Colmic Airon F66 16m pole
Eight EC200 top-2 kits
Three mini half-butt sections
I've fished with Colmic margin poles and rods on several occasions, but until recently I’d never had the pleasure of wielding one of the company’s long poles.
Yet there’s a huge fan club among matchmen for its Italian-made Jolly Floats and Nuclear hooks, not to mention the iconic 16m Colmic X5000 pole and latterly the Airon F55 poles. Its successor, the F66, is on live test duty today. This flagship pole is a hot topic right now on virtually every match fishing website. It’s a full-blooded 16m competition tool, reputed to be able to handle anything thrown at it (almost literally). Light yet ridiculously strong, thanks to high-spec materials and a clever section design, it’s well balanced, with a responsiveness to hit the quickest of bites and the rigidity to tame big fish in less time than it takes you to read about it.
So far so good, but why drain your wallet to the tune of around £2,600? That’s the shop-around price tag, by the way. Live testing a pole of the F66’s pedigree wasn’t easy. It’s so far ahead of what you might reasonably expect it to do; it’s difficult to find a suitable test venue. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, so it was off to the day-ticket Cuckoo Canal Lake at Townsend Fishery near Wisbech.
This is a typical snake lake where fishing just down the shelf in a couple of feet of water in the cold, or tight against the far shelf in warmer weather, will always be a rewarding experience. Both tactics call for just a few inches of line between pole-tip and float, when a gentle lift will set the hook without spooking feeding fish. To do this perfectly requires a pole without bounce or wobble along its top sections.
There needs to be enough mid-section poke to move fish out of the swim without too much of a commotion, and you should be able to lean into the butt sections without fear of them going snap, crackle or pop. Well, in all my years of tackle testing I have never handled anything so uncompromisingly stiff at its longer lengths than the Airon. You feel as though you could lift a decent-sized fish straight out of the water and on to the bank, never mind into a waiting landing net.
These bullish properties are further enhanced by a unique mandrel design in which the 100-tonne, superbly rigid butt section with graphics is installed behind the No8 section to take it to 13m. For a 16m pole, add section No9 behind the butt section, effectively extending its length, and providing it with the added backbone and balance that the superior 100-tonne carbon-built section instils. The pole’s joints are all superbly well reinforced, with enough wall strength to make Hadrian wish he’d used carbon instead of stone.
As for the downside – such as it is – the pole does feel a little wider in diameter on its butt sections than some others, but with all that unbridled power it’s an unavoidable consequence I could easily live with. It still handles superbly, and despite my mini-mitts I never found it uncomfortable to manoeuvre around the swim, even at 16m.
Without a shadow of doubt the Airon F66 is THE big-fish pole of the moment, and should be your weapon of choice if you are the least bit reckless when it comes to striking, handling or playing then netting big fish. It will take far more punishment than most flagship models and still come back for more. The Airon is being promoted as an all-rounder, but if you intend to use it for silvers I suggest you invest in a couple of the relevant top kits readily available for this pole from Colmic.
Four Roller Pulla Power Kits
One match kit inside pole
One Kupping Kit
One half extension
The eagerly-awaited second generation of Preston Innovations’ Pro Type poles has arrived.
The new 210, 310, 410, 510 models – plus a dedicated carp pole – boast many impressive new features, while retaining many of the positive characteristics that made the originals so popular among match anglers. These latest poles are lighter, stiffer and more responsive than these, and are said to be stronger and even more rigid. Anglers will welcome reinforced butt sections, section alignment arrows and an Easy Slide nish, while an improved spares package includes pre- tted PTFE top kits, roller bushes and protective tubes.
The 16m top-of-the range 510 model on live test duty comes in at under a thousand quid, with a suggested price of £849.99 – not to be sni ed at for a 16m pole these days – and having surfed the net I can con rm that it’s available even cheaper if you shop around a bit. It’s got a comprehensive spares package, and comes with enough top kits to make it multi-venue- friendly straight from the holdall.
You get a spare Match kit, ideal for light elastics and silvers, as well as four Roller Pulla Power kits for normal commercial shery use. To that little lot you can add a Kupping kit with Kups and a handy half extension. Ideally suited to the keen club angler, this pole is very much at home on the smaller ponds, pools and snake lakes that most clubs favour for their matches, where match-sized carp, F1s and silvers are the targets.
With that in mind, the new 510 was taken for its day’s trialling to the picture-postcard Monkhall Fishery (www.monkhall shery. co.uk). Set in deepest Shropshire, its five lakes are carved into the south-facing side of a rolling valley, with a superb scenic backdrop to your fishing. If you want a day away from road noise, walkers, bikers, boats and general irritations, this is as peaceful a venue as you will find. It also has a café and a small caravan park, and caters for bed and breakfast guests.
Anyway, back to the real reason for my visit. The 10-section 510 pole comes in three pieces – a 13m butt section containing seven sections, including the Match kit which comes with it, plus 14.5m and 16m parallel extensions. During the trial all joints tted together really well, and came apart without fuss rst time, every time. This was despite the wet weather, which often proves the undoing (or the reverse!) of many new poles.
Fished at its longest 16m length there were no annoying knocks, squeaks or cracking noises, and every one of its section arrow- aligned joints felt strong and reliable for the long haul. The Easy Slide nish was clearly evident and played its part in the wet. Shipping damp rain-spattered sections often proves sticky and tricky, but not this time. The 510 handles with a silky smoothness that belies its lightweight price.
At its 13m length it’s fairly stiff and certainly quick enough to hit fast-biting F1s and silvers. However, I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said it handles as sweetly at 14.5m and 16m as it does at 13m. I did, though, fish quite happily with it at 14.5m for most of the live test.
If I owned this pole I would choose my elastics with some thought to the length of its top kits, especially when coupled with hollow elastic. From a size 14 upwards there’s a slightly top-heavy feel reflected in the handling, especially when you have a pot sitting on the top kit. But if you aim at hollows from a size 12 and under, and solids above that, you won’t go far wrong. I haven’t checked with Prestons about the Pro Type 510 maximum elastic recommendations, but I’d have no qualms about threading a solid 16 through one of its Roller Pulla top kits.
