Having recently run the rule over Matrix’s classy top-of-the-range MTX 4 Ultra pole, I was keen to find out if the somewhat more modestly priced entry-level MTX 1 Power Pole could offer a comparable performance.
Obviously, the differences in pole lengths, balance, weights and prices would need to be taken into account. After all, the flagship 16m MTX 4 will set you back around £2,999.99 whereas the 13m MTX 1 will relieve you of less than a quarter that amount, at £500.
All four versions of the new Matrix MTX poles are pitched as viable all-rounders, with a slight leaning towards commercial fishery tactics with regard to the two cheaper Power models. Moreover, from what I have seen, Matrix has called that about right. I can assure you that no corners have been cut in terms of materials and workmanship; in fact, attention to detail comes shining through. All models boast the latest hi-tech carbon materials, finishes and decals. The poles also feature a series of extras such as mini extensions, cupping kits, and pre-bushed side puller Power top kits as standard, which combined offer the angler a very high level of tactical flexibility.
So to the live test itself, and there few better venues for this style of all-round commercial Power Pole than Lincolnshire’s Rushfield Lakes complex. It offers multiple lake choices all requiring different tactical approaches from deep-water with pellets and corn on Horseshoe Lake, through to shallow far bank work on Canal and Mallard Pools. You can add in a fair amount of margin tactics on all of the lakes, making the new entry level Matrix, that incidentally comes with a raft of spare kits, the ideal tool.
With a midweek match on Horseshoe Lake, and Mallard Pool busy with pleasure anglers, I settled into a swim on Canal, which, like most snake lakes, is bossed by a far-bank approach using ‘rat-hole’ tactics with pellet, corn, maggots or bread hookbaits. The pool is quite small with an average width of around 13m, and hosts around 30 pegs. It still holds some seriously weighty finned inhabitants, and the venue is super-popular with local anglers and gets fished most days, so the carp have seen it all before!
It’s all about the far bank where the depths are fairly shallow, from 1ft-18ins. When you hook a fish, it pays to get it out of the shallow water as quickly as possible, before it gets a chance to spook everything else in the swim.
Having said that, almost everything that you do hook tears off down the canal at an astonishing rate of knots. As the fish are also able to dive back towards the near bank this can cause havoc with your top kits, especially if you’re using a hefty hollow elastic. The pole needs to be fast through the hands, and have enough stopping power to cope with a fair amount of downward stress if it’s not all going to end in tears and expense for the angler. You’re left with little choice but to employ bully-boy tactics. However, on such a hard-fished water you’re unlikely to even get a bite using heavy line and big hooks. You need to get your kit perfectly balanced to stand a chance of catching a few.
My arsenal of choice was a hollow size 11 elastic, 0.15mm hooklength line and a size 16 hook with a banded pellet hookbait, which is standard stuff for most commercial fisheries.
The MTX 1’s pre-bushed, and new Revolve side puller Power top kits proved ideal for this type of normal commercial set-up, and could easily be fitted with much heavier elastics.
Starting by fishing across to the far bank at the pole’s full 13m length with its mini extension fitted into the back of the butt section, the MTX 1 shipped smoothly enough to be able to feed accurately with a small pot.
The pole proved stiff enough for me to be able to feed with a catapult while holding it. It isn’t unduly wobbly, top-heavy or unbalanced. Playing fish proved a doddle as the MTX1 is indeed a Power Pole. Understandably, it isn’t as rigidly stiff or lightweight as the flagship superstar MTX 4. However, it is a very impressive all-round commercial venue performer considering its price!
Verdict: If you’re into commercial fishing for fish of all sizes, and you don’t need to fish beyond 13m, then the Matrix MTX 1 Power Pole at its asking price has to seriously looked at. As an introductory model its one of the best I have used, stiff, well balanced, and pleasingly lightweight (940g at 13m) so it’s not going to give you any backache or gip. In addition, Matrix’s new Revolve side puller kits are quite superb, and it comes as standard with three of these, plus a match kit inside the pole