meta name="verify-v1" content="d7PFNk6IiaDiPnshLwmCM9E/oeJhyyogsTh9thA/Ap0=" /> Lumbland

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Layabout, legend and mild-mannered maverick

Those are some of the terms (along with dosser and curmudgeon) used about me by Alan Barnes in the interview he wrote up for The Angling Star - a Sheffield based monthly angling paper. It made me titter.

No such thing as bad publicity!

It was positively warm yesterday, just about into double figures for a while but cooling fast when the sun began to set. All being well I'll be back on the bank somewhere this weekend.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 22, 2010

In search of fishable water

Yet another week (the fifth) has gone by without me wetting a line. Mainly because it's been all go, to be honest. Running around on work related errands on Monday and Tuesday, a high powered (not!) business meeting on Wednesday, rods to send out and more to build on Thursday with a late trip to my local tackle shop to pass an hour or two - during which I purchased some rig bits for tench fishing. If you can't fish you might as well buy tackle!

That left today for an afternoon's jaunt which hasn't exactly inspired me to get the tackle ready. The first water I saw was my local river, where it's tidal - but a good couple of hours before high water. It was up to the flood bank, looking like liquid mud and churning merrily. Lovely.

Thence to the Land that Time Forgot. A duckpond I passed was ice free, but a flooded patch of land was still iced over. Sure enough the lake was in it's own micro-climate. The valley was filled with a thick mist, the water's surface was invisible from the road as I drove past. I'd stretch my legs and go check it out. There were gulls to be heard mewing from the direction of the water as I walked through the copse of tall, bare beech trees. It turned out they were standing on the half (or more) of the lake that was still frozen. There was a piker starting to pack up who hadn't had a sniff. Cross that one off the list of options.

I took a circuitous route home, not entirely by design... Some roadside waters I passed by were clear, others not. All the rivers and streams were belting through and looking like sludge. At least the local canal, which was still frozen when I looked at it yesterday, appeared clear where I crossed it if nowhere else. Sod it.

Wherever, and whenever, I do get out again I have a new fishing buddy. I ordered some batteries yesterday and they arrived bright and early this morning with an unexpected free gift. A 'Magnetic Duracell Bunny'. I hope the little pink bugger is lucky because he's not very magnetic!

Don't look at me like that!

For those who missed the brazen plug on my site I'll repeat here that Derek Macdonald can be seen using a P-3 or two on the Sky Sports website. I'm going back into hibernation.

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mice plans

Yesterday I bought some maggots and walked a stretch of a local river. It looked pretty good, fairly clear and not a raging torrent. The afternoon was fresh and the ground firm with a little snow remaining in the shaded furrows of the fields. A lapwing called and wheeled, a hare sprang up and ran away, a small flock of duck on the river seemed to comprise of a couple of pairs of mallard and a few more pairs of teal. It was hard to tell as they flew up and round just out of easy viewing distance without binoculars.

I was up for an afternoon session roving with the float rod today. Then morning came and our usual winter weather had returned. Rain and wind. I was expecting a couple of deliveries too, and when they turned up I decided to work on my webshop uploading the new product details (which will go live on Sunday) rather than visit the river. With some of that done I headed to Liverpool to collect some blanks and on my way home I crossed another small river that was well up and charging through in a muddy torrent. I doubt I'd missed much. How long it will take for the rivers to get back into fettle is hard to say, and will depend on how speedily they rise and fall anyway. If it stays fine and mildish, it hit 7C today, I'll take the maggots for an afternoon out over the weekend. Once I've finished updating the webshop and whipping some rods.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Back on-line

The new PC is plugged in and the router has finally arrived. It hadn't been set up right, so getting back into gear took a bit longer than expected. But now I have a whizzy new computer and a great big screen that makes my blog look awful! Sorting that out is probably beyond my capabilities, so my apologies to everyone who has been viewing it like that for ages. [I've managed to make it look right in Firefox - but it's gone worse in Internet Exploder... So if you browse using IE, tough!]

