The first of these reviews comes courtesy of Coarse fishing Tackle. The Marketing Manager “Kieron Jenkins” had noticed a few pictures of carp caught on my home page and asked if I would review a carp rod. Now carp fishing (to put you in the picture) is not my speciality nor do I profess it to be. But…I do know what makes a good rod and what angler’s do want from one. My fishing experience of over 25 years has taught me a great deal about rods and how important these are when fishing for any species, not just barbel or carp but quiver tipping for bream on a gravel pit for example. These are all very important when targeting a type of fish. Now with the abundance of rods on the market today professing to do this or do that it’s very easy to become bogged down with it all, confused if you will with all that your local tackle shop, internet retailers or the name brands stockists tell you. But above all it’s what your average pleasure angler’s tell you is good, these are people who have no alliance to companies and will give you an honest assessment of how, what and where these rods or pieces of tackle should be used and what for, this is what’s most important. My reviews are indicative to this an angler who’s intention is to give you all an honest review on anything I use now and in the future, this “TFG Dave Lane Nan-Tec Carp Rod” is the first of these honest assessments.   

TFG Dave Lane Nan-Tec Carp Rods

First Impressions 

We all have first impressions of a product, books and the old saying of “Never judge a book by it’s cover”, springs to mind. Often the wrapping (which is often the case in many bait manufacturers) are only really there to catch the angler and not the fish. 

I cannot say this about this rod however, the very soft, velvet rod bag supplied with this product is a lovely feel and looks the part with the words inscribed “TFGear 100% Blood, Sweat and Tears”, on the velvet. My thoughts quickly turned to whether the rod could actually give you that, how many slogans are banded about to disappoint nowadays? I was immediately drawn to the fact that the rod was very light however and the pockets wide enough to fit the two sections inside no problem. A common problem is having to force both sections through the pockets thus, potentially snapping a rod ring ultimately. No such problem existed within this rod cover however. 

The rod was nicely snug in the rod cover and tied top and bottom to keep secure by nylon ties that exist on any normal rod bag you would buy, however the inclusion of a tie also at the bottom and not in the middle (Or at all on some rod bags) made for sturdier handling I thought. On taking the sections out, my immediate thoughts were “WOW” the Fuji rings looked exceptional on the rod, a lovely finish. The Two rod ring sponge protectors on each section was a really nice touch also, the quality really felt evident here. Sometimes it’s the small personal touches that make a difference with things such as fishing rods and this rod felt that it had that. 

There was also Two cards attached to the 40mm butt ring of the rod which included a 12 month warranty with the product that you had to fill out and send back to TFGear in Brecon, Powys or go online to register for the warranty. Oh and I nearly forgot by registering you could also win a day out with ‘Dave’ himself. The other card was a compliments card, “Thank you for choosing TfGear etc….etc”.

The reel seating offered the conventional screw in effect through the plastic grooves, I don’t know what I thought about this, not something I particularly like. Maybe during my time with barbel rods and getting used to the cork handle separating from the rod to allow the reel to be sat in the seating whilst the cork handle was able to screw back in position to sit the reel snugly in-between the two separations of the handle, I take bad to the screw-in effect of any reel now. It is maybe just me and personal preference, but for me I don’t prefer this type of reel seating even though the Nan-Tec’s reel seating is custom made. 

The handle is made from a slim carbon but offers a duplon finish at the bottom half of the rod for grip when distance casting is to be achieved. This is then rounded off with a silver emblem at the foot. It all looks the part apart from maybe the reel seating, but again this could be personal preference. The tip of the rod was very responsive and offered great sensitivity (A very balanced set-up) which led me to believe that the rod would do what it says on the tin.

The blank felt very lightweight and I felt when holding the rod at 12ft that with a balanced reel, you could hold it for hours, perfect for stalking or floater fishing I would guess. Also the distance when casting, due to the responsiveness of the blank, I felt could be achieved regardless of a 40mm butt ring that can hamper casting. “Combining distance with playing action”, as Dave says, which to be honest is one of the hardest things to achieve when building a rod, usually having to sacrifice one for the other in all but the most expensive of rods. My first impressions were very good. To test the rod further I set off for a day’s fishing with the rod to see whether my expectations lived up to the reality that this was a distance, responsive, accurate and balanced carp fishing rod.

