Fishing Tackle

Go into any good fishing tackle shop and see the massive amount on sale.  The amount of Fishing Tackle available is huge so its very easy to understand why the prospective or novice angler feels lost amid so much choice!!  On-line tackle shops are perhaps worse because with the internet there are no shop assistants you can seek advice from.  The plain fact is, the fishing tackle industry is massive.   A figure published in 2006 by the Tackle and Guns magazine indicated that the tackle trade in the UK was worth about 515 million pounds with bait sales totalling a staggering 100 million!  Plus these figures appear to be rising year upon year.

Fishing Tackle.

Fishing tackle can be confusing especially if you are just starting out or thinking about taking up fishing as a pastime.  It’s also fair to say that in the last 30 years the various types of tackle on sale has increased tremendously.  There are tackle items for almost every type of fishing so much so that even seasoned anglers sometimes find themselves scratching their heads as to what item is best to buy!!What I will try and do within the “Tackle” section is explain fishing tackle in “laymen’s” terms whilst seeking to dispel some of the nonsense talked about certain items of tackle on sale now a days.  You don’t have to spend a fortune in order to kit yourself out with good fishing tackle.  Quality is always better than quantity so its actually better if you purchase items of tackle that will actually stand up to the job in hand and “last”.  Cheap is not always cheerful long term but then again there has never been a better time to obtain fishing tackle bargains.  I have fishing rods and reels that have stood the test after thirty years of abuse and are still very much up to the job.China and the Far East in general have taken over vast quantities of the UK manufacturing base.  Name any household item and the Chinese are making it for UK based companies.  Fishing tackle is certainly no exception with a tremendous amount of tackle on sale in the UK now being manufactured in China and the Far East.  But does that mean the oriental based products will be sub standard?  Well seeing as a lot of these products are merely being made in China to “UK” dealers specifications I hardly think so.  I have seen a lot of these products and they are very well made.  Downside is the UK tackle trade still know how to charge but there are  plenty of bargains to be had never the less.            

Coarse Fishing Rods.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Rods come in a variety of classifications and the beginner might well get confused.  The first category to know is the basic format.  Sea, game and coarse fishing.  Sea fishing rods are mostly required for boat fishing, beach fishing or spinning.  Boat fishing rods come in a variety of types with the emphasis on strength plus they are not required for long casting like the beach variety is.  Rods for beach fishing are designed for casting really heavy leads a long way.  Even so, the range of beach rods is fairly extensive with the better made rods being more expensive.  Always remember though that your intended quarry does not know the cost of the rod it is caught on!  Sea spinning rods are not unlike their freshwater counterparts but sea rods are all built with salt water in mind whilst the freshwater variety is not.There is an array of rods for freshwater coarse fishing depending on either what form of fishing you are wanting to do and even what species you are seeking to catch.  Species specific rods for example would be rods designed for carp, barbel and pike.  You might also find other rods for sale that are marketed as species specific but these are mostly aimed at catching anglers not the fish one intends to catch.  Lets look at the various coarse fishing rods and narrow it down to a selection that would be most useful.

Generally the bigger the fish the bigger the rod you will require.  For instance if you are targeting big catfish then you would be wise to go for a 4 lb plus test curve model as the catfish found in the UK and Europe grow very big and are extremely powerful.  A good general purpose carp rod would be anything from 2.5 lb test curve to 3 lb in either 12 0r 13 ft length.  The same rods can double up as very adequate pike fishing rods.

There is a lot of twaddle talked about barbel rods with some anglers saying one requires carp fishing type rods to handle barbel in big rivers like the Trent for example.  For all barbel fishing there should be no need to go over a 1.75 lb test curve rod.  I use 1.5 lb test rods myself for big rivers and go down to an 11 ft Avon type at 1.25 test for small rivers.  These rods cover all of my barbel fishing.