It should look something like this

Anyway. If anyone reading this tripe has e-mailed me recently there's a good chance I've lost your contact details (or won't be able to find them). If so please send me an e-mail to so I can update my contact list.

Still no fishing as I've a few rods that I am able to complete (another order of rings has failed to materialise in full so it's two steps forward, one step back).There's snow forecast for the northern Pennines, which means I might have to sneak a session in before it melts and cools the river too much, or I might head south and try a warmer river - or go pike fishing.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No internet = no fishing + no blogging

I'm trying to get a new computer up and running and connected to the interweb - so far without success. The old one I am using for this is on its last legs! So no fishing until it's all sorted out, and no blogging either.

Orders through my webshop will be experiencing delays in processing during this period and e-mails will go unanswered for a while. I would be grateful if any sent in the last few days that have not yet had a reply could be resent when I announce my cyber-return on here.


Monday, July 27, 2009

New Landing Net

I have a limited stock of super-light hollow carbon arm landing nets in stock. Solid spreaders with isotope slot, 'overfit' assembly and hex-mesh net. Buy them here.

Coast split ring pliers are no longer available from my supplier and have been replaced by the almost identical Lazer pliers from Eagle Claw.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Handling qualities

With my 'good' knee still giving me a bit of grief I've been staying away from the water this week, so I have time to get on with plenty of work. Pity I'm still waiting for blanks to turn up. However, that means the rebuilds and repairs get done quicker as I tend to put off work like that until I have plenty of time as you can never be sure what it will turn out like. One of this week's jobs has been fitting cork handles to a set of four Fox boat rods.

Over the last couple of years or so there seems to have been a swing back to cork for rod handles. Ironic that this should come about at the time supplies of decent quality cork for the job are going into decline.

These particular rods are being rebuilt because the owner didn't like the slim Duplon and the small reel seat. There are lots of well made blanks being produced in the far east, they say the best come from Korea but China is supposedly catching up fast. The finished rods, however, are often fitted out with less than brilliant rings and fittings, and 'gloopy' varnish. Not all, but a fair proportion. A shame the blanks aren't available as some are really very good indeed. Still, it provides me with a bit of work rebuilding them for anglers who know how they want their rods to be.

In the carp world the trend recently has been for ultra slim handles, to the extent that many are now built with just shrink tube for a butt grip. Back in the Dark Ages when we fished with fast taper fibreglass rods this wasn't a problem as the butt was more than an inch in diameter and gave you plenty to grab hold of. On a modern carbon rod the diameter is much less and, I find, feels 'wrong' in the hand when casting. I suppose these handles look pretty sat on rod pods. Which is what seems to matter most to a certain breed of angler these days.

The fashion appears to have crossed over to pike rods though, and these Duplon handles, while nice and hard, are (were!) very slim. The owner also found the length a tad too short. Nothing wrong with keeping rod handles short. But there are limits. As in most things connected with fishing tackle there has to be a compromise. The customer wanted the handles extending by an inch and a half - which actually worked out at just a quarter of an inch more than my standard boat rod handles.

When stripping rods down it's surprising what you find underneath the fittings and epoxy at times. No surprises with these four. As with many mass produced rods built in the far east the reel seats were fitted over cardboard tubes rather than the spaced rolls of masking tape that most custom builders use. Nothing wrong with the tube method provided it is done correctly. This means having sufficient glue to seal the tube to protect it from water ingress, and enough space allowed at each end for the glue to bond the reel seat to the blank. I guess it is a fast and simple way of doing the job.

When insufficient glue is used and water gets to the cardboard it will go soggy, rot, and the reel seat work loose. It's not only cheap rods that are built like this. I have repaired one quite expensive 'American' lure rod that had a handle come loose that had been fitted in this way.

