While back I tested one of the original Protype poles from Preston Innovations and was highly impressed with it.
So when the new X300 arrived I was keen to see how much better this upgraded version would be.
At a penny under £750 it will never break the bank of the most prudent of anglers and has all the trimmings of a pole double that price tag in terms of top kits and features.
The X300 has been designed for the pleasure or match angler who never gets the butt sections of their pole out of the bag, hence the 14.5m length that’ll reach the far bank of snake lakes or islands on most commercials fisheries or handle up in the water scenarios in the summer.
On its website Preston is keen to stress the strength and response of the X300, but how does it measure up in reality?
The only way to find out was to give it a thorough going over, and the F1-packed Swallow Lake at Westwood Lakes, near Boston, was the venue of choice. The plan was to fish shallow at the full 14.5m to test rigidity and response on the strike, then have a crack at the margins to see how the pole handled ‘proper’ carp!
First impressions of the X300 are a reassuring solidity to each section. They’re very strong, with no give, but when slotted together the overall weight is surprisingly low for such a powerful pole. Before fishing I gave the pole a waggle at the full length, and while there’s a little wobble at the top end, it’s nothing to get stressed about.
Kicking off with banded pellet, it was easy enough to slap the rig or lift and drop one-handed while feeding with a catapult. First bite, and an F1 dragged the elastic out of the top kit, hooping the pole over. It didn’t get very far, though.
The power soon kicked in and fish number one was in the net. Two dozen more followed in quick succession, most of which produced a bite that needed striking at. Just a lift of the knee would set the hook. Try that with a pole that’s unbalanced and the whole thing would just wave up and down with no chance of hooking the fish.
Fortunately, the X300 has plenty of balance and enough stiff ‘spine’ to crisply lift the rig into a fish, but there’s also enough give in each section to let fish power off without any danger of a hook-pull. Slowly but surely I was enjoying fishing with the X300!
With enough fish in the bag at long range, I moved back to 6m and carried on bagging shallow. At this length the pole was even better and super-fast on the strike, a real carp cruncher whether up in the water or using meat or corn on this short line. To be frank, many anglers opt to fish as close in as they can for speed and comfort, and the X300 is just as perfect on a ‘top kit and two’ line as it is at the full 14.5m.
I’d love to say I caught a raft of units down the edge, but those F1s wouldn’t let them!
The peg was solid with them at 5m down the edge but, with reeds and sedges to contend with, the pole made short work of gently encouraging hooked fish into open water. So, with shallow, short and the margin boxes ticked, how about the spares package?
It’s pretty damn good for the price, with a pre-bushed Match top-2 inside the pole and four of Preston’s Roller Pulla Power top-2 kits fitted with 3.7mm internal PTFE bushes and boasting the Roller Pulla system in the side puller slots for total control over hooked fish. There’s also a same-length Kupping Kit with two Kups and adaptors, all in a Protype X300 holdall.
Yes, the X300 is a bit of a belter and a true all-rounder for fans of commercial carp fisheries.
Is it better than the original Protypes? Good god, it knocks them into a cocked hat!
If you’ve got £750 to spend on a new pole and do a lot of heavyweight carp fishing throughout the year, forget about shopping around – go get the Protype!
• 14.5m Protype X300 pole with a Match kit fitted inside
• 4 x Roller Pulla Power top-2 kits featuring 3.7mm internal PTFE bushes
• Kupping Kit with Kups and adaptors
• Protype X300 pole holdall
• Price: £749.99