Our insightful general angling blogger, Colin Mitchell asks are you a drooper or a twanger? If you like this blog, please click the social media icons above to share with your fishing pals.
SOME anglers catch ‘The Droop’ whilst others suffer from ‘Twang’.
Neither are really painful – but they can leave you suffering from lost fish at the end of the day. By now most of you will have guessed that both diseases are caused as a result of pole elastic being set wrong.
Droopers have their shock absorbers set too slack so that it hangs out the end of the pole. Twangers have the elastic set so tight that it won’t come out of the end unless a whale decides to grab their hookbaits.
So, if you are pole angler, even just an occasional one – what is the answer?
Well you need the elastic tension set to that it comes out nice and easily when you hook a fish and then slides slowly back into the top sections when you have landed your specimen. That’s the theory.
Practice isn’t always so simple. And of course different fishing situations need different elastic tensions – you DO actually want heavy elastic pretty twanged up if you are after bigger fish and nearer snags (but make sure your pole can handle the pressure!).
Let’s start on the Twang…
It doesn’t matter if you are using small hooks and light line or bigger hooks and stronger line… the elastic tension needs to be such that it doesn’t let a fish smash your line or pull the hook because there is too much resistance.
Balance the tackle. Light gear means you must be lowering the resistance of the elastic both in terms of its rating and how tight it is set. And just because you are fishing heavier line and hooks it doesn’t mean you need to set the elastic to that even a passing boat can’t pull it out of the end of the pole.
A fish needs to pull out some elastic so that your shock absorber can do its job, which is to ensure you don’t get smashed off. If you are fishing in open water it’s also good to let the fish run as it will leave the other fish feeding in your swim and not disturb them. The same applies if you are fishing lighter in terms of hooks, line and elastic. A fish that runs doesn’t spook those feeding around it.
And with the advent of many different types of puller and side pullers you can soon tighten the elastic by hand to help you tame and then land a bigger fish on lighter gear. It’s all about matching your rig to the elastic and the fish you want to catch.
Read the manufacturers’ recommendations on what gear the elastic will take – it is there for a reason! Then use a bit of your own commonsense to think about elastic tension to cope with the species you are after and the swims you are fishing. You don’t fish light elastic or elastic not under tensions when you are next to snags!
Now let’s look at the Droop…
This is something that I see far too often on the bank (ok, guilty myself on occasions…). That bit of elastic hanging out of the end of your pole means the shocker is not working to its best. It also means that you could get rigs tangled or – worse – wrapped around the end of your pole resulting in rig or sections breakages.
Tensioning the elastic so it just returns to the top sections after use is the obvious answer. But that doesn’t always work as you may then get the elastic too tight. You can also help the elastic with a proper lubricant – or even by just dipping the tip under water. Again, that doesn’t always work.
So what’s the next troubleshooting step? In my book it is something that I bet the vast majority of anglers never do!
Clean the inside of the pole sections as you will be amazed at how much grunge gets onto the inside walls of the carbon and stops the elastics from working properly. I confess that I’d not cleaned mine for months and recently that lack of effort cost me lots of fish. I had to go through three tops sets and different elastics until I found one in my holdall that didn’t stick and result in bumped fish. Yes, I didn’t kick my own backside.
When I got home I stripped out all of the elastics and bungs and pulled a small piece of wet cloth through the tip sections with an elastic threader. The bigger sections were cleaned with a special pole cleaning brush set, made by Maver, that I got years ago. Job done in no time. If I’d had more time I would have soaked the shorter sections in the bath to loosen the grime and clean again as above. Thankfully most of the elastics were all stretched enough to still fit the top kits and were back into action – and working a treat!
There is another job that needs doing on elastics much more regularly – checking the last few inches that go into the pole tip. You will be surprised how often, despite smooth PTFE bushes, that this little bit of shocker gets worn down.
Just check for any signs or roughness, colour fade because of sunlight and use – and if knots are still locked up tight. If in doubt snip the offending bit off and retie providing that the tension isn’t affected too much.