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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shimano 4000D

When Tim Kelly, tackle tart extraordinaire, pointed me to the then forthcoming new range of Shimano Baitrunners, the successors to the bullet-proof B series, I got quite excited. They were hailed as being as robust (designed for saltwater fishing) but with improved spool profiles and line lay. Being a reelaholic I was itching to get my hands on one (or more...) but managed to resist the temptation to order from the USA owing to carriage charges being ridiculous these days. I also wanted to check the spool sizes out. The 4000D seemed to be the replacement for the 3500B but the size numbering used by Shimano has changed over the years and there would be no guarantee that the spool would be any bigger.

From various forums I noted that there were some available on-line in the UK, so I checked out Ted Carter's site and there they were! I needed to visit Staples for some stationary today (I could have managed without but it was a reasonable excuse!) so I called in at Ted's. My first impression was that the reel looked small. In the hand it felt it, and light too. It was not what I was hoping for. Initially I had envisaged myself purchasing two of the 4000Ds for barbelling and three of the smaller DL FA Baitrunners to replace my Ticas - even though the Shimanos have the hateful double handles.

After handling both reels I decided that the 4000D would be perfect to go on my tench rods, and I'd stick with the 3500Bs for my barbel fishing. This is not to say the 4000D isn't a nice reel. It is. It's compact, the drag feels smooth, the Baitrunner has good adjustment and the handle is comfortable. With the reel back home the spool was almost identical in profile to that of the 3507 Tica.

3500B and 4000D compared

However, the Baitrunner lever operates with a satisfying click (going both on and off) in the opposite direction to all previous Shimanos - which shouldn't prove troublesome as I soon got used to that on the horrible Daiwas I had - and the anti-reverse switch is annoyingly small and fiddly, just as it is on the XTEA. I suppose if you always use the drag or always backwind this isn't an issue, but I sometimes do both.

A nice feature is the one-piece bale arm that will allow line to smoothly flow onto the large roller. On the 3500B I find braid has a tendency to stop where the bale arm wire enters the flared piece over the roller - there is noticeable wear on the black anodising at this point. The rest of the bale arm on the 4000D seems a bit thin though, like it may be prone to getting bent.

Spools and line lay compared

I guess Shimano have introduced the 4000D and the other two small front drag Baitrunner series to get into a market that Okuma have cornered. The DL FA and ST FA ranges are competitively priced, good looking and have the Shimano name to them. They'll do well I think. I won't be getting rid of my Epix Pro 30s, but the Ticas' days are numbered.

Now to the rant! Why can't reel manufacturers settle on some universally accepted system for classifying spool sizes? Why do Shimano keep changing theirs? I have 8000 Biomaters that have bigger spools than my 10,000 XTE-As, and 3000 and 4000 spools that are interchangeable! It makes buying new reels sight-unseen impossible. What is required is a system that combines the spool diameter at the lip and the length (from lip to skirt), and even the depth as a guide to capacity. I expect I'm howling at the moon.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

I was hoping it would rain

At long last my two new brollies had arrived at the tackle shop. I went to collect them last week, but the suppliers had sent the wrong ones. For some time I've been using a 45" umbrella to save on weight on long riverbank hikes and a 50" job for shorter walks and day sessions after other species when I haven't fancied carting the Aqua brolly around. The 45 incher was starting to fall apart. I'd repaired two of the rib hinges with bent wire and the screw in bit of the pole had a habit of pulling out the brass insert it fits in. The 50 incher just annoyed me as the cover isn't tight and in a wind it flaps irritatingly.

The two I had ordered were a replacement 45 incher and a 50 inch glassfibre ribbed camo patterned one. The idea was to have the small one for the river where swims can be tight and walks long, and the Fibre-lite for lengthy sessions while still keeping the weight down. I'd have preferred the flat back version but it's a grey colour with garish orange writing on it. Okay for matchmen in their fancy dress suits but not my cup of tea.

With the brollies finally back home I thought I'd weigh them, mainly because the new 50 incher felt lighter than the smaller one. It was. A whole pound lighter. I weighed my old 45 inch brolly and found that weighed the same as the new Fibre-lite. Anyone want to buy a heavy 45 inch brolly? Out of curiosity I weighed the old 50 inch umbrella to find that was the heaviest of the lot. Oh well.

