Although the Ranger XTS is available across four test curves, the lowest two, the 2.75lb and 3lb versions, offer exceptional all-round performance. I’ve used a pair of the 2.75lb XTSs relentlessly for nearly two years and my fondness of them has only continued to increase.

Most of my fishing is done at close range, especially so when fishing the rivers. In fact, excluding stalking, these are what I always use when targeting carp in the flow.

Despite their close-range attributes, the casting performance is exceptional for a relatively low-test-curve rod.

I have also used them occasionally to fish a far margin at 90 yards with small solid PVA bags and they are well up to the job, with a crisp recovery. The action when connected to a carp is faultless too; progressive and it bends right through to the reel seat. For close-range battles they are perfectly forgiving, but at times when I have had to rein a fish in there is enough power in reserve, yet it remains extremely cushioning in doing so. Unless you’re an ultimate tackle tart, the specification of the fittings is all you’ll ever want, and need. In my experience, the 40mm butt rings and the SLIK guides throughout work very well with my 12lb fluorocarbon main line.

There is also a dedicated chucker available, the 3.5lb version, which comes with a 50mm butt ring as standard.

The carbon overlays, abbreviated shrink-wrap handle and 18mm silver capped reel seat are all spot-on and built to take punishment. The cork-handled versions look fantastic but the normal-spec ones like these still look smart but not flashy – perfect.

Despite all those plus points, the most impressive thing about these rods is the price. At a little over £400 for a set of three, the spec, performance and feel of them combined represents one of best bargains on the rod market.

Price: £134.99 each
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