Not many companies can boast pole ranges that have stood the test of time, but Maver’s Competition range is now in its fourth year and this year’s line-up looks to be better than ever, with nine new poles launched for 2010.
The new assortment is a perfect example of evolution, not revolution, as year after year Maver boss Phil Briscoe ‘tweaks’ his range to keep his company’s poles at the top of their game.
For 2010’s range he has paid particular attention to increasing the strength of sections four, five and six, realising that having extra power in these areas is more and more important with the ever-increasing size of fish in commercial fisheries.
A few weeks ago fellow tackle tester Mark Sawyer put the £2,100 Competition 421 through its paces and found it to be highly impressive. But this range isn’t all about top-end poles – it boasts some excellent mid to low-priced items as well.
And the great thing about poles in the Competition range is that they are all totally generic. It doesn’t matter whether you own the mid-range 181, chosen for this live test, or the top-of-the- range 501. All share the same top kits and features, allowing you to work your way up the pole ladder. Current entry level Competition pole owners take note – if you are interested in a new pole, all your old top kits will fit this model.
Priced at £899.99, the 16m 181 falls into the fiercely competitive sub-£1,000 category.
For that sum of money anglers expect a lot, and this offering doesn’t disappoint.
It is built to very high specifications and includes all Maver’s latest technology. The pole features Nanolith construction throughout its whole length which arranges the carbon fibres so that the pole offers a stronger and stiffer feel, particularly at longer lengths.
On the top kits you will find a Fusion process that eliminates any tip bounce in the top kits, and the Magic Step ridges inside the Match top-2 and Power No1 sections allow a smooth flow of elastic without any juddering.
The 181, like the rest of the Competition range, has a finish that is as good as any thanks to a combination of the Sun Core and Diamond Ground Finish.
Add to this Teflon joints to reduce wear, and the inclusion of clean caps, and you have one of the most technologically advanced poles on the market. This certainly shows when it’s out on the bank.
Up to 13m the pole is very rigid and responds quickly on the strike. Add the next section to take it to 14.5m and the pole doesn’t change much. It’s not quite as stiff, but remains very rigid and will allow you to react instantly and lift into bites.
At 16m the pole does suffer slightly but is still perfectly useable. The only thing I would mention is that if you are buying this pole with the intention of using it regularly at its full length of 16m then I would recommend purchasing a short fourth from Maver. They are priced at £59.99, and while the pole is perfectly useable at full length without one, they just make things so much easier and allow you to respond quicker to bites, ultimately putting more fish in your net
On inspection all the sections felt pretty solid and the fourth and fifth definitely felt sturdier than on past Competition poles.
With the pole you get two Power kits, one Match top-3, a cupping kit and cups, mini extension and clean caps.
The guys at Maver even throw in a deluxe holdall and instructional DVD – overall it’s a great deal.