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Carp Rods have changed massively over the years and only for the better in my eyes. Many years ago people were using split cane rods for catching carp or should I say, trying to catch carp because back then they were classed as mythical creatures of the deep and virtually impossible to catch.
Split cane rods were made by splitting bamboo (cane) along its length and then gluing and whipping about five pieces together making a hexagonal shape. They would use wood planes to taper the cane to make it thinner at the tip end to make it more flexible. The skill that went into making these rods was exceptional but if you've ever used one they can be quite heavy and over time they can form a natural curve in them making them difficult to use.
I'd even heard of some people making rods out of tank aerials. They would build them out of one complete aerial and use them as a one piece rod or those with more advanced rod building skills would make them into a two piece rod using a metal spigot to join the sections together.
This went on for many years until it changed and they started making fishing rods out of fiberglass. This was a massive advancement in fishing rods, making the rod a lot lighter and stronger. The first ones had quite a thick blank but as time went on and technology got better the blanks got a lot thinner. Some of the younger anglers out there might be shocked to hear that the standard length for a rod then, was 9 or 10 feet long with a test curve around 1.5lb to 1.75lb. The first proper carp rod I bought in the 80s was from a secondhand shop and it was a 10ft 1.75tc Silstar Traverse X Carp Rod that was my pride and joy until a few years later when I set my eyes on a DAM 12ft 2.5lb tc rod that I bought brand new. The strange thing was, the 10ft 1.75tc Silstar rod was a lot more powerful than the DAM 12 one so perhaps this is something to bear in mind when buying a shorter rod, that you may need to lower the test curve slightly.
The way the test curve of a rod is determined, is by clamping the rod in a horizontal position up off the ground and then attaching a short length of string (or something like that) which won't stretch and attaching weights to it. Once the rod bends down into a 90 degree curve that then determines the test curve. So if you add 3lb of weight to the blank till its bent 90 degrees, then that blank ( rod ) will have a three pound test curve. Once the correct sample blank has been made in the test curves needed, this one will become the master that they will copy depending on the test curve needed. Once in production they may test one blank to every 100 made to make sure it's still the same as the master blank.
Today carp fishing rods have advanced incredibly, using CAD drawing to design them and machines and people to test them. The materials available today can be used to make the rods so much slimmer and stronger, allowing some of the top distance casters to cast over 200 yards. Some of the top end rods are being made out of the best Japanese carbons available and once the carbon has been rolled on a tapered mandrill with resin to produce the blank, they are placed into autoclaves to cure the resin and harden it. An Autoclave is pressurised and this extracts all the air bubbles out of the resin which if left in could be a weak spot in the blank. The blank I keep referring to, to those of you that don't know, is what the carbon sections are called before they have the handles and eyes whipped onto them.
One massive turning point was when Nash Tackle bought out the retractable rods in their Dwarf and Scope range in 9ft and 10ft. The first foot of the black was able to retract back into the butt section where the handle is. This meant you could pack a 10ft two piece rod down to around 3.5 feet in length instead of having two 5ft sections. This setup is ideal for people using their cars to go fishing in or someone that wants a compact set up.
Buying a Carp Rod can be quite a difficult decision for some when others just buy on the looks of the rod or if it's the cheapest or most expensive. Some think that if they buy a cheap rod it's going to be no good and the more money they spend or if they buy the most expensive rod it will be far better. This is true to a point but it's down to your budget. You can buy some amazing rods for under £100 pounds like the Shimano TX2 and Fox X3 Rods, not forgetting the Nash Dwarf range in the retractable rods, but one of our biggest selling rods are the Daiwa Black Widow Carp rods for around the £50 mark. I know people that have bought these rods and love them, so it all comes down to where and what type of fishing you are doing.
