When this rod arrived in a long drain tubing, wrapped in brown paper, there was little information to guide me as to what to do with it! The rod looked and felt light and as I inspected the three inter-changeable tips accompanying it, I wondered how it would fit into todays over-crowded 'feeder' marketplace. Later research on the Tri-Cast website told me this was the lightest model, 60gr, of a four set range.

My basic instinct was 'where should I go to give this a workout'? Due to the soft action, slender profile and fine tips, my feelings were that a Gold Valley carp session would be out of the question! I therefore decided to pop down to my local fish-filled tank in Greatham, where MBK Fisheries have a little ‘jewel’ called the Pump Station. Full of ‘puppy’ carp with the odd larger sample, its also stacked with tench, roach, perch, crucians and skimmers...a seemingly ideal first ‘toe in the water’. Setting up with the thicker of the three supplied tips I attached a small grip feeder to use with some of the Yorkshire Baits soft 4mm catmeat pellets, and a hair-rigged 'Chunk' to a size 14 PR27 hook.

First put-in and I miss a wrap-round! Next chuck I connect with a decent fish which turned out to be a carp of around 3lb. The bend looked to be pretty even as it arced under the fishes persistent lunges. Soon we had it safely in the net and we were off and running. A similar pattern followed for the next couple of hours with a few fish slipping the hook near the bank. I suspect that this may be due to not setting the hook right. At the end of my short session I'd had around a dozen fish, mainly 'pups', for about 15lb, with around the same amount lost so it wasn't too bad for a first try. Too be honest, I’m not entirely convinced that the rods soft action is total suited to a carps' hard mouth.

I returned the following week to try one of the other lakes, which hold bream to 3lb, as well as heaps of those ‘puppies’. Again, a two hour stint produced around 15lb of small carp between 1 and 3lb, but no bream, and still I managed to lose a few! I really needed a test with fish that I thought the rod seemed tailored to... bream. There was only one place close by which fitted the bill, Heath Pond, Petersfield. This venue had suffered the previous year with some fish loses during the drought conditions, but an initial call to one of the controlling club's member’s confirmed that it was now fishing well with bream to 6lb coming out, spot-on I thought.

That Sunday, I opted for a morning session before the boats descended on the water, as it’s a public leisure park. Setting up at peg 28 on the 'boards’ the early morning was feeling quite nippy with a cold and very strong wind heading straight for me. I set up with a small plastic feeder and hair-rigged double sweetcorn to a size 12 PR27. Having left my groundbait caty at home, the proverbial balling-in would have to be a ‘hand-job’ out to 40 metres, with some of the catmeat groundbait, which I know from experience skimmers and bream love. The depth here is quite shallow, around four foot plus, so I didn't realistically expect any action until the swim had settled down.

Having given the shorter and heavier of the three tips a workout at MBK, I decided to try the longest and finest of the three. I was slightly concerned about the number of rings present, only 6 compared to 5 on the two shorter ones (above). Bearing in mind there was a 9” difference in length, I would have expected at least another ring placed near the top eye. With so few rings on the tip it’s always possible that line may wrap around and either snap it, or even crack off on casting. The size of rings were also of concern and while I accept that a fine tip demands small rings, I felt that a couple slightly larger could have been used were it fits onto the rod.

For bream I personally favour the plastic-framed feeders as these are light and don't create too mush commotion as they hit the surface. I didn’t use a heavy method feeder or a large cage as I felt the rod just wasn’t made to heave these weights, although it would be okay to use them in smaller sizes no doubt.

Forty-five minutes later the tip, which I’d tighten into a good bend, twitched and slammed round and I was into my first decent ‘slab’. Straight to the surface came the familiar shape and I winched in what was to become the first of twenty four fish, the biggest went 5.5lb, the smallest 4lb!

What became apparent very early on in my test was that this rod is definately not for serious carp crunching, what it is ideal for is silver fish, with maybe smaller carp. Bream in particular handle very well under the rods soft and forgiving action, ideally suited to their soft mouths. It's light and very manageable which will suit both young and old. Match anglers as well will find it perfect for those winter sessions when delicate registration is essential for catching fickle fish. Apart from the nagging dislikes of small tip rings, which could have an adverse affect if you use lines exceeding .20mm, the most annoying omission was a butt ring to hang the hook when not in use. Overall, I found the rod comfortable and a pleasure to use... in the right place!

Ratings (out of 5).
Price: 4.5 (RRP £119, but could find cheaper deals)
Action: Overall 4.5, Bream 5
Fittings: 4
Finish: 5

Tri-Cast website: http://www.tri-castfishing.co.uk/trophy_clubman_feeder_rods.html