The best fishing poles

The best fishing poles

by Mark Sawyer |
Updated on

Pole fishing is an incredibly exciting method used by match and pleasure anglers on various venues and when fished correctly, with use of the best fishing poles, it is one of the most precise tactics for placing a bait accurately over your loose feed and allows bites to be hit in an instant.

Buying a fishing pole is a serious investment. Even if you're purchasing one of the cheaper budget poles on the market, it is still likely to be one of the most expensive items of tackle you own. For this reason, it's important to consider what type of fishing you'll be predominately using your pole for and then purchase one which best suits this task. There's no point splashing out on a 16m pole if you never need to fish at 16m.

The best fishing poles at a glance:

Best Flagship Pole: Daiwa Air Z Pro - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best Fishing Pole For Strength: Guru Aventus Zero 700 - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best-Selling Margin Pole: Preston Innovations Edge Monster 10m / Edge Monster 8.5m - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best £1000-2000 Fishing Pole: MAP TKS 501 3G 16m - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

There are some fantastic fishing poles available to coarse anglers, from flagship models for those who demand cutting-edge features and the latest technology to shorter-margin poles for extracting hard-fighting carp at close quarters. So, before you shell out for a new pol, make sure you read this guide to find the best one for you and check out our advice below on what to look for, pole fishing terminology and frequently asked questions about poles.

Best pole over £1500 (National Angling Award 2023 winner)

Shimano Aero Competition Pro 16m
Price: £4999.99

www.ebay.co.uk

In 2023 came the long-awaited return of Shimano to the pole market – and we were blown away by what we saw! Leading the trio of new poles is the flagship Aero Competition Pro. One of the lightest 16m poles available, it has a stunning degree of rigidity and strength thanks to a unique combination of high-function design and technically advanced Japanese carbon.

A comprehensive package includes five Match kits, four Power kits, four one-piece F1 kits and two short No3 sections. You also get a 13m extension and a 14.5m/16m extension, along with three Reversible Protector sections to prevent accidental damage to the major sections.

Pros

  • Superb at 16m, rigid and strong.
  • Great for commercials and natural venues, a take-anywhere competition pole.

Cons

  • A slightly more comprehensive top kit package would be good.

Best pole under £1500 (2023 National Angling Awards Winner)

A highly functional and strong pole, the Matrix MTX3 Ultra V2 Carp is suited to both natural venues and commercials, and available in both 16m and two 13m packages. It was the 13m Carp package that impressed us the most. With its Match kit, three Power kits, cupping kit, additional three No3 sections, reversible mini-extension and pole holdall, it’s perfect for the angler who wants a quality pole at a great price but doesn’t need to fish at 14.5m or 16m.

Keeping the same mandrel, several sections have been re-engineered to improve strength and rigidity on what was already an outstandingly tough and durable pole. Fully bushed with both PTFE and Revolve Side Pullers, you even get protective nose cones on the No3 and No4 sections, and EVA bungs on the mini extension.

Pros

  • Built for commercial fisheries.
  • Supplied with three extra no3 sections.

Cons

  • Does lose some rigidity at longer lengths if you buy the 16m add ons or package.

Best Flagship Pole

Utilising new and ultra-high-grade nano alloy carbons, Daiwa's Air Z Pro pole has built a strong reputation as one of the best there is. A flagship product that provides the ultimate in performance.

One of the most expensive poles on the market but also one of the best performers. The Daiwa Air Z Pro pole is incredibly light, even at 16m. With a match top two kit, this is the best pole in the world. Even with the heavier top kits, it's ridiculously rigid, incredibly responsive and super stiff.

The section wall strength of this pole is good, which means it can land some pretty big carp, certainly up to 20lb.
If accidents do happen, Daiwa spares are readily available in the UK, so you won't be left with a situation where you can't go fishing.

At this amount of money, resale value is also a key consideration, and Daiwa poles tend to hold their value far better than others on the market.

Pros

  • Light, stiff, responsive - everything you want in a pole.
  • Spares are readily available in the UK.

