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