You’ve saved up a few quid and are looking for a flagship pole. Naturally you want to make sure you spend your money wisely, so let’s have a look at what Sensas has to offer. Alex Bones fills up the Power Match 874 with gasoline, ready for a test drive…
Once famed for little more than brilliant groundbait mixes, Sensas has made some giant leaps forward in recent years, most notably with the introduction of poles. Just as the timeless Lake 3000, Gros Gardons, and Magic mixes found favour with anglers across the globe, so too have the beautifully produced poles.
The new Power Match 800 range of four poles is like a series of fine, vintage wines, topped off by this 1928 Pasquier Desvignes Clos Vougeot, the cream-of-the-crop flagship 874, which is a natural step forward from the iconic 774. Not so much of an acquired taste, but one that’s going to find popularity with those looking for a change or wanting to upgrade and stay loyal to the French-based outfit.
The poles have been tweaked, honed, developed and refined by the Sensas team. In fact, in a recent conversation with Sensas UK man Mark Downes, he described the 874 as: “The best in the latest generation of Sensas poles.” Having spent a day fishing with it at the fantastic Glebe complex in Leicestershire I’d certainly have to agree with his sentiments.
In all honesty, the problem nowadays is that top-end poles are all so bloody good! Once upon a time a select few manufacturers had the flagship market sewn up tighter than Cheryl Cole’s Lycra outfits, but advancements in materials and manufacturing processes have allowed many to produce flagship poles that really are separated by less than a gnat’s doo-dahs from one another.
What would sway my decision as a punter would be the smaller details that make using it that bit more luxurious, or a little easier. This pole does luxury and ease with aplomb, most notably the exquisite finish on the No4 to No11 sections that makes shipping in and out so easy. A simple point, but one that requires much thought in the manufacturing process to ensure it remains in A1 condition after you’ve clocked up more miles than a Stobart lorry with it.
Secondly the spares package, which is where Sensas has really scored in recent years, is excellent. The 16m Power Match 874 pole is supplied with three Power top-three kits, three Match top-three kits, one Match top-four kit, one Big Fish top-four kit, one Mini Extension, one Cupping Kit and a pole holdall. This is an impressive and extensive list of extras, totalling 11 top kits (including the one in the pole), but what about if your mate treads on a section and it needs to be replaced? No problem!
The Joker Card and special Joker Card promise is a superb incentive offered with all Sensas poles, allowing the replacement of one section at any one time, within 12 months of the purchase date, completely free of charge!
And, if you have a bit of a penchant for breaking sections, or if you try to emulate the driving flair of Bo and Luke’s Dukes of Hazzard Dodge Charger on the way to your matches then spares are available at a reasonable price, with No4s and short No4s carrying an RRP of just £59.99. There are also super-strong No4, No5 and No6 sections, top twos, threes, fours and fives available as well as match, universal and parallel extensions, top-two kits and more.
Interestingly the pole uses the same mandrel as the other Series 4 models, basically meaning any pole from the 500, 600, 700 or 800 series ending in the number 4 are interchangeable. This means two things. One, it’s a good way of saving a few quid if you need a few spare sections for those ‘just in case’ moments and, two, you can easily upgrade a previous model to an 874 and retain the same top kits.
So how was it on the bank? In a word – impressive! I’ve never owned a Sensas pole, for no particular reason other than having been involved with other companies in the past.
Testing manufacturers’ kit and then writing about it can be a tricky task at times but this pole had me genuinely enthused. I rigged the top kit up with some light elastic in readiness for a skimmer session and proceeded to fish two lines, at full length, with a light 4x14 rig.
The fishing was very tough to start with, but as the session progressed a few very welcome skimmers showed up, interspersed with the odd carp to give the pole a great test. In a situation like this you’ve nothing to lose, unlike during a match, so I’m more forceful when playing fish to test the pole.
Its responsive action is great, it was easily manageable in the wind, the finish simply couldn’t have been better and it coped admirably with what can only be described as an unnecessarily powerful striking action from moi.
With the increase in carbon prices I’m told that, for 2012, Sensas has decided it’s holding the flagship model’s SSP for the customer’s benefit. This would lead me to believe that you’re getting a great deal for your cash and you would, possibly, be hard pushed to match this pole with another at the same price.
I guess the ultimate question is: “Is it better than others available at an RRP of £2,399 or, more importantly, an SSP of £1,999?”
The answer to that depends on what you want from a pole, but if the above appeals then I’d definitely suggest you get to your local Sensas stockist – I doubt you’ll be able to leave empty-handed once you’ve handled the 874.