A great improvement on Preston’s original Pro Type poles, this new top-of-the-range 510 boasts plenty of key add-ons such as section alignment arrows and an Easy Slide finish. Absolutely bang on the money for the keen club match angler, it’s usable at its longest lengths and would be every bit as good at bagging carp as it would at snatching silvers. What’s more, the spares package doesn’t need further investment to make the pole compatible with a host of venue types.
Elastic: Rated to a No25
The package: Trilogy 2 Power Margin 9m pole with spare top-2 kit, cap, towel and holdall
Additional spares: 10.6m extension £109.99; 12.2m extension £114.99; Big bore top-2 kit £69.99; Top-2 cupping kit with two cups £68.99; No3 section £59.99
November isn’t normally the greatest month for margin fishing. Falling temperatures and morning frosts spell crystal-clear water, and fallen leaves blanket the bottom of our lakes.
But when Tri-Cast brand manager Steve Hopkinson told me of the imminent launch of the company’s latest Trilogy 2 Power Margin Pole – which is now in the shops – I knew I had to get out on the bank with one straight away, whatever the conditions.
To stand any chance of catching in the margins at this time of year your swim needs to be at least 3ft deep, and if there’s any cover alongside it, so much the better.
Luckily Kingsland Reservoir near Coates, in Cambridgeshire, is absolutely perfect. Its reed-fringed margins are more than deep enough to hold a few fish. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, let’s take a closer look at some of the technical attributes of this latest Tri-Cast pole. The standard 9m Trilogy 2 Power Margin is said by Tri-Cast to be streets ahead of both the original Trilogy Margin and its iconic XRS Power Margin, which for years was considered to be the ultimate bagging tool for down the edge.
The Trilogy 2 is made from a unique military grade of carbon cloth which is both strong and reliable. This is formed around the exact same mandrel as was used for the first Trilogy Margin, so if you’re simply looking to upgrade your existing pole, all your top kits and sections are interchangeable.
It’s slighter lighter than the original, but significantly stiffer and more responsive, even at its full 12.2m length with the two extension sections fitted.
I began the live test by fishing the Trilogy 2 at its standard 9m length, and with experience of both its predecessors I can confirm that it is stiffer and more responsive than either of these.
It’s astonishingly quick at the tip, and completely bounce-free at its 9m length – very much in keeping with how all the latest margin poles are designed to be. But even these laudable qualities pale into insignificance compared to its fish playing power. Unyielding section strength is enough to pluck the largest and stroppiest carp from any snag-strewn pit. The pole handles well, shipping effortlessly in and out, and its lightness and sense of balance are pure class.
Taking the pole up to its 10.6m and then full 12.2m lengths, should you wish to invest in additional extensions, you will have a margin pole to reach well past the next platform on most commercials – in fact it’s a very decent all-rounder at a crackingly competitive price.
A superb example of Tri-Cast’s ability to build a super-powerful pole that’s light and well balanced, and sure to find its way into the rod-holdalls of many top-class match anglers who demand the very best.
The pole comes with three Power top-2 kits with 4mm internal diameter tips and second sections that are fitted with a carbon-reinforced area to drill and fit side-puller kits.
The new Yank ‘N’ Bank 950 has a manufacturer’s elastic rating of 20. This means it can be used with Red Hydro and the heaviest of hollow elastics when big carp are the target.
Despite its ability to absorb heavy lunges, each section of the pole has a virtually impenetrable wall strength. This makes it ideal for heavy hauling tactics on commercial fisheries.
Section aligner arrow system
Each joint is marked with alignment arrows. Keeping these straight helps to align the pole’s spine, providing optimum performance at all times.
The new Yank ‘N’ Bank 950 pole has had a makeover for 2016 and now has the same graphic style and colour as Daiwa’s top-of-the-range Tournament range of poles.
Each section is finished with Daiwa’s Easy-slide paint job that makes shipping a quick and smooth operation in any weather conditions.
So far 2016 has been a bumper year for the release of margin poles.
A trend has been to replace an ‘old school’ all-through action – which sees the pole bend like a tree branch – with a far stiffer, more aggressive build that relies heavily on the elastic to absorb lunges and bring in fish.
Such new-breed margin poles, with improved linear rigidity, faster tip speed and superior
all-round handling, work best for big fish in snaggy swims.
However, with an appropriately matched top kit the old-fashioned bendy poles allow anglers to tame hefty commercial carp in the margins, and have worked a treat for years, saving the shattering and explosive end of many an expensive carbon section.
This nicely sets the scene for the introduction of Daiwa’s latest
Yank ‘n’ Bank 950 Power Margin pole, launched 10 years ago and now in its third incarnation.
Lifetime Daiwa rep Simon Wheeler can lay claim to coming up with the name Yank ‘n’ Bank, and although it’s not a lot to show for 25 years of service to the firm it seems to make him happy!
The new 950 Power Model is definitely of the old school bendy persuasion, but has undergone a full cosmetic and materials makeover. The silver-on-black graphics on the 8m and 9.5m butt sections remind one of Daiwa’s top-end Tournament poles, giving it a thoroughbred look.
It boasts numbered section alignment, top kits with pre-bore reinforcements for drilling and fitting pulling kits, and decent-sized 4mm internal tips – although fitting larger hollow elastics (it’s rated to 20-plus) does mean trimming a bit off the tip ends.
The new Yank ‘n’ Bank is reasonably light, with pleasing handling qualities, but in reality it’s all about the power. Its seven super-strong sections have impenetrable wall strength that almost beggars belief when they are put under severe pressure.
I found this out while live testing the pole in a quiet corner of Six Island Lake at the Decoy complex near Peterborough. The large carp and barbel in the margins here are far from stupid, so you need to present a bait tight into the bank or against a feature. In this swim it happened to be a paddle aerator.
I was not taking any chances with these doughty denizens, rigging up a beefy 16/18 elastic with a matching take-no-prisoners pole rig. I would rather not have a single bite than get one, only to lose the fish.
Tipping a potful of pellets and corn tight against the reeds at the back of the paddle, it didn’t take long before the mettle of the new Spank the Plank was put to the test. A full-throttle bite was met head-on with a pole-tip travelling in the opposite direction, and there could be only one winner. The fish was dragged unceremoniously out of harm’s way and into open water.