Cons

  • More expensive than other flagship poles.

Best Fishing Pole For Strength

Guru Aventus Zero 700
Price: £2,950.00 (16m pole package)

www.total-fishing-tackle.com

Identical to the top-spec Guru Aventus 900 but made from a lower-grade compound of Japanese carbon. This increases the strength of the Guru Aventus Zero 700 pole even further, making the pole exceptionally strong but slightly heavier than the Zero 900 in terms of weight.

The increased strength and added weight affect the stiffness of this pole at long lengths, but at 13m, there's very little between the Guru Aventus Zero 700 and Zero 900 models. When venturing to 14.3m and 16m, the 700 model loses some stiffness compared to the 900.

Overall, however, it's an incredibly strong and responsive pole that will suit a lot of anglers' aggressive styles of fishing in the UK and Europe.

It's built on ultra-fast-taper mandrels for superior balance, stiffness and weight distribution, with a super tensile high modulus carbon. A friction-free matt tape finish offers smoother control when shipping the pole through the hands too - it really is a joy to use!

Pros

  • Loads of package options to choose from.
  • Super strong with incredible stiffness at 13m.

Cons

  • Loses a bit of finesse beyond 13m (try the Zero 900 at this length).

Best Value Flagship Pole

This top-of-the-range pole is strong enough for commercial carp fishing, yet light and responsive enough for delicate silverfish presentation – even at its full 16m, and all in a sub-£3,100 package!

The Preston Innovations Superium X90 is a bewilderingly good fishing pole, which is incredibly stiff at all lengths. This makes precision and rig control easy whilst still offering strength and durability when it matters.

All Superium poles benefit from a new joint-saving feature called Dura Wrap, which will make the poles last longer, even with intense use. The Easy Ship Finish makes the pole a joy in the hand too.

The X90, X70 and X50 all share the same mandrel, which was tweaked from Preston's Response poles to be slightly slimmer.

The X90 truly is a flagship pole with very few faults. It's crisper, sharper and even more responsive than Preston's previous Response poles, which were popular in their own right.

Pros

  • Top kits are universal for the whole Superium range.
  • Incredibly stiff.

Cons

  • Not the most responsive pole on the market at the full 16m.

Best-Selling Margin Pole

Preston Innovations Edge Monster 10m / Edge Monster 8.5m
Price: £147.99 8.5m, £204.99 10m

www.fishingtackleandbait.co.uk

The Edge Monster range has established itself as the go-to choice of poles for demanding situations. Featuring superb wall strength, these poles were developed to take the strongest elastics and battle the largest of fish!

Both the 8.5m and 10m versions are a joy to use at all lengths, thanks to their incredible balance and rigidity. They're the perfect choice for anyone new to pole fishing or those demanding situations!

The Edge Monster performs well above its price and will land big carp with ease. You can be pretty confident no matter how you or the fish treat it too, you won't be suffering many breakages. At the 8.5m length, it is still pretty lightweight and comfortable to ship and hold. This pole ticks a lot of boxes for those on a budget.

"It ticks every box and gets a big thumbs up."

Read our full Preston Innovations Edge Monster review.

Pros

  • Super strong.
  • Performs well above its price range.

Cons

  • Not a tool for finesse fishing, best suited to commercial carp with heavy elastics.

Best Pole For Stiffness

Garbolino UK1 Accomplice HP 16m
Price: £3,799.99

www.ebay.co.uk

Whether it's UK commercials or naturals, the Garbolino UK1 Accomplice pole totally delivers on every count. The sections have been carefully modified to create a much better balanced, lighter and more responsive pole, especially at long lengths.

HP stands for 'higher performance' because that's exactly what this pole offers.

The improvements made to the Garbolino UK 1 make it a dream to use, especially with the super smooth finish. All kits are pre-bushed, ready to be elasticated, and puller kits incorporate the Garbolino PTFE puller slots to make stripping elastic simple and smooth. Stunning in every aspect!

