NOT many poles generate the kind of buzz that followed the release of the Preston Innovations Superium range.
I’d given them all a waggle and got to grips with the new top kit system, but I was desperate to get one out on the bank – no pole alley, however good, can beat a live test.
Of the extensive line-up, the X30 intrigued me the most. I’m pretty sure it’s the cheapest full 16m pole you can buy today! But would it be a mere gimmick, or one that could actually be fished at its full length in less-than-ideal conditions?
Alas, its outdoor debut was not to be. After extensive planning, sourcing and organising, ‘we’ had a little mishap on a very blustery Thursday morning at Woodlands View.
After carefully laying the pole out on the grass for a closer look and some photographs, I turned to pick up a top kit, just as a sudden gust of wind sent all 10 other sections tumbling across the grass, over some vegetation and into Front Deans!
Over the next hour, Preston’s content creator Zsolt Ujvari and star angler Des Shipp, who were a few pegs away shooting a video, helped me fish out eight of the errant sections. But with not enough pole to test, and time rapidly running out, I reluctantly decided to test the cheaper X20 instead, which I found hidden in Zsolt’s van.
In such savage winds, which had already claimed one pole, I wondered if I’d even be able to fish with it. Cheaper poles, with their low-grade carbon, tend to be far heavier and less rigid than their more expensive counterparts. Anyway, I got it out of the bag, this time wedging the sections between two buckets of water to prevent ‘us’ having any more mishaps. I was pleased to find it quite manageably light, even with a Carp Kit loaded with No13 Slip Hybrid elastic. I was also more than a little surprised by its rigidity.
Under its own weight, the pole sits nice and straight, and I found it quite easy to manoeuvre. It was only during a hefty strike, or when being hit by another gust of wind, that it started to flex and the limitations of its cheaper carbon became more obvious.
Rather than simply fish the pole at its full 14.5m length – which, let’s face it, very few people are going to do for a five-hour stretch – I decided to approach the session much as a match or pleasure angler would.
I fished a short line, looking to get off to a good start, while priming a 13m line for later. This then gave me the option of following the fish out to 14.5m if need be and the wind allowed. I could also make the most of three of the pole’s four top kits.
The two Carp Kits covered my long and short line with a No13 elastic, while the slightly lighter and more responsive F1 Kit was ready with a shallow rig and No7 Slip Hybrid.
Despite the disturbance caused when trying to find the lost pole sections, I was quickly into a procession of F1s, with a couple of carp muscling in on the action too. The run continued after switching to 13m range, then finally 14.5m.
Although not as responsive as a top-end pole, the X20 was still a joy to use, and remained manageable in the wind. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the extra flex was an advantage in sudden violent gusts. They were hitting with such force that a more expensive pole might well have snapped, whereas the X20 bent with the wind.
A couple of the bigger carp hooked while the gale was at its worst did put quite an alarming bend in the pole, but at no point did I feel it was even starting to approach its limits.
For such a modest price, I found the X20 impressive. It has the same simplified top kit system as the other Superium poles, which I’m a big fan of. The spares it comes with will cover most commercial situations, and its performance – even at longer lengths – is light and manageable.
On a final note, if anyone happens to scuba dive on Front Deans and comes across a No4 and a 16m section for an X30, Preston would love to have them back. I’d love to have another attempt at fishing with this pole, too!
Price: £749.99, www.prestoninnovations.com