Time and time again the pole performed the fishy equivalent of dragging a reluctant Rottweiler from its kennel, and as my confidence in the Yank ‘n’ Bank grew apace, even barbel were won over in the twitch of a whisker.
Daiwa’s latest Yank ‘n’ Bank has all the outstanding hallmarks of the originals, and plenty more.
It’s super strong, and is safely usable with the heaviest of elastics. Its ability to soak up punishment is truly impressive, if a tad daunting at first. But once mastered it’s a dangerous commercial fishery tool – think of it as a Lightsaber, and may the Force be with you.
Darkside Series 2 pole fitted with
Powerlite top-2 kit with a Match tip section
Six Power kits
Cupping kit with cups
Rated to a 20 elastic with Power kits or a 12 with Match kits
Three EVA Clean Caps
Maver Deluxe pole holdall
Power top-2 kit with side slot: £79.99
Match kit: £89.99
Short fourth section: £79.99
I first clapped eyes on Maver’s Darkside poles at the company’s first trade show of 2015. At the time I was somewhat shocked that the company was going to replace the Elite Carp range which, in my humble opinion, were great poles that hadn’t been around long enough to be sidelined.
After waving all three Darkside poles around in the show’s pole alley, though, I conceded that they had impressive handling and a steely rigidity normally only associated with flagship models.
However, ‘impressive’ alone doesn’t cut it these days – price, versatility and spares packages all need to be taken into account, as must the company’s back-up service, should anything go wrong. Should you break a section, you need to know that it can be replaced quickly and without fuss.
It must be said that these days nearly all major pole manufacturers, Maver included, carry plenty of spares in stock. After all, with potential buyers having so much choice, no company wants to see its products castigated by the impatient Moany McMoanface keyboard warrior clan.
So, would the force be with you using the new Darkside? It boasts a raft of carbon features including a unique new resin matched to high-tensile carbon fibre cloth, said to make a stronger, stiffer, lighter pole.
All sections are finished with a unique black Suncore anti-friction finish which, interestingly, is a fine metal honeycomb structure that enables the angler to ship at speed in all weathers and provides additional wall strength.
A superb spares package includes more than enough top kits (seven in all) to fish any match, and they are all Power top-2 kits with a reinforced carbon side puller area and internal PTFE bushes. To that little lot you can add a cupping kit with cups, a mini extension, EVA Clean Caps and a deluxe pole holdall.
The pole is classed by Maver as a true all-rounder, and it would certainly get my vote as a commercial fishery pole. It proved its mettle in the strength department, as a procession of big, angry carp were led to the net during the live test at Stretton Lakes, just off the A1 in Rutland.
Rigged with a hollow size 14 elastic, and up-in-the-water pellet rig fished at 16m, the Darkside was impressively stiff with a fast tip reaction speed, exactly what you want when you’re fishing long and shallow.
Big carp hooked shallow on any deep lake have a tendency to dive for the bottom, which puts tremendous pressure on the fourth and fifth section, especially if the fish gets itself underneath the pole. But there are no worries. Every section held fast, without so much as a creak.
As you might expect of a pole that is likely to set you back the best part of £1,600 it ships like a dream, and its Teflon joints butt up with a reassuring swish and not a hint of sticking.
I also found that fitting the pole with its half butt elbow saver section had no negative effect on its balance – a common fault, but not with the Darkside. It’s also extremely light, weighing in at 875g at 13m. That’s with its mini extension fitted, so its silverfish talents can shine though.
Linear rigidity, tip speed, shipping prowess and modest weight all combine to make the Darkside probably the best all-rounder Maver has ever produced.
Without doubt the Darkside Series 2 is one of Maver’s best true all-rounders for still and running waters. It’s not the cheapest pole around, but when you consider this is a top class and highly versatile model you can make savings by not needing to carry separate margin and power poles. Maver’s trade spares, incidentally, are very reasonably priced.
Even I would agonise over what to buy if I had £400 of my own money to spend on a pole.
But I’ll tell you something: Middy’s Nano-Core XT15-2 would be high on my shortlist. Most of my fishing is done on commercials, but because I’d still rather catch 25lb of roach on casters than 100lb of carp on pellets my pole would have to double for silverfish work at reasonably long lengths.
So a strong carp-capable 13m weapon, well-balanced, easy to ship and at home with delicate rigs and light elastics is right on my radar. The Nano-Core XT15-2 will deliver all that and more.
It weighs in at just 720g at 11.5m, so its handling qualities are quite exceptional for a pole at this price.
How can this be possible, I hear you ask? Well, the carbon cloth undergoes a unique curing process under extreme pressure, forcing out tiny air imperfections. This gives the pole a consistent linear action and increases section strength. The graphite used in this pole can also withstand temperatures equivalent to over 3,000ºC which does help to keep all nine sections stable and fishable even in the roasting summer heat.
Other key features include a section alignment system, top kits interchangeable across the entire Middy Nano-Core range, and a new distance numbering system on the butt section for precise fishing and feeding.
Colour-keyed bands show exactly where you need to cut the tips when fitting bushes. And, like all Middy Nano-Core poles, this one comes with a Safe-Zone mini reversible butt. This fits both the 11.5m and 13m sections, and the EVA domed end protects the pole when shipping it back.
The spares package includes a Match3 G-16 top kit ready fitted, an F1 G-16 top kit and a Karp2 G-22 top kit. You also get Hi-Viz elastication kits and and Xtreme pole holdall – not an eye-popping package, but one that suggests the bulk of the asking price has gone into the pole itself, rather than added extras. If you do want more top kits an F1 G-16 costs £39.99 and a Karp2 G-22 £47.50.
So, under a sun-drenched sky with fish cruising all over the surface of Old Wood Lake on Newark’s Portland Waters, I fished a 12/14 elastic through the resilient Karp2 G-22 top kit. Bites were easy to come by as a procession of small roach, ide, crucians and F1s proved only that the pole is nicely balanced and quite at home shipping in silvers and other small fish without so much as a wobble.
Using a slapping rig to attract the larger carp proved a harder test for the pole’s rigidity and tip speed, but although it was a little bit bouncy it wasn’t all that difficult to handle. Soon elastic was streaming from the tip as a larger fish grabbed the hard pellet hookbait. Side strain stopped it running through my neighbour’s peg, and the Karp2 top kit was powerful enough to make short work of the netting process.
