Drennan Acolyte 9.5m Margin Carp
Matt Godfrey gets nasty with a weapon that comes out of his rod bag when other tools simply can’t handle the heat…
Have you ever looked at a swim and thought: “I wouldn’t want to use my pole there.” I certainly have. In fact, it’s happening to me more and more recently. Many of today’s commercials have what are commonly known as snag pits. These are swims where the fish feel safest but the anglers and their tackle are left quivering in their boots! That is unless you have the right kit to fish them and for me that’s when a margin pole really comes into play.
Today’s test is a little different from the norm because I have used this pole on numerous occasions for my own fishing. I’ve certainly gained a lot of confidence in it, but can it handle the heat in front of the cameras?
One venue where I’ve had to bring my margin pole out to play on several occasions is here at Lindholme Lakes, near Doncaster. There are several swims that are renowned for their abundance of stick-ups, which are normally full of fish but can be a nightmare to combat.
Fishing into snags can often get bad press, with people using heavy gear and dragging fish from the reeds with huge hooks and ridiculous tackle. However, if done correctly, it is safe and shouldn’t pose any danger to the fish.
Setting up on Willows Lake, I have a thick bed of reeds to my left, in a corner of the lake strewn with roots from a big overhanging tree. I can see the reeds knocking and there’s an odd black shadow swirling and surfacing in the scum. All I can hear running through my head while setting up is Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Welcome To The Jungle!
Plumbing up, I discover a depth of four feet next to the reeds, which continues right into them. With so many fish moving around in the upper layers, though, I’m going to try and catch them shallow. I’m going to start on the edge of them and hopefully catch a few mug fish to begin. I can then move further into them as I get more and more daring!
Top Snag Tip!
Always use a really heavy mainnline. I opt for 0.23mm Preston Innovations Reflo Power. It is vital, however, to use a hooklength significantly lighter. Today I’ve gone for 0.17mm Reflo Power, attached with a loop-to-loop connection. These lines are plenty heavy enough to pull fish out of the snags, but if I happen to get stuck in the reeds or a fish becomes snagged, I can easily break the hooklength at the weak point. This means that you don’t lose your float and can quickly reattach a hook link to start fishing again.
I have started by simply pinging pellets towards the edge of the reeds around eight metres from me. Every time they land I can see the reeds moving slightly, so it looks like there are fish coming out to eat them already. I ship the pole up to the reeds and start by giving the rig a couple of quick slaps on the surface to catch the attention of a fish. The pole is plenty stiff enough for this slapping technique, which is a great ploy for tempting fish out of reeds like these.
Seconds after the rig settles, the dibber disappears and before I can strike the pole tip hammers down into the water, before I quickly ship back like a madman! Thankfully, the fish swims straight out too, and I’m soon netting a great big golden F1!
The next fish doesn’t have the same ideas and after missing a couple of bites I’m suddenly dragged into the reeds before I can even strike at the bite. Lifting the pole, I manage to get the elastic to twang free of some reeds, and standing up with the pole high I somehow guide the fish out of the back of the stick-ups. This time it’s a feisty little mirror, often the most difficult fish to get out of the stick-ups like this. After a few strips from the smooth side puller and roller system, it’s in the net!
Top Kit Perfection
One thing that I love about this pole is the finishing touches that are applied. The pole package comes with two Margin Kits and a Ghost Margin Kit, with Side Pull Slots and Roller Cones that are engineered to fit straight into the kits in the perfect place. These allow extra-smooth running elastic and also prevent expensive hollow elastics wearing.
Interestingly, the kits are also quite short and require absolutely no cutting back! This means the pole is a full 9.5 metres straight from the bag and large internal Drennan 5.4mm Super Slick Bushes fit snugly in place. Measuring 2.33 metres, compared with the normal Acolyte kits at 2.89, these are ideal for short margin pole rigs and the slightly shorter length of elastic in the kits means that you can really put the breaks on big fish before they build up a head of steam. I’m sure that if I had a longer length of elastic in the kits I’d struggle to control the fish out of the reeds!
The Ghost Kit in an interesting concept because this actually features a No1 section that is treated with a light grey paint, intended for targeting wary fish that may shy away from a dark carbon pole tip in the margins, which could be a big advantage in really shallow water. It certainly didn’t do any harm when I was fishing shallow into the reeds with it.
As the session progresses the fish seem to be backing off into the reeds more and more, and although I’m not catching any huge lumps, the fast and feisty F1s and carp prove a perfect test for the pole. Adding extra sections and venturing right into the reeds helps keep fish coming and after catching close to 60lb in just a couple of hours, I’ve only lost a couple of fish!
A final point to mention is that all the sections interchange with both the Acolyte and Acolyte Carp poles, making it a superb secondary or spare pole in case of emergencies. One thing is for sure, though, if I have to get a pole out when big weights, snaggy swims or close-range bagging is on the cards, it will be the Acolyte Margin Carp every time!
9.5m pole including mini extension and Margin Kit
One extra Margin Kit
One extra Ghost Margin Kit
Two skid bungs
Six PTFE bushes
Six intermediate PTFE bushes
Three Roller Cones
Nine Side Pull Beads
EVA nose cone Extractor rod
Cupping kit adaptor
Polemaster Pole Pot
Wipe-clean nylon bag