Choosing the correct rod for your fishing
A word on distances
A lot of fishing rod manufacturers quote some pretty extraordinary distances when trying to sell their latest rods. A great deal of these claims can best be described quite simply as bullshit! There are some big name and supposedly reputable manufactures out there who will claim all sorts in an attempt to get us anglers to part with our hard-earned in exchange for some cheaply manufactured, far eastern rods that will rarely, if ever, fulfil the promises made (I'm not just talking about rods from the cheaper end of the spectrum either, I won't name names and get myself sued but some very high price tag rods from some very well known manufactures are poor quality far eastern rods made from cheap components that undergo very little development or testing and whose main objective is to maximise profit for the seller, rant over!)
The distances I have quoted above are either distances that I have been able to achieve myself (and have properly measured) or that have been achieved by anglers who's opinion I trust completely. A very large part of long range casting is personal ability and having the correct skill set (it is rarely down to just size and build), having attended casting tuitions and demonstrations and also witnessed a great deal of anglers trying to hit long range marks in my role as a fishery bailiff I would have to say that I have come across very few anglers who would not benefit from tuition with an experienced long range caster like Terry Edmonds.
It is all well and good saying that "such and such a new wonder rod hit 174 yards in testing" but what we need to know is "how often can the rod make that cast before it fails?" and "was that cast made with a normal rig in a practical situation or was it a made with a huge lead on light line with a strong tail wind (amidst much shattered carbon fibre!)?" You only need to look at the rods used by Terry Edmonds at his casting tuitions to be assured that a Harrison blank will make that cast time and again without failure or decay. His rods gets pounded day in, day out and survive to tell the tale.
Harrison are not in the habit of making outrageous claims for their products (in fact, the opposite is often true and they can be guilty of underselling their products). You can rest assured that, when you buy a Harrison rod, either off the shelf or from a custom rod builder, you are buying a genuine top quality product that has been properly developed, tested and manufactured in England, not in a far eastern sweat shop. The same can also be said for Century and some of the higher price tag products from FreeSpirit.
The Torrix spod is a 12 foot, 4.5 pound test curve rod that is easy to compress and therefore a great choice for most anglers. I use one myself and it is honestly the best spod rod I have ever used, light and slim enough to use for extended periods and with an action that flatters the user. I've personally launched a midi spomb over a genuine 140 yards but also found it suitable for gently laying out a mini spomb filled with floaters.
Trebuchet Light Spod
Harrison set out to build the ultimate extreme range spod rod, a rod that could deliver a loaded spod to the same marks that can be reached with Trebuchet carp rod. At 13 feet in length and with a test curve of 5.5 pounds the Trebuchet Light Spod is a very serious piece of equipment and testing has proved that Harrison achieved exactly what they set out to do. During development the blank was honed and tweaked until a rod was produced that could not only hit the required distance but also offer longevity of service and be useable by regular anglers, not just tournament casters. The result is a rod that has regularly surpassed the 210 yard mark in testing with a loaded spod. The Trebuchet Light Spod is available in UltraMatt, clear gloss or tinted with either bottle green, burgundy, blue or chestnut brown gloss. It can be built to match your existing or new set of custom carp rods
The 'Aviator' name came about because, in the words of Steve Harrison "of the way they make the lead fly" I think he got the name just right. The Flex is the second of the two new range topping rods from Harrison under the 'Aviator' title but fills a quite differing brief to its beefier sibling, the 'Plus'. The Flex used as its starting point two other class leading and very highly regarded rods from the range, the Acurix 3lb and the Torrix 3.25. The Acurix is a supreme fish playing tool that will bend to the handle under extreme pressure and offer close quarters control of big fish in dicey situations while the Torrix 3.25 is a 'jack of all trades' all rounder with a bias towards longer range ability. The Idea with the Flex was to fill the void between these rods with a premium rod of outstanding quality. The Acurix is incredibly slim and has a maximum useful range of around 100 yards, The Aviator Flex, helped by a slightly faster action and a blank thats a touch wider at the butt, pushes that maximum range out just a little further whilst retaining that beautiful fish playing action. Again, 'feel' is the word that comes to mind with the Aviator Flex, a rod that shows whats truly great about bespoke British design and manufacturing .