Avon rods in particular are a useful addition to anyone’s rod collection because they are so versatile.  You can ledger or do basic float fishing with an Avon rod.  The John Wilson “Rovex” range are particularly useful.  Here is a quote about these rods from the makers;

“ John Wilson’s Avon Quiver is probably the best selling rod of all time. Over the years this rod has been continuously developed and in it’s latest guise is an exceptionally versatile rod. The basic rod is 11′ long and comes with two tops – an Avon top and a quiver top with three push-in quivers rated 1.5, 2 & 2.5 ozs. This makes the rod ideal for targeting anything from carp and tench to chub, roach and dace. For those seeking to fish at greater distances or to have better control in faster flowing waters the rod comes with a 2′ extension piece that slots in above the detachable handle to enable the rod to be fished at 13′. For the fisherman on the move the 5pc 11′ travel version (the travel version has no extension piece) has an almost identical action to the standard model and comes in a handy cloth covered tube to protect the rod in transit.”

When fishing for species such as tench, bream, chub, roach, perch, barbel, etc the Avon type rod will serve the angler well.  It is advisable however  to have at least one dedicated float rod in the armoury and a good float rod between 12 and 13 ft will undertake a lot of float fishing tasks.  I own several myself ranging from 12 to 17 ft but a decent 12 ft rod would be adequate for most float fishing situations.

Click here to read more about selecting the right rod in rod buying tips

Spinning Rods.

There is a huge choice available but basically is a case again of the bigger the rod the more weight it can cast as in “lure weight”.  I own three different lengths that cater for my needs.  There is more information about spinning rods with a dedicated link to the  ”Anglers Resource” website below.  This is an American website owned by an American company and what these guys don’t know about these types of rods isn’t worth knowing.

Click here for more information on spinning rods.

Game Fishing Rods.

For the coarse angler, game fishing terminology can be confusing but it really isn’t once you know the basics.  Firstly, normally the longer your rod the more power it has whilst alternatively the smaller the rod the less power it has.  This equates to a small rod being useful for smaller rivers and streams whilst the longer rods are better suited to either larger rivers or reservoir fishing.  Game fishing lines also correspond to the type of rod you are using and their classification comes under the AFTM rating (American Fly-fishing Tackle Manufacturers)  Low AFTM rated lines are best suited to the shorter less powerful rods whilst the high number AFTM lines such as 9/10 are best suited for the longer more powerful rods used for distance fishing.  Whilst there is an endless choice I would go for a three rod range for general trout fishing which would be small, medium and large suited to all the AFTM lines which will cover almost all of your UK trout fishing requirements.

Salmon fishing rods are similar in that the bigger the water you are fishing, the bigger the rod you will require.  Three general purpose rods would be a 15 footer and a 12 footer with a 10 footer for smaller streams and rivers which I have.  I also own three different grades of spinning rods which covers the whole spectrum of salmon, trout and coarse fishing I do.  There is more information on trout and salmon rods by clicking the link below.

Click here for information on trout rods.

Click here for information on Salmon rods.


Sea Fishing Rods.

I thought it was worth mentioning sea fishing rods as a lot of freshwater anglers also fish in the sea as well.  Once again there are a variety of rods available for different types of sea fishing.  Beach rods, pier rods, there are rough ground rods, distance casting rods, specialist bass and flatfish rods as well as a whole range of boat rods.  Below is the link for the British Sea Fishing site and more information on the right type of rod to buy.

Click here for more information on buying sea fishing rods.

Fishing Poles.

I am not an advocate of fishing with poles but fully understand the poles popularity amongst anglers that use them.  I have included a link below which covers this branch of UK  angling with an article done by the Moseley Park Angling Club in Birmingham.

Click here for more information on pole fishing.



Artificial Flies.

It would be extremely easy to fill the pages of ten books with information on artificial flies, what they are, when to use them and where, plus how to tie your own.  Basically there are three main types of fly for trout fishing.   Dry flies, wet flies and nymphs.  Picking the right type to use on the day is very important so choosing the right ones could make the difference between catching and not catching.  Like most things in angling it takes time to learn how to fish for trout in streams, rivers and lakes but the skills required are not that difficult to learn.  As with other angling techniques water craft plays a major role especially as fishing with artificial flies involves “imitating” what is going on naturally and learning how the fish react to it.

