Because they’re Worth It! Tom Scholey extols the virtues of the two most prized rods in his holdall, the Daiwa Airity 12/13ft Feeder, and the Daiwa Tournament 10ft Feeder.
As anybody who reads my pole reviews in Match Fishing’s sister title, Pole Fishing, will tell you – I am the stereotypical tight Yorkshireman.
Sure, I like the flagship poles, but what really gets my juices flowing is mid-range poles that punch well above their weight – and believe me there are plenty of them of them out there. Indeed, the pole I use for my own fishing, Daiwa’s mighty G50 Connoisseur, costs around £1,000.
However, my logic is, for the fishing that I do, this pole is fantastic, so why would I want to spend any more?
I have always followed this logic through into my feeder fishing too. For years, Matt Godfrey and I have had a pool of Preston Innovations 10ft Mini Carbonactives between us.
Most of our fishing was done on commercial fisheries, and these rods gave us the tools we needed to do the jobs in hand, and do it very well too. Indeed, I still use Preston Carbonactives for this kind of commercial work – great rods that perform brilliantly.
So what prompted me to abandon my ‘careful northern’ financial principles and invest in rods that cost almost twice as much as the ones I already had?
In short, it was the amount of fishing that I was doing on natural venues. The truth of the matter is, I don’t get to fish the feeder very often on the natural venues that I go to, and as such I didn’t feel like I had the experience to say which rods I should be using for big demanding rivers like the Trent, or indeed more intimate venues like the Gloucester Canal, or Evesham.
I just knew the ones that I was using weren’t quite right. So I asked someone who did know – namely former England feeder international and Match Fishing editor, Alex Bones.
He was very specific in his advice. The 12/13ft Airity came first. It is a beast of rod with phenomenal casting power, while keeping a sensible medium action, which means the playing of even small, soft-mouthed fish like skimmers isn’t hindered. Large, braid-friendly Fuji guides aid this casting ability and, with the correct tackle, the rod has allowed me to throw feeders to distances of 80 yards without breaking sweat.
Notably, though, the key difference that I think you pay the premium for is the quality of the blank. Its recovery after casting is unbelievable, improving accuracy. Also, when playing a fish it is notable just how forgiving it is. It really does have to be seen to be believed.
Sure it took some getting used to. The reel seat and handle is a novel design, featuring a clasp mechanism that locks the reel in place. I have never had a problem with a standard slide or screw-in reel seat but I can see the thinking behind this, not only for really locking the reel in place when extreme casts are the challenge, but it looks pretty sexy too.
You know I mentioned that ‘pool’ of Carbonactives? Well Matt decided that my new Airity should also be added to the ‘pool’. He has borrowed it on numerous occasions and agrees that it is among the best distance feeder fishing tools he has ever held.
Earlier this year I added a 10ft Daiwa Tournament to my collection. I had been fishing the Gloucester Canal in the run-up to the Division One National, and there was a bit of bread feeder work – casting a small feeder under the far bank and targeting skimmers.
It was a real precision job and at times the bites were little more than shy twitches. Fishing the Daiwa Tournament 10ft feeder rod in this kind of situation is the closest I have ever come to angling ecstasy!
Not only did the beautiful action of the rod allow me to cast with pinpoint accuracy, but the responsiveness of the tips allowed me to see bites that I am certain I would have missed with most other tools.
Perhaps the thing that I like the most about the rod, though, is its playing action. The top third seems to be nice and soft, before power kicks in around the middle part of the blank, allowing you to tame even the most savage beast!
I have also trialled it in commercial situations, and must say it is sublime. Daiwa is probably going to hate me saying this but it is almost too good for this kind of work.
For chucking a Method feeder up to an island at sensible range, all you need is a decent casting action, a relatively good playing action and, of course, strength and durability. There are plenty of rods at half the price of the Daiwa Tournament range that offer these properties.
The problem is, when you have used a Tournament, picking up anything cheaper simply isn’t a very pleasant thought. Could it be that I am slowly turning to the dark side and becoming a tackle tart? Surely not!
RRP Daiwa Airity 12/13ft Feeder £395 Daiwa Tournament 10ft Feeder £375