Finding the best rod for you.
Most rods these days are very reliable, so you can buy with the confidence that even our low budget models will not be prone to breakage. However performance, durability, high quality fittings, up-to-date cosmetics and specialised design will vastly improve the character of your rod, so correct choice is vital to an anglers approach.
The test curve is the weight required to bring the tip to a 90 degree angle to the butt while the butt is held horizontally. This measurement provides a guide to the stiffness of one rod compared to another. The test curve on its own is not an indicator of casting capability however. Of more influence on a rod’s casting potential, is the action of the rod. For example a fast-taper 2.75lb test curve rod will have greater casting capability than a through-action 3.5lb test curve rod, but the through-action rod will have other benefits over the faster-action rod.
For simplicity, only three types of action tend to be referred to in the press:
• Fast taper
However, there is a whole spectrum of actions between these, and there are points in the spectrum where the definition of the action is a matter of opinion. For example some people may describe the same action as either a semi-fast or a through-action. Also semi-fast and fast-taper actions become confused. The result is that the action of a rod described in the angling press is sometimes misleading.
Through-action rods are a dream for playing fish as the rod can be allowed to play the fish without the angler having to continually adjust the clutch or back-wind. They also minimise the chance of hook pulls, allow the use of lighter breaking strain main lines and hooklink materials and are the best action rods for accurately casting at shorter range. They also perform well when using light leads. Through-action rods are not a good choice if distance casting could be necessary and only the higher test curve models are suited to method fishing and PVA bag work.
Semi-fast-action rods are also referred to as medium action, progressive, compound-taper or parabolic, and most general carp rods are built to have this action. These rods generally play fish well and cast PVA bags and method balls accurately with ease. They do not require specialist casting techniques to achieve good casts. However semi-fast rods are not ideal for extreme-range or continual long-range work. This is the 'all-rounder' action. There are however many variations that are labelled semi-fast taper so seeking knowledgeable advice is important.
Fast-action rods are best for extreme-range or long-range casting, but require a good casting technique to realise their full potential. They are also best for casting heavier weights such as larger PVA bags or method balls. This is the least enjoyable action with which to play fish, with a greater chance of hook pulls or hooklink breakage. Fast-action rods are also difficult to cast accurately at shorter range (under 70 yards) because a little extra effort on the cast results in a lot more distance, generally making it difficult to place a bait under an overhanging tree line for example.
The action and test curve both affect the character of a rod, but there are other factors that influence the feel, balance and recovery rate and therefore change the character. The type of carbon cloth used, the position, number and type of rod guides, the position of the reel seat, the type of handle and other factors can all have an effect.
50mm butt rings - pros & cons
50mm butt rings have become more popular in recent years because they reduce the chance of the line grabbing the butt ring during casting - a problem that is more evident when using reels with large diameter spools. However the benefit of the 50mm ring needs to be weighed against other considerations: they may fit awkwardly in your present luggage. Also because of their size, 50mm rings are more vulnerable, so need care to avoid damage.