Sunday, 3 March 2019

Winter 2018/19

Hanging Around

My left elbow is locked, pushing down heavily on the side of my inflatable boat. My right elbow is on the concrete bank. At least four feet of me is under water. Frigid river water, it may have been the warmest February on record but my testicles cared little for meaningless statistics. I looked across at my boat partner, Andy, at first with a look of horror and then a pleading look, a deep yearning for him to do something to help me. He looked back, his whole body language saying he wanted absolutely nothing to do with the whole debacle. 

To compound my situation I was wearing two pairs of cotton tracksuit bottoms, lounge pants. I'd put an extra pair on as it was a bit chilly. Now they were working against me, soaking up the boreal water, gaining in weight and slowly dragging me down. In desperation I looked across at Andy again, he paused. "Get your leg up", he said. A master of stating the bleeding obvious, I was trying, my god I was trying. I was now at maximum saturation. Stuck. Too heavy to lift myself out, the water too deep to push off the bottom. The sheer calamity of the situation washed over me and I started laughing out loud. Andy laughed too, the bastard.

Andy without a care in the world

Reality check

This blog is almost entirely about mine and my friends exploits on Lincolnshire rivers. I'm not Bob Roberts, I largely make a concerted effort to keep this blog opinion free. You're just here to see the fish, I get it. Forgive me then because before we start I just want to have a quiet word. Lincolnshire Police have a Facebook page, for appeals, missing persons, wanted folk and the like. Recently they posted a picture of a dead Otter in an illegal trap. It was by some considerable margin the most shared and commented on post. The comments were mostly from anglers, vicious, ill-informed nonsense. Savage, heartless, psychotic diatribe painting anglers in the worst possible light, it was cringeworthy, embarrassing and shameful. Strange how most of their profile pictures have them proudly holding up Carp. Alright, don't get your panties in a twist, everyone is welcome here. Just one minor point though, if, as many of you self proclaimed river experts really do believe that Otters devastate rivers, leaving them totally devoid of life there really isn't any point reading any further is there?  

What a difference a month makes

Myself, Martin, Andy and Dave arranged to meet on the river Nene. A stretch where I had literally got fed up of catching Perch just a month before. After a lot of effort we finally had both boats on the water and eagerly headed to the hot area. 

The contrast was stark. Three hours of searching and using a variety of methods produced just a couple of very small Pike. The fish had moved and by our reckoning they had moved a long way. We had split up, both going in different directions. Miles apart before reconvening and abandoning the river altogether. 

Martin would hate being described as a local expert so we turned to local expert Martin for a plan B. After a short journey we arrived at his recommended spot. The boats weren't needed and four hardened specimen hunters lined the bank, quiver tipping for Perch with dropshot rods. Not ideal but thanks to local expert Martin we made something of an otherwise poor day. The stamp of fish was remarkable but before I tell you how big just have a look at this picture and think to yourself how easy it would be for some people to over-inflate the weights of their captures, something that irks me and every other honest angler in the country.

Go on, how big? Nope. Most of the fish we had including this one were big two's. None of us had a three pounder but most were over two and half. 

Local expert Martin

Yours truly
My favourite photo of the day is this one of Andy and Dave. Slightly washed out it has a kind of aged quality to it that wouldn't be out of place in any fishing book of days gone by. Plus it depicts two mates having a ball.....


A lot of anglers find Chub relatively easy to catch. Indeed my default setting is one of supreme confidence in trying to fool what are essentially creatures with tiny brains. Many an hour was spent this winter targeting Chub on a local river. Not the small ones, they are relatively easy to catch. The bigger, ridiculously cagey ones. The ones you wait hours for and you miss the first and only bite. After several of these sessions I pretty much gave up. How's this for sods law? I had arranged to do a feature for Improve Your Coarse Fishing. I wanted to catch Roach but Chub were required for the magazine. So I went over the day before to bait some spots. I couldn't resist having a cast in the last peg I baited. I only had my 14ft float rod so I freelined a bit of cheesepaste. The tip dragged round as a five pounder hooked itself. I immediately stopped fishing, not wanting to ruin the following day. I needn't have, I didn't have a single bite for the cameras, not one. 

