Tom Scholey takes the Preston Innovations GiS Absolute 11 for a winter workout and comes away extremely impressed.
With most of my winter angling being undertaken on canals, I was really starting to miss my commercial fishing. So, when I got the chance to review the GiS 11, it seemed the ideal opportunity to get out and try and catch some carp!
I have long been a fan of poles from the Preston stable, and use the GXR 3001 for my fishing. With the GiS 11 retailing at £500 more than this, I was very excited to see what it had to offer.
Having chatted with Preston’s Ant Rogers at its annual press day, I knew that the GiS 11 was introduced following the success of last year’s popular GiS 14. While this was a top-selling pole in its own right, it was predominantly marketed as a pole for silver fish and top-end competition work that would also cope with carp. By contrast, the GiS 11 is designed to be slightly stronger, making it perfect for commercial fisheries.
As you would expect from a pole near the top end of the market, the spares package is phenomenal. Supplied with nine spare top kits – two match top fours, two match top threes and five power kits – it also comes with a cupping kit, short No4 and holdall. You really do get a top package for your money.
To give the pole a thorough workout, I wanted to fish with it at its full length of 16 metres and hopefully catch a few bigger carp to allow me to really test its power.
After picking the brains of a couple of local anglers, I decided to fish on Lagoon Pool at Makins Fishery on the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border. I was told that a long-pole approach with sweetcorn should see me get among the larger residents.
With a hard frost on the morning of our session I was expecting a difficult day, so feeding a few lines seemed the safest bet. The wind was relatively kind, so I decided to fish two lines at 16 metres and another slightly shorter at 14.5 metres.
My plan was to feed the two lines at the full length very sparsely, and use my 14.5m zone as a more positive swim, where I could introduce some bait and it wouldn’t really matter if I didn’t catch on it.
Sweetcorn was my hook bait of choice, but I also brought a few fishery pellets and fishmeal groundbait to give me a few more options.
Plumbing up revealed that the lake bed shallowed as it sloped up to my left, and with the night being cold I wasn’t sure whether the carp would be in the deep or shallower water. I had to play it safe, so I put one swim halfway up the slope and another in the deep water.
As expected, the pole felt fantastic at 13 and 14.5 metres, but the acid test is always how it performs when the 16m section is added. I wasn’t disappointed!
It is certainly among the stiffest and most balanced poles that I have felt, and although it is slightly heavier than the GiS 14, the fact that it is just as stiff means that it is actually no more difficult to manage. I was also very impressed with how strong it felt and the reassuringly sturdy wall construction gave the impression that it could cope with even the most rigorous of tasks.
While the pole is unique in many ways, it was also nice to see that Preston has kept some tried-and-tested features, such as the Sun Core finish. It makes sense to stick with a winning formula and shipping in and out was as effortless as it is with any other GiS or GXR model.
Given the harsh weather conditions, I wasn’t too surprised when I hadn’t had so much as a bite for the first 60 minutes. I kept myself disciplined and stopped myself from reaching in the bait box too often, which could have easily spoilt the peg. Fortunately, this paid off on the hour. The float dipped and a gentle lift saw a good fish power off towards the middle of the lake.
The pole performed brilliantly and, as I expected, the 6lb-plus carp that I soon managed to net proved no match for it.
This marked the beginning of a golden spell and I took another two fish in my next two put-ins. I also managed to lose a 10lb-plus mirror at the net! Interestingly, both came from the deep-water line, while I struggled to muster any indications from my swim halfway up the slope.
Once the photographer appeared things quietened off and I had to wait an hour before another try over the shallow swim saw me hook my final fish of the day.
With four fish in the net for over 20lb it was time to wrap up. I was delighted by the way the pole performed and would definitely rank it among the best all-round poles that I have tested. It had also given me an excuse to dust off my carp fishing cobwebs and have a thoroughly enjoyable session to boot. Top marks Preston!
Preston Innovations GiS 11
Stated length: 16m
Actual length: 15.98m
Closed length: 1.79m
Match-kit length: 2.89m
Match-kit length with No1 removed: 2.22m
Power-kit length: 2.6m
Match kit elastic rating: No12
Power kit elastic rating: No18
Other features: Fusion, Magic Steps, Sun Core
Package: 16m pole including match kit, two GiS match top fours, two GiS match top threes, five power top-two kits, Kup Kit, short No4 and holdall
Spares: GiS match top three £140; GiS match top four £240; GiS Power top two £89; GiS Pulla Kit £50