The accurate feed markers on the butt sections mean you really will get the best of what a pole can offer in terms of accuracy, and the impact-dampening resin means the pole has a long lifespan, something which is crucial at this price range.

Pros

  • Incredibly stiff and fast responsiveness.
  • The range is totally compatible with all previous UK series poles.

Cons

  • Not the lightest flagship pole.

First-Ever Flagship Hyperpole

Maver MV-RXX 16m
Price: £3,499.99

www.ebay.co.uk

Designed and tested in the UK by Stephen Bellion and Callum Dicks, this is Maver's new flagship model, which boasts a comprehensive package and has been designed with rigidity and strength to the forefront of the process.

The Maver MV-RXX 16m pole has undergone comprehensive testing in the UK and Italy, landing carp to 20lb with ease. Strengthened joints, the very best grade of carbon available on the market and a new mandrel sizing which gives the pole maximum rigidity/stability in even the most challenging conditions, make this pole a joy to use at all lengths.

Top kits for this model are on an 18mm mandrel, which makes the pole and its top kits compatible with a lot of the other major manufacturers' offerings. The top kits come pre-bushed and have Maver's popular roller slot, which makes elastication and playing fish a doddle.

In our humble opinion, Maver's latest flagship MV-RXX is debatably the first Hyperpole model we've witnessed on the market. There are, though, two things about this pole that are totally incontestable. First, this is the best pole Maver has ever produced – fact – and second, it's up there with the best in the world.

Pros

  • Spares held in stock in the UK.
  • Top kits compatible with a lot of other options on the market.

Cons

  • Package could come with two more lightweight match kits.

Best £1000-2000 Fishing Pole

TKS from MAP is a famous name in pole fishing, and this stunning range of poles (including the MAP TKS 501 3G 16m) is now in its third generation with the 3G series. The 10 long poles that comprise the range will take on all styles of fishing in the UK – everything from heavy-duty carp bashing on commercials to roach and skimmer work on canals.

All sections and top kits are universal across the TKS range, meaning that making an upgrade further down the line allows you to carry over kits to add to the already impressive selection that comes with each model. The kits are made from the highest-grade carbon with features including reinforcement bands and pre-fitted pure PTFE bushes.

New pole-building features and technology have been lavished on the 3G range, including Fusion, which bonds different grades of carbon together for lighter and stronger poles. High Impact resins are used to increase the strength, toughness and durability of sections while also reducing the weight.

Bi-Lateral Joint Reinforcement sees a 3K carbon weave added to joints, preventing wear and sticking together in wet weather, while MAP's Smooth Ship Finish is anti-friction to ensure smooth shipping under all conditions.

Pros

  • Strong and stiff.
  • Top kits compatible across the entire range.

Cons

  • Past 13m, the 601 will provide better balance.

Best Under £850 Pole

When you add Middy's established long pole know-how to the top match fishing brains of England international Rob Wootton and Matchman of the Year Lee Thornton, the end result is always going to be a bit special. And so the new range of Reactacore poles has proved.

Extra top kits are always handy for fishing a selection of venues, and the Middy Reacracore XT-15-3 pole packs four tops. Three are the Reactorcore Max22-Karp kits rated to a mighty No22 elastic and the more slender Max16 Match top-3 for roaches and skimmers.

This third-generation pole is every Biot as at hime targeting silvers on lakes, rivers and canals as it is nailing commercial carp and F1s. The S-slide finish on all sections makes it a joy in the hand, whilst the Maximus joints also don't annoyingly stick together when wet.

For the price, the pole offers superb rigidity and stiffness, with plenty of power and fighting curve to deal with large carp whilst not being clumsy or unwieldy. If you're on a budget, this is the pole for you.

"It's strong enough to cope with the odd bigger fish while retaining enough cushioned softness for F1s and silvers."

**Read our full Middy Reactacore XT15-3 review.
**

Pros

  • Performance exceeds this price range.
  • Capable of performing for both silvers and carp.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with pre-fitted side pullers.

