This Dura Slip Hybrid elastic ticks all the boxes for me based on it’s durability, performance and its cost price.
6 months in from trying a couple of top kits with Preston new Hybrid Dura Slip. I must say I’m pretty impressed with it. I first used the green 11 elastic though a couple normal top kits back in the winter fishing for carp and F1’s with maggots, small hooks and light lines. It performed great, plenty of stretch in it and very noticeable when it powered up compared to the standard Preston 11 hollo elastic I used the previous winter. The added bonus is it’s still fine with no signs of perishing. In fact I was so impressed with it I used it in my short stop kits this summer where it’s also been excellent for shallow F1 fishing but I have also landed some bigger carp easily with it. Plus you can elasticate two short kits from one 3 metre piece and at roughly a fiver a excellent value.
So come the summer months I’ve also used the white 13, red 15, for my carp fishing and the yellow 17 for margin munters. Again I been impressed with it compared to standard hollo. Plenty of stretch in it and once it powers up landing fish has been a lot quicker. I also feel able to use slightly smaller and lighter hook lengths this year which always helps getting more bites.
Available in 8 sizes, Dura Slip Hybrid Elastic combines power, durability and stretch to create the perfect solid elastic for a wide range of species including F1’s and Carp. The elastic has been pre coated with slip oil increasing its performance and further enhancing its durability, Perfect for high catch rate venues where traditional solid elastics may fail.
Available in 3m lengths Pre coated with slip oil for durability and performance Available in 8 popular sizes High stretch factor
Several years ago mass produced pole floats from some of the main fishing tackle companies were really terrible. Often falling apart even before they sat in the water. The choice on offer wasn’t good either with only a few basic options generally available.
Many serious anglers turned to handmade or hand assembled float makers such as Mick Wilkinson and Nick Gilbert to name a couple. Their pole floats were and still are exceptional with plenty of choices and sizes available. I started using Nick Gilbert’s XL hand assembled ones for several years and I had no issues, very strong and well made and easily available from his website.
Around 2 years ago Preston released their mark I version of their Commercial pole float range and later the Des Ship Commercial Slims followed with the new super strong side eyes. Guru saw this and basically did a deal bringing Mick Wilkinson on board to design and build their versions of his pole floats.
My attention to these new pole floats came via their social media posts. I brought some to try and was impressed despite fellow anglers knocking mass produced pole floats.
Once something has a bad name, it sticks. Yes they had a bad name but now the quality and options available is 1st class. But one of the biggest plus’s with the Preston floats it that they are colour coded and named for their use, Yellow Carp Pellet for Carp, Red F1 Maggot for maggots or slow sinking baits fished on the drop. Blue F1 Pellet for pellets on the bottom, F1 fine for winter fishing etc, Simple!
Then from the Commercial range, Mark II there are purple F1 Shallows for F1’s Shallow and Carp Shallow for fishing shallow for carp, then the Edge for fishing in the Edge. This was a big draw for me. I can now easily select the right pole float from my seatbox with ease. I like to be organised and now I have all these options and their different sizes stored in my rig trays.
So are mass produced pole floats making a come back? Tell me what you think, leave me a comment below.
They are various ways of attaching your pole rigs to your top kits. I’ve used three styles of connector during all the years I’ve been pole fishing and these days all my top kits are fitted with Guru Dacron connectors
Years ago when I first started fishing a pole we all used the Stonfo connector. These were easy to fit and use but some of the bigger sizes used with heavy elastics caused a problem with the elastic not fully retracting back into the pole. This led to problems with the rig line catching around the top of the pole and hindering the strike. There were plenty of times when I would also have several inches to elastic hanging out of the end of the pole. I played around with different types of connector and still always had the same problem.
Nisa came up with a connector that I played around with for a while. There was no need for chopping or adding bits of line when changing depth as you could just wrap or unwrap the required line from the integral winder, reposition float and carry on fishing. This was ideal on windy days as you could adjust the amount of line between pole tip and float and it allowed you to have less rigs.However although a good idea I had the same problem with the elastic not retracting back into the pole. Plus I found that these winders damaged the line on my rigs and I had several occasions when the line snapped just below the connector. So it was time for a re-think. Dacron connectors had began to be used by some of the top anglers and several tackle company’s had began to produce them.