The Ballista stalker is available as 9ft, three piece, 2.75lb or a 10ft, two piece 2.75lb. My own choice of stalker is the Ballista 10 footer which last season I used to catch carp to over 35lb at close quarters and in some very tight spots. The Torrix stalker is available as a 10ft 2.75lb or 3.25lb as well as 11ft 2.75lb and 3.25lb. The 3.25 also makes an excellent rod for use on boats on some of the huge continental lakes.
Having extensivley used these rods myself over a couple of years I can personally attest to what a miracle of carbon fibre engineering the Harrison Torrix Extreme really is. Utilising a faster taper than the standard Torrix, the Harrison Torrix Extreme, or TE as it is more commonly know, has taken a brilliant all rounder and focused extra emphasis on long range ability. The remarkable thing is that, despite the potential to cast a baited rig 170+ yards (and over 200 yards during development in the hands of Terry Edmonds) the TE retains a sensible fish playing action that can still be used at short range and with Zig rigs. If you tend to fish smaller waters or for small to medium sized fish I would still recommend the Aviator or standard Torrix over the TE but if your looking for a rod comfortable with close in work but able to achieve big distance when required and capable of fighting big fish in heavy weed and snags then the Harrison Torrix Extreme is, without doubt, the segment leader.
The Aviator plus is my personal favourite and the rod that I use for almost all of my fishing. Designed by Steve Harrison, the blanks are hand crafted at the tiny Harrison factory in Liverpool before making their way here to be crafted into bespoke rods of the highest order. The Aviator is Harrison's range topping rod and is available in two versions, the 'Flex' and the 'Plus'. The Plus used the benchmark Torrix 3.25 as a starting point but adding a slightly faster action to increase casting ability. Despite this pinch of extra power, the use of new carbons actually means that the Aviator is slightly slimmer and lighter than the Torrix. The first thing I noticed was the way the rod 'feels', light in the hand but with a crisp, steely action and incredibly fast recovery speed. To use the rod is a genuine joy, casting to the middle distance is easy and accurate but the power is there to place a lead over 150 yards when required. I've recently been using mine on a small, very low stocked pit where most of my fishing had been under 25 yards. The 'Plus' is easily able to flick light leads to small holes in the weed with supreme precision and the light weight and extraordinary feel allows you to really enjoy the fight without fear of being over gunned. The Aviator range is available in UltraMatt, clear gloss or tinted gloss finishes. It features an attractive 1k weave from butt to tip and just scream quality. In my humble opinion the Aviator Plus is simply the best all-round/multi-range carp rod ever built.
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A pure fishing rod, designed not to cast huge distances but to provide a beautiful playing action with outstanding feel. That's not to say that the Acurix can't cast when required but zero to one hundred yards is this rod's comfort zone. Stunningly slim and light, the Acurix has a delicate feel the belies its inner strength.
Designed in conjunction with distance casting supremo Terry Edmonds, the Trebuchet is a radical extreme distance rod for experienced casting hands only. In the right hands this rod has achieved distances over the magical two hundred yard barrier. With a test curve of 4lb's this is a very serious rod, available at 12 or 13 feet in length. There is now a Trebuchet light 13ft spod rod to ensure that you can bait up at the same range that you can fish, details below.
Make no mistake, at 3.75lb test curve this rod is a true distance casting weapon, but designed in such a way that mere mortals are able to extract the available performance from it. Designed for situations where 150 yards plus is required and capable of 200 yards plus in the right hands. Available as a 12 or 13 footer in Ultramatt, gloss, burgundy, chestnut or green. To make sure that you can bait up at the same extreme range that these rods can achieve Harrison have launched a new for 2015 trebuchet light spod rod, more details below.
