Saturday, 16 January 2016

A long stretch...

No, not the custodial kind, the elastic kind... 

First it was the wet that scuppered our plans, now the cold weather has put paid to any fishing for me for a week or so. I know, I'm a woose! I have been thinking about going fishing all week. We had planned to go on Monday but the rain was pouring down and it was cold. I could see no point in going just to get cold and wet. Unfortunately, Tim's shift pattern combined with his inability to get a pass from the missus, means that we will not be able to get out together again for a few weeks. I had planned to go out solo this week but in the end that did not happen due to the cold and an inability to master the art of using small shot when making pole rigs.

A pulla bung allows the elastic to be 'pulled' tight to help control the hooked fish
With some time now available, I decided to get some top kits elasticated. This was not nearly as frightening as it seemed. There was all sorts of talk about how to do this and lots of suggestions advising getting someone else to do it. How hard can it be? It is only a case of shortening the top section until the bush fits, threading a length of elastic and fitting a bung to hold the end of the elastic tight.

Razor saw and home-made bench hook (hooks over the front edge of the bench in use)
The biggest part of all this is cutting the tip to length. Lots of people suggested just dumping the top section and fitting the bush straight into the number two section. This seemed like a waste to me so I persevered with my original plan to cut down the top section until my internal bush fitted. On reflection, maybe I should have gone for the other option and ditch the top section all together as now I only have a very short part of the top section left.

Cutting the carbon-fibre pole to length was easy. Initially I used a fine razor saw and a bench hook to support the section while cutting. This works fine cutting through the top wall of the pole. as the saw breaks through to the side walls, it starts to catch and becomes harder to proceed, until the bottom of the section is reached and the saw starts to cut smoothly again until it is through.

Full size hacksaw
I used this technique until I realised that I was not using the best tool for the job. There are many suggestions out there on the internet regarding using cutting discs,a  file, a junior hack saw and even rolling it under a utility knife. All of which will work but I think there is a tendency to go too light. Just because the tip is of small diameter does not make the material any different to cut. The problem with small tools is they have little mass and will require forcing through the material when it gets tough going in the middle section of the cut. While rummaging around for my razor saw I came across a full size hacksaw fitted with a nice fine bi-metal blade. This is now my go to tool for this job. Makes the cutting very easy, so long as the section is well supported. So far I have elasticated a couple of top kits, fitted with pulla bungs, for the pole and made a cupping kit from a third top kit. The match kit has No.6 elastic and the carp kit is fitted with No.10. I have two other top kits to elasticate over the weekend.

Not cheap but so much better than the cheap alternatives
I also discovered that although horrendously expensive, the branded internal bushes seem to be the best. The cheap alternatives available on the internet just look cheap to me. On thinking about it, how many of these things am I going to buy? Not that many, so I might as well use the better ones. The same applied to the connectors that join the elastic to the rig. There are several alternatives to connectors and, in time, I will probably give them a try, but for now I just want to keep it simple.

The elasticated 'Tele-Pole' about to be extended
With two of the top kits done I had a small external bush left over so I decided to have a go at elasticating the cheap pole/whip (Tele-Pole) that came with our initial starter set purchase. This was very easy to do and should make it a whole lot more useful than without. As the thing is telescopic there is no way of fitting a puller bung that could be used in any practical sense. Instead I fitted a Middy bung with a tensioning winder. This fits into the No.2 section leaving a short elastic which I think will be an advantage as the rig will need to be just over 4m long, plus the hook length (the pole measures 4.6 meters with the tip cut down and the elastic fitted).  I have fitted an No.8 elastic for the time being as I don't want to go too light with this for now.

Winder bung withdrawn from the Tele-Pole
The next job was to make up some rigs for the Tele-Pole. This, I thought, would be the easy bit - Wrong! I had completely underestimated how fiddly applying small shot to a line would be. I have managed to make up a couple of rigs for the Tele-Pole using conventional soft shot made by ZLT. There seems to be a whole lot more to this than I first thought. I need to buy some different shot that is easier to apply to the line. There is an Italian made shot that is said to be nicely made and recommended by several people as well as being purported to be used by the England team. I have ordered some and when it arrives next week I will have a go at putting a few more rigs together - I will let you know how that goes!

Two rigs ready for the Tele-Pole

Hopefully I will out on the bank at Beaver, towards the end of next week, giving it a try.  It looks like the cold snap will ease up a bit by then. The forecast  is for double figure temperatures by Saturday...