New Matrix Ethos Rods –
Are they perfect?
Designing and developing fishing tackle does sound like the perfect job, but what’s really involved and is there ever such thing as a perfect product? We asked Matrix brand manager Shaun Little to give an insight into the new range of Ethos rods and just what’s involved in developing them.
Designing rods is always a long process especially a brand new range like the Ethos range that we’re just launching this month. This project has actually been going on for close to two years now but we will only ever launch a product when it hits the brief we set out at the start. The brief for the Ethos range was pretty simple really in that we wanted them to be rods all of our consultants would want to use, with a high level of performance, stylish design and most importantly, great value for money.
When we launched the Horizon Pro range of rods in 2020 we used the highest grades of carbon, the highest quality components such as Fuji guides and reel seat and produced what we considered to be some of the very best rods available today. For that range we aimed for perfection and I feel we got pretty close. We knew that for some anglers they would be too expensive which is why we were also keen to develop another range of rods that would allow everyone access to really high performing rods without breaking the bank.
The knowledge that we gained from developing those blanks has been filtered through to the new Ethos rods and we’ve got a range that we feel are the best value for money rods we could have possibly produced. Are they perfect? No they’re not, for me the Horizon Pro rods are perfect, but, and this is the key point for me and why I’m incredibly proud of these rods, I don’t feel that anyone could walk in a tackle shop and buy a better rod for the same price as an Ethos rod.
So how did we develop these rods? In one word, testing. I’m not sure if it’s the done thing in this modern world of social media, but we’re actually quite reserved when it comes to talking about product testing and development. I’m not actually sure anyone realises just how much time the team and I spend on the bank testing these products. We often launch products and that’s the first time anyone outside the Matrix team will have ever seen it, and I still like that.
We produce sample rods and we usually keep things in house early in the development stage, so it’ll be myself, Craig and Adam looking at the rods and doing any early testing. We may have 3 or 4 samples of the same rod, we’ll look at the actions and then pick what we consider to be the best 2 and take them out on the bank. We’ll fish with them, talk about any changes and then it’s usually a case of more samples and then repeat the process. When we’ve got what we think to be pretty close to the brief we send samples out to the team for long term testing. Who do we send them to? Well that depends on the rod really. Some stay in the UK while some go to Europe. There’s no point me sending a feeder rod designed for catching tiny roach and skimmers to Jamie Hughes when we have some of the best feeder anglers in the world on our team in Europe, so we use guys like Thorsen, Felix, Frank and Jeremie for testing a lot of products.
To give you an idea of how long we’ve tested and developed these rods, and the confidence that our consultants have in them. Jamie Hughes used the samples of the Ethos rods in the 2020 Fish O Mania Final as a couple of eagle-eyed viewers spotted. So 12 months ago Jamie felt that in a huge match that could win him £50,000, the best rod he could use was the Ethos XRC Feeder Rod. It’s that level of confidence that we’re looking for when we finally sign a product off for production. This is the same if it’s a rod, pole, seatbox or feeder, we will only ever launch a product if the team would use it in their own fishing.
A little on the rods themselves then. At the moment in the Ethos range we have the Ethos XRC 9ft & 10ft Bomb Rods. These are a commercial bomb rod are ideal for casting small method feeders, pellet feeders and leads when targeting small carp and f1’s. We then have the XRC 9ft, 10ft & 11ft Feeder Rods. A step up from the Bomb Rods they’re designed for fishing bigger feeders, heavier lines and catching bigger fish or bagging bigger weights in summer. The 11ft Feeder has a lot of power in the bottom half of the rod making it the perfect rod for fishing the method at ranges of 70-80m when required. Finally we have the XRW 11ft,12ft & 13ft Waggler Rods. The 11ft & 12ft are aimed at commercial anglers fishing the waggler for carp while the 13ft is more of a traditional waggler for natural water fishing or commercial silvers and f1’s.
I won’t go into too much detail on all of the spec of the rods as it can all be found on the Matrix website, including the prices, right here: https://www.fishmatrix.co.uk/home/products/rods-ethos