A shout for a Butt Pad will often send the Charter boat skipper and maybe one or two anglers in the charter party rummaging in the bottom of tackle boxes and bags to try and find a pad for the poor unfortunate who is hanging over the stern, rod bent double and a fish of a lifetime giving it some welly!!

Butt pads are often seen as one of those items that are nice to have but not really essential - anyway someone else will always have one if it's needed. Bad attitude!!

If you want to land big fish, good gear and good preparation is the way to go. So what should you look for in a butt pad?

First off, the question is heavy tackle or light tackle?
Light tackle fishing is all about technique, constant movement of the drag to ensure that the fish is working as hard as you can make it against the friction of the drag.
This is almost impossible to do with the right degree of precision if the rod butt is tucked under your arm. A small butt pad to hold the rod in a comfortable attitude, so that sudden movements of the fish can be instantly countered by a quick and accurate re-setting of the drag is good technique.

Heavy tackle fishing in UK waters is inevitably congering, skate or shark fishing using a 50 pound class outfit. With such tackle the small butt pad that is so convenient for light tackle is next to useless.

The best and most comfortable are the wide pads that spread the load across the front of the legs as you lean into the heavyweight fish to apply some equal and opposite force.
These big pads are not cheap at £50ís and they do look a bit "posy". But once you have used one in anger, the big pad will become an essential part of your heavy tackle kit.

Questions to russ@reelfoto.demon.co.uk