Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another handle variation

A bit of an odd one this, and not one I'll be able to replicate. I had an enquiry about a full Duplon handle with a reel seat incorporating a long locking nut like the horrible (to my eyes) one which has been used on certain Daiwa rods.

The only thing  I could think of that comes close is a Fuji fitting that I had used on such a handle on one of my spod rods, more to see what it looked like than anything.  My customer liked the look and so I went to look for the fitting in the catalogue only to find it had been left out. I guess it had never proved pupular and had been dropped. Nonetheless I phoned to check availability and managed to get hold of some from the depths of the stock room.

I'd forgotten the trouble I had fitting the seat to my rod. It's a design fault. If the long nut had been made about five mm shorter it would be as easy as fitting a standard reel seat. Still, a bit of bodging got me through again and the result is quite pleasing on the eye, and pleasant to hold with a reel attached.

Click to enlarge

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Under the reelseat 96

The number of iffy ways of fitting reel seats that some manufacturers (or their far eastern suppliers more likely) use to fit reel seats never ceases to amaze me when I'm stripping rods for repair or rebuild. Admittedly most seem to work as it's surprising how little glue is required to bond a reel seat to a blank securely. Most times I'm replacing a worn seat rather than one that is loose - although that does happen.

The latest find is a fantastic piece of minimal tape use. I think I've seen this cloth tape used before, but not in such narrow rolls. The glue is a mystery though. It took very little heat to free the seat and the glue didn't look, feel, or smell like an epoxy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another try

Back for another eel session on another still evening. Not as warm as yesterday, but sunny and quiet with fewer dog walkers. The approach was pretty much the same except I fished a different swim and put two dendrobenas on a size eight on one rod. Two spots were baited with maggots and my attempt at catching a small fish for bait was successful. One small rudd was landed, a similarly sized skimmer escaped as I swung it in.

There was a change to the bite indication this time round. I hung my lightest bobbins on the line and had the baitrunners slack as before. The plan worked in part. Just after eight thirty, with the sun set but still plenty of light, I had a run to the rudd head section. My strike met with no resistance. The bait was gone, however. While rebaiting with the tail section the bobbin on the worm rod flew up and after flinging the rod I was dealing with to one side I connected with something. Something that turned out to be a modest bream. Reasonable for the canal, but modest as bream go. The way the bobbin had shot up had me convinced an eel had been responsible.

It's that time of year when the heat soon goes out of the air and dew forms on the rods. The cool dampness is most noticeable at ground level and standing up always makes me feel warmer. Even so the woolly hat was required, and the fleece mittens got an airing too. Not having taken a flask, and not being in the mood for a longer stay, I was on my way home at nine.

It's a funny thing, but these days I can only face really short sessions with no travelling - the canal is ten minutes from home - or two/three night sessions a long way away. I can't get into gear to fish six or eight hour sessions an hour's drive from home, or full day sessions anywhere. Maybe the short winter days will change that. I'm getting twitchy about doing some piking this winter. Although I know a couple of blanks will soon change my mind. I seem to be getting more and more impatient with fishing as I get older - unless I'm chilling out on a long session.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Not catching eels

This evening I went for a second half-hearted eel session. I took a couple of rods down to the canal again, using half rudd as baits on simple running legers. Sort of like the John Sidley eel rig, incorporating some ProLeader for the short hooklink.

I started off by feeding two spots with maggots, then fishing a float over them to try to catch some fresh baits. One small perch was all that I managed, from the only decent bite. So after quarter of an hour I put the eel rods out. One bait over each patch of maggots.

Some bubbles appeared, moving around between the baited spots. Could have been bream, but I had a feeling an eel was responsible. My hopes were raised.

First time out I had one twitchy take and the bait had disappeared. This time, in ideal warm still and muggy conditions, I started getting twitches when the sun had disappeared below the  horizon. Enough of them to keep me interested. Like a fool I was fishing off a very slack baitrunner. Evidently not slack enough. I tried touch legering, but I was still only getting short tugs. Open bale and slack line, watching where it entered the water, was no better.

