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greekskii

Flavour of the Week: Carp Rods

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Thought I would kick this one off as I mentioned in another thread, just a all out discussion on rods (not spod or markers). What you use, favourite rods past or present, rods you are thinking of purchasing, materials, Test curves, whatever!

So I have been using Sonik SK3 2.75lb rods for the last 6/7 years now. Personally very impressed with them for a budget rod. I have landed a lot of fish on them from some brutal conditions. Heavy snags, heavy weed, you name it. Personally I prefer the softer test curve, although it must be lower than 2.75lb by now! It's stood up to serious weed and stopped good fish getting in to snags, the only limitation is casting but that may be down to my technique mainly. I have not had a need to fish at any sort of range so have not been worried by this. 

I'm now saving for a new set of rods, and it seems like there is much more choice out there! but nothing entirely suits my needs and tastes. I love full shrink handles and I am reluctantly stepping up to 3lb test curves so require a good playing rod still, I believe its part of the enjoyment of fishing is the fight, no point reeling in a 20 like its a wet towel! Sadly after lots of research it seems my price range has nothing to satisfy my requirements fully. The Freespirit CTX rods come highly recommended by numerous friends but the lowest TC is 3.25lb. I am assured the action really does make up for this and I have seen them in action and was impressed when I cast them. I've also been assured shrink wrapping the handles yourself is extremely easy, they are either cork or abbreviated off the self. 

The ideal new rods would be the Sonik Gravity X as I've held and cast them and they are superb, reviews are excellent....sadly a bit out of my price range.

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Imo there's not really any rod that can do everything perfectly but you can get pretty close. I've used all sorts over the years, currently use 2 sets religiously:

1 - Nick Buss X-Lite 'S' customs - These are as close as you'll get to a 'do everything' rod. They have a 3.25 TC butt section but the outer carbon weave past the top 4 rings is removed giving it the tip action of a 2.5 TC. What this means is it's stiff enough in the butt to cast a long way yet you have the control in the tip to fish 1 oz leads under the tips. If I cold only ever use one set of rods again these would be the ones. They're at home casting 4 ox leads 130 yards as they are flicking surface controllers out 10 or 20 yards. They blanks are designed by Nick and built by Century so you know they'll last (mine are maybe 6 years old and perform as well as the day I had them built). They're pretty cheap too - I think mine cost 750 quid which although we're talking a while ago was still cheap for custom rods.

2 - Harrison Trebuchet Lights (standard build) - These were purchased as my beast rods for when I need real distance but I have to say they perform much better at close range than I expected. Once I bought them I switched over just to play and as of today I've not yet switched back. They can really chuck a lead but what surprised me is how forgiving they are when playing fish (I've fished zigs on these with light lines and although I wouldn't exactly call it a balanced set up I've not struggled at all). Don't get me wrong, they can't compare to playing carp on a softer rod, but they're nowhere near as bad as I expected. They also make fishing at longer mid-range very, very easy, which I like. The 70-100 yard range is so, so effortless and accurate. I like them a lot.

These two sets pretty much cover everything I do. I have got an old mk1 Warrior I use for surface fishing although I'd be more than happy using the X-Lites for this. There's nothing on the market at the moment that makes me want to change anything so I'm more than happy.

Maybe one day I'll look at getting a dedicated stalking rod (9/10ft jobby) but so far I've never needed to. I do like the look of the Dymag stalking rods I have to say but tbh I like a 12 ft rod to control fish even in tighter situations. I'm not sold on these shorter rods for general use. Talk about limiting yourself for no reason...... makes no sense imo.

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As far as rods go, there's no point in looking for absolute perfection on my budget..... Having said that, some of the more affordable rods these days, would have been considered "out of this world" imo, 25 years ago...….

My all time favourites were some Fox Aquos rods I bought around late 90's, nothing fancy, but at 330 for a set of three were quite an out lay for me at the time, I felt like I'd reached the promised land. I cherished these rods and really looked after them. A through action rod, fantastic fish players, comfortable to around 80 yds casting, which was plenty for me and they really suited my small water venues, club lakes etc.....Eventually, as I moved onto some slightly larger venues, they had softened slightly and really restricted how far out I could fish...… I could never sell these rods, they just wouldn't have sold for what they were worth "to me". And it may sound silly, but I was so attached to them, that I just wanted them to go to someone who's eyes would light up when they saw them, and in my eyes someone who would look after them in the way that I had. So, after a massive clear out this year, I finally passed them on to a youngster, who absolutely loves them, uses them regularly and looks after them. He's a dedicated young angler , whom I shall be hopefully meeting up with next week on a runnsy club lake, where we can try and beat his 12lb pb………..(He did a 2lb plus river roach last month, it would be great for him to nick a pb carp as my pb was also caught on those rods).

Moving on , I tried to replace those rods with some second hand NG's, 2.75tc X2 also a fish playing rod for the same sort of venues. I loved these too. But after a torrential downpour one session, noticed that some of the varnish had lifted on both butt sections.... This just really bugged me and the cost of having them restored was a bit much to justify, so these were sold on for half what I paid...…..

