I have used and abused various beachcasters from the Century stable for years and years. Many years ago it was the Ignitor, then the Fireblade Sports for all my rough ground fishing for Huss and Rays, the Tip Tornados for lighter beach work and these days I have a pair of TTR's for all my tournament casting. No matter which rod, they have never let me down landing plenty of fish from all over the South West and around the Isles of Scilly and casting my leads on the field to new pbs!
Nowadays, my fishing is mainly for wrasse and pollack around the islands using soft plastics and various techniques. It is all about catching fish using lighter tackle to get the most enjoyment out of the sport and of course, having fun!! When I heard that Century had designed a range of lure rods, specifically aimed at lure fishing for bass, pollack and wrasse I was eager to see one for myself and to try one!! What was even better to hear was that the rod was developed with the help of Keith White, his brother Kevin and the rest of a band of serious lure anglers over in Jersey who had got on board with what Century wanted to do. This meant by the time us punters were getting the rod it had already been tested to the maximum and landed some serious fish!!!
I had to try one and my old mate Andy Kendrick very generously lent me his prized rod to have a go with over the winter and to see how I got on with it, well mate I am afraid that you cant have it back!!!
There are basically three rods in the Century HPR range, 7'3'', 7'7'' and a 9' and each one is rated to handle different weights. Question is what does HPR actually mean?? Well put simply, High Performance Resin. These rods are up to 35% stronger with this new resin, whilst still maintaining the desirable action and most importantly flex! Another bonus is that the new system is almost twice as hard as conventional resins meaning it resists scuffs and surface knocks much better - perfect for me and rock fishing!!
The rod I have been using is the 7'3'' model which is rated to cast 3.5-25g. Over the last few months, I have put the rod through its paces, admittedly it did take a little bit of getting used to as it is a very different rod to what I have been using. When I say different, I dont mean in a bad way, very far from it in fact!!! If you pick it up and wiggle, shake, whatever you would normally do when you first pick up a new rod, you may think its heavy and doesnt feel like many other Japanese lure rods do. BUT first impressions can sometimes be very confusing!!! It is heavy as it has a counter balance system in place, you dont have to use it though as the weights are screwed into the butt of the rod.
Attach a reel to the rod (I use a Shimano Rarenium 3000) and the rod is perfectly balanced.
As I fish with my rod in a 45 degree angle I find it makes it easier to twitch and fish soft plastics more effectively, this is where the counter weights comes into its own and feels so natural. It also gives me much more feel and sensitivity this way. The HPR registers bites amazingly well with its sensitive tip and in an instant you can strike and its fish on!
I have found the HPR to be a joy to cast with, a texas rigged soft plastic and 7g cone weight is never going to go extreme distances but then it isnt designed to. The rod loads really quickly and sends the rig out with ease. It is equally just as good with short range pitching and flipping between boulders and into holes.
But what does it fish like? Well the rod has a mental amount of power lower down in the mid section and into the butt and is coupled with a tip so you can feel everything going on with your lure as it bounces over boulders. I have used the rod not just with texas rigs but carolina rigs and also drop shotting and it excels with each method and has landed me several wrasse over 5lbs and topped off by a pb lure caught wrasse of 6.2lbs.
I have lost count of the number of wrasse that I have landed with it. But should you hook into a real heavy weight kelp donkey that is hell bent on heading towards its hole then you have the rod to put the brakes on it - the tip will bend and then the real power comes in!
I cant rate the rod high enough, if you were looking for a rod to target wrasse, pollack and bass with soft lures I would have a serious look at this range of rods, just dont leave it to wiggle in the shop!!
As I write, this already impressive range of rods has been ''upgraded'' with new graphics and a different set of Titanium SiC eyes to replace the K quides that were on the previous models. They have also been renamed and are now known as the Vectura-Ti range, thankfully they are the exact same blanks as the HPR though! The range though has a new member, an 11' model, that you just know is going to be a serious piece of kit!! This new range is being released in February 2013 and according to reports, they have an even quicker response and feel and will be priced at the same points as the HPR's-I cant wait!!