difference is that blockends are available with both side leads and forward-set weights. The latter gains an even greater casting range. The basic basics of feeder fishing are that a loaded feeder attracts fish to it as bait escapes. Providing a baited hook is positioned nearby, these tactics are very effective.
Another more modern way of feeder fishing is to use in-line models like method, pellet and hybrid designs. This has created method feeder rods, which have become very popular over the last few years. These are normally 10ft to 11ft in length, designed with plenty of power and used with 1oz to 3oz quivertips. As its name suggests, a feeder rod can be used with many types of swimfeeders, switching to a ledger weight to prevent over-feeding. It’s purely designed for bottom fishing. Float rods are more versatile because they can be used to fish at different depths, from the bottom to near the surface. This applies to both still and flowing water situations.
Feeder rods are mostly supplied with several quivertips. Each tip has its test curve printed near its base. Feeder rods can be used to cast multiple distances, and a suitable quivertip can be fitted to match where the end tackle is being cast. For example, a light action 1oz tip might be used at close range or to catch smaller fish. However, a 2oz indicator will often be better in the medium range or when it’s windy, and the water has undertow on it, and larger fish are being targeted. This stiffer tip option is also better when using positive in-line feeder tactics, as is an even more powerful 3oz quivertip, which suits fishing at extreme distances and fast-flowing rivers.
Generally, if there is no current, it’s best to use the lightest quivertip at your disposal. An ultra-sensitive tip shows up bites better. But wind and currents can bend a soft and sensitive quivertip around too much, making it less effective. That’s the time to switch to a stiffer 2oz or 3oz version. To get the best out of these types of bite indicators, they need to be tensioned up slightly but not bent too much to be able to highlight bites and takes effectively.
Feeder or quivertip rod lengths vary from 9ft to 12ft. Increasing rod length allows you to fish at greater distances. How far you cast is dictated by where you think the fish will be. They might be close in deeper water but a long way out in shallower venues. Bankside disturbances like busy roads and footpaths can also push fish further away. Distant features like overgrown far banks and islands are another reason for upping your rod length to gain vital extra casting distance. Serious feeder anglers will carry several different length rods to cover all eventualities in the various fisheries they visit.
Quivertips can be made from fibreglass or carbon. Although printed with similar test curves, glass tips are normally more forgiving, while carbon indicators tend to be a tad stiffer. Carbon works better with high modulus blanks because it’s lighter, while heavier fibreglass can make a super-thin rod soften up and feel a bit sluggish on the cast. There are now hollow carbon quivertips on some long-range feeder rods, which blend in with powerful actions better and are less likely to break under extreme pressure. Although 1oz, 2oz, and 3oz quivertips are standard sizes for many feeder rods, there are intermediate 1/2oz, 3/4oz, 1.5oz, 2.5oz gauges, along with even more beefy 4oz and even 5oz quivertips. Sometimes these indicators can be purchased as extras, while some specialist feeder rods are supplied with more offbeat test curves. 1/2oz, 3/4oz and 1oz quivertips can be classed as light, 1.5oz and 2oz as a medium, while anything from 2.5oz and above is a heavy indicator.
Leading fishing rod manufacturers like Matrix, Shimano, Daiwa and Shakespeare focus on feeder fishing rods at all levels, from budget price bands to top-end products.
Float Fishing Rods
Float rods traditionally are made from slim diameter blanks, with varying actions, ranging from light and forgiving to powerful. Common rod lengths are between 10ft and 15ft. Shorter rods tend to be used most on smaller, shallow venues, while longer models allow tackle to be cast greater distances and cope better with deeper water. Light actions suit fine lines and small hooks in the quest to catch small to medium-sized fish, but the right hands can still land bigger specimens if they are played carefully.
The price points of float fishing rods vary dramatically. Low modulus and composite designs can be surprisingly cheap and useful for getting beginners started. Prices rise as higher modulus carbon is used, and this is normally combined with premium quality fittings like line guides, reel seats and better grade cork/EVA handles. Some very good floats rods can be found in the mid-priced category, while super lightweight and responsive high carbon models can cost several hundred pounds.
Float fishing rods are mainly broken into two categories: traditional three-piece longer designs and shorter two-piece pellet waggler models, which can be pre-tackled and stored in a ready holdall.
Avon rods are generally two-piece and have slightly lighter actions than similar-looking carp designs. Also, in many cases, they have full cork handles, as opposed to the abbreviated ones most carp anglers prefer. Some models come with two tips, offering different test curves, or even a classic Avon tip, combined with a quivertip. Avon rods are suitable for barbel, bream, chub, and tench fishing. The most popular lengths are 11ft and 12ft, although shorter and longer models are not out of the question. The leading manufacturers are Drennan, Matrix, and Shakespeare. In addition, many brands produce Avon rods traditionally used on wild stillwaters and rivers.
The test curve for Avon rods starts at around 1lb, and models like this will likely have to forgive through actions, ideal for touch ledgering and float fishing. More progressive action rods range from 2lb to 3lb, aimed at more demanding situations and catching specimen-sized fish.
Carp.com stocks all the rods you will likely need, along with the reels and fishing lines required to go with them. So it doesn’t matter if you are a pleasure, specimen hunter or match angler; we can kit you out with the right gear.
Tip and butt protectors have been created to protect rod tips from damage. These help to hold your valuable rod together in storage and transit. This concept started with carp rods, but match anglers are also buying into the idea, especially with their two-piece ready tackled rods like pellet wagglers and method designs.