Friday, May 27, 2016


There's an affliction which gets frequent mentions on camera and guitar forums which I've never come across in the angling world, despite anglers exhibiting the very same symptoms. Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) is the craving for shiny new things when you don't really need them. There is no known cure, and while succumbing to temptation is always done on the pretext that the item purchased will fulfil the patients needs for evermore, it never does. As soon as a newer model of the same thing is released to the market the  symptoms return. Without fail.

When it comes to fishing tackle I tend to have my GAS under control. I have all the rods and reels I need for the species I fish for. This is probably why I find myself turning to carp. I don't have much in the way of carp rods and reels so fishing for carp is a good excuse to acquire some new gear! As far as rods go I always justify building myself some new ones on the grounds of R and D. I need to know how rods behave to advise customers what particular rods are suitable for.

I also use my personal builds to experiment with various aesthetic aspects such as handle designs and thread colours. That's why I've recently completed a pair of ten foot 2.75lb Torrix Stalkers for myself! I 'need' them to keep rigged up for short sessions fishing at close range for carp ranging from a pound or two up to a potential of over thirty (an unlikely outcome given my lack of carp catching skills).

I was in two mind how to approach the builds. One the one hand I was tempted to go for a retro look, along the lines of the Hardy pastiche pike rods I built a while back. On the other hand a minimalist look appealed. The latter won out. A butt cap and a reel seat would comprise the handle. I fiddle around with various collars, settling on some plain black Delrin ones. The rings were to be my favourite Fuji BMNAG Alconites which I think offer the best combination of light weight, protection from the wrap-around frame and good looks. But what thread colour?

Black was the obvious choice except I fancied a change. I went for the olive thread I'd used rebuilding a set of carp rods for someone. Before applying the varnish I tried it with a contrasting colour, a brighter olive, as tipping and it looked good. When the varnish was cured the tipping colour was hardly discernible despite both threads being colour preserved. The darker thread seems to have turned out lighter, negating the contrast. Better to find out on my own rods than some for a customer. I'm not sure if I like the thread colour, so there's a possibility the rods might get stripped down and redone at some point. Staring at the rods while the carp ignore my baits will give me time to decide.

If I was suffering a really bad GAS attack I'd be browsing for two reels to go on these rods. OK, I have had a look around... The trouble is that my ideal reels would be Shimano OC Baitrunners in a size between the 4000 and 6000. Which doesn't exist. That's saved me a few bob! This means that it's a toss up between the 3500B Baitrunners currently on my eeling P-2s and some even older Aero 8000 size Baitrunners. At the moment the Aeros are getting rigged up. Partly because they are already spooled with 15lb mono, and also because they don't have shiny spools. They're noticeably lighter too, which is a bonus.

Typically, having got these rods finished off my annual spring slow down came to an end and I have both a stack of blanks to get built into rods already ordered and some new orders to make a start on. Getting a chance to try the rods out had to wait until this afternoon when a short session at the Railway Pond was in order.

The new tackle curse returned in style. Two takes to the new rods resulted in two small carp falling off. I'm sure the one that took the 16mm boilie hadn't actually managed to get the bait in its mouth and was holding on by suction! I'd been confident that a bed of seeds in the margins would have drawn one of the better fish in, but apparently not. The rods remain unblooded, but I think I like the thread colour having seen it out on the bank.

What did go more to plan was my surface fishing. As a rule I don't have the patience for 'bait and wait' fishing. However, having two bottom baits out and the test match on the radio it was no hardship to lie on the unhooking mat firing out pouches of mixers every few minutes on a warm but overcast almost-summer's day, reed warblers and whitethroat making themselves heard and swallows dipping for drinks.

It wasn't long before there were fish taking the mixers, gradually getting closer and increasing in numbers. Out with the old Lure Special rigged with the repaired controller and a plastic bait. The mixers still getting fired out in the vicinity of the bait the frustration began.

The first take came with the rod in the rest while I fiddled in my tackle bag. There was no mistaking it as the baitrunner on the little Okuma was making plenty of noise. It was a bit of a surprise to find one of the skinny chub had been the culprit. But a success for a bit of pink foam! Interestingly, or maybe not, the take came almost as soon as I had changed the foam from a duller colour. This was repeated when I swapped the pink for a piece of beige foam. Almost straight away a common took that.

The same thing happened a bit later when I put on a bit of brown foam, which I pared down to make it sit lower in the water. This seemed to make a difference because I had a flurry of takes, one landed others missed, to the less buoyant bait.

I was rapidly running out of mixers. I put the dark foam out as a sort-of-zig-rig. Another instant take - which was one of the fish that fell off to one of the new rods. At close of play in the Durham test I packed up and headed for the chippy.

In preparation for this short session, and for other snatched sessions, I found a use for those useful boxes. One now holds a few spare leads, the other an assortment of floating stuff. I might have to get myself some more of these boxes. They're really useful.