Best Workhorse Flagship Pole

To produce a pole better than the original MTX4 was never going to be easy, but in doing so, Matrix has created the ultimate flagship pole for competition fishing.

The new MTX5 raises the bar with unrivalled performance in all areas. Developed to offer the pinnacle in pole performance, surpassing Matrix's current flagship model, the MTX4, was no easy task.

Designed as an elite competition pole ideal for commercials or finesse silver fishing, this pole achieves the perfect balance between strength and rigidity. The minimal graphics in stealth black enhance the premium styling.
Manufactured using the very highest grades of Japanese carbon fibre and resins.

The MTX5 is built on the same mandrel as other MTX poles, meaning sections are interchangeable with others in the range.

If you are looking for a pole that will take your finesse fishing for silvers to another level, then this is a great choice.

Pros

  • Comes with stacks of top kits.
  • Incredibly responsive.

Cons

  • Spares can take a while to get hold of.

What to look out for...

Poles vary massively in price, so it's important to have a budget in mind before you start looking. When it comes to length, 13m is a good place to start, as that will cover most situations in commercial venues.

Don't always think a lighter pole is best for you either, particularly if you're a bit heavy-handed. The pricier the pole, the stiffer or more rigid it is likely to be, and this will make it easier to fish with. You don't really want one that bounces around all over the place.

How does the pole feel? A non-stick finish that allows you to ship it in and out without having it catch in your hands is essential.

Final consideration is spares, how easily available are they? By their very nature and design, poles are delicate things, and breakages will happen. You need a pole that sections and top kits can easily be replaced for, so you are not left in a situation where you can't go fishing.

Glossary

Rig: The length of line with your float, shot and hook on that you attach to the end of your pole.

Mandrel: The metal tubes used as a template that carbon fibre sheets are wrapped around when a pole is being made. A lot of manufacturers will produce a whole range of poles on the same mandrel, meaning all the sections are the same length, diameter and taper and will interchange between each pole. Doing this is not always a good idea, as although the sections might look the same, the ones from cheaper poles will be made from a cheaper, heavier and less rigid carbon that will affect the performance of a high-end pole.

Top kit: The last 1 or 2 sections that you place on the end of your pole that contains the elastic that you attach your rig too. Most poles will come with a variety of top kits allowing you to choose which elastic to fish with or allow you to set up multiple rigs.

Cupping kit: A separate top kit specially designed to attach a pole cup, allowing you to deposit a large amount of bait right where you are fishing.

Elastic bung: A plastic cone that fits inside your top kit, which you attach your elastic to, anchoring it inside your pole and stopping it from pulling out completely when a fish is hooked.

Side Puller: A small hole in the side of your top kit with a bush or roller fitted inside, used instead of a bung to anchor your elastic. The bottom end of the elastic is threaded through the puller and anchored by a bead on the outside of your pole. This allows you to grab the bead and pull some elastic out of the pole, changing its tension when playing a fish. This is useful when a larger fish has pulled a lot of elastic out of your pole, making it difficult to net.

Bush: Often called a PTFE Bush, after the smooth low, friction plastic it is made from, a bush fits at the end of your pole and provides a smooth exit point for your elastic.

Connector: The item that allows you to attach your rig to your elastic at the end of your pole. The main types are a Dacron Connector, a bead, or traditional plastic connector.

Mini extension: A half-size or smaller, extra-strong piece of pole that goes into the back of a section. This help protects the bottom end of your pole from damage whilst also allowing you to fish slightly further out when a full-length section would be too much.

Bottom out: When a particularly large fish fights so hard that it gets your elastic to full stretch. With no more give in the elastic, you run the risk of a hook pull, line breakage or, in extreme cases, a pole breakage.

Pole cup: A cup that attaches to a specially designed cupping top kit, allowing you to deposit a large amount of bait right where you are fishing.

Pole Pot: A small cup that attaches to the end of a top kit, allowing you to feed small amounts of bait on top of your float, and can remain in play whilst you play a fish.

