Ok, so the title is a little ordinary, but you certainly can’t say that about the sticks in the Carrot Stix range from American company e21 Fishing.
I’m a real sucker for new fishing tackle (my lure collection is ridiculous and mostly unused!) and the range of new fishing rods that keep coming into the market is staggering. Keeping up with the trends is difficult, let alone breaking the mould and developing something totally new like e21 did.
Just over two years ago e21 was a no-name company that presented its new products at the 2007 I-Cast Show in America. I-Cast is considered the number one new product show for the fishing tackle industry world wide and products readily accepted at that show are set for a hectic next 12 months. E21 launched their Carrot Stix range at I-Cast and from nowhere won three best of show awards: Best of Show; Best Freshwater Rod; Best Saltwater Rod. No other company or product had ever achieved that amount of peer recognition at I-Cast.
So why did Carrot Stix achieve such unparalleled success?
Carrot Stix technology incorporates the first nano-Bio-fibre technology (fibre from actual carrots) with the lightest and strongest suitable metal Scandium to make rods that are super light, sensitive and very strong. Carrot fibres were used instead of more graphite (increasing the modulus of graphite) because carrot nano-Bio-fibre has a very high strength to weight ratio, is extremely lightweight, has an extremely high elongation (which means it can bend a long way without breaking) and is more environmentally friendly than graphite.
All these attributes allowed the rod designers to build super lightweight rods that were able to perform under the harsh conditions anglers place them under with minimal breakages and failures.
But the story does not end there as e21 searched for suitable fittings to mount on these revolutionary blanks. Through this search e21 constantly came away with issues so they developed a lot of their own fittings and radically altered some reel seat perceptions in the process. Firstly they created e21 guides that are so light and unobtrusive you wonder how they will last. The Carrot rod I’ve been playing with has gone into battle for over 9 months (I was lucky enough to get my hands on the first Carrot Stix in Australia) on species like golden perch, Murray cod, bass and barra in the fresh and snapper, threadfin salmon and jacks in the salt and the fittings have all been robust enough to cope with my delicate, surgeon-like hands (trust me I am kidding about my delicate hands!).
E21 also uses a super sensitive split reel seat, Thermalon grips and butt caps and super thin thread that is minimally applied to the guide feet. All up this makes for one super light rod. And that lightness transfers directly to useability if you’re in for a long day lure casting and hopefully landing fish.
When you first see a Carrot Stix rod you are a bit taken aback. They are bright orange and everything is compact on them. Like many others in our office I had a massive big belly laugh when the rods arrived, we saw them and were told they were made from carrots. Orange!
But once you pick up a Carrot Stix rod you will truly understand the beauty of these sticks. First impressions are how light the rod is and then you bend it into a working curve and you realise how strong the skinny orange stick is. By the time you’ve got it home, strapped a reel on and hit the water you are already pretty much in love with the rod.
My rod is a 7 foot baitcaster and is rated for 12-25lb (6-12kg) line. I fitted my favourite old baitcaster, a Shimano Chronarch SF that had been retrofitted with Jack Erskine drag and Jack Erskine ceramic bearings, to the rod and went for a quick cod fishing trip to the New England area. My initial thoughts were that the length would make it hard to work diving minnows so I pegged it as a spinnerbait/lipless crankbait/swimbait/frog rod. And after a few sessions that trip I knew it was perfect for all of these uses.
To be fair I did use hardbodied diving minnows the next trip with great success but because I am just under 6 feet tall, it was hard to work the rod tip to create extra lure action as the 7 foot rod kept hitting the water. More my short stature than the rod’s inability.
I found spinnerbaits up to 1/2oz could be cast well on the rod and it ate up casting lighter models. The first time I threw a Jackall TN60 on it for Murray cod was the first time this rod spoke to me about its abilities. It cast these lightweight lures a country mile. That same trip I threw around some lightly weighted surface frogs barra-style and caught a few cod too and this rod and reel outcast a similar lure being fished on a threadline outfit. Now that is some feat!
My last outing was back in serious fish territory at Monduran throwing Slick Rig 110s and frogs to shallow water barra. I very reluctantly put away my favourite threadline outfit and committed to using the baitcasting Carrot and it performed well above expectations. Big barra do turn this rod into a few interesting bends but it handled all the barra it encountered very well and the fishing of the lures to get the strikes was stunningly good. The actual fishing of the lures is never seriously considered when you purchase a rod as most want a rod to leverage fish in, but if you’re keen on lure fishing then this is probably the most important part of fishing. This baitcaster outfit outdistanced the threadlines on board and there was no point comparing to my other baitcasters as it just would not have been fair.
So after nine months of field-testing I am well sold on the Carrot Stix range of rods. I am even used to the colour these days and do not hesitate to grab ‘The Carrot’ as it is now known when I need a longer baitcaster.
With 22 models in the range from lightweight threadlines through to serious bluewater stopping sticks, the Carrot Stix range of rods is well worth looking out for. If your local tackle shop does stock them you certainly won’t miss them on the stand. Do not baulk at the colour (I love it now as it’s a great conversation starter) and put one in your hand. You’ll be glad you did. These rods are well worth the price tag they come with and I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a serious rod to do some serious fishing.Reads: 4516