A host of big-name anglers have declared their praise for the range, including our very own Alex Bones, who described the original MAP 901 as the best pole available! In 2016 we saw the introduction of a second generation of TKS poles, the 2G series, in which MAP has made each model in the range even stiffer and stronger. Regular readers of the magazine will remember Alex tested the 901 2G in our August issue and confirmed that this was most definitely the case.
Here at Pole Fishing magazine we understand that not everybody can warrant spending upwards of £2,000 on a pole, let alone the £2,999 that the 901 2G will set you back. MAP’s 501 2G falls into the middle of the TKS range; available for under £1,000 it has already got itself quite the fan club – even the likes of Jamie Hughes and Andy May have one each to use during their coaching sessions, so it must be good…
The MAP TKS 501 2G comes as a 16m package including three power kits, three match kits plus an additional match kit included in the pole and a cupping kit! Better yet, existing TKS owners will be able to carry their existing kits forward as this new 2G model uses the same mandrels as its predecessor. Each of the top kits included are pre bushed and fitted with side pullers so there is no cutting back or drilling needed, making the transition from delivery to on the bank seamless. Also included is a reinforced mini extension, perfect for days when that little bit more length is needed or to take the pressure off your other sections when fishing long. You also get a TKS branded deluxe pole holdall so that you can look the part getting to your peg as well. A six-month guarantee will give you the opportunity to seek replacements should anything go wrong while getting used to your new weapon as well, a nice addition from MAP.
The finish of the pole is really impressive, with its anti-friction finish throughout and section alignment system that, along with the classy, stealthy artwork on the butt sections (that always gets a tick in our book), give the 501 2G the look and feel of a real high-end pole.
On The Bank
To give the 501 2G a thorough testing I settled on taking it to Alvechurch Fisheries, a lovely mixed fishery near Birmingham. Alvechurch is home to five lakes, all of which are stocked with a wide range of species. The complex also has its own café, as well as an on-site tackle shop that sells fresh bait as well as small and large items of tackle. For the day’s test I decided to fish Horseshoe Lake, the largest of the venue’s five lakes and the main match lake. I had been informed it was full of hard-fighting carp, as well as silver fish such as skimmers and ide, and also some big barbel (although they tend to live in the pegs at the top end of the lake). Starting the session at 13 metres, using a worm and caster approach, saw me get off to a good start. It was instantly noticeable how stiff and well-balanced the 501 2G is at this length; in fact you would be hard pressed to notice any difference between this and a pole asking twice the money at this distance. After a short wait I was soon playing my first fish of the day, a small carp of around 2lb. The owner was right in saying the fish in here fight a bit! After an extremely spirited fight I slid my net under a pristine dark-coloured mirror carp. Bites then came thick and fast with a mixture of skimmers and small carp taking a fancy to my hook bait. All of the carp were much darker than I have come to expect from a lot of commercial venues and also fought a lot harder as well. The 501 2G felt solid under the pressure I was putting it under and at no point did I feel the pole wasn’t up to the job.
Well, no… at 16 metres the 501 2G is still very comfortable to use. Yes, it starts to become a bit less well balanced, and a bit less comfortable to sit and use for long periods, but it is a long way from being unmanageable. In fact, given the very small amount of times the average angler actually fishes past 14.5 metres you could argue that paying the sort of money that is asked of a pole that performs exquisitely at 16 metres could prove to be a bit of a waste. Adding the final extensions of the 501 2G did, however, allow me to reach into ‘mugging territory’, and that is exactly what I did. Flicking a shallow rig directly into the path of a few cruisers saw me get in contact with some of the lake’s bigger fish. Just like the smaller carp I had caught previously these bigger specimens were powerful fish. The biggest of the day was a mirror carp of going on 7lb that when hooked made its way out of my peg and had my elastic bottomed out in seconds. At this point something usually gives, whether that be my hooklength, elastic (if my setup isn’t balanced) or, in the most expensive of scenarios, the pole. Luckily on this occasion none of the above occurred, I was able to turn the fish back towards me and get it under control once I had shipped back on to the top kit, where I was able to use the puller kit to good effect. Despite being a light pole the 501 2G’s sections all feel very strong, which gave me a lot of confidence to give any fish I hooked a bit of stick without too much worry of breakages.
The MAP TKS 501 2G, like the rest of the range, is a very good piece of kit that without a doubt exceeds the expectations of a sub £1,000 pole. It is light, stiff and well-balanced and offers fantastic strength to boot. The 501 2G package is certainly competitive and if you ask nicely the likelihood is that MAP will tailor it to suit your needs, so if more match than power kits would be more advantageous to you than the standard package, or vice versa, you can have this arranged. If you fish at 16 metres on a regular basis and ultimate performance at that length is what you are after, then a flagship pole may well be the way forward for you, but expect to pay at least double the price. However, if your fishing tends to revolve around lengths of 14.5 metres or less, with only the occasional trip out to 16 metres, then the MAP TKS 501 2G will not disappoint and is well worth taking a look at!
MAP TKS 501 2G
RRP: £999.99 Anti-friction finish throughout
Sleek, understated artwork
Fitted side pullers on all kits
Extra-long pure PTFE bushes fitted on all kits
Section alignment system
1 x pre-bushed puller match kit fitted
3 x pre bushed puller power kits
3 x pre bushed match puller kits
1 x rigid cupping kit with cups
1 x reinforced mini extension 1 x deluxe pole holdall
Stated length: 16m
Actual length: 15.39m (with dolly butt 16.19m)
Top kit: 2.73m
Top four: 4.14m
Top five: 5.57m
Puller kits: Yes
Cupping kit: Yes
Holdall supplied: Yes
Butt section length: 1.81m
Butt diameter: 48.4mm