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With so many F1s about these days it was only a matter of time before a company brought out a range designed with this species in mind. Preston Innovations is that company and Joe Carass just had to take a closer look…
Just to make it clear before I start talking about these rods, I love fishing for F1s! And, judging by the amount of venues that now stock them, many anglers must feel the same way.
For me, when working full-time, the chance to go F1 fishing at the weekend normally means visiting venues that are much fairer than the usual big-carp waters that are so popular. Due to the size of F1s, venues stock far more of them into their lakes and for this reason a good day is nearly always guaranteed as they rarely seem to shoal up. A lot of these venues have islands out of pole range and short feeder chucks are essential for success. But with many of the shorter rods on the market being designed with larger carp in mind, most are just a bit too stiff for F1s. If anyone has fished for F1s on the feeder before they are sure to have experienced hook-pulls at the net! It’s one of angling’s true mysteries why it happens – you can reel F1s in from 100 yards and they won’t come off, but get them under your feet and you’re sure to lose a high percentage of the ones you hook. Tommy Pickering also had this problem and after becoming increasingly frustrated he and Preston set to work on creating the F1 range. And what they have produced is something really quite special!
There are two rods in the range – a 9ft and a 10ft model. The 9ft rod has a beautifully soft through action, literally bending right to the butt, but more importantly it retains a healthy bend when a small carp or F1 is hooked. This is the key to keeping ? sh losses to a minimum, and they certainly are with these rods. The 9ft version is perfect for short casts up to 30 yards but if you need to cast up to 40 yards then the 10ft rod is the one for you.
The 10ft model is perhaps the more versatile of the two as you can cover a lot of different situations with just the one rod. This version has the same soft action but slightly more power through the middle to allow for longer casts. Both rods come supplied with two tips, that blend in perfectly with the rest of the rod.
For my ?rst session with these rods I fished on Jenny’s Lake at White Acres. I decided to fish a 30g Preston Method feeder and matched the rods to 3000-sized reel. I was sceptical at first whether they would have enough poke to reach the distances that Preston claimed, but when my first cast went 45 yards my fears soon vanished! I’ve encountered the fish-loss problem many times before so was keen to see how these rods dealt with the problem. Well, I can report that my first 10 casts resulted in 10 F1s safely landed.
Both of the rods perform perfectly for the job they have been designed for. They will cope with carp without a problem, but if larger fish are your target then a standard Mini 10ft rod would be a better choice. But for venues where carp under 5lb are your target then I cannot recommend these rods highly enough, and I can see myself using them an awful lot this year!
– first published in Match Fishing Magazine May 2011