Back in April 2017, I got to exclusively live test what was, at the time, Browning’s flagship pole – the 16m Sphere Zero F1+.
For technical carbon innovations, design, lightness, stiffness and its generous spares package it had few, if any rivals. It was, and still is for that matter, a stunning pole, and a strong contender for the world’s best.
So imagine my surprise when, on my annual December pilgrimage to Browning’s German HQ, I was told there was going to be a new and apparently improved Sphere Zero. I didn’t see that one coming!
Sure enough, at 2018’s The Big One show Browning did unveil the new Sphere Zero-GF1 PT+... and what a pole it is!
It packs a little extra ‘oomph’ to handle bigger fish, although it follows very much in the footsteps of its famous predecessor as being a superbly light and stiff pole, aimed at the accomplished match angler who wants the very best.
The new PT+ includes the same full range of unique features that made the Sphere pole so special, and is hand-built from the highest quality Japanese carbon.
The critical middle sections have been strengthened by around 15 per cent, making a small difference to the pole’s overall weight, although its ‘on the bank’ performance is said to be very close to that of the original F1+.
The Sphere Zero-GF1 PT+ includes Multi-kits, which allow top kits to be used either at the conventional 2.5m length or as 1.75m one-piece kits, with no loss of overall pole length. All top kits are pre-fitted with adjustable Duo-bushes, alongside a special version of Browning’s unique Square Ergonomic Pole Protector sections which make fishing at long lengths and in windy conditions comfortable and stable.
Unique Tactile Precision Points are raised areas on the butt sections which can be felt as you ship the pole out. These allow for accurate fishing without looking down for painted lines or numbers, and they act as a ‘stop’ by marking the end of the pole.
Like its predecessor, the PT+ does not specify an elastic rating, and indeed this is no real measure of a pole’s strength.
Suffice to say that in the hands of a skilled matchman the PT+ is perfectly strong enough for all match fishing situations.
Two years ago I took the original Sphere Zero F1+ to Decoy’s Beastie Lake, where it performed flawlessly with some decent carp and barbel to around 8lb – so it seemed only right and fitting to take its successor to the same lake to compare performances.
For those of you who may already own a Sphere, I can tell you that the new PT+ has exactly the same technical features as the original, and a hugely impressive spares package.
The price paid for added strength is that the pole weighs a little more. While this does give more stability in the wind, you do notice a bit more top-end tip weight.
If I’m honest, Browning’s claimed 15 per cent stronger mid-sections felt more than that to me. But bottom line, if I owned a Sphere I would probably invest in the new PT 4th, 5th and 6th sections and use them when really big fish are on the cards.
If, however, you don’t own a Sphere F1, and are in the market for the best commercial fishery pole that money can buy, then you need look no further.