Despite no rain being forecast I slipped the new umbrella in the quiver thinking it might keep the damp off me later as I was planning to stop longer than usual. I also threw the bunny suit in the back of the car as the last few sessions had been getting a little cooler. After Monday's blank I was off to a banker stretch and thought I'd have another play with my Torrixes and this time try out my shiny XTE-A reels. I didn't buy them for barbel fishing but was itching to see what they were like in action.

I rolled into the car park before seven to find a load of vehicles parked up and what looked to me like two anglers packing up. I took my time getting the tackle out of the car when I realised they were getting ready to fish.

Back in the 80's when I fished a few really popular pike lakes in the north west it was imperative to arrive early to get the best swims. Even then you might find someone was there before you. My mates and I used to be so organised we could be out of the car, loaded up and away in seconds. We'd drive to the venue wearing our fishing clobber, everything else would be stripped to a minimum so all we had to do was jump out of the car, put rucksack on back, rods over shoulder, lock the car and go. And we'd walk fast. Nobody stood a chance!

Old habits die hard. The car door was locked, the bunny suit left behind (I could go back for it later) and I was off. Once in the meadow I got my bearings and was in the swim I fancied (I knew a couple were likely to be taken already) before the other blokes had reached the water. Job done. I put my gear down and went for a wander to see if I fancied somewhere else! When it turned out I knew the guys I'd beaten to the river I must admit I felt a bit guilty. But those old habits are deeply ingrained. Worms get caught by the early birds.

The Torrixes needed rigging up. I used a length of the mainline for the upper hooklink, and was contemplating using some for the lower too with the river being clear, but time was pressing so I put braided links on. The first rod cast out had a five pellet snake for the first time this season and was cast downstream. I was still tacking up the second rod when I heard a quiet purring sound and looked round to see the rod arched over. This is becoming a habit, a take on the first cast.

Not a big fish but one of the reels christened. The second rod was cast upstream with a 15mm boilie on the hair. At eight fifteen that rod tip indicated a dithery bite. Not like a chub bite, and hard to describe. When I picked the rod up there was nothing to be felt but the lead. When I swung the rig in the lower link and swivel were gone. It looked like knot failure, the line having a curly end. Mysterious.

It was quiet. No chub raps or anything. It was mild though, nay it was warm. The air was still the cloud cover heavy and I didn't need to put my fleece on until nine. Twenty minutes later the downstream XTEA purred again. Everything about these reels is quiet and smooth. The baitrunner lever doesn't click positively into place (which made me uncertain it was engaged), the baitrunner clicker and drag are almost inaudible, the handle turns as if on ice, and the drag is silky. I don't like them! The clicker is so quiet it would never wake you. Perhaps it's people who use these reels who always use bite alarms? You'd need them if you were going to nod off. They'll be ideal for bream fishing though, which is what I bought them for. I prefer something more workmanlike for barbel and pike fishing.

Nice - but not naughty enough for me

I took the opportunity to appraise the Torrixes a little more this time too. They definitely have a suggestion of lock-up in the lower butt. Again not what I like for barbel fishing but ideal for breaming. They'll be put away now until spring I think.

After that second fish, which had been a real baby of a couple of pounds, I started to feel restless. I wanted to move down a swim but the water there was so shallow with the ever dropping riveer level that I'd have had to wade out to net a fish. The peg below it was deeper but more awkward to fish from and a bit further down than I wanted to go. After much staring at the swims I chose to set up in between the two pegs.

I put the landing net at the water's edge in the second swim where netting fish would be easy and put the banksticks on top of the bank. The downstream rod was cast below the landing net, and the upstream one well above it. If I got a fish I would have plenty of room for manoeuvre to walk to the net. Having used my last two mesh bags of pellets I sat down and opened the pellet bucket, got out the bag filler and heard that now familiar purring. The boilie cast downstream had done the business. Another moderately sized barbel was in the net and I was reaching for the forceps. Was that a kitten? No. It was an XTEA! The snake had been taken by a slightly bigger barbel. Yet again takes coming within minutes of casting into new spots.

Twenty minutes later there was a funny indication to the boilie rod. It was a tremulous pulling down of the tip then nothing. This was repeated a time or two before I risked picking the rod up half expecting an eel. It turned out to be the biggest barbel of the night. Around the seven pound mark.

