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Basic tackle, methods and rigs

Information for anglers that ask me about methods, rigs and traces.

Rods
Medium class 20lb-30lb Rod, around 8' long.
Go for 'good value rods', around £30.
If you can afford it also go for a 12-20lb Class Rod as this covers most conditions.

 
 Tip - Prepare your rods with a zip slider, bead and Breakaway Fastlink ready to clip your rigs (as below) on and off quickly

The zip slider is the red component with a weight clip. They are inexpensive and do the job well. When using the feathers, nothing is connected to this!

Reels

Start with a medium sized sturdy value reel, a spare is good to have too.
Tip - For value I would recommend a Penn 220 CS at around £40 or if you have the cash a Shimano Torium 20 at £157.
Tip - Note level winds on value reels, will not last long and when you know how to 'lay the line' who needs them anyway?

Leads (Weights)
Selection to include 4, 6, 8, 10oz, 1lb, 1.25lb. Bullet leads are good for drifting or and when fishing into rocky marks.

Line
Basics - 30lb-50lb braid is the norm. I like Power Pro 50lb. Add a 50lb nylon leader at least 5m long, joined with a grinner or shock leader knot.

Rigs (Traces)
Basics - all rigs must be prepared to clip on to the breakaway fastlink attached to your main line.
Tip - Use a quality swivel but not too small, as with cold hands they must be usable. 
This is about the physical size you need and will have a breaking strain of 150lb or more.

Tip - For Feathers, Flapper and Hokkai rigs use an American Snap link for the lead clips as they are cheap easy to use and can sometimes pull out if jammed into a rocky snags.
American Snaplink.

Rigs you will need so that you are ready for anything:

bullet2 off - quality ‘Feathers’ with tinsel and day glow beads, add a swivel to one end (to connect with Breakaway fastlink on the leader) and an American Snaplink to the other (for the lead weight).
bullet2 off - quality Hokkais (prepared as feathers)).
bullet 2 off - Flapper rig with size 6 hooks for Bream (prepared as feathers).
bullet 2 off - flapper rig with size 1 hooks for Whiting etc (prepared as feathers).
bullet2 off -  8’ long 150lb nylon flowing trace, with pennel 6/0 hooks for big biting fish (Congers, Tope, plus Cod). The large 8/0 hooks avoid the dogfish interfering, (with swivel to connect to fastlink).
bullet 2 off - 8’ long 80lb nylon flowing trace with pennel 4/0 hooks (Codling, Rays, Bass).
bullet 2 - off 8' long 20lb 'Vanish' type (flurocarbon) nylon rig, invisible long flowing trace with 2/0 thin wire hooks. Ideal for small baits but for all species during the summer when fishing in gin clear water. This will retrieve lip hooked Tope and Conger, but will not be very resilient to teeth!
bulletA selection of Shads, Sidewinders, Twin Tails and Eddystone Eels (forget the rest!).
bulletA couple of pirks to add to the Macky feathers, in place of the weight, when drifting for Bass. I prefer the ones with the hook at the top of the pirk for my hire rods. They work very well and there's less chance of loosing them to a snag.

Bait
Mackerel, Squid and Worm for starters, then get fancy.

When and Where
That’s the secret; test and learn, watch, copy and listen.

More Top Tips

bullet Small hooks catch big fish! Therefore small hooks, more fish, while big hooks rarely catch small fish.
bulletTo avoid the Dogfish, you could move up to a larger hook (a dilemma).
bullet Practice being efficient at setting up, as conditions are forever changing. So I recommend that you fit the reel to the rod, thread on a zip slider clip and bead and terminate your leader with a Breakaway Fast Link, as shown above. Then bait up and get ready to clip on your starting rigs.
bullet Have your spare rigs and leads to hand and be ready to change, experiment or copy what's working.
bulletUse baited hokkais at slack water, or during tide run for a mix of smaller species but not in clear water.
bulletHave longer flowing traces as the tide starts to move away, for the better specimens.
bulletUse short flowing traces during slack water to avoid tangles.
bulletMore tide, longer trace,  less tide, shorter trace.
bullet At slack water the fish move off the bottom, so fish the water column, under the boat, if in more than 25m.
bulletWith neap tides in less than 40' of water avoid fishing under the boat so practice casting well away from the boat. This is a team effort and shout when casting and try not to interfere with others.
bulletKeep hooks sharp, particularly when drifting.
bullet Big hooks wont catch the small and interesting species!
bulletBig fish have hard mouths and need a stiffer rod to 'set' the hooks, or a BIG strike.
bullet At anchor, with a nice flowing tide, work your lead back down the tide, 'feeling' the bottom.
bullet Be mindful of other lines, as the less tangles means more fish.
bullet Keep hands, rods, reels and rigs, clean, organised and tidy.
bullet Up-tide casting is a good method in anything less than 60’, as you fish out of the 'scare zone' created by the anchor warp.
bullet If casting from a boat, always tell the others, that you intend to cast and as you cast.
bulletDo not leave your lines unattended when fishing into a rocky bottom, you will loose tackle.