Tom On The Middy MTDI XK55
I have been fortunate enough to see this pole at various stages of its development because Middy consultant Rob Wootton has been using prototypes on his Wootton’s Way features for several months. This has really made me appreciate how much work went into developing what has turned out to be an excellent finished product. I have seen Rob fishing with three or four models over the last 12 months, all of which have been gradually improved upon. To his credit, Rob really has gone to town, making numerous little tweaks and adaptations to ensure that everything is spot-on before the pole was released to the public, and even before I was allowed to get my hands on it!
The XK55 is the flagship of the broader ‘X’ range. With the pole expected to sell in the shops for around £1,300, it is considerably cheaper than a lot of other companies’ flagship models. It is comparable with the very best on the market, though, being light, stiff and, most importantly for modern commercial fishing, very strong.
Warren Pool at Meadowlands Fishery proved the perfect testing ground, even though conditions were a little tougher than normal because the carp were spawning!
For this reason, I opted to try and catch as many species as possible by fishing soft pellets long on the bottom. This would also prove a real test of performance because you really do need a stiff, responsive pole for this kind of work, especially in a crosswind. If your rig is blown about too much your pellet ends up coming off very quickly.
My session couldn’t have got off to a better start because I hooked and landed a 7lb common on my very first put-in! I needn’t have got too excited, however, because all I could catch for the next hour was small skimmers! Still, I was getting a bite every put-in and really enjoying my day’s fishing, especially as Jon wasn’t really catching and I could see a big golden nugget coming my way!
I was particularly impressed with the finish of the pole; the glossy 13m, 14.5m and 16m sections, and the matt finish No4 to No7 sections slid easily through the hands and the slim-profile joints didn’t once catch, even when shipping back and forth at speed.
I was just about resigned to the fact that I was only going to catch skimmers for the rest of the day when another carp put in an appearance. This one was a lot angrier than the fish I landed earlier, which was probably something to do with the fact that I had managed to hook it up the bum!
It gave me a chance to really test the strength of the pole, though, especially when it decided to go under the leg of the platform next to me! I somehow managed to steer it to the net with the rig still in one piece and I can genuinely say that after that experience I would be happy to use the pole for any kind of carp fishing!
Jon had started catching carp by now and as our two-hour match came to an end I began to worry that my earlier confidence of taking Jon’s £1 may have been misplaced! Fortunately, the scales went my way; with my mixed net going 36lb to Jon’s 32lb. Get in!
In previous reviews I have made a point of saying how impressive a lot of £1,000 to £1,500 poles are right across the board. However, this pole really is something special and I would go as far as to say that I haven’t handled a better pole.
Granted, the spares package is not as comprehensive as more expensive flagship poles but the saving grace is that all sections from other poles in the X range are fully compatible with the XK55, giving you the option of potentially buying a cheaper pole and gaining spare sections and extra top kits, or just ordering extra top kits on their own.
If you’re in the market for a new pole, I would urge you to get out and have a look at one of these. I’m sure you will be impressed!
Jon On The Middy MTDI XK55
Middy has perhaps not been a serious contender in the pole market for some time, but that’s all set to change with the new X series. Like Tom, I know how much effort Rob and Middy have put into the entire range and the XK55 really is the jewel in the crown. It’s purpose built for UK waters, so it is strong throughout but still stiff and perfectly manageable at 14m-plus lengths. The three types of top kits is a great feature and the fact that they all measure the same once the No1 section is removed is a nice touch. Welcome back to the pole arena Middy!
Middy MTDI XK55
Stated length: 16m
Actual length: 16.08m
Closed length: 1.8m
Top-two length: 1.9m
Top-three length: 3.17m
Top-four length: 4.59m
Top-five length: 6.21m
Top-three length with No1 removed: 2.48m
Karp 2 Kit length: 2.48m
Match kit elastic rating: No16
Pro kit elastic rating: No16
Karp kit elastic rating: No22
12.7m butt diameter: 47mm
14.4m butt diameter: 49mm
16.08m butt diameter: 49mm
Weight at 12.7m: 860g
Weight at 14.4m: 1,160g
Weight at 16.08m: 1,519g
Other features: Built on X Series mandrel, MTDI Angle Technology, Fusion joints, S Slide Finish, VC-X baking process, CS3 Bonding process
Package: 16m pole, one spare match top three kit, one Pro 2 kit, two Karp 2 kits, Cupp Kit, four elastication kits, short No4, holdall, tubes
Spares: Pro 3 Kit £89.99; Pro 2 Kit £79.99; Karp 2 Kit £39.99; Short No4 £59.99; extension £199.99