The next bite was an hour in coming and was a typical chub bite that resulted in a typical chub, followed half an hour later by its twin. It had gone midnight but I still hadn't needed to put on my bib and brace for warmth. I gave it until quarter to one then gave up. More barbel might have come along later, but when the chub switch on late it's usually an omen that the barbel have switched off.

The car's thermometer showed the temperature had only dropped three degrees. Still, 12.5 had felt cold on other nights. I can only think that it was the cloud cover and lack of wind that had helped it feel so warm. However, there had been no dampness forming on the rods or tackle box lid. The car was free of dew and the grass quite dry. I must look into the factors that govern the 'dew point'* as it affects mist/fog and I think that has some bearing on catches, so there might be a correlation.

* I've looked. I'm none the wiser!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fashion victim

The morning's rain had cleared up, I was bored and had some new fishing boots to try. The last time I'd bumped into EH on the river he'd been wearing on a rather toasty looking pair of Baffin boots. I'd been managing well enough for a few years without the need for thermal boots - after the disaster of the Wychwood boots - but the last few weeks had made me think that warmer footwear was called for again. Yesterday I purchased a pair of the Baffin Outbacks from Ted Carter's (as I was in credit with them) and wanted to try them out even if the temperature had risen.

These boots are made for walking

So off to the river hoping that it might be up a little and warmer than of late. It was certainly up - about five feet up. Before I'd arrived at the river the rain had set in again. I dumped my gear, put the brolly up to shelter it and chucked the thermometer in while I went looking for a spot where I could avoid the leaves that I could see coming down in the current.

The day was much warmer than I'd become accustomed to and even with just one fleece under the bunny suit I was getting hot. My feet were cosy in the new boots which proved to be perfectly all right for walking in, although not giving as much support as my usual boots they weren't uncomfortable like 'the boots from hell'!

After about half an hour I dropped into the only fishable slack I could find. The usual big slack was a churning cauldron and a nice glide that can fish in a flood was a moving wall of leaves. The water was warmer than it had been on Tuesday, 4.6c and rising slowly. Not warm enough to make me confident of a barbel, but good enough to give me hope of a chub. A pellet went out nonetheless, and then a lump of the cheese paste - both fished without any further attraction. Fishing a small slack it seemed unlikely that freebies would draw fish to the swim, and any fish in the slack would have no trouble finding a hookbait. That was the theory. It didn't match with the practice.

When I picked up my lovely new boots I also bought another pack of Drennan isotopes. I had one on my quiver but was sure I was failing to see small bites after dark when I had no point of reference for the isotope. Fitting the tip with two light sources is supposed to solve that problem. When I get a bite I'll let you know if it does...

Twin isotopes on the quiver

Although it felt quite mild after dark (funny how a temperature that feels mild after a prolonged cold spell can be the same as that which made you chilly at the start of autumn) my heart wasn't in it and I packed up after three hours. It was being restricted to where I could fish by the leaves that did it for me. There were some tasty looking spots that I reckon would have held fish, but where a rig would have been wiped out by the leaves in minutes. Quite annoying. Not much chance of things improving tomorrow either. Pity. I'll just have to make time to fish later in the week, by which time it's supposed to have warmed up even more. Fingers crossed.

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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.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm a dull boy

Given the flimsiest of excuses, I wanted to try out my new rod rest heads, I stopped work and managed to get to the river by seven fifteen. The rests are nice and wide to make dropping the rod in them a cinch, and are deep enough to prevent it then getting blown or dragged out. Should be good for pike fishing too.

Any excuse to go fishing...

As I walked to the river the rain stopped - for a pleasant change. I'd taken three rods with me, the third one being a lighter rod than I normally use and rigged up with mono. I want to see what the set-up feels like with a barbel on the end. So far I have failed to get a bite on this outfit on the few occasions I have used it. It comes in handy as a spare though, and this time it came out of the quiver straight away as I had forgotten to change a frayed end rig. It was quicker to grab the spare rod than tie up another hooklength.

That rod was cast upstream, the river was back down to NSL and clear, and the other one downstream and across. The second rod had only been fishing for ten minutes when, as I was sorting out the frayed rig, I heard the baitrunner squeal into life. The rod was arched over in typical barbel-take fashion. Gazelle like I leapt upon it to do battle with a leviathan. However the fish on the other end of the line soon revealed it's true colours. A chub of about four pounds that I unhooked in the water.

