Want impressive on a sensible budget? Take a look at Shimano’s latest offering!

I must say that, so far, I have been exceptionally impressed with everything I have tried from the Shimano Aero range. And after a day’s fishing at Makins with its 10ft Aero X3 Precision rod I have to say that it’s another absolute banger for the money!

The X3 represents a mid-price-range set of rods that come in between £94.99 and £144.99 SRP. There are eight feeder rods available in the Aero X3 range in total, consisting of rods between 8ft to 14ft spread between four categories – Precision, Distance Feeder, Distance Power Feeder and Distance Heavy Power Feeder. There are both float and feeder rods available in the X3 range, but for today’s session I have the 8ft and 10ft Precision feeder models with me. And, I bet if you tried the rods before being shown the prices you’d pitch them much higher, such is their balance and action.

I’ve set up on Lake 4 at Makins. It’s an end peg dolly with a feeder chuck to a spare (unused) pallet, within perfect range for testing the 10-footer. I’ve set up a 30g Method feeder, with softened fishery 2mm pellets, some wafter hook baits, 6lb main line, 0.19mm hooklength and a size 12 eyed, barbless hook. As simple as it gets really.Straight after removing this rod from the sleeve and assembling it, a quick waggle is all that’s needed to grasp that these rods could be simply brilliant for the money. The full carbon blanks recover quickly, cast accurately and actually feature Shimano’s Diaflash technology. This means the rods have a cross wrap of carbon tape on the outer layer, which reduces blank twist and increases response. This is something Shimano originally developed for high-end spinning rods and is still used on many of its models where outright response and feel is vital.

For me a 10ft rod is my most used piece of kit. It’s something that can adequately cope with tasks from underarming a feeder on a pole line to fishing up to 60 metres (if you really need to push the rod that far). A 10-footer is such a versatile tool and if I was looking to keep the spend sensible I’d be very happy using one of these Precision X3s.

Today I’ve paired the rod with a Shimano reel loaded with 6lb reel line, which is my usual go-to strain for this style of feeder fishing. I’m fishing to the spare pallet as I mentioned, so clipping up is a crucial first step. With that done it’s time to get fishing and the first cast with a small Method the loaded feeder lands right on the money. A couple of quick casts to get some bait in the swim, then the rod is almost pulled from the rest as the first carp of the day takes a liking to the 6mm wafter.Straightaway the rod feels in control. Not stiff. Just in control. The casting is accurate (possibly due to the Diaflash technology), but the feeder punches straight and true. The action playing this first carp is lovely – plenty of bend to cushion the hook-hold, but also plenty of control too.

This one’s a fighter and after a five minute scrap a solid 8lb mirror comes to the surface and is soon in the waiting landing net. The action continues and with a favourable wind I’ve also decided to loose feed a few fishery 8mms over the top as well, just to help get a bit more noise and feed into the swim.

The rods feature Fuji DPS reel seats, top quality Hardlite guides, full carbon/Diaflash blanks and the handles are a mixture of both cork and EVA. They’re also very nicely finished for the money, with some lovely details making them look more premium than the price tag would suggest. The 10ft model comes with three tips in the shape of 0.75oz, 1oz and 1.5oz versions to cover pretty much any eventuality. 

Shimano says that: “The Aero X3 fits perfectly into the middle of the Aero Competition rod range and provides a superb combination of high performance, versatility and diversity, with eight models covering all main feeder fishing requirements.

“The mid-priced competition rod market is full of contenders for the best in class, and the Aero X3 is right up there with the very best of them. We think there’s nothing better for the cost and are sure you’ll be impressed.”With the session well under way and a dozen carp caught the rod is nothing short of impressive. Both the casting accuracy and fish-playing action are lovely. The blank has enough power, but not too much so that you might risk hook-pulls unnecessarily. It’s the ideal tool if you’re wanting a versatile rod that can do it all. Although I have the 8-footer here with me I’ve not set that up for today – ideally that’s a rod for snake lakes or for fishing closer than I am today. However, it has the same DNA as this 10ft model and therefore is likely to be a brilliant smaller sibling for smaller lakes and that sort of work.

The handle is very comfortable and secure in use, the reel seat is secure (it would be, it’s Fuji) and the guides seem very smooth on the line when you’re playing fish under pressure. All in all a fantastic tool for the money and well worth a waggle if you’re currently looking for something like this.

Check out the video we shot from this session over on the Match Fishing YouTube channel. There’s more info on the rods over there… and you can see them live in action on this session.

SRP: £94.99 to £144.99
WEBSITE: www.fish.shimano.com