We go the distance with Matrix’s new Horizon feeder rods
IT’S always struck me as slightly ironic that many of the best distance feeder rods are designed by our Continental counterparts.
That said, modern UK match tactics are starting to influence the build characteristics and specifications of many rods, wherever they are made, and the four Horizon XD Class rods from Matrix are a case in point.
The emphasis across the Channel used to be on propelling a feeder a long way, but now more thought has been given to the cushioning effect that allows the user to reel a big ‘bin lid’ back without pulling a reasonably sized hook out of its mouth. This is reminiscent of our home-grown bream tactics.
These latest three-piece Matrix Horizon XD Feeder rods, in lengths of 13ft, 14ft and 14ft 7ins, and with maximum casting weights of 100g, 130g, 150g and 160g, all feature extended spigots for added casting power, and enlarged guides (including on the quivertips) that shockleaders and heavy lines can pass through unhindered.
The blanks are of the fast taper type, with high weight loading areas and a rapid post-cast tip recovery rate. All are bound to put a few extra yards on your cast.
Four models will be of particular interest to the UK bream angler who frequents large open-water venues such as Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent, or Coventry’s Meadowlands Fishery. They are the 13ft 100g (3.5oz) and 13ft 130g
(4.5oz), 14ft 150g (5.2oz) and horizon-busting 14.7ft 160g (5.6oz) rods. For the live test I chose the 13ft 130g rod, which I reckon will be the best seller in the range.
It looks and feels ideal for out-and-out bream and skimmer venues such as Ferry Meadows, near Peterborough.
Rather handily, this was where I came across a certain Mr Steve Ringer who was practising for a forthcoming match.
After a little gentle persuasion, World Feeder Champ Steve agreed to let me use his seatbox, feeders and bait to run the rod through its paces – despite knowing it would likely mean the spoilation of his carefully fed swim.
Instead, selfless Steve decided to have a wander round the venue for an hour rather than watch me cast all over the place and ruin his chances of catching anything else!
So, what are you likely to get in terms of performance and handling from the new Matrix Horizon XD Class? I can tell you straight off the bat that it can be used with any type of feeder, although I found the window type best to achieve distance and accuracy. This is probably more down to the feeder’s sleek design and rear-end casting weight than to how well the rod propelled it.
In truth, the new 13ft 130g Horizon XD will cast anything you care to tie on to your line up to 3oz in weight, and do it with sublime ease. At 4oz, though, the blank’s mid-section lacks just a tad of steel. It still managed to chuck 80 yards-plus without too much effort, and I suspect better casters than I’ll ever be would take it to the next level.
But face it, how many stillwater match anglers are regularly casting 4oz weights those sorts of distances anyway?
Were I looking to use beefier feeders at super-long range, my choice would be the 14ft 150g (5.2oz) rod, which packs a fair bit more oomph.
Back to the rod under test, I can happily report that the 13-footer has a nicely cushioned parabolic through action, with just the right blend of power and subtlety from mid to tip sections.
This means it can be used with lightish hooklengths from 0.12mm upwards and size 16 hooks or bigger, with either mono or braided mainlines from 4lb-10lb. Thanks to its enlarged guides it can accommodate a shockleader too.
WEAVE PRINT Applied to all sections of all rods in the range, this gives them a very classy appearance
Enlarged guides facilitate easy line flow.
Graded carbon tips suit the blank’s action.
A keeper ring always adds a nice final touch.
An EVA handle end improves casting grip.