Over the past few months I have come to realise how the once canyon-like gap between mid-range and flagship poles is closing. Advancements in the manufacture of poles mean they are getting continuously better, so your hard-earned cash can now go further than ever. When the Maver Oculus 999 arrived in the Pole Fishing office this month Joe Carass was quick to tell me what a nice piece of kit it was. He had visited Maver HQ earlier in the year and explained that, according to Maver, it was created to be the best sub-£1,000 pole on the market, and a pole Maver could have easily retailed as a near £2,000 model.
Out Of The Bag
Categorised as an all-round pole with a SSP of £999, the Maver Oculus 999 is designed to be equally at home at any venue you choose to unleash it on, but with an elastic rating of a 20 it is made to thrive when targeting commercial fisheries. When removed from the Maver Deluxe Pole Holdall it comes in we are presented with a package including five of Maver’s Powerlite slotted and pre-bushed power kits, a mini extension, cupping kit including cups, three EVA clean caps to keep the pole in tiptop condition, a 16m pole (including a match top three kit inside) and a DVD, giving you a comprehensive package to set you on your way, as well as entertainment to stick on while you get the top kits ‘laccied up’.
The Oculus 999 features Maver’s trademark lime green and orange colour scheme on all four of the final sections, giving the pole a look that will definitely stand out on the bank! When it comes to features and technologies used in the construction of its poles, Maver is not a company to hold back. High-tensile Japanese carbon fibres and unique resins, reinforced with Super Tough Epoxy Resins – or ‘STER’ as Maver calls it – and further strengthened with 4MAT aerospace matrix resins, combined with Reglass patented Nanolith multi-directional fibre technology, are just a handful of the elements used in creating the Oculus 999.
On The Bank
With a festival at the venue fast approaching I decided to take the Maver Oculus to the wonderful Weston Pools fishery in Oswestry. Weston is without a doubt one of my favourite fisheries in the country and whenever I can come up with a viable excuse I seize the opportunity to make a visit. After a quick chat with the very helpful staff, I was pointed in the direction of Stretton Pool, a 32-peg lake with plenty of open water, giving anglers lots of options. Despite fishing the venue maybe 20 times over the past few years I had never actually fished this lake before, so it was a good chance to see what it was like.
Keeping my tactics simple I decided to have a nice morning’s fishing using maggots at long distance. The lake has a good stocking of ide, F1s, carp, barbel and general silver fish, so this tactic should see me have plenty of action during the course of the session and allow me to get a real feel for the pole. Starting on the deck at 13 metres, loose feeding via a catapult, the day started well, picking up a mixture of ide, averaging a pound each and small F1s. I was instantly impressed with the pole – at 13 metres the Oculus 999 felt very well balanced and lightweight (just 790g at this distance) and the black Suncore finish gives the pole a really nice feel that makes it a dream to ship in and out at speed. Teflon joints on the number three, four, five and six sections add to the nice finish and will benefit the lifespan of the pole in the long run.
I was soon catching a fish every drop in and I started getting indications up in the water. A change to a shallow rig saw my catch rate increase even further; again a mixture of nice sized ide and F1s were the species taking a fancy to my maggot hook bait. The further into the session I went the more impressed with the Oculus I became. Hitting bites at long distance was a doddle, with the pole boasting impressive tip speed keeping missed bites to a minimum. The Oculus’ wall strength was impressive as well, an attribute that gave me utmost confidence to give it a bit of stick. Eager to test the Oculus at longer lengths I started to ping my maggots past the end of my pole tip. Soon enough the telltale sign of fish swirling on the surface as the bait landed in the swim was my invitation to push on past my initial starting point. First off the 14.5m extension was added, and to be honest at this distance there was very little difference to the performance or feel to the pole – still well-balanced, stiff and I was equally able to hit bites comfortably without delay from the strike. Surely adding the 16m section was going to change that, making the pole borderline unmanageable? Absolutely not! At the pole’s full length of 16 metres it still felt nice to use and I would have no qualms in using it at this length for long periods. I was now fishing tight over to the far-bank reeds, which resulted in more bites, more fish in the net and if the Oculus 999 hadn’t achieved it already, it had me pleasantly surprised.
A Tick In Every Box… In summary, I have been really impressed with the Maver Oculus 999. In what was a relatively short session I managed a fish almost every drop in and it was a pleasure to use throughout. At the end of the day I was left struggling to think of any negatives against the pole. As I said before, it’s strong, stiff and well balanced with a finish that feels great when shipping in and out. Without a doubt it’s an option really worth taking a look at if you’re in the market for a sub £1,000 pole!
Maver Oculus 999 Pole
1x 16m Pole Package
1x match top three kit (inside pole)
5x Powerlite slotted & bushed power kits
1x mini extension
1x Cupping kit & cups
3x EVA clean caps
1x Deluxe pole holdall & protective tubes
Stated length: 16m
Actual length: 15.8m (without dolly butt 14.95m)
Top kit: 2.46m
Top four: 3.82m
Top five: 5.26m
Puller kits: Yes
Cupping kit: Yes
Holdall supplied: Yes
Butt section length: 1.64m
Butt diameter: 47.3mm