For the money (it’s available for well under £400 if you shop around) the XT15-2 has all the features I would look for.
Middy’s Nano-Core range has undergone a transformation, and these poles are now reckoned by many to be as good as anything else on the market. There’s something for everyone, no matter what your angling status or skills set. The XT15-2 would make a great second pole for the keen club or pleasure angler. It’s easy to use, comfy to hold and will cope with both silvers and carp. At such an affordable price, who could reasonably ask for more?
This ridiculously strong 4.5m pole from Matrix will land the biggest commercial carp that swims, and is intended for use with the heaviest of hollow elastics.
Its powerful progressive action is ideal for snaggy margin work, and because it’s virtually unbreakable it will appeal to the most ham-fisted beginner.
Top kits: Three Power Lite Puller kits fitted with PTFE Pullers; Power Lite top-2 kits
Extras: Half-reversible multi extension to fit 11.5m and 13m sections; Two-piece Potting Kit and Pots; 10 PTFE bushes with large internal bores; Deluxe holdall
RRP £999.99, SSP £799.99
A few months ago I live tested Garbolino’s stunning new UK4 Power Carp pole. This basically backs up the company’s iconic G Max Power Legion, the first pole ever to be launched with a built-in puller kit.
The UK4 pole excelled under the spotlight – well balanced with power to burn – and proved capable of putting together big weights in double-quick time.
So when the opportunity arose to take another of Garbolino’s new UK Carp poles to the bankside for a workout, I jumped at the chance. However, before you join me at Stretton Farm Lakes for the live test, allow me to explain a little about this five-strong collection.
Poles are available to suit everyone’s needs and pockets, starting with the entry level 13m UK7 ProCarp, yours for under £500. It offers strength and rigidity, and is very easy to handle.
The UK6 ProCarp comes in at around £675, and has a super slip-and-slide finish which makes it easy to ship in and out in all weathers.
You can use it at its full 13m all day long without getting weary.
The already live-tested UK4 Carp Power should be on the radar of all serious bag-up merchants.
It’s as powerful a pole as anything I have ever handled, but its balance and rigidity make it a real joy to fish with.
So that just leaves us with the ‘on test’ 13m UK5 ProCarp Match. This pole is claimed by its manufacturer to be the stiffest and lightest of the new series.
To achieve weight reduction Garbolino has used higher grades of carbon-fibre cloth, but with special attention paid to all the key section stress areas and joints. This is exemplified in the super-strong ‘anti-ovalling’ female joints with reinforced areas picked out in blue – they are tough as old boots.
The pole also has impressive wall strength. Having put the squeeze on all nine sections, it’s obvious to me that most of its power is generated from the bottom three, which are nothing short of brutally uncompromising. It will take a lot more than the odd mistimed or overly enthusiastic strike to put so much as a dent in them.
All joking aside, there’s plenty in power in reserve even when you’re really leaning into this pole, which makes it fishable in the unruliest of weather and ideal for any open water venue affected by the wind.
It didn’t take much to keep my rig perfectly presented as a pleasant summer breeze ruffled the surface of Stretton Lakes’ day-ticket carp pool.
The UK5 coped effortlessly with a splasher rig, flicking the light float over with ease and speed every time without causing the pole-tip to smack down annoyingly on to the surface.
It was also nicely responsive when used in conjunction with a full-depth rig, allowing a full potful of pellets and corn to be shipped out without spillage.
Later in the day, and with the larger carp muddying the margins, a change to a heavier rig saw plenty of lively action and a healthy bend in the pole, which by then had come through the day ticking all the right boxes.
This Garbolino offering represents great value for money in a very popular sector of the pole market.
It’s very comfortable to fish with at its full 13m length, with enough clout to be used safely with heavy hollow elastics, and it comes with an enviable spares package which includes a reversible half extension to fit both the 11.5m and 13m sections.
Two roller cones
Polemaster pole pot
Side pull beads
Drennan has just released this true length 8m Margin pole under its popular Red Range banner.
The six-sectioned pole has been designed to cope with the stresses and strains of commercial fisheries and is said to handle match-sized carp up to double figures with consummate ease.
With plenty of strength and power, the take-apart pole is excellently balanced, making it easy to fish with at its full 8m length all day long.
It comes with two 2.3m Margin top kits pre-fitted with 5.4mm Super Slick internal PTFE bushes, and ready to elasticate straight from the bag.
The kits also feature factory-fitted side pull slots, so you can take advantage of Drennan’s superb super-smooth side pull system that makes playing fish a stroll in the park by allowing you to control the amount of elastic your quarry can pull out.
Lengths: 13m Xtreme M3 Animal Tamer
Two extra Power-2 kits
One 2-Portal mini butt
Two elastication kits
Pull-It side wraps on 3rd and 4th sections
Size 30 Elastic rating
Landing double-figure carp on the pole is always a challenge. But it’s one that’s becoming ever more commonplace as the cyprinids in our commercial fisheries continue to grow fatter and fitter on a high-protein diet of pellets, meat and boilies.
To stand any chance of safely banking one of these turbo-charged leviathans, your kit needs to be up to the task. Any weak points in your set-up will be exposed, making landing a ‘Barney Rubble’ almost impossible.
So, it’s no good having the latest whopper-stopper elastic fitted through your pole’s top kit if the pole itself isn’t up to the job. What you’re looking for from a pole is rock-solid section joints and section wall strengths, matched with loads of powerful playing action across its top 5-6 sections.
Middy’s brand new pole, the Xtreme M3 Animal Tamer, certainly fits the bill. In fact, it is purpose built to cope with heavyweight hauling, a statement that’s underlined by the fact that the manufacturer has given the pole a gargantuan maximum elastic rating of 30! This goes some way to proving just how much confidence Middy has in this new model, the top pole in the Xtreme Animal Tamer range.
On the technical side, the carbon technicians at Middy have built the M3 Xtreme using the latest G-Pulse carbon cloth, matched with a Proximate Helix construction. In layman’s terms, this means that the pole is blessed with a superb parabolic fish-playing action, and a rock-solid section wall strength, while Middy’s Silk-Slide finish makes for easy shipping pole wahtever the weather.
