Fishing the pole is a great way of presenting a rig very accurately for all kinds of coarse fish, including carp, bream, tench and roach.
It means you can fish tight up to features such as islands up to 16m away and use light tackle to get more bites, because no casting is involved.
You get what you pay for when purchasing a long pole, which ranges from as little as £50 to nearly £4,000! We're going to focus on the best poles you can buy for less than £1,000.
What should you look for when buying a pole?
Rigidity & balance - How straight is a pole and how quickly does the tip recover after applying a strike? Stiff poles tend to have much less 'bounce' at the tip end. Balance is all about correct 'feel' as you don't want it to feel top heavy i.e pulling away from you.
Wall strength - The thicker a section diameter the stronger it's likely to be, but also the heavier too. Look for signs of reinforced points at vital areas such as the end of the joints too.
Weight - The weight of a pole isn't a massive issue, especially if you need a power pole. Of far more importance is how stiff it is and it's overall balance.
Finish - This will determine how easy a pole is to ship in and out through your hands. Some finishes have taping, others have a slick/painted finish, e.g the butt sections.
Spares package - How many spare top kits or extras such as half extensions and cupping kits you get with the pole. Some poles offer packages tailored to power or general match fishing.
Our top 10 picks
(In no particular order)
1.Preston Innovations Pro Type 510 pole
"Good all-rounder with the package to boot"
THE PACKAGE: 16m Pole | 4 x Roller Pulla Power Kits | Match Kit | Kup Kit | Kups and Adaptor | Half Extension
PAY AROUND: £849.99
•Good wall strength, including reinforced butt sections
•Section alignment arrows to line the pole up for maximum performance
•Good package, including Roller Pulla Kits and half butt
•Excellent finish, even in the wet
•Loses stiffness a little at 14.5m and 16m lengths
A great improvement on Preston’s original Pro Type poles, this new top-of-the-range 510 boasts plenty of small but key add-ons, including the Roller Pullas and section alignment.
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.
If you're a keen match angler this is absolutely bang on for the money, although to get the best out of it performance wise we'd recommend hollow elastics of a 12 or below, not thick heavy versions.
READ OUR FULL REVIEW HERE
Daiwa Matchwinner C3 Pole
"Smart and reliable... typically Daiwa"
THE PACKAGE: 14.5m pole | 3 x Power top three kits (4mm tip) | Phex | Cupping kit with cups | Short No4 section | Mini extension | Holdall and tubes
PAY AROUND: £725
•All spare match and power kits are pre-fitted with with 3mm/4mm pure PTFE bushes
•Mini extension protects the more expensive end sections when used
•Eye-catching silver butt sections, usually more associated with Daiwa's top end Tournament, Air and Airity models
•Nicely rigid at its full 14.5m length
•No optional 16m section available. You'll have to upgrade to another pole to go longer, although the Match Winner range is all fully compatible.
You'll love the sheer range of features incorporated into this mid-range pole. Daiwa has strategically placed reinforced areas on the pole only where they're needed most, so you don't get any unnecessary extra weight.
Steely rigidity is a feature of most of Daiwa's poles, even here at a £700 price point. And it's a pole which definitely looks the part too.
Great performance and well-balanced at 13m and 14.5m lengths, this is a good all around choice and there's plenty of change left from £1,000 too!
READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE MATCH WINNER C5, THE TOP END MODEL IN THE RANGE
3. MAP TKS 401 2G
"2G takes the TKS range even further - stiff and superb finish"
THE PACKAGE: 14.5m pole | Pre-bushed puller match kit | 3 x pre-bushed puller power kits | 2 x pre bushed match puller kits | Rigid cupping kit with cups | Reinforced mini extension | Deluxe pole holdall
PAY AROUND: £849.99
•Very stiff pole for the money
•Excellent anti-friction finish
•Comprehensive package includes six top kits and a cupping kit
•TKS top kits are very long and may need cutting back further to make them more manageable
•Pole sections are quite thick in overall diameter.
How could MAP improve its highly-acclaimed TKS range further? Well its introduction of the 2g versions for 2017 have done that and more.
