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04 Aug 2017
by Terry Hearn
Why no indication?
We ask Terry Hearn why he sometimes doesn't use bobbins...

Question

On certain occasions you don’t have a bobbin clipped onto your line. Why is this and do you ever adjust the weight and/or style of bite indicator?

I’ve been asked a similar question two or three times just recently, so please forgive me if I end up repeating myself at all. Obviously if I feel there’s a chance of a drop back, i.e. when I’m fishing at range, or maybe tight up to a far bank feature or an island, then I use a bobbin, generally clipped up close to the top. I don’t often adjust the weights. I used to more often in the days of monkey climbers, but with free falling bobbins on a cord or chain, I generally find the weight of my usual bobbins alone to be just fine for registering drop backs at any range I’m likely to be casting. Obviously there have been occasions when I’ve screwed on one of the little extra stainless weights when fishing at extreme-range, towing with a boat for example, especially if crossing weed, but at most normal ranges I don’t feel the need.

I guess a lot of of this depends on how much importance you place on bite sensitivity, or being quickly alerted to an enquiry. Personally, other than snag fishing when needless to say I’ll use a bobbin every time, I’m really not that fussed. It’s not as though we need to be on the rod super quick before it spits it out. We know that by the time that buzzer bleeps the sharp hook and fixed lead has already done its job. It’s not sat there mouthing it, there’s no need to have one hand hovering over the rod until it eats it properly (chuckle, chuckle), and there’s no rush to jump up and strike before it realises something’s amiss. That’s certainly how it works with some other species and other methods, but not with carp and with rigs using sharp exposed hooks and fixed leads. By the time that buzzer bleeps it’s towing a lead weight, i.e. it’s already on the end anyway.

I like to spin the roller magnet on my Neville’s into position, so the line only has to slightly tighten to the clip before the magnet crosses the reed switch and I get that first bleep. I’m quite happy with my buzzers bite indication/sensitivity, even without a bobbin. If I wasn’t, I’d change the rollers to four magnets instead of the two magnet versions I still favour. Also, having had no annoying wind, weed or undertow bleeps at all, as I’ve got no bobbins on, I’d wager a bet that actually I’d be more alerted to a single bleep, a bleep which I instantly know means something, than someone who might have been kept up half the night with lots of false indications.

Early batches of the ESP Cryogen hooks. Nowadays hooks are better made and more consistently sharp than ever. Used exposed as carpers do, and with fixed leads, any indication at the rod end generally means that a fish is already pricked

If I’m fishing close in, or up to any distance where I feel that slackening my lines off a bit is beneficial, then I often prefer not to clip a bobbin on, the main reason being that its weight is more tension than I want to put on my main line, even with the small sized bobbins that I tend to use.

In some situations I do use bobbins more, in the winter for example, when liners might be the only location aid I’ve got, but again, if the weather’s a bit rough then I’ve got no problem at all with taking them off. I certainly don’t worry about not registering a take, let’s put it that way.

I’ve already written a fair bit about this subject, and like I said at the start, it’s an odd one to me as fishing a semi slack line direct to the line clip/clutch is simply the norm in many situations, not just for me but also for many of the friends that I’ve fished with. Perhaps some of it’s down to where we’ve come from in our fishing, i.e. what other species and styles of fishing we’ve done in the past. I’d think it unusual to see a barbel angler using bobbins for instance. He’s happy sitting there watching his rod tips and knows there’s no need for any other indication. The same as I wouldn’t think anything of the lad carping for the evening, with a couple of rods laid in the grass with the clutches set slack, not a bobbin in sight.

A lovely double dorsal Burghfield original. Clutches screwed up tight, and lines fished dead tight with bobbins clipped up at the top was the way to go in this long-range situation

Like I say, maybe some of it’s down to where we started. Much of my early carping was in the Royal Parks. It was all short-range stuff and the way back then was simply to fish for reel spinners, and the only time I ever used a bobbin was when I had a bait cast right up tight to the statue of Lady Diana.

At the end of the day we all have our own ways of fishing. I like to give just enough slack to aid presentation at the rig and leader end, no more, no less. The bit I’m most interested in is the bit between the rod tip and rig, and so if I think the situation suits I do away with the bobbin and the extra tension that causes, or in the case of a slack line with a bobbin on the deck, the unnecessary slack which that would allow. Simple.

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