Because I fish rivers during the colder months, I’ve been after a pair of barbel rods for a while now, but dropping on a matching pair with a budget of around £120 leaves the angler with a couple of options; wait until the right rods turn up on Ebay, a forum or in the ‘for sale’ sections of forums or local press, or buy new….
I’m often wary of buying second hand rods, I don’t know if they have been dropped, damaged, re-whipped, had sections replaced or who knows what else, so unless I know the buyer and can outfight him, I’ll opt for new! I recently reviewed a rod supplied by German manufacturer D.A.M. which really didn’t do the job for me, so I was aware of the possibility of being undergunned on rivers such as the Severn, which often require a much different tool to smaller, more intimate rivers.
With this in mind, having trawled many internet forums and review sites, I decided that the Wychwood ‘Rogue’ model would be having a look at. I selected a pair of 12’ 2lb test curve rods from Nathan’s of Derby and paid slightly more than I perhaps should have at £59.99 each; within budget, but they are available elsewhere at lower prices.
Available in a range to suit different venues and situations (and anglers), the ‘Rogue’ can be purchased in 1.5lbs, 1.75lbs and 2lbs test curves. Comprising of a 2 piece multi-modulus carbon blank, (I’m not 100% sure what that means either….) the rods are finished in a matt black ‘anti-flash’ coating to reduce any glare. I wanted full cork handles, and these rods have a full fitting which is both easy to control and increases grip on cold, wet days. The reel seat is a gun metal size 16 fitment which easily accommodates the required size of reel, and is suitable for both centrepin and fixed spool varieties. The rods are eyed with double leg, silicon lined SVT rings which significantly reduce friction during casting and playing of fish.
Able to cast upwards of 5-6ozs with ease, the ‘Rogue’ will lob a big feeder, heavy lead or method mix without a problem. The slim blank and sensitive tip section give good ‘touch’ as the rig sinks and then settles on the river bed, each bounce or roll is easily detected as the bait trundles to a standstill. The bite indication is excellent; the fine tip section displays almost every tap or twitch as fish pick up the bait, and there is enough resilience to absorb any fast whack or ‘wrap around’ which often occurs when barbel fishing. Drop back bites are equally visible, and the progressive tip allows speedy line pick up to connect with the fish.
Fish playing action is described as ‘through action’ meaning that the rod bends all the way down to the butt. Whilst I would say that this is true, it’s important to note as previously mentioned, that the ‘pick up’ on the strike is very good without too much softness, and puts you in direct contact with the fish almost immediately. Playing fish on these rods is a pleasure; the action enables every lunge and run to be controlled, and at no point did the rod ‘lock up’ even in a fairly swift current. No flat spots to report either; the join between the two sections is certainly secure enough to maintain the strength of the rod, and the eye spacing ensured the line was kept well clear of the blank. I have no doubt that a 30lb carp in a flooded river may be slightly beyond the capabilities of the ‘Rogue’, but I enjoyed fishing with them!
Twinned with a 6 or 8000 series baitrunner, the ‘Rogue’ is a well balanced, comfortable rod to handle during long sessions or when moving between swims. It dealt with a variety of tasks including trotting, feeder fishing and freelining without any noticeable problems and I’m sure that it would be just as easy to use on a smaller river. I’ve used mine on the river Severn around Shrewsbury, and with the river at a reasonable level, they seem to cope admirably with any given circumstances, so I have no hesitation in stating that if you are looking for a great barbel rod and you’re on a budget, then the Wychwood ‘Rogue’ is definitely one to consider!
Available at all good stockists or online, rrp £53.99-£59.99
Clint Walker, Jan 2011 ©