The Test 

The Test came at Bestwood Duck Ponds in Nottingham (Pond 2) it is home to many Carp over 20Lbs and is not a million miles away from home. The complex does in actual fact hold 5 Ponds, number 2 being quite challenging (especially at this time of year) but rewarding at the same time.

I could have easily gone to a commercial and bagged up on carp but the purpose of this test was if I was to catch a fish the chances are it could be an upper double, which would indeed test the rod further than catching stockies to 5Lbs. My rod was the 3Lbs t/c model so there was simply no point in catching small fish on it. The weather and the time of the year didn’t help matters, carp not being the most active fish during Winter I had every reason to believe the rod wouldn’t get to be put through it’s paces regarding a fish being on the end. The place itself is owned by Nottingham Angler’s Association and is a lovely, quiet and peaceful pond, they all are. So I set myself up for a fall with this task but I was prepared to take that fall for the purpose of at least trying to catch one. 

Like I have said I am not a carp angler, but I know a bit. I have just started going to France (last year was the first time) for carp and the amount of knowledge I picked up regarding the fish and tactics was invaluable to my carp fishing in this country essentially, but also abroad where I intend to visit France again (every year if possible) to enjoy these magnificent beasts it holds.

I am sure what I have picked up became invaluable in terms of catching a fish on this test. I already had my rods set-up, one on a combi-link with a lead clip system incorporating a Squid & Octopus boilie (14mm), the other on an artificial corn pop-up rig on a blowback ring. We had started around 8.30am with the mist reluctantly rising off the pond, it was quite cool with temperatures not expected to rise much over 13 degrees. But being November I guess it could be a lot worse. There was very little wind, but the wind that there was, was coming from an Easterly direction (East, the fish bite least) which I wasn’t enthralled with to be honest. unperturbed I got my rods out of my rod sleeves and began setting up. 

I knew the fish would not be easy, I also knew they would probably have a spell of feeding at some point, and whilst it may only last for a small period of time I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity should it arise itself. So on that basis I decided on a PVA mesh approach and I opted to add chopped up boilies and a little helping of skretting pellets. With the low oil content of the skrettings they will not over feed any carp should they feed on it and they will also break down quicker than any high oil pellet would thus the carp’s metabolism though it’s slowed down during Winter, aren’t getting full on what I’m offering them. 

What I noticed very quickly was that the big pits I was using with the rods were balanced up perfectly. It felt comfortable to hold (although not for long periods) which I felt very pleased this was the case. I guess using a smaller reel for stalking or fishing on top for carp would be more appropriate. Although due to the fact I use this sort of test curve in France I wanted to know what the rod felt like using big pit reels, and like I say it didn’t feel half bad. 

The other rod would be placed over some particle mix I had mixed up on the bank consisting of some maize, goat feed, hemp amongst other things. I didn’t feel the most confident using this kind of approach, as again the amount of bait content within it needed to be a bit more refined I felt, however this is how I approached it.

With the mix and PVA mesh bags completed I felt the time was right to put the rods through the first test. Casting a 2oz weight out into the pond. My  first swim was around 14 – 15 metres out, next to a bush/tree on a Island and the second rod was placed around 50 – 60yds at the far end of the pond under a tree.

Once I was all clear and ready to cast I started off casting my artificial pop-up corn set-up out to the far side, I initially started by putting literally nothing into the cast which resulted into the weight going halfway across the pond, I was quite amazed by how little effort was needed to cast a weight of 2oz halfway across maybe 25 – 30 yds. The rod undoubtedly has built in power with the quick response of the blank returning to a straight position this is obviously designed for this purpose, greater distances of over 100 yds could definitely be achieved, even on this test curve. I brought it in to re-cast and with minimal effort re-casted to find it plum on the far side of the pond under a tree. I am really quite amazed how well these rods casted and how accurate they were, falling into my chosen areas/spots with no real effort at all! I casted the second one with virtually no effort and it reached under the tree, my chosen area no problem.

So the waiting began………By 11am I was over at my Brother’s peg (next door) talking about how it looked very likely we would blank. There was simply no fish movement whatsoever, I began to get very uneasy that reviewing these rods with no fish action would become very difficult and of course very disconcerting, I certainly didn’t want to blank but at the same time I didn’t want a small carp even if it would save me from that. This, for the purpose of reviewing a rod would demonstrate very little in the way of how the rod would perform with a bigger fish. It began to play on my mind a little to tell you the truth, whether the gamble to come to this pond as oppose to a more fruitful venue would pay off. Still in my Brother’s peg and out of nothing, at 11.30 I heard my alarm, followed by my bait runner, ROAR off!!! 

