At the Preston Innovations press day, one item in particular opened everybody’s eyes – the new flagship Absolute GiS XS pole. Looking at it on the rack while waiting my turn to have a waggle, I was thinking how it would be almost impossible to produce a flagship pole that’s significantly better than any others on the market. However, when Ant Rogers placed 13 metres of it in my hands, my chin nearly hit the floor! Even with the No1 section in place, it was as stiff as a poker, and I could hold it with just one hand. I had to get out on the bank to try it!
I decided to take the pole to Docklow Pools in Herefordshire, a venue where I could give it a thorough workout with several species of fish. I sat on the picturesque Mickey Mouse Lake, which is well known for hard-fighting fish. Being spring fed, the water is quite clear and the fish have a reputation for pulling extra hard! I couldn’t wait to get cracking and, with the weather cooling slightly, I settled on a caster-and-pellet approach, feeding just one line at 14.5 metres. There was plentiful cover for any big fish to exploit, in the form of lily beds and tree roots – a sure way to test the pole’s power.
I decided to elasticate a match kit with the No1 section removed and settled on 10-12 hollow elastic in conjunction with a Pulla Bung. This would be light enough to land the skimmers and F1s, but also cope with the carp when they hopefully arrived.
It was only when assembling the pole, and noticing the Sun Core finish, that I realised this was the first time I had properly fished with a Preston pole. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to ship in and out in the damp and I didn’t spill bait from my pot or tangle my rig once!
I was very impressed with the reinforced key areas. These are on every section from the No4 upwards and incorporate extra-strengthened lengths at the lower end of the sections. This offers maximum protection from elbows when striking, and when gripping the sections to put them together and take them apart. Even without this, a firm squeeze along all the larger sections confirmed that they are sturdy throughout, and for such a stiff and light pole, they are solid. This certainly gave me the confidence to pull if I needed to!
I started by feeding a medium Cad Pot of casters and 6mm pellets. The stiffness of the pole was unbelievable and I had total control when lowering my rig down with the free offerings. I had two or three fast bites on double caster before I hooked my first fish, a roach of around 10oz.
Over the next half an hour I caught one every time that I shipped out and could have happily carried on. However, I wanted to see my elastic really pulled, so decided to cut out the casters and change to a banded 6mm pellet on the hook.
After a few more roach I hooked my first better fish, an F1 of around 2lb. The pole handled this fine and I even gave it the ‘big ’un’ to stop him getting in the lilies! The next fish was much bigger. I’m sure that it was foul hooked because it tore off straight through the pads before bottoming my elastic and breaking my hooklength! Despite this, I never once thought that the pole was going to budge, and over the next hour I caught F1s plus the odd better carp to 4lb. The fish were immaculate and the commons, in particular, were long and lean but fought like mad! I had to bottom out my elastic several times with a Pulla Bung to get their heads up, which was no problem for the Absolute XS, even with a match kit.
One thing I did notice was how smoothly the elastic ran in the top kit. In the past, I have had problems with hollow elastics sticking, but even after being wet and dragged around the lake, it went back lovely every time. I put this down to the Magic Steps inside the kits, which was definitely working here.
Another extra is the Fusion finish, where several kinds of carbon are fused together to produce extra-stiff top kits when fishing at distance. I could lift and drop my bait, and pick up at fast bites effortlessly.
In the last hour I plumbed a line up down the margins and continued to catch; I even carried on to near darkness after the pictures were done!
The spares package is exceptional and caters for everything. The 16m pole is fitted with a match top-three kit (No 10 elastic rating) plus you get five spare match top fours and five power top twos (No16 elastic rating), along with a cupping kit, short No4 and 10-tube holdall!
I dare say that this is set to be one of the best poles on the market over the next 12 months. It is definitely the most impressive piece of kit I’ve had my hands on in a long time. All I can say is – wow!
Absolute GiS XS
Package: 16m pole, five match top-four kits, five power top-two kits, cupping kit, cups, short No4, GiS 10-tube holdall
Features: Sun Core, Fusion, Magic Steps
RRP: Package £2,999.99; pole only £2,250
Spares: Match top three £120; match top four £249; power top two £75; Pulla Kit £49.99