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!