As can be seen a careful spiral cut is made round the reel seat so it can be 'peeled' off the rod. The application of heat from a heat gun also comes into play. These reel seats proved to be made from a softer plastic/composite than I have come across before. Being so slim, the heat soon transfered to the underlying glue and I was able to slide the remains of the seat down off the blank without having to cut the whole seat. With thicker reel seats this is rarely the case - more so if masking tape rolls have been used and the accompanying extra glue bond between blank and reel seat.

The blanks cleaned up nicely where the whipping on the rings had been, which made the refitting of the rings much easier. Even the screen printing which the owner wanted removing came off easily with some thinners and elbow grease. Had that been under a layer of varnish it would have required some fiddling and fettling. The cork and reel seats went on easily, so everything went smoothly. Not always the case with jobs like this. Sometimes unexpected horrors are discovered that cause headaches.

All that remains now is to slap some varnish on the whippings and the rods will be like new again!

If my knee improves, the wind abates, and things generally warm up I might get to go fishing next week. I bet a big pile of rod blanks descends on me from on high to prevent that though...

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rods for sale

Ballista 12ft 2.5lb x 3 - £500 £420 (inc p&p) Now sold

Set of three built for myself and never used once.

Gloss brown blanks, Alconite rings (Rover Ringing, six plus tip - 30mm to 12mm) whipped in dark brown with silver tipping at handle, NPS reel seats with stainless steel collars, parallel butt grip with stainless steel collar and butt button. Butts and tips marked with identification dots.

Would have sold for £570 (if built now would be £600 following recent component price increases). Sensible offers considered but will not split.

Click pics to enlarge

Interceptor 1lb 10oz x 2 - £160 (inc p&p) [SOLD]

Non standard handles with KDPS-16 reel seats (stainless steel hoods), standard rings. Tips were built in 2006, butts in 2008. Butts and tips marked with identification dots. Tips have seen little use (on different butt sections), the two butts are all but unused.

Will not split.

Click pic to enlarge

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 08, 2009

All work and no play

The penultimate week of the river season has been spent working. Trying to knock my catalogue into shape and building rods. I bought a pint of maggots yesterday (Saturday) when it was still mild but didn't get the chance to use them as I wanted to get a set of pike rods fettled. Today the wind is howling and when it's not been raining it's been hailing. Sod that for a game of soldiers! Come what may (and that's supposed to be some slightly warmer, if not drier, weather) I'll be out later in the week over the last few days. One day when conditions are favourable is worth a week when they are not. That's what I keep telling myself...

A soon as it's fit to go outside and take some photos I'll be putting some rods up for sale. The 'bream' rods I built last year never got used. So they'll be going. I also have a set of three 1lb 10oz Interceptors that are surplus to requirements and I could be tempted to part with a 1lb 4oz Torrix that I built for display and have used a couple of times.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 20, 2008

A long day out

Sunday was the first day of the two day Tackle and Guns Show for the tackle trade. That meant heading back down at Stoneleigh where I'd been for the PAC Convention a few weeks ago. It's a good day out, partly to see what's new in the tackle world and make new contacts, but as much to meet up with old friends - and Neville Fickling.

As usual there wasn't a lot setting the fishing world alight. Lots of 'new' bait and firms bringing out their version of existing products. Fex do indeed have a multiplier coming out. It's a smallish low profile reel in both left hand wind and right. The fact that they are dropping a lot of their large pike lures and introducing a range of small and medium sized hard plastic baits, some small soft plastics and a range of nice feeling light lure rods suggests to me that the European market is where their real sights are set. They'll also be able to target the lure dabbler in the UK with this sort of stuff. I guess a mass market makes more sense to a big firm than selling specialised niche products like big jerkbaits. The rods were actually quite tempting for perch. Really soft tips with a bit of steel lower down. I didn't like the handles though.

I spent some time on the Hopkins and Holloway stand and discovered there is still no sign of the trigger grip reel seats I'm waiting for. They had some interesting new handle fittings to look at, and a 50mm guide for people who like training hamsters to jump through hoops.

