I called around to a few buddies who I knew had run the Sportsman Series to see if they were “good enough” for me to rely on and put through the wringer. What I found impressed me quite a bit. Like the Blades, the Sportsman Series offers a wireless connection between the key fob, dash switch and foot switches and the Poles themselves.
The same hydraulic pump unit and heavy duty hydraulic hoses are used for the Blades, Sportsman Series and the midrange Pro Series Power-Poles. And all three come with the same spring-loaded valve Power-Pole incorporated to create their Drive-Off Protection feature which prevents the Poles from being damaged in the event you try to take off with them still deployed.
So I bought a pair and put them on the Nitro. Coming from a guy who has used Power-Poles for years, these are bad to the bone. They do what I need them to do. They drop quickly and quietly and hold me securely in shallow water. They are just as reliable as the Blades I’ve owned in the past.
By and large, these are definite a buy in my opinion. If you’re running an older boat and looking to add another weapon to your arsenal, the Sportsman Series are the deal. I compare them often to the Lowrance Elite units. I ran a couple of those a few years ago and was very impressed by them. They have at least 80% of the capabilities Lowrance’s HDS units have and they come in at half the price. I know some really good anglers, but I only know a couple dozen people who could get the good of that other 20% the HDS units offer anyway.
I believe Power-Pole, Lowrance and a few other companies for that matter have identified a consumer base that wants more, but is also either financially savvy or just can’t afford their top-of-the-line models. In response, these companies have created extremely good alternatives at a much more conservative price point. And I applaud them all for that.