If one company has a deserved reputation for putting a lot of thought into its products, it’s Drennan. I remember having a conversation with company boss Peter Drennan some years ago, when he explained his company’s philosophy when it comes to product development. He said that he would rather spend months or years getting a product absolutely perfect than release a substandard piece of kit quickly just to compete with an item released by another company. Given his company’s reputation for producing really good- quality gear (and profitability), few can argue with his approach.
Former Pole Fishing editor Jon Arthur was one of the first people to get his hands on a prototype version of the Acolyte Carp while he was still working for this magazine, soon after he got his flagship Drennan Acolyte. Now I know from experience that you will not find a more difficult man to please than Jon, so with him having a hand in the package, I was expecting something very special.
Some weeks before this test, I was invited to a press morning at Meadowlands Fishery near Coventry and was given a guided tour of the pole by Jon himself. Before the talk began, I was given a four-page ‘pack’ that explained the pole and its features; a clear indication as to just how much thought Drennan had put into it.
The standout feature for me was the Side Pull Roller System. This is one of the cleverest pole fishing innovations that I have seen in a long time. It basically takes in a bung with a roller built into it that can only go up the pole as far as the slot built into the side of the top kit. The result is a system that allows all the advantages of an integrated ‘roller puller’ that is also fully removable.
I also really like the idea of the ‘double top two’, which gives you all the fish-playing advantages of a short top kit, without losing any length.
Truth be told, this is just one of a host of very impressive and unique features that the pole is supplied with. Indeed, there is a zip-up pouch full of bungs, skid bungs and 30 PTFE bushes to allow you to configure your setup to suit your exact requirements.
So what of the performance of the pole? Well, before I go into this, I think
it is important to look at what Drennan claims it to be, and that’s a dedicated carp (power) pole. It is available at 13, 14.5 and 16 metres and is fully interchangeable with its more expensive flagship sibling, the Drennan Acolyte. This makes it a great second pole for anyone with an Acolyte and, of course, an outstanding power pole in its own right.
Taking it out of its holdall, the first thing that struck me was the strength and thickness of the section walls. This is a substantial piece of kit and even a firm Yorkshire squeeze couldn’t instigate the slightest bit of movement in the sections. At 13 metres, with one of the Carp top-two kits loaded with Drennan’s Pink Bungee, the pole felt nice. As expected, when the 14.5 and 16m sections were added the weight increased significantly and stiffness was slightly impaired, but it was still very manageable and performed well for a dedicated carp pole.
Of course, the acid test of any pole like this is how strong it is, and boy did I have a workout in store for it! With a snaggy island to go at, I started fishing a full 16 metres, swinging a rig up to the edge of the cover. Several angry commons were my reward and, with my roller placed at an angle, I had to literally drag the fish away from the cover. This involved heaving with all my might, bottoming the elastic out and pulling the fish into open water. They didn’t give up easily and I must admit that several times I found myself pulling as hard as I could; the pole never felt like it might let me down.
Soon, by regular feeding I was able to draw the fish back towards me, so removed the 16m and then the 14.5m sections. At these shorter lengths the pole felt great and I soon had the fish queuing up here. Again, though, despite the carp’s best efforts, the Acolyte Carp proved unbreakable!
All in all, I couldn’t be more impressed with the level of thought that Drennan has put into what is a great power pole. Expect to see lots of these over the next few months.
Package: Available in 13m, 14.5m and 16m packages including: Four Carp top-two kits, two double top-two kits, cupping top-t4wo kits, two reversible mini extensions, Drennan Match holdall, four Skid Bungs, Polemaster pole pot, 30 PTFE bushes, EVA nose cones, spare cupping-kit adaptor, Extractor rod, six Roller Cones, Side Pull Beads, Visi Case
Spares: Carp top-two kit £79, double top-two kit £79, 16m extension £300, No3 kit £89
RRP: 13m £995; 14.5m £1,295; 16m £1,495