“A neat and tidy Hinged Stiff Link makes all the difference and so I always try my best to keep the link straight and the loops round. I regularly tidy it up, even between casts whilst trying to hit the spot, simply by putting it under tension with a couple of short pieces of carbon. Years ago I used to use short stainless steel bars which my old mate Lewis Read gave me, but when casting whilst stood out in the lake they were easily dropped and lost, and so I decided to make some which floated.
“The ‘tension bars’ I use now are made from a couple of short sections of carbon from an old tip section of a rod, plugged at the ends with cork, and they do the job quite nicely. I wonder how long it’ll take for those to find their way into the tackle shops…”
“Something that I find invaluable to carry with me on every session is a selection of aluminium storm rod outers. My standard stainless banksticks fit inside them perfectly so I am able to fish with my tips up without unscrewing buzzers etc. They get used for hanging boilies up in air-dry bags keeping rodents at bay, for self-takes with a camera/bankstick adapter and are particularly useful for when my rods have to be set up out in the lake. Weighing next to nothing and I have a set of 24”, 36” and 48” with me at all times.”
“I never go fishing anymore without a pair of ladies tights! No, really, I’m serious… If I’m using snowman baits or I’m planning on putting hookbaits out for a good long soak I mesh up the bait so I know they can’t detach from the Hair after receiving the attentions of small fish. The only thing with this method of meshing up your hookbaits is that you have to make sure the hook point can’t catch on the mesh during the cast, so I lick and stick a couple of bits of Dissolving Rig Foam either side of the hook/Hair or attach a Micromesh PVA bag of crumb (with the tag wrapped around the hook and Hair to stop it wrapping) otherwise the presentation can be impaired.”
“Low breaking strain monos and leads with big eyes are my tools. I hardly ever use any lead attachment other than tying my leads on with low breaking strain monos. It’s THE only method of losing the lead that works for every situation and when you get the hang of it, it has a lot of advantages. I tie the lead with a one- to two-inch drop for long chucks and PVA bag fishing and I then tie the lead tight to the hooklink swivel with PVA braid. Even using big bags and leads you never lose the lead on impact with the water and the big eye on the lead makes threading the PVA through easier. I have 3, 4, 6 and 8lb monos with me all the time to use leads from 1.5 to 12ozs. And the length of the drop from swivel to lead determines the ease of snap-off.”
“It has to be my angling journal which goes everywhere with me, recording each session as it is happening and whilst totally fresh in my mind. I have recorded so many different facts that have been resurrected so many times now that I would be lost without it. I prefer to write with a fountain pen and my ink contains water from some very special places.”