Fishing Tackle

We really don't need most of it...obviously, from time to time, we all buy tackle that we know in our heart will never get used. That's part of the fun. I've probably got about 100 floats (at least 20 of them are porcupine quills that I have an unreasonable attachment to). I use no more than a dozen most years. Luckily it doesn't seem to stop me catching fish. I admit to being a "float tart", but am not a "tackle tart". So I have a relatively small standing collection of tackle (except floats).

I have rotated through quite a selection of stuff though. I'm a curious fellow and like to see and try things for myself. Here's some of the stuff I've seen for myself, among other things. Some of the other things are those I've collected along the way and have never quite thrown away, although that day is drawing nearer.

Immmediatly below are some links to some thoughts on tackle and a few of those items have their own pages.

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Fishing Tackle  Reels.

I started out with an Intrepid Challenger, which served me for many years - as mentioned above [2009 - I got a good one on Fleabay for the heck of it]. The second reel I owned was a centre pin, given as a present during a period when for some reason we were keen on them. Bruv and I used them first at the Dyke and in coloured water during the early part of the year we both caught pike on worms. I still have the reel, will a fair bit of the excess weight drilled out, but it has been far exceeded by today's centre pin reels, works of art that rotate for minutes at a time. One day I'll be a good enough angler to justify having one.

I next owned an Abu Cardinal 40, one of the original stern drag (when it was new) reels that came out around 1978 or thereabouts. I have 4 spools and carried 3lb, 6lb, 8lb, 10lb line for all occasions. It served me faithfully until about 2004 when the gears just got so worn the reel stopped rotating freely. I moved onto a Shimano Sedona 4000 GTE in 2005. Used to dowdy tackle by preference, I painted over the chrome parts with matt green enamel...

In the interim I picked up cheaply a Cardinal Bronco and a Diawa AG1650CT, both with one spool and they were my pike fishing reels loaded with 12lb mono. In 2005 I bought a Shimano 3000, with extra spools to allow me line combinations to suit the majority of my fishing, without carrying more than two reels.

I literally picked up a Ceratec ML2C - a small fixed spool, nice rear drag and ceramic lime roller. This was in a patch of long grass on a swim at Jubilee Lake in Thatcham and despite me placing a card on the notice board, no-one ever called for it. I use it for the rare occasions that require really light tackle.

The only real reason for the new reel is that both the two aforementioned have the one spool, with no chance of another both being discontinued. I suspect I will keep them somewhere.

I have an old (Shakespeare I think) Centrepin, which I first used in 1980 and have started to use again lately. It's worn, but works, but I have acquired a Series 2 Arnold Kingpin, which is amazing. Most fishing now is with this piece of fine engineering, so I bought a second one. I used the 'pin almost without a break for 12 months 2007-2008. A revelation to one who'd never really fished with a pin before.

In 2008 I got converted by Nempster to a Cardinal 44x, which is a wonderful reel. It had all the nostalgia of using my Cardinal 40 but was just better. I enjoyed it so much I bought another and consequently have about 8 spools. I liked them so much I spent a few months acquiring couple of Cardinal 66's for Leviathan fishing. They're old but do what I want without frippery.

A year later I found a pair of '66s on an internet auction site, with metal bale arms and indulged in those and then in 2012 I discovered Cardinal 66x's, with their cream and brown colour scheme and faster retrieve. The line lay is not quite as good as 66's, so I load spools with a '66. I've also changed the drag washers in the '66x's for carbon fibre ones, which has helped and re-profiled the lip of the spools which added 20% to casting range. Seldom without them now.

Further assorted entries concerning reels.

This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blankAll tench are good tenchGonks, gobbies, gudgeon (and return to the top of the page)All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchThis space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

Fishing Tackle  Shot Size / Weight Conversion Table

This drives me mad, so in case it drives you mad here is a rough conversion from traditional split-shot sizes to weights in grams.

