1. The Breakaway Impact Lead.
For me this is the most significant advance in terminal tackle in a long time. Not only does the Impact lead have a streamlined shape, aiding casting, and excellent holding properties but more importantly it provides a near failsafe release of the hook every time. I have been using these leads since they first became available and have yet to retrieve one that has not had the hook released. The principle behind the lead is that the hook is attached to the lead so that the hook length is taut. Once cast, the hook remains in place. When the lead hits the water the slots on the side of the lead enable the water to force the plastic 'pyramid' upwards thus releasing the hook. The plastic 'pyramid' on the leads are colour coded to signify their weight. Impact leads are manufactured in 150gm (yellow), 170gm (red) and 190gm (green). They are available from Breakaway although you would find it hard to find a shop which does not stock them.
Breakaway Tackle 376 Bramford Road Ipswich Suffolk IP1 5AY Tel: 01473 741393 Fax: 01473 462482
2. Amnesia Hookline
Amnesia has been used by many anglers for ten or more years now, primarily for the construction of hooklengths. It is available in black, clear, fluorescent red and green and in breaking strains of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40lb. Amnesia is so called because it is memory free. In fishing terms this means that if you catch a small pouting or bootlace eel, follow the following guide and the hooklength can be saved! Firstly, unravel the line and stretch it a few times. Then trap the line between your index finger and thumb and run your hand down the line, whilst under tension, towards the hook. The crinkles and distortions virtually disappear. Amnesia has a major advantage over other hook lines because most lines, when subjected to twist etc caused by eels would be rendered useless, whereas Amnesia can be used again. Amnesia also allows crinkle free knots to be tied. Amnesia will be found in most tackle shops and is distributed by Leeda.
LEEDA 16- 17 PADGETS LANE, SOUTH MOONS MOAT, REDDITCH WORCESTERSHIRE, B98 ORA TEL:01527 529030 FAX:01527 525588
3. TG's Rocket Fuel
Although you will find a great deal of variety in rods, reels and traces amongst anglers, the one universal product you will find in virtually every tackle box is Rocket Fuel. This is the secret as to why the big casters are able to cast flat out all day without encountering overruns and 'snap-offs'. Casting with tightened up end caps on reels such as ABU 6500's or Daiwa 7HT's is like driving your car with the handbrake on. But by using the liquid control of Rocket Fuel in conjunction with either magnetic or fibre brake blocks you can achieve trouble free maximum range all the time with no tension on the spool whatsoever. Rocket fuel comes in three forms. The original yellow label is suitable for ABU 6500CT's and Shimano Speedmaster reels. The red label, a slightly thicker formula, suits the larger reels such as ABU 7000, 8000 and 9000's as well as the ABU Ultacast models. Finally there is a very thin tournament version, this should be strictly reserved for tournament casting only. Arriving in the near future is Rocket Fuel degreasant which is designed to clean the bearings out prior to oiling. Currently highly flammable substances such as petrol and lighter fuel are used. These will become a thing of the past to the discerning angler once this new product arrives. Rocket Fuel can be obtained from Tony Gittens at the following address.
T. G. DEVELOPMENTS 35 MARINE PARADE LOWESTOFT SUFFOLK NR33 TEL: 01502 511799 FAX:01502 511799
4. The Berkley Line Stripper
This ingenious yet simple device was an absolute godsend when it arrived from America several years ago. Gone are the days of aching arms from pulling hundreds of yards of used line from reels. With the Berkley Line Stripper all you have to do is place the end of the line in the hole, making sure that it goes in the same way as the arrow on the top of the stripper. Set the reel so the spool is 'free' and hold down the button on the stripper. This enables the two opposing rollers to pull the line through. Within about 60 - 90 seconds the line is removed hassle free. As an added bonus, at the end of the strippper is located a rotating stone which can be used to sharpen hooks. The Stripper is marketed by OTG.
OUTDOOR TECHNOLOGIES GROUP (UK) LTD UNIT 5, ASTON WAY, MIDDLEWICH MOTORWAY ESTATE, MIDDLEWICH, CHESHIRE, CW10 OHS TEL:01606 836921 FAX:01606 836257
5. Meta-lite Comfy Coasters Despite their appearance, these are extremely comfortable to use. They are manufactured from hardened nylon and, provided that a little oil is applied to the internal thread once in a while, they should return years of trouble free service. Primarily they are used for securing multiplier type reels to the rod. The larger of the coasters is used nearest the bottom of the rod and allows a firm grip of the rod/reel to be gained, ensuring a cast with increased confidence. They are available in red, yellow, blue and black and in diameters of 27, 30, 33, and 35mm which will accommodate most rods encountered. Comfy Coasters are available from Meta-Lite Tackle.
META-LITE TACKLE 15 NEWGATE STREET, WALTON-ON-THE-NAZE, ESSEX. CO14 8DT.
