It’s quite a regular occurrence that the talented photographer and team member Ben Hesketh clogs up our email with pixel perfection, but to receive one with more words than images, it’s got to be something special. So, here it is…
I got wind that Trakker were at the product testing stage of re-entering the rod market around 18 months ago and had heard really good things from those involved in the testing, which intrigued me massively. I first got a look at both the Defy and Propel ranges at the Northern Angling show in early 2019 and was immediately struck by the unique, shimmering finish on the Defy rods, I thought they looked really cool to be honest and a little different. Someone at Trakker HQ must have noticed my fluttering glances and took pity on me, as I was soon given the opportunity to get my hands on a set, with no hesitation and much excitement, I opted for the 12ft 3.5lb test curve Defy rods to become my new carp battling weapon of choice.
My rods arrived a day before a much anticipated European trip and with everything packed I decided to wait until I got back from the trip to give them a proper work-out and get to grips with them. Frustratingly, the trip didn’t pan out too well for me fish-wise. I caught two mid-thirties on the first night, then snag trauma kicked in and I lost seven fish in a row, before finally losing my mind, along with the will to live by around Tuesday. I got my head back in to gear and was determined to salvage something from the trip. Being lucky enough to be sharing the lake with some very accomplished long-range anglers, I set about mithering them one by one with the aim of improving my long game and hit spots I didn’t currently have the technical ability to. Mission accomplished and my very average casting technique was noticeably improved thanks to 20 minutes of one to one advice, I’d gone from struggling to hit the clip at 120 metres to smashing the clip above the trees on the far margin! I’d gone LONG! All well and good doing it with the 13ft broom handles I was using for the trip, but would I be able to replicate it back at home with my new 12ft Defy rods?
As soon as I got home I set about sorting out my kit and was soon rigging up my Defy’s and was immediately struck by how light they were. I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t be able to cope with my newly discovered love of casting to be honest, but I was looking forward to finding out. Being lucky enough to work at a fishery I managed to get out and flex them almost straight away, nipping out on to the lake an hour after work to have a proper blast with them. The first time out and casting into a light headwind, I smashed a rig out to the same clip that I’d been hitting in Croatia at 120m (131yrds) the week before. I was pretty blown away to be honest and couldn’t wait to actually get out and put them in a proper fishing situation. Casting distance has never really been an attribute I could confidently put in my armoury before, even to the point of shying away from certain swims that I wasn’t confident that I could reach particular spots, even if I knew they were good for a bite, or the fish were actually there. It felt like something had changed in my angling and I had unlocked an area of my own angling that I had never attempted before, giving me so much more flexibility in my swim choices and creating more bite opportunities too.
As soon as it felt like a reasonable time to sneak an overnighter in with the Mrs (about 48hrs). I was out and I was dropping in one of the swims known for requiring a longer chuck, regardless of the location of the fish, I was that eager to use my new found enthusiasm and confidence in casting, coupled with my new carbon. Everything went unusually smoothly, managing to get two rods out to spots that I’d never truthfully been anywhere near before. The icing on the cake being a 30lb-er that I had from one of the long spots at first light.
I’ve used the rods for 6 months or so now and I am still absolutely in love with them. They really do cast like a dream. I’m a smaller framed guy and I’ve put a baited rig 140yds using 12lb mono and a leader. Practising with my matching Defy Spod rod I’ve managed to piut a bare lead 175yds too! The rods definitely have some back bone, but even though I chose the 3.5lb versions I have also been more than happy with the fact that they are quite forgiving and soak up last ditch lunges from fish under the tip beautifully, making playing fish an absolute pleasure, not to mention they look the business and so will be in my armoury for some time to come. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
For more of Ben’s pixel perfection, head over to his Instagram @bendyblanco
Source: Tracker products