Preston Innovations has been fairly quiet for the past couple of years with regard to launching sub-£1,000 poles, but this season has seen a real resurgence in activity by the Telford-based company, with four new products in the low to mid-priced pole arena this year.
The pole is described by its manufacturers as being designed for targeting carp with elastics up to a No20, yet still light and stiff enough to target silverfish effectively, and an ideal pole for any angler looking to buy their first 16m pole.
Now, that is a pretty fair boast indeed by Prestons and having already reviewed the ultra-strong £200 entry-level Preston Zyrium X 12.5m pole designed to suit the needs of a novice pole angler, I felt it was time to take a much closer look at the slightly more expensive 16m Carp-Atex.
It has a recommended retail price of £899.99, but if you shop around you will find it for as little as £699.99. This is a very good deal when you consider that this is a proper 16m pole that packs away into two sections and comes supplied with three spare power kits, all supplied in a pole holdall. If it proved to be fishable at its full 16m length, then this would have to be considered a real bargain.
So the question was ¬ would the pole be useable at 16m or is it a potential back-breaker?
That was the thought passing through my mind as I hurried through the Cambridgeshire countryside to the day-ticket Magpie Lake near Waterbeach, my chosen venue for the test.
Immediately upon assembling the pole’s top sections you start to get a feel for just how well-built the Carp-Atex is. There’s no hiding that these top sections are very strong, but they far from resemble scaffolding poles.
However, all that section strength up top doesn’t really prepare you for what’s coming when you pick up the 14.5m and 16m butt sections.
I would have to say that these three sections are among the strongest and thickest walled that I have ever handled. And, if you have ever been unfortunate enough to break a butt section by putting your elbow through it, then I guarantee you will not experience this problem with the Carp-Atex: the butts appear to have been chiselled out of granite.
All that inherent brute strength and power does come at a cost, and the pole’s overall weight reflects the power it offers but, at 16m, the Carp-Atex hides it well.
An intriguingly interesting design utilises the weight of those last three butt sections to cleverly balance against the pole’s top 12m as you ship out. This produces a point of balance that is well down the length of the pole, and makes shipping it around very easy work for such a powerful tool, especially if you position a pole roller close by to take the majority of the weight right up until the last couple of sections.
The solid construction of the butt sections helps to give the pole enough rigidity throughout the remainder of its length to make it very fishable, even at 16m. When using a light pole float on a very short line up against a far-bank margin, as I had to for the live test, the pole has more than enough stability to make this most difficult of skills an easy and effortless task. The extra weight in the butt sections actually helps the pole to sit still in any wind.