Harrison themselves describe this rod as 'like an air cooled Porsche' and I really can't think of a better way to describe this truly iconic rod. Often the Ballista is mistakenly overlooked in favour of newer rods, yet to do so is to underestimate one of the finest carp rods ever built. Available from 11ft 2.5 lb up to the brutish 13ft 4 pounder (a very popular rod on the continent and capable of extreme distance) The Ballista has continued to quietly evolve over the years and is available in the full range of Harrison finishes as well as the classic un-ground 'spiral' for the full 'old skool' look.
Probably the finest all round carp rod ever built, the 3.25 in particular will go down in history as the benchmark modern carp fishing rod. Designed and built in the UK, the Torrix is the flagship of the Harrison range. So many manufacturers claim to have built a rod that can 'cast to the horizon yet stay sensitive under the tip', the Torrix is the first rod we've seen that actually upholds this claim.
yards in my own hands, and I certainly don't claim to be any sort of distance fishing wiz kid! So take the time to ask yourself what kind of fishing you will be using your rods for, will you really need a 3.75 pound monster for your six acre syndicate? Or will a 2.75 pound Acurix leave you undergunned at your local ninety acre pit? It is that afformentioned compromise - are you willing to sacrifice feel for power or vice versa? If your not sure, please feel free to call me and I'll take the time to help you find your perfect rod
Eaton Rod Craft can build all types of rod for all sorts applications but our speciality, and by far the largest slice of our business, is carp fishing rods so we shall concentrate on those to start with. The first thing you must ask yourself is 'what will I actually be using my rods for?' Easy right? But in this modern age of carp fishing it is very easy to be led by what you read in magazines and by what the top flight carpists are using. There seems to be a modern trend towards high test curve, fast taper, mega range carp rods - I suppose a little bit of the "mine's bigger than yours" syndrome. Now, I'm not for a minute knocking such rods - if you fish a vast, windswept inland ocean then there is a very good chance that you will need such a tool and this is where they have their place. The downside to these rods is that they can be far less pleasurable to play fish on, particularly if they are hooked at close range - the very same power that gives these rods their incredible casting performance can mean that they are cumbersome and unwieldy at close quarters. Like many anglers we have our favourite rods, in my case it is a two and a half pound test curve Harrison Ballista, not a cutting edge rod by today's standards, and by no means a distance rod, but as I write this I am re-living a battle that took place yesterday with a 22lb old English carp that was facilitated by that very Ballista. The soft tip allowed me to cast the delicate freelined breadflake that was this carp's downfall and the forgiving action allowed me to feel every surge of power as my foe bade for freedom in the thick beds of Canadian pond weed. Of course this kind of rod is not suitable where distances of more than seventy yards or so are required. This means that, as with many things in life, a compromise must be reached. My personal choice of rod for all round use, and one that has astounded me with its varied abilities, is the Harrison Aviator Plus 12ft 3lb6oz These are rods that I'm happy to use at very close range yet provide the ability to cast a baited rig a genuine 150 yards
Released in late 2015, the Aviator Plus 13ft is a truly groundbreaking rod. Designed to fill the gap between the Torrix 12'6 TE and the Trebuchet Light. I now use these myself for 90% of my own fishing and I'm truly astonished by their feel and performance. Although built as a long/extreme range tool they actually feel like an allrounder to use and play fish on, an all-rounder that just happens to be capable of incredible distance!! In development, Harrison tester Terry Edmonds hit distances of over 210 yards, in the hands of mere mortals 180 yards should be achievable. The big difference between these rods and others that can produce such big casts (and believe me, despite manufacturers claims and pub talk there aren't many!!) is that they are a joy to play fish on at any range, they feel beautiful in the hand and are surprisingly slim and light. They are also incredibly easy to 'load' making long range possible for those that may have struggled before.
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