At the time I felt they looked a little fiddly to use and I discounted them, sticking with the Nisa Connectors. As I got more into match fishing all the other anglers seemed to be using dacrons and I began to do I little research on youtube etc. I still had the problem with the elastic hanging out. So I brought some Drennan pre tied connecters/elastics and began using them. I felt more connected to the fish and no elastic hanging out from the pole tip and no problems with the rig wrapping around the end of the pole tip. I very quickly saw the advantage using dacrons even though I now needed more pole rigs in my seat box! After studying a few more youtube video’s on how to fit these dacrons I began buying the Preston Innovations ones and I began fitting my own. I still had a little difficultly fitting them but then Guru brought out their dacron connectors in 3 different sizes. These seemed perfect for me. They come pre loaded on a piece of plastic and all you needed to do was pull one off and thread through the elastic. This was easier than using the Preston ones and I was hooked. The Guru ones also have a wire instead of the loose cloth Preston ones and I felt these were better at keeping the pole rig line away from the pole tip which was a added bonus. So these day all my top kits have Guru dacrons on them now and they look much neater with the plastic bead over them when fitted. I would add though the wire can cut through the elastic quicker when the elastics are getting older and double sleeving the elastic before adding the dacron is needed.
In recent years especially for F1 fishing shallow, Short Kits have become a welcome addition to the match anglers armoury.
I’m a big fan of Garbolino poles so when they brought out their own short stop kits, off to the tackle shop I went as all Garbolino top kits are interchangeable with their older poles.
These short 1.85m top kits are a dream to use when fishing shallow. Ideally you need several different ones so different rig depths can be set up but once attached these rigs can stay stored on the kits which makes setting up for a match quicker.
These types of shallow kits are painted white and the jury is really out as to whether being coloured white/grey helps not spooking shallow feeding fish. All I know is that if you hold up a white and black top kit above you the white doesn’t stand out so much as a black one so maybe there is something in that but I’ll do anything for a couple more fish in a match. The real advantage to me though is the length of the kits. You need fish with light elastics when fishing shallow so a hooked fish is able the swim away from the feeding shoal of fish, so not to spook them. Being a short kit allows the elastic to power up quicker than a normal length top kit and you are able to land the fish quicker. The short length also means the hooked fish will surface nearer to you for netting making that easier and more importantly quicker, as you need to get back out for the next one. Another benefit with these short kits is that they also stiffen up the pole when fishing at length and help to improve your hooking ratio.
I’ve used various elastic brands over the years and without doubt daiwa’s hydrolastic even though it’s pretty expensive is the one I turn to for my summer shallow fishing.
Used in conjunction with my short stop kits with puller bungs, I find it unbeatable in the light orange (4-8) and white 6-10) grades.
When fishing shallow and you have fish competing up in the water you want a light stretchy elastic that will allow the hooked fish to swim away from the other fish so these fish are not spooked and scared off. Daiwa’s hydrolastic does this with ease. However the beauty of it is than it powers up quickly and even larger carp up to 10lb in weight can soon be landed. But the other advantage with hydrolastic is that you suffer from less hook pulls when using small hooks when fishing for F1’s as they have soft mouths. I fish most weeks of the year and it lasts longer than other elastics however double sleeving the dacron onto the elastic in these smaller sizes needs to be done and careful attention to the puller bead is needed and checked during the time the elastic is in the top kits.
For the larger carp elastics I wanted to use cheaper brands as elasticating multiple top kits gets expensive with Hydro and when I first used Nick Gilberts Amber Core in the black and purple grades for large summer carp fishing I thought “that’s just the same as Hydro” it looked and performed the same but was half the price of hydro and the beauty of buying this from Nick it that you can buy it by the metre. I used it for several years catching plenty of carp on it. It did the business, black for open water carping the purple for the margins or by snags. however I found you had to replace it more often and you couldn’t just buy it from the local tackle shop. You had to be organised and buy it online. I then tried Frenzee stretch elastic which did exactly that. It stretched for miles and I found it difficult to get control over large carp. The orange (14-18) was good but at 2.8mm diameter I found the elastic would rub over the puller slot and sometimes it wouldn’t retract properly and I stopped using it.
