Matrix X Carp Margin 8m £179.99 (pole only)
Matrix X Carp Margin 9.5m £279.99 (includes spare top-3 and mini extension)
Fox International’s match brand Matrix has come a long way in a very short time under the guidance of former Preston Innovations managing director Ricky Teale.
With two of the biggest purse winners in match fishing as its senior consultants – Les Thompson and Warren Martin – Matrix is not afraid to take calculated risks. Last year, for example, it launched its first-ever carbon pole, the top of range Nemesis, retailing at a cool £2,999.99. Many wise heads in the angling trade thought the price was somewhat overcooked, especially from a fledgling brand. They were wrong – the Nemesis soon found favour with the UK’s top match anglers, mainly because its strength and all-round capabilities made it the ideal companion for the open circuit.
The latest Matrix carbon pole offerings, due in the shops mid-June, are far more affordable and middle of the road than that wallet-sapping 16m flagship model. They come in the form of 8m and 9.5m Carp Margin poles. Both have top-3 kits that will happily interchange with the Nemesis, but there the resemblance ends.
That doesn’t mean, though, that these new poles are underwhelming poor relations. They are perfectly built for what they are meant to do, and by their very nature that means they need to be both flexible and durable to withstand pressure from very big fish and steer them firmly away from snags.
So, with prices of £279.99 for the 9.5m model and just £179.99 for the 8m version, what do you get for your money? Kit-wise they are both a bit on the shy side. The shorter 8m pole (as live tested) does not come with any spare top kits at all, although they can be bought separately for £69.99. The 9.5m model is accompanied by a single spare top-3 and mini extension. Okay, so they are not particularly well endowed in the package department!
This shortcoming, though, is more than made up for in performance. The super-slim put-in sectioned poles demonstrate sheer unbridled brute strength when it’s needed, thanks to thick-walled sections that give you the confidence to heave away with all your might.
Every joint has been reinforced with an extra carbon wrap, so even when they are under severe stress they will still come apart without sticking. Matrix gives both poles a recommended maximum 20 elastic rating, and I wouldn’t argue with that. However, I would recommend, since the top kits come with an undrilled reinforced side puller area, that you make use of these, with the top sections cut back sufficiently to house a large internal PTFE bush.