The bit you should read.

I’ve always been an angler and after around the country moving I wanted to discover and document the best places to fish (where ever I might be) in the way of rivers, lakes, canals and ponds. When previously fishing in South Wales I often fished in club and winter league matches, however living up north presented me with new challenges, venues and angling clubs that I acquainted myself with. Now down in the South West I plan to do the same.

This fishing blog details my angling adventures around the UK (although depending where I am in the country I also sea fish from both Boat and Shore, Carp, Pike and Fly fish). I will be giving a summary of 3 values considered by most anglers as well as the additional Disabled Access rating. Since being diagnosed with CIDP and regaining my motor function Disabled angling and Disabled access is now something I always consider when visiting venues. They will all be rated on a scale of 1* to 5*;

1. Fishability *****

2. Accessability *****

3. Value for Money *****

4. Disabled Access *****

I think these 4 points are the key issues which are readily identifiable with all anglers. Feel free to take a look and add your own comments along the way!

Tackle Selection

I was contacted by a blog reader quite recently, who was thinking of converting from specimen carp fishing to all-round coarse fishing and was asked what the bare minimum amount of gear he needed to fish comfortably was... “How long is a piece of string?” I thought! We then had a fairly long email exchange where we discussed the pro's and con's of gear, and what was needed to cover the majority of options on a day out bank side. It got me thinking about what gear (rods reels, box etc) I actually use regularly and, my choices behind using them. With that in mind, I thought I’d give a quick-ish run down of my tackle selection, and what comes with me most often when I head out to a new venue.

I'm more of a cover all bases kind of angler and despite what my wife thinks, having various rods with me, allows me to fishing venues in a variety of different ways (you can never have enough rods). But before I get to the rod and reel selection I would like to say what I told the person who contacted me through my blog.

"Are you sitting comfortably?"

This question is something you really need to consider when beginning to think about purchasing a seat box or comfortable chairs. Boxes are fantastic bits of kits and they usually enable you to have all you gear very close at hand, but usually at the cost of no back rest (although some brands Koala and Rive have back attachments). Chairs are more suited to waggler or feeder fishing as sitting so close to the floor with a pole for hours at a time may get very uncomfortable and might prove costly (damaged sections etc), but there are plenty of chairs on the market which have additional attachments (side trays, feeder arms etc), so you have to ask what type of fishing will you be doing a lot of? There are so many models/types/set ups on the bank these days, ranging from the budget to the extravagant all claiming to do very similar jobs, but as we all know some work better than others. My personal choice is a (long discontinued) solid Daiwa B-Tec 2 drawer Pole seat box. I managed for several years with the original 2 drawer system and tray system (underneath the seat) but when the chance arose on Ebay to buy another 4 drawers with were compatible I jumped at the chance.

My seat box is now a fairly large adapted 6 drawer Daiwa B-Tec. In all honesty, I would say since adding in the additional drawers my seat has become slightly more comfortable, as I hunch over less when using the pole... Don’t ask me why.

I also have;

·                     A removable Boss Footplate (arguably essential these days as it provides a firm flat base rather than uneven ground if you fish venues without pegs)
·                     Customized 26 inch footplate legs (Octoplus fitting on the top)
·                     Customised Boss side tray
·                     Ultimate Tackle spray bar (although it feels a bit flimsy, I may make my own)
·                     Various roosts on threads for top kits and rods. I have tried using box attachments and clip on roosts, but they seem flimsy, and I try to resist my box being a spiders web of attachments
·                     Boss Box multi adapter which holds the Tulip pole roost (and keepnet which I rarely use)

Aside from this I will always try and have my carryall directly behind me and my groundbait bucket either under my side tray or to the right of my box (when fishing the feeder) as it allows me to reach everything easily.

My Pole(s)

I don't fish matches really, being more of a competitive pleasure angler, but when I was looking I wanted a pole that would handle most things, and had the length (more than 13m) if I needed it. I set myself a price bracket (around £500) and had a really good look (probably over thought it to be honest, and spent hours looking at reviews, before getting out there and reviewing the pole in the flesh). I'm not overly flush with cash so I want to know that I hadn't wasted my money. I could never justify buying a flagship pole, to be honest, I'd be scared I'd break it, and then panic about replacement section costs. So back when they were new I went for a shiny MAP F-16 CFS.

