A year or so ago i decided to put a more determined effort into my barbel fishing, however with money being tight, I sought to purchase a suitable rod and reel on a budget.
Wychwood Rogue 1.75lb 12' Barbel Rod
With an RRP of £69.99, I manage to hunt one down for £55.00 by shopping online following recommendations by others. After reading the comments on anglersnet of it being "A quality barbel fishing rod at an affordable price" the first impressions were that it had a very tidy finish with a full cork handle. Comprising a "2 piece multi-modulus carbon blank, the rods are finished in a matt black 'anti flash' coating to reduce any glare". Well this certainly was the case, and the matt finish gives it a more 'professional' feel than the shiny budget rods you tend to see.
How does it fish? Well, It was well capable of lobbing out an extra large groundbait feeder filled with groundait, and a pva bag of pellets, as well as a 5oz lead when conditions required, especially considering how slim the blank was. My next concern was that it came without a quiver section, would the bites be indicated well? Suprisingly, yes! and very well indeed. It performed well from the rattles of unwanted chub attention to the wrap round of a barbel, I now have no concern about the sensitivity of the tip.
Playing a fish is the next test I suppose. The first barbel I hooked on it, a fish of 6lb 1oz, showed off the through action of the rod nicely, and the strike was met quickly with resistance (certainly not too soft). It also had the power in reserve to bully fish if required - in fact I would have no hesitation in trying it as a river piking rod as well. In flood, I imagine i would need to step up the test curve, but I used this on a flooded river swale with no issues to report.
I dont have a bad word to say. My only caution to you all is that I have never used one of the more expensive barbel rods so I have no comparison to make. However, I own some very nice rods for trotting and chub fishing, and this rod comes under the 'very nice' category.
They are available in 1.5lb, 1.75lb and 2lb test curves.
Korum KXI 50 Freespin Reel
To complement the rod, I decided to get a Korum KXI 50 Freespin Reel. The first impression was that it was a simple design, but looked solid. It can be used with 280 yards of 4lb line and up to 160yards of 15lb line, therefore ideal really for barbel fishing (mine is filled with 12lb) and has 9 ball bearings. It feels good, the bail arm is crisp, the clutch is smooth (giving me confidence that it wont slip when playing a fish) and the freespool facility seems as good as any.
My only gripe with this reel is some slight paint loss around the bailarm, otherwise an excellent reel. And the rrp? £45, you can probably pick one up for £40 or less - giving a barbel set up for around £95 if you shop around.
Do i like them both? Well, im just about to purchase the same combination again as a second outfit!