New Rods – Making Moves

I expect most keen coarse anglers own a rod or two dedicated to fairly specialist tasks – perhaps a crisp, fast action float rod, designed solely with long trotting pacy rivers in mind; an ultra-light lure rod that brings to life the most tiny little jigs; or even one of the legendary Drennan Tench Float rods, designed for, erm…

However, it’s usually the most versatile kit that’s first in the bag. I’ve used the same Shimano Aero 2 ¼ lbs test curve rods for years – mainly for barbel fishing on the Wye, using the ubiquitous feeder and pellet approach, but also for light carp and pike fishing, distance bream fishing with alarms, and even for lobbing ragworms into the sea!

But for the heavier aspects of carp fishing that I find myself more and more engaged with – PVA bags, snag fishing and distance casting on larger waters – I have found myself under-gunned on more than one occasion.

So I was really excited to receive three brand-new, Fox Warrior + rods, together with a Warrior + S&M (Spod & Marker) rod and Warrior + net and handle from the great guys at Tackle Fanatics a couple of weeks ago. These models are exclusive to Tackle Fanatics and are a brilliant, modern update on the all-time classic Fox Warrior range of rods.

The 3 ¼ lbs test curve and 12ft length means distance work is a doddle and chucking a 3oz lead a long way or big PVA bag is no hassle.  The rods feature full cork handles and lovely slim, low-profile blanks. I knew straight away the rods would be up to the tasks mentioned, but I was still keen to make sure they’d be subtle enough to deal with lively, double figure carp close-in.

Being able to nip out after dinner for a couple of hours carp fishing really is a lovely thing to do at this time of year. I tend to travel light at the best of times, but for these super-short sessions I just have the rods, net, and everything else is tucked away inside a zip up sling mat. I tend to move around a lot and sometimes even do away with the buzzers and fish slack lines with the rods on the floor.

Making moves – I had this lovely common carp on a small piece of bread fished just sub-surface

What I really like about my favourite local pool is the variety of carp that live there – I’ve had dark, scaly mirrors, chunky commons and even some ancient looking carp – they’re all characters. One lean mirror carp I hooked close-in on a little white pop-up gave an explosive take and quickly took line from a tightly set clutch, making it quite far under some dense trees that weave extensively into the water. But by applying some hefty pressure and dunking the tip of the rod right down into the water, I turned the fish and eventually got it in the net. The rod was right up to the job, showing lovely progressive power and in that instance and I’m convinced I’d have lost that fish with the lighter rod.

A lean, powerful mirror carp that really tested the new gear

I’ve been really impressed with the Warrior + 42 inch net too. I brought a pricier net made by another well-known brand and while the net itself was fine, the handle was poor with the thread loose and poorly attached to the handle.

The Warrior + net is really strong, but subtle and light too, perfect for moving around easily. I’ve used it to push into a really tight, snaggy swim to net a long, angry common and its deep profile means it’s perfect to rest a fish quickly in the margins after a tiring scrap. The handle is as lovely and solid too and with a properly attached, sturdy thread. It’s a bargain at under £40 and, again, they’re exclusive to Tackle Fanatics.

Success! One in the net…

I’m really looking forward to testing the rods on a larger water I’ll be trying soon that requires a serious chuck and heavy baiting at range. They also look perfect for some of the heavier Wye tactics that come into play when there’s a bit of extra water on – conditions I love!

Tackle Fanatics currently have a top deal on three Fox Warrior +, full cork handle rods for just £209.99 down from the RRP of £519.99 – absolutely brilliant value for what is a superb, high-spec rod. Get them here!



Viaduct carp

It’s something I’ve thought about a lot recently – finding a genuine carp fishing adventure. Exploring new waters off the beaten track; perhaps even landing a special fish. But of course these things take time. So it’s a very loose project that will take place over years rather than weeks or months – but I’m determined to find it.

For all that, my carp fishing skills are pretty rusty. I don’t really know my chods from my Spods to be perfectly honest. So I decided to ease my way back in and head to a day ticket water in an effort to get to grips with catching carp again.

Viaduct fishery in Somerset is a well established venue. The largest, most mature lake features some huge arches that give the complex its name. They loom large and offer a dramatic backdrop to what is an attractive lake. There are enough shady corners, shallow bays, dense overhanging trees and reed beds to give the angler plenty of features in which to find carp.

Viaduct fishery in Somerset.
Viaduct fishery in Somerset.

And on a warm afternoon, floaters take some beating. Although the Viaduct fish are plentiful, they are not mugs. I hooked two carp quickly, but suffered hook pulls on both occasions. The fish were very cagy after that. Some would intercept all the free offerings without ever going near the hookbait. Others nudged it along the surface, testing it before spooking as the line moved. I must have had two-dozen near misses before I swapped from bread crust to a small, single imitation mixer. Even this failed to work until I actually moved the mixer ever so slightly up the line and added a piece of bread flake to the hook that sat just underneath the fake dog biscuit. A six or seven pound common carp was the result of the hard work and I was delighted – the first carp from a new venue is always a memorable one.

Fishing for carp using floating baits is enourmous fun.
Fishing for carp using floating baits is enourmous fun.

Soon after a nice mirror carp made the same mistake before, just as I was beginning to clear the gear away, a confident, lumpy fish muscled in and took the mixer as bold as brass. The carp put up a great scrap and eventually a bullish mirror of just over 14 pounds rolled into the net. I took some photos and released the fish carefully back to her watery home.

A near-double from Viaduct.
A mirror carp from Viaduct.
The best carp of the evening.
The best carp of the evening.