Rods and Reels


A lot has been written in the past regarding what rods and reels to use and when. This article will hopefully assist you with your choices. I know there is a minefield of rods and reels out there on the market to choose from at all different prices. At the end of the day it will come down to how much money you want to spend but there are a few good choices which will hopefully not break the bank.


The following is regarding rods and reels I have previously used and some currently using and my own personal preference.


In my early angling years I always tried to have the latest rods and reels etc. Bit of a tackle tart in those days. Over the years I have learnt that you do not always have to buy the most expensive to have a decent set up. I believe it is not always the best tackle that catches the biggest fish. It is more a case of having the correct tackle good enough to deal with the certain fishing situation you are in at the time.


Below is a list of tackle I am currently using which I have tried and tested and which I would recommend to anyone to give a try.


My current river set up for barbel and chub consists of the following:-

Rod = Greys Prodigy Barbel 1.75tc. These can be purchased for around £99.99 brand new. This may sound pricey to some but the good thing about this rod is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee. If the rod snaps or is broken by accident you get a new one from Greys. I actually snapped the Avon tip on mine in a freak accident a few weeks after purchasing it. One quick phone call to Greys and I had to pay postage but received a new top Avon section in a couple of days. These rods can be purchased off Ebay second hand for around £40 and come in three different test curves 1.5Lb, 1.75LB and 2LB. They come with an Avon tip, great when fishing for barbel or chub. I have sprayed the end of mine white. This is a bit easier on the eye for bite detection. They also come with a tip for feeder fishing and 3 quiver tip inserts 2oz, 3oz and 4oz. These are good for smaller fish. Believe me when I say I have used a lot of rods in the past and the Greys Prodigy is a beautiful rod for using on any river. A slim blank combined with Fuji rings. Quality.  Below is a pic of the Greys prodigy barbel rod.




I own quite a few reels which I have amassed over the years. I always previously opted for the shimano baitrunners which are awesome reels and have never let me down. I would recommend these to anyone. If you are fishing a river you would be best off with a 5010 model preferably with the double handle as these are a bit smaller and not as bulky. I managed to purchase a mint condition 2nd hand one off Ebay for £45. Although these are the older type model reels, in my opinion have a superior build quality than the newer models.


Centrepin Reels


Centrepin’s are like marmite, you either love them or hate them. Last year a friend of mine purchased a centrepin reel for using on the rivers and I had a go and absolutely loved it. Centrepins take a bit of getting use to and are harder to cast with than a fixed spool reel. You may ask yourself so what is the point?

The beauty of the centrepin is having a lot more control when playing a fish. There is no mechanical stuff (gears and suchlike) between you and a fish so you are in constant direct contact; yes there is a clutch (it is your thumb/finger) and it is infinitely variable; you can gain line without pumping (also whilst the rod is 'locked' as is the expression); a centrepin is a baitrunner (controlled by your thumb/finger); basically it is a joy to use once mastered. If you are trotting a float down the river, the centre pin will allow the float and bait to trot down at the natural pace of the river. The bait will look totally natural to the fish and hopefully will produce more bites. My centre pin is a Marco Cortesi Signature centrepin MK1. This is an absolutely awesome reel and only cost me £30 and £6 postage from the dragoncarpdirectwebsite. Unfortunately the MK 1 reel is no longer available on Dragon carp direct but you can get the MK2 model which has a slightly bigger drum and reel guard for £40 with £6 postage. They can be purchased on the link below.



Below is a picture of the Marco Cortesi Signature Centrepin MK1 





If you want to try centrepin fishing for the first time I would not recommend spending a fortune on an expensive pin. The Marco Cortesi is an excellent pin for anglers of all levels from beginner to expert. My MC pin has never let me down, even playing carp on it to over 15LB. This reel combined with the Greys Prodigy Barbel rod is a perfect combo when river fishing and a joy to use. Yes the centrepin does take a bit of getting use to casting out etc., but once you have used it for a few times, landed your first fish, you will get a massive sense of achievement. Although I have only been using mine since last season I absolutely love it and find playing bigger fish on it an amazing experience. The contact you have when a fish is on and the control is unbelievable.



Carp Rods


A very large area to cover as there are so many options available. Over the years I have noticed that the test curve on rods seem to be increasing due to customer demand. Back in the 80’s most anglers were using 1.75tc – 2LB test curve carp rods. A lot of anglers preferred a lighter test curve as the through action of the rod would allow them to feel every movement the fish made during the fight. These days the rods are becoming thinner, lighter and stronger. This has allowed many anglers to use the bigger test curve rods and still retain the all important through action.


Firstly any carp rod with Fuji eyes is going to be quality. You will need a carp rod from between

2-3LB test curve this will also depending on how far you are going to be casting and also if you are going to be using heavy PVA bags attached you will need the higher test curve rods to get them out there. Over the past few years I have been sticking with Greys rods as find them excellent value for money and with lifetime guarantee how can you go wrong?


My current Carp set up consists of the following:-


I have just purchased 2 X Greys Prodigy GT 5 50's both 3LB test curve and 2 X Daiwa Crosscast X reels which is a personal choice. I went for the 50mm butt rings on the rods instead of the 40mm to aid casting long distances as I am hoping to start fishing on some big pits. They are beautiful rods, very slim blanks, the reels do feel a bit heavy on them as all big pits would so I may have to one day swap the reels over for 2 X Shimano Baitrunners if I don't get on with the big pits. So far I have taken a few carp on them up to 15LB and they feel very nice. 


For a cheaper option I have been looking at the CK Synapse rods on the dragon carp direct website and have heard good things about these rods. See link below.



They are very cheap at £30 each but as I said earlier “just because someone pays £300 or £400 for a rod does not mean they are going to catch more fish”.


You may think I am maybe trying to advertise the dragon carp direct website with all the items I have suggested. I have purchased quite a few things on there and it has always been good stuff. If it’s cheap and does the job as well as or if not better than the more expensive gear and lasts as well then why not go for it? Leaves you money to spend in other areas. Wink