Fox Horizon X3 Carp Rod Review

Last Updated on 5 February 2024 by James Bevan

Daiwa-Infinity-X45 Review

In recent years Fox has taken on the top dogs when it comes to distance-casting carp rods with its X range. With a gap in the market for an affordable, versatile rod that can cast far they produced the Horizon X3.

But is it worthy of all the hype?

In this Fox Horizon X3 carp rod review, I’ll dive deep into its features, performance, and overall value for money to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your fishing needs.

Overall Scores

8.5
Features8.2
Appearance8.7
Casting & Feel8.3
Playing Fish8.3
Value For Money8.8

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£99.99
Awin1.com
£114.00
2 new from £114.00
as of 15 April 2024 23:12
Amazon.co.uk
£124.99

Comparison To Similar Rods

NameOverall RatingPrice
Daiwa Crosscast XT Carp Rod7.5from £69.99
Greys X-Flite Carp Rod8.4from £79.99
Shimano TX2 Carp Rod8.6from £79.99
Shimano TX7 Carp Rod8.9from £178.97
Greys Prodigy GT4 Carp Rod7.8from £149.99
Avid Traction Pro Carp Rod7.4from £79.99
Daiwa Emcast Carp Rod7.9from £99.99
Nash Dwarf Carp Rod7.2from £49.99
Nash X Series Carp Rod7.8from £69.99
Daiwa Crosscast EXT7.6from £67.99
Sonik Insurgent7.8from £79.99
ESP Onyx Quickdraw Carp Rod7.7from £84.95
Daiwa Longbow X458.7from £239.99
Fox Horizon X3 Carp Rod8.5from £99.99
Daiwa Emblem Carp Rod8.5from £74.99

How The Rod Compares To The Averages

Horizon X3 Carp Rod8.5
All Carp Rods8.3
All Mid-Range Carp Rods8.4

Quick Summary

Fox’s Horizon X3 is the brand’s most affordable entry in its Horizon range of carp rods. It comes in lengths of 10, 12, and 13 feet, as well as test curves of 2.75, 3, and 3.5 lbs. Additionally, anglers can choose between the X3’s standard abbreviated handle or a cork handle instead. 

This is a rod that blends affordability with great performance across the board and is a fantastic choice for anyone in the market for a middle-of-the-road carp rod that’s well-made and durable.

It scored an overall rating of 8.5 when reviewed by myself with the help of another expert review. I’ve classed it as mid-range, as it’s certainly not an entry-level budget rod yet on the other hand it’s also not one of the elite carp rods on the market.

This score is very reasonable beating the likes of the Daiwa Emcast yet just falling shy of the very popular Shimano TX2.

Pros & Cons

I tested the Horizon X3 across 4 sessions, utilising the 10-foot version for stalking and the 12-foot 3.5lb version on a medium-sized water. Here is what I found to be the advantages and disadvantages of the rod.

Pros

  • With a range of test curves and lengths available, the Horizon X3 is exceptionally versatile
  • Good performance across the board at a very reasonable price
  • Despite being highly affordable, the Horizon X3 boasts great build quality
  • With a slick, stealthy appearance, the Horizon X3 definitely doesn’t look cheap
  • Cork fans are catered to with the rod’s optional cork handle
  • The 10-foot version is a great stalking option

Cons

  • The Horizon X3 is very much a generalist rod, which is a negative for some
  • It feels slightly stiffer than some of the more premium rods when playing fish

A Bit About The Fox Horizon X3 Carp Rod

Fox International has been producing angling gear for over 50 years since the company was first founded in Essex. It initially produced metal bait-droppers and has expanded significantly over the years; Fox now manufactures a range of angling and outdoor gear.

Launched in 2018, the Fox’s X3 carp rod is the most affordable offering in the Horizon range, which also includes the X4 and X5 rods. Coming in a range of test curves, lengths, and with both abbreviated and cork handles available, the Horizon X3 blends affordability with versatility.

