WELCOME to the Wednesday blog – each week filled by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focusing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing, including latest tackle. This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by features editor Richard Howard.

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DID you know realise that in these tough economic times that there’s an angling product out there, admittedly in a few different formats, from one retailer, that’s sold upwards of 15000 units in the last couple of years. Yet I bet a high proportion never get wet!

They’re advertised regularly in Angler’s Mail, have clearly proved a hit as they’ve been flying out to punters countrywide, yet I know I very rarely see them on the bank.

Enter the Used Tackle centrepins (www.dragoncarpdirect.com)… 

Now in their second year I’ve heard an incredible 8,500 of the Marco Cortesi Mk1 ‘pins, £30 each,(see right) have been sold – our deputy ed Paul Dennis reckons they’re ‘brilliant’. And Used Tackle would have sold a lot more if they hadn’t released the wider Mk2 ‘pin with a line guard which they’ve sold over 3,500, released their Barbus ‘pin which they’ve shifted 2000-plus and their Golden Retriever which they sold over 1,000.

Add to that the fact that high profile, big fish all-rounder Matt Hayes, has signed up with Used Tackle head honcho Roger Surgay – who, let’s face it, has to be currently the most successful centrepin seller in the land – to offer a limited edition, hand picked, individually numbered wide arbor centrepin, and we have clearly another ‘pin winner.

For £60, The slick 4.5 in. black machined spoke, Matt Hayes Limited Edition design, (see below) complete with movable line guard, running speed control and ratchet strength adjustment knob certainly looks the part.

And what’s more it comes in a classy wooden presentation case with a velvet bag and personal certificate of authenticity. Only 1,000 have been made and I’ve heard there’s only about 150 left!

I know Roger Surgay has been ‘absolutely blown away’ with the demand for centrepins and still is, a couple of years on. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of anglers out there who will be putting them to good use legering for river barbel, you can’t beat the scream of that ratchet on the take.

And let’s not forget centrepins are a lovely piece of kit for trotting too, if you get the right model offering such direct control as well as in more recent times for fishing with a long rod on stillwaters for tearaway margin carp on light end tackle. I just haven’t come cross many on the bank to see the figures stack up.

I own a couple of ‘pins but don’t tend to use them because I fall into the habit of grabbing more versatile fixed spools should I need to fish out of ‘pin range.

I appreciate the plus points: the feel, the direct contact when playing a fish. And I have have a handful of chunky fish up to a lucky 29 lb 4 oz common on a centrepin … it was more by luck than judgement, back when the pole float and ‘pin off the rod tip was popular 20-plus years ago.

I think the more recent designs complete with the stylish wooden presentation box and looks ‘of old’ are part of the key here. And I think Roger feels the same. A lot of anglers remember them from their childhood, perhaps they always wanted one but could never afford one and feel they missed out until now….

Have you got one on your mantle piece?




DON’T get me wrong I love my fishing, but one fish I’m not in a rush to come into contact with again is the lesser weever (above). Step on one of these babies, around 6 in. long and in particular it’s poisonous dorsal fin like I did a couple of weeks back and you know about it. Luckily or unluckily for me a couple of hours of severe pain followed, if you have an allergic reaction, it has been fatal.

Pursuing my other passion surfing on the Pembrokeshire coast, I was coming in over shallow sand after a good couple of hours and had a stabbing pain between my toes that felt like I’d stepped on glass. One of those situations where you know you’ve hurt yourself but you don’t want to look…

I spent the next two hours with my foot in a bucket containing about four or five kettle fulls of near boiling water, in my van, the experts recommend ‘as hot as you can tolerate without being scalded’ . The idea is to denature the protein based venom –  ‘a nerve poison that has a chemical in it which is one of the most potent pain producing substances known.’

Don’t fall for the ‘you have to get a mate to ‘pee’ over your foot routine which is often banded about. After a couple of hours my pain did subside, but I did know about it.

Weevers bury themselves in the sand, just showing their eyes and snatch at prey as it comes past – normally shrimps and small fish.

If you do sea fish a bit, and swing something to hand on a bit of lug or rag, that looks like the fish in the  photograph, think twice before you grab it. They’ve got poisonous spines on their gills too. If perch had them, it would have put a hell of a lot of first timers off fishing as for many of us it was the first fish we caught.




New releases – There’s some great new innovative kit coming our way from the likes of Pure Fishing and Leeda, including an interesting intruder detecting system from JRC. Check out our Trade Show coverage in this week’s issue.

Barbel – Two particular barbel catches impressed me this week. Tim Gawler’s brace at 15 lb 9 oz and 14 lb 3 oz off the River Trent after lots of blanks. And then Adam Moxey’s 12 lb 3 oz cracker from Devon’s River Exe, not exactly a known barbel river is it? Good angling lads.

Far East Manufacturing – AM columnist Dave Coster makes a very valid point in this week’s issue that it’s the product developers and quality controllers in this country who are responsible for letting shoddy tackle slip through to tackle shop shelves. The problem’s not always ‘the Far East’, if you often shun Far East tackle. After all your TV, stereo, microwave and mobile’s probably made in the Far East…




Soft toy fish – Carvings, paintings, photographs I get. Life size soft toy fish I don’t get.

Raves – living just north of Brighton, my last two trips to a local stretch of tidal river have coincided with raves in the field opposite. The ‘drum and bass’ got so loud on my last session I could feel it through the ground on the far bank of the river. Judging by my lack of bites, I reckon the fish did the off too, like I did.


Be sure to read this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine (on sale now) for big value angling coverage, including must-read exclusives galore!



Watch this promo for the brand new MAP TKS poles seen the mag – then get straight over to our Facebook (CLICK HERE) where we will be giving one away between Thursday and Tuesday! 




A hot one this, as not only do you see Nash tackle chief Kevin Nash catching a huge 48 lb carp but you also get a sneaky peek at his forthcoming Scope 9 ft carp rods! 




James Robbins of Shakespeare explains the new Shakespeare Sigma rods, including the famous Sigma Wand. More on the trade launch and other products is in our mag this week. 




James Vincent of JRC explains the PIR alarms. I report on these in the magazine this week. An impressive and noisy bit of bit!