Smooth caster with hidden power
Aleka 3XT rods from £84.98
THE 3XT is the latest to join the Aleka fly-fishing portfolio and consists of six four-piece models that will cover everything from small stream fishing to reservoir and single-handed salmon sport. The range goes from a 7wt 6in 3wt at £84.98 up to a 10ft 7wt at £124.98 and I had the 9ft 5wt and 10ft 7wt for review. The rods have an attractive matt silver finish and the overall build quality looks very good with neat whippings and not too much epoxy finish on top. The reel seat is also smart and, more importantly, functions really smoothly. Just a flick of the uplocking rings sends them spinning on the thread, and they lock off tightly on the reel foot. Both the full wells and the half wells handle on the lighter rod fitted well in the hand for a comfortable grip. The 10ft 7wt is not the lightest rod of its class on the market but I didn’t find it tiring on the arm through the day. Matched up with a 7wt floating line the rod loaded quickly, aerialised the line comfortably and the first cast onto the water was smooth and precise. It didn’t take long for me to get a feel for how the blank was working and how I could get the best from it – it is very much a middle to tip action but progressively more tip. I experimented with different lengths of line outside the rod tip ranging from short quick-fire casts to double-hauling much longer lines. At short and medium range I found that I needed a shorter arm action and had to concentrate a little more on line control, while at distance I adopted a slightly longer arm stroke and the rod just took over, doing all the work for me. It also had quite a hidden depth of power that I could call on, especially when trying to punch out denser medium to fast sinking lines into cross or head-on winds. I could really lean into the blank and push it that little bit further without it folding, ideal when fishing those more exposed larger waters. The 7wt rating is about spot-on both for floaters and a range of sinking lines and this rod will even handle one line weight above quite comfortably. The 9ft 5wt has a similar action to its big brother but is obviously lighter in the hand and has a little more in the way of a progressive arc in the blank, especially noticeable when playing a fish. I could quite happily fish with light tippets as the tip and the blank’s action gave that extra cushioning to protect them. Aerialising and false casting was very smooth and presentation was very good indeed. It will handle a multi-tip line and intermediates with no problem, and even denser sinkers if you need to.
The 10ft 7wt is perfect for larger waters and can handle a good range of lines. The 9ft 5wt suits small stillwaters and top of the water sport. Very good price too.