Free Spirit Hi-S Carp Rod Review

Last Updated on 12 July 2023 by James Bevan

Daiwa-Infinity-X45 Review

The Hi-S range has been on the market for a long time now yet it still remains a firm favourite among carp anglers.

With the advancement of fishing rod technology in recent years and with some of the big-boys releasing new models that appear to be stretching the boundaries of physics, does the Hi-S carp rod still compete as one of the best?

In this Free-Spirit Hi-S carp rod review, i’ll take a look at the features, specifications, and performance of this rod with the assistance of some carp rod experts to help you determine if it’s the right choice for your fishing needs.

Overall Review Scores

9.3
Features9.2
Appearance9.5
Casting & Feel9.3
Playing Fish9.5
Value For Money8.8

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£522.50

Comparison To Similar Rods

NameOverall RatingPrice
Nash Scope Black Ops Carp Rod9.2from £345.99
Nash Scope Black Ops Sawn Off8.6from £229.99
Daiwa Infinity X459.4from £319.99
Daiwa Basia X45X Carp Rod9.3from £595.00
Harrison Torrix Carp Rod9.4from £374.00
Free Spirit Hi-S Carp Rod9.3from £419.00
Century Stealth Graphene Carp Rod9.4from £459.00
Korda Kaizen Platinum Carp Rod8.9from £409.99
Shimano TX-9 Carp Rod8.6from £309.99
Greys AirCurve Carp Rod9.1from £212.49
Century C2 Mk2 Carp Rod9.2from £415.00
Daiwa Longbow X458.7from £239.99

How The Rod Compares To The Averages

Free Spirit Hi-S9.3
All Carp Rods8.3
All Premium Carp Rods9.2

Quick Summary

In summary, the Free Spirit Hi-S is now really classed as a classic rod that sits there as one of the best ever. It’s very similar to the Harrison Torrix in the way that it has UK origins and is customisable to suit any carp angler’s needs.


Free Spirit has released additional versions since the original was launched with a limited edition all-black option as well as the very popular Hi-S-Ive model. The rods feel and perform like a premium product, made of only the best materials and are definitely worthy of their place on the list of the best carp rods on the market still to this day.

Pros & Cons

In this Free Spirit Hi-S carp rod review, I have had the opportunity to determine its perks and downsides. I’ve also seen how it stacks up against other models. With my hands-on experience with the Hi-S Carp Rod, here’s what I noted:

Pros

  • A long-lasting ”Perdurable” blank finish
  • Excellent casting potential
  • Outstanding accuracy
  • Quick tip speed recovery
  • Scratch-resistant finish
  • A range of handle options
  • Slimmer blanks due to less resin
  • The grip feels comfortable
  • Many different to choose from

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Some models are in limited supply and can be tricky to get hold off

Introducing the Free Spirit Hi-S Carp Rod

The Free Spirit Hi-S Carp Rod is among the best casting rods on the market. Its features, appearance, and durability make it a favourite amongst carp anglers. The rod features a high carbon content and minimal Japanese resin on the blanks. 

Free Spirit offers the rods in 12-foot, 12-foot 6 inches and 13-foot lengths, all with the signature ‘Perdurable’ finish which is famous for its durable, long-life qualities. The Hi-S is among the top models with an extended range and undergoes a robust manufacturing process. 

Despite being classed as a classic, the Hi-S carp rod maintains its position in the industry. So, what makes it stand the test of time? We’ll go over some of the key features of this carp rod and why you should consider purchasing one.

Who’s it ideal for

The Hi-S Carp Rod is ideal for an angler looking for an ergonomic, light, yet durable carp rod. Seasoned anglers should consider purchasing this model. Its tip is softer for fish playing and a long, sturdy blank suitable for long-range fishing.

Its premium price can be attributed to its handcrafted nature and premium components. You can also request custom handles, a name, fittings, and a specific trim finish colour for the rods.

Where Did The Free Spirit Hi-S Come From

Free Spirit has been a top carp rod manufacturer in the UK for over 20 years. The Free Spirit Hi-S gained traction in 2008 when it won the Carp-Talk rod of the year. 

There are seven models to choose from, each with unique design specifications. The rods are handmade in the UK, and there’s an option to make a custom order. 

It’s worth noting that blank and rod weights vary from one model to another. The brand introduced two stiffer Hi-‘S’ive 12’ and 13’ rods on the market, which are suitable for casting extreme distances of up to 200 yards in the right hands.

The Different Versions Of The Hi-S

There are many versions of the Hi-S and lots of carp anglers (including myself) have succumbed to the customisable options that Free Spirit offers that enable you to satisfy your specific needs.

Most versions provide an option of either a 40mm or a 50mm butt ring, with the latter providing less friction on the cast and therefore greater casting distances.

Free Spirit gains an advantage over its competition by providing a 12ft 6″ version for those that are torn between 12 and 13ft lengths.

The Hi-S’ve option is also available for those that prefer a stiffer blank that are looking for extreme distances of up to 200 yards.

