This new 1001 pole is the entry level model in Preston Innovations’ GXRm range, and understudy to the higher priced and much-vaunted GXR 2001 that was live tested by fellow Angling Times tackle tester Jonathan Taylor just a couple of months ago.
Despite the ‘entry level’ tag do not be hoodwinked into believing that the
14.5m GXR 1001 is a cumbersome agricultural beast with very little going for it in the way of subtlety or carbon technology.
For a pole that carries a reasonably sensible price tag of only £699 it offers nearly all the latest features that can be found on many of Prestons’ more expensive models. Obviously, the pole isn’t ever going to be as rigidly stiff or as lightweight as a model costing double the price, but technically this is a very sound piece of equipment.
Plus, as it is built from a generic mandrel, the GXR 1001 has become Prestons’ cheapest GiS-compatible pole.
In layman’s terms, this means that should you ever want to upgrade the pole to an improved GXR model, you can purchase just the bare ‘upgraded’ Preston pole at a reduced price without any of the top kits or accessories supplied as part of the complete package. Instead, you just take your existing elasticated kits with you, saving both time and money.
So, with all this reliable construction background matched with Prestons’ GiS compatibility available for little more than the price of a posh weekend away by the seaside with the missus, just how would the new Preston GXR 1001 shape up?
Is it one of the best bargains around, or would your hard-earned be better invested in a weekend’s revelry in Newquay? That was the question I asked myself as I settled into one of my favourite swims at Magpie lake near Cambridge, a beautifully kept little day-ticket snake lake packed full of fish and run by Waterbeach Angling Club.
Having fished the lake on numerous occasions I already knew that the best way to extract a few carp would be to fish tight across at 14m to the far bank using a single grain of corn as hookbait, while feeding a few loose offerings tipped out of a small pot fitted a couple of inches from the tip.
Bites can be lightning-fast when feeding in this manner as the fish seem to dash in and grab the falling feed just as it touches down, so a very short line between pole-tip and float is needed to lift into bites and to accurately lower the hookbait amid the falling loosefeed.
A profusion of far-bank vegetation would make placement of my float crucial if I wasn’t going to spend most of my time getting snagged-up: using very accurate short line tactics with a long pole amid snags can prove demanding even for the most expensive of poles, never mind an introductory model such as the GXR 1001.
After five hours of use I have to report that I was quite surprised by the pole’s responsiveness and ease of handling when shipping it back and forth.
It isn’t one of the stiffest or lightest of poles, and yes - being critical - maybe it’s a bit too lively across the top sections when it’s being shipped out to the full length.
But having said that, let’s look at the positives! And there are plenty of them.
As a good quality novice or newcomer’s all-round multi-venue pole, it would have very few peers. It can be easily and cheaply upgraded thanks to the Preston GiS system, and the comfortably slim butt section circumference makes it a doddle to handle, even for a junior angler.