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I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking. If this form will not work for you, please e-mail me at editor@ericweight.co.uk
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A very useful tip

Setting off down this particular towpath for the first time in many years has, after just a handful of outings, revealed some shortcomings to my approach and to my tackle. I started out using a 14 ft Shimano float rod that I bought back in the day for fishing with a stickfloat for Trent chub and barbel. It is now as it was then a superb rod. It should be, it cost me a lot of money back in the days when I had a proper job.

I’ve no time for the modern fashion of buying every single thing for fashions sake. I could whinge for hours about the amount of gear we throw away because the manufacturer has relaunched an identical item in a different colour with an extra number in the spec. It applies to everything from clothes to fishing rods, and it serves the gullible right if they really believe that they catch more fish because the rod cost £300 when £50 quids worth would do the job equally well.

That said, and genuinely believed, I do not see the point in using a 4 ft rod to fish the far bank of the Severn, when a 14ft one would do the job properly. On the canal, I find myself fishing under overhanging trees too often and that fourteen footer was getting caught up all the time. I was certain that a shorter one would be more useful, but which one?

As luck would have it there is a trend towards shorter float rods on commercials for waggler fishing and I found a plethora of rods for that job , all allegedly different for the minutest of reasons and all perfectly usable for general float fishing. I grabbed a £35 pound, 11’ Leeda waggler rod when I spotted one in the tackle shop and haven’t regretted it for a minute. Of course it may fall to pieces next week, but as things stand at the moment I can’t see why anyone would want a dearer one.

I have a massive collection of rods gathered together over fifty years of fishing. Many were bought back in the days when I believed what I read, but since taking up lure fishing about , what, fifteen years ago, I haven’t felt the need to buy any more. Then in the space of six months, I take up sea fishing and buy two beach rods, two bass rods, and a boat rod. Then I move back into bait fishing waters I have never fished before, and need a new shorter float rod.

So far the floatfishing has been going well, but as I always do, I need to get things right. I want to just enjoy my fishing and I do, but fixing the bits where I find myself falling short is what gets me excited and interested. I am missing too many bites and losing too many fish.

Throw in the ducks, (somebody please!) and I couldn’t help wondering if a tiny feeder would do a better job. At least the bait would get down before the ducks could grab it. The only quivertip rod I had was too heavy for what I wanted, so I started tracking the adverts and the youtube videos for light bomb fishing. I liked the look of the shakespeare sigma wand. 10 ft very light tips and a soft action. Sounded perfect for the cut to me, but I didn’t need to spend another £40 so I gave it a miss.

 

Then last week I found one for £25 and I had been suckered again. I don’t mind. I used it today and it was just perfect for what I wanted, and it surprised me with a remarkable result, and for several reasons. I rigged it up yesterday afternoon for a dawn sortie. I carefully built a helicopter rig on the end over a tiny open-ended swimfeeder and put it in the car ready. Later in the evening I had a rethink. Those tips were so, so fine, I was scared to touch them and I thought maybe they were fine enough to try something unusual.

My lift rig has 1 BB on the bottom. When drift gets to be a problem on the larger still water I have added another and still caught. That extra weight is taken up by the tension between float, drift and tightness of line. The bread is buoyant as well, so I feel sure that the fish don’t feel the full weight immediately when they bite.

And what if they do? The angler’s natural instinct tells him that resistance and unnatural weight means missed bites. Well, once upon a time, carp anglers believed that any weight on the line made them impossible to catch. And what made them the easiest fish in the world to catch? It was added weight and extra resistance that made them the worthless quarry they are these days.

So what if I just freelined bread and pinched a single AA on three inches from the hook? The bread would be popped up, I might be able to tension the tip so that any movement of the shot would show up. Anyway, if it didn’t work, I could easily change the rig, looking for something better.

 

 

I arrived in the dark and set up against the pale gleam in the east that heralded an overcast dawn, dunked my bait in the water and flicked it out into a swim I had never fished before. A couple of handfuls of liquidised bread followed my hookbait into the boat channel and I sat back for about two minutes. The tip was pulling round wasn’t it? Too dark to be sure I picked the rod up and it hooped over. Nice start. And it happened another eleven times before 7 am.

Sometimes the tip would relax as the fish picked up the bait, ( I could just put about an inch of tension in without moving the AA shot) and gently winding up would either see it fail to tighten or more often just slowly pull round. Most often a couple of knocks would precede the same slow pull round. The bites were virtually unmissable and only once did I not hook up. I did lose one as well, which was about four less than usual.

No hair trigger responses required, just a slight notification and the tip would amble off round the corner. It surprised me I have to say. I was expecting more dropped takes with that shot on the line, but then any bite on any leger rig offers more resistance than that. The line will never run through a swivel on the bite even if everything is in a nice straight line unless the lead is very heavy, the water shallow, the range extreme, the swivel very large and the fish very determined. All leger rigs are bolt rigs in practice.

It was an eye-opener to be sure. I like to watch a float, but you can’t argue with a result like that. Maybe next time it won’t be the same and this morning was just a one off with the fish feeding particularly confidently, time will tell.