Cheats CAN pros­per!

No, I’m not ad­vo­cat­ing break­ing match rules! My ‘cheat’ in­volves sav­ing time on tackle prepa­ra­tion chores…

Anglers Mail - - Front Page -

WHETHER you go fish­ing a hand­ful of times a year or three times a week, prepa­ra­tion work for your time on the bank is an ab­so­lute must.

This is by no means a ground­break­ing rev­e­la­tion. But ev­ery an­gler surely knows deep down that you’ll pay the price if you ne­glect those time-con­sum­ing prep chores?

Does this sce­nario sound fa­mil­iar? You get home late from work and have evening com­mit­ments, but have a match the next day. So, you turn up on the bank only half-ready, draw a flyer and end up mud­dling through and muck­ing it up?

We’ve all been there! But rather than list count­less lit­tle de­tails of ex­ten­sive prepa­ra­tions, I’m go­ing to let you in on a few se­cret short­cuts – ‘cheats’, if you pre­fer – that help me to get ready with­out a huge sac­ri­fice in time!

The highly di­verse range of match fish­ing that I do has taught me to be smart with my prep. The first thing that I do be­fore each match is to cre­ate a pri­or­ity list of kit in my mind. Write this down, if it helps!

Top pri­or­ity is al­ways the hard­ware: rods, reels, poles, nets, seat­box, bags and any­thing else that you need ev­ery time but don’t want to waste time sort­ing out week after week.

For ex­am­ple, a good stink bag hold­ing all your land­ing nets and keep­nets, is es­sen­tial. At the end of ev­ery match I chuck all of my nets in­side, then hang them out to dry when I get home. The fol­low­ing evening I pack them all away in­side the now-dry stink bag, ready for the next match.

Pre-made rods are an­other time ‘cheat’, re­quir­ing min­i­mal at­ten­tion, and if you fish only com­mer­cial still­wa­ters, you prob­a­bly only need one feeder rod/reel.

Ev­ery match you can get this out in a minute and pack it away in a minute at the end. The line I use is so durable that it will prob­a­bly last a full sea­son, and the only main­te­nance re­quired is to strip off two me­tres of line per month, or after an es­pe­cially tough ses­sion.

It’s a feeder rod, ready to go, week in, week out. Zero prep re­quired!

I place all my es­sen­tial hard­ware in the same place in my garage ev­ery time, ready to pick up next time. It’s one fewer things to think about. With your main gear sorted, you have more time for ter­mi­nal tackle – an area of prep that can re­ally give you an edge.

Again, there are ways to min­imise this… be­gin­ning with main­tain­ing a good stock of pre-tied hook lengths.

With such a wide choice of hooks and line out there, this may seem a daunt­ing task. Ev­ery hook has its pros and cons, but find­ing one that can do a va­ri­ety of jobs is an­other time-sav­ing ‘cheat’ so­lu­tion.

For my com­mer­cial feeder fish­ing, I’ve nar­rowed my hook length prep down to a sin­gle, Banded hook lengths in a box. highly ver­sa­tile hook pat­tern – the PI KKM-B.

This pat­tern can land ev­ery­thing that you’re likely to hook, but isn’t overly heavy to the point of putting smaller species off, pro­vided you tie a range of sizes to suitable hook lengths.

Four sizes, each tied to two dif­fer­ent line di­am­e­ters, is all that I take in my hook box:

Size 18 to 0.13 and 0.17 lines; Size 16 to 0.13 and 0.17 lines; Size 14 to 0.15 and 0.19 lines; Size 12 to 0.15 and 0.19 lines. That’s it! Eight com­bi­na­tions that can deal with nearly ev­ery sit­u­a­tion, all tied to a stan­dard length of 30 cm (12 in.), all with a hair-rigged bait band at the busi­ness end.

You may be won­der­ing how such a nar­row se­lec­tion copes with all the de­mands? Well, the band is ideal for pre­sent­ing pel­lets, Band’ums and even cast­ers – plus, I can pull it through corn or meat baits be­fore adding a bait stop.

If di­rectly hook­ing baits is re­quired, I can sim­ply cut off the hair-rig part. And If I need to shorten the hook length, that takes a mat­ter of sec­onds.

In win­ter, I fill my hook box with around 20 of each of these. You never need that many in one match, so ev­ery now and then I top the box up as needed.

Smart prepa­ra­tion means that this week’s Mail match fish­ing colum­nist, Lee Kerry, is al­ways ready for ac­tion on com­mer­cial pools.

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