The Warrior range of carp tackle from Fox International has long been associated with combining great features with exceptional value for money. They have been immensely popular and successful rods for Fox, who have released several generations of Warrior rods over the years. Despite Warriors being used by thousands of anglers, I had never actually used one! Fox made my favourite-ever specimen rods (a pair of Zandermasters), so when I was offered the chance to use & review a selection of the limited edition Warrior+ (that’s Warrior PLUS) range, I was eager to see if they lived up to their legendary status.
These striking 12 foot Fox Warrior+ carp rods – exclusive to Tackle Fanatics – are finished with a full cork handle. The blank – the same one used in Warrior S rods – comes in at 3.25lb test curve. It’s made from low resin carbon and has a beautiful matt finish. To further enhance the quality finish the rod has a classy anodised aluminium butt cap, etched with the Fox logo.
I personally prefer a full handle over an abbreviated one and, even with wet hands, cork does seem to offer a little more grip than Duplon. So these rods fit my tastes perfectly and they have good length of butt section to get plenty of leverage on the cast. Hardware-wise, the Warrio+ is furnished with 5 x double-legged Fox Slik rod rings, spaced for distance casting, plus an anti-frap tip ring. Key here is the butt ring which, at 50mm diameter, is spaced as far down the blank as possible. The large size and location of the butt ring help prevent line crack-offs during the cast through what’s known as “frapping”, (when the line spills off the reel faster than it can pass through the guides, causing it to “overtake” the butt ring and loop around it).
The addition of a line clip is a feature I wasn’t expecting to find on these rods, but its design seems strong and durable. Though not an essential, a line clip certainly helps with bite sensitivity when fishing a at range, so to have a built-in one further adds to the distance credentials of tis rod. A line clip is also useful when pike or catfish fishing, using an open bail arm, more on this later…
That’s enough about the features, what matters more than all the above is how the rod actually performs! My first impression was that the rod is quite obviously a casting tool. All of the features point towards that and what surprised me was just how light it felt. To do the rod justice I wanted to test it doing what it should do best; distance casting. So I chose a spot where I could cast around 100 yards (hardly extreme range, I know, but it’s as far as most carpers would regularly need to cast and also a distance I could easily judge accuracy) to test these rods, as well as the S&M spod & marker rod and the 42” landing net – also from the Warrior+ range. For balance, I coupled the rods with some big pit reels and set-up with a simple naked helicopter rig and a 4oz lead for a start.
The power of the rod was clear to see from the outset, as just a gentle lob would see the lead fly well past the 100 yard mark. I ended up switching to a 3oz lead and the rod was still hitting the target with ease, even casting into a strong headwind. It felt like I had barely tested the backbone of the rod, by casting these “tiny” weights! But it’s great to feel that there’s power in reserve for when PVA bags or sticks need to be cast against the wind, or when casting an awkward rig such as a zig rig.
Unfortunately I have only managed one carp session so far, to use these rods, and I didn’t hook any fish. So one aspect I haven’t tried out is their fish-playing capabilities. The power is certainly there but it would have been nice to see if they possess the finesse required when playing big fish close-in. Alas, fishing time is in short supply for this reviewer but if I have any joy using the rods next time out I’ll append my review.
You can view the rods in action – including some slow motion casting footage – in the video below, which I shot whilst testing the rods for this review:
The Warrior Plus has just enough through action when casting to make me think it could lend itself to use as a distance pike rod. Probably not enough give for river & drain fishing, but a good balance between power and action to punch out deadbaits on reservoirs and large pits. I would say the test curve and action also makes it perfect to use for UK catfish, so if you’re a carp angler who fancies the odd dabble for predators without having to fork out on another set of rods, these could be the ones for you.
Predator crossover potential aside, I think this rod is aimed primarily at carpers making the step-up to fishing larger venues, or anglers who fish large venues on an occasional basis rather than every weekend. They will obviously appeal to the budget-conscious angler who can’t justify spending 2 or 3 times this price on a rod, but wishes to make a discerning choice to find the best quality rod available within their budget. There are also plenty of anglers out there who fish smaller venues on a weekly basis but make one or two “drive & survive” carp trips each year, to France, and these rods should handle what most continental carp can throw at them.
As with the Warrior+ “S&M” spod & marker rod and Warrior+ landing net I recently reviewed, at between £70 & £73 each (depending whether they’re bought in pairs or in threes), these rods seem to offer superb value-for-money. When you take into account the performance, weight, looks and features, you really couldn’t ask for anything more from a sub-£100 carp rod and I think anglers of all levels would find these a joy to fish with. Something I’ve discovered since testing these rods is that they come in at least a tenner cheaper than the equivalent Warrior S rod with full cork handle, which has only a 3lb test curve and a 40mm butt ring!
The Warrior Plus range is available exclusively from Tackle Fanatics and you can purchase them as a pair for £144.99 or as a set of three for £209.99, from the following links: 3 rod set – or – 2 rod set