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Free Spirit Tamer Special X Wrap SU – Review

November 23, 2012

I’ve had these rods now for more than a month and have been out several times on the local river Marne to test them out. The version I have is the 12ft 1.75lb test (Stepped Up).  Here is the description from the Free Spirit site.

This new specialist series are built on ultra slim, lightweight blanks that feature a very distinctive carbon X-Wrap along the length of the butt section. Finished with a matt look to prevent flash that could scare wary fish – a must for the serious specialist and barbel angler.

Included in the range are rods to suit all situations from the intimate side stream to the roaring flooded river to long-range bream and tench fishing. These rods are built with an Avon and a separate quiver top section with long push in quiver tip to suit a variety of winter and summer conditions and with natural full cork handles around a Fuji DPS-16 reel seat and Fuji Hardloy guides for durability.

I was looking for a pair of rods that I could use on the Rivers for barbel & chub, but would also allow me to target tench & crucian carp on my own venue, AND that would give me the best chance of landing a large carp should I hook one. During the last summer while quiver tipping on my lakes I’d hooked and landed around 11 carp to over 30lb on light gear, so I know that there was a very good chance I’d need a rod capable of handling such fish.
I was also looking for a rods that could handle the heavy feeder work that the rivers demand. A fair list of requirements.

First impressions:

These are a more budget model than the similar but higher spec Hi’ S rods by Free Spirit. So I was very pleasantly surprised by the elegance and quality of the rods I received. The blank is slim ans sobre with the X Wrap hatching up the bottom section and a full length cork handle. As I’ve previously stated I love cork handles for fishing rods. I guess it harks back to the days when I used to make up my own carp rods.I really like the sobre grey colour and the elegant markings on the blank. Very understated, which to me is the mark of the English designed rods, that sets them apart from some of the continental or far eastern brands like Shimano, Mitchell, Garbolino or Daiwa.

Fitments & fittings

The rods use Fuji fittings, which is always a sign of a quality rod. The rods comes supplied with a standard top section and a quiver tip top section. This is a very useful aspect for me, as while the carp and barbel always seem to give reel churning bites, the tench and crucian carp that run very large in my lakes often only tap the rod top. A quiver tip then offers me the option of a more sensitive bite indication.

I think my only slight disappointment was the single foot rod rings, which while Fuji are less robust than the equivalent double foot models. I’ve had hardloy rings on other rods and the quality of this ring centre has never been at fault, but I’ve occasionally had rings twisted in transit on other rods with this type of fitting. A minor point, which in no way undermines the functionality of the rod.

Conclusion

So far I’ve managed to land barbel to 7lb 8oz on these rods and they have been a joy to use. The blank has a wonderful through action that is not too stiff nor too sloppy. It has coped easily with laden feeders upto 5oz, cast out into the river Marne upto 25 yards. Shaun Harrison mentioned that the rods look sexier on the bank than my other quiver tip rods and he’s right. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’d got used to looking at a set of Hi S carp rods on the bank, so these drops me right back in there with an elegant and classy set of medium ledger rods.

These rods seem to be well placed in the market for medium spec barbel and feeder rods. This type of fishing is getting a wider public now but the range of products available, compared to carp rods, is still fairly limited. When I was looking around there were a few general medium to heavy feeder and ledger rods on the market but not many that combined the functionality and esthetics. Most were just not to my liking, yet I was immediately taken with the look and the spec of the Free Spirit offering.

Cheers
Gareth

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