Colmic Airon F66 16m pole
Eight EC200 top-2 kits
Three mini half-butt sections
I've fished with Colmic margin poles and rods on several occasions, but until recently I’d never had the pleasure of wielding one of the company’s long poles.
Yet there’s a huge fan club among matchmen for its Italian-made Jolly Floats and Nuclear hooks, not to mention the iconic 16m Colmic X5000 pole and latterly the Airon F55 poles. Its successor, the F66, is on live test duty today. This flagship pole is a hot topic right now on virtually every match fishing website. It’s a full-blooded 16m competition tool, reputed to be able to handle anything thrown at it (almost literally). Light yet ridiculously strong, thanks to high-spec materials and a clever section design, it’s well balanced, with a responsiveness to hit the quickest of bites and the rigidity to tame big fish in less time than it takes you to read about it.
So far so good, but why drain your wallet to the tune of around £2,600? That’s the shop-around price tag, by the way. Live testing a pole of the F66’s pedigree wasn’t easy. It’s so far ahead of what you might reasonably expect it to do; it’s difficult to find a suitable test venue. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, so it was off to the day-ticket Cuckoo Canal Lake at Townsend Fishery near Wisbech.
This is a typical snake lake where fishing just down the shelf in a couple of feet of water in the cold, or tight against the far shelf in warmer weather, will always be a rewarding experience. Both tactics call for just a few inches of line between pole-tip and float, when a gentle lift will set the hook without spooking feeding fish. To do this perfectly requires a pole without bounce or wobble along its top sections.
There needs to be enough mid-section poke to move fish out of the swim without too much of a commotion, and you should be able to lean into the butt sections without fear of them going snap, crackle or pop. Well, in all my years of tackle testing I have never handled anything so uncompromisingly stiff at its longer lengths than the Airon. You feel as though you could lift a decent-sized fish straight out of the water and on to the bank, never mind into a waiting landing net.
These bullish properties are further enhanced by a unique mandrel design in which the 100-tonne, superbly rigid butt section with graphics is installed behind the No8 section to take it to 13m. For a 16m pole, add section No9 behind the butt section, effectively extending its length, and providing it with the added backbone and balance that the superior 100-tonne carbon-built section instils. The pole’s joints are all superbly well reinforced, with enough wall strength to make Hadrian wish he’d used carbon instead of stone.
As for the downside – such as it is – the pole does feel a little wider in diameter on its butt sections than some others, but with all that unbridled power it’s an unavoidable consequence I could easily live with. It still handles superbly, and despite my mini-mitts I never found it uncomfortable to manoeuvre around the swim, even at 16m.
Without a shadow of doubt the Airon F66 is THE big-fish pole of the moment, and should be your weapon of choice if you are the least bit reckless when it comes to striking, handling or playing then netting big fish. It will take far more punishment than most flagship models and still come back for more. The Airon is being promoted as an all-rounder, but if you intend to use it for silvers I suggest you invest in a couple of the relevant top kits readily available for this pole from Colmic.