You can check out the weight and the maximum casting distance of all the versions provided in the Hi-S carp rod range in the following table:

Length Test Curve Weight Of Rod Max Cast Distance
12 ft 2.5 lb 286g 90 yds
12 ft 3lb 321g 130 yds
12 ft 3lb (50mm butt ring) 338g 140 yds
12 ft 3.5lb 335g 160 yds
12 ft 3.5lb (50mm butt ring) 353g 170 yds
12 ft 6" 3.25lb 343g 150 yds
12 ft 6" 3.25lb (50mm butt ring) 361g 160 yds
12 ft 6" 3.5lb 349g 165 yds
12 ft 6" 3.5lb (50mm butt ring) 366g 175 yds
13 ft 3.5lb 373g 160 yds
13 ft 3.5lb (50mm butt ring) 390g 170 yds
Hi-S'ive 12 ft No Test Curve Specified 373g 200 yds
Hi-S'ive 13 ft No Test Curve Specified 425g 200 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 Free Spirit Hi-S 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…

"The rod is probably one of the most versatile rods in the range, soft enough to play the fish powerfully enough to cast and user-friendly with durability."
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"The Hi-S was voted best rod by Carp Talk readers in 2008 and I think it's one of the best rods out there for carp fishing. A lot of effort goes into these rods, and there's a lot of very good quality engineering that's gone into it."
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The Key Attributes Scrutinised

Features & Specifications

Features Rating9.2

The Hi-S carp rod’s top-quality materials make it one of the most durable and diverse options for carp anglers. While there are cheaper rods on the market, the Hi-S has notable features that justify its price tag.

Here are some of my observations on specific features on the Free Spirit Hi-S carp rods:

The handle

Hi-S Handle

The Hi-S offers different options for a handle. These include a traditional cork handle and cork rings for a good grip. It can also be fitted with the EVA handle made from foam.

EVA foam is soft and comfortable and also offers a good grip. Full EVA handles are more durable on heavy-duty rods and are more lightweight than cork handles.

Free Spirit provides custom handles to fit every angler. The company recommends measuring your arm when ordering a carp rod. The handle length should run across your arm with the butt cap just under the armpit for distance casting. I did this for mine and it definitely made a difference.

The reel seat

Hi-S Reel Seat

The Hi-S- Clone reel seat is made of similar carbon material as the rod. The material makes it light and durable. With extreme use, the reel seat maintains its shape under stress allowing full power and action to be concentrated where it is required.

The eyes/guides

Hi-S Eyes

The rod comes with SIC ring guides that drastically reduce the friction on the line. They make casting more efficient while limiting the chances of forming tangles and knots. 

Due to their strategic positioning, the guides on the Hi-S Carp Rod offer optimal sensitivity and stability. The ring guides are also resistant to corrosion which aids in maintaining the performance of the rod.

The blank

Hi-S Blank

The Hi-S blank comprises 40t carbon with low resin content (below 17%). It results in a slim and light blank with increased sensitivity. The excellent quality Japanese carbon also makes the rod scratch-resistant and durable. 

The company uses the ‘perdurable’ finish on the blanks, which helps endure light knocks and tree scratches without leaving marks. The blanks are identical, so you can replace old ones with new ones without buying an entirely new carp rod.

Features & Specifications Summary

  • Available in 12 and 13-feet lengths
  • Test curves available include 3lb, 3.25lb and 3.5lb
  • Semi-Fast Action
  • Soft tip with virtually no bounce
  • 1k clone reel seat
  • Sturdy “Perdurable” blank finish
  • Top quality low resin 40t carbon build
  • Available with either 50mm or 40mm butt ring

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

"The rod features a soft enough blank to play the fish powerfully and a choice of 40 or 50mm rings allowing for distance casting."
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"The rod features a high carbon content and low resin blank, making it a durable rod suitable for all carp anglers."
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Appearance

Appearance9.5

The Hi-S carp rod has stainless steel collars and butt caps. Its high modulus carbon blank complements the rod’s overall appearance. The black and silver trim gives the rod a professional look.

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

"The rods have the same blanks as in the early days and are fully customisable making it down to personal preference what they look like."
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"I like the minimilistic look with bare blank, the reel seats look really smart, but I also like a cork handle and you can fully customise these rods to your own preference."
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Casting & Feel

Casting & Feel9.3

The lightweight, low-friction eyes on this rod alongside the solid, stiff blank make it a casting champion. Yet it still provides a good degree of subtlety when playing fish allowing for power and control when needed.

Carp anglers have access to customisable options which suit their preferences allowing you to create your own unique look and feel.

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

"The rod is a perfect casting tool and can cast baits up to 200 yards with the right setup and in the right hands."
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"The Hi-S is designed to provide maximum casting distance, accuracy and power."
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Playing Fish

Playing Fish9.5

Despite it’s fairly stiff nature the Hi-S has a soft tip that aids in recovery when unloading the blank and prevents tip bouncing. Its design also makes the rod semi-fast and sensitive during fish playing.

The rods subtlety and power make it an ideal rod to use for specimen hunting as it will provide a clear edge compared to more inferior models.

Here are some quotes from the experts on how the rod performs when playing fish:

"The rod is soft enough to play fish powerfully at distance and under the rod tip."
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"The rods ultra sensitivity transmits through the rod and you can feel it in when you play fish making you feel every little turn."
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Value For Money

Value For Money8.8

The Free Spirit Hi-S’s impressive looks and performance earn it a 9.3 overall rating. Its pricing is also competitive compared to similar brands like the Basia X45X and the Harrison Torrix carp rods. The Hi-S carp rod is not the cheapest on the market, but it is well worth the price.

Unlike most brands, Free Spirit customises its products and offers the Hi-S carp rod in various models. The company also offers a 12-month limited warranty on all products.

Here’s how the experts scored the rod on value for money:

9.0
No Comment
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"They're not the cheapest rod on the market but there's a lot of quality engineering thats gone into it."
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Final Thoughts & Conclusions

The Free Spirit Hi-S Carp Rod is highly spoken of among expert carp anglers. Its range of features gives the rod an edge over the competition.

I had a phenomenal experience while testing the model. Its minimal Japanese resin on the blanks, high carbon content, and customisable options are among the rod’s top selling points. 

I preferred the EVA foam handle as it’s guaranteed to give you a comfortable grip and thanks to its powerful yet well-balanced build, you’ll enjoy a nice responsive feel when playing fish. 

While this is a pricey model, the advanced technology it packs is worth it.

Thanks for reading.

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