The last session with the NG's, had me twice wrapped around some low branches above the bivvy in the middle of the night, so with some trepidation, decided to go down the 9ft route. I bought a couple of budget 9ft dwarfs. They felt weird at first, as I was used to 12footers, these felt like tooth picks, but they have turned out to be great for a couple of over grown small lakes I fish. I watched a guy land a 38 cat on one, and I've had a few 20lb carp on them from right under the tips and they've done alright...… I was testing the water on a 9ft set up ,with the budget rods, but I will definitely invest in a better quality 9ft set up after using these...…….

For slightly larger venues I was recommended some Shimano Tribal Velocity 3.25 a couple of years ago on here. Shimano haven't got the best reputation for rods, but at 50 new each, I couldn't fault them, for my needs and budget...….. Apart from...……. In 6 months use, I never caught a bloomin fish...… It literally got to the stage where the carp demons were blaming these rods, so out they went. Pretty much got back what I paid and am now using some Sonik S6's 3.25tc for a larger water I joined. These were "end of line" and cost 50 each (rrp 200)… Haven't used them much yet, but I do like them, I've improved my distance casting with these, coupled with some reels I bought. They will get a decent work out through the Autumn..... I'm going to settle on these for a while, just can't be arsed to keep trying rods, which are all a bit samey on my budget...…..

Getting back to the 9footers, I make you right @yonny , the marketing spin would have people believe that these are ok for general purpose. I don't think they are having used some. They are a specialist rod for a certain type of fishing. Handy and compact if you are fishing small venues at 40 yds or less, but not an all rounder.....

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9 minutes ago, B.C. said:

some of the more affordable rods these days, would have been considered "out of this world" imo, 25 years ago...….

Agree. You don't have to spend a fortune to get really decent rods nowadays. Some of the cheaper options are an absolute steal - a lot of rod for the money!

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I've had a few sets of rods but my currently carp rod arsenal is the following.

Fladden Extra-Flex Carp Rods, 2.5lb TC 12ft. These are superb rods for the price and are Fladens Premium range of rods, They cast pretty well for what i need(i don't usually fish further than 60 yrds out). They are made from basalt fibers i believe which make them unbelievably strong and they are marketed as "unbreakable". I absolutely love them. If i had one gripe with them then it would the that the handles aren't slim and they're kinda heavy compared to other rods on the market. I use these for all my Carp fishing, as well as for Pike, Zander and Cats.

I also have a custom 10ft 1.75 TC rod i use for Floater/Stalking, My favorite rod as it was my dads and he gave it to me this Christmas.

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I have been through my fair share of rods right from shakespeare when I first started to powermesh x''s to jrc defenders, rovex to my current velocity's. The velocity's are as yonny described a lot of rod for the price, great casting tools which have enabled me to hit in excess of 130 yards. I can only really afford a single set so these have to do everything I ask and they do it admirably.

However, surface fishing has turned into a bit of an art form, I hate mainline over 10lb and the only rods that will cushion and cope really well with these lower breaking strains are softer avon to barbel rods. I'm currently using the korum carp float with is rated at 1.5lb tc, lovely piece of kit than has enabled me to use much lighter lines, 7lb fly leaders believe it or not, it's an absolute joy to play fish and it really gives you those heart stopping moments.

I know bits an pieces about the carbon wraps and the general make up of rods but it all comes down to how they feel.

Plus I think no matter what rods you have, you and your body adapts itself for using them, in essence your rods become part of you. 

I've never had any mega expensive rods, I've played about with a few but nothing comes close to what I have for the reason mentioned above :)

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A few of the older anglers I know bang on about the original amorphous rods being a holy grail and that they’d still happily use them if they hadn’t got rid at some point. 

Something to do with the carbon fibres facing backwards so the material locked up giving it much more strength for the diameter of blank. Not too sure but I can’t understand why if it was so good it’s not readily available still. Or is it down to price?

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Cor!

I can honestly go back some time with my Carp rods.

As a 'yoof', I remember a twin tip ledger rod being used for carp, brilliant for carp to double figures and big tench, then I bought a Daiwa Specimen rod. My next purchase was a pair of 2.5lb North Westerns, which were built by John Wilson, used for carp and pike until one was stolen along with some of my other gear from my shed. I must have kept one in my room, which is why that wasn't stolen. The next set were Century Armalite Mk.l's in 2.25lb. I rebuilt these myself going down to 5 rings plus tip, and learnt to cast with Abu Cardinals, then Shimano Baitrunner 4000's to over 120yards with 8lb Sylcast line and shockleaders. I loved those rods until they were traded in.

 

From that I went to Armalite Mk.ll's in 2.75lb, again I rebuilt them to my spec's and paired them with 6010's, the same size reel, just new numbering, sadly another set of rods that were stolen. When I bought my Century 2.75lb SP's I started with 6010's, but soon switched to Shimano Aerlex's. Another set of rods I loved, for casting and playing fish on. I seriously wish I didn't sell them to a mate when I bought my Century NG's, which I had built for me to my specifications at Century, with the ball rest on the butt, which became standard on all NG's. The NG's are not a long distance casting rod, although 100metres is possible.

