Now in their third decade of production, Browning’s evergreen multi-award-winning Black Magic poles rank among the most popular of all time.
The originals were no-nonsense tools to cope with large fish using hefty elastics and resolute rigs.
As time moved on, though, all Black Magic models acquired a more modern feel, their added section wall strength making them much stiffer and more robust than their predecessors.
They also handle better, and their top-kit packages are designed in keeping with modern commercial tactics. That said, the Black Magic tradition of performance at an affordable price remains unchanged. And to that end, this latest Black Magic Carp is a proper chip off the old block.
This all-carbon 11m pole is reasonably light at 958g, given that its thick section walls defy ovalling or splitting even in the hands of the most Shrek-like angler. Browning uses the same technology brought into play for its European Hyper Carp models, but with a slightly toned-down linear action that allows it to absorb and cushion pressure, rather than destroy all in its path!
Make no mistake, though, it can really dish out the punishment if need be. That I found out for myself on the live test at Decoy’s lump-filled Oak strip lake in Cambridgeshire.
The fish in Oak are big, very big in fact, with the potential to cause you much grief and lose you a lot of tackle if you don’t come properly tooled-up for the job.
With that in mind, I prepared the Black Magic by cutting 10ins or so off the top of its supplied Power top kit, stiffening it right up.
More importantly, that made it possible to fit it with a large internal diameter PTFE bush.
Next I threaded through what must be the mother of all elastics… Browning’s 30mm Xitan Microbore Rocket Red, which laughably carries a 17-21 rating.
If your car breaks down on your way home from fishing, just take this stuff out of your top kit, tie it on to your bumper and get someone to tow you home.
To see this type of pole perform at its best you have to take it as close to its limits as you dare. I reckoned if the Power top kit could stand the pounding it was likely to get on Oak, using the car breaker’s choice of elastic, then surely it could subdue just about anything else that took a pull at it!
While tying up a suitable rig I had thrown a few handfuls of soaked micro pellets and corn down the margin. Goodness... glancing down, all I could see were whale-like tails waving at me, and feeding vortices large enough to capsize a canoe.
Wondering why on earth I’d tied on one of my favourite floats, I lowered the double corn-baited size 16 hook into the maelstrom.
To quote A Question of Sport: “What happened next?” Well, I didn’t actually see the bite, just an awful lot of bright red elastic between me and whatever was was charging headlong up the pond.
One moment it was slowing down, the next it was coming up in the water and running towards me. Yet there I was, shipping back with nothing broken. Guess what? I had the top kit back in my hand (as you can see from the image, right) and the rest, as they say, is history.
This Black Magic Carp is a great power pole at an affordable price, well capable of dealing with double-figure fish without so much as a creak.
Oh, hang on, it’s the phone. “Hello Sue, yes of course, I would love to come on A Question of Sport... if I can bring my pole!”
Verdict: By my reckoning one of the best Black Magic poles yet, this does just what it says on its butt section – ‘Specialist Carp and Big Fish Pole’.
It’s not the stiffest pole I’ve ever handled, but it doesn’t need to be, as it’s a proper workhorse that will last you for years.
The reinforced joints won’t let you down, it ships well enough, and its 11m length puts you well within reach of the nearside shelf and, on most commercial fisheries, the next vacant platform.
My sole criticism is that I would rather it came with two spare top kits rather than just the one.