The year 2010 will see Zebco Sports, which produces all Browning, Quantum and Zebco fishing tackle in the UK, celebrate its 150th anniversary of European trading ¬ a monumental milestone that makes the Germany-based outfit one of the oldest and most respected names in the angling industry.
It all began back in 1860 when Josef Witt and Ernst Führmann started the founder company that sold nets, ropes and other items for the commercial fishing trade in Germany. Since then, the company has been through various changes and now includes six different companies in its impressive portfolio ¬ Zebco, Rhino, Quantum, Browning and Black Cat.
The tackle it produces has also moved on in leaps and bounds in terms of both variety and technology, culminating in the latest flagship pole to hit the tackle shops from Browning ¬ the Xitan Z9.
It is the new flagship in its range and has caused quite a stir among match anglers lucky enough to have laid their hands on one. Browning claims this is the best pole the company has ever produced, which is quite a bold statement, but after taking it out on the bank, we certainly are not going to argue with that!
Make no mistake, this is a seriously good pole, and I would have to agree that it is ‘the best’ pole Browning has ever produced and one that could ultimately resurrect the heady days when the old Red Spiral Titanium was ‘the’ pole to be seen with out on the bank.
It is very stiff at its full 16m, it has the strength to cope with anything asked of it, and it comes with a generous spares package.
I asked Browning’s ex-England International Dave Vincent how he felt the new Xitan Z9 compared to previous offerings.
“This is undoubtedly Browning’s best-ever pole”, confirmed Dave. He explained: “Most of the poles that are produced nowadays are constructed using 13m mandrels, with parallel extension sections taking them to the longer lengths. This is so that the poles can be sold in Europe at 13m, where they have strict limits of pole length ¬
16m models don’t exist, and therefore the extra butt sections are a mere afterthought.
“In the UK you are often fishing at lengths of 16m or longer, so you need a pole designed to fish at these lengths that doesn’t suffer when the butt sections are added.
“The Browning Xitan Z9 has been constructed as a true 16m pole, designed specifically for the UK match market. The construction techniques have also helped to produce an exceptionally strong pole that has been built to last.”
Browning states that this package has an RRP of £2,599, but it is expected to sell for around £1,999 ¬ and given that it comes with a comprehensive selection of spares, this offers excellent value for money.
There’s no mistaking that Browning, and Zebco, have certainly kicked off the New Year with a very big bang indeed.