During the autumn I met Mark Downes at Barston Lakes to look at the new range of Sensas poles. I’m always straight in at the deep end on days like this, and I was no different this time. “Show me the best and most expensive one in the range,” is normally my opening gambit. This year, that’s the 895. Picking it up, it was awesome. Ridiculously light! I’m talking 13 metres with one hand here and stiff as you like! Mark was quick to take it off me, though. “That’s not for you, you’re too heavy-handed!” It seems he knows me too well and soon passed me the next model down, the 885. Now we were talking about something I could take off-road without worrying about the bumper falling off!
The Test I look the Sensas 885 to Aston Park Fisheries just off Junction 31 of the M1 near Sheffield. This place hosts some of the best winter silver-fish sport in the country, has a stunning café, on-site tackle and bait shop and is always free of ice thanks to an aeration system around the complex. I’m always keen to see how the ‘popular’ pole sections respond to some hammer and settled on fishing my first swim at six sections, where I would loose feed maggots. I also plumbed up a swim at 14.5 metres to see how the pole acted at longer lengths, and then had the option of adding the 16m joint. Short Thoughts Starting short, I was into fish within minutes – a 2lb ide being the first to kiss my landing net.
A run of roach followed, all chunky fish to 8oz, with an occasional ide mixed in. In terms of performance at short lengths, the pole was what I expected – very stiff and not too soft under the elbow. I could easily hold and manoeuvre the pole with a single hand, allowing me to feed, and then lay my rig right among it to get a bite from the bigger fish. The No5 and No6 sections take a lot of strain when fishing short like this, through striking and from your elbow, but these felt solid. But would the strength in the lower end affect its performance at longer lengths? The Ballbreaker! At 14.5 metres I decided to feed groundbait and dead maggots, in the hope of catching a mixture of species. Cupping in heavy balls is a good test for a pole and when fishing natural water I do it a lot. Trust me, from past experience if there’s a weakness, this is the part of the workout that finds it! Feeding a mixture of fishmeal and leam, I set a bed for later, and having to break down twice due to the bank behind made the process even more awkward. The 885 didn’t break sweat, however, and by being smooth and taking my time I’d be more than confident in using it on natural venues demanding lots of heavy feeding with a pole pot. Inter-Extensions?
So what sets the new Nanoflex poles apart from the previous range? The Inter-Extension! This is a feature of the new poles that is designed to make them stiffer and more responsive than before. When you’re looking to fish at 14.5 and 16 metres, the extensions to take you to these lengths fit between the 11.5m and 13m sections. These sections are designed to be strong, remain slim, and provide an even weight distribution along the bigger sections when fishing at length. This keeps the pole stiffer and very well balanced, which you can certainly feel at 14.5 and 16 metres. One thing that really caught my eye with this feature, however, was that you can use an Inter-Extension as the 13m and 14.5m sections, giving you a very slim diameter at your end of the pole. A slimmer diameter is much more comfortable to fish with when shipping in and out regularly for small fish, and also less prone to catching the wind. I must be honest, when I first heard about the Inter-Extensions I was left scratching my head, but when I was left to my own devices to have a play, I can see how they work well! You also get two short extensions for using in the 13m section and Inter-Extensions, as well as a reversible short extension for use in the No7 and No8 sections. Not only do these all give you an extra bit of length, they also prevent you damaging the ends of the sections. A Performance Package Catching fish at 14.5 metres was a pleasure and although a little rigidity was lost between 13 and 14.5 metres – like all poles I’ve tested – the 885 remained responsive and I had great control to present my light rig at length. I felt this pole was a real all-rounder that I could take F1 fishing on a Saturday and then use for shipping roach on a canal the following day. But would the package justify this? There are in fact two packages available that you can tailor to your kind of fishing.
The All-Round UK pack is perfect for a variety of UK fishing, and comes for the cheaper price of £2,299. Then there’s the Competition UK Pack at £2,499, offering more options for natural-water anglers, or those who fish deep venues and require the extra No4 and No5 sections. For the final two hours of the session I simply enjoyed fishing with the 885 and couldn’t pick a fault. It’s what I’d call an all-round top-end pole, aimed at serious pole and matchmen. I feel like there are a lot of anglers like me out there; they love the top-end pole, but with their heavy-handedness, they’d easily break it. That’s why I often reach for the second model down in the range, and in this case the 885 gets a big thumbs up from me: highly recommended.
UK All-Round UK Pack
• 16m pole containing match top-three kit • Four fighting top-two kits • Two match top-three kits • One match top-four kit • Cupping kit • London holdall • Two mini extensions (13m, 14.5m and 16m) • One reversible mini extension (No7 and No8 section) RRP: £2,299
Competition UK Pack
• 16m pole containing match top-three kit • Two Competition match top-three kits • Two Competition match top-four kits • Two Competition match top-five kits • Cupping kit • London holdall • Two mini extensions (13m, 14.5m and 16m) • One reversible mini extension (No7 and No8 section) • (TOTAL: Seven match top-three kits, five No4 sections, three No5 sections)
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