Ex­clu­sive! On-the-bank test of Preston’s new 9ft feeder rod

Angling Times’ Ben Fisk finds a wolf in sheep’s cloth­ing

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

THERE was a time when a ‘short’ rod was classed as 11ft max­i­mum.

Nowa­days a host of mod­els in the 8ft, 9ft and 10ft class are avail­able, in­clud­ing the Su­per Light 9ft Feeder from Preston In­no­va­tions. This is billed as a close-range tool for small feed­ers and bombs, and casts up to 30m.

It’s the baby of the Com­pe­ti­tion Pro range of feeder rods, which stretches right up to a heavy 13ft ver­sion. The Com­pe­ti­tion Pro is a def­i­nitely a se­ries of all-round rods rather than out-and-out com­mer­cial tools, and although I could have taken it to a reser­voir or a big lake and tar­geted small fish, it wouldn’t have been too much of a test. In­stead it was thrown in at the deep end at De­coy Lakes’ ever-reli­able Six Is­lands pool, which holds lots of carp in the 4lb-10lb bracket.

First, a note on the length. I ab­so­lutely love us­ing a 9ft rod. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lim­ited in terms of cast­ing dis­tance but for any­thing up to 35m or so it makes feeder fish­ing so ef­fort­less, es­pe­cially with the hook­bait tucked in­side the frame of a Method or pel­let ver­sion. A tra­di­tional open-end feeder with a long tail isn’t as aero­dy­namic, so a longer rod is needed to cast it prop­erly.

With a 9ft rod, fish pop up un­der your feet for net­ting, as they do on a short F1-type top kit on a pole.

I clipped my line up for a short 16m chuck to the mid­dle of the bowl at the car park end of the lake, where there is a sunken is­land. Be­lieve it or not it’s quite dif­fi­cult to dis­ci­pline your­self to ap­ply such a short cast – or it would be with a longer rod.

My 30g in­line Preston Method couldn’t have been in the water much longer than 30 sec­onds when the 1oz tip I’d fit­ted pulled firmly round. A 5lb mir­ror carp was the cul­prit, and it was beaten in dou­ble-quick time. I quickly re­alised how much back­bone and power this rod has, right through its fault­less ac­tion. With sev­eral hooked carp I could feel the line

grat­ing through some sub­merged roots or veg­e­ta­tion on the bar, and I re­ally had to give the fish some stick, stand­ing up some­times, to get them over it with­out break­ing the hook­length.

Then I took the clip off and gave it a few good casts up the long sides of the lakes. This was sur­pris­ingly easy, helped by the large rod rings to­wards the base of the blank. I reckon you could punch a Method feeder 45m or 50m if you re­ally went for it.

My fi­nal trick was at much, much closer range. I’d been throw­ing a few hand­fuls of pel­lets in the mar­gins and a gen­tle un­der­arm lob sent the feeder down there.

The rod was al­most wrenched from my hands as I caught bar­bel and sev­eral more carp, in­clud­ing a dou­ble-fig­ure com­mon, which all made off to­wards a snaggy cor­ner with an aerator. De­spite a few hairy mo­ments the Su­per Light Feeder took ev­ery­thing thrown at it, and smaller, softer rods like this mean fewer hook pulls too.

Price: £89.99

“It has a de­light­ful ac­tion that makes it soft enough for F1s (fish no­to­ri­ous for shed­ding the hook) and yet pow­er­ful enough to tame lumps”

Thanks to this, and pro­por­tion­ately large rings on the butt, the line flies fric­tion-free on the cast. Chucks to 35m can be made with a 30g in­line feeder. The blank isn’t de­signed for su­per-long cast­ing, but its fault­less through ac­tion with am­ple power in the butt will tame carp and guide them through snags. This is a nice touch, not al­ways found on rods in this price bracket. It’s use­ful on a nine-footer, which you may of­ten carry ready made-up along the bank. The rod comes with a choice of 1oz or 1.5oz tips – the lighter of the two is per­fect for use with a 30g in­line Method feeder and shows up the small­est rat­tles. HOOK RETAINER AC­TION CHOICE OF TIPS BUTT RING

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