The primary reason for me choosing to upgrade from my standard gear, was the super sharp rocks in my prime spots in the St Lawrence river. Though I've learned to avoid cut offs with my 8 and 9 foot rods about 90% of the time, I needed a simpler solution for my growing number of carp fishing customers that are new to carping, as their cut off ratios have been significantly higher than mine. A 3 foot increase in rod length gives more control, and the added height allows you to get your line and the carp closer to the surface, and keep it there for longer periods throughout the battle.
The secondary benefit is the added distance that can be achieved when casting. With my reels being matched to my 9 foot rods, I typically don't cast more than 180 feet. The 12 foot rods I bought are designed to reach a maximum casting distance of about 300 feet, when matched with the proper reel and weight.
Again, I had two options for the day:
1) Drive a further distance to target carp all day and return after dark.
2) Drive a bit less, catch some trout on conventional tackle before I start carping, and hit a less productive carp spot on the way home to test my Black Widow carp rod.
As with the previous week, I chose the second option. After having consumed those delicious trout from the previous outing, I was hungry for more. Also promised to bring some to my dad who loves eating trout , probably more than I do.
Hit the trout spot a bit after 9:30 AM, fishing started off quite slow. Landed only 1 trout in the first half hour. Missed a few that were short striking. A bit after 10:00 AM, the outside temperature started warming quickly. Within minutes, the trout came alive, and started a feeding frenzy.
I caught my bag limit (10 char in zone 8) within 15 minutes:
Having caught my bag limit, I headed out for my next venue. Arrived at my spot to find one of my acquaintances there, a European fellow that happens to be one of the more prolific carpers living in the Montreal area. Was happy to have met him there, as I valued his input on my new set up. In addition, he gave me some useful tips on casting a rod of that length, as I clearly could use some practice.
Unfortunately, the carp weren't co-operating. He had been there since the early morning without a run, though he had noticed some carp surfacing. I set up a cast about 150 feet on my first cart, nothing to brag about. He was distance fishing, I was amazed to see him casting a good 350-375 feet, then spodding at that distance with extreme accuracy.
I planned to stay until 2:30 PM, so I could leave in time to beat the traffic back into town. No fish for either of us, he left shortly after 2:00 PM. I packed up a few minutes early, intending to take the opportunity to practice my casting with my new carp rod. I folded up my chair, net, gear. Brought in my line and started practicing. Using the tips he gave me, I achieved casts of about 200-220 feet, being limited by 2 ounce sinkers (instead of 3-4 ounces), as well as by my 50 series reel (he was using a Shimano 10000 series). I should be able to achieve 300 feet if I upgrade my reel somewhere in the 65-90 series range, but I'll lose my ability to accurately chum the area by catapult, due to the limited range of the catapults, which barely reach 200 feet.
After each cast, I reeled in my line pretty quickly to avoid snagging rocks. On my last cast, I retrieved the line as usual. About 20 feet off shore, I got a nice hit, was surprised to find a nice pike fighting at the end of my line. Not only did I not have a leader, but I was on a steep bank, without a net, and the pike had my rig straight across the inside of it's mouth, potentially the easiest place for it to snap the line. I played it real easy, and right near shore, I decide to take a chance by heaving it out of the water and flipping it behind me with the extra long rod.... Somehow, it worked! Got a quick snapshot of it with my hair rig still in it's mouth.
Headed home early, happy enough to have tested my rod, and with the nice surprise catch. After finishing some more work, filleting the trout and taking care of my kids homework (almost 2 hours worth), I was ready to head back out for some more fishing. Again, I had to decide between night fishing cutbait for catfish and sturgeon, or boilies for carp. I chose boilies, hoping to get a shot at fighting a carp on my new rod. I got set up about 9:30 PM, temperature was dropping rapidly, it was already close to freezing, with the predicted overnight low of -1 Celcius. Took about 1/2 hour, and my rod started bouncing, tell tale sign up a channel cat bite. Sure enough, I landed the catfish within a minute. Again, not the targeted species, but better than nothing.
That was all for the night, I headed home about 1 hour later.
Looks like this rod is more of a multi species rod than a carp rod... I'm sure I'll finally have the chance to put it to it's proper use...
Overall, the Daiwa Black Widow is a nice rod, and with the lighter 2.75 TC, it's about the equivalent of a medium action rod when fighting fish. I know that they come in test curve ratings of up to 3.5 TC, but opted for the lighter version as it's extremely rare for me to need to cast more than 150 feet, and personally, I prefer the sensation of fighting big fish on lighter action rods.