16m Sphere Zero-G pole
1m Sphere extender section
Square ergonomic pole protectors
Reversible pole protector to fit sections 6 and 7
13 x 2/1 Sphere Duo 3.9mm and 4.5mm Multikits
Two short C/3 sections
Full length D/4 section
Xitan multi-pocket holdal
Choose any superlative you like, they can all be applied to the stunning new flagship Browning Sphere Zero-G F1 Plus 16m.
As ever, Browning is ahead of the game when it comes to pole-building, and full marks to whoever came up with ‘Tactile Precision Points’. These are raised areas on the butt sections that you can feel as you ship out, enabling pinpoint accuracy when feeding and fishing without the need to look down for painted markings.
Then there’s the ‘Multikit’ top kit that can be used conventionally at 2.5m or as a 1.75m one-piece kit without any loss of pole length. To those clever innovations you can add a new metre-long Extender butt section which either takes the pole up to its full 17m, or offers different length options when fishing against islands or features. Finally, special versions of Browning’s unique SEPPS square pole protector sections make fishing at longer lengths and in windy conditions stable and safe.
The Sphere is built from the highest quality Japanese carbons to provide the optimum marriage of weight, stiffness and strength. No wonder Browning claims it will out-perform rival flagship poles in all these respects. As you can see from the image, the pole at its full 16m length is beyond poker-stiff. And on one of the wildest, windiest, wettest days of the year the Sphere still turned in a blistering performance.
An assortment of big F1s and carp from Decoy’s Beastie Lake never stood a chance against my short line pellet tactics. Interestingly, Browning doesn’t specify an elastic rating for the Sphere. Instead the company claims that it should cope with any situation where a conventional top-end pole would be the tool of choice.
In case you think Browning’s reticence on the subject is a bit of a cop-out, you can forget any notion that this pole is all six-pack with no real poke. Rigged with hollow size 10 elastic through the 1.75m top kit, it coped admirably with hard-fighting F1s and carp to around 6lb, even as it was flung around unceremoniously by the gale-force wind.
What’s more, due to lack of space behind me, it had to be unshipped twice before I netted the fish. Potentially very tricky – but the Sphere’s non-stick joints, over-wrapped and banded on its high-wear sections, made the task a doddle. There were times during the live test when my heart was in my mouth, notably when the wind blew with such gusto that the pole took on a snake-like shape. With a decent fish attached to the business end it was being put under severe stress, but I had no need to worry.
I wouldn’t suggest that this pole is ideal for crunching out a netful of really big fish. Instead the Sphere has sublime poise, balance and lightness at any length. Arguably stiffer than any pole currently on the market, it has an instant response tip speed with minimal visible recoil or bounce. No wonder many top UK match anglers have splashed out the cash in return for near-perfection – the Zero-G really seems to defy gravity!
Other than having to send it back after the live test, there was nothing I didn’t like about the new top-end Sphere Zero-G pole. It’s stunningly stiff, quick and lightweight at 16m. It ships like a dream, and the Tactile Precision Points along the butt sections really do what they claim to. The square pole protectors add an extra dimension when you’re fishing long, or in strong winds, providing you with something comfy, strong and reliable to hang on to.