A modest 5lb 10oz the only Chub of note this winter
Can I just take this opportunity to thank fellow big fish angler Brian Hankins. I hardly know him but we very occasionally bump into each other. On one particular day we had both pre-baited the same spot. He very kindly let me fish it. A grand gesture which I did absolutely no justice to angling wise. 

Festive Visitor

Our friend Nate Green came over on Boxing Day. He really wanted a crack at some river Perch and, as ever, I had a few places in mind. First of all we stopped off at an downstream spot I though might give up a Chub fairly readily. Unusually for one of my hunches it proved right and he had one fairly quickly. As Nate was playing it I commented that it would probably be five pounds plus, any smaller and he would be very unlucky. It was a smidge under four pounds. Bugger.

Luckily later in the day the Perch fishing went pretty much to plan. He had some beauties to just under three pounds..... 

2lb 14oz

Not a familiar river brace in December
The second day turned into a bit of a disaster as we launched the boat on a very dirty looking river Witham. I was a fruitless day. A real shame because the river can be superb in the right conditions. We had a great time though and I really enjoyed Nate's visit. A super bloke who travelled all the way from Kent to see me. While I still have my dander up about nonsense arguments between anglers on Facebook just take a look at this image. This is what fishing is all about, taken by another of Nate's friends on a Grayling fishing trip......

Sheer joy

Dave has been determined to catch a two pound Roach for some time now. He has made many, many trips over to Lincolnshire to achieve that dream. He was even present when I had my second two pounder which spurred him on ever more. Most trips haven't been a total loss. He's had some beauties along the way but not quite the size he so yearns.....

On a blustery day in January we had arranged to meet on the river. The weather was challenging to say the least. The wind ripped my brolly from the ground, pegs and all. A lot of overnight rain was entering the river and it was rising fast. The fish were going mad though and I had caught several Roach to one pound nine ounces. I was keen for Dave to arrive before the river coloured up too much. Soon enough he was trudging down the bank, fighting against the almost gale force wind. The fish in my peg had backed off slightly so I suggested he drop below me. 

After about ten minutes popped my head around the brolly to see Dave net a good fish and as he sank back in his chair he raised his hand indicating he might have something special. Sadly not quite the target weight but close enough that it barely mattered......

1lb 14oz

The wind gradually subsided and it became far more pleasurable to fish. The river was steadily colouring up though and although we took many more Roach between us that remained the biggest of the day. Dave did have a slight fright when he hooked into a rogue Chub. Another arm was raised aloft and I wandered down to see what all the fuss was about. A Chub, good one too.....

5lb 15oz
 It was great to see Dave's elation at that fish. He is incredibly dedicated to improving his PB's. Sometimes you fail to appreciate the journey when you are so concentrated on the destination. His reaction to that Chub was delightful especially when you consider a few weeks before he had a very special fish from another midlands river.....

7lb 7oz

Back to that windy day in Lincolnshire and while Dave continued chasing Roach I, as usual, got sidetracked and went after Perch. The best was this fish....

3lb 5oz
All in all a pretty remarkable day. We've been back since, Martin has even joined us. We never reached the heights of that day though. The really big Roach and Chub are there but they don't give themselves up easily. The Perch are very obliging though.....

Martin with a couple of big two's

Brace of 3's. The top one a recapture.

One of those irritating but still lovely 2 15's. From a different stretch.

I was convinced a particular area of another river had some good Perch potential. Martin, Andy and I had all had some good fish to nearly three pounds without actually breaking that strangely meaningful barrier. We kept making the not inconsiderable journey over, setting up the boat and exploring every nook and cranny of the river. With my favourite Martin sadly and unusually busy at work I had to take Andy. I might get in touch with Nuneaton parish council to see if I can get some sort of carers allowance. Anyway the flukey bugger was first to break the deadlock with this fine fish....