  Shot   Grams   | Shot   Grams  
  SSG = 1.6g   | 2 × BB = 0.8g  
 SA=1.2g |3 × BB=1.2g 
 AAA=0.8g |4 × BB=1.6g 
 AB=0.6g  |5 × BB=2.0g 
 BB=0.4g  |2 × SSG=3.2g 
 No.1=0.3g  |1 × No.4, 1 × No.6=0.3g 
 No.4=0.2g  |1 × BB, 1 × No.6=0.5g 
 No.6=0.1g  |1 × AAA, 1 × No. 4=1.0g 
 No.8=0.068g  |2 × BB, 1 × No. 4=1.0g 
 No.9=0.051g  |3 × BB, 1 × No. 1=1.5g 
 No.10=0.03g  |¼oz=7g 
 No.11=0.02g  |½oz=14g 
 No.12=0.012g  |¾oz=21g 
 No.13=0.005g  |1oz=28g 
This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blankAll tench are good tenchGonks, gobbies, gudgeon (and return to the top of the page)All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchThis space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

Fishing Tackle  Shot Size / Weight Conversion Table.

This drives me mad as well, so...

  Gut   Inches   mm Equivalent line Hook/Fly
  0 X = 0.011" / 0.27mm (Stren Original 8lb) 2, 1/0
 1 X=0.010"   4,6,8
 2 X=0.009"/0.22mm(Stren Original 6lb)6, 8, 10
 3 X=0.008"/0.20mm(Stren Original 4lb)10, 12, 14
 4 X=0.007"   12, 14, 16
 5 X=0.006"   14, 16, 18
 6 X=0.005"/0.15mm(Stren Original 2lb)16, 18, 20, 22
 7 X=0.004"   18, 20, 22, 24
 8 ×=0.003"   22, 24, 26, 28
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Fishing Tackle  Useless Stuff.

This is a list of the stuff I either bought and discovered to be pointless or never bought for the same reason.

  • Tungsten Putty: Heard of plasticine anyone?
  • Lead core Line: Well, ostensibly useful but in practise, bits of plasticine will do the job.
  • Camo split shot: If you really think this matters, use a permanent marker to colour them or put a knat's spit of Humbrol olive green in a tin lid. Roll the shot around for a bit. Let dry. Repeat with another colour. There. I did buy some once when my concentration slipped, then after a moment of common sense, closed them all up and drilled them out with a 0.8mm drill. This allows me to thread a few shot under a float with float stops to get a self cocker without pinching the line.
  • Dibbers: Two words. Cocktail stick. Cork balls. OK that's four. Varnish. OK, five then. You get the idea.
  • Plastic Bait: Try real bait. 1/100th of the price.
  • Peacock quill. Bl**dy useless stuff, whatever anyone say's, it's pants for making floats. Just about OK cut up into bits and coloured with a permanent market pen.
  • Nearly every float: Honestly, we all only need about three. Well six then. Ok, ten at a stretch. The rest are decoration and I should know I've got dozens...
  • Float quick-change widgets, that is all the 'special ones' which aren't "two float stops and a tiny link-swivel".
  • This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blankThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are crucians (and return to the top of the page)The pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThe pieces of gold that are cruciansThis space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

    Fishing Tackle  Useful Stuff.

    This is a list of the stuff which is way more useful than one might think.

