Sunday, 29 May 2016

Boxing clever!

When I first thought about pole fishing I had no idea what a can of worms I was opening. The pole is only the beginning of a journey down a long path. The first thing I discovered was that I needed a seat box if I was going to fish effectively using a pole. Although some do fish from a chair I can see how the box will make life so much easier especially in a match situation.

An eBay listing came up offering a seat box along with a couple of fittings and some odd bits of tackle in the drawers. As most of the listings are, this box was for collection only. More often than not these listings are miles away from me making purchase impractical. I had no desire to buy a new box as I was not sure if I was going to be serious about this. This box was being sold in East London, a short trip through the tunnel. Perfect! I placed a bid and waited. Days passed and there were no further bids placed. At the end of the listing's time, I sat there watching the clock tick down, expecting to be outbid. The auction ended and I had won the box for the staring price. RESULT!

After many combinations I finely decided on this set up for the match on Wednesday
I collected the box the following day. It is a Preston X3. It is not in it's first youth but ideal for what I was after at a very reasonable price. The box came with a long ripple bar and a couple of  short keep net fittings. It soon became apparent that I needed a few more fittings so I took to watching the eBay listings for second-hand fittings. I already had a groundbait bowl loop that came with my bucket, bowl and riddle set I bought last year.

I then found a pole sock that came with a short cross arm and another long single ripple arm, again on eBay. By now I was on my way. I had the basics so it was off to the bank along with a pair of cheap rollers and my brand new, Cheap as chips, 9.5m Maver Abyss X pole together with a couple of top kits. The same pole is currently on offer for as little as £35.00! I paid about £65.00 for mine including a couple of top kits.

Bill, one of the guys from the Maggot Drowning forum offered to show me the basics of pole fishing and we spent a day fishing the pole and getting used to my seat box. It soon became clear that I needed a few more accessories for the box. The first of which was a feeder arm.  This is a great piece of kit and really does make life easier when sitting on the box. Now I had a few extra fittings it was time to go and try them out. By this time I had acquired a second hand pole, much better quality than my cheap 'starter' job, and a 'V' roller both given to me by other generous anglers who could see I would give them a good home.  This time I went back to the lake and again, Bill came along and tried to pass on some more of his wisdom.

It became apparent that the few fittings I had acquired were not enough to get things set up to be comfortable. Back to eBay. I found a few bits and pieces and by the time the first match of the season came along I had located a side tray and a roost. In fact I had picked up a couple of roosts. One second-hand eight way Pro-Roost kit, that hangs off one leg, and a fantastic bargain was a new Megga Roost tripod kit at less than half price, as it is the older version (pre- SnapLoc).  Setting up took an age. I used my Pro Roost for the first time and although it was a great help It took a lot of setting up, working out the best position and getting it balanced. I think this would have been more suited to just top and cupping kits but I had a couple of feeder rods sitting on there too and although it did the job it was a bit wobbly. I managed to rig a tray under my bait waiter but it was not ideal.

The thing that caught me out was the rain. I was happy sitting there with my Teletubby outfit on (courtesy of an Aldi Stores Special) but it was the bait that was getting wet. I got in a right old mess. The groundbait was sticking to everything and the maggot's dry bedding was now wet and they had organised a mass breakout as they were now able to scale the walls of their bait box.

The box set up from the rear
Now my wants (need!) list was growing again. I could not buy a decent side table second hand for much less than I could buy a new one. Not having a bottomless pit of money to spend I was not prepared to go and buy all the things I wanted new. Scouring the eBay listings I found a job lot that had almost everything I needed without duplicating what I already had. The listing included a Preston Megga side table in tatty condition but complete, plus a whole lot of fittings including the smaller groundbait bowl hoop and various useful brackets.  The listing also included a lot of other stuff like nets, bags, a couple of spray bottles of elastic lubricant and an enormous net (stink) bag.

I put in a low bid a few minutes from the end and to my surprise won it by outbidding the under bidder by a pound or two! I could not believe my luck. It was a pick-up only listing and it was on the Isle of Sheppey. As it happens we had a reason to be on Sheppey that week so collection was perfect for us. It does not often work out that way but this time it all fitted perfectly.

The Megga Side Tray was enormous - far bigger than I had expected, I was very pleased to re-home it with my friend that passed on his old pole to me. When he got it, even he was surprised at the enormity of the tray! I now have a good selection of fittings and attachments for my seat box without spending a king's ransom and I should be able to set it up to suit all situations. I even managed to win a bait brolly on eBay so  I can now keep the bait dry. Now, if it stops raining, I can amuse the neighbours again by trying out different combinations in the garden...

...That was a month or so ago. I never did get to work out the set up of the box and yet again I tried to work it out before the match and yet again I got in a hopeless mess and ended up starting late and with the box and fitting only just serviceable. Enough is enough, I am determined not to be in that state for the next match on Wednesday.

By removing a few of the accessories...
...the rest of the fittings will fold down on themselves...
...making it very compact
I have spent a good few hours trying all sorts of combinations and eventually settled on a configuration that works and can be folded down after removing a minimum of fittings making it easy to reinstate after it has been levelled on the drawn peg.

Preston 19mm inserts fit the legs of my box. Old style on the left, new style on the right
The Preston range of fittings is vast. there are also some now obsolete fittings that turn up in job lots. All this stuff is compatible once you realise there are two types of fitting inserts. The older inserts have a shallow retaining lip around each end that fits nicely into both new and old fittings. However the newer fittings have a much larger lip that will only fit the newer fittings. It took me a while to work this out but now I have all the fittings, new and old can be used within the system.

The long accessory bar...
...can be extended, here to accommodate a third net - Wishful thinking?
I have been mixing and matching all sorts of odd fittings old and new. I now have a long accessory bar and this is great for holding the keep nets, it is extendible too so I have added three positions for keep nets, the third one can be fitted to the extension if required.

Redundant keepnet fittings, used with a pole tulip and butt rest, to support the landing net in a convenient position
I have put two of the original net fittings to use by fitting them vertically. A short one fitted to the roost support with a Guru 'tulip' fitted to it and a long one with a butt rest fitted, secured to the short accessory bar that allows the bait tray to be fitted at any convenient position along the side of the seat. These are used to hold my landing net. 

Footnote: Anyone spot my deliberate mistake on reassembling the seat box?