The Warrior range of carp tackle from Fox 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.
This is the Warrior+ “S&M” rod. No, it’s not a sado-masochistic torture device! S&M, in this case, stands for Spod & Marker. This is a beefy rod, at 12 feet in length and with a test curve of 4.5lb. A solid reel seat sits above a fully shrink-wrapped handle which isn’t merely a thin layer of plastic; it is slightly spongy to touch, with the feel of Duplon, and it gets thicker towards the butt which aids grip when casting hard. The S&M is ringed with 5 x double-legged Fox Slik rod rings, spaced for distance casting, plus an anti-frap tip ring. The butt ring is very large, at 50mm diameter, and is spaced as far down the blank as possible. The large size and location of the butt ring help prevent line crack-offs during hard casts 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). This is extremely important in a spod rod thanks to the weight you’re hurling and the power exerted into a long cast.
The low resin carbon blank has a beautiful matt finish. To further enhance its quality looks the rod has a classy anodised aluminium butt cap, etched with the Fox logo. It certainly looks the part, but aesthetics are only a small part of the picture for me. What I really needed to see was how the rod performed.
The specifications of this rod mean it’s probably aimed slightly more at spod & Spomb work than marker float work so I took it along to a venue where I could easily attempt a 100 yard cast with a Spomb, to really put the rod through its paces.
The rod loaded up extremely easily on the cast, so the power was there immediately to transmit to the Spomb. As the power loaded the rod curved well, to just above the reel seat, with no signs of locking up. The tip recovery was extremely quick – this, along with the curve under load, can be witnessed in the slo-mo sequences in my video test – with very little wobble, for greater distance and accuracy. With a fully loaded large Spomb (well, Fox Impact Spod to be exact, but old habits die hard!), and casting into a headwind, I consistently cast accurately to the marker float set at 100 yards with ease. It felt like there was plenty left in the blank to fire well beyond this range.
You can view the S&M rod in action – including some slow motion casting footage – in the video below, which I shot whilst testing the rod for this review:
I rarely fish at ranges beyond 100 yards, so I’m not too fluent in the requirements of an extreme range marker float rod, but I understand that a stiff rod is beneficial. Not only for casting big leads & markers but also transmitting subtle features which may be absorbed by softer marker rods. One thing I noticed when retrieving the Spomb was that, as it bounced across the surface, the rod tip twitched convincingly which definitely shows promise for its marker rod capabilities. Unfortunately, I’ve only managed the one carp session so far to use this rod. I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone, so I thought I’d better make this clear. I intend to set it up as a marker rod in future, so once I have a learned opinion on its marker rod credentials I’ll append my review.
One minor niggle I have with the S&M as a marker rod is that there are no markings on the blank to accurately measure 12 inches and 18 inches as line is paid out. This is not the end of the world, because it’s easy enough to measure and mark these distances oneself with a silver marker or tape, but it’s the kind of detail I would have expected a company like Fox to have thought of (although after further research, I don’t think they feature on any Fox marker rods).
My overall feeling about the rod was that it’s perfect for spod & Spomb work. As a means of firing out a large quantity of bait a large distance, it felt more than capable for anything I’m likely to need it for. I couldn’t justify spending any more than the £75 price tag on a spod rod; nor do I think it would be necessary for 95% of all carp & specimen anglers. This rod is such a complete package for the task that anything more expensive could only be marginally better so, unless you’re an ultra-serious carper fishing at extreme range on a very regular basis, you’re unlikely to be able to fault this rod.
As I’ve mentioned, I haven’t had chance to get a real feel of the S&M as a marker rod. But aside from the very minor niggle of the lack of distance markings, I have confidence that it will be every bit as good a marker rod as it is a spod rod.
The Warrior Plus range is available exclusively from Tackle Fanatics and you can purchase this Fox Warrior+ S&M spod rod / marker rod, for £74.99, here: http://www.tacklefanatics.co.uk/product/10813/fox-warrior–marker-spod-duo-(sm)-45lb-rod.html