The dry fly is fished on the waters surface and once cast out should be left to drift around on the surface in the case of a still water or drift down in the current on a river.  Your aim is to imitate a fly that has just landed upon the surface so tugging and pulling on the line will only make the presentation look unnatural.  If I’m fishing at close range  on a still water casting to rising trout close in I might just “tweak” the fly a little to imitate a spent flies last flutter in the surface but generally I would leave the cast fly alone especially if the trout are actively rising around the cast fly.  There are two basic types of dry fly.  The “imitative” and the “searching”.  The imitative is used when there are good hatches going off and you are trying to imitate a particular fly that the fish are feeding on.  The second is the searching fly which could be used when there are no rise or the fish are rising very sporadically not feeding on anything in particular.  Searching flies tend to be very visible.

The wet fly fishing requires a lot of attention because with dry fly fishing you can mostly see the fish take the fly but with wet fly fishing you are relying on touch.  Wet flies are normally smaller than dry flies so they sink faster and generally have a feathered wing.  Sometimes when fishing in rivers and streams the fish can’t be spotted if they are not actively rising so the angler has to find the fish in likely looking areas.  I like to cast across the current and let it take my fly into calmer pools behind rocks or other obstacles where I feel the trout might be laying.  Control of the line at this point is crucial as you don’t want the fly to be pulled off downstream too fast as that would present the fish with a very unnatural picture.

Nymphs are imitations of emerging flies such as mayfly, caddis, stonefly etc.  Drab in colour to match the bottom from which the natural flies emerge from they are mostly fished on the bottom so are weighted.  Nymphs can be fishing on the surface in which case they have no weight added to them at all.  Sometimes they are fished mid water but mostly the nymph is fished on the bottom.

I would try larger flies for coloured and colder water and smaller flies for clear warm water in the summer.

I have two links here to help the beginner learn more about trout flies.  The Global Fly Fisher and Diptera are two of the best sites cram packed full of information about the different patterns with step by step instructions on how to tie well over 350 patterns plus a very comprehensive materials and tools list .

Click here for the Diptera website.

Click here for the Global Fly Fisher website.





The first fishing reel is believed to have come from China around 1195 AD, or at least that’s the earliest recorded drawing of one.  The first English reel, which was little more than a “winch” appeared in 1651 and the British claim to have been the first to develop fishing reels around 1800 although an American George Snyder, of Kentucky, developed his own reels  in the 1820′s

The Nottingham reel was probably the forerunner for many types of reels around the time.  The centre pin was to follow much later around the 1880′s but leading up to the center pin’s introduction, the Nottingham reels were better than anything else that was available at the time.  Such was the demand for this reel a small community of reel makers established themselves in the Nottingham area, turning out variations on the same theme.  Basically a wide arbour reel with a four inch diameter, made almost entirely out of wood apart from a skeletal metal reinforcement braced across the back, which was found to be necessary to prevent the reels warping and to allow attachment of the foot and the central axle.  For more information on the Nottingham Reel visit my links page and check out the “Fishing Museum”

Today anglers have a wide range  of reels to choose from depending on the type of fishing one want s to do.  Center pin reels were originally developed to take over from the Nottingham design and were primarily used for float fishing as “ledgering” was considered very unsporting in the 1800′s.  Today the center pin has a following amongst certain anglers who regard the “pin” as a superior reel for coarse fishing.  An alternative to the center pin is another “Nottingham” reel called the “Stanton” which runs on ball bearings and is machined out of a solid alloy block.  I own two of these reels and consider them to be superior to the more traditional center pin design but I’m sure the center pin angler would disagree with me.  Either way I regard these types of reels, center pin or Stanton to be more useful when employed for float fishing as a float moving down river in a steady current pulls line off these reels with relative ease making the presentation appear very natural to fish.