It was a slow night. Even after dark indications were few. Plenty of what I imagine were sea trout were leaping around like the members of the idiotic trutta family that they are. One or two sounded quite large. Only two barbel came out to play. A small one, and another between seven and eight pounds. Both fish coming when I had retired the mono rod for the night.

With the overcast sky it stayed quite warm and the damp held off. So it wasn't a chore being there. The rod rest heads did the job and were easy to locate the rod in during daylight. They'll be getting painted white, like my old ones, before the next night session though. It's surprising how well white (or shiny) things show up after dark, even when not illuminated.

Whenever a rig gets battered I throw it in the bottom of my bait bag. I had a clear out and below you can see the results of a couple of Ribble sessions. When a rig snags up it's either the lead or feeder that's wedged behind a rock, or the hook itself caught up in or on something. Leads come free of the paper clip quite easily, but 30lb Power Pro really does help open out the hooks. The bottom rig shows what the snags can do to 20lb braided hooklinks - the others are a little stronger and tougher!

You can get through a fair few hooks on the rocky Ribble

With an Indian summer having arrived yesterday the river will remain low and clear for a few days by the looks of the forecast. I'll either have to change my tactics or fish for something else. If I get the chance to fish at all that is. There are rods to fettle for a Monday despatch, stuff to sort out for the PAC convention, and more rods to make a start on since a delivery of rings arrived. I'm sure I'll find a window of opportunity to escape through though...

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Saturday, May 31, 2008


The session was doomed to failure before I left home. But it had to be got out of the way. I'd been on a tackle buying spree. A new spod and head torch weren't enough. No. There were some feeders bought to convert into in-line jobs, and - worst of all - three shiny new bobbins and isotopes. If there's one thing guaranteed to result in a blank, it's new indicators. At least the day at the pit was a pleasant one to spend admiring them. They they went up and down when I played with the line, so I guess they'll work okay when a fish eventually comes along.

Ironically the alarms and pod caught fish on their first trips, but indicators are a different matter. They're pretty though, you have to admit! They're part of my policy of mixing tarty and not cheap with cheap and cheerful. The pod is a Nash Hooligun 'entry level' pod. It has the advantage that Korum banksticks fit it. With two of those in the back position I can raise my rods higher at the back to get the tips low to the water. This is an advantage when waterfowl are about.

The spod certainly did the job, though, and I wish I'd bought it a couple of years back when I first saw one. I've used casting clips with spods in the past so they retrieve nose first, rather than backwards. But they were home made modifications that didn't always release and sometimes tangled. The MCF Swordfish is a bit different and (so far) releases every time, admittedly occasionally needing a jerk at the start of the retrieve. I now want a bigger one. Or I might get the wire bending tools out...

The first blossoms of spring on the blackthorn gave way to the white cascades of the hawthorn a few weeks ago. As those began to fade last week the elder was already in bud and is now in flower. A sure sign that summer is almost here. So, with June a couple of days away, I was rather surprised to hear, and then see, a cuckoo calling late in the afternoon. That, and watching a group of tree creepers feeding and squabbling in the willows almost (almost) made up for the blank. How some people can sit reading books when they are fishing is beyond me, there's always something interesting going on in the natural world if you keep your eyes and ears open. In fact there was so much noise from the birds in the surrounding trees and undergrowth (chaffinch, robin, sedge warbler, great tit, blackbird, and more I didn't recognise) that I could hardly hear my radio at times!

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

When you see a good idea - nick it!

For some time I have been struggling to find a tangle free way of rigging up a marker float. I've tried different shaped floats, bits of tube, links on the lead, all sorts. None worked with any degree of satisfaction. The other week I spotted an angler's marker rig and a little light went on in my head. I'd tried one cork ball between my big eyed swivel and the float, but not three. As well as acting as an anti tangle device this also adds a fair bit of buoyancy to the float. Trying it out on The Crow Pit it seems to work well, the float only failing to surface when the whole lot got buried in weed and not tangling once.

What the plumbing revealed was a small clear patch about twenty yards out. So that was where I kept casting a method feeder and a maggot feeder. Another maggot feeder went down the edge. It soon became apparent that the clear patch was either not all that clear, or it was smaller than I thought. So, the feeder on The Rig had it's hooklength increased to seven inches, and the size sixteen with three live maggots was swapped to a sixteen with three live maggots on the hook and a plastic caster on the hair to give a slower fall. Furthermore I added a bit of PVA foam. Now I have a problem with PVA foam. For some reason it always comes off the hook too quickly for me. So I popped it into some PVA mesh and nicked the hook in that. It worked!

