For a long while Steve had been wondering if a pole was the way to go. Not an enormous, hugely expensive, lake spanning pole, but a decent margin pole to allow him to position his bait hard against a reed bed with absolute precision, just as he likes it.

Last Saturday he decided to go and get one and I went along for moral support. To put it into context, I have to admit to harbouring misgivings about commercials, it feels a bit like cheating, chasing a captive audience of fish in a hole in the ground, dug and stocked for that very purpose. Not that it stops me frequenting them, they're just too convenient! Similarly I've also got misgivings about poles, because that looks like cheating too. A mechanism that sometimes self hooks the fish and then plays it for you on an enormous bungy, that's got to be cheating, hasn't it? So the idea of combining the two seemed like heresy.

Well whatever the merits , Steve bought his pole, gromets, bungs and elastics for his top and spare power top, he bought his rigs and after a lightning fast demonstration of how to set up his tops, which included the sawing off of several centimeters of carbon fibre, we stumbled out of the shop with his gear and somewhat to my surprise an almost identical set-up for me.

We were fishing on Sunday, so after throwing together a rudimentary lunch which I doubt if either of us tasted we got on with setting up the three non-elasticated tops we still had between us. This got off to a bad start because despite possessing at least three hacksaws, I couldn't lay my hands on one for love or money. We turned the house upside down until Steve eventually looked me in the eye and told me to get my Dremel out.

Now I'm fond of my Dremel and as my dad would have said, (up until the point where my brothers and I took the mickey so much that he stopped using the phrase altogether,) 'that's a nice little tool'. However I had reservations about carving up my new pole when I only had a hazy recollection of the incredibly fast demonstration I'd witnessed earlier and an internet diagram to go on. I was also very aware that I was taking the lead on this project, so not only was I chopping the end off my pole, but I was going to be truncating Steve's too.

Somewhat to my surprise everything seemed to go right first time. Also second and third, despite the cold sweat that trickled down my spine as my cutting disc sliced into the carbon fibre, nothing went wrong and we soon had all the tops elasticated and ready for action.

Now I have to confess that I was convinced that it had all been too easy and that the first time I hooked a decent fish, rig, float and six feet of bright orange bungy would disappear into the depths of the lake, never to be seen again. Sunday would reveal the truth, had we done it right, or would it all go horribly wrong?

We went to Pool House Farm, a fishery located close to the Belfry and a place neither of us had fished before. I'd stopped in for a look a couple of weeks before and been highly impressed by the immaculate state of both the pool and the surrounding grounds. There were a good number of reed beds, two artificial floating islands and a couple of very promising patches of lily pads, so I was really looking forward to fishing there.

Once we had our tickets and the owner had given us some useful advice on good pegs and suitable tactics we settled down on adjacent pegs and got to work. I was pleased to see that Steve was as impressed as I was by the quality of the venue and after a bit of fiddling we shipped out our poles for the first time and started fishing. At this point I was still unconvinced about pole fishing, but having invested in one I was determined to give it a go.

For me, the action started almost immediately, not that I was catching anything spectacular, but I was catching. My first three fish were a tiny perch, an equally tiny roach and then a microscopic silver fish that I was too disgusted to try and identify.

I abandoned maggots and put a large worm on. What followed was a little wierd, because my float twitched, but never dipped, then it just stayed put. After five minutes I hauled it in and found my worm was gone. I re-wormed my hook, double hooked and secured in place with a piece of red rubber band pushed onto the hook. I shipped it out again and this time when it twitched I lifted the pole, but I still missed whatever was after my worm. Nonetheless when I pulled the pole in again after ten minutes of inactivity I found the worm was gone, leaving a little square of red rubber impaled on my hook. I was impressed, whatever was out there nicking my worms had skill, it was time to switch to corn.

Meanwhile Steve was having a hard time, he'd still not caught and was talking about setting up a rod instead. I had an extra two meters to play with and he was wondering if size really mattered. I assured him that it was what you did with it that made the difference, secretly I was very glad I'd gone for the extra length. The fishery owner happened by and stopped to see how we were doing and finding out I was catching, he left me to it and set about working out why Steve wasn't.

My switch to corn was paying off and on a series of small single grains I pulled out a procession of small bream and skimmers, perhaps this pole thing wasn't such a bad idea after all? Soon I was in no doubt at all, because the next bite I hit stretched the elastic dramatically and something zig-zagged madly across the swim in front of me.

My first large carp on the pole was an experience. In fact it was decidedly wierd. My big mistake was taking too many sections off the pole too early, as the carp tried its hardest to dive under my peg I struggled to put more sections back on the pole to force it out into the clear water. Once that was done I concentrated on keeping the end up and let the elastic do its stuff. Because of the elastic, the feedback through the pole was totally unlike the feeling you get playing a good sized fish on a match rod and I knew it was going to take some getting used to. It felt like an eternity, but was almost certainly only a couple of minutes and then Steve slipped my landing net under the fish and brought it to the bank. We stopped to admire a beautiful slim common, which must have been a double figure fish, then I unhooked it and Steve slipped it back into the water.

Up to this point I'd been fishing out towards one of the artificial islands but now I decided to try maggots close in on the margin. The result was a flurry of small to medium sized perch, so I increased the maggots on the hook from two, to five and pushed it out just a little further. When the float went this time, it went down like a rocket and my lift was met with a pull that stretched the elastic far beyond anything I'd seen so far. The zig-zagging was crazy and the pole was jerking wildly in my hand. I was calling for Steve when I became aware that he was next to me already, with the landing net ready in his hand, he was muttering to himself, 'That's a good fish, that is a good fish.' The litany went on and on, as the elastic flashed back and forth across the swim. Then it changed course and headed away from me, pulling against the elastic, stretching it further and further, until with a sound like a whip crack something gave way and the elastic shot back into the pole tip, I ducked involuntarilly, half expecting the rig to come flying back into my face.

It took me a moment to recover, a mixture of left over adrenalin and pure shock at the power of the elastic as it smashed back into the pole tip, but I was soon examining the rig to see what had happened.

It was my hooklength which had gone, five pound line snapped by the brute strength of a very good fish. We'd been told that there were fish of 25 lb plus in the pool, but so far no-one had landed one. I couldn't help wondering if I was the latest person to fail to do just that.

Whatever happened after was going to be an anti-climax, but even though it was nearly time to go home, I wasn't giving up just yet.

By the time we did pack up, we'd both caught a good few fish, but whilst I was a definite convert to the pole, Steve was speculating as to how this pool would fish with a rod, "The pole's ok," he said, "but it isn't proper fishing." Funny how things turn out!