If you visit my links page you will find a link to the Adcock Stanton site where you can read the history and purchase one of these excellent reels if you wish.  These reels are not cheap but worth every penny in my book.

The next type of reel is the “fixed spool” often referred to as a “spinning reel” in America.  The fixed spool comes in a wide range of designs and sizes but they all do a similar job.   The ones manufactured for sea fishing are made from anti-corrosion materials to withstand contact with salt water.  For general purpose coarse fishing in freshwater in the UK I would go for a Shimano every time simply because they are tried and tested with a proven track record for line lay, reliability, and engineering.  I favour the bait runner range due to the reels versatility and amazing clutch.

Our next reel type is the closed face reel which also incorporates the “spin cast” reel being similar in design as the line emits from the front of both reels.  One modern version of the close faced reel was developed by Abu and was quickly endorsed by the UK match fishing fraternity as it was considered superior for trotting on rivers over the fixed spool type.  One would be mistaken if they thought the closed face reel was a modern invention.  The Winans and Whistler reel was a close faced spinning reel patented in 1875!!  The spin cast reel is primarily used for casting lures in both sea and freshwater.

Another reel for use in casting lures is the bait cast reel.  These are basically small multiplying reels that perform a similar function to their larger cousins the “multiplying” reel that is used for sea fishing.  All of these reels have a tendency to over run or “birds nest” in the hands of the un experienced so practice is required to enable the angler to be proficient in their use.

Fly casting reels are  fairly simple in terms of their mechanical construction, though like everything else in angling they continually change with developments in technology. A fly reel is normally operated by stripping line off with one hand, while casting the rod with the other hand. A huge development regarding fly reels is a larger design. The larger design is meant to increase the speed of retrieving, as well as, keep a tight line in the event a hooked fish makes a sudden run towards the angler.  I own several fly casting reels and they are basically designs around the same principle with the only major difference being quality of materials used.

For more information on reels visit my links page and check out the Wikipedia Fishing reel link.


Fishing Line.

Not all fishing conditions require a common type of fishing line.  Therefore it’s important that the angler know which line to choose for the conditions they are fishing within and for the species they seek to catch.  Such lines are mostly available in four varieties; monofilament, braided, fused, and fluorocarbon. Let’s have a  look at each of them.


DuPont announced the discovery of nylon in 1938.  The very next year DuPont began the production of nylon monofilament fishing line.  These first attempts at making nylon fishing line did not catch on at first as anglers were used to their older fishing lines like braided Dacron.  Then in 1958 DuPont introduced “Stren” which being a more uniform thinner line was widely accepted by anglers so led to a boom in sport fishing.

Monofilament products remain popular to this day and account for more than two-thirds of all fishing lines sold. As the name suggests, this is a single-component product. It is formed via an extrusion process in which molten plastic is formed into a strand through a die. This process is relatively inexpensive, producing a less expensive product  being the main reason this type of line is so popular.  Cheaper brands of monofilament usually don’t receive the quality-control attention that premium-grade lines receive.  So cheaper lines may not offer the superb blend of tensile strength, limpness, abrasion resistance, and knot strength characteristic of more expensive monos so bear that in mind when you are purchasing your monofilament lines.  Once you are satisfied with the lines you choose it is advisable to stick with the brands you have tried and tested.


Gel-spun and aramid fibers such as Kevlar, Spectrar and Dyneema entered the fishing line market in the early 1990′s, creating a new type of braided lines also sometimes called  ”microfilaments.”  These man made fibers are thin and incredibly strong (more than 10 times stronger than steel). Individual fiber strands are joined through an  braiding process to produce ultrathin, superstrong, sensitive, yet expensive lines.

Anglers who used these first superlines became frustrated with the lines performance.  Low knot strength and a host of other none angler friendly traits alienated these lines with anglers as did the high cost of producing them.  The manufacturers of these lines however have managed to iron out most of the early problems so that anglers can now use a lot of them with confidence.

