We asked tackle editor Marc Coulson to find us the best carp rods for under £100. The quality and value for money he found might surprise even the biggest tackle snob.
Wait, less than a 100 quid for a decent carp rod? You might be forgiven for thinking that it’s not going to buy you much, but as modern carbon technologies and processes trickle down from their more expensive big brothers, these rods are a serious proposition.
Fox set the bar when they introduced the original Warrior over a decade ago and, while the Warrior brand continues to shine, there are now ‘budget’ rods of a very high standard from several other companies, the best of which I’ve taken a closer look at this month…
In reality, the most important part of the rod as it provides the power and finesse needed to target carp of all sizes.
There are many types of carbon and wraps on offer these days, each of which will perform and look slightly differently.
Yes, rings not eyes! More expensive rods will usually be adorned with Fuji rings but rods in this bracket rarely wear such expensive fixtures, but instead the rod maker’s own versions.
Similarly, Fuji reel seats are widely regarded as the best on the market, but it’s rare to find these on budget rods, unsurprisingly. However, all of those in this test performed well, nevertheless.
Obviously, in a guide of this nature, price is everything and I’ve chosen a range of RRPs for our seven rods. I didn’t find any that I didn’t feel offered excellent value for money.
FOX WARRIOR S
RRP: £74.99 | www.foxint.com
As I mentioned in the introduction to this test, the multi-award-winning Warrior had led the way in budget carp rods for a decade or more and the latest, the Warrior S, continues to impress, despite the array of others on the market.
Fox’s SLIK guides, DPS-style reel seat and progressive-action blank combine to make the ‘S’ a seriously impressive wand for what is likely to cost more like £65 in most shops these days.
RRP: £99-£119 | www.chubfishing.co.uk
OK, so the RRP on a couple of the Outkast models sit over our limit, but in reality they all sell for under £100 in all of the shops that I checked.
The Outkast brand has been around for several years and has been both popular and impressive in equal measure.
I wouldn’t mind a quid for every one that has been sold to carp anglers in the UK and abroad, that’s for sure.
Models range from 10ft to 12.5ft and in test curves from 2.75lb to 3.5lb plus a spod rod.
RRP: £69.99-£89.99 | www.nashtackle.co.uk
Recently more famed for its Scope ranges of short wands, I’m pleased to see that Nash still produces an excellent budget carp rod in the form of the KNX.
As well as fishing rods from 2.75lb to 3.5lb test curves, there is also a versartile Spod/Marker Duo that, as the name suggests, doubles as a plumbing, leading and feeding rod.
Unsurprisingly with Nash they each boast understated black fittings and decals which look superb.
RRP: £94.99 | www.wychwoodcarp.co.uk
Wychwood have two or three rods that could have fitted into this review seamlessly, including the brand new Riots, but the D-201 offers just a little bit more in terms of performance but still sits under our price cap.
The D stands for Duplon but there’s a ‘C’ with a cork handle also available in these rods that not only perform better than their price tag might suggest but also look great too.
I tested the 3lb all-rounder and was extremely impressed.
RRP: £49.99 | www.soniksports.com
I’d like to know how many of these rods Sonik has sold since their launch in 2017, as it certainly is a lot.
In fact, at the Big One show I lost count of how many anglers I saw leaving with a set of Vaders, having taken advantage of the excellent price of less than 50 quid!
It’s quite literally amazing how good these are for the price. Don’t get me wrong, a £300 rod would be better but I doubt it would be six times better.
RRP: £84.99 | www.avidcarp.com
The price quoted here is for the 12ft 2.5lb version, with the rest of the Traction range coming in at a fiver over our threshold.
However, a review of this nature simply had to include the Traction, as they’re not only great performers but have been very popular with carp anglers, and for good reason.
My uncle owns a set of these and absolutely loves the combination of smooth action and great looks, so important to modern carp anglers.
RRP: £79.99-£94.99 | www.daiwasports.co.uk
I am good friends with the guys at Johnson Ross Tackle and, when I asked Lewis down there what their best selling sub-£100 rod was, he didn’t hesitate in nominating the Powermesh.
“In terms of quality I haven’t seen a rod in this price bracket that comes close,” he quipped.
High praise indeed as Lewis and the guys are extremely fussy over what they stock. It’s easy to see why as the build quality, fixtures and fittings are definitely up there with the best.