Review - Shimano AX Boat Rod

I purchased 2 of these rods whilst I was rigging my yak last year. I wanted something durable, a bit of quality, though most of all I wanted a light action rod to maximise my sport on the yak.

I went for the 6-8lb test curve model which is 7' 3" long, long enough to reach over the front of the yak when required. Another very attractive feature was the short butt section, an important factor due to the sitting position on a kayak. The removable butt is only 12" long which compared to my other boat roads is very short, though the fore grip is a similar length again making it a comfortable rod to use when playing a larger fish.


The finish of the rod is simply superb with ten high quality guides suitable for braid and mono lines. It's not the lightest rod on the market by any means, though the action is truly superb.


A through action rod that's sensitive to the lightest of bites and bends impressively under the weight of a good fish. It does however have sufficient backbone when required.


It’s ideal for use with weights between 2-4oz, though it’ll handle up to 6oz and a bait with relative ease. Go past this weight and the rod is no longer any fun to fish with. The tip pulls over with a heavy weight in the tide and lighter fish provide no sport whatsoever.

So, a superb rod for the yak fisherman, one that will handle the majority of UK fishing with ease, don't be put off by the £60+ selling price, it's worth every penny. I purchased two from 'Spotty Dog Tackle', after a few minutes of haggling I managed to have both delivered for £100 - bargain!

The rods have seen around 40 trips during this last year and appear as good as new.

Follow up:

I’ve been using these rods for coming up three years now and they are proving to be solid and dependable. I love the action to bits, they really do provide great sport. I’ve caught cod and conger to over 20lb with these rods, fish that they’ve handled easily, though obviously they were bending impressively!. The only noticeable wear is some polishing to the foam covered butt due to regular use, as well as some light rust staining beneath the varnish of a couple of the rod ring legs, all very minor.

As mentioned in my initial review they don't cope with weights above 6oz, the action of the rod is ruined. I regularly fish the Bristol Channel these days and and 8oz weight is often needed. I decided to purchase two more AX rods, though I went for the heavier 10-15lb models. This rod is visually identical to the 6-8lb rod in all respects, bar the identifying sticker. These 10-15lb rods are proving to be excellent and they handle the heavier weights with ease. On the the 10-15lb rods I’m using Shimano Charter Special 1000LD reels. I’ll review this reel in due course.


These reels are cracking and seem very well suited to these 10-15lb rods. The tip action is similar to the 6-8lb models, though there is far more strength in the lower half of the rod. Bite detection is still superb, almost as good as the lighter model. Again, highly recommended.

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