The new Xtreme M3 also comes supplied with a twin portal mini extension, which comes in very handy when you need that little bit more length, as well as adding an additional safety factor when the pole is being used at shorter lengths. It also has a decent spares package, which includes two extra side Pull-It power top kits, plus two elastication kits, and a carry case.
But the good news doesn’t stop there, because for those who enjoy their margin fishing, the new 4m M1 Xtreme Animal Tamer pole can also be fitted directly into the M3’s fifth section, offering you even more flexibility – and spare sections – should you need them, and it’s hardly likely to break the bank with an expected asking price of just under £50.
In use, the pole is remarkably lightweight, considering just how much pulling power you can call upon, and while I wouldn’t label it as being rigid at its full 13m length, it certainly won’t leave you with the veins in your neck sticking out like knotted ropes after a few hours of bagging up.
The M3 is ideal for commercial fisheries, and is every bit as strong as its manufacturer claims, plus its striking silver graphics give it a seriously cool top-end look.
Unfortunately, during the live test I didn’t manage to nail a ‘proper-un’ for the cameras, but a procession of stockies certainly provided me with enough confidence to know that should I have hit into a lump the outcome would have been Tackle Editor one, margin monster nil.
Another sure-fire winner from the Middy stable. The top-of-the-range 13m M3 Xtreme Animal tamer, which boasts a 30 strong elastic rating, is more than capable of handling the largest commercial carp. Its good looks are matched with solid no-nonsense performance and ease of handling, placing it among the best poles of this ilk and price.
MAP has got everything right with this powerful margin model that’s more than a match for big fish
Match brand MAP has two new margin poles in its hugely popular TKS range. The 8.7m Competition M1 and M2 are built on the same mandrels as the longer TKS poles.
The M1 is compatible with the 2G 601, 701, 801 and flagship 901 models, while the M2 will interchange with the 2G 401 and 501 poles, making them ideal back-ups for all TKS owners.
However, they have far more going for them than that. Their super Toray carbon specifications include bi-lateral joint reinforcement and high-impact resins for extra durability.
A superb smooth ship finish is teamed with Fusion technology, achieved by bonding together different types of carbon cloths to impart lightness and rigidity to the poles.
Basically MAP has created a couple of outstanding top-end margin poles which work in conjunction with existing TKS 2G models, and have enough raw power and build quality to rank with the best on the market.
The Competition M2 on live test also boasts a section alignment system and an easy ship finish on every section, and comes with pre-bushed side puller Power kits – one inside the pole and a spare – plus a 12-month guarantee.
Its action, or rather the lack of it, is in keeping with that of nearly all top-end modern-day margin poles. This has seen the old willowy through action replaced by an almost belligerent movement across the top three sections – backed by uncompromising rock-solid section wall strength.
Three more unyielding sections take it to its full 8.7m, plenty long enough to reach well beyond the next platform, and beyond the bottom of the near shelf on 99 per cent of commercial fisheries. The pole’s exceptional rigidity is reflected in its quick tip speed and virtually wobble-free post-strike recovery time.
“Ah, but can it handle really big fish?” I hear you cry – you bet your life it can, as was proved at Peterborough’s Kingsland Reservoir, home to some proper lumps. Loaded with No 14 hollow elastic (it’s rated to a 20), the M2 handled everything thrown at it, careering through a procession of near-doubles like a bowling ball through skittles.
Even with the rig tight up against some Norfolk reeds, the new M2 had enough clout to drag any size of fish quickly out of harm’s way.
It’s at this point that its obvious stiffness leads you to conclude that MAP has got this pole spot-on. It’s perfect for those ‘yank and grab’ tactics when fishing tight up against snags and features.
One of the most powerful poles for close-in work ever made, the new MAP M2 Margin is ideal for any commercial heavyweight hauling tactic.
It handles beautifully, and although it’s not the lightest of its kind around, its rock-solid feel confers a comforting sense of security, and inspires confidence in its capabilities to cope with stressful situations.
Its top kits are quite lenghty, at approximately 2.7m, and may be considered by some a tad too long if you fish regularly in very shallow water.
3 x Power Lite Puller kits fitted with PTFE pullers; 3 x Power Lite top two kits; Half-reversible multi-extension to fit 13m and 14.5m sections; 1 x two piece potting kit plus pots; 1 x short fourth section (not shown); 10 x PTFE large internal diameter bushes (not shown); Deluxe holdall (not shown)
The Big One show recently in Farnborough was the perfect place to see many of the leading tackle firms’ latest products.
Once again, thousands of anglers descended on the event, and one of the busiest stands was Garbolino’s, whose striking open-plan blue and white arena had been dressed to perfection with an enthralling collection of new seatboxes, rods, luggage, and accessories.
It was ‘Garbo’s’ new UK pole range which really set tongues wagging though. In fact, many seasoned open match anglers could be heard proclaiming the firm’s flagship UK1 Accomplice Pro model as the best they had ever handled.
The show was so busy that it wasn’t until late on Sunday afternoon that I managed to get a closer look at the new range for myself. It was well worth the wait, as was the uninterrupted commentary from England International and Garbolino UK boss Darren Cox, who, along with match ace Simon Fry, talked me through all of the poles’ finer points.
Was I impressed? You bet I was! After much begging and pleading, I was able to grab the new UK4 Power Carp model that is set to replace the iconic Power Legion, for an impromptu Angling Times live test, but under strict instruction that it was to be returned unblemished within two days!
So, first thing Monday morning saw me pulling in the car park of Decoy’s Six Island Lake, awaiting the arrival of Bauer’s head of photography Mick Rouse, who is set to retire after many years’ superb service to angling!
It isn’t so often that I use this lake for live-testing purposes, and as I tackled up it occurred to me that my first-ever job for Angling Times was at the same lake, with Mick, more than 10 years ago. Was this, then, a case of unexplainable weirdness, or simply coincidence? Who knows, but the fact is, this would, sadly, be our last ever shoot together.
To add even more strangeness to events, the phrase ‘keeping the best for last’ kept ringing loud in my head, especially as the new Garbo UK4 galloped through the live test with a grace that I hadn’t expected from a claimed ‘Power’ model.