With parallel extensions going from 13 meters taking it up to 16m it was longer than I was ever going to need (although it’s very weighty at full length). Capable of housing elastics to an 18, it came with 2 power top 2's, a match top 3 and a cupping kit, which I quickly converted into a additional power top 2. I have used this pole in all locations, caught tiny little Roach and Gudgeon to Carp up to 14 - 15lbs, and have never had an issue. Despite being quite old, there are definitely a few more years left in the old girl, these things were built to last! I do not look forward to the day where she is retired.

The Top Kits are

Match top 3 - Solid 6
Power Top 2 - Middy Hi-Viz Solid 8-10
Power Top 2 - Preston Slip Fluoro Solid 14
Power Top 2/Cupping Kit - Preston Slip Fluoro Solid 16

I've used solids for years and despite being tempted by hollow elastics, I'm still not convinced by using them, and coupled with a Pulla bung system, I think they are opening the top sections up to a range of problems which they were never intended to deal with.

My back up pole is even more of a warrior -

The original 12.5m Shimano Technium. This isn't one of the rebranded, remodelled versions this is the original and tankiest (I know that's not a word). Rated to take up to 16-18 elastic I have absolutely hammered this pole, and the only time I damaged a section was because the platform I fished on slipped and cracked the 4th section. So once I bought the MAP pole this was my sole lump catcher.

4 of the 5 top kits were re-fitted to cope with lumps (leaving one with a trusty Middy 8-10 if I ever need to swap back) and now contain the following;

Power top 2 - Vespe Solid - 18
Power top 2 - Maver Solid - 18
Power top 2 - Middy Hi-Viz Solid - 14 -16
Power top 2 - Maver Solid - 14

She hasn't been out for a run recently, but steadfast as ever this pole is an absolutely warrior and aside from heaving in massive doubles (when I wouldn’t use a pole) this pole has caught it's fair share of lumps for me over the years.


Wanting to cover a range of options from float fishing using shallow match spools and multi range feeder fishing I needed reels I could rely on, again I wanted good value for money but something that was going to last. For that reason I had to choose Shimano, although the Shimano brand can break the bank (Stellar), I went for solid "middle of the road" options of;

Shimano Super Aero 3000 GTM - 2 Spare Deep spools, 1 Shallow

I have used this reel for years, covering everything from float to medium/long range feeder fishing. It has coped with everything (although it is getting a bit long in the tooth now) still well oiled, the "Fightin' Drag" is still ready to try landing anything.

Shimano Aero X 3000 - 2 Spare shallow spools

Same as above really, only without the "Fightin' Drag", the 3000 size meant the spools could be interchanged between this and the GTM as and when required. I have used this reel primarily for float fishing, although I have used it for short range feeder and bomb work, when on the rare occasion I've forgotten to re-pack the GTM and the has handled everything!

Shimano Aero Baitrunner 5010 - 1 Spare deep spool (the other has dissapeared)

The Baitrunner system is synonymous with Carpers all over the world these days, and I picked one up years ago. The hardiest of reels and will handle all sorts of scenario's including several visits to the beach (well cleaned afterwards). Now resigned to occasional Carp and Pike fishing escapades the Baitrunner is a great real and one which has never faltered.

Shimano Sienna 4000FD - No spare spools, but I bought an alloy one for £6 from eBay!

I began fishing more and more commercial venues while living in Leeds, and although the 3000 GTM is a great reel, it wasn't fantastic at longer distance casting or method feeder fishing. I fancied a change from the rear drag set up I was use to and decided on a FD style reel in a 4000 size. The reel I aimed to set out and buy needed run smoothly, be hard wearing and would also lend itself to other styles and types of fishing as and when required (hence buying the extra spool). The Sienna is a wonderfully smooth bit of kit, great line lay, instant anti reverse and a max "locked" drag of 15lb which meant that it would handle double, but still have the ability to give when they would surge off. The spare spool will be loaded up with braid over the coming months and the reel will be used as originally intended - spinning (in this instance for Pike)


All my rods are often overlooked these days in favour of the pole, but I do dust them off from time to time, and the twin tip Method/Barbel rod and Technium never leave my rod bag.

