Wednesday Review... Drennan Acolyte Rods

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Wednesday Review... Drennan Acolyte Rods

Performance And Pleasure - Matt Godfrey expresses his love for a range of rods that have seen more than their fair share of action…

For over 18 months now I’ve been using Drennan Acolyte rods, and I’m absolutely in love. I get unbelievably excited about going fishing with them! I have never felt so comfortable and confident with a rod in my hand.

I use the 13ft Acolyte Ultra models for all traditional waggler work. When matched with a 3012 Daiwa TDX reel, the setup simply feels like an extension of the arm. You can land anything on this combination, but they really come into their element when catching a lot of fish in a match situation, such as at Porth Reservoir in Cornwall, a venue used on the renowned White Acres festivals. It’s absolutely full of roach, skimmers and hybrids, which are caught at a comfortable 20 to 25yd distance, normally using a 4g loaded waggler.

Drennan Acolyte Float Rods-1 The 13ft Ultra allows you to cast very accurately, with the lower half of the rod remaining solid to give you very controlled casting power. Even in strong wind I’ve never felt undergunned. However, it’s when you hook a fish that the real pleasure begins. The rod is soft in the tip, with a progressive action working smoothly down towards the middle of the rod, where the backbone gives you control.

I’ve happily used 0.08mm hooklengths and size 22 hooks with these rods, without batting an eyelid. I use them at venues such as the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham, where you can be catching small chublets every cast in with light gear, but at any minute hook a bigger 3lb specimen. Only recently, I fished a very difficult match when the fish were obviously beyond the pole swim. Setting up this rod, six big bream came to the net – it handled these fish with ease.

While talking to Alan Scotthorne after a team practice with our Drennan Barnsley Blacks squad, he explained why a 14ft rod was his choice for slider work. The longer rod means that you can smoothly cast your slider to a distance without overexertion, thus increasing accuracy and eliminating tangles. When casting floats up to 15g, added power is a consideration, and that’s when the ‘Plus’ label of the 14ft Acolyte float rods caught my eye.

Drennan Acolyte Float Rods-2 The debut for these rods came last year during the Daiwa/VDE Silver Fest on Scotland’s Loch Ken. The quality roach were sat out beyond reach of a pole for the first part of the sessions, and the slider was the way to catch them. The 14ft Acolyte Plus models graced the roost, and with a 12g slider I could happy cast 50 turns out without trying. The backbone for punching out the slider comes from the middle of the rod, there’s zero wobble to send the cast off line, and compressing the tip to push out the slider with this strong middle part of the rod gives you ultimate control.

Despite this, however, I was still happy using a 0.09mm hooklength, catching 1oz to 8oz roach without a problem, and went on to win the event the first time I’d ever used the rods! The 14ft length enables you to pick up the line perfectly, and you have a quick and solid response to bites. By the same token, I’ve also used the rod for catching big fish. It definitely has extra beef if you’re looking to be aggressive and swing in chunky fish. For an angler looking to catch a lot of fish on venues like Irish loughs, or someone consistently targeting bigger fish, the Plus versions are perfect.

Drennan Acolyte Float Rods-3 The final rods in the Acolyte range that I have been using are the Carp Wagglers. Don’t be misled, however; they are by no means overgunned power tools. I would simply describe them as perfect commercial-fishery waggler rods. On smaller venues, when casting small pellet wagglers or traditional wagglers anything up to 25 metres, I use the 11ft version. For places where extra distance is required, such as when fishing a bigger pellet waggler on open-water swims, the 12ft is my choice. The rods are slightly more ‘through action’ rods than their longer Acolyte brothers and sisters, which helps absorb every head bang and lunge from commercial fish.

The rods are somewhat soft, but progressively powerful – which may sound strange, but is my best way of describing them: the power kicks in when you need it. For me, this is really important on commercials, as one of the biggest edges I believe you can get is fishing lighter than other anglers. I’d be happy to use hooklengths down to 0.12mm for F1s on these rods, but at the same time wouldn’t bat an eyelid at using them for catching big weights of double-figure fish with 0.20mm traces.

Every rod I have used in the Acolyte range oozes class, and is simply a joy to use. Featuring Fuji SiC rings, slick cork handles, and a solid real seat, I give them my full recommendation. I even used the 11ft Carp Waggler for catching grayling and trout on the stick float on my local river in Sheffield – I love it!

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