I did have a set of 3 FMJ's, a beast of a casting rod, 3-5oz casting weight, but seriously heavy for fish playing.

I still own the NG's, but eventually got a set of Rod Hutchinson The Ones in 3.25lb for long casting on the Lagoons. I am not so keen on them strangely, although they are growing on me.

 

Gaz mentions surface fishing, I had a Daiwa Pro Specialist 11.6 1.5lb rod for that, lovely rod, but after I stupidly broke the tip I have bought a Shakespeare Barbel rod which gets used for that as well as chub and roach fishing.

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I much prefer 11' rods to the more "usual" 12 footers. That's fine, until you start looking around to buy some! Not many manufacturers offer this length so you're limited on choice.

My current everyday rods are Shimano Tribal Velocities in 2.75 flavour. Not a bad rod for the money. I had to buy mine from abroad as no UK store had the 11 footers in stock at the time. Ended up costing me about £85.00 each I think.
As I say, they are an "ok" rod, although slightly heavier than my previous Chub Outkast "Smallwater" rods. The only reason I stepped up to the Velocities is because the lake I now fish has a few more snags to contend with and I guess I wanted the extra backbone the higher test curve gives me just in case of difficulties. 

The best rods I have ever owned, without question, were a set of FreeSpirit TS 2.75's. These were absolutely fantastic, almost as light as my Chubs and had a lovely fish playing action. I stupidly sold them when I ran into a few financial difficulties a few years ago and have regretted it ever since. If I could afford it I would buy another set of these in a heartbeat but I just cannot justify spending nearly £800.00 on rods. If a set of three came up second hand though, I would seriously consider splashing out. 

 

 

 

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On 24/07/2018 at 19:22, greekskii said:

A few of the older anglers I know bang on about the original amorphous rods being a holy grail and that they’d still happily use them if they hadn’t got rid at some point. 

Something to do with the carbon fibres facing backwards so the material locked up giving it much more strength for the diameter of blank. Not too sure but I can’t understand why if it was so good it’s not readily available still. Or is it down to price?

for me, it was the weight, carbon VS glass? no brainer.

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On 25/07/2018 at 05:14, smufter said:

The best rods I have ever owned, without question, were a set of FreeSpirit TS 2.75's. These were absolutely fantastic, almost as light as my Chubs and had a lovely fish playing action. I stupidly sold them when I ran into a few financial difficulties a few years ago and have regretted it ever since. If I could afford it I would buy another set of these in a heartbeat but I just cannot justify spending nearly £800.00 on rods. If a set of three came up second hand though, I would seriously consider splashing out. 

 

 

 

Note to self....... do not let your finger hover too close to the "buy it now" button when viewing sets of rods available on 0% finance. 3 x TS's now on their way to me.
😱😱😱

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The best rods I have ever used are Daiwa Infinity X in 2.75 or 3.5. Both are long distance beasts.

I have more modern rods and a few other golden oldies like Armalites but nothing feels as good as the Infinities. Not really a fan of the whacky styling around the reel seat which must put people off.

I honestly think with the pursuit of profit in modern rod manufacture there will never be a rod as good.

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I have still have a lot of my old rods, right back to the glass fibre stuff but, for most of my fishing I use 12’ 2.50lb Ballistas. I love a players rod and will use the softest rod I can get away with, for the distance and type of fishing I’m doing. My 2.75lb Amorphous are long over due a rebuild, and for distance I use 12’ 6” Torrix TE’s.

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Weeeeelllll..... taking my predeliction for Cane out of the equation for a mo, my Carbon rods are a pair of 9 foot, 2.75lb Nash Dwarf rods... I like the "Short rod" concept and love the advantage of leaving the kit in me car without it being on show... the rods are capable of doing most of the fishing that I do.... and any notion that you can't chuck them a long way had better have a word with Terry Edmonds... he chucked a lead 170 yards with one (3.00lbs I think) that said, most of my fishing is close range, so they suit me fine and for £75 each for the new updated ones, I'm more than happy with them....

I think you need to take a good look at the type of fishing that you do most of and tailor your choice to that... there are no rods that will do everything it's all about compromises at the end of the day...

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54 minutes ago, bluelabel said:

9 foot, 2.75lb Nash Dwarf rods....... any notion that you can't chuck them a long way had better have a word with Terry Edmonds... he chucked a lead 170 yards with one (3.00lbs I think)

That's like saying if you can't run 100m in 9 seconds have a word with Usain Bolt dude. Terry is the world record holder.

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He also told me he explodes about 40 rods a year.... so they're tough rods and his advice upped my distance from 60 yards to near 100 and that's with my dwarfs so his knowledge  has helped my distance work.... you can learn techniques that'll increase you distance whatever your casting tool from guys like Terry

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