Thursday, 11 May 2017

Do I really need... take all that clobber with me?

This is getting really silly!
 To paraphrase the bard:

"To take or not to take, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the rods and reels
of outrageous fortune

Well I don't know about being nobler but suffering because I left something behind is just down right annoying. I have two advantages over a lot of other anglers, I have plenty of space to store tackle and I have the right vehicles to transport huge amounts of it. Both may seem like advantages to those who are less fortunate, but it can all work against you if you let it. If I need a new piece of tackle, the one thing I don't have to worry about is where I an going to store it. Sue, my long-suffering better half, never complains about me taking over parts of the house. We have not had a utility room for well over a year as that has become known as 'the (Your) fishing room'. One of the spare bedrooms is also known as 'your fishing room'. I know this might sound confusing but I have known worse. The boxer, George (Edward) Foreman named all five of his sons George Edward. When asked why, he said so they would all have something in common - now that is what you call confusing.

I digress. Transporting tackle around is no problem either. Between Sue's estate car and my van, no amount of gear is too much to take. This can become silly. I can end up with a van load of gear of which hardly any of it actually gets used. I have been down this road before but I have always looked at it from the perspective of pruning the amount down rather than starting from scratch.

This idea all came about this week as I was messing about turning some left-over maggots into casters. There I am thinking about when I am going to use them when it suddenly hit me I could go light and try a local water I have never fished before, armed with my old Silstar rod, few maggots, casters, a tin of sweetcorn and maybe some bread-punch. Minimal kit with a selection of bait might just be the way to go. I have been minimal fishing before, but that was stripping down from the top. This is different.

With that thought in mind, it is time to make a list of what kit I will need for a short-session of float fishing:

  • Rod
  • Reel
  • Pre-tied hook lengths
  • Floats
  • Mini tackle box
  • Unhooking mat
  • Landing net and handle
  • Chair 
  • Bait
  • Catapult
  • Sunglasses
  • Bank stick and rod rest
  • Bucket and Towel
  • Tackle bag

Well, that doesn't look like much stuff compared with the piles of gear that usually ends up filling the back of the van, just in case I need it. Okay, I can't think of anything else I will need so let's go through the list in more detail.

Rod. My vintage 13ft Silstar match rod. Taken in its 3-pieces to be assembled and tackled up on the bank.

Reel. Small fixed spool reel, my Greys GF530 will be fine. I expect to be encountering carp at this venue so I will load it with 6lb line and take a spare spool of 8lb just in case.

Pre-tied hook lengths. I seem to have collected a lot of odd packets of hooks-to-nylon with 'lots' I have bought, or bits I have been given. This is an ideal situation to use them up. Using hooks-to-nylon saves taking a bulky selection of rig boxes. Once I have used my existing stock, I will simply tie some more (probably in fewer varieties) and buy one of those cheap wallets, sold on eBay, to hold them in.

Floats. I only need a few floats with me so a small float tube with a selection of wagglers will be more than enough. I will also take some of those silicone quick-change sleeves and a few of the small rubber float stops, tucked into the lid of the tube.

Mini tackle box. It is so easy to take too much stuff in a tackle box but what do I really need? Hook lengths are accounted for so that leaves a a pair of scissors, plummets, disgorgers, a loop tyer, knot picker, bread punches and micro board, carp care antibacterial barrier and a selection of shot. That is about it.

Unhooking mat.  Nothing special, just a good size, three-fold mat is all that is required for the sort of fish we are likely to find in the lake I am planning to visit.

Landing net and handle. A decent fine mesh spoon net will do fine with a lightweight telescopic handle. The one I have is 3m long fully extended, if that is too long, I can always slide the butt section off and use it at a shade under 2m.

Chair. Maybe not totally necessary but it will make the the visit far more relaxing. The question is, do I take my lightweight chair or do I go the full hog and take my posh deluxe accessory chair and risk dozing off? The jury is still out on this one!

Bait. Maggots, of course and I could stop there. But I am going to include casters, corn and bread punch along with a small amount of groundbait to use to feed the swim and then feed small nuggets over the float. No pellets, hemp, meat or anything else I usually tend to have with me.

Catapult. A lightweight catapult is ideal for small venues. Make sure you have spare elastic with you!

Sun Glasses. Polarised sunglasses may not be the most essential item but in my case I use a pair with magnifiers built in so I can see through the glare on the lake and see my hook to bait it up.

Bank stick and rod rest. Yes, just one and a single rod rest. At least that is all I need for the fishing. I will take another one, but that will be fitted with a camera mount.

Bucket and Towel. You may think this is a bit of a luxury but I really like my little collapsible bucket and its matching hand towel.

Tackle bag. Last but not least, a tackle bag to hold all the bits and pieces including the bait.

Well, is that it? I think it may be. Next is to put the theory to the test. I am about to gather all the above together and get ready for a trip tomorrow to what is probably my closest commercial fishery. The silly thing is, I have not visited before. It will be interesting to see how the minimum gear and new venue work out. I am also going to take a more relaxed approach to the day looking to arrive between 09:30 and 10:00, after buying maggots on the way.