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.