16m Daiwa Whisker XLS (BU) Review

dave brittain 1

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Having had an enforced lay off from match fishing due to ongoing back problems and having sold my old MAP 901 which was a superb pole, during lock down a few things were put into perspective and I realised how much I was missing match fishing. After more than a year out my back had recovered sufficiently to venture back out on the banks helped by physio and a good excercise regime.

My criteria was simple, the pole had to be good enough to fish shallow at 14.5m, light enough to fish at 14.5m for the duration of a 6 hr match, fishable at 16m and be able to handle carp of all sizes with good spares availability. Budget was in the region of around £1500 but I was willing to pay a little more if need be.

There were a number of good candidates with the Maver Oculus, Preston M50/70, MAP 501/701, Daiwa G50/G90 and Whisker not to mention Garbolino and Tricast Models.

Given that Viaduct, Todber and Stafford Moor are big fish, big weight venues reliability and spares were two of the prime requirements and when I saw a Daiwa Connoisseur G50 More Power package at £950 on a one off special from an online retailer, £500 cheaper than its replacement the G90, I thought that will do. Two weeks later, no pole.

This went of for a number of weeks until the shop advised that the pole was lost/no longer available, however they offered to undercut any deal I could find on the internet by 10% which I couldn't argue with providing they had the item in stock. To cut a long story short I found one retailer selling off a Whisker XLS More Power package at a very good price, gave the shop the link and they sent me the pole at what must have been very close to trade price so despite the hassle of the lost pole I was very happy with the price paid.

The pole was supplied with 4 x 4.7 mm power kits, 2 x 5.8mm power kits and 2 match kits, one of which was in the pole. You also get an extendable cupping kit and a 1/2 reversible extension that fits 13, 14.5 and 16m sections plus the superb 8 tube XL holdall.

Stated/actual lengths are printed on the sections 12.3m, 14m and 15.8m and the pole measures 16.5m with the 1/2 extension fitted. All sections are pre bushed with pullers except the match kits noting the match kits and power kits are exactly the same length.

Wall strength is good and the finish is superb so the pole ships out smoothly.

I've been using the pole frequently since lockdown and had enough big carp weights and silvers weights on it to give an unbiased review given that I have no association with Daiwa.

The first thing I'll point out is that most Daiwa users prefer match kits due to how the power kits unbalance their poles, however when fishing for carp on venues where doubles are common and 20lb fish are often caught match kits weren't really an option particularly with heavier elastics, noting you have to apply common sense as the pole isn't designed for dragging lumps away from snags.

The way to overcome the bounce issue when fishing long is to purchase a short 4. Even the Air Z users I know use a short 4 when fishing long so this was my first purchase at £30 second hand, noting this is where Daiwa beat all other poles as there are so many second hand sections available both on FB and Ebay.

Fishing shallow with the short 4 at 14m is a doddle noting it's probably closer to 13.5m with the short 4 fitted and 15.8m in the margin isn't a problem.

Elastic wise the 4.7mm kits will take black hydro or 15 Preston Dura hybrid without any problems. The heaviest elastic I have in the power kits is 16-18 hollow and the pole handles this without issue.

Yesterday I fished a match and had 183lbs shallow with fish from 1.5lbs to double figures in a strong side wind at 14.5m and the pole took it all within its stride. . In other sessions I've had big weights fishing short, long and in the margins noting that the margins are clear with no reeds or snags you have to drag the fish away from. In all instances the pole has performed superbly.

With the match kits fitted and the standard No 4 it's superb, no where near as stiff and my 901 however even the Air isn't that stiff.

Where this pole really shines is it's finish and balance both of which are superb.

Having owned top of the range and mid range MAP and Maver poles all of which have been excellent, despite Daiwa's reputation there are a few negatives noting these are not aimed at the Whisker alone. The reason the top kits make the pole bouncy is two fold, one they are stronger which gives more weight but the second is because the mandrel does not taper quickly enough to retain the stiffness characteristics. The compromise is losing more than 0.5m and using a short 4.

The second problem with the power kits is the puller fitting, I've already noticed wear on a few of my elastics at the bottom end and Air and Tournament users have advised me to change the tip bushes due to issues they have experienced. For a poles selling in excess of £1500 this should never happen.

The third issue is the position of the puller itself, on all of my other poles it's been 4-6 inches further up the pole which gives you that little bit more leverage against your forearm. With the Daiwa power kits you have to grip above the puller which feels unnatural but you do get used to it.

The fourth issue is how the top kits fold. On both my Maver and MAP poles the power kits fold in half being equal lengths however on the Daiwa the No 1 section is close to 1ft longer than the no 2. It's not a massive issue but common sense would say make them equal lengths so that they are easier to store.

The last and final issue is the joints working loose and coming apart after shipping, noting I also had this issue with my MAP 901. In part it is to do with the vibration of the pole being ran across rollers at speed and working of the joints when slapping, not that I've used it for slapping yet but it is something you have to be aware of making sure you constantly check your joints.

Positives are strength, spares availability, quality, finish and versatility. The Whisker is a superb pole despite the negatives but like many items in fishing, sometimes the little things are over looked, often forgetting that for the consumer they all form part of the bigger picture when it comes to purchasing and usage.

The other thing for me what persuaded me to buy a Daiwa pole is that I managed to buy a Multi Margin which is identical to the Tournament Margin Pole which gives me a number of sections I can swap out with my main pole should I break a section. It also gives me that reassurance that should I draw a snaggy peg I can fish appropriate tackle to get them out, all within reason of course.

The downside with the Multi Margin is the price, it's double the price of the MAP M2 Margin pole that was interchangeable with my 901 and isn't a great deal better to justify the significant difference in price however it's all about market forces.

Just to cap this review off although I've raised a few negatives which the media tend to skirt around I'm happy with my purchase and would have found it difficult to spend another £600 to upgrade to the Tournament. For the price the Whisker is a lot better balanced than my old MAP 701 and is a delight to use. I also fitted a set of Stuart Jolly Pole Nose Bungs which are excellent and for me should be fitted to any new pole given that not only do they protect the male joints from chipping and splintering, they also prevent any sections from sinking quickly, (section 5 up over), should your pole come apart over the water giving the angler a decent opportunity to retrieve them.

As with any review the above is my personal opinion having purchased the pole and used it for both pleasure and match fishing FB_IMG_1616009631629.jpg .
 

mickthechippy

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if you give the joints a twist as you fitting them it allays the coming apart thing

very good report on a pole in use, glad your happy with the daiwa

I bought the 13mtr Air more match version which came with 4 top 5's (inc the one on the pole) when bobco had a wonderous deal on them last year, it to has performed much like yours, the bonus has been its probably the best silverfish pole I have ever used, Knocking spots off my old blue will raison spectrons
 

dave brittain 1

Regular member
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Joined
Apr 17, 2004
Messages
2,860
if you give the joints a twist as you fitting them it allays the coming apart thing

very good report on a pole in use, glad your happy with the daiwa

I bought the 13mtr Air more match version which came with 4 top 5's (inc the one on the pole) when bobco had a wonderous deal on them last year, it to has performed much like yours, the bonus has been its probably the best silverfish pole I have ever used, Knocking spots off my old blue will raison spectrons
Mick I always give the sections a good twist, force of habit to help prevent sticking but they still came apart
 
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