3lb 4oz
Like buses I didn't have to wait long for the next one to come along. Slightly smaller but Andy's couldn't wait to hang itself, mine was far more worthy angling wise....

3lb 1oz

We caught loads of Perch that day. All on TRD's. A really effective method but incredibly tiresome after a few hours. 

Nice to be nice

Regardless of your views and opinions if you've made it this far into my dreary ramblings you're my friend. On that subject and bucking the trend of anglers on social media I struck up a bit of a rapport with a chap called Alfie Naylor. I'd never met him but looked upon his postings with interest. Especially his enthusiasm for Perch. Fishing isn't rocket science, I felt Alfie would catch some big Perch but probably not from the venues he was fishing. I suppose it's a bit like me fishing for Chub or Barbel on the Trent and Alfie walking past. You either help each other out or walk on by.

After a couple of years corresponding sporadically I told Alfie when my typical days off were a few weeks ago and we arranged to meet me at a secret location with a view to getting him nearer to a few bigger specimens. 

Keen to give him a day to remember I was there early and had the boat all ready set up and ready to go upon his arrival. We exchanged pleasantries and boarded my modest vessel (not a euphemism). Another of my default settings is I don't know best. I was keen to see how Alfie would fish, maybe selfishly learn something I hadn't thought of before so I kept quiet tactics wise. As we started our first drift I was into a good fish straight away. Alfie was amazed, the place was alive, in contrast to the more accessible and far less productive spots he had been fishing. 

On the water

As the day continued Alfie swapped and changed, catching fish but at a slightly slower rate than I was. After an hour or so I chucked him a lure, a TRD in New Deal colour with a red shroom head. The very pattern Patrick had given me a few months before and one I have confidence in. After seeing my success and discarding the need for trial and error Alfie set about catching some really fine fish. Then disaster struck. At the end of a drift I spun the boat around and my rod wasn't left where I should have left it and it slipped in, sinking straight away. I wasted about an hour of the day trying to get it back but I was keen for Alfie not to suffer too much so encouraged him to fish on while I grubbed about on the bottom trying to retrieve my rod which I eventually did.

Typical stamp of fish early on

Alfie soon began to like the TRD's just as I had a few weeks earlier.

We had a short break for a coffee, keen to reboot and have a discussion how we might get into the really big fish I knew were there. Our tactics were working although I set up a float rig to fish worms which proved to be fairly ineffective as the afternoon drew on. I sacked that off and went back on the lures. As we drifted by one particular feature I lost two good fish, one after another. I motored back around and asked Alfie to drop the anchor. He cast his lure in and almost immediately it was taken. Initially we both thought it could be a Pike but it surfaced quite quickly, it was a Perch, a big one too. It kicked back down and kited agonisingly close to the anchor rope. Alfie kept his cool in a tremendously tense battle and eventually I netted what was surely a new PB for my guest.....

3lb 12oz
Alfie was in shock. That capture rates right up there with the best I have witnessed. The biggest perch any of us have caught there and just an absolute joy to see. Especially considering the narrative, Alfie wanted a three pounder, he got one. He fished on in a bit of a daze. He had another good fish and was made up with that as well which speaks volumes for his enthusiasm and attitude.

We've arranged to go out again soon, I'll let you know how we get on.

Plugging away

Both Andy and I are fairly sure somewhere among all many many features that there will be a really massive fish. I went back with this in mind, this time with my old mate Leo. The day started off at a hectic pace. A fish every cast before slowing somewhat. Leo's fresh eyes on the venue gave me a different perspective and it became clear the fish were tucked under cover after initially being out in the open. My best of the day didn't quite reach three pounds....

Leo fared considerably better with this lovely example from an area we hadn't had a big fish from before....

3lb 8oz

Out and about

 Another friend, James Truscott wanted to improve his PB Perch. I selected a venue I hadn't been to for a while and it proved to be incredibly hard. The conditions weren't great and we struggled to find any Perch. The numerous Pike in the area were also very active. James will have to wait a little longer for his PB. I did eventually find some and encouraged him to have a cast in my peg. Sadly as soon as they arrived they left, retreating to a spot out of reach. 

