Fladen Maxximus Orange Solid carbon rod review
As far as I know, Fladen are still the only manufacturer who make fishing rods from solid carbon blanks. Rather like Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik range, the Fladen solid carbon Maxximus rods have built a reputation for being unique in their construction – slim, strong and classy.
There are a number of rods in the solid carbon range. I have one of the older one piece rods which is still going strong after years of abuse on the kayak. But the mainstay of my downtide kayak fishing in the UK is done with Maxximus red and green solid carbons. They are cracking rods and have stood the test of time. They are not cheap – but if you want to fish with something which is going to last for years and which will handle just about anything, then they are just the ticket.
The 7 foot 10-20lb 2 piece Red model I have is an incredibly versatile rod. I have used it to troll plugs for bass and have caught double figure rays and conger on it (I have even had tope on it !)– Great fun ! That model is a bit tippy (even though it has the backbone) for throwing 6ozs and a big bait in the Bristol Channel in the winter – but my 20-40lbs model is spot on – the tip is stiffer – but there is still plenty of flex.
I recently bought a new 20-40lb Green model and christened that in style by catching a double figure bass – flawless.
The latest version of the Fladen Maxximus sees Orange being added to the existing Red and Green ranges. The main differences with the colours are the way the rods are fitted out.
The new Orange Maxximus is Fladen’s flagship model – the best fittings and a number of improvements on the previous models.
The first thing you notice, is the look of the rod – its incredibly slim for a boat fishing rod.
All of my Maxximus rods are 7 feet long – I still believe, that this is the best length rod for kayak fishing in the UK. Anything shorter, and you can’t follow a big fish around the bow of the kayak if it decides to dive to the other side. Any longer and it becomes a bit unweildly and tricky to land a big fish when it gets close in (especially in a strong tide).
The butt is 48cms (19 inches) long to the end of the reel seat – just the right length for kayak fishing (many rods have too long a space between the butt and the reel seat which is not good when you are sat down). The Orange model is different to the previous Fladens, in the configuration of the butt – previous models had the tip section pushing directly into the butt with the hyperlon foregrip on the butt section. The Orange model has the foregrip on the tip section and a new connection mechanism between the tip and butt…
Rather than just pushing directly into the butt, the tip section now has a plastic extension with a slot in it. When the tip fits into the butt, the slot snugs up against a cross pin situated in the butt, and a collar is turned to lock the arrangement. The pin in the butt can be seen (just !) in the picture below…
This stops the tip from twisting when you are playing a big fish – a great idea.
You can see how the tip fits into the butt from the images below…
The tip section is 162cms (64 inches) long. It has 9 rings in total – but again, the configuration is different to previous Maxximus rods. The earliest models had fuji BNHGs, then the green and red models had braid rings (which were a bit prone to cracking). The Orange model has fuji silicone carbide braid guides in two types.
The bottom 4 rings on the tip are quite big (the earlier models had the small oval braid rings throughout). I like the bigger rings because sometimes the leader knot jams in the smaller rings when casting or reeling in when using mono (okay, I know its designed for braid – but there’s not much point using it on the kayak: with the short distances involved there is not much stretch anyway).
The top 4 rings are much smaller and look really high tech…
The tip ring also looks stronger than the previous models…
The whole rod weighs in at only 308 grams (11 ozs) – not bad for a 20-40lb class rod.
On to the all important feel and action of the Maxximus. As with all of the solid carbon range, the rods feel quite tippy, but then you give them some stick and you realise the immense strength of the blanks – they bend, but they also have an incredible amount of lifting power due to their solid carbon construction. I have caught alot of decent sized fish on these rods, and they just love it when you give them some stick.
To show the action, I loaded the rods up with various weights so you can see how they react…
From a kayak fishing perspective, the rod was not really designed to cast weights downtide – but it does the job really well. For my kind of fishing in the rough and tough inshore waters of the Bristol Channel, the 20-40lb model is ideal for skull dragging ray and conger through the tide, to the side of the kayak. Six ounce weights and big baits are not a problem. This is no poker stiff rod though – it is still sensitive enough to allow fish to put up a really good account of themselves, and its great to see the look on your fellow anglers faces when it bends into its full test curve.
So, to sum up, I would say that the new Fladen Orange Solid Carbon range have upped their game in terms of fixtures and fittings – particularly the rings and the locking arrangement between the tip and butt. Both positive improvements; but it still keeps the things which made it good and set it apart from other rods (even down to the minor things like the hook keeper). Fladen have labelled this as the ultimate rod in their solid carbon range – some well known journalists have also described it as the “finest and strongest” rod they have ever used – the only sticking point, is that it has a pricetag to match its reputation – expect to pay around £170 (Ouch !).