Lures perform better when tied to superlines. The line diameter is smaller so  is less visible to fish than monofilament, and more line can be spooled on the reel. These type of lines have little stretch, resulting in a better strike capacity to the rod tip, thus providing more positive hook sets.  They can also be cast further and are extremely strong for the line diameter making them ideal lines for man handling fish in and around snags.

For best results use the palomar knot when tying rigs,hooks etc.  Use mono for backing to prevent “slip” and to conserve the amount of superline you use.  Use the uni knot for tying braid to mono.

Fused Line.

Fused line is made by fusing rather than braiding the gel-spun fibers.  It appears like a single-strand line that is also ultrathin, superstrong, and very sensitive. These lines are larger in diameter and offer a bit less strength than original braids.  They are somewhat easier to cast and tie, and generally more affordable.

Fluorocarbon Line.

Supposedly invisible to fish (but I’m quite sure that the senses along the fishes lateral lines detect them anyway?) this line was developed in Japan for the anglers who fish very pressured venues there.  Originally used for tying leaders, the first fluorocarbon lines were stiff and expensive.  New technology has perfected these lines so they are now far more supple and a lot less expensive to buy.

Fluorocarbon might offer certain advantages in clear-water situations where fish are heavily pressured or shy to bite.  Because fluorocarbon does not absorb water, it won’t weaken or increase in stretch like nylon fishing line.  Fluorocarbon is very abrasion-resistant so is good for tough conditions.  Lures can dive deeper and faster because this line sinks faster than nylon lines.  And because it has a lot less stretch than nylon it is more sensitive to seeing/feeling bites.  Use the Trilene Knot for tying fluorocarbon and if using with bait casting reels some adjustment will be required as these types of lines are more heavy than nylon lines.    Generally I only use fluorocarbon for leaders as I find that the con’s of using fluorocarbon for mainline out weigh the pro’s.

Go to the Methods and Tactics page and my link to a brilliant website for everything you need to know about tying knots.



This is where the beginner and indeed many more experienced anglers get perplexed simply because there is just so many different types of fishing hooks available.  Not only in the size of hooks, but the various designs and their  intended uses.  Looking at the sizing first.

Hook sizes are based around a nominal size of zero.  So a hook size of 1/o is smaller than a 2/o which means hooks in the “0″ sizes go up in size the higher the number is before the o.  Basically meaning hook sizes with a number followed by a zero increase in size as the number goes up.

Hook sizes not followed by a zero, decrease in size as the number increases.  Which basically means a size 24 is very small but a size 2 is fairly big.  One basically has to remember that “o” is the mid range and everything either goes up or down from that.

Then there are the various types of hook points to consider.  There are around nine hook point variants.

The knife edge point is designed to cut into flesh and bone, and is sometimes known as a “bone cutter”.  These hooks are designed with hard mouthed fish in mind.

A needle point hook is pretty much what it is, a needle. Needle points have good penetration, but not as good as knife edge hooks. Needle points do not cut once in the fishes mouth and are less likely to cut their way out.

Barbless hooks are hooks with no barb and can be in any point variant.

‘Micro’ barbs are very small barbs that are mainly seen on hooks in the smaller range used  for trout and coarse fishing.

A ‘short’ barb hook is a barb nearer the hook point than on a standard hook.

A ‘beak’ hook is where the point of the hook curves up towards the shank, in front of the barb.

Kirbed or Reversed hook points are points that curve away at an angle to the shank. A Drennan boilee hook is an example of this.  A Kirbed hook points out to the right looking straight on at the shaft whilst the reversed points out to the left.

Hooks marked ’2x strong’ or ’2x’ are made from wire as thick as the next size up. A 3x hook is as thick as a hook two sizes up.  These hooks are designed to provide as much strength as a hook one or two sizes up, but where a smaller hook is required.  “X” hooks are useful when live baiting or when a larger hook would have an adverse effect on the action of a lure.

