by Angling Times |

Spurred on by the continuing success of its iconic Response poles, Preston Innovations has extended the range to include a new 8.5m Response Margin, the subject of this week’s live test.

This Response beauty comes with two spare pre-bushed, Roller Pulla Power top kits, and together with the one that comes inside the pole, these provide enough flexibility to tackle most margin scenarios.

The pole, which Preston claims to be the highest-grade margin model it has ever produced, uses the same super-high modulus Japanese carbon cloth as the three longer Response poles and, rather handily, the top kits all interchange. This is great news, particularly if you’re already a Response owner.

The new 8.5m Response Margin, though, is obviously a fair bit more ‘robust’ than its longer stablemates. It’s more in its comfort zone subduing angry match-winning margin munters than it is sacking on silvers.

As you might expect of a top-end power carp pole, the carbon cloth from which it is built is applied in a totally different way from its less gutsy amigos. That means added linear power, awesome section wall strength and reinforced, super-reliable joints.

Built like a tank it may well be, but it certainly doesn’t handle like one. It’s as nimble as a sports car, with a fair turn of handling speed courtesy of its superb easy-slide finish.

I chauffeured the pole up to Miracle Baits boss Steve Gregory’s super-popular Rushfield Lakes complex near Lincoln where, pulling into the car park late on a Monday afternoon, I was amazed to find the big fish-dominated Horsehoe Lake angler-free, giving me carte blanche on peg choice.

The downside of such situations is that everything with fins descends on your bait, rather than the just the targeted big fish.

So with this in mind I rigged up with a hard 8mm hard pellet on a hair-rigged lasso, to try and deter the ravenous mini hordes.

Despite my efforts, Plan A failed abysmally as everything from rampant roach to marauding micro carp swarmed around any feed that went in… foulers rubbed fins with fish that didn’t look big enough to tackle an 8mm hard pellet, and it drove me potty.

A change to two big pieces of worm merely served to encourage wasp-sized perch, which had stayed out of the way but now joined in the feeding fiasco. Then, out of nowhere, my half-hearted swipe at yet another sideways movement of the float saw the No14 Preston Hollo elastic disappear from the pole-tip at a rate of knots – so fast, in fact, that I’d have bet on another foul-hooker. Not until the elastic had all but bottomed out did I realise the Response had barely any curve in it. It was as stress and strain-free as a dormouse on tranquillisers as it and I battled what seemed to be a double-figure carp.


The lightness, agility and all-round pleasing handling belied the awesome stopping power packed by this poker-like 8.5m pole.

How big that fish was I will never know – as is often the case with foulers, at the point when I started stripping elastic from the Roller Pulla top kit my unseen opponent made a bid for freedom, and the hook pulled. However, it had provided me with enough of an insight to tell that the latest Response is, as Preston claims, by far the best it has ever produced.

As the evening progressed, a few more proper fish were duly hooked the old-fashioned way – in the mouth – and netted within a few seconds, proving that Preston’s latest carbon offering is not a pole to be messed with.


The 8.5m Preston Response Margin is a quite outstanding margin pole, offering everything you’ve come to expect in the way of fish-stopping power, super-tough section walls, and reliably smooth anti-ovalling joints – not to mention an easy-slide finish and top-notch handling. Well balanced, light and rigid, with an ultra-responsive tip speed, it feels quite unlike your normal margin pole.

If you already own an M50, M70 or M90 you’d be mad not to have the Response Margin in your holdall to tackle snag pits and big brawling fish.

Price: £269.99

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