BOMB THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE ALL FISHED
WDtoicetkh Wanvaeklkfoerr inventing this aerodynamic swivel lead
IN SEPTEMBER 1953, just two months after the launch of Angling Times, ‘new’ weekly columnist Dick Walker lifted the lid on an item of tackle that he and his friends had developed for their own use, but one that would ultimately change the way everyone fished.
He described it as ‘a special lead that was designed for fishing at range for big perch at Arlesey Lake, in Bedfordshire’ (a venue where Dick would go on to catch numerous fish of 4lb-plus).
Up until that point, anglers wishing to fish the leger were limited to using coffin leads or drilled bullets, both of which had serious limitations.
It didn’t take long for Dick to realise the many other applications for his new invention, and he went on to list them. He wrote: “By reason of its shape it travels nose-first when cast and offers less wind resistance. This not only means longer casting, but greater accuracy when the wind is across the line of the cast.
“When used as a leger, with the line running through the swiveleye, the hooklength never gets twisted around the line on the rod side of the lead; or, if it does, the twists come out as the tackle sinks or when you tighten on your lead.
“This is a terrific advantage. Very few fish, especially big ones, will hang on to a bait if they feel the drag of a leger lead. Unless your line runs freely you may have dozens of bites and never know: and the longer the range at which you’re fishing, the more likely this is to happen.
“At Arlesey, where very long casting is needed to catch the big perch, we found that with coffin leads or drilled bullets we got a twist-up at least once in every two
casts. This was the same as losing an hour’s fishing in every two. In a cross wind it was worse than that.”
Dick also revealed how hours of experimentation showed that it wasn’t just stillwater anglers who’d benefit from the invention.
“In river fishing, the lead doesn’t roll much and it doesn’t kink the tackle when it does. It nearly always lies swivel end downstream and thus minimises friction of line through the swivel eye. Even when a fish goes off at an angle, the lead turns on its largest circumference and keeps the friction as low as possible.”
Dick concluded his historic article by saying: “It’s the best leger lead I know of, and I’d like to see it available for everyone who wants it.”