WELCOME to the Wednesday blog – each week filled by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focussing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing, including latest tackle. This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by editor Tim Knight.
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CHOOSING THE RIGHT TACKLE FOR THE JOB
GOING round the trade shows this September, with more to come in October, has been an eye-opening experience. But it’s also making me occasionally pause to ponder: so what IS the right tackle for the job.
Accepted rules on rod construction, for example, get re-questioned and re-explained by creators of the exciting new products you see in Angler’s Mail.
Like technology, iPhones for example, nothing stands still. The inventors are not just looking to maximize their margins, they’re genuinely seeking ways to turn on purchasers to improve market share. This is a competitive commercial world, where those that don’t keeping driving on, even with a marketing leading product, are likely to get overtaken.
Back to rods, many rod developers themselves rarely fish with the same “favourite” rod for long. Before what’s shown now is even available for you to buy, they’re already playing with new models.
It has to be that way. They’re not so time-rich that they can fish with what they know and love, they have to use what’s on the way to spot its flaws and make improvements.
How does all this affect you? One word: choice!
Never have we had so many different rods able to do so many different angling tasks available. When I was growing up, if you wanted a tench rod, a stalking rod, or a short wand, you had it made by a rod builder associated with a shop. Blanks could be sourced, or modified, by a skilled craftsman. You could try doing it yourself, and articles explained just how “easy” it was.
Hmm…. “easy”. Today’s technically created rods, such as huge array of Shimano Tribal carp rods in the latest Angler’s Mail magazine, are as close to high quality craftsman-built custom rods as you could wish for. A rod for every job – even down to some models offering a choice of 30, 40 or 50mm butt rings.
At the value end of the coarse (and indeed sea) market, a rejuvenated Shakespeare have put a lot of thought into their two forthcoming series. They’ve even brought back the classic 1980s Sigma Wand. Carp guru Kevin Nash has given a sneak preview of his short carp rods, with telescopic butts. And I expect more niches have been explored ready for a trade-only showing very soon.
Fewer and fewer carp anglers stick, for long, with a pair of rods to do it all. More and more carp fans have their matching set of three, a tool for spodding and marker rod too, not forgetting something a bit lighter and more tippy for floater fishing. Oh, hang on, a stalker rod. What about those trips to France – are my rods “man enough” for Euro whackers?
It’s like when matchmen needed two hours to set up on big river matches to thread up and rig all the rods, never mind poles and whips. Today’s ready-rod sleeves and cases make their job a lot quicker, just as their have for pleasure anglers and specialist anglers.
Choice. It is a short word for a big issue. Even if you only own one rod, you can have too much choice on how to use it. And this is why I see too many anglers not knowing what to use, or when.
The rules of choice are what you make them. Some of the best anglers are the most direct in their approach. You could say they gamble on what they think will work, working. They understand what to use, when to use it, for sure but they don’t dabble and change, tying themselves up in knots.
I think by not taking much gear, they fish with confidence and focus. They’re also – matchmen excluded here – able to up sticks and move to where the fish are if they need to. Better to have an hour in the right spot than a month in the wrong one… even if you do have all the gear.
Short well-timed sessions
INSIDE the trade, pressure to produce and dabble in other aspects of keeping your brand at the forefront, mean actual fishing time is surprisingly scarce. On the plus side, most trade men I meet these are proper anglers still, and haven’t got sucked into playing golf to unwind!
Every autumn I meet weary trade men desperate to get to the bank. You’d think just working and talking in the business is a good enough fix. It isn’t. Nothing beats being there.
My time’s limited, and I was feeling guilty for letting a soaking Sunday stopping me going out. You know the feeling… opening the curtains to it tipping down, temperatures dropping and wind increasing, with no prospect of a let up. Suddenly chores, maybe winning a few brownie points indoors, seem like a better prospect.
Fortunately I had a Tuesday trade show locally that enabled a couple of hours daylight fishing on the bank – harder now lighting up time is getting so early. This is prime time to fish, as Steve Collett stressed yesterday in his excellent Angler’s Mail online blog.
Ok, I didn’t bag up, I only had four fish, but quality ones.
Two gorgeous double-figure common carp, one an
incredibly lively ghost – somehow foul-hooked in its dorsal fin – and two lumpy perch to 2 lb 6 oz.
Tactics? One short float rod alternating left and right margin, lightly shotted pole float, and about 50p of bait – about half a pint of small halibut pellets, and a few “basics” prawns – chopped to feed and whole on a hook.
Simple, effective, fun. Yes the rod had some grunt down the middle to control the carp. Yes the clutch of the reel did the work perfectly. But would I have caught more with more rods and reels, chopping and changing tactics?
I’ll never know, but I doubt it. The important thing was it made me happy, and that’s all that matters.
Prices – oh how we wish what we like to buy would get cheaper, but three years ago the tackle trade was terrified that tackle prices would soar due to rises in raw materials. Then bait prices were also to hike due to ingredients going up. What we’ve seen for 2012/13 thus far is not at all scary, thankfully. Expect stability, and quality maintained – or improved. Dynamite, as seen in mag, have reduced their bait prices, and well done for doing so.
Hooks – overlooked but vitally important, we’ve seen some top notch newcomers already in 2012 from various manufacturers – including the big three Ks: Korum, Kamasan, Korda. Expect things from ACE and Terry Hearn big carp hooks, as our mag exclusively reveals.
Lyreen Angling Centre – the Irish carp record venue stepped out of the shadows in our magazine. Not everyone will be happy that 40 lb plus fish live in Ireland, but the nation’s new champion has like others grown on there, legally, and will provide offspring for generations to enjoy.
Floods – ok, some rivers were running a bit slower and clearer after, finally a dry spell, but it’s no fun when your favourite river is suddenly in fields, roads and peoples houses. Certainly not in September.
Smartphone addiction – those brilliant but annoying pocket communications hubs that sadly prove too addictive. Many anglers now dip in and out of them to check work emails when fishing. Not right, is it? Didn’t we all used to go fishing to escape work?
AND FINALLY…VIDEOS OF THE WEEK
A couple of gems for you here this week – one home made and one super slick. Many, many more quality and fun vids are now in our new TV player (top right on this page).
We start, appropriately with “pike season” about to open, with the most amazing DIY pike video ever. Made in 2009, it was brought to the attention of masses via our friends at Savage Gear. One pike eats another whilst Phil Blakey plays it!
MAP are about to launch a wave of poles, as promoted online with this trailer video. We’ll bring you the full story in our magazine.
ANGLER’S MAIL HQ BLOG AGAIN HERE NEXT WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3.
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