    1. Latex Float Stops; What a great invention. I don't need to tie floats on with braid or pinch shot onto mono at all. Four of these and a micro swivel and you can free-line, ledger or float fish as the mood takes you without a change to the end bits otherwise. They'll also sink the line and keep braid leaders on the bottom. Buy them on fleabay in 500 lots, not £1.20 for 10 with a famous anglers name on them.
      After a shipment of 'dayglow' orange/yellow stops 'not as described', to quote the seller; "I don't have time to go around updating all my pictures", I decided I don't have time to sort out those goods which arrive 'not as bought', so no longer buy from that twat. I now use 2.5mm silicone cord cut up into 5-6mm sections and threaded (by needle) onto some 8lb fused-braid (Berkeley Fireline) loops. Sounds tedious, but it takes about 15 minutes to make an entire season's worth. I am a dab hand at re-using them again and again though. When you tackle down, make sure enough mono. is left with the float stops on, so that when you next tackle up, you can tie the 'old' line around the reel line, using a single overhand knot, and slide the stops on. To be tidy, if it's preferable to put the stops back on the braid-loop, then tie the mono around the end of the loop and slide the stops back home. With a single overhand knot, the mono will pull off the braid when that's done.
    2. Tesco's Mixer biscuits; big bag for nothing much. Fill a 'Vitalite' box, pour over boiling water (carefully) and flavour of your choice. Shake for five minutes. Drain and stick in fridge. I've got some that have been defrosted 4 times.
    3. Cheap one litre thermos flasks. Put in one pint of dry hempseed (20p). Cover with boiling water, add a teaspoon of salt and two of Demerara sugar. Shake. Top up with more water. Leave overnight. Drain, freeze. Use the water for hempy floaters (above). Beats the pants out of stinking out the kitchen with saucepans of boiling hemp.
    4. Cocktail sticks: Float stems and tips for 50p for 50.
    5. Permanent Markers; Black, green and brown for instant camouflage for line, shot etc. Orange for instant floats tips.
    6. Rig rings: Very handy for joining two bits of dissimilar line, as nearly all the knots for this are rubbish, especially those for flouro to nylon. Use a cork ball and a rig ring, a lot less trouble.
    7. Bamboo toothpicks 80p for 200 the Chinese Supermarket, 200 cane float tips
    8. Bait Buckets; I got myself a five-litre one and it's very handy indeed, both for carrying and storage. That's a long winded way of saying that it goes in and out of the freezer without any fuss or mess.
    9. Plasticine; A lump or two in earth tones are very handy for changing method with minimal tackle changes.
    10. A good pocket knife: seems obvious, but a good pocket knife which can be kept really sharp (I mean 'razor') will do away with the need for clippers, cutters, scissors and a load of other clutter. Tie it to a piece of string to avoid the whole "knife-in-the-water" thing. If you can't get old-fashioned carbon-steel, the best stainless I've found is Sandvik Steel 12C27, hardened to 57 - 59 HRC. Most other s/steel knives are rubbish and don't hold any kind of edge, making them worse than useless. Do remember there are laws about knife blade length and the carrying of, so take the trouble to check and keep legal.
      P.S. An 'Opinel No. 6' or 'No.7' is my knife of choice as it has a carbon-steel blade, a blade-lock and can be touched up in a trice with my hook-sharpening stone. I take the time to grind the 'No. 7' blade down to the inoffensive length of a 'No. 5', which also makes it a little stouter at the tip.
    11. Waterproof Super Glue: How useful is this stuff? For float making it's near instant and once painted over, permanent. In fact it's handy for dozens of little jobs. Although...don't use it on tip-rings. If it sets with the ring not correctly aligned you're stuffed. I don't use it on knots (a good knot doesn't need it), I've never seen a fish try for a glued on floater either.
    12. Solder Wire (lead free): So very handy. You can make any float into an instant self or semi-cocker. For 24 awg lead-free solder, 4 cm = 1 'BB'. 1cm lengths slipped inside thin silicone tubing strung on the line is handy for fishing on the deck for carp when you need to avoid line bites, or if river fishing using hemp (say). You can colour the wire using permenant marker pens. A permanent resident of my tackle box.
    13. Permenant Marker Pens: I keep red, green, black and brown in my bag. Handy for so many on-the-fly adaptations.
    14. A small double sided whetstone: Mine is about 4" x 1" x ½" with a different grade on each side. It keeps the above 'Opinel No. 7' in shaving order and is perfect for hook sharpening as well. Cheaper than bespoke 'hook sharpening stones'.
    This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blankEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machine...(and back to the top of the page)Esox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineEsox LuciusThe lean mean finger-eating machineThis space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

    Fishing Tackle   Harrison's Four Piece Avon Review.