“X” can also denote the length of the hook shank and usually a 2x means the hook shank is twice as long as the standard hook of the same size. 3x, 4x and so on.  Hooks with the longer shanks are mostly used for fly tying.

Then there is the question of the hooks “gape” to consider.  This is the gap between the hook point and the hook shaft.  Once again the sizing for gapes can be in the 2x, and so on.

Standard hooks are hooks that are bent to shape with the point and barb added.  The “forged” hook is one where the sides of the shank and bend have been flattened making them far stronger than the standard pattern which retains its round shape throughout the hook.

Stainless Hooks?  Supposed to resist rusting in storage but none stainless hooks stored properly won’t rust.  Stainless can be softer than none stainless hook so can bend out more easily.  They can also go blunt far quicker.  Personally I can’t see the advantage of using them.

Chemically or laser etched hooks DO NOT require sharpening straight from the packet.  If their points go dull it’s because they have been over on a rock or other under water obstacle so need discarding.

The reality surrounding fishing hooks is that whilst there is undoubtedly recognized sizes within the hook making industry there is no laid down “standard” that all hook manufacturers adhere to or follow religiously.  There you will ultimately find that one manufacturers sizes will vary from one another.

Click here for more information on hooks from Mustad and their comprehensive hook chart.

Click here for a set of charts for sizing spinner blades, spinner components and weights, links and swivels, rods rings, net meshes (not applicable in the UK for fishing) and hooks.




Bite Indication.

There are various types of bite indication that anglers use to tell them when a fish has picked up his bait.  To the beginner this is another facet within the world of angling that can often be confusing.  Added to which the type of fishing one is employing determines what type of bite indication is probably used.  In coarse fishing there is basically two types of fishing.  Float fishing and ledgering. This all sounds very simple being basically only two types but the reality is very far from being simple as we shall look at now.


Whole books have been written on the subject of float fishing and in reality I could easily write a book length piece on the subject now.  What I will try and do is make it a bit more simple than that by going over the basics whilst pointing you in the right directions elsewhere where the subject is talked about in more depth.  A good place to start is setting out the different types of floats available and what their uses are.

Stick Floats.

Stick floats are made for use in running water so are the first choice for anglers fishing medium to fast paced rivers.  The UK river match fishing scene is dominated by the expert use of the stick float.  Whilst they all come in a huge range of sizes they all do the same job in different conditions which is basically to trot down river using the stick float for bite indication.  Like all float fishing methods the secret to success is knowing how to balance the float fishing set up perfectly so bait presentation appears as natural as possible.  Stick floats are attached to the line via rubber bands mostly top and bottom and sometimes in the middle of the float.  The float is “shot” in either a “shirt button” or “bulk shot” pattern.  Different types of stick float include; Light cane stick, Lignum stick, Plastic stem stick and the Wire/alloy stem stick.  Wire /alloy stem stick floats are a good choice for turbulent water.

Avon Floats.

Avon floats all have a bulbous balsa top and a long stem beneath.  The early versions all had cane stems but the more modern patterns with wire stems are better suited for fishing turbulent water as they remain more stable than an Avon with a can stem.  The clear plastic Avons are also far superior to the old Avons with cane stems as the clear plastic stems are heavier than water so like the wire stem floats act like a keel to keep the float running nice a true which of course aids bait presentation.  The Avon is the perfect float choice for distance trotting.

The Waggler Floats.

Waggler floats are made of peacock quill, clear plastic or sarcandas reed and come in either the straight, invert or bodied type floats.  Any of these can also come as “loaded” wagglers that are intended to cast further whilst keeping the shot to a minimum.  All waggler floats are attached via the eye on the bottom of the float and are trapped on the line with shot either side of the floats eye.  70-80% of the shot is applied trapping the float with the remaining shot further down the line.  You can also purchase silicone float adapters to enable the change of floats without having to break down tackle.  Wagglers are useful in slow moving rivers and still waters but can be restrictive in certain wind conditions.  Bodied wagglers are useful when fishing the sliding float technique.

