Over a year ago my good friend Adam Richards rang me with an excited tone in his voice. He had received a sample of a new rod designed for river fishing. Adam has turned into quite the river angler over the past few years and he was quick to tell me that they were Sphere rods too!
Sphere has been an interesting concept. Browning has essentially produced some of the finest rods on the market and more recently one of the very best poles ever made. The idea behind Sphere is to produce tackle of no compromise using only the best materials, and so far they have definitely achieved great success! I have been impressed with the rods and have seen a good amount of them on the bank too.
With such high-quality carbon, it was only a matter of time before Browning utilised the technology to produce some longer rods. And here we are with the Spliced-Tip River models.
This is a two-strong range, with 13ft 6in and 15ft 6in models. I think more and more anglers are realising the advantages of longer rods for everyday river work and these two lengths are very interesting.
What really interested me though, was the use of the spliced tip, something which you don’t often see in rods now. As soon as I assembled the rods and used them though, I got why the spliced tip was so essential.
Float control is the number-one factor when deciding to use a longer rod, such as the 15ft 6in model. The extra length allows you to keep the line between the rod tip and float in perfect control. The extra length also allows lightning-fast bites to be hit.
And that is where the Sphere carbon and spliced-tip combination works so well. Sphere carbon is incredibly responsive, and to make the tip respond as quickly as possible the blanks of these rods are pretty stiff. I think if the rod didn’t have the spliced tip it would be difficult to get a soft tip.
The spliced tip comes into its own here as it gives you a super-soft action, it then blends perfectly into the rest of the rod nice and progressively.
It’s an interesting balance to make as if the tip is too soft and the blank too stiff, it would be counterproductive as you would strike through the soft tip and hit the stiff blank, bumping everything! It took Browning a few attempts to get this right but the end result is magnificent.
My test session was a little different as I visited the River Swale with Adam so he could show me the rods, while also getting a feature. We decided to use the longer rod for the bolo while the shorter rod was rigged up with a light waggler setup.
Controlling the floats with these rods in incredibly easy. The blanks are so responsive and it makes float control an absolute dream. It didn’t take me too long to get a bite and I was connected to a brute of a chub!
It was clear that the spliced tip made it perfect for smaller fish, but the way it blends into the blank when under the load of a big chub really surprised me. It’s seamless and the delivery of power is incredibly smooth. This is very important here as when chub are about you do need some control and these rods definitely give you that.
What really struck me was just how light these rods actually are. The 15ft 6in rod weighs just 175g – to give you an idea of just how light that is, Browning’s 10ft Commercial King pellet waggler rod weighs 170g and that isn’t a heavy rod. This really helps as holding a long rod all day can be arm-aching stuff.
It’s hard to express how much I liked using these rods. They are certainly a niche product, but for anglers who appreciate the highest quality fishing gear and want the best for their river work then you have to take a look at them.
13ft 6in £379.95
15ft 6in £419.95
A stunning pair of rods that river anglers will go all googly-eyed over!