Attention to detail is the name of the game with these range-topping carp rods from Greys
RRP: from £369.99
In fishing as in life, first impressions count.
We are in the privileged position of seeing stacks of rods every year here at Carpfeed and, increasingly, when lined up in their rod sleeves they tend to be indistinguishable from each other.
Sure, once you open the sleeves you will be able to tell a high-end rod from a cheap one, but few impress you before this big reveal.
With the Xlerate range from Greys, everything is different from the moment you see the soft-touch rod bag.
A quick glance at either end reveals stitched-in stretchy Velcro bindings – a minor touch, granted, but it sets the tone for a product that has clearly been thought about and cared for at every step of the design process.
Undo the rod sleeve and you’ll find proper neoprene rod socks at either end of the two-piece setup, keeping tipping and butt in perfect condition. And there’s still more unwrapping to do.
A neoprene 50mm butt protector, with a built in spine to genuinely stop damage, is included with every rod, as is a separate line clip that can be secured to the blank wherever you choose.
Do these things make any difference to the performance of the rod? Of course not, but they sure as hell make you feel like you’ve purchased something special from the very outset.
Thankfully this window dressing isn’t masking a sub-standard product, either. These rods lead Greys’ range for a reason.
The 3M Powerlux 1000 nano-resin carbon has a lightweight 1k carbon weave throughout for stunning looks with performance to match. The blanks, with their ‘Carbon Armour’ finish, are thin and well balanced, yet very responsive.
That Powerlux material from 3M contains nano-sized spherical particles which form between individual filaments of carbon fibre to add strength and more predictable bend compared to standard resin.
The Xlerate comes in a variety of builds (cork/full EVA/ full or abbreviated shrink wrap handles), lengths (12ft/13ft) and test-curves (3lb/3.25lb/3.5lb).
We tested a pair of the 12ft, 3.5lb versions with a full EVA handle and found the action – which Greys describes as ‘through fast’ – to be addictively good.
‘Through fast’ might sound like a compromise, but it’s more of a perfect blend than an unhappy marriage. Casting power is delivered with whip-crack rebound times, yet there is a genuine cushion when playing fish.
The 100-per-cent carbon Fuji DPS18 hybrid reel seat continues the good looks into the comfortable full-EVA handle, while the lightweight feel is retained thanks to the G-Lite XR DL Black Edition guides, which mix titanium and stainless and include an anti-frap tip ring.
What don’t we like? Well, the clip-on line clip is a great idea but the rubber ring is an absolute pain to bend round the blank, and Xlerate is a terrible name redolent of a 90s rave tape pack.
Those tiny gripes aside, these are phenomenal rods that really push boundaries and let you know from the moment you meet them that they are a class above.