Who’s it ideal for

The Horizon X3 is a great option for anglers on the lookout for an affordable, versatile carp rod that is a great all-rounder. It does an excellent job of striking the balance between affordability and quality.

Coming in a variety of test curves and lengths, the Horizon X3 is able to cater to a range of different preferences as far as rod size and style go. And, while it’s certainly a budget-friendly offering, Fox definitely hasn’t skimped on quality with this rod. It’s got excellent hardware and features that should absolutely stand the test of time, provided that it’s well taken care of.

With all this being said, this rod will be less appealing to those anglers who are looking for something very specialised, or higher-end offerings more generally. Those carpers may want to examine the other models like the fantastic Daiwa Infinity X45 or Century Stealth Graphene which are two of the best rods out there.

The Different Versions Of The Horizon X3 Carp Rod

There are many different versions of the X3 in 10, 12 and 13-foot lengths as well as a designated spod rod available in a 5.5lb test curve. The model is very versatile offering an option for most fishing circumstances. You can check out all the options alongside their maximum casting distance and recommended uses in the following table:

Length Test Curve Ideal For Max Cast Distance
10 ft 3lb Smaller venues, close range fishing and stalking 100 yds
10 ft 3.5lb Small to medium sized venues. Ideal for stalking and fishing close to snags and weed 120 yds
12ft 2.75lb Small to Medium Sized Venues 130 yds
12 ft (40mm Butt Ring) 3lb Medium sized venues. Good all round rod 140 yds
12 ft (50mm Butt Ring) 3lb Medium sized venues. Good all round rod 150 yds
12 ft 3.5lb Medium to large sized waters and fishing near areas where carp need to be bullied out of 160 yds
13 ft 3.5lb Large venues where long casting distances are required 165 yds


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The 5 Attributes The Rod Was Tested Against

As mentioned previously in the article, there are 5 key elements that carp anglers look for in the best rods. These are as follows:

  • Features
  • Appearance
  • Casting & Feel
  • Playing Fish
  • Value For Money

For more detail on the review process please visit the designated review explanation page that outlines how products are reviewed on eTackle.

The Fox Horizon X3 Carp Rod Review

So having set the scene with where the rod came from and what criteria the rod was tested against let’s now get into how it performed.

First off, let’s see how the experts have rated this rod…

"This X3 is trickle-down technology in action - in the same way that an Audi A1 is part of the same lineage as the R8, this is Fox’s way of welcoming you to the Horizon family without forking out on the range-topping X5s"
More Details


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The Key Attributes Scrutinised

Features & Specifications

Features Rating8.2

The handle

Fox Horizon X3 Handle

The Horizon X3 comes with two options for handles; a standard, abbreviated version and a cork handle.

Both are comfortable and feel good in the hand; the cork stays nice and warm in cooler weather, and both transmit a decent amount of response to the angler when playing fish.

The reel seat

Fox Horizon X3 Reel Seat

With an 18mm DPS-style reel seat, the Horizon X3 is able to accommodate reels of most sizes comfortably and keep them firmly in place.

When testing I never experienced any movement of the reel at all when casting and playing fish.

The eyes/guides

Fox Horizon X3 Eyes

The Horizon X3 comes with either 40 or 50mm guides, depending on the model.

All of the 10-foot and 12-foot 2.75 lb models come with 40mm anti-tangle guides, as does one of the 12-foot 3 lb abbreviated models.

The remainder of the Horizon X3 models come with 50mm anti-tangle guides. These guides do a great job of reducing line frap and keeping the line protected while both on the water and in transit.

The blank

Fox Horizon X3 Blank

Boasting a high modulus lightweight carbon blank with multi-directional carbon construction, the Horizon X3 packs plenty of power without weighing the angler down.

Not only that, but the blank’s glossy finish and detailings look great.