For instance, its section joints are incredibly smooth, with the blue tinged carbon reinforcing used to give the joints added resilience, coming together with a resounding thump when shipping-up. When the pole had a little too much weight hanging over the roller (due to the proximity of another lake behind me) taking the sections apart was a cinch, even with a hard-fighting fish on the other end.
Neither did the joints so much as threaten to stick together – 10 out of 10! The test pole’s side puller top-kit had been pre-fitted with hollow No10, which was probably less than half of the elastic strength rating the pole could easily cope with.
Boasting a ‘Power Carp’ tag, you would expect its sections to have robust wall strength, easily capable of coping with a heavyweight hauling session, and they certainly don’t disappoint in this department. I didn’t actually try jumping up and down on them, but I felt I could. You’d struggle to even annoy one with a fish!
So all that brutish force must come with a downside, yes? Surely this pole has to be top heavy, or as well balanced and stable as a giraffe on a step ladder on ice! Well, the answer is no!
It’s amazingly stiff, with a good tip speed, and I used it all day with little more than a few inches of line between pole tip and float at 14.5m without any trouble at all. Oh, and check out the pole package. It’s very impressive!
The clue’s probably in its name. This is an out-and-out bag-up, no-nonsense power pole. All joking aside, though, ounce for ounce and pound for pound this is almost certainly the strongest and best balanced pole of its kind that I have ever picked up.
Pole: 16m 2EX-S 50#1 pole with top kit inside (also available at 14.5m)
Package: Five spare pre-bushed top-2 kits, extra third section, cupping kit, Square Pole Protector
Weight: 1,477g at 16m
German tackle giant Browning has launched some stunning poles over the years, such as the Xitan range which came with features that were a revelation to UK match anglers.
The poles had single length pre-bushed top kits, intermediate dolly sections and elongated butt sections. These days all these features, novel in their time, can be found on virtually all top-end poles from a number of manufacturers.
Then, last year, came Browning’s Euro-inspired Hyper Carp rods, a pair of carbon enforcers with enough grunt to halt a charging rhino and more than capable of landing the largest of carp when teamed with the right elastics.
That brings us nicely up to speed, so what have the Germans got in store for us this season? Well, in keeping with what’s happening here in the UK, where there’s been a resurgence in silverfish matches on natural venues, Browning has introduced its new
four-model 2EX-S range. These are all-round poles, at prices to suit most pockets.
The one likely to generate the most interest among UK match anglers, I reckon, is the sub-£1000 2EX-S 50#1 16m pole. I can’t begin to fathom how or why Browning came up with this mightily forgettable name, but I’m sure anglers will come up with their own – ‘To Excess’, maybe?
However, it’s what’s going for it in the fishing department that’s important. Allow me to enlighten you as to its technical attributes.
This 10-section 16m pole is built from a mix of graded carbons which have allowed Browning to keep it light and stiff without sacrificing too much power.
Each one of its numbered sections has handy alignment points, as well as overwrapped joint ends which add to its longevity. Browning has also incorporated strengthening stress points, and visible grip areas towards the tops of the fourth, fifth and sixth sections. These help with shipping out and breaking down.
To that little lot you can add a revolutionary Square Pole Protector section which makes it more comfortable to hold at longer lengths, and five pre-bushed top kits (plus one inside the pole) which require no cutting back. Just add elastic and go fishing, which is exactly what I did at the picturesque day-ticket Stretton Lakes just off the A1 north of Peterborough.
With the wind trying its damnedest to blow it from my grip, its wasn’t ever going to be easy to judge how good or otherwise the 2EX-S 50#1 was at its longer lengths. I’d be fibbing if I said it was as easy to fish with at its full 16m as at 13m or 14.5m lengths. That said, it fairly zipped through my hands, which was handy, because a string of small roach that had become more of a hindrance than a help were able to be dealt with in double-quick time.
When the odd carp did start putting in an appearance, though, the added security of the reinforced sections definitely engendered a feeling of confidence.
And as the winter sun dipped below the horizon I was glad I had stayed on fishing till the close of day – something that only happens when you’re really enjoying yourself!
What’s not to like about this pole? it looks good, has great technical features, and comes with an impressive spares package of pre-bushed same-length top kits that don’t need cutting back. It’s equally at home on natural venues and commercial carp fisheries, making it an ideal buy for the serious club match angler who gets to visit lots of different venues over the course of a season.
Oculus 999 16m pole, one Match kit housed inside the pole, fIve Powerlite Power kits (pre-slotted and bushed), Mini extension
Elastic rating: 20-plus
Extras: Three EVA Clean Caps, deluxe pole holdall and protective tubes, informative DVD
RRP £1,335 SSP £999.99
Besides being most anglers’ dream job, the role of tackle editor does give you a unique insight into exactly how and why companies develop their products.
That’s pretty much what happened when a chance visit to Maver HQ last year saw their boss Phil Briscoe handing me an unnamed and unfinished 16m pole. He was hoping to develop it into the best of its kind for under a grand.
My first thought was that the raw pole was good, very good in fact, but at its full length it had a little bit too much mid-section softness. As a result, the tip section had too much movement – so its backbone would need stiffening up a bit if the top section were to have more recovery speed.
Moving on a few months, I again found myself at Maver’s Redditch base, this time to cover their excellent product launches for 2016. As you would, I asked Mr Briscoe if the pole with no name I had seen a few months ago was ready to be unveiled.
“We’re nearly there with it, Mark,” Phil replied. “It’s been a bit of a long slog, but well worth it. Here, take a look for yourself!” – and he handed me a holdall full of sections. Those as-yet unadorned carbon tubes came together with an altogether different feel to the last time I had handled the pole. Now it felt really stiff at its full length, with little discernible movement post-strike at the tip.
I remember thinking that Phil had accidentally handed me a flagship three grand model, such was its rigidity. It boasted Teflon joints on its third, fourth, fifth and sixth sections for added longevity, and just like all good modern-day poles, it came with pre-fitted PTFE side slotted top kits.
The technical side of its construction was then fully explained to me, and without sounding overly geeky and dull, it’s pretty impressive. The pole is made from high-tensile Japanese carbon, reinforced with toughened epoxy resins, before being treated to another strengthening process.