Big two's
Plagued by Pike, even on worms
Bringing you right up to date I visited the secret river for the first time this year a couple of days ago. It was great fun and nice to see a few fish still there.

Bottomed my 12lb scales out

Little beauties
Round up

Nate with a 5 15 Chub

He made the cover!

Martin in the same magazine

I did my Roach feature after all
Nate with a 21lb 5oz Pike

Martin with a 1lb 15oz Roach 

James Aris with a 3lb 5oz Perch

Jamie Potts with a 13lb Canal Zander
Andy Wilson with a 3lb 5oz Perch
All of the guys here are part of Specimen Hunting Uk. A collective of like minded individuals. Sadly I couldn't make the annual lure match but eighteen of me turned up!

Not one of them is the real me!
SHUK also had a five year anniversary get together at Makins fishery. The fishing was terrible but we had a great time and raised £300 for various charities close to some of the guys hearts.....

Andy Wilson telling Dai Gribble everything he knows (it didn't take long)
Thanks to all.

Tackle Talk

Korum Aeronium Chair

There wasn't much wrong with my old Korum roving chair but I'd had it a couple of years and Santa dropped this new model down my chimney. It's about a pound lighter than the old chair, barely noticeable. Overall it's been brilliant. Plenty of adjustment and on steep slopes you can leave the back legs up. As I usually end up fishing about ten pegs most days the lack of weight is the main attraction. Highly recommended.

Korda Krusha

Here's a bit of a curve ball for you. What could I possibly want with a Boilie crusher? Well, when fishing for Roach and you need to feed it'll mangle a slice of bread up just nicely. Handy for impromptu sessions or when you run out of feed. Match anglers would probably cringe at this but I'm not fishing for a hundred blades, I'm after a few big fish. The feed doesn't need to be super-fine. It has definitely come in handy this winter on quite a few occasions.

Last word

I'm by no means a pioneer but I have seemingly sparked a bit of interest in inflatable boat fishing. They can get you into virtually unfished areas but please be mindful of the fact you are pushing boundaries. Places where people aren't used to seeing anglers. Marinas are especially sacred. If I'd paid thousands of pounds for a mooring I wouldn't tolerate lures bouncing off my boat or listening to anglers swearing and cursing all day. Be nice, be ambassadors for your pastime. This isn't social media, this is real life. Not giving a toss might make you feel more manly but it has consequences. Consequences that effect everyone else. Of course, I'm preaching to the choir. As you were. 


My head umbrella, a must for boat going glasses wearers
Post dip, I fished on for two hours wrapped in a dog blanket
Dave and the chaos twins
Leo at Makins
Till next time........

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Autumn 2018

Warning! Swearing occurs

The water was eerily still and tap-water clear. A thick blanket of cloud dominated the sky and a fine mist hung in the frigid Autumn air. Andy struck and almost immediately he sighed a heavy sigh. After several similar occurrences that morning I knew what the sigh meant. We were Perch fishing, quite successfully but interspersed with the occasional Pike. I was standing in the boat and I looked across at Andy who was seated with his rod impossibly misshapen, distorted by a toothy gatecrasher. "Pike," Andy said as he strained to lift his rod. I looked into the water and a large shape appeared from the depths, a shape that took my brain a couple of seconds to decipher, before I blurted out- "It's not, it's a fucking massive Zander!"

Don't believe the hype

Paddy is a busy man. I was rather taken aback when he said he would be up for a day out. The following Thursday we arranged to meet up. Paddy checked the weather forecast the next day and we decided Friday would be a much better. I was sceptical because even on the most accurate weather sites the forecast can change. In my experience the closer to your date the more accurate the forecast. Anyway, Friday- light winds, bit overcast, almost perfect for a day on the boat. 