Features & Specifications Summary

  • Available in 10, 12 and 13-foot lengths
  • Test curves available include 2.75lb, 3lb, & 3.5lb
  • Available in abbreviated and cork handles
  • High modulus construction with lightweight blank
  • Anti-tangle guides
  • 18mm DPS-style reel seat
  • 40mm & 50mm butt ring depending on the model

Here’s what the experts said about the rods features:

"Fox aren’t going to risk the hard-won reputation of the Horizon brand on any old tat. These new rods boast a high-modulus, lightweight carbon blank and quality rings"
More Details

Here is a video from Fox International that showcase the features on the Horizon X3


Appearance

Appearance8.7

The Horizon X3 looks like a rod that costs twice as much as it actually does. Its slick, black glossy fittings and whippings, paired with the rod’s graphics and mixture of black and grey hardware, create a monochrome design that is both understated and tasteful.

It’s refreshing to see a rod that has gone against the current trend of matte black finishes.

The rod’s black metal butt cap, etched with the Fox logo, is a nice, unique touch, that I personally really like.

Here’s what an expert said about the look of the Horizon X3:

"They look delicious. After years of matt black dominance in the UK rod market, the X3s are unashamedly glossy and it’s a real breath of fresh air"
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Casting & Feel

Casting & Feel8.3

Thanks to its powerful carbon modulus blank and smooth guides, the Horizon X3 is, by and large, a great caster for the price.

Its 50mm guides are especially useful for longer casts and work well to prevent line frap, too.

Both handles are comfortable when casting and provide plenty of grip without feeling awkward or sticky.

In testing, I fished a medium-sized water and was comfortable hitting a spot on the far bank at approximately 100 yards with a 4oz lead.

This is what Carpology said about how the rod casts and feels when handled:

""
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Playing Fish

Playing Fish8.3

I was impressed by how good the Horizon X3 felt when playing fish, given that you can pick it up for less than £100. I caught a number of fish up to 19lb when testing the rod and every time the blank felt nice and sensitive, with a decent amount of feedback without compromising the rod’s power.

This is also true of the X3’s handle; both the cork and abbreviated offerings are responsive and comfortable in the hand when a fish is on.

Here is a quote from an expert on how the rod performs when playing fish:

"The X3s are forgiving when playing fish. They have a play and action that allows them to bend through to the butt section, which is a desirable characteristic in a carp rod"
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Value For Money

Value For Money8.8

All in all, I would argue that the Horizon X3 represents fantastic value for money. It’s a rod that is affordable while still offering great build quality and hardware.

Also, the range of test curves and lengths that it comes in, combined with its reliable performance across the board makes it a highly versatile model that is likely to appeal to anglers with a number of preferences and carping styles.

While there are cheaper rods out there than the Horizon X3, they’re unlikely to be as reliable or perform nearly as well.

I personally feel it’s worth investing in a quality, mid-range rod like the Horizon X3 that will provide a great introduction to carp fishing across different tactics and should last a good while if well taken care of.

Having said that, anglers looking for something more specialised may find the X3 to be somewhat disappointing. The same is true of carp anglers on the hunt for a high-performance model.

While such rods are significantly more expensive than the Horizon X3, it’s simply going to struggle to perform to the standard that you’d want to see from an elite model.

Here’s what Carpology had to say on the rods value for money:

" These rods are a good value for money, especially compared to other rods in the same price range"
More Details

Final Thoughts & Conclusions

Budget-friendly, versatile, reliable, and well-made, the Horizon X3 by Fox is a great choice for beginners looking to get into carp fishing, as well as anglers on a budget more generally.

While it’s certainly a jack of all trades, if you’re searching for a carp rod that is affordable and can do a wide range of things well, then you really can’t go wrong with the X3.

Thanks for reading.

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A Full Expert Guide Into The Greys Aircurve Carp Rod

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The Sonik VaderX Carp Rod Full Review