Friday, 17 September 2010

Dashed hopes

It had been three hundred and twenty eight hours since I last had the chance to get out fishing. This was solely due to me pulling thirteen days straight at work and during this mammoth two week stint I have driven across just about every major river in central England and past some very nice looking lakes, ponds and canals. All whilst I haven't had so much as a moment to even dream about fishing never mind do any. Finally with my last job done on Saturday I found myself looking forward to getting back to my beloved Avon. I had chatted to Andy about an early session Sunday and after agreeing to meet up at five I grabbed whatever tackle I thought I might need. This is when the trouble started I really fancied going barbel fishing but needed to get my arse in gear and try for some points for the challenge so foolishly thought I would do a bit of barbel fishing then later on go after the dace point. This was decision that would come back to bite me up the arse.

Arriving at out rendezvous to find Andy sitting in his car in the total dark we agreed to slowly get ready at the cars and move to the river once dawn had finally broken. This was usefull to me as half way there I noticed a nasty bumping sound coming from under the car and upon stopping found that the bumping was caused by one of my swim feeders/rigs from my already set up rods was hanging out of the door swinging around as I drove along, so I had time to strip off the damaged line and re rig before we moved off.

Being the gent I am I offered Andy first choice on the swims and even suggested he had a go in one where I had some previous success. I stuck round for a bit to see if he might get an instant result. But after a while moved off down stream to try my own luck. I sat on the barbel rod for a good three hours in which time Andy bagged a nice chub and a stunning PB barbel of 10lb whilst my rod remained stationary. The whole time I sat there watching a motionless tip I could see dace rolling downstream out the corner of my eye.

Finally I switched over to a light feeder set up and moved down stream to do a bit of dace fishing. The area which I had seen all the dace rolling in was a slightly wider swim with a clean bottom. The only problem was that although the river was well within the normal level, a down stream wind seemed to speed up the flow to the extent that every time I put in my light rig it was washed into my own bank. After adding more lead I finally got it to hold in the flow but now the jagged bites that I struck at resulted in nothing more than my maggots getting skinned out. Another change of tactics saw me go over to a chubber float to try and run a bait through. First cast the float dipped and small dace of two ounces came to hand. After sticking with the float for a good hour I had scraped together five whole dace for nine ounces. After this weigh in the wind changed direction and was blowing straight in my face and as a result every time I cast he float in instead of running straight down the swim it ended up travelling diagonally across the run into a snag at the end.

With everything against me including my own attitude of 'I don't want to be doing this' I moved up stream of Andy who was by now packing up ready to go home. In a half hearted attempt to get a few last fish I switched back to a lead set up and struggled out two more better dace for a further seven ounces. Looking back now if I had just gone from the dace from the start I know the point would have been in the bag, but sadly my hopes of a glorious return were dashed and I gave up and headed off home. Though I must say it was nice to get out again and I know that the dace point is one I still have plenty of time to get.
After arriving home and getting cleaned up I hopped straight back in the car with Jacky and headed off to do some necessary shopping for our fast approaching holiday to the east coast. After some success sea fishing last time we were out this way I having been getting rather excited at the prospect of returning during a different season to have another go. Before my last trip I had bought a second beach caster rod and reel to double up my chances of catching. When fishing with this second set up I quickly realised that comparatively the rods were about the same but my new reel I had purchased was far superior to the old one, in fact towards the end of the trip a flaw in my first real came to light as on one retrieve of the rig the reel seemed to really struggle. Upon inspection I noticed that the line had actually cut into the support for the bale arm and had damaged at least 30 meters of line. On the other hand my newer reel performed brilliantly all round. So whilst out a detour to Go Outdoors was made to purchase another duplicate reel.

As I don't get to go sea fishing that much I cannot afford to go splashing out on top notch gear so after many hours of researching on the internet earlier in the year I was about to purchase a Shakespeare reel, but when on a random trip to Go Outdoors I came across something very interesting. There in the middle of the tackle isle was a basket of plastic packed sea fishing reels which bore a very similar resemblance to the ones I had been looking at on line, apart from the manufacture branding was different and the other key difference was they were less than half the price. The manufacture of this seeming ultimate value reel was Fladen a Swedish tackle company that seems to be taking over the economy section of the UK fishing tackle market. It didn't take more than on minute for this decision to be made and I duly purchased my first Fladen chater surf 7000 for the bargain price of £16.99. 

After using this reel for a week I soon realised that were it excels is in pure simplicity. It does not have a load of features or gimmicks it is just simply sturdy , strong and has a spool big enough to make any big pit baitrunner feel very inadequate. I also found whilst grubbing round in many of the east coast tackle emporiums that it is in fact identical to both the Shakespeare and Michell reels I was looking at on the internet. It is obviously not produced by any of the manufactures that brand them under there own names and is more likely made in china and pre branded before being exported over here to be sold by the afore mentioned tackle companies. So at the end of the day you can but a top notch eco reel for less than twenty quid that performs pretty dam well and I have to say anyone considering a having a go at sea fishing whilst on holiday with the family should consider this bargain reel for purchase as so far mine has never let me down and I liked it so much I went and bought a second one too...


  1. Good luck for this weekend and I'll be interested in how the new gear performs at Southwold. My "beachcaster" is my 5oz spod rod and a big Wychwood reel.

  2. I love Fladen gear. You have to look far beyond the point of sale, just as you have here, to understand the logic of it. Its easy to come to the conclusion that because some of it is crap, therefore all of it is flawed somehow.

    I'm old enough to remember that Shakespeare themselves penetrated the UK market in the same way. When I was young, Shakespeare tackle was dubious even, suspect when compared to trust brand such as ABU and Mitchell.