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04 Apr 2017
by Terry Hearn
Dial scales or digital scales? What's best?
We ask Terry Hearn for his thoughts...

Question

“Scales… Springs have worked and have continued to work outdoors for years. Electrics/digitals have not and most I talk to with digital scales have experienced problems at one point or another. What are your findings and thoughts?
Shaun Harrison

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Like Shaun, I still use traditional dial scales. In general I use two sets, a little pair of 40lb flyweight Reuben Heaton which are always in the bag, and if I’m lucky enough to catch something heavier then I just trot back to the car for a bigger set of Reuben’s, which is always a happy journey however far.

Then there’s the 12lb Flyweights for big perch and chub, which just like the others work perfectly well with no worries about batteries running out. I don’t know a lot about the digital type scales, but I remember testing a set that Dad was given alongside a set of my dial scales, and they both came out with the same weight, so they seemed accurate at least. I’m guessing they’re weather/water-sealed, so it’s probably just battery life to watch out for. I’ve got to be honest though, I think I just prefer to be looking at a traditional needle spinning round a dial, just as it’s always been. I don’t know about everyone else, but I have enough batteries to either charge or change after each trip at the moment anyway. Tablet, phone, camera, half a dozen Ecig batteries, couple of sets of boat batteries, handset, sounder, power pack, laser pens… That’s quite enough for me.

Thinking about it, I do have one set of digital scales but they’ve not been used in a while now, a set of Salter gram scales which I bought especially for weighing big dace from a tributary of the River Kennet a few years ago. These dace were huge, certainly fish to rival the record which still stands at one pound, five ounces and 2 drams. It might sound petty, but an ounce on a 1lb dace is like a couple of pounds or more on a mid-forty carp, which is why smaller specimens are weighed in drams as well as pounds and ounces, and so in that situation normal dial scales weren’t really the one.

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