Academy Q&A – What Test Curve?

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John Bennet asked our Academy; “I’m fairly new to Carp fishing and I’m a bit unsure of what test curve rod I will need for the season ahead. I’m fishing a 10 acre water with very little weed or snags, there are a good head of fish in the water that consist of mainly doubles and a good few 20’s – we are hoping it does its first 30 this year. I wondered what test curve rod I need to fish this water? I was thinking of a 2.75 or 3tc, but my mate says that I need a 3.5tc for PVA bag fishing and to hit the longest mark of 90 yards?”

Matt Jackson says:

I’ll be honest, from the description you give a 2.75tc rod will be fine to cover everything you should be likely to need it to, other than heavy solid PVA bag work. It will certainly cast a lead 90yds if you are set up correctly. It should also be enough to manage small mesh bags and sticks to a reasonable range, so if you are happy enough with that then 2.75 may be for you. 

“I find that a 3.5tc rod suits my all round angling perfectly. If you go for a nice through action 3.5tc it will still be a lovely playing rod (even with small double and single figure fish) but still has plenty of reserve power in the tank should you need it. What I mean is, although a 2.75tc rod may be plenty for most situations, it will be giving you all it has to offer. Should you come across a swim where that slightly longer cast is needed, or you find yourself doing the odd trip to a weedy or snaggy water then you will not need to worry. It will also handle small to medium sized solid PVA bags with ease.

 “You will find the control you have over a hooked fish is far better with the higher test curve as well, and keeping its head up will be easier. Another plus with the 3.5tc will be that it will handle heavier leads far better, which can be a real edge when trying to convert twitchy bites into takes or cutting down lost fish. In my experience most people worry about a 3.5tc rod being a  ‘broomstick’ or ‘too heavy’, but this is normally only the case in a fast taper action model that in turn becomes much stiffer.”

What test curveDarren Belton says:

Thanks for the question and welcome to Carp fishing! There are several points to address here so let’s start with distance. You most certainly do not need a 3.5 tc to cast 90yds. A 2.5oz lead and a 2.75tc rod will comfortably hit that range. You have said that there is very little in the way of snags or weed so again a 2.75tc rod sounds perfect. I love to match my gear with the type of angling I am participating in, and I always like to play a fish, not just winch it in, again in this situation a 2.75tc would be my weapon of choice.

“Looking at PVA bags, a 2.75tc rod will cope with small bags without any issues.  However, if it’s a large solid bag that you intend on using, then you will need to step up a bit – in this case a 3.25tc rod would be my choice; powerful enough to cast a bag, with a bit of give in the tip to play the fish. Personally  I would stick with the lighter rod and forget about the large PVA bags – if everyone is doing it then a single with a few spombfulls of bait over the top may be the way forward. I hope this helps and good luck with whichever rod you choose.”

Darren BeltonNathan says:

With very little weed and no snags I would suggest you go for a lighter test curve rod. However, you do have other considerations, including what you stated about the kind of distances and tactics you want to employ i.e PVA bags. You also need to think about future demands –  the following year you may want to fish another venue or occasionally fish day ticket waters so you would look for a rod that can deliver in a variety of situations. The good thing about this day and age is the high quality of the blanks, even in the lower end models. I am fortunate enough to have a set of Grey’s Aircurves in 3lb TC which I am more than happy to fish with for smaller Carp, as well as small hooks and light line that is required in zig rig work. This is due to the superb playing action, but I am still able to cast a lead over 100 yards (and I’m no great long distance caster by any means). In a nutshell I would recommend a 3lb TC as a good starting point and all-round rod which would meet your current needs.”

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