Add Nanolith fibre technology and the bottom line is that this is one tough cookie. Yet its lightness and finish make this pole just as much at home speed fishing for silvers as crunching out commercial carp.
All that it lacked was a name and some graphics, and Mr Briscoe promised me that as soon as he had a finished sample he would send one through to Angling Times. Lo and behold, two weeks ago a large package arrived from Maver.
It’s called the Oculus 999. I don’t know about the Oculus bit, but 999 no doubt refers to the fast-response services this pole offers the serious angler.
A few hours spent with it at Lincolnshire’s impressive and pristinely kept Westwood Lakes fishery saw the Maver Oculus slicing its way through shoals of ide, roach and skimmers at 13m using light elastics, small hooks and maggot rigs.
Then, later in the day, and used at its full 16m length up against an island with heavier elastics and winter corn rigs, it proceeded to trawl its way through carp of all sizes. Faultless, completely brilliant.
I simply cannot believe that a pole of this stature, with so many admirable qualities, can be owned for just a penny under a grand.
Come to think of it, that probably explains its 999 configuration more accurately than my own take on it – and as for ‘Oculus’, well, it’s an eye-opener well worth looking out for!
Maver’s Phil Briscoe set out to make the best all-round pole on the market for under a thousand pounds, and in my opinion he’s done just that. Yes, I know it’s all been said before, but technology marches on and pole production techniques are still evolving.
Take my advice, if you’re looking to upgrade from your current pole, or you have a budget ceiling of £1,000, get yourself down to your nearest Maver dealer, take a long hard look at it, then tell me I’m wrong!
Matrix Nemesis 1000 pole package (13m option)
Package: Three top-5 kits, Ethos holdall
Matrix Nemesis 1000 pole package (16m option)
Package: Four top-3 kits, top-4 kit, Ethos holdall
If you’re a fan of the commercial carp match scene, this latest Matrix Nemesis 1000 pole should definitely be on your radar.
The 16m model, available now following its pre-Christmas unveiling, is the second generation of Nemesis pole – and considerably cheaper than the original top-end model.
It is, though, built on exactly the same 10-sectioned mandrel as its flagship stablemate, which handily makes all sections interchangeable between the two. If you’re already a Nemesis owner, this offers cheap insurance against broken sections.
However, the Nemesis 1000 is not merely a cheap alternative to its predecessor. It’s a very decent pole which, just like its wallet-stretching big brother, is intended for out-and-out commercial fishery use.
Matrix front man Ricky Teale has a lifetime’s experience of match fishing to draw on and works with Matrix-backed commercial match aces Les Thompson, Warren Martin and Grant Albutt to design the very best commercial gear. Not surprisingly, then, every last inch of this pole is built with an eye to winning the coin. Starting with its slightly roughened, easy-grip finish that allows it to be shipped in and out fast, it simply oozes winning features.
It has linear build for section wall strength, and reinforced anti-ovalling joints to inspire confidence when unshipping and breaking the pole down under stress – this applies particularly to its most often used third and fourth joint areas.
I’d be fibbing if I said the pole performs as well at its full 16m as it does at 13m and 14.5m. But for a
sub-£1,000 model this is to be expected, and its overall performance is still very impressive.
At 16m it isn’t that quick to recover post-strike, but it’s more than usable and doesn’t show any signs of
top-heaviness. Its ample wall strength copes with margin work and it retains enough rigidity, even at its full length, to permit splashing a shallow rig or fishing tight up against an island with a very short line without the tip constantly hitting the water.
Just like its Nemesis flagship counterpart it isn’t the lightest pole ever built, nor should it be. It has been designed specifically for big fish and bagging-up tactics. In windy conditions you can really hang on to it, when its weight works in your favour, keeping the pole steady at all times. If you don’t believe me, just have a look at the poles used by some of the UK’s most respected big-fish anglers. It’s a fact that lightest is not always best.
Stiff without being top heavy, powerful yet sensitive, steady without being clumsy, the Nemesis 1000 ticks all these boxes. But best of all, it instils an enormous degree of confidence. There’s no question of sections splitting or wearing out.
What’s more, if you shop around carefully, the pole is currently available for under £850.
The new 16m Matrix Nemesis 1000 offers commercial match anglers of all abilities a powerful and reliable pole at a bargain price. Its performance is comparable with that of any pole in this price range. Unless you fished it at its full 16m length on every outing, you would find it very hard to find fault.
True length: 16m (with half butt fitted)
Closed length: 1,830mm
Top-2 length: 2,400mm
Top-3 length: 3950mm
Weight at 13m (8 sections): 790g
Weight at 14.5m (9 sections): 1060g
Weight at 16m (10 sections without half butt): 1300g
Number of sections: 10
16m Response pole
Section 9/10 half extension
Three Match top-3 kits (3.95m)
Two Match top-2 kits (2.4m)
Six Roller Pulla Power top-2 kit (2.4m)
Section 7/8 Bi-Conical Mini Extension
Section 5/6 Bi-Conical Mini Extension
Monster Response Holdall
EVA Elastic Alignment cones with PTFE bushes
Kupping Kit and Kups
Roller Pulla F1 top-2 kit (2.4m)
F1 Short Stop (1.85m)
Short No3 section
Universal 1.7m extension
Launched just a month or so ago, Preston Innovations’ new flagship Response M90 pole is ‘selling like hot cakes.’
That’s quite some testament to its performance, especially when you consider that now is the time of year when everyone is saving for the big family Christmas – historically, a quiet time for the tackle trade.
For the more minted in our ranks, this pole will set you back £2,999.99 – you could buy an awful lot of tinsel, crackers and fairy lights for that.
Still, as always, you get what you pay for, in this case a whole load of the finest grade Japanese Torayca carbon, wrapped around mandrels and transformed into a stunning 10-piece, 16m beauty – and a strong contender for the title of ‘stiffest pole ever’.
I haven’t spoken to Prestons about the hows, whens and whys of the pole’s development, but it’s my bet that England match aces Messrs Shipp and Pickering were both directly involved in its creation. I say that, because once it’s assembled the aptly-named Response 90 shows every sign of a master craftsman’s touches.
It’s phenomenally stiff without being brittle. It’s very light at longer lengths, which makes for quick and easy feeding and pinpoint rig presentation. Its shipping qualities make it a quicksilver-fast speed machine.
