With the credit crunch biting at everyone’s heels, we are all tightening the belt and sacrificing a few things ...yes unfortunately, that includes our beloved fishing tackle.
But what if you’re shopping around for some carp rods and you have given yourself a tight budget to go by? Well, a new rod manufacturer called Sonik has entered the U.S. market with a full range of rods and prices that may fit your needs. The people behind Sonik have a strong history and accumulated experience in rod manufacturing, and with the help of high profile consultants such as Nick Helleur, they have brought to us a range of carp rods known as the SK3 and SK4. Recently, I was lucky enough to snatch a set of 12ft, 3.5 lb SK3 rods off our scrummy editor and take them for a session or two on the waters here in Tennessee.
Although some may think a 3.5lb test curve is a bit too heavy duty, I personally was pleased to try these ones out. I usually fish with high test curve rods to battle the mighty Tennessee River, where sometimes 6oz leads are required to fight the strong undercurrent . I also fish with large balls of method mix most of the time, so a strong rod with a good backbone is invaluable to me.
Taking one out of its cloth bag, I noticed at first glance, the lovely black matte finish to the Toray carbon from which they are made; this makes them very light in the hand. The “tart” in me loved all the other additions which come with these rods, such as the full contoured duplon handle, laser etched butt caps, carbon line clip, customised graphite reel seat… even down to the “S” engraving on the 40 and 30 mm, double legged SIC rings. Having these features on a rod currently priced at around $125 really shocked me and made the SK3 look like a very well made rod.
Of course looks aren’t everything (so my wife says to me) but how do they handle on the water?
Now I’m no super duper caster, but even with a work horse reel like the 4500b, I was able to achieve some nice distances with a 3oz lead…and there’s no telling what I could have gotten with a big pit reel. I also took the set to a swim where 5 to 6 ozs. are usually the norm needed to keep your baits from ending up downstream. I found that the SK3 handled these heavier leads with ease, even with an additional ounce or two of packbait formed around the lead. I did not really put too much effort into casting heavier leads at longer distances, as these rods are going to be given to some lucky reader, but in the way they handled the compression of the weights, I felt that I could have given it a lot of extra power to get the baits out a bit further if needed.
After a couple of test trials...and blanks on the water, I started to wonder if I would ever be able to report a catch on the SK3’s, as my time with the rods was running out quickly. My next trip out though scored me a couple of teens and a couple of hard fighting, low twenties. I can happily report the rods were great to play a fish with. I was pleasantly surprised at the action of the SK3’s, as a lot of the time with a higher test curve, you get some stiffness at the tip of a rod resulting in hook pulls while playing a fish close in. I felt in complete control whilst using these rods during these times with both mono and braided lines.
As a side note, I was also able to parade the SK3’s to a few friends who use high end carp rods. Equally, they had a lot of positive thoughts on them as well.
One or two other things to mention: all Sonik rods carry a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, provide automatic enrollment in the “RapidX” club reward program which can give you an opportunity to receive free Sonik goods and fishing trips (with participation in the club), and the “Rapidex” lifetime rod replacement program (more details at http://www.soniksports.com/rapidex/).
As you can see, Sonik has given much thought into keeping their customers happy with aftercare too.
Usually with all these positives, there has to be a negative right? Wrong! I just cannot find one (although a cork handle option would be nice even if it cost a little more). So if you’re in the market for a “Euro-Style”” carp rod, then seriously consider the SK3. With everything it and Sonik offers, I think you will be getting a great deal.