Used and abused - Shimano TX Extreme spod/marker rod

In many ways, a spod rod is one of the most important rods in your armoury; it’s a specialist tool that probably gets more abuse than any other rod, is cast more frequently than your fishing rods and being able to cast accurately is more crucial than ever as the last thing you’ll want is to be spreading bait all around the zone you’re fishing. As such, I think it’s important to not only use a rod that’s up to the job, but also one that suits your casting style.

Shimano has proven time and again that they produce some of the best casting rods on the market and earlier this year I was in the lucky position to test the entire range extensively! With four spod rods in the range, there truly is a rod for every budget, whether that’s the super-affordable TX-Spod rod or the super-advanced TX-Intensity Spod rod. However, for me it was the TX-Extreme that hit that sweet spot between brute strength, power and precision. Let me explain a little about my findings.

At the lowest price point, the TX-Spod is an incredibly capable rod. Quite unbelievably I was able to launch a spod just as far with this rod (if not further) than some of the pricier models. The biggest difference being the general feel of the rod, meaning that Spombing in general was a more sluggish, labour intensive job. Stepping up to the TX-Plus, the weight saving in the blank was immediately more noticeable for a crisper performance and more enjoyable spodding experience. I believe this would make a brilliant all-rounder and I was super-accurate up to around 120 yards.

Moving up to the TX-Extreme, my favourite of the the four, my first impressions of casting a fully loaded X-Spod over 100 yards was that I thought it had emptied! It turned out that the sheer power and lightness of the blank made launching the spod completely effortless. The TX-Extreme has noticeably more power in the blank and you feel a progressive release as it launches spods with ease. Accuracy with this rod was fantastic and it’s safe to say I didn’t really have a bad thing to say about it! Finally, the highest priced Spod Rod, the TX-Intensity is a true technical marvel and it almost defies logic just how light the rod is. Despite feeling relatively soft in the tip, the power is hidden deep in reserve and this results in a very distinctive feeling rod that is super-accurate! With much of my fishing done at moderately long ranges of between 100 and 150 yards, the TX-Extreme seemed the perfect choice, comfortably operating at those distances and even further if push comes to shove! At around 400g, the rod’s low weight really helps when continually delivering a payload at long range, helping reduce fatigue when dealing with larger spods and Spombs.

The high pressure carbon blank is rated to a 5lb test curve and has a 3K carbon wrap up to the fifth guide for added strength and recovery speed. A slightly beefier Shimano DPS reel seat locks the reel in place and the full length EVA handle gives greater grip when really pushing this rod to the limits for extended periods of spodding! When combined with a Shimano Ultegra Spod reel, this really is a dream combination to use and balances perfectly. When it comes to marker work, the stiff and responsive blank transmits huge amounts of information through the blank to the user and Shimano has even incorporated some very handy depth marker wraps for accurate plumbing!

I’ve been using the TX-Extreme for my spodding work ever since and it’s safe to say that Spombing has been a real pleasure. So, if you find yourself regularly fishing at long ranges and are in need of a new Spod rod, then the TX-Extreme Spod/Marker rod is certainly one worth considering!

MATT TOWNEND’S VERDICT: “A blinding piece of kit that keeps on giving when it comes to casting Spombs at long range!”

RRP - £184.99