Century Carp Rods

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Century Rods are some of the higher end rods to have entered the carp tackle market in the USA.  Also on the market are rods that cost a mere $29.99. So why do the Century Rods cost so much more? The answer can be found in the rod itself–as much like with anything else–the final product is only as good as the materials used and the skill with which they are combined.

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The detail on Century Rods is awesome.

Created in 1978 by Simon and Trevor Chilcott, Century is a company that prides itself on being English and making the best rods available, and is still in the Chilcott family. The process of making a Century rods is not a quick one and it can take up to 5 weeks of skillful hand craftsmanship to take a rod from start to finish. The very first carp rod blanks made by Century were directed by one of the best known carp anglers of all time, Rod Hutchinson, with the rods being finished by a custom rod builder. The first in-house Century rod design was the Armalite, which utilized Kevlar© fiber and was (and still is) a commercial success in both the UK and Europe.

While Century focuses on building rods, they are by no means restricted to building fishing equipment. The unique manufacturing process also lends itself to other fields such as aerospace and Formula racing where lightweight, strong carbon fiber components are needed. This diversification lead to the discovery that very small air bubbles in the wall of the composite of the carbon fiber and resin can reduce performance. When these bubbles were removed the results were amazing. One of the things you are paying for in a Century rod is no bubbles in the wall of the blank –the same technology used in some of the fastest machines on earth.

Century has developed an autoclave process that has some significant advantages over the traditional oven baking method.


In order to get the most of the materials, Century has developed an autoclave process that has some significant advantages over the traditional oven baking method. First, any air bubbles trapped in the resin will be reabsorbed into solution resulting in a nearly void free blank wall. This results in a rod that will have a much greater ability to withstand the wear and tear of casting and fight fish as the composite is denser and stronger. Second, since the rod is denser, the rod has a crisper feel and is slimmer. Third, the autoclave system allows for precisely control of the resin matrix which allows for decreased weight and increased performance.

Not only does this process make a blank that performs at the top level, but the life of the rod is extended. Century purposely over engineers their rods to compensate for the decay of the test curve over extended use, which is especially important in spodding and long distance casting application. I have talked with an angler that has been using the same Century rods for last 20 years and is still putting fish on the bank with them. If you consider the life of many rods, 20+ years of use might well be worth the investment alone. You just don’t get this longevity in many rods.

Does this combination of materials and processing really make a rod that is worth the extra money? About a year ago I got a Century FBS (Fat Boy Slim) in a 2.75lb test curve. The most striking thing about the rod at first glance is its diameter – it is, as the name suggests, really slim. The FBS is designed with an emphasis on playing fish. And that is does. It has a beautiful parabolic action and really is a joy to catch fish on and has a quick recovery on the cast. It seems to me that the minimal diameter of the blank really adds to the enjoyment of the fight and is more reminiscent of fighting a fish on a fly rod than the more “telephone pole” feel of some carp rods – a testament to the Century rods building process. In my estimation the Century carp rod is well worth the money.

Based on “How do they do that? Century Rods” by Nigel Banks in Carpworld, September, 2012 (an interview of James Chilcott) and own observations as a Century rod owner.