IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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I DECIDED to clear out my fishing tackle boxes the other day – ditch the rubbish and any gear that I never use.

There was a mind-boggling collection of things in my boxes but the one thing that stood out was the vast collection of different hooks. And the question that rattled my brain was…why so many patterns and brands?

Of course it all stems from my match fishing past when you believed you needed a different pattern, colour and size of hook for every single job going. And then there would be phases of hooks becoming extremely popular – older anglers will remember the Mustad 90340 and then certain Kamasan patterns we all reckoned were indispensable. I also found some Sensas hooks that I sourced from France, which were excellent for small baits.

Anyway, a lot of these hooks are now in a box whilst I wonder what to do with them. I hate to ditch them, they might just come in handy…My regular choice of hook has however been curtailed somewhat…Think about it: you need eyed or spades, or a mixture of both if you use hair rigs. Then it’s a size to match the bait or species and maybe a selection of thin or heavy duty hooks. That’s still an awful lot of choice – but when I looked back on the last 12 months or so of my fishing I realised the above suggestion actually covered everything I have done on pole, feeder, stick or waggler and over a multitude of baits.

I won’t name the actual brands here – that’s not entirely fair as there are so many good hooks about and we all have personal preferences. But now there are just three makes in my box. It could easily be two but I have a real liking for a certain pattern that no other manufacturer gets close to.

I’m carrying all sizes in spade ends from 22 (for winter!) up to 10 in both barbed and barbless patterns. I’ve also got a few eyed, again barbed and barbless, in 14-10, for bigger fish and bigger baits.

There are a few thinner gauge wire hooks for smaller baits when the going is hard or the bait has to fall slowly, but most of the hooks are strong versions, given that many waters now hold lots of bigger fish.

That’s already a basic seven sizes in each of the barbed and barbless hooks, a total of 14 different patterns. Add in the thinner gauge and a few bigger sizes for carp and pike fishing, which I don’t always carry around with me, and it’s still in excess of 20 patterns. It’s a bit like the old float syndrome: you always carry around a host of brightly coloured ones that have caught you in the shop rather than fish on the bank.

Having a good sort out, sussing what’s needed in the boxes – and what isn’t.

Go through all of your tackle. Anything you have not used for a season or more put to one side and see just how much gear is being carried “just in case I need it.” You will be shocked.

It would be a much better plan to cull your tackle like I have and every time you do buy new buy the same thing you are used to, the tried and tested – unless of course something new comes out that’s worth a go. But then try and remember to keep your choices to a sensible level. It should make your fishing a lot simpler and probably a lot more effective.

I’ll end by recounting a story that’s along these lines. One of my mates had delved into a colleague’s carryall and came out with a can of beer.

What’s this doing here?” he asked our mutual friend.

“Oh, I was given that at a match a short time ago and just put it in my bag,” was his reply.

The “short time” was six months earlier at a brewery-sponsored event. Good job it hadn’t been a cheese production company…



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