In what is a congested market, this new three-piece rod from Tronixpro should be on your radar
TRONIXPRO COMPETITION MATCH GT
RRP: £444.99 – £454.99
I think it’s a fair assertion to make that the three-piece Continental rod market is somewhat saturated with options for shore anglers. Still, though, the real burning question on many anglers’ lips is “How do I know I’m making the correct decision when buying one?”
It’s a fair comment and you can be forgiven for having a real sense of déjà vu each time you see a three-piece rod review appear. I know I do each time one of these blanks finds its way into my hands.
What exactly are the checklist points when searching for a Continental rod? I would hazard a guess that the first real head-scratching moment is based on price. Some of these blanks can set you back as little as sixty quid, while other options will empty your wallet to the value of an eye-watering £800 or more.
Thoughts might then guide you in the direction of who is using what. Are you one of those who is easily swayed by the fact that a certain match angler who’s at the top of their game uses a particular model? Does your mate have one and loves it? Sometimes it’s simply the appearance of a three-piece rod that can be the most attractive and appealing aspect.
THE VERY BEST
The truth is that there is no real definitive answer, as each individual shore angler will have their own varying opinions. For me, it’s all about feel, action and ultimately the construction of a blank. Cost will play a vital role too, but I’ll choose a rod fitted with classy top-end components, such as Fuji guides and reel seat, over a rod built with poor quality versions every day of the week. Cheap heavyweight rings and chunky screw-winch reel seats will always contribute to the overall balance and performance of a rod.
The action of a rod is unequivocally determined by its carbon content. Opting for a model built using cheap materials will ultimately leave you feeling let down on the beach. You will definitely recognise and sense it immediately when casting, particularly if your hands end up in front of you well before the tip has followed over the top. The term ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ springs to mind.
One company that knows a thing or two about developing three-piece Continental shore rods is Tronixpro. Its involvement with them goes back a long way. Credit where credit is due, I have to hand it to them because even in a flooded market, they’ve stuck at it with their expertise to produce the very best three-piece Continental shore rods available. With a huge following of dedicated users, the company certainly seem to be getting better at it.
The latest three-piece rods to come out of the company based in Littlehampton, West Sussex, are in the Competition Match range. There are four models to choose from that include TT, HT, ST and GT. Here I’ll be focussing on the GT version.
A few years back I made a comment in a review about the incredibly bright colours that these types of blanks boasted. In short, I simply wasn’t a fan of fluorescent yellows or pinks and preferred my rods to be black. You may argue the point that the colour of a rod will not affect its performance, and you would be correct. However, it’s simply my opinion because I prefer using something I’m happy with, especially if I’m forking out hundreds of pounds for it.
I’ve no idea if the guys at Tronixpro actually took any notice of my rallying call in respect of colour, but you can imagine my delight when I removed the Competition Match GT from its trendy padded protective bag and discovered it was black. Even better; it shows off its classy carbon weave throughout. That’s the first box well and truly ticked in my book.
I continued ticking happy boxes when I saw genuine Fuji CC framed ‘K’ guides fitted, along with a fixed Fuji DPS screw-winch fitting slotted into the perfect position.
I could see a lot of thought had gone into the production of this rod. Each section has grippy shrink-wrap located at the joins to help with parting the blank when your hands are wet and cold. Of course, this is not a new development in rod manufacture, but it shows that it’s an idea that works far better than a textured paint job.
The real stand-out highlight for me was the coned component that enables the sections to be slotted together much easier – it works brilliantly and looks incredibly cool too. This is certainly a masterstroke by Tronixpro and one that I can definitely see other manufacturers emulating in the future. It gets a double tick in the box from me.
The under and over whipping of the guides is neat and tidy in blue and silver that really completes the rod superbly. The decals and livery are classy along with a spiral-effect white tip for spotting bites. With the appearance of the rod getting a firm thumbs-up from me, would its performance match?
This outfit comes galloping into the 21st century, determined to place its mark at the head of the bunch. The rod does this easily when you consider it is built using Japanese 40-ton carbon that incorporates a nano graphene matrix within its walls. This is an incredibly specialist material, said to be a 100-times stronger than steel, enabling the rod to possess increased recovery, strength and ultimately more sensitivity.
With a solid carbon hybrid tip that sits between not too soft and not too stiff, the medium action means it will hold up in a strong tide, yet still offer superior bite detection. With such an impressive quality of build, I was certainly hoping that it lived up to my expectations.
Fitted together, the total length is 13 feet nine inches (a longer version is available) and boasts a casting rating of 100g to 190g. However, the advice is that optimum performance is with loads between 120g and 150g.
I decided to go easy and opted for a 150g lead weight and a fixed-spool reel loaded with 35lb braid and a tapered mono shockleader. For some reason, I sensed that the sinker may have been a little too heavy. My worries were soon put to bed after my first cast. With a simple overhead thump, sort of carp style if you will, my lead weight absolutely flew away.
The blank soaked up my powerful punch stroke with absolute ease which allowed the tip section to compress into a pleasing arc. The energy certainly builds progressively through the butt section as you would expect, but it’s the tip section that definitely impressed me the most; it fired my lead weight with such power.
However, recovery of the blank is something that really did surprise me. Over the years I’ve definitely become accustomed to a three-piece Continental rod taking an age to straighten after a cast. The Competition Match GT, though, defies that concept totally. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t recover immediately but it does straighten incredibly quickly with none of that flopping around while your mainline tracks its course seaward.
To recap, the Tronixpro Competition Match GT certainly impressed me in its performance. Although its name might suggest otherwise, it’s definitely not a rod confined to match fishing scenarios, but one that is so easy for anglers of all ability to master. Don’t consign it into the tiddler-bashing category either because I’m genuinely sure it will handle a wide variety of species.
That said, although it could be classed as an all-rounder, it will be put to better use on clean venues where distance could be a major factor in locating a bite. It’s a rod that will definitely add a touchy-feely side to your fishing, but still offer you reassurance of a top performance each time you take it out of the bag. A top rod that any angler will be proud to use, and it gets full marks from me.
MODEL: Tronixpro Competition Match GT
LENGTH: 4.2m or 4.5m
GUIDES: Fuji CC Framed KWAG
REEL SEAT: Fuji DPS
RATING: 100g – 190g
BAG: Yes, padded
RRP: £444.99 & £454.99
For more info or to locate your nearest Tronixpro stockist, visit: www.tronixfishing.com