The new Preston Innovations Response XS50 16m pole falls into a price category where things start to get serious – writes Tony Grigorjevs.
Anglers in the market for a pole priced between £1,000 and £1,500 expect something that ticks all the boxes. It’s generally expected that there will be shortcomings in cheaper poles but this is the price bracket where the full kit and caboodle is expected.
A generous spares package, bags of strength and a responsive action are just a few of the essential qualities required.
With that in mind, the 16m Response XS50 needs to impress from the off, and it’s fair to say it did just that when I was lucky enough to get my hands on it.
On opening the bag I didn’t know where to start, there was that much carbon staring back at me! The package includes four Roller Pulla top-2 kits, two Roller Pulla F1 kits and a Match top-2 inside the pole.
There’s also a cupping kit with cups and three mini extensions that can be used when fishing short or long. As well as giving you that little bit of extra reach, they also provide protection to the ends of the main sections.
Curborough Fishery in Staffordshire was my venue of choice, and the hard-fighting carp in Oak Lake were sure to test the other features.
Shipping out to 16m, the finish was impressive. There was no struggle or stuttered shipping and it was easy to get smoothly out to the full distance.
Although it was perfectly fishable for periods at 16m, it was when I dropped back to 14.5m that I felt I could hold this pole for hours on end without feeling the strain.
Once the float dipped, the 13H elastic zipped to my right – it was inevitable the lily pads in that zone would be an attractive proposition to any hooked carp!
The old M50 pole, which the XS50 replaces, was criticised in part for lacking the required muscle power, and there’s no doubt Preston’s designers have taken this feedback seriously.
There was no indication it couldn’t handle the strain and I had no hesitation in piling on the necessary pressure to win each battle. A quick inspection of the sections instantly told me the walls were solidly built, with little give when I squeezed the end of each one.
As with every Preston pole there were plenty of little extras that win additional brownie points with purchasers.
Each top kit comes pre-bushed and with a Side Pulla already installed. The sections have aligners which enable you keep the spine of the pole lined up, enhancing performance in the process.
Preston Innovations prides itself on creating top-class tackle at an affordable price, and the company has certainly stuck to that mantra. If you are buying a pole between £1,000 and £1,500 you’ll struggle to find anything else that will measure up to the Response XS50.
As with every item of tackle I sample from Prestons I had high expectations, and the Response XS50 definitely met them. It’s strong, comes with a fantastic package and ships like a dream.
There’ll also be no issue with hitting quick bites as it is responsive, even when fished long. You’ll have worked hard to up for a new pole and you can be assured that you’ll have no complaints if you make this your new pride and joy.
Price: £1499.99 | Expect to pay: £1,300-£1,400