So I turned to Preston Hollo next. I was impressed with the first couple to top kits I used the red 11h in. It was brilliant for summer F1 fishing and would cope with the odd larger carp and I quickly fitted my other top kits with 13h, 15h which are great for small carp and then the 17h and 20h for bigger margin carp. All these elastics have performed fine and I’ve landed plenty of fish using them. One point I will make though is when fitting the puller bead. Don’t just slide the puller bead down to the required length. Stretch out the elastic first and gradually slide the bead down the elastic being careful not the rub the elastic with the bead. I didn’t do this at first and I am sure I damaged the elastic as a brand new 15h elastic perished within a month and snapped at the puller bead once. But once these elastics have been fitted to my top kits they have generally out lived the other elastics I’ve used in the past, apart from the Hydro, but it’s expensive.
So my elastic set ups are now Orange and White hydro in my shallow short stop kits for summer shallow fishing. 11h, 13h for F1’s and carp in the winter months when fishing on the bottom when you need to use longer top kits because of the depth of water. 15h for general open water carping and 17h and 20h for the margin lumps in the summer.
Last winter I felt I had a rod missing from my match fishing armoury. I have 11ft pellet waggler rods but I really lacked a decent value for money 12ft carp waggler rod that I could fish a traditional waggler out at range during the winter months at full depth. I also wanted a rod that could also handle large match sized carp on the commercial venues I fish in the summer months.
As much of my match fishing involves pole work I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a rod that I wouldn’t be used much. Visiting my local tackle shop I picked up a Drennan 12ft Carp Waggler rod and thought that at £60 odd quid this rod was what I was looking for.
During these last few months I have (pre Covid lockdown) and more recently in the early summer months I have absolutely loved using this rod and I’ve visited my local Commercial, Manor Farm Leisure just outside my home town of Evesham on several occasions for a bit of pleasure fishing during these summer months and have bagged up every time. I am now wondering why I haven’t used this method more in my matches.
The rod recommends mainlines up to 6lb so I loaded my Daiwa TDR 2508 with 0.17mm (6lb) Guru N Gauge and this has enabled me to fish at range with a traditional waggler on the bottom very easily, due to the lower diameter of the line helping with casting and I’ve caught lots of Carp up to double figures with this set up using a heavy hook length. The beauty of this rod is that its a two piece rod and I’m able to pack it away in my rod bag all set up and ready to go. Having the extra length really helps with fishing on the bottom and the rod has a nice progressive action. The line pick on the strike being a 12ft rod has been helpful and I’ve not pulled out of a fairly hooked carp yet. It’s only been a few minutes to tire out these hard fighting big lumps I’ve hooked.
If your looking for a good value for money carp waggler that won’t break the bank this is one to look at.
Nick Gilbert has a large comprehensive range of award winning hand assembled pole floats that cover nearly all UK fishing applications. A Pole Fishing Magazine winner 3 years running. The build quality of these is about as good as it gets and the only range of pole floats I’ve used over the last several years.
When I came across Nick’s website shop float store. I didn’t really know which float was best for a given method or bait. I learnt lots about pole float selection from his website, reading about each float in the range. I didn’t know the differences, carbon, glass and wire stems. float shape and bristle thickness. I learnt which one’s were best for the type of fishing I wanted by reading the descriptions.
So I brought a few patterns that I wanted and this improved my fishing no end. Ordering direct with Nick from his website was easy and the floats arrived several days later. I was now buying the right floats rather that going into a tackle shop and guessing which float was best. Sometimes in tackle shops the range of available floats is low and they will just sell you what they have. But buying them through Nick meant I had a much larger range to choose the right float from.
So I began to buying my pole floats from Nick on a regular basis. Often buying the same floats several times so I could make up spare rigs. The range is large and I settled for several patterns, These floats were the XT Power Finesse’s and XT Deckers for Carp fishing. XT Edgers for the margins, XT carbon Finesses for maggots and XT Power Jordans for F1’s.