Pole Floats.

There is a vast array of pole floats available.  Check out this link to find out more


The “loafer” is a clear float which requires a lot of shot so is particularly useful when fishing large baits such as worm, slugs, mussels or large lumps of cheese or bread.  These floats are also associated with chub fishing in fast running water.

There has also been other advances in various types of floats most of which associated with the commercial type of fishery.  In particular the “bagging”, “splashing” and “pellet waggler”

Click here to learn more about float fishing from John Wilson.


For the float collector or connoisseur who is looking for that special gift or the chance to own hand crafted floats of the highest quality visit my links page and check out the link to Andrew Fields website “The Lure of the Float”


Swing Tips, Quiver Tips and Bobbins.


Boston tackle dealer Jack Clayton invented the swing tip bite detection device around 1950.  His original invention employed the use of stiff nylon for the hinge where as later on it was replaced by silicon tubing and also said to be perfected by Fred Foster.  Swing tipping became a popular method on still waters and sluggish rivers for bite detection when ledger fishing but went out of fashion.  I still use them today as I regard the swing tip as a useful addition to my bite detection range.

Click here to read the Shakespeare article on how to fish the swing tip. 

Quiver tips are reputed to have been the invention of Peter Stone but then again could have been the combined efforts of several anglers perhaps.  I own a collection of various “screw” on tips and rods that  come with tip sections such as the “Rovex” range.

The bobbin is simply an object attached (temporarily) to the line to act as a bite indicator.  These bobbins come in all shapes and sizes and are made from an array of materials.  Years ago “dough” bobbins of  bread were attached to the line in between slack line between the rod rings.  Modern carp anglers devised the bobbin on a needle until they were eventually replaced by the clip on bobbin that is popular today.  Pike anglers use “drop off” bobbins that drop off when a pike picks up the legered bait.  Many specialist anglers use bobbins where the weight can be altered to suit weather conditions and distance being fished.


Electronic Bite Indicator

Dick Walker used a home made bite alarm when he caught his record carp “Ravioli” from Redire Pool in 1952.  Pete Thomas and Dick originally called the fish Ravioli but it was the people at London Zoo that named the fish Clarissa later on.  The very first electronic bite alarm was probably used by Maurice Ingham but was never as sophisticated as Walkers original or indeed the later version designed by Walker and called the “Heron” .  The Heron bite indicator was manufactured by Jack Opie’s company Metal Pressings Ltd which later became later became Auger Tackle.  The Heron became the standard issue for anglers until the Optonic arrived in the late 1970′s.

For a while the Optonic bite alarm remained unchanged until Les Bamford started doing conversions involving the addition of GPO speakers, latching lights and sounder boxes.  I converted my own at the time.   The Delkim alarm later arrived which was based on a vibration principle inspired by a gramaphone stylus.  The Bi-Tech Vibro worked in a similar fashion.

Now a days the tackle trade is awash with electronic bite indicators of all shapes and sizes but most still work on the same principles.  One can either pay a small fortune for a set covering the use of four rods or a much more modest sum for bite indicators that will basically do the same job.  The more expensive versions come with bells and whistles you don’t really require so even though I have owned just about the full list of bite indicators at one time or another, I tend to go for the cheaper versions today.  But like everything else, you pays your money and takes your choice.


Split Shot.

Split shot is used for adding weight to the line below a float in order for the float to sit upright in the water (also called cocking).  The addition of shot makes the float sit deeper in the water whilst the removal of shot makes it sit higher in the water.  There are various sizes of shot available as in the conversion chart here.