    Why would you buy a four-piece rod? Historically, they've had a bad press, but having travelled extensively and missed some great fishing opportunities, the need for a compact rod with the ability to cover various sorts of fishing had become crystallised in my mind. A two-piece rod is fine, but tends to be used as a footrest by smaller passengers in the back of the car and as a javelin by baggage handlers.

    After some interwebbing, I came across Harrison and after some email communications decided I'd try the four-piece Avon. I ordered my blank in January via a distributor and after a delay it turned up. I built it in a frenzy using double legged ceramic rings and more or less followed the instructions and advice on Harrisons' website about spacing and placing. I've nothing against buying rods built and Harrison rods are nicely built. I just like to do it myself for the fun of it. I finally got to the water in May 2005. Phew. Improbably, I had an 11lb carp not 15 minutes in and finished the day with seven tench and another 6lb common. Good omens...so onto the rod itself;

    At 10oz it's light in the hand, 11' long when assembled and 3'3" packed, which fits crossways on the Driving Technology's parcel shelf. When in use it has nothing about it that signals the four-piece construction. The joints are well made, a good fit and are overlapping joints which I am more comfortable with (as opposed to spigot-ferrules). It has a true Avon action through to the butt and I've felt that bend under strain. It's light enough to fish for small stuff, but has the power to stop a decent carp in its tracks. I've had to do this a few times on 12-15lb carp at about 15' (curse those overhanging tree branches).

    I've used it on the Frome trotting for grayling and dace, mullet fishing in Ireland, some light piking, plus carp and tench fishing in weedy and snaggy waters and have no complaints. It has flexibility, but there is loads of power in reserve. I suspect I've not tapped that to its fullest extent yet.

    I typically use it with 6lb/8lb line, depending on the water and fish, but go as light as 4lb, for trotting on the Frome and as high as 10lb for double figure carp in weedy water. 8lb seems around the optimum line strength for the rod. I would be chary of using it on purpose for really big carp (20lb+) especially in snaggy water; it might be a bit light for that. For everything between tiddler-snatching and really big carp/pike, it does an excellent job. I wish I'd had it a year earlier for a trip to a warm place with a chance of Barracuda, or as the bother put it, "A chance of watching one strip off 200 yards of line in 30 seconds and then smash you up...", but you know what I mean.

    This is all unrelentingly positive, but I have a couple of niggles. The first one, is that I ordered in January, got a blank in March with a cork handle, when I'd ordered Duplon, so back it went, four weeks to turn that around. Slow and wrong, although the dealer was very helpful in the circumstances. The second niggle, is that the screw down reel seat doesn't look the best quality. Having said that it works fine.

    If you wanted to spend all your time on grayling or smaller fish, then a lighter t/c Avon of around a 1lb might be more suited, but for me, with a limited budget (and limited time to fish), the rod performs perfectly for 90% of my fishing and is easy to pack and carry.

    Verdict: To sum up, if it broke I'd buy another tomorrow.

    This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blankCarpio CarpioI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page)Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.Carpio CarpioWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

    Fishing Tackle   Fox Stalker Unhooking Mat Review.

    Why review an unhooking mat? It depends what you want from it I suppose - my old one, an unbranded piece of foam with a nylon backing sheet, disintegrated from the molecular-bond breaking effects of UV light, so I needed another. I say 'needed' as so many waters have the use of an unhooking mat written into their rules. A lot of the places I fish have thick water-meadow grass, which is better, but I digress.