The 401 2g is 48g lighter than its predecessor, despite maintaining the same mandrel and remaining deceptively strong. At 14.5m it's very good for it's sub-£1,000 price tag and you'll be able to react quickly to fast bites from fish such as F1s.
We love the finish on MAP poles like this as it makes them very easy to ship and generally use. A bit more re-inforcement around the joint ends might have been useful to prevent wear, although this would undoubtedly have been at the sacrifice of adding a bit more weight.
4. Shimano Beastmaster AX Commercial pole
"As strong as a margin pole but usable at long lengths"
THE PACKAGE: 16m pole | 6 x Top 2 Gen-X Power EV kit | 1 x Top 2 Gen-X EV cupping kit | Holdall
PAY AROUND: £899.99
•Extremely strong with impressive wall strength
•Great Super Slik finish
•Reinforced Joint System protects the pole ends against wear and cracks.
•Slim diameter sections.
•Pole supplied at a 16m length as standard.
•This isn't a light pole because it's a commercial fishery pole
This isn't a new pole, in fact it's six years old, but it's testament to the Beastmaster's popularity that it hasn't been superseded by Shimano and is still going strong. And strong is definitely the operative word here.
Make no mistake about it this is an out and out pole for commercial fisheries. Granted it's by no means the lightest but it does mean you can do absolutely anything with it, from heavy margin work to fishing up-in-the-water long.
Remember you can use a carp pole such as this for roach fishing, but you can't use a roach pole for carp fishing! Surprisingly well-balanced at full length with an emphasis on power.
5. Middy Nano-Core XP35-2 pole
"A consistently good performer with loads of extras thrown in"
THE PACKAGE: 14.5m and 16m pole options | 3 x additional Karp 2 kits | Cupp kit | 4 x elastication kits | Rigid Extra-Short 4th | Safe-Zone mini reversible butts | Carry case
PAY AROUND: £899.99 to £975
•Options to buy at two different lengths depending how far you need to fish
•Great extras including the short no4 to stiffen the pole
•Weighs only 870g at 13m
•Not the best at full 16m length but this is to be expected at a sub-£1,000 price point
Middy has really stepped up its game in the pole market in recent years at all price points and the XP35-2 is no exception.
What is impressive is the bonus extras supplied with this pole. We love all the little touches such as the EVA domed ends on the reversible half butt, extra short number four and even the elastication packs so you can rig the pole up or use immediately.
All top kits are reinforced for a 'pull it' area to fit a puller-type bush. We definitely recommend using a puller system rather than the standard bungs supplied in the elastication pack, especially if you intend to fish hollow elastics or elastics heavier than a grade 6.
READ OUR FULL LIVE TEST HERE
6. Maver Oculus 799 pole
"Lightweight and very well balanced at this price point"
THE PACKAGE: 16m pole | Match kit inside the pole | 3 x Powerlite power kits, slotted & bushed | Mini extension | Cupping kit & cups | 3 x EVA clean caps | Deluxe pole holdall & protective tubes
PAY AROUND: £899.99
•Very lightweight pole weighing just 810g at 13m, including the mini extension
•Excellent Suncore anti-friction finish
•Topkits already fitted with bushes and puller slots
•Teflon joints on sections 3 - 6 to add longevity
•We'd have welcomed a few more top kits or a cupping kit included in the package to match that of its competitors
Maver has long been a key player in poles around this price mark and the Oculus 799 is no exception.
A serious contender in the sub-£1,000 stakes, the finish and minimal weight of this Reglass pole makes it a real pleasure to fish with. It's typically 'Maver stiff' even at long lengths, certainly as good as you'd expect for under £900.
There's little not to like about this pole, even down to the Teflon joints to reduce wear on the heavily use lower sections. It's performance, plus that of its bigger brother the Oculus 999, certainly surprised our Tackle Editor when tested last year.
7. Browning 2 EX-S 50#1 pole
"Comprehensive package although we're not sure about the graphics"
THE PACKAGE: 16m pole | Five spare pre-bushed top-2 kits | Extra third section | Cupping kit | Square Pole Protector half butt
PAY AROUND: £899
•Pre-bushed top kits nicely cut back
•A 14.5m package is also available if you have no use fort a 16m section
•The square pole protector is a nice touch, making it more comfortable on the elbow when fishing at long lengths
•At 16m it's nowhere near as easy to fish with as at its 13m and 14.5m lengths
Putting the slightly weird and wacky name aside for a minute, you'll find an all-around pole with an emphasis on all kinds of fishing, not just out and out carp crunching. This is reflected in its elastic rating of a size 16.