I’ve found all these floats to be excellent, very strong when fishing for carp in the summer and sensitive for shy biting fish in the winter time and they have definitely improved my fishing.
Spending a little time learning about all the different patterns has greatly improved my pole float knowledge and this can only be learnt from these specialist pole float suppliers.
Over the last 20 years of match fishing I have spent many an evening tying up hook lengths for my matches along with pole rigs for the weekend. Now over the last couple of years tackle companies such have Preston Innovations and Guru have released their Ready Rigs in numerous different options for pole, method/pellet feeder work and bomb.
Being a working chap with limited time to prepare for my matches and I would add my failing eyesight I was quick to try these Ready Rigs out. First out was the Guru Ready Rig range. I’ve always struggled with tying the banded hook lengths and it would have take me ages to get them right. Guru took this problem away for me with their banded 6 inch SLWG Ready rigs and I started using these first. They were a pleasure to use and so easy for me I soon became ‘hooked’ I was cautious at first as I’d read comments on social media saying they weren’t good and read about anglers problems with hook lengths breaking. All I can say is that I have found no problem with them. People are quick to blame faulty tackle for their bad angling and lost fish. I just put this down to inexperience or a lack of knowledge. You are always going to get broken from the odd foul hooked fish, especially if balanced tackle isn’t being used. That why its called fishing and not catching! I’ve used the Guru’s 6 inch Banded SLWG’s Ready Rigs for my pole rigs most weeks now for a couple of years and I can’t fault them. In fact for a generally light hook the SLWG’s have landed some proper lumps during this time and the heavier XS Carp Ready rigs used in the margins for bigger Carp have performed fine with no issues apart from the odd foul hooker.
The 6 inch SLWG banded Ready Rig range caters for all of my hard pellet pole fishing now and there is a hook size and line diameter option with Guru’s tried and tested ever reliable N Gauge line for every need, be it fishing for F1’s or for large carp in the margins.
Guru’s range of 6 inch Ready Rigs are ideal for general pole rigs and the LWG’s and the lighter F1 Pellet options are a great option during the winter months when a lighter hook is desired for soft pellets or maggots.
Preston Innovations obviously looked at all these ready rigs flying out of the tackle shops and released there own Ready rigs bit they also came up with the brilliant rig sticks and hook boxes. For the lazy angler this made hook storage even easier. The days of filling hook boxes from the shop brought cardboard packaging weren’t now needed you can buying 6 inch ready Rigs and drop them straight into their hook length boxes. The Guru Ready Rig fit on the blanks Rigs sticks perfectly as well.
But in recent months the easiness of just buying the 6 inch Preston Ready Rigs and dropping them into the hook box has made things ever easier. I tend to buy their GPM Ready Rigs now and also the newer SFL lighter options for the winter months. In fact I’ve done the same with my 4 inch Method/Pellet feeder Ready Rigs and buy Preston’s KKM-B’s and also the longer 15 inch KKM-B’s for bomb work, all stored in the correctly sized hook boxes. The days of having lots of assorted packets of hooks in my tackle box are long gone. My hook options are now easy to organise, banded or rapid stops. Well done Preston.
I’ve always been a Garbolino pole fan having had several of them over the years. Garbolino were really the first tackle company to produce a carp power pole and as most of my fishing centres around carp puddles it made perfect sense at the time to use this brand. A brand I have never left in 20+ years of match fishing.
Buying a pole is an expensive investment for your hobby and there are many poles on the market ranging from £500 to over £4,000. On the bank I see lots of ‘Tackle Tarts’ proudly having the latest top end pole set up on their rollers. But for me I don’t see the point. Don’t get me wrong these poles are fantastic bits of kit but if your prepared to spend around £1,000 on a carp power pole, this is all you need to compete at a high level. Yes the expensive poles are very light which is a huge advantage if your fishing long for silvers on rivers but when it comes to Carp Power poles I don’t see the point of the extra investment. A mid range pole package is all you need.
