Drennan International Martin Bowler 'Big River' Barbel Rod.
A good friend of mine who is involved in the tackle trade said to me recently that 'Drennan don't make a bad rod'.
That's in interesting statement, and one that I have to agree with.
I've never used a bad Drennan rod, and that included the one I'm reviewing today.
I guess that you'd expect any rod the one time Barbel Record holder, Martin Bowler puts his name to is going to be a serious piece of kit.
Retailing at around Â£160, this is a top end off the shelf rod, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.
The Drennan International- Martin Bowler 'Big River' Barbel rod is a 12ft, 2.25tc rod, fitted with a screw down reel seat on the extra long 26 inch cork handle and 7 extra large SiC line guides ranging from a 25mm butt ring to a 9mm tip ring, which are fitted to allow the easy passage of both a stop knot and line debris.
The rod is, according to Drennan, "made on high modulus carbon blank, with a dark platinum finish and a chequered weave pattern".
The top 6 inches of the blank are painted in highly visible white paint, and the rod comes with a Drennan isotope already fitted.
Another nice touch is that the rod comes ready supplied with a padded rod sleeve and Velcro rod bands, so the rod can be left rigged up with a reel fitted in place.
Designed for fishing the likes of the Severn, Trent and Thames, this is a rod capable of launching large feeders or heavy PVA bags, effortlessly across to the far bank of even the biggest river in the UK, but I have to say, its much more than just a casting tool.
The rod is also perfect for snag fishing.
It has a sensitive tip section, ideal for either spotting the initial 'nudge' from a feeding Barbel, or allowing a certain amount of debris to build up on the line before the rig is pulled out of position, when fishing in flooded conditions.
Having used this rod extensively over the last two to three months, including several sessions during the recent flooded conditions we've had in the Severn valley, where the river rose to around 14ft above normal level, I have to say its been a joy to use.
From fishing 'under the rod top' in nearside runs, to flicking 4 and 5 oz leads out into the main flow, the rods behaved every bit as good as I'd expected.
I've also been lucky enough to taken a number of Barbel while testing the rod, including fish approaching double figures, which, in the fast flowing flooded River Severn, is a stern test for any rod.
There are however a couple of small points that I feel are worthy of mention.
The first niggle I have is the lack of hook keeper on the rod.
As an angler that likes to move around, I found this a real pain, not to be able to secure the hook onto a hook keeper.
I don't like hooking my rig onto the line guides as I find this loosens them over time.
Secondly, I'd have preferred the white painted tip section to have been a bit longer.
Its ok if your sitting looking at the rod side on, but if like me, you 'touch ledger' holding the rod in my right hand, with the butt resting across my right leg and the rid in a front rest, you end up looking down the blank, and the white tip section is barley visible.
Of course at night this isn't a problem, and I tend to 'feel' the bites even before they show on the rod tip.
Those two minor complaints apart, this is truly a great rod, and a joy to use, and one that I will certainly be updating on the review section over the coming months as to how the rods holding up to all I can throw at it.
Look out for my review on the Drennan Martin Bowler Specialist Barbel rod coming soon!!!