The new products that most impressed me were possibly the smallest on show. New fake maggots and corn! The Enterprise maggots catch fish, but they are not a very convincing imitation. The ones that Anchor are launching under the Carp Logic brand are something else. On the stand they had a couple of tubs filled with them, sneakily dusted in maize flour, and apart from them not wriggling they almost had me fooled. The corn looks like any other fake corn, but both baits are very slow sinking. I managed to blag a pack of each, so the tench will be having a look at them next spring!

Good enough to eat

The Korum stand had a few new items that I hope to be playing with soon. Their big, heavy open-end feeders look the absolute dogs. Pity they only go up to five ounces... The smaller ones should be good for chubbing too. I might have to scrounge a selection along with a tripod and some other goodies.

After a couple of hours walking round in circles, and chatting to people I was in the car park a little earlier than I'd planned where I spotted one of the saddest personalised number plates I've seen for a while. I had to snap a piccy.

I wonder if the owner is a pr4t?

Time to hit the road and head up the A38 to the Trent and the stretch where I can park by the river. The first time I fished there the river was up about four feet on what I found this time. It looked totally different. There was one guy trotting a float down a nice big crease sheltered from the strong wind, and another fishing the tip further upstream on a straight. I had a chat with the second guy and he was moaning that it was hard work because it was too windy and there were a lot of leaves coming down. When I saw he was casting downstream to the middle of the river I wasn't surprised he was struggling to hold out for long.

I droppered some pellets into the same swim I fished last time as there was a crease and some shelter from any debris coming down the main flow. Before I had my second rod rigged up I'd had a chub rattle. The leaves didn't bother my rigs, but neither did any more fish.

A nice mix of pellet sizes and breakdown speeds

Out of the wind it was a really warm day. The air temperature was 14.5 and the river 11.7. Very promising. Nonetheless I only gave it a couple of hours then put my gear in the car to drive the length looking for a new spot.

The lazy way of roving!

Despite looking at a few swims I didn't really fancy any of them. I parked up and walked the downstream section. I kept telling myself I'd just look round the next bend and ended up a long way from the car. This wasn't good for my hip which started grumbling. There was something nagging me to go and have a try for one of my latest capture's big sisters. An hour and a half later I was loading myself up like a Sherpa for the walk to the swims I fancied. There was one car parked up, so I guessed the 'Rat Hole', a noted producer of big barbel, would be occupied. Sure enough it was. By a pike angler! I carried limping on to my second choice swim. At least I knew the piker would be gone when it went dark.

One bait went downstream and close in, the other across to a bush. The level was down about six inches on Thursday and some colour had dropped out, but I was still confident. Nothing had happend before dusk then as I was thinking it might be time for the head torch to go on my head I heard a whoosh-whooshing coming upriver. Before I could take evasive action the rod fishing across the river flew round and the baitrunner whirred madly. I managed to flick the line off the young swan with no harm done and recast.

An hour into dark and I still wasn't happy. Into the Rat Hole - which proved devoid of rats, thankfully. With one bait to the overhanging willow downstream and one on the upstream crease I settled in for the duration. Zip. Nada. Nowt. By ten the wind chill, although the wind was warm, was making me think of home. So I put the brolly up. That was more like it. An hour later and I was about to sit down after stretching my legs by walking round the brolly and the swim lit up with red flashing lights and a high pitched whine filled the air. Yes, I had put my bite alarms on as I thought I might nod off having been up and about from early doors.

I conected with an obviously not-too-big barbel which charged around the swim, including around my other line a couple of times. There was a right mess to sort out before I unhooked the fish. Such was the tangle that I managed to cut the wrong line to let me lift the net ashore. The fish (which was about ten pounds lighter than I was hoping for from the swim) was released, and fifteen minutes later I had two more baits in the water.