    So to the mat. It's a sensible colour. It has no flashy bits. It performs perfectly well in its primary role, which is to say it is well padded and big enough for a 30lb carp (I imagine, like I'd know first hand. Hah!). Well hurrah, a bin liner with a blanket in does that. It doubles as a weighing sling. Handy if you catch anything worth weighing. I'm not basing my choice on that criterion alone for very good reasons…or lack of them if you know what I mean.

    Secondly and more importantly it really is completely waterproof. This is an essential requirement, as for many of my trips the unhooking mat is my seat. A wet posterior can take the gloss of any day, but a dry unhooking matt under a large brolly keeps you out of the weather and in the summer you just skip taking the brolly. It's long enough to allow me to almost lie down.

    Thirdly - it's exactly the right size and shape to use as a holdall and to be fair it is designed that way. I like to put the rods, landing net and any other bits and pieces into the mat and carry them. The old one was good for that. My new mat had to be good for that and I have to say it's almost perfect in that regard. You can get all the normal accoutrements in it and then Velcro up the side to keep things put and then bung in your bait box (or whatever). If I was being hypercritical I'd say the handles are not quite large enough to hook them over one shoulder and that even with my short armed 6ft frame, the mat only just clears the deck when being carried by the handles. Trifles, really.

    Lastly, when you've done with it, it rolls up into a small self secured bundle to hide in the back of the car - and also it seems to absorb little or no slime, so it does wipe clean as advertised, which keeps the car fresher as well...

    I'm pleased with it - it does what it says on the tin, the price is reasonable and I'd recommend the Fox Stalker Unhooking Mat it even if you don't go stalking...

    P.S. It literally had fallen apart by mid-2014, I don't know if that counts as a long useful life or not.

    This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blankThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hook...(and back to the top of the page)Thymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThymallus thymallusHard to find, easy to hook, hard to keep on the hookThis space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

    Fishing Tackle   KingPin Series 2 Review.

    I decided that I wanted to try fishing with a centre pin, in part due to Waterlog et al. I dug out an old K. Dowling 'pin, given to me when I was 18, got quickly used to the unfree running nature and banked several carp up to 11lb next to lily beds, which as 'BB' reminds us, spells doom if carp can get amongst them. I rather enjoyed being able to retrieve line when exerting pressure. So that's OK then. I practised Wallis's in the back garden for a bit. Seemed straightforward enough in theory.

    I researched in-depth the contemporary centre-pin market. Well OK, for a couple of hours, but that's 'Google' for you. I wanted a quality item but wasn't prepared to part with the inflated price of some newer pins due in part to the name of the endorsee, especially in this age of CNC tools. It didn't matter whether it was an older or contemporary model. Function was the thing, as I was still a neophyte 'pin angler. By chance, I found a reference to 'Arnold KingPins' being manufactured in Poole. As it happens, that's local and I'd also rather buy British. With a call and a visit I found out that I could have a Series 2 Kingpin in a variety of colours, except green which is apparently a bu88er to get right and easily spoiled. Pity. Once I had one in my hand, I was sold however.

    I was invited to pay on collection when the reel was ready, which I did. The first time out I got memorably stuffed by a big carp ("Good Omens") but used it almost exclusively for the next 12 months for everything from margin carping, tench fishing and trotting the Frome for grayling and the Stour for chub, with lines from 3lb to 10lb b/s. A decent trot, as it were. Arf, arf.

    So, first things first. What does it look like? It looks like quality. The anodising is top rate and overall appearance pleasing. Two colours shown here, black and platinum (mea culpa, I bought another; I tend to fish when I can and I wanted to have two line strengths to hand). It's possible I didn't clean the reels before the photos.

    Series One - Regal 450 Platinum Series One - Regal 450 Platinum Series One - Regal 450 Black Series One - Regal 450 Black

    Does they spin? By golly, yes. When new, the first reel would spin freely for over a minute but now it has bedded well in, it actually spins for over two minutes. Which is nuts. Even limited experience tells you that any 'pin that spins freely for a minute is good enough for fishing. The reel itself is made in two main parts. The spool and the back-plate. The spool bolts to the back-plate with a nice brass nut, which is just knurled enough to hurt when your really cold fingers slip on it.