I had arrived later than I hoped, starting fishing around one o'clock. Around two thirty I started to get drop backs to the maggot feeder on the clear patch. I suspected roach to be the culprits for some reason. This activity didn't last long, and I couldn't be bothered shortening the hooklink again to get a hook up. After all, I was tench fishing.

Out of the blue, at five, the method rod was away. I picked the rod up, felt the fish kick, and with the line under little tension everything went slack. For some inexplicable reason the mainline had parted. I had only recently tied on a fresh hooklength with a 10mm pineapple boilie and a piece of floating plastic corn on the hair. So I can't see it having been knot failure. But you never know.

An hour later I was stood by the rods staring vacantly over the water when I hear the thud, dink, clunk, bzzzzzz of an indicator hitting the rod, the line pinging out of the clip, the indicator hitting the rod pod and the baitrunner whirring. The caster/maggot rig was away, and it wasn't a roach. After a decent scrap on the 1lb 10oz Interceptor I had a chunky male tench in the net.

The next bite also came to this rod, an up and downer that eventually held at the top. Lifting into something it didn't feel large but could have been a small tench, until it flashed silver. There were roach out there, and this one scraped over the pound mark. The other two that managed to hang themselves, from numerous bites, were about half that size. Now I'm trying to work out how to avoid roach!No self take photos this time as something has gone awol from my tripod. Just when I'd got the bulb release sorted too...

For the first time this spring I was able to fish without the bunny suit. Even when I packed up at dark it was still mild, and the light showers hadn't proved an inconvenience, barely requiring the waterproof jacket. With a first tench from a 'new' water under my belt it had been a good day.

I had gone fishing for two reasons. One was because my plans to work Monday to Wednesday morning and fish the rest of the week had been scuppered by the late arrival of rod blanks, limiting me to the Friday only. The other was the arrival of some goodies from Sonubaits. They're not really a sponsor as such, I just happen to know someone who works there.

Not being much of a bait fiend I actually get more excited by the simple stuff than the latest 'guaranteed' fish catching gimmicky baits. That's why I was keen (as in having run out of groundbait) to try out their method mix and Hemp and Hali Crush which are just what they claim to be and full of 'bits' for the fish to browse on. Add the two together and you have something that should appeal to the tincas. I already had faith in their feed pellets when added to a method mix so some of them joined the two groundbaits in the bowl.

I was also sent some 10mm Boosted Wraps in pineapple flavour to try. These are a pretty simple birdfood boilie by the looks of things, but with a peculiar jellylike flavoured coating. It was one of these, on the method rod, that I lost the tench on. At least I know they don't actively repel fish, so they'll be getting further outings. The groundbaits certainly will.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

New toys and April showers

Having bought myself three new reels recently I have been itching to try them out. I have been looking for an intermediate size baitrunner-type reel for some time. The Okuma Epix Pro 30s that I use for perching have been great. Nice and smooth with a reasonable front drag too. But they are a little small for tenching, while I find the Shimano Aeros just a tad too large and don't like the fact that the various size spools are fitted to one size of body. That was why I got myself three Daiwa Regals last spring, but they proved a bit frail in my hands. The bale arms bent just by looking at them for one thing!

After a bit of interweb surfing I settled on the Tica Sportera 3507. These have the size of spool I want with a body that is in proportion. The baitrunner lever (or Hit and Run lever as Tica call it) operates the same way as the Shimanos I'm used to - unlike the Daiwas - so eliminating confusion. Initial impressions are good, but of course new tackle means blanking, so I'll have to report back more fully later in the year!

First time out was an afternoon roach fishing session in the same area of the lake that had produced on my last couple of sessions. Result? Five hours before I got a bite, followed by a small roach and a Tommy ruffe...

Undeterred I loaded the spare spools with some heavier line and headed for The Crow Pit, which I had never set eyes on before. The day was cold and wet as I set off, but although there were showers forecast (which duly arrived), I found a sheltered little sun trap to spend a pleasant afternoon watching swallows and martins from. Crystal clear water with no features I could find, and few clear spots, I fished three rods for almost eight hours with one half hearted bite (to double maggot) for my trouble. This was more an exploratory session, as much as to actually find the place as anything, than a determined attempt to catch some tench (or bream). That's what I keep telling myself, at least.

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