This new Response XS Carp pole from Preston Innovations, like its predecessor, is aimed squarely at the commercial match angler.
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Durable and hard-wearing, it’s a tool for bagging big weights and taming powerful carp, while at the same time retaining exceptional balance and responsiveness.
Because it’s built around the same mandrel as all the other poles in the range, all sections are fully interchangeable. This makes it the ideal second pole for existing Response owners.
An attractive feature of the new XS Carp are nine (yes, NINE) spare 2.4m top kits, including a Kupping Kit. All are pre-fitted with genuine internal PTFE bushes, and supplied with Preston Roller Pulla bushes. These all but eliminate elastic damage and significantly improve the pole’s fish-playing performance.
FItted with the reinforced half-extension that comes as standard, the pole measures a true 16m.
To that little lot you can add three Bi-Conical mini extensions that fit from the fifth section upward, section alignment arrows, and an Easy Ship finish that ensures your fishing will not be compromised whatever the British weather may throw at you.
Taking a closer look at the new XS Carp pole, it’s noticeably heavier than its stablemates. Indeed, it’s made from same high modulus Torayca Japanese carbon fibre as all other top-end Response poles, but as you might expect of an out-and-out power carp pole, the cut of the cloth makes for awesome section wall strength, while re-designed section joints are as tough as old boots.
Built like a tank it may be, but it certainly doesn’t handle like one – it’s as nimble as sports car, with a fair turn of pace thanks to its superb Easy Slide finish.
I discovered that and much more about the pole while testing it on a very windy afternoon at Decoy’s Beastie Lake.
At this time of year, most of the lake’s heavyweight occupants can be found loitering around the margins, and as they have a proper fondness for corn and micros several lines can be fed – waving tails and muddied water betray their ponderous presence.
The fact that this pole comes with three Bi-Conical extensions makes it ideal for margin work. They not only provide that bit of extra reach, but they give you something to really hang on to when a big fish is hooked.
On the day, perverse as only carp can be, they didn’t seem overly keen on feeding close in, so it was a case of going long, starting at 13m. The pole’s extra bit of weight actually helps when it’s blowing a hooley, as it offers some semblance of steadiness without the angler having to constantly lean against the wind.
Anway, fishing at this longer length it wasn’t long before the first Beastie bruiser arrived and elastic streamed from the tip. I leant hard into the fish just to see how much pulling power the new XS Carp can generate, and I can tell you, it was impressive.
As you can see from the image, I was fishing from a peg on the strip at Beastie. This can be a real pain when you’re using a long pole, as it needs to be broken down several times when shipping back so as not to interfere with the peg behind you. However, the live test proved how easy the pole is to unship under pressure – new ones don’t always want to come apart until they are worn in a bit, but the toughened joints of the XS Carp are not only bullet-proof, but they glide together and come apart with a reassuring swish.
My only slight gripe about Preston’s latest carp clatterer is that it’s definitely better at 13m than at 14.5m, and obviously it follows that it’s better at 14.5m than it is at the full 16m. That said, it’s very usable at its longer lengths, and there’s no denying its serious stopping power, superb section wall and joint strength, and a spares package as good as you’ll find anywhere.
Verdict: If you're an out-and-out commercial match angler looking for a strong pole that will last you a long time, Preston’s latest Response XS Carp pole could well be for you. The spares package is quite outstanding, as are its tough build and bagging performance.