Free Spirit | CTX Carp Rods

RRP: £99.99 - £149.99 |Online: freespiritfishing.com

This range of rods has been around for not far short of two years, and not only have they stood the test of time, but have proved to be so popular that demand is high. So with this in mind we thought it was about time we found out what all the fuss was about.

The blanks themselves have been manufactured by a complex process which integrates 40t and 30t carbons with a resin content below 25%. Wrapping alternately at 90 degrees and zero degrees for added strength, then further wrapping with 3mm bi-axis carbon tape at 45 degrees, this produces extremely strong yet ultra-light and slim blanks. Cosmetically the ‘X’-Tape runs the length of the blank and gives it a very attractive and distinctive perdurable finish. That’s the technical stuff out of the way.

There are lots of different build options available, everything from 9’ right through to 13’ 3.5lb, and spod and markers, even cork handles. The rods I took out were the standard build 12’ 3.25lb TC version which retail at £124.99 per rod. The rod has a crisp, positive action that you would definitely associate with something more expensive.

In use it was easy to feel a lead down, and the feedback through the blank was very good. I used the rods with 15lb line straight through and a 3oz lead coupled with a three-bait stringer fished at 22 wraps. The rod didn’t even know it was doing it, it really did just flick the whole package out with little or no effort. I would guess, and I haven’t had the chance to try, but these rods feel like they can chuck. I had two chances while using them, the first was a rather boring battle where the fish spent most of its time weeded, and when steady pressure finally got it moving the blank had enough back bone to keep the momentum up until it hit the net. The second chance came after I spotted a few fish in a little bay and basically spent a few hours trying to catch them late one Sunday afternoon. I did eventually get a bite from a turbo-charged double that ran me ragged in the confines of the bay. The rod showed a fairly forgiving action that inspired confidence, and you could feel the underlying power. The build quality and finish is superb, as is the action, and when you consider the price, it is almost unbelievable just what you get for your money.