Middy’s new Reactacore XI20-3 Competition Match Carp Pole might well be named the WIndbeater, such is its resilience in a gale.
Weighing in at just 980g at 13m, it’s no telegraph pole, making it viable to handle when the wind is blowing. So, with a late January gale bending trees double, I made my way to Nottinghamshire’s Janson’s Fishery for the live test.
On this very exposed venue, only one peg on the entire complex had escaped being lashed by the wind, and that was on Munroes Lake which has a central island at around 13m and is well stocked with carp and F1s.
The X120-3 has a bit of a luxury feel to it when you get it out of the bag, with a lovely S-Slide micro-ground fast-shipping finish, Spineline alignment on each section, and dome-topped joint protection on the fourth, fifth and mini butt sections. A DNS distance numbering system for precise feeding and fishing is a nice touch and importantly, the pole has a satisfyingly solid feel to it when you give those key No4 and No5 section walls a squeeze. .
The four Max22 Karp 2-kits come with CKB colour-coded PTFE bush-fit bands so there are no dramas when it comes to cutting back tips too far. Who among us has not committed this irreversible sin in the past? Reinforced pull-it areas on the top kits can be drilled before being fitted with side pullers.
So, rigged up and ready to go, I popped a small pot on to the end of the pole – acid test number one. If a pole is sloppy, it’ll bounce all over the place when shipped out and you’ll be left with no bait in the pot when it reaches its destination. That didn’t happen with the new Reactacore XI20-3, even in the wind.
This is a hard feeling to put into words, but if a pole is too heavy, you’ll feel like Atlas with the world on his shoulders. Here, even when the pole was dragged way off course by rogue gusts, it took little effort to manoeuvre it quickly back into position again. Likewise, lifting and dropping the rig was hassle-free. The stiffness of the pole makes lifting delicate floats almost instant, with little bounce and even less droop as the pole is raised – and the same applies to hitting bites.
Winter F1s and carp often only give you a tiny ‘dink’ on the float, and if the pole is bending like a fiddler’s elbow you’ve got no chance of connecting with the fish. A short but solid lift with this pole though, and I was laughing. Even when a bite was missed, the rig was straight back in and fishing again, such are its recovery values, even at its maximum 14.5m.
But what about the strength, I hear you ask? Well, the XI20-3 has plenty of it, and although no real brutes were caught, battling the wind was a great test in its own right. When a gust came, holding the pole deliberately against the blast taught me all that I need to know about the X120-3’s power. Sometimes, you can only turn your head away and wince as carbon meets the wind and pray the pole doesn’t come off second-best, but my early fears about whether this one would end up in several more pieces than it arrived in were soon kicked into touch.
In fact, as the session wore on I was actually beginning to enjoy myself, free of those fears.
The pole is strong, seriously strong, and impressive in all aspects and I would even go as far to say that you could fish it down the edge in the summer in search of big doubles without any danger.
For your typical all-round mixed commercial fishery, it’s bang on the money!
Verdict: This is the second Middy Reactacore model that I have fished with in recent weeks, and I have to say how impressed I am by their technical attributes.
Spineline alignment sees the pole always fished in its optimum position, while numbering on the butt sections, and depth line markers, do come in handy once you’re fishing.
The XI20-3 should be a much sought-after pole for any club match angler who spends much of his time on commercials. Its top kit package offers plenty of flexibility and scope. Spare top-kits and sections, incidentally, will all interchange with Middy’s previous Shock-Core and Nano-Core pole ranges.
If your fishing sees a lot of work at around 8m to 10m with the occasional visit with a longer length to fish against an island, the X120-3 is the one to pick – and when the wind blows it will certainly be first out of the holdall!
Price: 13m £999.99, 14.5m £1129.98. But shop around for even more competitive prices