Theory vs Practice… Saxon 3.25 Hexalite Carp Rods Review

[With Dynamite field consultant and top British and now USA based carper Craig Parkes.]

On the way back to New Jersey from a convention in Boston I’d arranged to meet up with Saxon Tackle owner and fellow Brit – Iain Sorrell. Over a cup of tea we chatted about all things carpy and I said that I would like to have play with the Hexalite carp rods that he manufactures. At the time I was quite happy with the rods I had bought over with me from the UK, they had performed well both there and now here in America. So I had no intention of switching to another rod unless I could find something better, both blank wise and value for money….

First Impressions…

What I will say is that the moment I picked up the Saxon rod I was immediately attracted to the stunning 1K weave that runs along the length of the blank and matched in the pattern on the unique reel seat. This type of low resin blank is rarely found in sub $400 rods since the recession blew up the price of carbon. For me a weave always looks so much nicer than a plain or coated blank plus you can see what you are getting for your money. However, you can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig, so what about the meat and gravy that makes a good looking rod a great performing rod?

Theory vs Practice...

Being an academic I like theory, evidence and critical thinking to have a place in most of my life. I never thought that so much thought would go into a rod, but Iain gave me an in depth explanation not only of the rods features, but more importantly why they were there and the purpose they served. The rod has an extra ring to not only reduce line friction when playing fish but brilliantly also means that when broken down for transport the rings ‘fit’ together to stop rod movement and damage. The rod is extremely light, which is important for USA waters where we have to play lots and lots of big fish in a day, and for UK stocked runs waters like Drayton reservoir, where 50 double figure fish a day are not uncommon. The cork butt (which might initially put some people off, me included) is actually genius. It does not scratch, allows you to fix it into a butt rest when fishing locked up and best of all sits very comfortably in the groin region when playing fish. And it’s on those extra big fish that this last function ensures that you can really pile on the pressure. In my opinion this is where the Saxon rods simply blow other rods clean out the water. The power of this rod is immense, like nothing I have ever handled before. I’m quite sure it would be quite capable of landing a 150lb wells catfish on the river Ebro – no problem! The progressive action means you can enjoy playing fish without worrying about hook pulls. In only my third session using these rods

I landed my second biggest carp ever and a USA PB at 40lb 6oz. This fish put up an incredible fight and simply ran and ran while the rod just soaked up the many powerful surges. When the fish finally popped up twenty yards out with no energy left in it the forgiving tip ensured I could bring this monster in over the weeds without compromising the hook hold. During this session I also had several upper twenties plus a thirty that tried kiting hard towards nearby boat mooring docks. By tightening the drag, holding my reel spool and putting all my energy and power behind the rod I was able to turn each fish before it went through these snags using 15lb mono. It may sound weird but with the comfortable cork butt and the amount of power I put into the rod by leaning right back, it’s almost like the rod was an extension of my body. Like the rod and myself were joined, and ultimately I had greater control of what was going on during the fight.

I am delighted with the way these rods perform, and it was one of, if not the best decisions I have made tackle wise. The rods look good, feel good and perform even better. I am a big advocate for them both in USA and Europe. The quality can’t be matched in my opinion, especially for the price. The rods even come in an embroidered suede finish cloth rod bag which is a nice touch. Anyone who fishes for lots of fish or big fish should check out the Saxon Hexalites. I promise you won’t be disappointed, I wasn’t and I am not easily pleased!

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