What do the following all have in common: “Grim Reaper”, “Venom Pro”, “Darkside”, “Nemesis”, “Carp Cruncher”, “Carp Basher”, “Beast Master”, “Shock Core Fusion” and “Battlezone”? Answer, they’re all fairly violent or sinister names for fishing poles. This is a curious and even baffling phenomenon that pole manufacturers have adopted when it comes to naming some of their models.
I don’t know about you but when I catch a fish on my pole whether it be a wisp-away-in-the-wind roach or a beefy, muscular, overweight carp, or something in between like a crayfish, I have no negative feelings towards it. The fish, that is. Come to think of it, I have no bad feelings towards my pole either because to do so might result in an expensive temper-tantrum. But, why do pole manufacturers need to give their products such ill-tempered names? I wonder if any pole maker has ever thought about naming their latest model the “Fish Catcher,” or would that be stretching the imagination too far? Call me soft, but when I catch a fish I have no desire to crunch, bash or shock it.
I have a confession to make. One of the poles I own is the budget-priced Ron Thompson “Gangster” 11m pole. I just want to assure you that the reason I bought it was (a) price (b) length (c) nice paint job on the butt section.
In no way did I purchase the “Gangster” because it had a murderous name associated with organised crime. In fact, I wonder if anyone has ever bought a pole because it had a brutally disturbing name? For now that doesn’t matter because we’re not here to talk about the Ron Thompson Gangster 11M Pole because I’m going to review it in a future article once I’ve used it a few more times. We’re here to talk about the Okuma Carbonite Match Rod, 13ft / 15ft, a fishing rod with a lot to commend it.
First, the price. At £44.99 (or £45 if you don’t have any 99p coins) it’s a steal. Construction quality is first class throughout. The blank has a very versatile action and I’ve played and landed fish in ranges from Blow In The Breeze Tiny right up to hard fighting common carp of 7 or 8 pounds.
Now, when I use this rod my reel line is generally 4lbs and my hook length is a maximum of 3lbs, often it’s a bit less. On the manufacturer’s blurb there is talk of using lines up to 12lbs which suggests that the Okuma Carbonite could handle carp of up to 20lbs. Don’t believe a word of it. This is first and foremost a Match Rod and I believe that my carp of 8lbs or so is about as big a fish as I’d want to catch on it. I wouldn’t want to bully a 20lb fish with, say, a 10lb hook length and 12lb main line using this rod. It would be put under too much stress, the bend would go right down to the handle. I believe the real upper range of this lovely fishing rod would be 7lbs reel line and maybe 5lbs hook length. In reality, I would never use even these strong lines with this rod. I’d want a slightly heavier model for these somewhat heavier lines, perhaps a Pellet Waggler like the Ron Thompson “Desperado” 11.5ft Pellet Waggler, a fine rod at a knock down price with a truly silly name.
Where the Okuma Carobonite rod REALLY stands out is with the extra 2ft section, giving you a 15ft rod when you need it. This is perfect for deeper swims and for heavier float river trotting in deeper rivers. I actually tried this rod in its 15ft configuration on the Dee at Farndon last month with a Bolo float in conjunction with my old ABU Cardinal reel and it felt great throughout the entire session. At no time did the rod feel unbalanced or too heavy. I am certain that if I was to go back to the Dee at Farndon tomorrow and fish the same peg with the same rod I would be a Drowned Man because that particular peg is now under 7 feet of extra flood water and will be for at least a few more days. So, you have to be careful: the Okuma Carbonite 13ft/15ft Match Rod is not a life-saving device, even less so with a metal reel attached to it.
That 2ft section goes between the butt and middle sections on the Okuma. It has its own rod ring so, no, you can’t really add or take away the extra section without disturbing your rig. I suppose you could cheat and not use the extension’s rod ring but then you could also Cheat On Your Wife Or Husband and you’re not going to do that, are you? The extra 2 feet makes almost no difference to the action of the rod which remains smooth and balanced throughout. I’ve already mentioned that at £45 or so this is good value but if it was JUST a 12ft or 13ft match rod at that same price it would be nothing remarkable. But, the addition of the extra 2ft section really turns this rod into a great bargain. Highly recommended, I’ve caught tons of fish on it already and it still looks and feels like new.
Below is a video of me catching a nice perch with the Okuma Match Rod at Kitas Pool, Tarvin Sands, one of many Lymm A.C. waters I’ll be exploring in the coming weeks. Full report on what was a mixed session where I learned a valuable lesson in the next Compleat Angler article. In the meantime I’m off to buy the latest, greatest thing in fishing, the “Extreme Violently Disturbed Annihilator” 3.5 meter silvers whip pole.