Shipping: The process where a pole is pushed or pulled back or forth, often over a pole roller. Shipping out is pushing the pole out over the water and towards your fishing position. Shipping back is pushing the pole back behind you so you can reach then remove your top kit to re-bait or land a fish.

Pole roller: A device with a cushioned rotating area that a pole is shipped across. Longer lengths of poles of around 11m or over will require 2 pole rollers.

FAQs

What is the difference between a margin pole, a power/carp pole and a match pole?

A margin pole is a shorter, often 9m or less, super strong pole designed for fishing for very big fish that live close to near bank features. A power or carp pole is almost as strong but designed to be used at longer lengths of up to 16m. A match pole is a lighter, more rigid and easier-to-handle pole that can also be used for big fish and carp, but with care due to their decreased strength.

What do the numbers mean on elastic ratings?

The bigger the number, the more powerful the elastic. As a rough guide, elastics from 2 to 10 are best used in match kits for smaller fish. More powerful elastics, up to a 20, are best used in power kits. Elastics over a 20 are normally only used in margin poles. Always check the rating on your top kits and pole first though.

What length pole should I buy?

Only you, as the angler, can decide this. 8m is a great length for margin fishing, whilst 11m to 13m is ideal for open-water fishing. Most serious match anglers will want a 16m pole, the maximum length allowed in a lot of matches.

What is the difference between Hollow, Hybrid and Solid elastic?

A solid elastic is the cheapest and most powerful elastic but wears out and perishes the quickest. A hollow elastic has a hole down the middle, which compresses as it stretches, giving it more cushioning and total stretch, making it ideal for mixed sizes of hard-fighting fish. A hybrid elastic sits somewhere between the two.

What is the difference between a match kit and a power kit?

A match kit is the lightest top kit made from the best carbon fibre and was the one your pole was designed with. A power kit is a heavier but stronger version which, although it allows you to use bigger elastics, will make your pole feel heavier and more cumbersome.

Why would I want to use an F1 kit/short kit instead of a normal length match or power kit?

These special top kits are shorter than normal and are often only one piece. This allows you to fish light elastics for smaller fish yet still remain in control. They are ideal for F1s and fishing shallow for smaller species, but full-length top kits, which will hold more elastic, are normally better for bigger fish like carp, which fight harder and will easily bottom out short lengths of elastics.

Why would I use a pole instead of a rod?

With no casting required, a far lighter float can be placed with pinpoint accuracy exactly where you want it. With shorter lengths of line in use, you get more control over your float, allowing you to manipulate your bait to appear more natural, induce bites, better combat wind and tow whilst making bites easier to hit. All these factors mean that in the right hands, a pole will normally outscore a rod and line approach fished within pole range.

What is pole elastic for?

The internal elastic will stretch as a fish pulls, cushioning the fight and reducing line breakages and hook pulls. Without the cushioning bend of a rod or the clutch on a reel to let fish run, elastic is crucial for playing fish on a pole.

How is a whip different to a pole?

A whip can be telescopic or take-apart and is designed to have a rig the same length as the whip itself, meaning a cast is required. Whips are a niche product designed for catching larger numbers of smaller fish and don't offer the same versatility or control as a pole.

How do you pack a pole away?

All the smaller sections of a pole will fit inside each other for transport. The last few sections of a longer pole are often parallel, meaning they won't fit inside each other. This is why a 16m pole will often come in 3 separate tubes. All the top kits should be carried in a separate tube or case.

Why are poles so expensive?

Poles vary in price from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds. Cheap poles are made from a very cheap carbon fibre, which is very strong and durable but makes for heavy and floppy poles. Expensive poles are made from higher-quality carbon fibre, making them lighter and stiffer, allowing them to remain manageable at longer lengths. More expensive carbon fibre is more brittle and less durable though, meaning top-end poles are far more easy to damage if not used correctly.

Author Mark Sawyer holds the position of Tackle Editor at Angling Times, boasting more than thirty years of experience working within different fields of the angling industry.

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