This lesson was the result of a recent match at Hayfield, which saw me draw next to the one and only Alan Scotthorne. As you might expect, I got a severe bottom slapping! I pondered as to why this happened and what I could have done differently. Plucking up the courage I picked up the phone and gave Alan a ring. We had a good chat about what I did wrong, and after the conversation I felt great! As people say, two heads are often better than one. I’m fortunate that Alan is my team mate and I hope he would naturally tell me areas that I need to improve on. The main lesson is that can be drawn from this is that stubbornness gets you nowhere. As an angler I think you need to be willing and open to learn from other anglers. That’s the beauty of team fishing, you appreciate the importance of working together as a team and picking each other’s brains, which ultimately improves your angling ability. You can learn from anyone in fishing, and I think we all need to keep an open mind and be willing to ask questions!
Double Bushes and Wall Aligners
Have you ever had your elastic sticking out of the end of your pole? If so, I’ve got a solution for you. All you need is a double bush and a wet wall aligner. Lee Kerry first drew the double bush to my attention. In involves placing a small internal bush within a bigger one in your top kit. I was a bit skeptical at first removing all my No1 sections, but I must say its brilliant and I don’t miss them! The double bush means that your elastic is completely centralised in your top kit, and by adding a wet wall aligner between you No2 and No3 section it means that your elastic stays completely free from the sides of your pole. These walls preserve dirt and cause your elastic to work ineffectively. It also means that your pole is much stiffer as you don’t have the flick tip bouncing around on the end!
This may sound like an obvious and quite straightforward thing to say but having top quality bait is an absolute must in my fishing. In the past I‘ve made do with what I could get at the last minute. However, I now believe that it’s essential to have the best bait you can possibly get. Whether it be ground bait, maggots, pinkies, worms, bloodworm and joker – quality fresh bait will catch you more fish! It’s a big confidence booster as well, when you know that your bait is the best on the bank. One lesson that I learnt a few weeks ago is the importance of fresh casters. I try and find the freshest and biggest casters I can get. It’s vitally important that you have a good tackle shop that will do you fresh casters. It’s best to order them a few days before so you’re not scratching around trying to find a tackle shop that has any spares. I must admit I’ve done this a few times in the past - but not anymore!
Preston Innovation’s Reflo Power has been the only line I have used for years. I use it for absolutely everything. I‘ve never even thought about using anything else. However, much of my fishing in winter is done with fine hook lengths and small hooks fishing for roach, using baits like bloodworm and joker. However, bloodworm and light mono hook lengths can sometimes cause spin ups. I was recently directed to trying fluorocarbon as a hook length material. Now if you’ve never used fluorocarbon I must warn you it’s a bit of a pain to tie - you have to be very careful and use plenty of spit! It never seems to tangle thanks to its stiff nature, and apparenty its invisible in water – better check with Mr Roach on that one!
I spend a lot of time choosing the right elastic and finding one that works just the way I want. I’ve chopped and changed repeatedly over the past few months and finally found the perfect one. A doubled-up Preston Slip No2 through my top kit is absolutely bang on. It may sounds strange, but it’s brilliant honestly! It’s really soft when it first comes out but then it seems to lock up and you have much more control when swinging fish in. I recently landed a 15lb plus pike form the Thorne canal on it too. For some reason double elastic works much nicer than a single. Trust me, I’ve tried them all and double No2 is my latest love for catching silverfish with. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.