Tackle | Kilburnlad | Fishing | Diary


Back to basics

To cut a longish story short, I bought a used Mercedes SLK last year as a ‘special’ car to be used on high days and holidays, as they say. Unfortunately Helen, my wife, wrote off her Clio earlier this year and the end result was we bought a new car by trading in my Qashqai. So we ended up with the new car, which Helen uses most days, and my SLK, which I now have to use for fishing!

This has caused me to rethink completely what I take when I go fishing. Read Full Report...

Drennan Specialist Twist Lock landing net landle

I have been using a two-piece landing net handle for a few years but have always been a bit nervous of the way that the end piece is just a slide-on fit. It’s the type of handle where one piece fits inside the other and to extend it you remove the inner piece and push it on to the outer piece. The short separate end-piece has the screw boss for the net. My fear has always been that if I tried to lift a heavy fish from below, with the pole more or less vertical, the end piece might have become disengaged. It did happen to me once.

This problem is particularly relevant when I fish the River Welland where the banks are very high and I’ve had to pull up chub of over 4lbs.

I decided, therefore, to treat myself to the Drennan landing net handle and tried it for the first time yesterday. I was very impressed with the build quality. It’s not a cheap handle, but the quality shows through. The carbon fibre exhibited far more rigidity than my former handle and the twist lock mechanism made life much easier for a roving style of angling. With my old handle I either had to carry it fully extended, or mess about breaking it in two. With the twist-lock, a half-turn allows you to un-telescope the handle to a manageable length.

Drennan Twist lock landing net pole

Yesterday I fished a spot where, because of the height of the bank, I had to use the full extent of the handle to land a 4½lb chub, and I must say I felt far more reassured than I would have done with my former handle.

Greys Prodigy Travel Rods

Prior to going on holiday this year I bought two travel rods.

I had always doubted the performance of such rods, based on the telescopic variety that I had seen but had never actually used.

Greys sent me their 2012 product guide and it included their Rova range, which are six-section carbon rods that bear no comparison with the older telescopic models. As you would expect, the guide praised these rods and importantly made the claim that they performed as well as two or three section models. I checked some independent reviews and these were also positive.

There weren’t many on sale but I picked up a discounted VX 12ft Rova Specimen and tried it over my local lake. I caught a few carp and must say that the rod handled exceptionally well. I was waggler fishing on that occasion and it was perhaps a little heavy to hold for prolonged periods. Being a six-piece blank there are obviously more sockets requiring thickened wall sections. That’s not to say it’s a particularly heavy rod; just a bit too weighty for continuous holding. Read Full Report...

Marco Cortesi Centrepin reel

I bought a Marco Cortesi Signature Centrepin reel from Dragon Carp a couple of months ago. At £30 it seemed a bargain, and in reality it was. Other companies sell the same reel differently branded at higher prices.

Marco Cortesi Reel

Marco Cortesi Reel

It had its first trial yesterday. I married it with my Hardy Avon rod for close-in margin fishing.

It is a well-constructed reel for the money but, to be honest, I found it a bit difficult to get on with. I regularly use centre pins so it wasn’t simply a case of unfamiliarity.

First off, the ratchet is a bit crude, emitting a rather coarse noise when engaged. The extreme free-running nature of the reel means that one needs to engage the ratchet to avoid disasters.

The other problem I had was that of ensuring that the retrieved line went on the spool and not around the handles or around the back of the reel. This is an issue with any centre pin and comes down to experience in using this type of reel, but I must say that with this one I found the problem more difficult than usual to manage. Perhaps things will improve with more usage as I become familiar with the reel.

Shimano match rod and reel

I recently extolled the virtues of my new Shimano Exage reel. When used with my Shimano match rod it provides a surprisingly powerful set up. Match rods to me always meant tippy action with not much give once the tip had done its work. This rod, however, has a surprisingly good through action after the tip has given its all. With the Exage reel’s brilliant rear drag this allows bigger fish to be played without undue risk to line or hook-hold.

The foul-hooked 10lb common I landed on my last visit to Fields End proves the point. Hooked in the pectoral fin I was unable to turn its head and was amazed that I got it in on such light tackle.

On the down side I also recently bought a Shimano ST 6000 baitrunner that I matched up with my Hardy Marksman Specimen rod. It was, in fact, an utter mismatch. The large baitrunner reel was not suitable for stalking the margins where one really needs to hold the rod to deal with the explosive action. It was too heavy and cumbersome to use in such a delicate situation.

Shimano Exage 1000RC

Having sold an old (1980s vintage) Abu 501 reel on eBay for £75 I treated myself to this Shimano reel to go with my Shimano match rod.

Today was its first outing and although I didn’t catch much, I must say that it handled very nicely indeed. Smooth as silk would be a good description.

It’s a nice light reel and the rear drag has a lever that makes it much easier to fine-tune the tension while actually playing a fish.

Shimano Exage 1000RC
So impressed was I with the small Shimano Exage that I’ve also bought the bigger 4000RC version. Just as impressive in conjunction with a more powerful rod.