For the last 5 years or so I’ve used a Garbolino 14.5 metre GMax Power C1. The graphics are now a little worn but this pole has landed hundreds if not thousands of hard fighting match carp and is still going strong. Most of these have been caught close in or in the margins, so why spend the money on 16 metres of expensive carbon. In fact I did buy a 16 metre extension but its only been out of the pole holdall a couple of times. I won’t ever consider buying a 16 metre pole for carp fishing now. All 16 metres poles are going to be heavy, even the top end ones in the wind. If I’m fishing shallow long at 14.5 metres it’s fine but having a short no.4 on really helps stiffen up the pole.
But most carp fishing on commercials sees better bags of fish, fishing short especially later on a session or match. So I see no real benefit of fishing for carp long. You are much better spending your money on a good quality mid priced carp pole but with several top kits. Side puller kits have revolutionised pole fishing in recent years and you will surprised how light you can fish for carp these days. So these are essential. I’ve caught carp up 22lb with Garbolino poles and I’ve only ever broken one top kit while playing a carp in 20+ years fishing nearly every week, Garbolino poles are strong and that’s why I stick with Garbolino.
A only use TDR reels for my running line work. Yes they are expensive, costing around £160 each but once you have used one you really don’t want to use anything else. My 2508 and 3012 single handle version are a pleasure is use
Their amazing winding power is impressive and with their smoothness they make large fish playing easy work.
The hard aluminium body ensures super sure ‘meshing’ of gears even when under load. The addition of Mag Sealed delivers a water impermeable liquid seal around the rotor and main shaft, protecting the mechanism from ingress of water and debris. The longer term gain is continued smoothness of winding and feel.Distance control is also a must have technique for match anglers and the HIP High Impact Line Clip has not only been added but improved too. The addition of a back shield between the clip and spool enhances line protection even further. A lighter but tougher rotor in the shape of Air Rotor ensures a quicker winding start up and even spread of compression making for smoother rotation when playing fish or winding heavy loads.
I love great ideas that save me time on the bank and Preston Innovation ICS Feeder system certainly does that!
The ICS (inter change system) has been around for several years now. Its a fantastic way of changing your terminal tackle on a ready made up rods in seconds and saves having to set up several rods for a match or pleasure session. Sometimes times during a match you may be be catching well and want to make a change with your terminal tackle. The ICS System does exactly that. You can change a Method/Pellet/Cage/Maggot feeder for a bomb or simply change the weight/size of the one your currently using. These allows for fine tuning of your set up. You may alter the feed going into a swim are add weight if the wind gets up.
For this system to be of use its best for you to invest in some of the different feeders and bombs but once you have made the investment the benefits of such a versatile system really come into play.
The set up is a simple central stem which can be cut back to your favoured size. I tend to keep it long enough to use even the biggest feeders though I think it doesn’t effect the fishing. Simply thread your mainline through the end cap first and then the stem and tie it to a click change bead using a 6 turn clinch knot (instructions Here) and then you can select your choosen hook length. (See picture left) then you can add or change your choosen feeder or bomb by threading it over the mainline and the sliding it down over the stem.
I had found that some of the feeders can be hard to slide straight on though which can be a bit of a pain and a hard push is needed sometimes. The durable plastic stem with the choosen feeder helps casting and accuracy, but also guarantees that the weight transfer is to the base which means your feeder lands the right way up every cast. An ICS Swivel Stem Kit will convert any ICS product from an in-line feeder to a conventional style feeder set up, with the added benefit of still being quick change. Particularly useful with the In-Line Cage feeders, in-line Match Cubes and In-Line Maggot Feeders.
Most commercial fishery’s insist on a free running inline feeder set ups for the benefit of the fish. The feeder will never to attached directly to a fish.
The ICS system is free running but there is also an option of using an elasticated stems which help to absorb hook pulls. I should note if you use these you need to keep an eye in the elastic before it perishes though.
During the winter months we want to put in minimal feed in and the ICM system is a scaled down version of the ICS system where all the different feeder and bombs can also be purchased but in much small sizes so giving less water disturbance on the cast.