There was heavy cloud cover keeping the air temperature up but no sign of rain. I could happily have stopped until dawn if it hadn't been for a lack of food and drink. At midnight I turned into a pumpkin and packed up. The walk back to the car did me no favours and I was walking like a sheep with foot rot - limp for a few yards then stop, limp for a few yards then stop. You get the picture. Sheep have the advantage that they can save face by nibbling some grass each time they pause so it doesn't look like their in pain. Sheep are sensitive about these things... The thermometer in the car read a positively balmy 14.0.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blast from the past

I can remember the days when a Terry Eustace pike rod was to be aspired to. It took me a while to scrape the cash together get myself a Big Pike blank and build it up myself. The rod, built on one of the last of the dark brown blanks, soon became a favourite. When carbon came along, and I was still hard up, I sold all my glass pike rods; bar two - one of which I had broken and one which I had butchered. Parting with the Big Pike was the hardest of the lot.

Even today the Eustace Pike and Big Pike rods still have a following (the brown ones being preferred to the black ones), and I occasionally get them to refurbish or modify. It's no coincidence that the most popular pike rods in my range are the P-1 and the BB350 - 2.75lb and 3.5lb test curve respectively just like the Pike and Big Pike!

Those were the days

Usually the Eustaces are showing signs of wear and tear but the three butt sections I'm working on at the moment don't show much. I'm not one for preserving rods, but the Big Pike is not only in excellent nick, it's a very old model where the 'weave' in the glass is visible and is more a honey-brown colour. It's actually the first I have seen like this and, although I'm no tackle collector, I would have left the rod as it is. But the customer is always right. All three rods are so old they have sliding rings that never held reels securely so, as the owner of the rods wants to actually use them for fishing, I'm fitting screw reel seats to the rods and re-corking the handles.

After three quarters of an hour's work with a penknife the parallel glass butts were ready to be revitalised.


I suppose it's some consolation that my work can be undone and the handles returned to their original spec quite easily because of the parallel butt construction of the rods. Had the tapered blank continued right through the handle it would have meant removing the rings and destroying the original finish on the whippings and the blank. It would have been a lot less hassle though!

Much as I liked the Big Pike in its day, having run line through one and given it a bend more recently I have to say that nostalgia really isn't what it used to be... Glass rods are heavy and floppy in comparison to carbon. Maybe not as horrible as rods made from panda fodder, but pretty bloody awful nonetheless! Some people still like them.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random stuff

I'd shown the picture below on the Pike and Predators forum as an illustration of how summer pike should be fighting fit when returned. I thought I'd post it here so I can find it if I need it again.

Pete Hesketh returns a summer pike - back in nineteen eighty-something!

The rings arrived from the USA enabling me to complete my 'bream rods' a couple of weeks ago. I haven't had a chance to use them, and now I have my barbel head on they aren't required until April. So I shall be taking them along to Piking 2008 as an example of my superb craftsmanship, and to see if anyone wants to buy them. If they don't sell there they'll be advertised on here and at I had a waggle of the 2.5lb Torrix yesterday, so when I get shut of the Ballistas there could be three of those getting built at Lumb Towers...

With trying to get rods finished for collection at Piking 2008, and to send out this week, I have been working hard since my last fishing trip. Even after 10 at night! Plans for this week's fishing have also managed to go awry (I'm sat here waiting for a parcel to turn up when I should be on the riverbank), and with the funeral of a friend to attend on Friday it could be weekend before I can wet a line again. Then again it might be tonight...

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Thinning the herd

Having just about convinced myself that the Interceptor 2 is my favourite close to medium tench/bream rod I have decided to offload my set of three 2lb Torrixes as I have three SS12-204 two-and-a-quarters if I need to fish at longer range or with heavier line. So the Torrixes are surplus to requirements.

They are built on matt brown blanks, fitted with Alconite rings and have had just one spring's fishing in 2007. They appeared a few times in my blog during that period.

A 2lb Torrix last year

New the rods would have sold for £205 each. There is a set of three (each tip and butt being marked with identifying dots) which I'm parting with for £390.00 including p&p. Sorry, but they must go as a set.


