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Fox Floodwater Duo Barbel 12ft 2 3/4lb

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Staff member

Just over a year ago I realised that I needed a barbel rod for flooded rivers. Sure, I have plenty of carp rods which I could have pushed into use - and did - but they were all lacking in one vital quality, sensitivity. You might well be thinking 'what's sensitivity got to do with dropping 5oz leads into a raging chocolaty torrent?' but I simply wasn't content with using a 2 or 2.1/2lb carp rod and waiting for the butt to start bending when one of those famous 3ft twitches occurred.

Essentially, I was looking for a rod with lots of power, built on a reliable blank, a sensitive tip, sensibly priced (ie no more than £150) and preferably with SIC or lined rings in case I wanted to use braid.

I wanted a 12ft rod and scoured local shops for Freespirit at Eric's in Birmingham and TFG's Floodwater rod, the Grey's range and Wychwood's 2lb barbel at Foster's (also in Birmingham). In Fosters I tried some of the blanks from Harrison, including their barbel Snag rod and the one that Steve Stayner developed with a 'soft' tip section called the Barbel Master. Quite a while was spent 'playing' various shop assistants as I tested and retested them all and quite a few carp rods and blanks in the 2 - 2.1/2 lb category too.


The one rod that sat in the rack and didn't warrant a look was an 11ft 2.3/4 lb Fox Floodwater Duo. Too short and too pokey was my uniformed opinion. It was near the end of the search, still to find a rod that fitted the bill, that The Fox rod got put together and put through its paces with a shop kid they called 'the gimp' hanging on the end. I was impressed and was even more interested when I found that there was a 12ft version which arrived by special order a day or to later and left shortly afterwards with my fiance' to be wrapped for Xmas.



The rod has been my first choice for every trip this season. Its got a short, neat, full cork handle with 16mm Fox screwlock reel fitting and a keeper ring that's handy but not essential. The blank comes in two sections with an additional tip section rated at 2 �lb and takes push-in quiver tips. Four tips are provided: two glass and two carbon ranging from 4 to 7oz. I have used the quiver top exclusively for the last season's barbelling and found that the 5oz carbon tip is a perfect match for the blank and gives a sweet battle curve with no flatspots. The blank is a pleasing translucent green colour with high-build coatings on the black whippings and the finish on my rod is exemplary. All of the single leg rings, including those on the quivers, are the neat, strong, lined 'Fox sliks' which wasn't the case with some of the other rods I looked at. Pricewise, you get a lot a rod for around £90 although there are some deals to be had if you are prepared to haggle.

So what is it like to use? Well, my initial appraisal that it would be too pokey proved to be wrong. It's a very powerful blank with lots in reserve should you need to dictate the pace with a big barbel in heavy flows or to defeat its lunges for snags, but the power is progressive and its quite possible to play fish lightly too. I have had fish on braid and nylon with no problems of hook pulls or breakages although I do use lines of at least 10lb.

I find the tip sensitive and responsive to the lighter takes and rattles and overall, the rod's a joy to use whatever the river conditions. It does come into its own however when fishing floods or chucking big leads and feeders on bigger rivers. I found on the lower Severn that my 1.75lb rods were really struggling to cast 4oz+ feeders 2/3s or 3/4s the way across whereas the Floodwater Duo was well up to the task.

As you might have guessed, I really rate the rod. It's not the lightest rod out there and you might get something similar but a little lighter if you double the budget. But I'm unsponsored (but I'm available!!) and I think that this rod is more than up to my needs and well worth the money. I've seen a couple of other guys using them this season too and they have had nothing but praise for them either. If you are looking for something in the stronger rod category, they are well worth a look at your local Fox dealer.
Good fishing!

Nic Cole
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