When a company claims that it has produced something better than anything else it has ever seen, you simply have to get excited! Match Fishing was invited to the revealing of Browning latest flagship pole at Aston Park Fisheries in Sheffield this month… but was this top-end tool all that it was made out to be?
The Browning Sphere Zero-G F1 Plus is designed with serious pole and match anglers in mind. Browning is more than happy to state this. The features, package and performance of the pole are tailored towards this audience. So, just what can you expect from this weapon?
On arriving at Aston Park, you could certainly tell where the main attraction was… right where the crowds were! Set up at 13 metres, the pole looks sublime and super stiff. This high performance was carried through to 14.5 metres, and where many poles lose some rigidity and balance at longer lengths, this one remains the same. Adding the 16m section left the other visitors and ourselves gobsmacked. You can see that this pole has been designed with fishing at long lengths in mind. Many of today’s commercial fisheries feature snake lakes, and require you to present your bait excellently at long lengths where heavily targeted fish reside. The stiffness of this pole means that delicate presentation can be achieved at length, allowing you to fish accurately, pot in bait tight to features, and manoeuvre your rig accordingly. The shy little dinks you often get as bites on commercial fisheries can be responded to with speed.
Dare we say the performance of this pole could catch you more fish in these situations? Most certainly…
The top-kit system for this pole is interesting. It features a longer than normal No1 section, and short No2. There is a reinforced band around the base of the No1 and No2 section, which gives you the option of drilling these areas to fit a side puller bush. You can simply use the No1 as a short/shallow kit with a lesser length of elastic, or place the elastic through the full top kit for general work. Another key feature of the top kits is the bush system. All kits come pre-bushed and already well cut back. There is a larger diameter bush inside the top kit for taking a thicker or hollow elastic. Also supplied with the kits is a smaller bush that fits snugly into the bigger bush. This way, if or when you want to put a lighter elastic through the kit, you can insert this smaller-bore bush for optimum elastic performance. A feature on the butt sections of the pole is a series of small, raised ribs. These can be felt passing through your hand, helping you recognise where you are when shipping in and out. They also act as markers, so that if you are fishing on a shelf and need to fish halfway along a section, you can use these as markers as to where you ship out to. Sometimes there will be a hump or deep spot somewhere halfway along a section where you need to fish, for example.
This is something that Browning first developed for its previous flagship pole two years ago, the Z-14, and it caused quite a stir! Some anglers loved them, others weren’t so sure.
In windy conditions, the sections allow you to hold the pole extra stable under your elbow, and the reinforcement on them means that you don’t have to worry about damaging expensive butt sections with your elbow. There’s a foam cap inside them that acts as a skid bung for extra protection too.
A 17m Pole You Say? Now, you may be assuming that this pole is supplied at 16 metres as standard, as we did when we went to the show! However, it then was revealed that the pole is in fact 17.5 metres! You may notice another section lying beside the square butts. This is a 1m extension, which fits into the 14.5m or 16m section. You can also place the square butts in this to gain an extra half-a-metre. It’s a handy section when you need to fish that extra metre further out in all kinds of situations. It also saves you wearing out your 14.5m or 16m sections, as you can use this short butt with a square butt for extra durability and protection instead of using your main extension sections.
A Few Questions…
The public response to the new Sphere Zero-G was exceptional, but a question many were asking was how much such a high performing tool with an abundant spares package will cost? Browning’s Tim Wildermoth was very confident in his answer: “Within reason, the price that the pole had to cost wasn’t a concern to us. We wanted to see how far we could push the boundaries, and this is what we proudly managed to produce.” The full RRP of this latest pole stands at £4,399. There’s no denying that it is very expensive, but the audience that this pole is aimed for most likely want the best kit they can get their hands on.
Package For Price…
If you’re parting with this sort of cash for a pole, you’re going to expect a generous spares package. Having had our mitts on this pole, we can say this is one of the most generous pole packages we have ever seen. You can see in the Tech Spec exactly what you get with the pole. The ‘C’ sections are what most people would refer to as No4 sections, so in traditional pole language, in total with this package you have three full top-four kits, and two short top-four kits. Serious match and pole anglers are likely to need spare sections like this when tackling deep venues, and needing these sections to hook-up pole rigs on. You may also notice a ‘D’ section in the package. This is what many would refer to as a No5 section, and is an extra spare.
This section takes a lot of grief when fishing a short pole, or in deep water when swinging fish, and having this spare could be a big advantage when in serious match conditions. The 13 spare top kits and a cupping kit that you get need no explaining, all with the duo bush combo. If you add it up, quite realistically there’s £1,500 plus of spares included in the shop-bought package, which explains why the RRP of this pole is above that of many others on the market. In a nutshell, we’re confident to say the performance of this pole is super-impressive and top class. Only time will tell what lies in the strength department, but one thing is for sure… we can’t wait to get one sent into the office for us to take for a test live on the bank!
• 16M pole
• 13 2/1 – duo bush 3.9/4.5mm kits
• 2 full length ‘C’ sections
• 2 short ‘C’ sections
• 1 full length ‘D’ section
• Cupping kit
• 2 square pole protectors 13m & 14.5/16m
• 1 reversible pole protector fits 6 & 7 section
• 1m extension (taking pole to 17 metres)
• Quality holdall