The Goldendale Deluxe Carp by Aspindale of Redditch

Reviewed by Nick on 12/11/2008

About ten years ago I had the urge to own a split cane rod, I believe this happens to most of us at about the same time tweed jackets and brown brogues doesn’t seem to be such a shocking concept. So after flicking through Trout and Salmon magazine I found a Millward’s eight-foot Flylite rod from a Glasgow tackle dealer.

At the time I thought it was a bit of a novelty item but over the years it became my main fly rod casting on southern chalk streams and even giving it a hard time on reservoirs with stocked rainbows. Those tweed clad chaps at Farlow’s told me that in it’s day the Millward cost more than a similar Hardy model, the equivalent of £600 today.

Now, I’m a strong believer in using light tackle and steering clear of the crowd, twelve foot 3lbs test curve carp rods are not for me, and when I saw how well the Millward fly rod performed despite being so light, I thought it was time to go for a cane carp rod.

The mark IV was the obvious choice, a bit pricey and dare I say rather predictable. Then three years ago I spotted the Aspindale on EBay I took a punt and bid on what looked like quite a nice rod. My highest bid was £76.00 and I won the rod at £73.00, two days later I was the proud owner of a pristine Aspindale, Goldendale Deluxe Carp Rod.

To put you in the picture, the rod itself is ten foot in length with a twenty-four inch cork handle and screw fit reel seat that can be moved anywhere along the handles length. The butt ring is agate lined with seven chrome intermediates and a chrome tip ring all whipped in burgundy red. The test curve is not stated but my guess would be around 1 æ lbs with a through action.

From the start the Aspindale had been creaking all season with some good catches, and it was becoming my tool of choice. I had used it on the Lea pike fishing, put a Ambassadeur 6600 on it for mackerel fishing off the Devon coast but it wasn’t until the following season when I was invited by an old friend Mark, to a syndicate water in West Sussex, that it truly excelled and hence why I think this rod deserves such a review.

I had not seen the water before but heard that it was quite an old overgrown estate lake. We arrived at the lake very early one July morning and indeed the whole lake was covered in lily pads, beautiful but tricky to fish. Walking around we found a few small openings in the pads and started fishing for the carp and tench (the tench are reportedly huge).

After an hour or so Mark had caught a couple of lovely tench and then it was my turn to experience a beautiful hard fighting tench on my old North Western. After a few hours Mark came wandering over for a chat and commented on the Aspindale, "I’d love to see that old rod bend into one of these carp" with a slight snigger.

Bleep…bleep…bleep…bleeeeeeeeeeeeeep my old Optonic went berserk, I jumped up and bent into something big, really big! Lily pads parting, cane creaking and Mark giggling which eventually led to silence and concern for the rod! The next ten minutes were a bit of a blur but I do remember the Aspindale moaning as I had to bully the carp out of the pads, pull line out of an over hanging branch and prevent the carp from darting straight under the wooden platform. Despite this, the whole experience felt right, the carp had a fighting chance of smashing my rod to bits, this was a fair fight and luckily the Aspindale started to tame the leviathan. The rod was fully sprung and had enough power to steer the carp away from the snags and into the awaiting net held by Mark.

As the rod returned to it’s original shape there was a short moment of calm to be broken by Mark who was peering into the net. "Bloody hell, it’s a right fat bastard!"

At this point I had no clue to it’s size, I knew that the lake had Leney stocked carp but as to size I was in the dark, but when weighed it was just shy of 25lbs.

For those who have only caught carp with carbon should consider a cane replacement, it looks good, sounds good, and feels fantastic. Holding a cane rod under immense pressure from a carp is more satisfying than using any modern counterpart. This is perhaps not so much a review of the Aspindale Deluxe Carp but more a plea to try out some of the many carp cane rods without feeling that King Mark the IV is your only option.

Verdict: n/a


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