Rookery Waters in Cambridgeshire is my venue of choice to put the eagerly awaited Colmic Airon F66 through its paces, and more specifically the venue’s Magpie Lake. Like all of the lakes here at Rookery, Magpie has a healthy stocking of mixed species with carp being the most prominent species on offer, and hard-fighting ghost carp a key target for visitors to the venue.
During the summer months the lake’s surface is largely covered by picturesque lily pads, and although they dwell below the water’s surface as we exit winter and make our way into spring their stems and emergent buds still remain below and form a safe haven for any hooked fish to dive straight into.
Sitting myself on Peg 35 gave me a swim smack bang in front of the largest area of submerged lilies on the lake. Along with a lovely reed-lined margin this should prove plenty of a test for the pole, having been informed that it is super-strong, something that we all know isn’t always the case with poles in the flagship department.
Plumbing up is a bit of a nightmare; I cannot see where the lilies start and end so by having a plumb around the swim I have mapped out an area in my head that I will need to try and pull the fish away from once hooked, and settle on fishing a line at 14.5 metres at an angle to my left, towards where I feel the lily bed ends. Here I will ‘catty’ pellets regularly, fishing either a 4mm or 6mm hard pellet in a band.
The pole I have at my disposal today is Colmic rep Shaun Stockley’s very own pole which means a handful of the eight supplied top-kits (plus cupping kit) are already laccied up ready for the day ahead. From the choices available I opt for a 2.1mm diameter hollow elastic, rated at around a 10-12, that I have tightened up to help me deal with the snag-filled nature of the swim. The kits have also been fitted with a side puller through the reinforced section of the top kit to allow me to tension the elastic at will once I have hooked a fish.
On putting the pole together and shipping out to my desired area of the swim the first thing I notice is just how strong the walls of the F66 feel. This is far from the wafer thin and delicate flagship models that we sometimes encounter.
The pole has a nice, easy-ship finish that can be slid through your hands at speed without slipping or gripping too much, keeping everything smooth and efficient. It is noticeable that the F66 has a rather large section diameter compared to some other poles on the market and you definitely know you are holding on to something when you have one of the latter extensions in your hand. Is that a bad thing? I would argue not; it certainly gives me a reassuring feeling as I lift into one of the venue’s feisty ghost carp almost as soon as my rig settles.
Piling on the pressure as the cunning ghostie heads straight towards the underwater snags I very quickly get a feel of what this pole is made of; it remains incredibly stiff even while applying some serious pressure with only the top section of the pole bending at all (albeit at almost 90 degrees). However, there’s not so much as a shudder as I push the pole to what I would expect to be breaking point, instead it effectively guides the fish away from danger and towards my waiting net.
This continues to be the theme for the next couple of hours, with each and every fish that I hook heading straight for the same, treacherous spot in my peg, only for me to use the pole’s power to pull them away. Even those few fish that make their way into the worst of the pegs snags I am able to get out by applying some extra brute force or by adding the 16m section and pulling them out the other side.
Bites are often delicate little dinks on the bristle of my float but the F66 offers fantastic responsiveness and very little tip shake, so bites are met quickly resulting in fish hooked nicely in the top lip.
The Rule Of Three
As with all poles we look at the three key attributes of strength, rigidity and weight. It is clear the F66 possesses incredible strength, unlike anything I have witnessed in a true top-end pole before, in fact. Rigidity it also has in abundance, as I have just touched upon; even when putting the pole under intense strain all but the top kit (of which I would actually cut a lot more off it than Shaun has chosen to do, in order to further increase rigidity) remains poker stiff.
So that leaves the pole’s weight; the Colmic Airon F66 is slightly heavier than some other flagship poles available; however, it is far from being a ‘heavy pole’. In fact Colmic’s inclusion of standard (no graphic) sections for all but the final extension means that added weight is kept to a minimum and by inserting the butt section the balance of the pole is very good indeed.
This also means that should you wish to take your pole past the 16m mark it is not heavy butt sections that you add, instead you are able to purchase standard F66 No9 sections that are all added in front of the butt section, and the fact that they are parallel means you can simply keep adding them.
Back To The Action
I continue to put the pole through its paces, putting a mixture of ghostie and common carp in my net, each and every one as spirited as the next. Starting a new line long down the right-hand margin, where I have the same depth as my original line, sees me go on another run of fish after the starting line faded, which results in some of my biggest carp of the day.
With the pole you will find three mini extensions, which are a brilliant addition to the package. These short butt sections give you further support for under your elbow and will fit anywhere between the No4 and the final extension, so when striking hard in the margins or fishing the long pole there is little chance of your elbow damaging the section.
The Colmic Airon F66 has simply got to be in your thoughts should you be in the market for a pole capable of taking the strain of putting big bags of fish in the net, or in testing situations where you ask a lot of your pole.
As the day’s session went on I began to push the F66 much further than I would with other similarly priced poles, and at no point did I feel that it wasn’t going to cope with anything asked of it. In doing so I managed to put upwards of 60lb in the net in just a couple of hours here at the fantastic Rookery Waters.
Not the lightest flagship pole on the market – Colmic will be the first to admit that – but that is not what this model is about; instead this is the pole that will do it all and you won’t be scared to try and prove it!
• Colmic Airon F66
• Stated length: 16m
• With dolly butt: 16.13m (without, 15.30m)
• Top-kit length: 2.88m
• Top-four length: 4.30m
• Top-five length: 5.80m
• Puller kits fitted: Reinforcement on kits
• Cupping kit supplied: Yes
• Holdall supplied: Yes
• Butt-section length:
• Butt diameter:
• 1x Colmic Airon F66 16m pole
• 8x EC200 top two kits
• 1x cupping kit
• 3x mini half butt extensions
• 1x Colmic branded holdall
• Plus a generous two-year warranty
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