THIS MONTH: South Coast Rods, Wychwood, Banana Rods, Shimano, JRC
This month’s standout launch has got to be the new Aero Technium reels from Shimano. We also check out the updated Wychwood MHR Brolly MKII, JRC Slim Kurve indicators, and new company South Coast Rods who are offering custom Free Spirit rods
Umbrellas were the original choice of the discerning carp angler way back when the pastime was founded. The humble shelter has come a long way since then and despite the invention of bivvies in all manner of styles, many anglers still prefer the old school quirks of a brolly. Wychwood have produced a range of brollies for a number of years now, many of which have developed something of a cult following. The company is renowned for its attention to detail and quality, however their products often come in significantly cheaper than other products of a similar quality.
The original Wychwood MHR Brolly MKI was a real hit with both session anglers and overnight enthusiasts alike. Due to this, Wychwood were careful not to update the new version too much and instead listened to the thoughts of the customers who bought them. On that note, the new brollies are made using the exact same, 10,000mm hydrostatic head material. This super thick, yet lightweight material won the hearts of many carp anglers for its incredible durability, and so there really was no need to alter it. However, there have been a few updates to the design of both the standard brolly and the full system to help meet the needs of the modern angler.
A pair of large rear vents have been added to improve airflow on warm days. The front mosquito panels on the full system have also been increased to permit a better view of the lake. A new flexible door has been fitted to the zip-in front of the new MKII System, allowing you to utilise the panels in a multitude of different formats, giving full shelter customisation. A new watertight, protective bell cap now features on the standard brolly as well as the system, while both still benefit from multiple pegging points. Finally, Wychwood have fitted a unique central vent which will help eliminate condensation.
As before the MHR MKII is available as just a standalone brolly, or as a full system with a zip-in front and heavy duty groundsheet. Both of the brollies come with five-year warranties, which is testament to the quality of Wychwood’s products. The standard MHR Brolly MKII is priced at £199.99, and is supplied with a set of 24inch storm poles. The MHR Brolly MKII System, which can be converted to a long session shelter with the zip-in front and groundsheet, is priced at £299.99.
The new Aero Technium has to be the most highly-anticipated launch from Shimano in a number of years. There is a reason for that too, the new Aero Techniums take carp fishing reels to an entirely new level.
As the name suggests, Shimano have utilised magnesium throughout the construction of what can only be described as the Rolls Royce of reels. Utilising this material means the new Aero Techniums are incredibly light, weighing in at a meagre 485g.
Of course, being a flagship reel, the Aero Technium benefits from the full Hagane treatment, including the gearing. The cold-forged gears are insanely strong and are sure to cope with even the most demanding of situations. All the inner workings are shielded by Shimano’s amazing Xprotect too, which ensures no water, sand or grit can get inside the reel whatsoever.
Shimano have listened to their customers too, fitting a Hi Speed Drag. The knob now takes just a half turn to go from a Baitrunner type system, to fully locked up, giving instant control. Although some would find it hard to believe, they have even managed to improve on the oscillation, the new reels being fitted with Super Slow Oscillation 10, which gives the perfect line lay.
All in all, the new Aero Techniums are a masterpiece and as close to reel perfection as you are likely to see for the foreseeable future. There are two different models in the range: XTC and XSC. The XTC is finished in a lovely matte and gloss black combo. The XSC model is very different, featuring a pearleffect finish, which will certainly turns heads and is bound to prove another popular choice.
Both colour options are exactly the same size, with Shimano’s 14000 spool and feature the same inner workings, as well as a spare spool.
Following on from our recent reviews of their range of bespoke, hand-built fishing rods, this month sees us taking a look at the matching net that’s now available to compliment them. Available in two sizes, either a 42inch or 50-inch and with the option of a one or two-piece handle, the latter being 8 feet in length and comprising two equal lengths, as opposed to the conventional 6 feet of the one-piece.
