I’ve always put a lot of thought into elastic choice. At the end of the day, it does a similar job to a rod. It helps you set the hook, cushions the run of a fish, and helps tire it out until it's ready for the net. Over the years I've tried most elastics but now use just two kinds for all of my fishing – Preston Innovations’ Original Slip and Dura Hollo.
Species such as roach, perch and skimmers are often my target because I fish quite a lot of natural venues. When small roach are the quarry, a No3 Slip is unbeatable. It's initially soft, allowing you to quickly ship back without worrying about were the fish is, but will soon power up and allow you to swing chunky 3oz fish to hand.
When a real mixed bag is on the cards, or on days when there’s the chance of hooking a bonus perch or bream, a single No5 through a full top three is perfect. You can set this fairly 'pingy' so that it always retracts into the pole and it still remains soft enough to handle small fish.
The other grade of Slip that I use is a No6. This comes into play in deep water when using heavier floats for small fish. You often need to strike into the weight of the rig before you connect with a fish and the extra bit of power offered by a No6 is enough to set the hook properly.
Three grades of Dura Hollo cover me for 99 per cent of my commercial fishing and it also comes into play when I need that extra power on natural venues. The No8 Dura is perfect for winter F1 work, or when targeting a mixed bag. A great tactic on commercials is to fish chopped worms and casters at close range to catch a mixture of silver fish, F1s and an odd carp. No8 Dura is perfect for this too!
For the small carp and F1s, the No10 Dura is sensational! It’s a joy to use and stretches forever. I often use this when shallow fishing for big carp too. They don't know that they're hooked until you get them back to the net with a puller kit.
No12 Dura is perfect for general carp work and lovely for fishing down the edge. I recently threaded my kits up with this for the World Club Championship in Slovenia. After two weeks’ fishing in temperatures to 39ºC, the very tip of the elastic next to my Dacron connector had just started to erode. I thought about changing it for the match but when I couldn't break it with my own hands I felt no need to. I'm still using the same kits now!
Original Slip Elastic: RRP £2.50 for five metres
Available sizes: No2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16
Dura Hollo: RRP 12.99 for three metres
Available sizes: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18