I quickly ran to my peg to see the line pouring from the reel and the fish intent on getting round the Island. It was on my boilie and combi-link that had produced this bite. I cranked my reel into gear and gave the fish serious side strain to stop it going around the other side of the Island, luckily I turned it and it struck me that the blank has immense power to stop those runs that carp are famous for dead, the word “Hit N’ Hold” would be an appropriate saying for the kind of scenario that I was in. The fish started to tire after plodding out in the middle for a while, the rod was never in danger of faltering.

I felt completely in control with the rod and the fish, the fish was no match for the rod. As the fish came closer the worth of the rod really shone through with the responsiveness of a close quarters battle as the fish decided to wake up and make a mess of my other rod by swimming through the line, which was a pain. While all this was happening however I felt the rod really come into it’s own and showed why Dave has put so much work into trying to achieve the best in both distance casting and a great close control fighting carp rod. 

I was very impressed by the way the rod absorbed every lunge the carp made and the responsiveness of the blank that without knowing the price I could have easily been fooled into thinking it was double the retail value. The rod was a joy to fight a fish on and I didn’t feel at any point that it would not respond to the demands of playing a fish of this size or bigger, nor did I feel that the performance would be compromised in any way shape or form.

After a battle at close quarters where the rod really did stand up to the test, the fish began to tire before making one last dive for freedom (Pictured above right)  which again the rod and reel clutch together handled the dive or the bid the last bid for freedom very easily. Although the fish did manage to run through the back-lead at this point and created a little issue but because my Brother was on hand we managed to sort the problem out with no real problems. 

The fish then surfaced and the net was soon after for what was a great fight from a fish at this time of year and a great rod to play the fish on, nothing better in my opinion. Once on the unhooking mat we placed the carp into the weigh sing for the weigh in. After many deliberations regarding the weight from my Brother and I, we eventually agreed that it was 13Lbs 4oz, not a massive fish by any stretch of the imagination but due to the the time of year and the cold easterly wind (However minimal it was blowing) it was very welcome.

I honestly believed that the challenge of catching a fish during these cold conditions would be probably too much for me to actually take on. But for the purpose of the review I felt as though I had to come here and gamble on this water paying off for me. 

It’s not an easy water, far from it but it’s one of the most picturesque places to fish in Nottingham and the carp in the past here have always been good to me. I was very happy to catch at all today as nothing else came even though we stayed until about 5.30pm with no one else catching anything (apart from a few roach) of any size on all the other ponds, I felt the carp god’s were smiling down on me. 

Conclusion 

There is no question here that Dave has produced these rods to the highest quality, the sleek design is nicely complimented by how the rod actually performs during casting and fish playing. The Nan-Tec Dave Lane carp rods oozes quality from the moment you receive it. From the lovely velvet rod bag to the superb playing action of the rod, it doesn’t underwhelm in any way. I love the rod, however the reel fitting is not my cup of tea but for others, they may actually prefer it, but seeing as this is my review I have to be honest and say I didn’t like it. Although it’s not entirely different from other carp rods re fitting of the reel. But the plastic grooves made for the reel fitting to screw into, to tighten up the fitting of the reel felt a bit flimsy, but again this is just my opinion and maybe I’m clutching at straws to find a fault (The purpose of a review I guess). The rod itself feels like a much more pricier set-up. The blank of the rod is more than equipped to handle a cast to the horizon, and able to play any carp under your feet with no hassle or fear of the hook pulling due to it’s responsive action. I would urge people who are looking to buy a carp rod and don’t want to break the bank to look no further because in regards of value for money and what this rod will give you for that price, it is money well spent. The rod will give you years of worth and comes with a 12 month warranty should any unforeseen circumstance arise. I will sure be using the rod now for my carp fishing and hope you will be too.

Fantastic value for money, very impressed!

Score 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.

Fishtec Price – 249.99  Buy One Get One Free Or Members £224.99

If you would like to purchase this rod or for anything else from fishtec please click the link below:

Fishtec Coarse fishing

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