3SSG ——— 4.8g ——– 6 x AAA

2SSG ———-3.2g ——– 4 x AAA

LG ———— 3g

LSG ———- 2g

SSG ———- 1.6g ——— 2 x AAA

AAA ———- 0.8g ——— 2 x BB

AB ———- 0.6g ——— 2 x No1

BB ———- 0.4g ——— 2 x No4

No1 ———- 0.3g ——— 3 x No6

No3 ———- 0.25g——– 2 x No6

No4 ———- 0.2g ——– 3 x No9

No5 ———- 0.15g——– 2 x No8

No6 ———- 0.1g ——– 2 x No10

No8 ———- 0.06g ——- 2 x No11

No9 ———- 0.05g

No10 ——— 0.04g ——– 2 x No12

No11 ——— 0.03g

No12 ——— 0.02g ——– 2 x No13

No13 ——— 0.01g


There is also Jumbo shot available from Preston Innovations in the 2xssg and 3xssg sizes which I find very useful free lining paste for chub etc when I require a little bit more weight pinched on the line.


Fishing Lures Also Tube and Worm Soft Bait Fishing.

Over in America lure fishing is synonymous with fishing in that lures dominate the American fishing style.  Here in the UK lures do not dominate our fishing style whilst bait fishing does.  Even so, there is a strong lure fishing community in the UK and it is growing as the cost of lures begin to come down and also become easier to source via the internet.  The choice of lures is simply massive and I know of no complete catalogue which lists every single lure available.  In any case, a selection of perhaps the better ones is all the angler requires for catching fish.

Lures fall into various categories which would mean little to the novice angler if I listed them all here.  So to help you further understand the terminology with methods and tactics surrounding the world of lure fishing  click her and go to the Lures Guide on the Total Fishing website.  This is by no means the definitive work on lure fishing but none the less proves extremely useful for finding out more about lure fishing.

In America of course there are endless lures and seemingly endless ways of fishing them.  In recent years I have had quite a bit of success whilst using the “tube” and “worm” type soft lures.  Worms come in a huge selection and they are basically fished using a “Texas” , “Carolina”  ”Floating Worm” and “Drop Shot”  rigs.  To have these and other aspects of worm fishing explained click here and check out the link to Bass Fishing and Catching.

Tube fishing requires a different rig set up as the hook is weighted (lead is cast around the hook shank) then placed up inside the tube to complete the rig.  You can also fish the tubes on the Carolina or Texas rig but I tend to go for larger tubes with larger weighted hooks when I want to increase my casting distance.  Click here and go to Bass Fishing and Catching to check out their tube rigging page.



Swim Feeders.


” A perforated container filled with groundbait is attached to the fishing line so as to lie behind the hook bait. The container is an open-ended cylinder of celuloid weighted by a lead strip “.   As the story goes when  R A Maslen and F E Wiles  patented [no. 642239] on August 20th 1948 No. 22027 [class48] logged their patent for the open ended swimfeeder.    As late as 2008 Peter John Drennan filed a patent for a swim feeder but there is no question that Peter’s swim feeders were on sale years and years before that.

So who invented the swim feeder?  Answers on a postcard because I suspect no one really knows.  Even so, its an item of tackle that can be devastating if used properly.

Click here for more information on swim feeders at the Go Fishing website. 


Ledger Weights.

The choice of ledger weights is seemingly endless with some weights being designed for specific tasks.  I tend to make my own but that involves purchasing many different weight mould’s and that can be expensive.  But when you look at the cost of buying ready made leads and the rising cost of lead it makes sense to make your own especially those designs that you find yourself using a lot.   For Do-It moulds click here. 


Another company that I use for buying lead moulds is “Lead Moulds” who do a very comprehensive range of lead moulds and lead making components.

Click here for more information on Lead 

Its extremely rare that I buy ready made leads, even the lead sledge weights that I put on my home made feeders are cast by me.  Another excellent company that supplies lead moulds is the “Angling Mould” company.  Their range of products is probably the most comprehensive you will find anywhere.

 Click here for more information about Angling Moulds.

Aside from making your own, you can of course buy many different types and sizes from your local tackle shop.