I don’t get those ‘unboxing’ videos which are all over the place. I am obviously missing something here as they are incredibly popular but I will spare you the unboxing of my new purchase. When I looked at this 14 foot Shakespeare feeder rod in the shop it seemed to be an awful lot of rod for not much money, so I bought one. This is a proper rod now boys and girls, it is rated to throw up to 5 ounces, the same as my medium beachcaster. There is nothing subtle about it, the design and materials are intended to create a rod who’s main function is to cast prodigious distances.
This rod is initially for use on one specific lake but I hope I will find other venues where long casts are necessary. The lake in mind is out of the way and rarely fished by other anglers, at least I have only met one other chap there and I have fished it many times. This is a typical Irish tench lake, very deep, thick reed beds all around it and some super sized tench grubbing about on the bottom. I have not caught many tench there but the ones I have hooked have universally been good fish, topping 4 pounds easily and up to 6 pounds so far. I am convinced there are much larger tench in there if I put in the effort. That is where this new rod comes in.
On this lake I fish from the only place I have found that gives me any access to the water. To the left of where I fish is a stand of reeds which run out into the lake about fifteen yards. To my right is a thick bed of lilies which also push out about the same distance. Between them is clear water, twelve feet deep and about twenty feet wide. It is in this small area I have hooked all my fish. Casts further out have yielded nothing apart from a couple of middle-sized bream. One hundred yards away is the far bank or should I say the reeds which grow all around the water. So if I could cast 90 yards or so I could drop my hook into a new area, one that I can guarantee is never fished. My current feeder rod is grand up to about 50 yards but after that – forget it. Thinking about this a bit more, I fished Lough Nablathi over in Roscommon last summer and there is a similar situation there at the north end of that lake. Then of course there is the Shannon. Up until now I have avoided fishing the biggest river in the country, partly because I lacked the heavy rod required. Strong flows, very deep water and big fish mean my light rods and reels just would not cope but now I have the right tool.
So I parted with €70 and got myself a Shakespeare Agility Continental Feeder. There was no way I would part with the huge sums for some of the other, more illustrious feeder rods on the market in this length. I am sure they are superb weapons but I wanted a rod which would be used occasionally so the Shakespeare fitted the bill nicely. I have only just bought it and and have not had a chance to try it out yet but initial impressions are favorable. It’s an impressive beast of a rod, everything about it feels over sized and just handling it inspires confidence. It comes with three tips, one each for 2, 3 and 4 ounces. Nice big rings mean the line should shoot though them and if I use a shock leader it won’t snag up in them. Build quality is very good for a rod in this price range. A locking down reel seat is the type I prefer so I am happy with that too. The proof of this particular pudding will come when I am trying to chuck a four ounce feeder as far as my 1971 swimming certificate says I could do the breast stroke!
This rod is a big departure for me, a move into much more specialised coarse fishing from my normal ‘general’ approach. My plans for the coming season are varied but tench figure high on my list of target species so this new rod should be a very useful addition to my armory. I’ll pick up a few heavy cage and maggot feeders over the coming weeks and be ready for the pre-spawning monster tench of the coming spring.
A quick update – when I thought about feeders a bit more it seemed to me that heavy method feeders would be a better option if I am casting long distances. I bought a couple and will give them a try this spring.