I believe that the original Maver Medusa will probably go down in history as one of the top 10 poles of all time. I still know people who own them, which is testament to how good they were. The latest incarnation is the Medusa XM and I was interested to see if it could live up to the reputation of its predecessors.
Now I had never set eyes upon Sherwood Forest Fishery before and was pleasantly surprised by how nicely it was all set out. With gale-force winds to contend with, however, I knew that things wouldn’t be easy wherever I sat but I chose a slightly more sheltered swim on the canalised Maunside Lake. The bailiff was really helpful and, by strange coincidence, he had only just bought a Medusa XM of his own!
Maunside looked perfect for my test because it varies from 12 to 14 metres wide with very inviting bushes and reed beds opposite. With the wind gusting violently all over the place, I settled on the slightly deeper water directly in front of a dense patch of reeds as my main swim. Here it was just less than 13 metres. I also plumbed up further to my left and and in much shallower water underneath the overhanging foliage. If the wind dropped I wanted to see if I could catch anything better in the shallower water at the full 14.5 metres.
Retailing at a penny less than £500 for 14.5 metres the Medusa offers great value for money and is sure to arouse plenty of interest. It is supplied in its own pole bag with protective tubes and the spares package includes a match kit inside the pole, three separate power kits, a cupping kit, mini extension and instructional DVD.
For my test I removed the No1 section from the match kit and elasticated the next two sections with No10 latex. I also elasticated a power kit with No12-14 and by the looks of the reed bed opposite me I was probably going to be using this the most! The power kit only needed cutting back around 12 inches to give me a fairly stiff 2.9m top kit to play with.
I would have liked to have sat down the windward end of the lake but there was no way that I could test anything in the full brunt of the gale I had to endure! Even in my relatively sheltered swim I was being buffeted left and right. It wasn’t comfortable fishing but those strong gusts were a great test for the pole as they whipped across.
To fish effectively I had to use two feet of line above the float plus a couple of No8s as back shot. The only thing I had on my side tray was pellets, both 2mms and 4mms, plus some soft 4mm and 6mm expanders. Fishing pellets in a wind is difficult because you need quick reflexes to hit the bites, so it would be a good test of the Medusa’s responsiveness.
My feeding ploy was to feel my way into the session with Cad-potted softened micros and 4mms and after 10 minutes without any indications the fish suddenly turned up.
The next five put-ins produced five chunky mirror carp to 4lb. With lots of reeds sticking out to my right that’s where I expected them to head for. Instead, every one shot to my left, almost making it to the aerator two pegs away! The pole was given lots of strain, both from the carp and the wind, and just getting it back onto my roller was a battle against the elements at times! Despite all of this, it never once looked like buckling under the pressure – even when I got angry and frustrated with the swirling wind and gave the pole a lot more stick than normal. Thankfully, the Medusa laughed back at me and never wavered!
After a golden catching spell things became more difficult. That’s when I started to experiment with ‘slopping up’ my 4mm feed pellets. I simply added a lot more water so that they went to a mush that would only just hold together. My thinking was that a cloud would help pull a few more fish into the swim and to an extent it worked pretty well. It also pulled in some much smaller stockies and a surprise 8oz chub before the bites became unhittable and I began foul hooking the odd fish – another good pole tested
The next step was to revert to more solid pellets and a squeezed nugget of 2mms plopped in each cast soon got my catching ratio back on course.
In just a few hours I caught a cracking 50lb-plus bag of carp, plus that solitary chublet. My last fish was the icing on the cake – a power-packed golden koi that put up a brilliant scrap all the way to the net!
I couldn’t fault the day’s fishing, especially in the conditions, and more importantly I couldn’t really fault the pole. For just shy of £500 you get a top-notch 14.5m package with enough top kits to cope with venues like Sherwood. It’s without doubt a great pole for the money, surprisingly good at 13 and 14.5 metres and more than lives up to the Medusa reputation.
Maver Medusa XM
Stated length: 14.5m with mini extension
Actual length: 15m with 97cm mini extension
Closed length: 1.76m
Match-kit length: 3.23m
Power-kit length: 3.23m
Match kit elastic rating: No12
Power kit elastic rating: No20
Package: 14.5m pole including match top three, three power kits, cupping kit, cups, mini extension, pole holdall, tubes, instructional DVD
Spares: Power kit £44.99; match top three £49.99; match top four £89.99; half extension £39.99; extension £99.99