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Review: Free Spirit Hi’S Special BW Barbel rods

May 14, 2014

Just thought I’d do a brief review of the Free Spirit Hi’S BW Barbel rods. I’ve had these now since the end of January and fortunately with the mild Winter and Spring we’ve had, I’ve had ample opportunity to put them through their paces.

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Hi’S Special BW rods ready for action

I gave my first impressions of the rods in my previous post so I won’t bore you with that aspect again. See: Hi’S Special BW:First Impressions

I was though too impatient to wait for the rivers to abate as so I first tried them out on a small gravel pit near where I live, which was a pity, as I’d have liked to have had a barbel as my first fish on them. Instead though, it had to be a small carp.

They initially seemed quite stiff compared to the Fox Warrior S rods I had used the previous season, but this made them nice and crisp for casting and when I got the feel for them I was able to drop my method feeder on the same spot each cast.

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Playing a barbel on the River Aisne

The best fish I had on them that fist day was a mid double common and it fought really well, giving me a great feel for how the rods would handle fish in the river. The initial feeling of crispness belied the fact that they have a nice progressive through action. On that carp the rod bent round well but definitely had a feeling of power in the butt section.

When I did finally get out on the river Aisne with them they were immediately called upon to cast 8oz feeders. The river was really high & tanking through and the cast was a gentle lob. Realistically it was overloading the blank, but they didn’t seem to mind. Shaun Harrison had said he’d really abused his with big feeders, so I was not afraid to test the rod probably beyond its recommended limit.

I had somewhat of a purple patch on my local river for a couple of months banking 32 barbel to over 7lb. The rods coped admirably with the fish and the conditions. While powerful they still allowed me to enjoy catching these modest-sized barbel and the odd chub.

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A nice Aisne fish on the Hi’S rods

The first real test for them though came on my own Croix Blanche fishery where I pressed them into service for the tench. On that first outing tench were not the only fish on the menu, as a pair of catfish also put in an appearance. Fish of 40lb & 35lb really put the blank to the test. I was amazed how much power I was able to place on the cats to slow their rushes down. Now you often struggle on carp gear to subdue a hard fighting moggie, but the BW’s took it all in their stride. The tench I caught also proved once again that they still remain sensitive enough to enjoy a fight from a smaller species.

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New PB Bream 11lb 8oz

I have now taken to using these rods for virtually all my fishing. I have been to a couple of other still-waters in the search of large tench & bream and have been rewarded with tench to over 7lb, a new PB bream of 11lb 8oz and a few bonus carp; two of which topped 40lb. Now that’s not at all bad going on a rod designed for barbel.

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Who needs carp gear??

In conclusion not only do these rods look great, but they are fabulous playing tools. They are light enough to be used for modest chub and barbel, while waiting for a double… Yet they have proven absolutely capable of handling far bigger fish. What more could one ask for from a fishing rod??

Rating 10/10

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