Tom Scholey gets out on the bank with Daiwa’s TD XR5 and is left extremely impressed.
I first set eyes on Daiwa’s new TD XR5 pole at the company’s trade show at the back end of last year. Sitting at the top of the range, it sells for a shade under £1,000, and you get a cracking piece of kit for your money.
At the show, I handled the pole right up to its full length of 16 metres and would safely say that it is among the best poles for below a grand that I have ever held. I would, in fact, go even further and say that at 13 and 14.5 metres it was up there with the best that you can buy.
I don’t believe that you can ever get a proper impression of the quality of a pole until you have taken it on the bank, though. Consequently, I was looking forward to giving it a proper workout, so I willingly took the pole to Horseshoe Lakes in Sheffield. I have pleasure fished here and it is stuffed full of great big carp… and snags!
On the bank that I chose to fish from you are fishing off long, wooden pontoons, which all feature several wooden legs for the carp to snag you around! Then there are the bankside reeds that extend a long way out into the water, meaning the carp have plenty of scope to power through them.
To try the pole at a variety of lengths, I decided to fish a couple of swims straight in front of me and one long, down the edge. Heavy gear and strong elastic are a must on here because the fish run to 20lb and you have to be ready to steer them away from any snags. I opted for 0.17mm Reflo Power to a 0.15mm hooklength. Elastic was black Hydro, which I hoped would prove powerful enough but not so harsh that it would bump off any of the smaller goldfish and skimmers that inhabit the venue. This was threaded through a full power kit, which is rated up to a No20 and more than up to the challenge!
I decided to keep things simple and feed just micro pellets and 4mm soft feed pellets, and fish a 6mm expander or a worm over the top. I started the session on the short pole and was soon into a very angry carp, which decided to try and give me a guided tour of the local reed bed! I heaved with all my might and fortunately it soon swam away from the danger area… only for it to snag me up on the leg of the pallet just before I was about to net it. D’oh!
The next carp was much more obliging and following a brief charge towards some marginal reeds I managed to turn its head, before sneakily scooping it up as it swam back past me. It was bigger than I thought, too, weighing close to 15lb!
I was itching to see how the pole performed at longer lengths, so I decided to try it at 13 metres in open water, before going on my 16m margin line. As expected, it performed brilliantly and was every bit as good as it felt in the showroom.
A move to 16 metres proved fruitful because a couple of carp came to the net quickly, although at this length it did seem to lose a bit of its stiffness.
That said, it did have a power kit attached, with a fairly heavy length of hollow elastic through it. Don’t get me wrong; the pole was still fishable and still excellent value for its sub-£1,000 tag. Out of curiosity I slipped a match kit on and the action was improved massively. So, for silver-fish work the pole would be exceptional at this length.
A decent run of carp followed, all of which offered up spirited resistance, and the pole coped admirably. One of them even managed to snag me around the legs of the next pontoon. Nevertheless, steady pressure soon saw the carp swimming back towards me.
After a couple of hours, I had well over 50lb of hard-fighting carp in the net and was left very impressed with the TD XR5. As an all-round match angler who fishes rivers, lakes and canals, I can give the pole no bigger compliment than to say that I would happily use one for my fishing. The high wall strength means that the pole not only plays fish like a power pole, but it feels like one too, meaning you can play even big fish with confidence. When twinned with Daiwa’s famous Slide Easy Finish, which allows the pole to be shipped in and out effortlessly, you have a brilliant all-round piece of kit.
The spares package is also extremely generous, with three match top threes (rated to a No14 elastic), four power top twos (rated to a 20 elastic), a cupping kit and a stylish holdall for ease of transportation. Top marks Daiwa!
Team Daiwa XR5
Stated length: 16m
Actual length: 16.01m
Closed length: 1.8m
Match-kit length: 3.10m
Power-kit length: 3.14m
Match kit elastic rating: No 14
Power kit elastic rating: No 20
Other features: High-modulus carbon, Slide Easy Finish, Section Alignment System RRP: £1,299
Package: 16m pole including three match kits, four Power Kits, cupping kit, cups and holdall.
Spares: Power Kit £54.99, Match Kit £59.99