While many won’t see the appeal of a handle that is only marginally longer than standard, for those of you who fish from boats on a regular basis, or quite like stalking fish in the edge, being able to use just one half of it will be a godsend, making it far more manoeuvrable when out on the water or in the confines of a small space.
The net is very light in the hand, yet retains a very stiff and strong handle due to its construction from the same process as the rods themselves. As expected it is once again finished to an incredibly high standard, with a discreet matte-look to the pole while featuring Banana’s signature Easy Power grip at the base, with a machined, stainless steel spreader block.
This company is a dedicated Free Spirit supplier run by Carp Team England’s Graham Mabey. South Coast Rods is unique in that it only sells one brand, the world renowned Free Spirit range.
Their attitude and approach to business is refreshing in a day and age of faceless, online shopping. Although South Coast Rods has a stylish, modern and easy to navigate website, they prefer to deal with their customers in an old school manner, welcoming phone calls and inviting potential buyers to come and visit for a free, no obligation consultation where you actually get to try out the rods before you buy.
Graham had this to say about South Coast Rods, “I switched to Free Spirit rods about 10 years ago and honestly would never look to another brand now. When we go away to competitions around the world, the rod of choice for most national teams is Free Spirit and that’s because the build quality and materials used are absolutely world class.
We only sell Free Spirit because we wanted to specialize in what we do. We have a showroom with over 40 rods available to view and test, sitting alongside a comprehensive stock of the most popular models.
Our vision is a simple one; we want every single customer to walk away from South Coast Rods with the perfect rod for their fishing. Every angler will have different needs from their rods and we take the time and effort to allow each customer to find the right rod to suit them.
I would say that around 75% of customers walk away with a different rod to the original they came to view after testing out others in the range. It is all well and good seeing the latest advert promoting a rod, or watching someone on Youtube harp on about a rod being the best ever made, but rod choice needs to be a personal affair. We allow our customers the time to come to their own conclusions”.
South Coast Rods also provide their own SCR Shorty rod, which really is in a class of its own, offering anglers who prefer to use a shorter 10ft rod a top of the range, head-turning option. Built on a HI-S 10ft 3¼lb TC blank, with 40mm Minima guides, a black Fuji real seat, on a full cork handle and with unique black whippings and line clips, the SCR Shorty really is a ‘go anywhere’ rod. It has been specifically designed for catching large carp from weedy, established pits and is equally at home playing fish away from marginal bushes as it is whipping a 4oz lead 120 yards into the open water.
If you are thinking of buying a set of new rods then we strongly recommend giving Graham and his team a call. They are full of enthusiasm and knowledge, and seriously care about making sure you walk away satisfied. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t buy a car online without a test drive would you, so why do it with a set of rods?
After the success of their original Kurve indicator, JRC have now launched the Slim Kurve Indicator. Featuring a very smart, slim, hinging body, they are available in a range of five different colours to suit the angler’s taste.
They were designed and manufactured in the UK and have a host of clever, key features, including a dual line clip for fixed or sliding use, which is suitable for either braided or monofilament mainline. This, along with the articulating head, allows them to register even the slightest of movements, or to be fixed in position to minimise any false indications caused by wind.
The indicators themselves are supplied as a complete kit with everything you need. There is a black ball-chain, a stiff arm, two additional weights for windy conditions or fishing at range, and the five different coloured heads which are neon yellow, neon green, neon orange, white or black and have an internal isotope slot. These, along with the line clips are interchangeable via JRC’S simple Easy Turn and Fix system.
Wychwood MHR Brolly MKII and Brolly System RRP: £199.99 and £299.99Online: www.wychwoodcarp.co.uk
Shimano Aero Technium MGS XTC/XSC RRP: £699 eachOnline: www.fish.shimano-eu.com
Banana Rods Landing Net RRP: From £315Online: www.bananarods.com
South Coast Rods Free Spirit rod range Contact: 07463 905390Online: www.southcoastrods.com
JRC Slim Kurve IndicatorsRRP: £12.99 individually, or £36.99 Online: www.jrc-fishing.co.uk