I wanted to do something a bit special for this month’s Live Test and decided to give the Maver Competition Match This 5 Plus a workout with a difference – by testing it in a match.
My good friend and colleague Joe Carass was planning to fish the open at Tunnel Barn Farm, so I decided to join him. It was to be a bit of a voyage into the unknown because I had never fished where the match was taking place – Extension Pool.
Nevertheless, I was confident that my tool for the day would be up to the job. Retailing at a smidgen under £1,700, the Match This Series 5 Plus is nudging towards the top of the Maver range, and having been extremely impressed with some of the cheaper poles, such as the Match This 1 Plus, which I reviewed earlier in the year, I was expecting it to be pretty special.
I stuck my hand into the draw bag and out came Peg 23. The nice thing about not knowing a venue is that you don’t know how good or bad your peg is (It’s a flyer – Ed). It certainly looked nice enough and with an island 16 metres from the nearside bank it looked perfect for giving the pole a good test!
I was pleased that fishing the pole at its longest length was going to figure heavily because its ability at this length is a key quality that I would look for if I was planning to buy a pole in this price bracket. I have written before about how well a lot of the sub-£1,000 poles perform, so to warrant the increased price tag I was looking for something a bit special at maximum length.
As with most Maver poles, the spares package is excellent. It is supplied with two spare Match Kits and four of the new Easy Flow Power Kits, as well as a cupping kit, mini extension, deluxe holdall, clean caps and DVD. Prior to the session, I had decided to set one of each type of top kit up. The Match Kits are rated to No10 elastic and, as expected, proved incredibly light and stiff. I had used the Easy Flow Power Kits while testing other poles in the range and although their extra strength dictates that they are quite a bit heavier than the Match Kits, they feel strong enough to deal with everything you’ll ever hook. They also feature a handy reinforced section near the bottom of the No3 section that can be drilled to create a puller-type kit if required.
Having picked the brains of a couple of locals, I decided to keep my approach very simple and just fish with pellets. A bag of fishery micros was duly purchased and, after soaking some expanders for the hook, I set about plumbing up my peg. The night-time temperature had been fairly chilly leading up to the feature, so I wasn’t sure at what depth the fish would feel comfortable feeding in. I decided to cover my options and feed a swim in around two feet of water, and one further up the shelf in around 14 inches. If everything went to plan, I wanted to catch on the deeper line to start with and then really clatter the fish shallower later on.
I got off to a reasonable start, taking some quality F1s in the first half an hour. Venue expert Pete Rice on the next peg was also catching well and when my bites tailed off he was able to keep fish coming. I was very impressed with the pole’s performance. To be as efficient as possible, soft-pellet fishing requires a fairly short line between pole tip and float so that the rig can be lifted when an indication is registered. If the fish is not hooked, the bait can simply be lowered back on top of the feed. To do this effectively the pole needs to be stiff and responsive. When you lift the butt section, the tip needs to follow straightaway – on cheaper poles there is often something of a delayed reaction. The Match This 5 Plus performed brilliantly and I was able to control my rig, even when a crosswind developed later in the day.
The pole felt strong and perfectly fit for commercial carp fishing. My best fish was a feisty 4lb mirror that tore off at an angle, but this was soon tamed and the pole never felt in any danger of breaking. Despite something of a lull in catching in the middle of the match, I managed to snare a few in the last hour and ended the day with a 53lb net, which put me fifth.
Sadly, this wasn’t good enough to win me any money. Pete won the match with 80lb, while I only needed another 5lb to frame.
In hindsight, I was probably a little too aggressive with my feeding. Maybe just half a Cad Pot of pellets after every fish would have led to my runs of fish lasting a little longer? As the saying goes, you live and you learn, and I still enjoyed a great day with what is a fantastic piece of kit.
Maver Competition Match
This 5 Plus
Stated length: 16m with mini extension
Actual length: 16.58m with 96cm mini extension
Closed length: 1.79m
Match-kit length: 3.15m
Power-kit length: 2.53m
Elastic rating: Match Kits No 10, Power Kits No20
Other features: Sun Core Finish, Nanolith construction
Package: 16m pole including Match Kit, two spare Match Kits, four spare Easy Flow Power Kits, cupping kit, cups, tubes, holdall, DVD
Spares: Match Top 3 £84.99; Match Top 4 £165; Easy Flow Power Kit £64.99; Power Zone Deluxe Kit £69.99; half extension £74.99