You don’t have to look very far into the pages of any current-affairs publication to see an article about how much our cost of living is rising. House prices, fuel, even food and drink costs have risen disproportionately to wages over the last few years.
The saying goes, of course, that the best things in life are free. I beg to differ. Striking into a 12oz roach on casters, as your float reaches the bottom of your peg on a clear river is quite expensive, when you think of the cost of tackle, bait and fuel, as is dobbing a 12lb common that is basking in the midday sun!
What Drennan has done with this latest addition to its range, though, is make enjoying the pleasures that I have described above just a little bit more achievable for people on limited income.
Don’t get me wrong, I have tested some brilliant budget poles from almost all the different manufacturers over the years. But when it comes to poles for less than £400 that perform well at 13 metres, I have always been left with the impression that the pole works best at 10 or 11 metres, and the last two sections are just like reinforced extensions, leading to a sloppy overall feel at its longest length.
This is not the same with the RX Carp. At a true 13 metres, it is perfectly fishable in terms of its stiffness and responsiveness. It is clear that it has been designed to fish with at this length, and as such I would say it is the first of its kind in this particular price bracket.
As has become standard with Drennan poles over the last couple of years, the spares package that comes with the RX Carp is pretty impressive too, especially considering its modest price.
Alongside the two spare Carp Two kits that come as standard, you get three roller cones (which can easily be fitted to adapt the Carp Two kits into roller-type puller kits) two skid bungs, an EVA Nose Cone for your No3 section, six PTFE bushes, eight side-pull beads, a pole pot, two cupping kit adaptors and one of the stylish new wipe clean nylon bags.
So how did I get on with it? Well, for a thorough workout I opted to fish long down the edge, at the lovely Lake John Fishery, hoping for some of the venue’s famous bream and skimmers early in the day, before the carp moved in later!
The strength of the pole was thoroughly tested, as I started off by potting in five of the biggest Drennan pots full of my sloppy pellet mix at a full 13 metres. As you might imagine, the pots have considerable weight when full, but not only did the pole stand up to the pressure fine, it was actually very easy to ship in and out too, thanks to the excellent finish.
With my early afternoon shipping workout finished, it was on with a couple of worms, and out in search of a monster.
I wasn’t taking any prisioners – my rig comprised 0.17mm Reflo Power direct to a size 12 Guru Pellet Waggler hook. My float choice was the ever-faithful Mick Wilkinson Margin in a 0.3g, with a bulk of No8 Stotz around six inches from my hook, fishing in just over two feet of water.
I soon found out why Lake John has such a good reputation for its skimmer catches – the place is solid with them! I caught one every single drop-in, even though I kept trying more selective baits like double corn and 8mm hard pellet, thinking that doing so might give my bait more chance of staying in the water long enough for a carp to get hold if it!
As expected, the pole performed brilliantly and was more than usable – even despite the fact that I was having to ship in every minute or so with a skimmer on!
To cut a long story short, I had a great net of skimmers on this tactic, but it just never seemed like the carp were getting chance to find my bait. Fortunately for me, Andy Oldham on the peg to my left packed in some time before I finished, and chucked his bait in down the edge. Soon, big tail patterns could be seen coming from where he had been fishing – definitely not from bream!
I couldn’t resist sneaking up to where he had been fishing, and dropping my rig in among the vortices. Seconds later all hell was let loose, as carp number one was hooked. I had to follow it all the way out to 13 metres before I was able to turn the fish and steer it back towards me, and even though when we eventually slipped the net under it, the carp was in excess of 12lb, it was nothing the RX Carp couldn’t handle with ease.
I managed another carp soon after, before we decided to call time on the session.
All in all, I couldn’t be more impressed with the RX Carp. For the money, it is truly great value – and if Drennan can get even a tight Yorkshireman like me to say that, then it must be doing something right!
Package: 13m pole including Carp Kit, plus two extra spare top-two Carp Kits, bag and accessory pack (see main text for details)
Spares: Spare Carp Kit: £29.95; No3 section: £35
Stated length: 13m
Actual length: 13.04m
Top-kit length: 2.31m
Top-4 length: 3.71m
Top-5 length: 5.12m
Puller kits fitted: Yes
Cupping kit supplied: No (adaptars supplied)
Holdall supplied: No (cloth bag)
Butt-section length: 1.78m
Butt diameter: 4.7cm