Labels: ,

Friday, August 01, 2008

Work in progress

Every now and then I get asked to do a custom build that looks better than I thought it would. A case in point are two sets of three rods with cork handles, silver hooded reel seats and stainless steel winding checks. Three are Chimera Avons and three are P-1s. Here they are awaiting the varnish.

I'd be quite happy to use those myself - unlike some custom jobs I've done in my time!

The way things are going I'll not get my 'bream' rods finished in time to use them this year. Still no sign of those missing rings - despite prodding the suppliers last week...

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bad penny

Yes, I'm back. It's been a bad week, so I thought I'd vent my spleen on the blog! Apart from the car needing some work doing on it I had a nightmare journey to do a talk last night - the directions were spot on - except the road that should have taken me straight to the venue was closed and a diversion in operation - meaning I hadn't a clue where I was at the end of it! That followed a day when work hadn't gone well. One rod section fell off the dryer while I was out, requiring the blobbed varnish stripping off and redoing. All that and I'm getting fired up for some breaming and can't get my new rods finished.

I'm sure that many a customer has thought I was making excuses when I have told them there's a hold up with their rods as the UK distributors for Fuji are out of stock of one size of a particular rod ring. But it's always true. I ordered up three sets of Alconites for the new rods, and all bar one size turned up. I did what I could, but I'm still waiting on the missing rings. In the past I have phoned up the distributors to find out when delivery from Japan is expected and the answers have ranged from 'We don't know', to 'It could be three months'. Here I am with three rods, handles fitted, most rings whipped and nothing I can do about it.

So, when I have some varnish left over from paying jobs I've been sealing the whippings. As the photo below shows, coloured threads darken considerably when varnish is applied and soaked into them. That pinky/brown turns a lovely dark brown a little darker than the blank colour.

That's just the sealing coat on the right. A top coat will be applied to level everything out and make it look smart - eventually!

Labels: ,

Monday, June 23, 2008

Going underground

While I'm sat around waiting for blanks to turn up I'm occupying my time building up three blanks I've had lying around for a couple of years. I ordered them in error, but now I have a use for them myself. They are smooth ground, brown painted, 2.5lb Harrison Ballistas which I intend to use for a bit of eel fishing in a month or so (and possibly some long range bream fishing in the future). Out of boredom I decided to make them look a bit more tarty than the rods that I usually fish with, partly so that carp anglers will mistake me for one of their own, and partly for something to do.

They have slim, parallel Duplon butt grips with stainless winding checks to match those at the reel seat and will have stainless butt caps too. The rings are Fuji Alconites (30mm butt to 10mm tip) which have black frames with dark brown liners and the brown thread will darken up nicely when the varnish is applied to blend almost seamlessly with the colour of the blanks. Mmmmm. Nice!

These rods also provide me with a thin excuse to feed my reel habit. I think three 10,000 size Baitrunners will go nicely on them...

Labels: ,

Friday, February 01, 2008

I'm glad that's over

I've been slaving over a hot computer for the last month or so working on adding on-line ordering to my website, and have finally managed to get it sorted. Fingers crossed that it will all work okay.

Visit the shop department at

I'm off to brave the gales and impending snow for a few hours!


Friday, December 21, 2007

A change is as good as a rest

I haven't managed to get out fishing for the last three weeks owing to having rods to build and send out for Christmas deadlines, and the dreaded waste of time that is hanging around for parcels to be delivered so that I could fulfil those orders. This gave me spare time sat around while waiting for things to turn up and for glue and varnish to dry. Whether it needed it or not I decided to freshen up my website. All the content is the same but I think it looks a little bit cleaner and brighter. I might make a few more nerdy tweaks to it over the Christmas period. One is never satisfied.

Despite all this keeping me off the rivers when they rose a few weeks back I can't say I've missed sitting out in the cold that hit us a week or so ago. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age. But I don't care!

If I don't post again before Christmas I hope you all (I assume there is more than one of you reads this rubbish) have a good one!