I fish with Free Spirit 13ft Hi-'S' ive rods but I mainly fish in France now and the average size of carp I'm landing is around the 30lb mark. I went for a 13ft rod because that extra foot makes the action of a powerful rod a bit softer. This helps to eliminate hook pulls but also the longer arch in the cast helps with gaining more distance. A very good friend of mine has a set of Daiwa Basia carp rods in 12ft with a 3.75 test curve which is a similar test curve to mine but the actions of the rods are massively different. When I'm playing a fish on my rods, the tip of the rod bends then the more power I need the rods hoops over progressively as I need it. When I've played fish on my mates Basia rods, I noticed that the rod hooped over like a very powerful though action rod as I could feel a lot of pressure under my fore arm giving me all the power of the rod straight away loosened the clutch off a lot because I was frightened of a hook pull. When my friend first started using them he did have a lot of hook pulls until he got used to the rods. Where I'm going with this is that my friends rods cost nearly twice as much as my rods but I wouldn't use them as I don't like the way they handle but my mate loves them, so everyone is different. Just because you've bought a rod for two, three or four hundred pounds it doesn't mean it's far better than the person that spent £50 on a rod, it's all down to what you want the rod to do.
It's no good buying rods like mine to fish on a small water for upper double sized carp. You could use them on there but if I sat next to a person using say Daiwa Black Widow rods they would no doubt have more fun playing the fish and could out fish me because catching carp comes down to water craft not how expensive your gear costs. Also It's becoming a fashion to buy more powerful rods to achieve a longer cast but this is all okay if you can compress the rod enough on the cast.
What you need to think of when buying rods is, what your going to use them for as it's no good buying a 2.75lb test curve hoping it's going to cast a large PVA bag 100 yards, you will most probably break the rod as the whole pva bag may weigh 6-8oz so you need to think, would you happily cast a 6 to 8oz lead out on those rods.
Rods come in three different actions, Fast, Through and Mid-Tip action. Most of the carp rods that are on sale are Mid to Tip action as these are a happy medium and they sit in the middle of a Fast action and Through action rods. These rod's will give you a nice progressive bend from the tip of the rod down to the mid section where you will have more power if you need it. These rods will cover most of your fishing situation and they will cast heavier leads and PVA bags a decent distance.
If it's distance you are going for and you want to cast heavy leads and PVA bags a long way you want to go for a Fast Action rod. A Fast Action rod has a powerful butt section with a whip tail tip section which will punch a lead to the horizon. Please bear in mind though, you will only cast long distances if you are an experienced caster and know how to compress the rod to its max. The disadvantage to these rods are, because they have a stiffer tip section than the other types, hook pulls can be quite common until you get used to them.
Also to bear in mind, when you see these distance casters casting a lead well over 200 yards, that's all they are casting, a LEAD. They will have a heavy distance lead tied to a braided shock leader, to a line of around 7lb or even thin braid. Once you add a rig, hookbait, leader and thicker line the distance of the cast will reduce dramatically.
If you're looking for a rod that's lovely to play a fish on and you're not bothered about fishing at range then a Through Action Rod would be a great choice. A through action rod will bend from butt to tip in a nice arch and make playing all size carp fun. Even though a through action rod can be quite soft they can still have enough power to guide fish away from snags depending on the test curve you use. These rods are also great when fishing in the margin and close quarter battles as the softness of the rod helps to keep that hook firmly in place. The disadvantage with this action is they aren't the best casting rods and if you have a big fish on them with a light test cure, they can take some controlling by the net.
Here at CPS Tackle we have a wide variety of rods for all levels of carp anglers, from beginners to top flight anglers! Have a look through our wide selection of carp fishing rods and see what catches your eye. Near enough all of our rods come with a 12 month warranty if the rod is at fault! Please bear in mind if a rod is going to break it will break pretty much straight away on using it, on you first big cast or playing a fish. If you've had it a few months and used it quite a bit and then it breaks it's more than likely your fault or it may have been damaged somehow. The best way to deal with this is to be honest to the shop you bought it from and you've got more chance of resolving the problem because don't forget shop staff have heard all the excuses.