9’ CQ, 3.5lb TC, 3 equal sections
The 9ft CQ Stalking Rod from master British rod builder, Century, was designed in conjunction with margin fishing expert and Thinking Anglers head honcho, Steve Fantuzzi, who had the following to tell us on the brand-new wand…
“The CQ 9ft is made up of three x 3ft sections so it can packdown and be stored in the boot of your car. I have noticed of late that many of the existing stalking rods on the market have no real backbone, often bending all the way from the reel seat. This little gem has plenty of grunt, but still soft enough in the tip to play fish well at the shortest of ranges. If needed, you can compress the rod and use the power in the butt section, as its medium to fast taper action actually makes it very good at medium-range too.
“When stalking carp up close whether near snags, pads or reeds, it’s essential to have the ability to turn the carp away from danger quickly and during testing I found on numerous occasions that when using this rod, I was more than able to gain instant control before the fish could pick up any momentum, enabling me to be in charge straightaway.
“Getting the action of this rod was 100% vital, as a blank too stiff would only serve to encourage hook pulls and if too soft, it would provide little to no control. After talking to the technical advisory team at Century, I explained the problems after the first few samples and the butt section was changed to complete the finished tool.
“The ringing on most stalking rods are small – in essence I suppose to match the size of the rod, but again, when stalking carp, weed can easily get trapped in the tip eye so for me, the bigger the tip eye the better, in this case a 16mm SiC.
“As with its bigger, 11ft brother, this nine-footer boasts the classic ‘Stealth finish’ with all black carbon reel seat and black aluminium fittings throughout. After showing a number of people, they agreed the action was perfect, as using the clutch on your reel in conjunction with this rod it would be an amazing all-round stalking rod.
“This stalking rod covers all situations and I can even see anglers using them as main rods on small pits with the complete set-up of the 9ft CQ rods, a CQ 2-piece 42” Landing Net with equal 3ft sections to the shaft and a very smart dual branded Century/Thinking Anglers 3ft Rod Case that will accommodate up to three rods, the net, banksticks and buzzers and an array of small tackle items.”
“GIMME”: Rods: £249.99; Landing Net: £179.00; Rod Case: £49.99
11’ CQ, 2.75lb TC, 2 equal sections
Ken South, an angler who’s played a big role in the development of this rod, reveals his thoughts on Century’s slightly-shorter-than-normal work-of-art
“Margin fishing comes in its many different guises, from intimate little waters to the windswept expanses of the larger pits, or in my case, a twenty-seven mile winding canal which can create a myriad of complications to the carp angler who pursues his quarry quite literally under his rod tips.
“Carp are creatures of habit and patrolling the margins is in a carp’s make-up. The setting of traps close in has always been a tactic kept in the carp angler’s armoury although of late the changing aspect of modern angling has seen it pushed further back as the use of Zigs and distance sticks has become more prominent.
“Margins often provide the carp with areas of weed-lined banks, snags, shallow water littered with obstacles, overhanging trees and bushes which are the constant natural enemy of the margin angler. So to pursue carp close in you will need a rod that has the strength to control and dictate the fight by being powerful enough to be able to steer the carp away from these awkward and often encountered obstacles.
“Also the rod will need to be forgiving enough to bend and absorb every lunge and run that a carp hooked at such close quarters will make. This type of fishing has an increased risk of hook pulls so the rod needs to bend right through. Also, there is a need for the rod to be on one hand, short enough to navigate the placing of bait without getting into an argument with low overhanging trees or other inconveniences that can often be encountered with this type of angling, but still long enough to be able to pay out line over close in weed line or overhanging bushes without again getting into an argument due to line getting caught.
“The rod should be light as they will be paired with small lightweight reels and without wishing to cause an argument, I believe the margin angler often adopts a far more mobile approach to his or her fishing so any areas that weight can be saved is always a major plus.
“The Century 11’ CQ was designed and constructed to solve the complications already mentioned and it delivers the solutions in typical Century style. From the understated new style Stealth finish right through to the complex carbon construction that provides the rods action of forgiveness and power.
“Over the last 18 months of testing the CQ, I have used it in a variety of situations from lowering simple braided rigs attached to heavy four-ounce in-line leads down the side of the canal wall, to flicking out Choddies into a small bay with a light lead on a very weedy Essex day ticket water.
“To be fair, wherever I fish, I always target the water’s marginal areas where possible as the growing trend of distance sticks has to some extent created a fashionable fishing style centered seemingly around distance. The margins are often totally overlooked on some waters, as anglers count their wraps and cast out onto a feeding area they have created through hard work whilst oblivious to the natural feeding opportunities literally right beneath their feet.”
“GIMME”: £258.00; centurycarp.co.uk