Friday morning came and as I drove down the track to the river I could just make out Paddy huddled in his Land Rover through the almost horizontal rain. We were both a long way from home and luckily the rain subsided long enough for us to get afloat reasonably comfortably. Fish wise we caught loads. Perch up to around two pounds but in big numbers on a variety of methods. We also found some massive Roach which we failed to catch. The weather was dreadful though, especially in the afternoon. To add insult to injury the day before had been lovely. 

Paddy with one of the better ones

Angle of attack

A week later I was at a new venue, again a long way from home. An invite from our friend Martin to bring the boat to one of his semi-regular haunts. Even though it was first light there was already someone else there. No matter we'll give him a wide berth we decided as we unloaded all our gear and were soon out on the water. We anchored up below an obvious feature and fished worms and lures. Martin was catching a few Perch albeit very small while I really struggled for a bite. I had almost convinced myself it was down to my presentation, more specifically the colour of my braid- dark green. I usually use a light colour and was just about to change my reel when I looked across at Martin's outfit. Sure enough he had the same dark green braid on. That couldn't be it. Had I been on my own I'd have changed reels and never used dark green braid again, completely without foundation. We fished on for very little reward and Martin started to get despondent. We took a break and I drove to the local shop. It was still early but on my return the other angler had left so we motored upstream of the feature, where he had been standing.

The next few hours were a bit of a blur. Even though we were fishing much the same area the angle of attack made all the difference. I use a fairly big floating net, 36 inches and we emptied it three times. Martin, being a stickler for detail weighed anything that looked over two pounds. He had fourteen fish over that weight. I was keeping up with him so it's reasonable to assume I had much the same. I had a big fish which I thought must be threatening three pounds, "Two pounds fourteen ounces," came the reply from the man on the scales. Bugger. No matter, the next one must be three pounds I thought as I slid it over the net. "Two pounds fifteen ounces," Martin declared as he read from the scales. Luckily he had a couple of fish the same weight so we were both in the same boat, literally and figuratively. 

If this one isn't three pounds I'm checking his scales I thought as he zeroed them in preparation for my latest fish. ".........". He paused irritatingly. Like they do on the telly on Bake Off and X 
Factor. "Three pounds five ounces". At bloody last. 

It's been a while now so let me explain what happened that day without the haze of elation. We had nearly thirty Perch over two pounds including two threes. We both think we had over a hundred pounds of fish. Quite remarkable. When we were taking photo's of the threes you couldn't visibly tell them apart from the big twos. The significance of this was that in the clear water we were fishing you could see the fish early in the fight and they all fought well so every battle was visually exhilarating. I've rambled enough, here's some images......

Big 2's.

3lb 5oz

2lb 15oz


One of my email friends Jez (hi Jez) told me he would be going to the a river a bit closer to home and as I had the day off I thought I'd go and see him. With the middle stretches of the river still very weedy I wedged the wife's Kayak in the car with a view to exploring the otherwise inaccessible lower reaches. After a catch up with Jez we went to look downstream. He didn't fancy it but I decided to go afloat. Much to Jez's disgust I managed launch my not inconsiderable bulk with little drama. 

I paddled a long way, too far really. Every corner promised a new vista and fishing opportunities but in reality it was all very samey. Thick reeds on both banks, largely unfished and very wild. Sadly in these remote places a lot of the small fish had been preyed upon by our avian friends. I knew stocks were low so I'd have to get lucky. As I rounded one particular bend there was a clearing in the reeds on the near side and sat right by the waters edge was indeed a fat Cormorant airing his wings. As he struggled to take off I stopped paddling and dropped in a big lobworm by the reeds on the far bank. He was here for a reason I thought. It was instantly taken and I was amazed to see an angry Perch come stubbornly towards the boat. I dropped in again and had another straight away. This one slightly bigger. With the Perch safely in my floating net I fished on.

