Friday, 11 March 2016

Proper pole

Back in November I happened to mention in a post that I did not own a pole. I had a thing that called itself a Tele-Pole but had only tried it once without too much success. A day or so later, one of the guys on the Maggot Drowning forum sent me a message asking me if I wanted a pole he had surplus to requirements. This was a real pole, 14.5 meters of it! I was delighted and my attentions immediately turned to investigating this pole idea. At the time the offer was made the owner's workload increased considerably and the pole was not immediately forthcoming. Too late, the damage was done, I now wanted to have a go at pole fishing. By the new year the urge to have a go had got too much. I was not confident enough to go out and buy a decent second-hand pole, nor was I in the market (or the position) to buy a new one. Further discussion on the MD forum pointed me in the direction of a cheap Maver 9.5m pole.

Okay, this is not going to be the most efficient of poles, but it was a pole. On hearing I had made the plunge and bought a pole, another guy (Bill) from the MD forum offered to give me a few pointers. We subsequently met at my 'local' fishery and I spent the day discovering that there is a lot more to this pole fishing lark than I had ever imagined!

My first ever pole -caught fish!
Well, talk about a slippery slope. Not only did I need a pole, I really needed a seat box as everyone I had spoken to said that I should buy one as pole fishing from a chair was not impossible but it is much easier from a box. A search on eBay revealed a very nice looking Preston box at a reasonable starting price. Thinking I was in with no chance whatsoever, I placed a single bid. Over the next few days I kept an eye on the listing and then all of a sudden I received an e-mail telling me I had won it! The box was listed as collection only and was located in East London, an easy pick-up for me, but obviously not for anyone else, luckily for me.

The box came with some fittings and a selection of tackle in the drawers. This was a real bargain at £80.00. It is fair to say that it's a bit tatty around the edges but nothing a bit of a clean up would not sort out. The trouble is it doesn't stop there. Next, I needed rollers and that is when I made my first mistake by buying a ridiculously cheap pair. Apart from the flimsy quality, I had no idea how tall they needed to be. Luckily for me, another member of the forum sent me a very different set of Preston 'V' rollers. These are well made, carry some weight to them and best of all tall enough.

Sitting on a box means I am much further away from the ground. Obvious? Yes it is now, but it is all this sort of stuff that nobody tells you and only trying it out gives the answer. Another thing that became obvious was that my cheap landing net pole was never going to do the job from this elevated position. The first time I hooked a fish, even a small one, the handle was almost bent double until I could get my hand closer to the net. Hmmm... I subsequently took myself off to Hemmings - my local, and extremely helpful, tackle shop -  and spent a small fortune on a new landing net handle. How much??!! I think I could have bought a small island off the coast of Scotland for less...

It soon became clear that the box also needed a few fittings. Scouring the eBay listings for used Preston OffBox fittings eventually started to pay of and gradually I have been able to find most of the fitting I wanted. The new Preston fittings now have a modern 'Snaplok' fixing and I think some anglers my be upgrading as there are a lot of the old fittings appearing on eBay as a result. The old fittings have a screw fixing which I think I prefer.

On Sunday I am off to try out my bag feeders and to make up for lost time I am off again on Thursday to have a go with my new pole and hopefully get some more advice from Bill, who has already given up a day to get me going with my 9.5m pole, as you can see HERE.