Browning has put an emphasis on keeping this pole light and stiff, without sacrificing strength and it shows. We love how well reinforced the potentially vulnerable sections ends are, particularly on the larger butt sections which can be prone to cracks when held near the end and applying a hard strike.
Overall this is a really well thought out pole, it even includes special 'grip' areas near the tops of the fourth, fifth and sixth sections to help when shipping and breaking down.
8. Matrix Nemesis 1000 pole
"A 13m version of a top end power pole"
THE PACKAGE: 13m pole | 3 x Top 5 Kits | Ethos holdall
PAY AROUND: £899.99
•Great finish for shipping
•Sections fully interchangeable with the top of the range original Nemesis
•A 16m package is also available if you can stretch to £1199
•Top five kits means plenty of spare sections
•Not the lightest pole here, especially at the longer lengths
The Nemesis 1000 is the younger brother of Matrix's flagship original Nemesis pole, but it's less expensive and has more emphasis on power and strength.
You'll find this pole isn't the lightest but where commercial fishing is concerned lightest isn't always best. It means you can use the Nemesis 1000 with complete confidence, especially in windy conditions when you can really hang on to it.
On the downside for less than £1,000 you'll only get the 13m version. But this is reflective in the fact that, performance wise, this is getting towards a top-end commercial pole. And if you don't go out to 14.5m and 16m lengths then the 13m length is fine, as it will also double up for margin work.
9. Garbolino UK5 Procarp Match pole
"A versatile 13m model with some nice touches"
THE PACKAGE: 13m Pole | 3 x Power Lite Puller kits fitted with PTFE Pullers | Power Lite top 2 kit | Half reversible multi extensions to fit 11.5/13m sections | Two-piece Potting kit and pots | 10 x PTFE bushes | Deluxe holdall
PAY AROUND: £799.99
•Good package, especially with the custom fitted puller slots, which work brilliantly
•Very light and stiff at full 13m length
•Reversible half extensions protect the butt sections
•A 14.5m section would have been nice, although there are various length models and packages in the Procarp range to suit
Garbolino says that the UK5 Procarp Match is the lightest and most rigid pole in the Procarp range and they're not wrong.
To achieve weight reduction it has used higher grades of carbon-fibre cloth, but with special attention paid to all the key section stress areas and joints. This means super-strong ‘anti-ovalling’ female joints with reinforced areas picked out in blue – they are tough as old boots.
This is a very responsive pole but then again at 13m it should be. It's when the 14.5m and 16m sections are added that the real test comes for any pole. Unfortunately if you want that from this range then you'll have to spend considerably more.
In summary, given its performance at its maximum stated length, this pole represents very good value for money with the strength to match.
READ OUR FULL LIVE TEST HERE
10. Tri-Cast Venom Pro Competition
"Rigid pole with some serious 'bite'
THE PACKAGE: 14m pole | Big Bore top kit inside the pole | 3 x Big Bore Power top 2 kits | 1 x Xtra Stiff Cupping top 2 with 2 cups | Pole holdall with tubes | Baseball cap and towel
PAY AROUND: £829.99
•Exceptional section wall strength and joint reinforcement
•Stiff and well-balanced, no top heavy feel
•We'd have welcome further touches such as section alignment arrows
Tr-Cast has long been associated with super strong poles but in years gone by some felt that this was at a compromise of weight and overall performance. Not any more.
The Venom Pro's high modulus carbon fibre cloths, with newly developed resins, make for a lightweight, poker-stiff pole. At its full length its stiffness makes hitting fast bites or fishing up in the water an easy task.
What this pole does best of all is land fish quickly. It’s a power house rather than an all-rounder, yet we're pleasantly surprised to report that it’s not overly heavy or difficult to manage.
It does exactly what Tri-Cast says it will – handle anything that swims in a commercial fishery.
READ OUR FULL LIVE TEST HERE