by Angling Times |

AS ANGLING Times tackle editor I fish quite a lot – because testing rods, reels and poles, unless I’m beside the water, isn’t really going to mean much, or give you any idea of how they’re likely to perform.

I only mention this because of late, whether I’ve been out fishing weekend matches or testing new gear, it’s become abundantly clear that we have a lot of new anglers in our midst.

There they are, all perched on shiny new seatboxes or immaculate fishing chairs, waving around newly-acquired poles and rods and, more importantly, all catching a few fish. It’s wonderful to see, and I hope the trend continues for the rest of the summer and beyond.

When wearing my official Angling Times regalia I always try to have a quick chat with anyone who looks even remotely like a new angler. I’m not being pushy, I just like to see how they’re getting on, maybe give a bit of bait away, or chat about rigs and tactics.

Let’s face it, talking fishing is easy, but by its very nature our sport is quite complex. Things like spooling line on to a reel, or what hooks and bait to use, are taken as read by the seasoned angler, but they’re not obvious when you’re new to the game.


That said, having spoken with quite a few chaps and chap-esses, it seems most have been well advised by their mates on the kit front. Tackle shops too, to their credit, are sending people to the banks with the gear they need, without having them over.

Fishing tackle that comes at a sensible price is what most newbies are looking for, which is where this week’s live test item, Middy’s new Reactacore XQ-1 10m pole, hits the spot.

In my opinion it’s absolutely perfect for the rookie pole angler looking to spend a few hours bagging decent-sized carp on their local commercial.

Price-wise it’s bang on the money, and it’s tough enough to withstand the odd over-enthusiastic moment or two. Rather handily it comes with a couple of spare top kits, and it’s not heavy or unwieldy, which is a big bonus if you’re not used to handling a pole.


The live test was on Decoy’s day-ticket Lou’s Lake, just the sort of place to cut your teeth on the pole. On warm days you can get bites up in the water, down on the deck and at all points between, not to mention the margins. Nor are the carp in this lake particularly fussy about what they eat, so little more than a tin of corn and a bag of pellets will suffice.

Most importantly, Lou’s has stable and level fishing platforms, with plenty of flat open ground behind you to position your pole roller – as a rule of thumb, around four paces behind your seatbox will be spot-on.

You could thread pretty much any size or type of elastic you wanted through the XQ-1’s top kits, but I kicked off the session up in the water, using a middle of the road 10-12 hollow elastic in conjunction with the short Phantom (grey coloured) top kit that comes inside the pole.

The Phantom top kits

I also rigged up the spare Margin Phantom top kit with a super-heavy 20-24 hollow that would hopefully seriously test the pole’s section strength and pulling power later in the day when I targeted the margins.

Heavy elastic would test the pole’s strength

In truth is it hasn’t got quite the rigidity needed for slapping shallow rigs up in the water, but it’s stiff enough to allow you fish shallow comfortably enough using a catty and pellets. At its full length, just under 10m, it didn’t feel top-heavy or suffer the dreaded top kit pole droop.

The super smooth S-Slide finish made handling quick and clean, and it fairly sped over the roller. It didn’t suffer from sticking section joints, nor did they come apart other than when I wanted them to.

To assemble sections without pushing them on too far or hard, slide them together, give the uppermost section half a turn to the left or right and they’ll lock together but come apart again easily when required.

Middy Reactacore XQ-1 10m pole sections

Having caught quite a few half-decent fish shallow, it was on with the heavy elastic top kit to see if I could drag a margin munter from its lair. No problems, and I didn’t think there would be, as the top kits carry a 30 elastic rating.

One thing that makes the new Middy Reactacore XQ-1 stand apart from any other pole I have fished with at this price is its stiffness. Most power poles of this ilk have an action that spreads across the top four or five sections, and I’m sure that readers have seen lots of bendy pole shots on these pages.

However, take a longer look at the inset pole image and you’ll see that this model stays straighter than the road to perdition when a fish is hooked – basically it’s very, very strong.

This is a very strong affordable pole

Price: £275 (but shop around)

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