I use a;

13' Shimano Solstace match rod - Fast Action

A great rod which handles all light to medium waggler work with ease.

14' Shimano Hyperloop match rod - Very Fast Action

A rod which is rarely used now as I don't fish many wide rivers or the "slider". I found the additional length really helps picking up the line on the rivers, and setting the hook on the slider. It’s also a great rod for punching out heavier floats on bigger venues.

Shimano Technium Specialist DF Feeder 11' - 13'

Generally used at 11ft but a fantastic bit of kit at 13', the additional 2ft adds a heck of a lot of hitting power into the rod, which makes casting further and manoeuvring those way-ward fish that much easier.

12' 6'' Chub OutKast Twin Tip

Complete with Avon style solid 1.75 T.C tip and heavy duty 3 and 4 ounce quiver tip, this rod has handled double figure Carp taken off the surface on dog biscuits and hard fighting, kamikaze Barbel on the Wye and it has taken everything in its stride. It's also taken several mackerel off Chesil beach using a small string of feathers and had plenty of power punching the 2 1/2 ounce lead out to 80 yards or more!

Luggage and additional accessories

Trolley - unbranded but Boss shape

Bought second hand of eBay and I don’t know how I managed without it. It breaks down into fairly small pieces and although it does not folding like some of the other types on the market it is absolutely rock solid. It had a hammering before I bought it and now it's been carted everywhere holding everything (just remember to pack bungee cords!).. It pulls smooth and anything that creaks or sticks gets a liberal coating of AC-90 and is as good as new! Almost..

Shimano Aspire Pro Competition Carryall

Before this cavernous monster I owned a Super Ultegra matchman carryall, and you could tell this was designed for coarse/match anglers, the net pocket was deep and large with a click in strap to hold everything in place, the individual rectangular zip up mid compartment was absolutely perfect for all side trays and the main holdall area was big enough to hold almost everything else. Sadly the mice went through this once winter and I needed to make a suitable replacement. The Aspire is the only thing the comes close, with an enormous net compartment capable of easily holding 2 large keep nets, a landing net and a side tray. The sealed waterproof base and rigid sides are a very nice touch and I can confidently say you can fit almost everything in the main pocket and have plenty of room to store your lunch. The heavy duty and water proof zipper means you can close your bag up when heavens decide to open and not worry about having to bilge it out when you get home. The large side pockets are capable of holding a surprising amount to and both mine are filled with colourings, dyes and additives.

Shimano Super Ultegra 8 tube rod holdall

Does exactly what it says on the tin. Carry 8 tubes and then some. One design flaw which its predecessor didn’t have and this does. A full length zip. This one only zips to half way down the body, making any short items accidentally dropped in the main compartment a bit of a challenge to get. Also I’m not 100% convinced that it is 100% waterproof, although it will take a thorough drenching. Still a useful bit of kit which always brings the following wherever I go fishing;

1 x Match Rod
1 x Feeder Rod
1 x Method Rod
1 x Pole
1 x Tube of top sections
1 x 3m Landing net handle
1 x 2.2m Spare landing net handle
1 x Feeder Arm
3 x Arrow Point bank sticks (2 of which are extendable)

Maver extendable Pole Roller

I have used this for years, and truth be told, it is need of a bit of TLC (or retiring). I have had to repair it twice, but recently the screw which holds the leg at its extended length has snapped off! Still it still works and has had a good innings at over 10 years! I really light the Boss double rollers which function on a pivot allowing more support for the pole sections. Perhaps this will be my next purchase or an early Christmas present!

Aside from breaking it down further and going into detail about which rod rests I use, which catapults I prefer and which feeders I would opt for, the above covers all the tackle I would take with me to cover a multitude of options when fishing new venues (unless I was on the river, but than a different set up all together!). Of course if you want to know, but all means ask and I'll do my best to respond.


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