 Sure enough after a short time I had another bite. After a slightly odd fight the fish came into view.......a bloody flounder, on a dropshotted worm. I went to clearing to take some photo's. Upon landing I realised I'd forgotten my bankstick adaptor for my camera. In addition to this my scales had become damaged so I can't give you any weights. Not massive but I've been back twice since and not caught a single perch so they really are very special fish indeed, some of favourites this year and I managed to balance the camera on my bag.......

Back from the dead

The river Witham suffered from a catastrophic pollution event in March of this year. According to the environment agency not less than a hundred thousand fish perished. If you listen to the keyboard warriors on social media the EA and Angling Trust have stood idly by while counting our licence and membership money. Do yourself a favour, ignore these clowns. I'm absolutely sick of people who only ever lift a finger to criticise official bodies they know the sum total of nothing about. I never see these people when I'm out doing my very small bit for the environment. Drives me mad. People that complain the most usually do the least.

Back to the fishing. On my way back from a reasonably successful Perch session I drove by the Witham. I slowed down and was amazed to see some fish scattering. I spun around and parked up. There were fish everywhere. Straight away I started catching Perch among the bait fish. I even got the Kayak out and had a paddle around just to marvel at the abundance of life below me. The biggest was a modest two pounds nine ounces.....

As luck would have it I had a magazine feature to do the following week so where better to do it than a river that most thought would take many years to recover? They took a bit of finding on the day but when I did they were once again very obliging. Not only that but I made the cover, well the fish did, I was just holding them. It has only been on sale a short time so make sure you get yourself a copy.......

Round up

A brief trip back to my old stomping ground the river Soar in Leicestershire was incredibly hard but I was eventually rewarded with another fish of two pounds nine ounces.....

Another boat trip with Martin on a different venue saw us take another bumper catch of Perch with a two pound thirteen ounce fish the best of the day........

Some more from various other rivers this autumn......


Physical size of a 3lb 2oz fish....

2lb 14oz

Typical boat caught worm eater

Another highlight of the Autumn was this six pound four ounce Sea Trout taken on a Quantum battleshad while after Perch. I netted it fairly quickly at which point it realised it was hooked, jumped back in and went ballistic. After a few nerve racking minutes I eventually landed it again for a quick photo.......

The Zander

Andy and I were having a great time catching Perch on TRD's, a method Paddy had introduced me to at the start of Autumn. We had taken them to about two and a half pounds. I really want to drive home the context of this next fish. I've never seen a picture of a Zander from it, not one. I've never heard of one from the venue. I know local anglers that have and still travel miles and miles away for fish of a similar size often for days on end with little or no success. If I told you where he caught it you wouldn't believe me. I was there and I still can't believe it. My favourite capture by someone else ever and I'm a selfish sod, normally I would have loved to have caught it myself but it was amazing just being witness to it. I've altered the background, not normal practice but this venue is staying secret for now. Nationally not huge, locally unbelievable......

10lb 14oz Lincolnshire Zander

Some Advice

I watched a video on social media recently about top three Perch tips and I can't not mention it. Beautifully shot but complete and utter nonsense. Be stealthy? I've lobbed a 5kg anchor in a crystal clear river, stood up in my bright red outfit and watched fifty Perch come around me and see what's going on. Being stealthy wouldn't make my top hundred.

My top three tips are Location, location, location. Forget everything else for now just find them. A couple of venues I know you have to be accurate, within six feet. They won't move. On some venues you can get away with sitting all day and waiting for the fish to move through but these are quite rare. After Barbel (get over it, mug fish) Perch are the easiest fish to catch. Worms, lures, TRD's, ledgering, float fishing, feeder, dropshot all have their day. Lures are great for finding fish but for numbers of big fish worms take some beating. We've recently found a venue where TRD's will trick as many Perch but it's early days.


One other capture that is worth mentioning this time around is my friend and Specimen Hunting UK member Jamie Potts and his Pike from Rutland Water. Caught on a tiny lure it weighed 36 pounds 2ounces. Amazing fish. Lovely bloke.

