Pulling into Decoy Lakes in Cambridgeshire for the latest live tackle test, I was glad that I’d layered up my thermals. It was a decidedly frosty start to proceedings, but as I unloaded the usual mountain of tackle from my car, I knew that before too long the venue’s prolific stocks of hard-fighting carp would be giving my circulation a much-needed boost.
I was there to put Maver’s new flagship pole, the 16m Signature 821, through its paces. Damson Lake – my focus for the day – is stuffed with small carp to around 5lb, as well as plentiful numbers of feisty F1s, so I knew that the pole would be getting a thorough workout.
This latest offering is a proper top-end bit of kit, and at just under two and a half grand, I know that many of you will be thinking ‘I could go on holiday with the family for a lot less’. That’s probably true, but the fact remains that a few short weeks later you’d be back, sat on your seatbox in your peg, using your same old pole, enviously eyeing the sleek carbon being wielded by the angler in the next peg along.
The Signature 821 may well fit firmly into the object of desire bracket, but in many respects it represents great value and, believe it or not, in the long run could end up saving you money.
First up, unlike many poles on the market, the 821 comes complete with a mightily impressive spares package that includes no fewer than 11 top kits and a cupping kit, so you won’t have to shell out a penny more on post-purchase extras going forward.
You also get two short four sections, two Bi-Conical extensions to fit sections 6-7 and 7-8, plus clever little Pole End Protectors that fit into the ends of the 11m, 13m and 16m butt sections to stop them from splitting. Fit them with skid-bungs and they’ll perform even better. All these kits come with pre-bushed PTFE tips and side puller slots, too. The savings keep adding up.
SERIOUS STOPPING POWER
After setting up in a peg that had served me well in recent matches, it was time for me to start the session.
With a pair of rollers in situ, pole sock in place, and with two top kits fitted with No6-No8 hollow and heavier No10-No12 elastics, I tied on the appropriate float rigs. The heavier of my two set-ups, using the single section Power Kit, was perfect for any big fish that might turn up down the margin to muddy the waters.
This kit has a much wider PTFE bore size than the standard commercial kit, and is designed for use with really beefy hollow elastics up to a 20. Incidentally, match up the single-section Power Kit with the short four section supplied, and it handily comes out at the same length as the two-piece Commercial Kit. This Power Kit stiffens the whole pole up, but you do obviously lose a little length.
There, though, the similarity between the two top kits ends. The Power and short fourth combo is the ultimate whopper-stopper, but doesn’t throw the pole out of balance the minute you ship out past 11m. For catching hippos on steroids, this is just the ticket!
The lighter elastic set-up in the Commercial Kit is a pure joy to use, and it will easily handle up to 8-14 Dual Core elastic. Striking and tip recovery are lightning quick and that, plus the steely linear rigidity and lightweight feel it exudes, make this pole a seriously impressive bit of kit for all styles of commercial fishing.
As if that’s not enough, the Suncore anti-friction surface on the pole allows even the most ham-fisted of pole anglers to ship in and out with consummate ease throughout the session, even when being used at the pole’s longest 14.5m and 16m lengths.
During my four-hour morning session on Damson Lake, it performed every task I asked of it with absolute aplomb. Bite after bite was met with a crisp strike, and I didn’t lose a single fish to a hook-pull.
I finished with a superb net full to bursting with small carp – the like of which I wish I’d landed the last time I fished a match at the venue. Then again, I wasn’t using the Maver Signature 821 on that visit!
Maver is a company with a rich history in producing excellent poles in all price brackets, and classic marques such as the Jurassic Carp, Super Lithium and Elite ranges are well-known and loved by all, from pleasure anglers to world champs.
Pound for pound, in spite of its high asking price, the Signature Pro 821 is a stand-out performer and looks sure to follow those legendary bits of kit into the pole angling hall of fame.