However there’s more, lots more, and if you slip on one of its 2.4m-long Roller Pulla Power top kits (of which an impressive six are supplied) it has ample section wall strength and linear flexibility to quickly tame the very largest commercial carp.
Yes, this stunning pole is indeed the match angler’s match pole, developed by the best, for use by the accomplished.
My live test session on the lump-littered Lou’s Lake at Decoy Fisheries confirmed the pole’s mettle in every department. Fishing long at 13m up against a bed of tackle-grabbing Norfolk reeds, with heavy elastics and matching rigs, I won every tug-of-war with fish up to around 8lb, despite their determination to get their heads – and my rig – into the roots.
The pole’s short Bi-Conical sections which fit on to sections 5-6 and 7-8 gave the necessary confidence for a spot of margin marauding, and proved more than tough enough to withstand the odd over-exuberant strike.
Female section ends are internally reinforced, while there are extra weaves on the male joint ends, greatly reducing carbon section fatigue.
This stunning Prestons creation truly comes into its own when fished at its full 16m (including its half extension). Wow! Its degree of stiffness is well nigh nonsensical. I have seen and handled poles with this degree of rigidity before, but they never had any sort of elastic rating, and were likely to snap when something less shocking than the sun disappearing behind a cloud occurred.
As you can see from the picture, I only had one pole roller with me – schoolboy error. But so excited was I by the pole’s performance that at one stage I shipped it back with a fish still pulling away on the other end, so its entire 16m length was hanging over the roller with all the back weight resting on the sixth section.
At this point most poles will break! it’s no fault of the pole, just poor angling practice. But not this time. Gingerly I fed the sections back out before breaking down at a longer length. What a test of section strength the Response 90 had just passed!
No-one who has seen or handled the new Response 90 would argue that it is Preston Innovations’ best-ever pole. It’s sharp as a tack, with the reaction speed of a striking cobra.
Built from probably the finest carbon fibre in the world, its steely sections impart the kind of confidence that comes from using the very best.
And it comes with the most impressive array of pre-bushed top kits and carbon add-on sections you will find anywhere.
Daiwa’s award-winning Air pole has just got even better!
With critical adjustments made to key areas and redesigned final three sections adding 10cm to the length, the awesome Air now delivers even better feel and responsiveness at its full 16m length.
The pole package option now allows you to tailor all your top kits to your individual needs – there’s an option of Power or Match kits. Look out for an exclusive live test review only in Angling Times.
As the silverfish match revival picks up pace, whips will form an increasingly important part of the matchman’s armoury.
These five new telescopic whips in 2m, 2.5m, 3m, 3.5m and 4m lengths have super-fine carbon tips and will bring small fish quickly to hand.
Walking the vast halls of this year’s Big One show, one pole grabbed my attention more than any other – the Colmic Force H1 Slim.
At first glance I thought it was a super-long landing net handle, so thin was the diameter of the butt section. When top match angler Jamie Masson told me it was actually a margin pole, I had to check to make sure it wasn’t April Fools’ Day.
The slim profile of the 10m Force H1 is indeed thinner than some landing net poles I’ve used in the past, but Jamie was keen to stress the raw power that this pole packed.
Picking one up and having a waggle it felt light, well balanced and perfectly usable as a pole for fishing open water at short range as well as being a tool for margin monsters.
But how has Colmic managed it? We think that Continental tackle manufacturers don’t have a clue about gear needed for the UK but the Italian company has some of the best British commercial carp anglers on the case including Mr Masson and Parkdean Masters champion Jamie Wilde. Forget a lightweight pole that will fold in half at the first sign of a carp. The H1 is built to do one thing – stop a double-figure carp in its tracks.
Made from full carbon using Colmic’s Pro Force technology with titanium reinforcement in all the right areas, you just know that the pole won’t give at the crucial moment and I couldn’t wait to get cracking with it! In readiness for the warmer summer weather a pole was despatched for testing and geared up with some serious elastic.
Just handling the pole gives you confidence, as each section has a solid feel about it with little give under pressure. It looks and feels strong.
Heading to Westwood Lakes’ Kingfisher Lake, at full length the H1 put me within striking distance of the platform next door, flanked by lush reeds in around 2ft 6ins of water.
Now the pole isn’t light at 10m and nor should it be. This is an out-and-out power pole with plenty of weight to back up its strength, but how many times do you fish at this range in the margins? Not often, and around half that length often suffices. At 6m the pole is very light and manageable.
Nor is it a poker. True, there is a lot of stiffness, but the super-strong Power top kit has enough flex in it to prevent breakage when a big carp runs, and there’s enough bend to hit sharp bites quickly, but not so much that it wobbles like a diving board at the local pool.
The provided top kit is pre-bushed and features a side puller system, while inside the pole is a Match kit that can easily be turned into a Power kit by throwing away the slim No1 section. There is no cupping kit, so perhaps that Match kit may need sacrificing to make one.
Fishing big baits like double worm and corn, the lake produced carp and also big bream and tench – a very different proposition which the pole handled superbly. At no point did it bend alarmingly and leave me wondering if Colmic had any spare sections in stock owing to an imminent explosion of carbon.
The only negative I can think of is that you’ll have to shell out for extra top kits but in all honesty, one kit is enough for fishing the edge and the pole also comes with a short extension to fish that little bit further out.
Fish with the H1 and there’s no creaking or straining of the sections when a fish is hooked – this power pole laughs at big carp and then gives them a big cosh over the head.
I’ve handled many poles claiming to be powerful down the years but nothing comes close to the H1. It’s well made, impressively strong but still light and very, very fishable. Confidence in fishing cannot be bought, so they say, but having this pole in your bag when the time comes to fish the margins will go a long way towards giving you that in spades!
£199.99, shop around £145
The new Middy Supplex 4GS Speed Whip is the ideal combination fishing tool for silverfish and carp. The 8m pole comes with a telescopic top three whip section featuring a built-in flicktip, perfect for taking all small silverfish.
It also comes with a take-apart top kit with a No20 elastic rating that can be safely used for playing big carp. The Speed Whip’s fifth, sixth and seventh section joints also have reinforced metallic collars to ensure breakages are highly unlikely.