Talking testcurves by Dan O’Kelly

As the snow falls outside and the prospect of going fishing in this weather could prove to be dangerous. I’ve decided it might be safer to sit in and write an article. As we are coming to the what is normally the end of my pike season. My thoughts start to drift to carp and what the coming year might hold in store for me. I think anglers of most disciplines get this sense of enthusiasm around the start of spring. Although looking out the window at the minute could kill any enthusiasm you might have.
So rather than talk about bait or tactics etc, I’m going to talk about a big subject that can cause division within Carp Anglers particularly Irish Carp Anglers and that’s , what test curve rods to use in Ireland.
This subject has been largely debated in the past and I’ve listened to and read all the different views. In the past when I started Carp fishing I was told that my rods were to light and that I should “beef them up” so I did. At the time I had a set of Shimano’ss which were 2.5tc and 2.75tc. I loved the feel of these rods but bowed to the pressure and got myself a set of 4 x 3.5tc NG’s and not long after I got a set of big pit Long Casts and I was happy with this for a long time and still am. A friend of mine had at the time a set of 2.75’s in the same make so one day we decided to swap a rod. He wanted something a bit stronger for long distance fishing and I wanted something a bit lighter for margin work. I liked the 2.75tc so much that i went and bought another one so i could mix and match rods when fishing different distance’s.
But it was one time after moving back from France and fishing a small local Carp water that only held fish to upper doubles, but the main run of fish is around 12lbs or so. I remember landing a low double one day on my 3.5tc with Long Cast reels and thinking to myself , I might as well be using a Sledge Hammer. And maybe it was time to look at getting some much lighter rods to have more fun with the size of fish that I was fishing for.
So I decided to treat myself to a 2lbs test curve Freespirit CS which I had been eyeing up for a while in Main Irish Angling. I got one to start with just to see if I like them and paired it with a Ultegra 5000 CI4. Tarty I know but you got to treat yourself sometimes.
On the next few sessions I fished the rod in the margin, just to give it a run but could not get a thing on it. We’ve all been there haven’t we, just can not christen a rod or reel.
So it was on a session on Maynooth that it got it’s first blood. I again put it tight in my margin hoping to pick up a little fella to finally break the rod in. It did produce a fish but not the size I had intended. It`s first fish was no less that 27lbs. Thankfully the rod was able to deal with the fish and gave me confidence for the future. It was clearly able to deal with any original Irish Carp I might encounter.

Finally managed to land a fish on the new rod. 27lbs

A phone call was made to Derek in M.I.A. and another two rods and reels to completely the set were ordered. That was in early 016 and I’ve been using them on and off depending on the circumstances since. So I’ve tested them for reasonable amount of time now to pass verdict on them and I am now convinced I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.
The main thing I found is that I’ve have not dropped one fish on these rods. Now we have all heard anglers say I’ve never lost a fish on a certain rig or bait or whatever and we normally dismiss it as lies. But in this case I’ve not dropped one fish out of about 40 fish. I put this down to the fact that the rods are so much lighter and have a lot of tip action. This helps compensate when a fish makes a run or lunge. I also find that i can use smaller hooks for the same reason.

Just shy of the twenty mark at 19.12lbs. Lovely fight from open water on the lough.

The same can’t be said of the 3.5lbs tc’s. But it’s a case of horses for coarses and on slightly bigger waters with more snags or were you might be fishing close to lilies etc the 2.75lbs and 3.5lbs come into their own. But ask yourself the question does a golfer go out with one club and the answer is no, so why do Carp Anglers in Ireland think that you must buy only one set of rods for carp. It’s ridiculous, partially since a lot of us make an annual pilgrimage to France with dreams of monster carp. Yet we bring the same rods we use for 10 pounder’s back here in Ireland, it makes no sense.
While in France I’ve occasionally encountered cats and most times Iland them and I’ve had a few that have been in the 70lbs to 90lbs plus bracket and my 3.5lbs and long casts have handled them with a bit of differently I will add, but they do deal with them again I make the point we fish for 10 pounder’s with rods and reels that can land cats of that size. Time to maybe review this situation.
fat cat

You may encounter cats like this and the bigger TC’s are required

I know its not feasible for everyone to buy numerous sets of rods as some of us don’t get enough time on the bank to justify all theses rods. I have seen anglers buying rods that will do them for the one week a year they do in France and then proceed to used them all year in Ireland. But if i was to pick a test curve for use in all situations it would have to be the 2.75tc.
With this rod you can achieve a good cast and have enough power to pull your quarry away from snags etc. You will have less hook pulls than the 3.5lbs and can get away with smaller hooks. To be honest if you plan to fish commercial water`s in France 2.75lbs will also be fine. The fishery will be managed and more than likely most of the permanent snags will have been removed and more often than not if you are capable of casting 120 plus meters you will be in someone else`s swim and politely asked to pull back.
If you fancy straying out on to the Foreign public waters then 3.5lbs are a must. The publics are a completely different animal. big winds, storms, massive under currents, 8 to 10oz`s gripper leads, 4oz’s back leads, 100lbs braid leaders and the rivers are an even bigger task. So your 2.75lbs are not at the races. I hope I have not confused people too much if i have I’ll set out a summary below and hopefully that will clear it up a bit.
water shot

Big waters require bigger tackle. This water is 10000 acres and there’s sand bars and weed to deal with.

So in summary I now use my Freespirit CS’s 2lbs tc’s for small water fishing in Ireland and sometimes for margin fishing on bigger waters in Ireland that I know there are no snags close by and for floater fishing.

15lbs caught off the top on the CS’s.

My 2.75lbs NG’S get used for slighlty bigger waters here that I have to fish longer distances or maybe need to thump one out, like on the lough sometimes or dropping baits long distances up beside lillies.
The 3.5lbs NG’S get used for long distances fishing in france (up to 400 meters) and using leads up to 10ozs and also my pike fishing. I need these to tackle big carp, cats and sometimes sturgen. Anything less in these situations and you are just not at the races.
In the future I will look at maybe replacing the 3.5lbs NG’s (when they have given up the ghost) with 13ft Freespirit HI’s in the 3.5lbs for my pike fishing and foreign fishing.

I would not normally use light rods on such a venue as the dam but a last minute invite to a swim prebaited by Tom and Ryan. Resulted in this fish not long after casting out. Cheers lads.

About paddykeogh20

We are three anglers who enjoy all aspects of fishing. Whether we are blanking or catching were happiest on the bank or shore. If you like your fishing join us by watching our many trips and as we interview some top anglers along the way.....
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