You can't just sit down and write a book. Even these tawdry blog entries take a couple of days. An incredible amount of work goes in to a book and it is hard to proof read your own writing. As soon as I publish these blog entries I get someone to check them over. Anyway specimen hunting superstar Dai Gribble asked me to cast a critical eye over his autobiography script mainly to check the chronology as it was written over a number of months. I did my bit and several others have helped him along the way and it is finally on sale. You can buy your copy here.....

A few of the lads from SHUK have been targeting Perch at Farmoor. It's been tough going but they are all making steady progress. Dave Owen has caught the most striking one so far.....

As ever when he gets the chance he takes his son out. Jack is a superstar in the making.....

 SHUK has the odd Carp angler knocking about. Thankfully our fish for everything mantra has inspired James Edwards to branch out. It took him some time to get his first 5 and then caught three on the same day......

Tackle Talk

Z-Man TRD Lures

On our day together Paddy introduced me to these strange looking lures. I've been lure fishing a long time, I'd heard of them but never used them. It wasn't until I was getting another battering from Martin on a shallowish venue where I wasn't very happy dropshotting worms that they really showed their worth. The 'Ned' rig as I now understand it isn't a rig at all. Just a stand up jig head and a strange looking worm type thingy- the TRD. That's it. Fished static with the occasional twitch they proved devastating that day. Neither Martin or I could work out why. I still can't. I've been using them ever since. Andy had his Zander on one. They work, that's it. I like them in white or 'the deal'. The chartreuse ones for some reason can be a bit too effective at attracting small Perch. Around £5 per pack and keep them in the bag, they can melt normal lures for some reason. Please, please be careful on venues with Pike present. If you get bitten off and the Pike manages to get rid of the lure it will still fish. There are no good outcomes to this scenario.

Shimano Poison Adrena 6ft 4in Ultra Light

I was curious more than anything. You'll know by now I'm a champion of cheap tackle that performs admirably. I've had most of my biggest fish on rods that cost considerably south of £50. When one of these Poison Adrena's came up for less than half of the £300 retail price I decided to see if I was missing out. I could always sell it on if I didn't like it.

Straight out of the bag I was instantly disappointed. I was one piece. Having broken a remarkable number of rods (don't ask) over Autumn I wasn't relishing having six feet four inches of delicate carbon about my person. The finish seemed faultless though and it is oh-my-god light. I've used it exclusively with TRD's and it is a delight to use. It has a really fast tip recovery and lovely action. It isn't perfect for what I do. Dare I say the fish I'm aiming to catch are a little too big for the rod? I've had it maxed out a few times and although it has coped it isn't particularly happy bullying really big Perch. So far it has proved a tough little thing though and the lightness still makes using it a novelty. It fishes longer than its six and a bit feet because it has a really short handle but fishing range wise it is still fairly limited. If your target fish are mostly under two pounds and you want a genuinely lovely rod for close in work then have a look at one. Would I pay £300? Not a chance, I'm still lamenting the loss of £120 from my wallet. Luckily I'd sold some other gear to pay for it.

Leeda Icon Light Lure 7ft

Leeda Icon rods are well thought of in the Sea fishing world. This light lure rod intrigued me for another very attractive reason- it has replaceable tips. If you picked up one of these rods after the Poison Adrena you'd put it straight down again. It feels really lazy, almost floppy. In use though you really don't notice it. I've used it with lures up to five grams but mainly for dropshotting worms. It has enough backbone to set hooks and quite the most remarkable playing action. It's almost like a no-lock blank, it just keeps bending, no flat spots just a lovely curve. It is communicative too. I really like it. Replacement tips are £6.99 and after few rods recently I can tell you that's a lot cheaper than a top section for a normal dropshot rod. Aim to pay around £45 with two tips included.

Drennan Flourocarbon

I've been using this line for a while now and it's pretty much faultless. I like the 5lb 6oz version for Perch fishing. That said all my lure PB's have still come when using braid straight through which if I told anyone they'd think I was mad. Luckily I haven't. Pay around £5 a spool.....

Till next time...............