    The spool contains the sealed bearing unit, so it's not a 'traditional centre-pin', so some purists are no doubt offended, but if using nylon line, it is hard to reject ball bearings as a modern solution. I understand metal has been in use for several thousand years though, so we should be OK there. The drum of the spool is continuous, so no fold marks however long or tightly the line has been on the reel.

    The back of the spool is closed so no detritus can get into the sealed works but the gap between spool and back-plate is so small that any bit of grit will cause nasty noises. Always dismantle the reel on a clean surface is my advice, and unhooking mats are not in this category.

    The drum is wide, 7/8", with a depth that accommodates 200 yards of 12lb line on it, and a bit more besides if you feel the need. Hook a margin carp and need 200 yards of line? You wish! The ratchet lever is in a handy place and the ratchet is positive and not too loud, but I quietened mine with a mix of moly and silicon grease, but I'm a slave to silence. Since I wrote this in 2009, the flimsy back-plate was removed from the spools and that quietened the reels considerably.

    Series One - Regal 450 Series One - Regal 450

    Both parts are very solidly made (useful for the aforementioned margin carp) and it's heavier than some reels. Despite the resulting inertia, the extremely free running nature compensates to the point where even a 2BB float in a light Stour flow pulls line off at a steady rate. Casting 'off the reel' needs some care initially as you need to brake the drum almost from the off to avoid overruns. Otherwise, it's good for "giving it some Wallis".

    The knurled finish on the drum edge provides very satisfying feedback for the thumb when trotting, as well as a sight fizzing noise, the note of which varies with the speed the line is pulled off. I've got very used to that, even if your thumb can get warm when you hook a screamer, although funnily enough that's easier to bear. It's nice also for 'batting the rim' if you like to retrieve this way. The handles are also nicely made, but are easy to remove if you prefer and the round holes in the spool are very handy for the 'one finger retrieve' (I sense a 'Samantha the Scorer' anecdote coming on, what with 'batting the rim' and the 'one finger retrieve').

    Series One - Regal 450 Black Series One - Regal 450 Black Series One - Regal 450 Platinum Series One - Regal 450 Platinum

    I find the reel body a little close to the rod when mounted, which can make it awkward to hold, as I like to get my index finger ahead of the reel mount for a stronger grip and I have small hands. For most fishing this is not a problem, but I find a three fingered grip aching at the end of a days' trotting and also if into a large carp (steady Samantha). I'd personally like a larger diameter drum, for a faster retrieve and a lighter reel would be nicer for the river but I see that the range has recently expanded to cover these things plus user serviceable bearings.

    In summary, I find it a joy to use, pretty much in any situation. Try one, you might be amazed. They perform perfectly for me and I have to say it's good to buy British. I was edging towards my third Kingpin when I wrote this and have since indulged in a Royalty 478 which I thought to be even better...but it never felt right in the hand and in the end I sold it on for what I paid for it. I did the same with a 378 (although I made a profit on that one). Nice, but I had little use for it.

    I've since come to see them as rather over-priced, sorry to say. They are beautifully made of course, but they are CNC machined, high tolerances excepting and as of 2014, the market is showing more and more very nicely made reels that are a quarter of the price but are simply nowhere near a quarter of the quality, many with user changeable bearings and little significant difference in quality or performance.

    For some there is a cachet that sits alongside 'reassuringly expensive' but for my money, there are several equally good and usable reels for £100 or so, and to pay £400 or even £700 for what is after all, a piece of CNC machining, is rather more 'Emperor's New Clothes' than 'value for money'.

    just a hook...just a hook...(and back to the top of the page) ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook...

    There you go. Some stuff on tackle.

    03:36am on 2018-04-22 JAA