When I wound in to check the baits were still on the hooks they both looked to have been clamped down on. After I recast them the bites stopped. As it was only a tester session I packed up at nine fifteen. I might have stayed longer if I'd been better prepared. Then again I probably wouldn't have.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More rod photos

I've been playing around with my camera gear again. This time to revamp the homepage. All very artsy, but something I couldn't have done with my old camera.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New handle photos

I've finally taken some half decent shots of my new abbreviated handle style. One of these days I'll make a proper set up for doing product shots. It shouldn't be difficult, or too expensive. All I need is a large white backdrop as I have all the other gear. But like so many things in life I simply can't be arsed! The new photos and information are on the Predator Rods page of my site.

Or you can click the ones below for a better look.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Handmade lures

No, it's not me making lures, it's a friend. Mark Houghton's been making lures for years and is now offering them for sale on a limited basis. Nice looking baits that work in a range of styles and sizes from perchy to pikey. Check out his MH Custom Lures blog.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tales of the tape

Sometimes I think rod builders would be lost without masking tape. It has numerous uses, from building blanks up to take reel seats through holding rings in place as they are being whipped in place to marking rod sections so they don't get mixed up. So hardly a day goes by without me using masking tape for something or other.

To a casual user of the tape it probably seems like all tapes are the same, apart from coming in different widths. Not so to the connoisseur. There are very sticky tapes, hardly sticky at all tapes, ones that can be left in situ for ages and leave no residue, others that almost need scraping off after a couple of days, or ones that peel off overnight of their own accord. They all have their uses. But then there are nightmare tapes...

Ones that stick to themselves and tear as you unroll them. I've had rolls like this which clear themselves and work fine once so much tape has been used. These tend to be the individually shrink-wrapped ones. The shrink-wrap seems to compress the edges of the roll so the layers adhere to each other. In extreme cases I've taken to slicing through the layers with a sharp knife to get to the easy to use layers. At the moment I have some really frustrating tape. I bought a batch of it that was listed as the same as a previous batch which had been perfect. This stuff is awful. The edges of the rolls are not compressed, it just sticks to itself for no good reason and drives me mad as it tears every couple of feet. More than once I have hurled a roll of it across the room in frustration.

It must be playing on my mind because I dreamed about masking tape last night. Some really nice creamy stuff that peeled from the roll like it was oiled silk and adhered to the blanks perfectly!

Monday, August 08, 2011

All quiet on the (north) western front

I've managed to drag myself to water once since my last post, partly because I came down with a horrible cold that I couldn't shake off and then had to catch up with work. It was a couple of hours spent catching those rudd again. As before it was a bite a cast, and pretty much a fish a cast too. The problem I was having was finding the bigger fish. I was better prepared this time, having taken a tackle box and a bucket. The bucket to be used sit on and to 'store' the rudd. Te method in my plan was to get some deadbaits for later in the year. Even though I wanted the bait for zander fishing the rudd I was catching were more suitable for perching.

Eventually I found that by casting away from the spot I was feeding the rudd were a little larger. Nonetheless I still returned many tiny fish before deciding to move swims. It was to no avail, the rudd there were just as numerous and just as small. A second move was made. This time the fish were a bit bigger. Or at least the ones I caught by casting out from the margins were. Those hanging around by the marginal weed were small.

I called it a day when a rain shower moved in. Having no umbrella, and it being tea time, that seemed like a good idea. I don't know how many fish I returned, but I ended up freezing 29 including a couple of perch. It seemed like I could have fished any swim on the pit and caught rudd. It must be absolutely stuffed with them. As they come in a range of sizes from tiny to pike food I'm guessing there must be one or two better perch in there. Perch were certainly attacking one group of rudd as I saw they shower out of the water a couple of time. Maybe another session is in order - trying to catch tiny rudd for use on a second rod for the perch? Or possibly a lazier approach later in the year with maggots and lobs.

At the moment I'm in the doldrums again. I just can't make up my mind what I want to fish for, or where. Too many options are making me indecisive.