TEL:01255 675680 FAX:01255 675680
6. The Genie Rig Clip Like the impact lead, the Genie offers a near fail safe release for hook lengths. The rig-clip can be used in conjunction with an Impact lead. For example, with a wishbone rig, one half of the 'wishbone' can be attached to the clip on the Impact lead whilst the other half can be connected to the rig clip. This gives a staggered arrangement which is particularly useful when using larger baits as it tends to have a streamlining effect and prevents the baits 'helicoptering' which can result in a tangled mess. The rig clip is also used as a lead attachment in the same manner as a split ring. The rig clip can also be used as the sole means of hook release to which an ordinary lead weight is attached. Rig clips will be found in most tackle shops and are distributed by Relum.
RELUM LTD CARLTON PARK INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, KELSALE, SAXMUNDHAM, SUFFOLK, IP17 2NL
TEL:01728 603271 FAX:01728 603067
Cascade Swivels offer a streamlined and effective way of 'clipping down' multi hook rigs. Manufactured from stainless steel with a brass barrel they are a combined swivel and clip all in one. To get the best out of them I use them with an Impact lead as in the diagram. be careful not to make the hook lengths too tight as the hook will have difficulty in releasing . They are manufactured and distributed by Breakaway.
8. Leeda Sea Dacron (Braid) 80lb Although braid has been around for years it is only fairly recently where it has started to become more commonly used for the main body of rigs. The advent of braid offers a unique versatility to rig making that has not previously been possible. For example: If a traditional one hook rig was put together using 50lb nylon, a swivel trapped by two beads and crimps, and the hook length attached to an impact lead, it would prove very difficult and time consuming to tie another hook length exactly the same length to enable it to be clipped up should the original hook length be damaged or broken. With braid, crimps are replaced by telephone wire wrapped tightly around the braid. this allows the swivel to be moved up or down as required, but the wire is secure enough to hold it's position when a cast is made. The use of braid therefore not only allows a speedy replacement of hook lengths, but hook lengths can be made longer or shorter as required. Another benefit is that braid is totally memory free and extremely supple. I have been using braid for about four years now and have found it to be very resilient too. Braid is tied with the use of a large eyed needle. For example if a swivel is to be tied: Firstly a 3cm length of silicon tubing is put on to the braid followed by the swivel. The end of the braid is then passed through the eye of the needle so that about 7cm is pulled through the end. The needle is now threaded through the centre of the braid for about 2cm (forming a loop) ensuring that the swivel is trapped between the eye of the needle and the point at which the the needle enters the braid. The silicon tubing should then be further down the braid out of the way. The needle is then pulled all the way through so that the new knot is formed on the swivel eye. The surplus braid is then pulled tight and trimmed so that only a tag of 2 cm is left.the silicon tubing is then moved up the braid so that the tag is doubled back with the end pointing towards the swivel. This protects the knot. Initially this knot may seem difficult and time consuming, but once perfected it takes only a little longer to tie than an ordinary blood knot. The particular brand I use is available from Leeda, however Breakaway sell their own braid in kit form which comes complete with a needle, sleeving etc.
9. Mustad Nordic Bends Pattern 4446B
The East Anglian coast where I tend to fish the most can be quite snaggy. Coupled with the fact that it is quite rare (under match conditions) to catch fish in excess of 4 - 5lb, it therefor makes sense to use a hook that bends a little. This has two main benefits, the first being that if a hook is caught on a snag you are more likely to retrieve it with a Nordic Bend compared with a stronger hook, as a Nordic Bend will virtually straighten if sufficient force is applied. Secondly, Nordic Bends can be pulled from a deeply hooked fish, whereas a stronger hook would take considerably more time to remove - if at all. During a competition this can save valuable time. As with most hooks manufactured, Nordic Bends are chemically sharpened giving an incredibly sharp point. The hooks should be routinely checked as the points can 'turn' when fishing over rough or snaggy ground. Nordic Bends are widely available and are distributed by Leeda.
10. Suffix Tritanium
Since Relum launched Tritanium in September 1998 it has received glowing reports from anglers who have used it. In fact it has been so popular that Relum sold their entire stock within four weeks. Specially designed for the sea angler, Tritanium has many endearing qualities. It is manufactured from 'virgin' co-polymer nylon, incorporating super bond polymer technology. This affords a smooth consistent diameter and extreme abrasion resistance. It's pigment free make up ensures minimum visibility even in clear water. When cast, Tritanium peels from the spool with ease and it's abrasion resistance is really quite extraordinary. I recently fished a five hour competition where I was fishing over a wide submerged shingle/sand bar and the line was constantly being buried. Despite the actions of the shingle, to my amazement at the end of the match the 10lb (0.28mm) Tritanium showed virtually no signs of wear or chaffing. Another important aspect to consider when choosing a line is it's 'wet-knot' strength. Tritanium 15lb (0.35) has a wet knot strength of 15lb, many other lines have a wet knot strength which is less then their stated breaking strain. The tensile strength (measured without knots) for 15lb Tritanium is an impressive 19lb. Tritanium is manufactured in 10, 12, 15, 19, 28, 50 and 80lb breaking strains and is available on 4oz, 1lb and 1 kilo spools. The price given the excellent quality is extremely reasonable especially when you compare it to Ultima Formula 1 which is a considerably more expensive and, in my opinion, not in the same league as Tritanium. Tritanium is available from Relum.