The plan was as cunning as usual. fish where I'd had the dropped runs last time out. With just three hours or so available I opted to break my golden rule of moving every hour, and stick it out in one spot.
Despite the failures of last time I stuck with the same rods and reels, and fishing off the baitrunner. It was one of those afternoons when the usually prolific bird life on the water was notable for it's absence. Just a couple of moorhens spotted hugging the reeds and three noisy water rails heard. No ducks, not a coot to be seen. The kingfisher was about but noisily agitated flying from high perch to high perch without resting anywhere for long. I wasn't confident of any pike action.
It was about four when the starlings appeared. Maybe because I was in their roost this time, or maybe not, they circled and swirled in slightly greater numbers than previously before sliding down into the reeds like the sand pouring in an hourglass.
Baits had been repositioned an hour before knocking-off time. When that came I got up off my chair and immediately heard the sounder bleep a couple or three times. Something had picked up the bait on the rod I'm trying out. When I got to it there was no line being taken, but it felt slack. I wound down and there was certainly something there. A four pound test curve isn't my first choice for fishing at close to medium range, but it had to be done. The rod took on a slight bend in the tip section!
It wasnt a big fish, not even making nine pounds when I weighed the skinny thing, but after swimming over the net of its own accord, it swam back out again before I could lift the frame. It didn't get a second chance though. That was my lot and with my nose dripping from the cold I walked back to the car.
When I can''t get out fishing, despite itching to, I get GAS like a lot of other anglers. Shopping isn't a sensible therapy for cabin fever, but it's unavoidable in the internet age when 'researching' products is so simple. Even with all the information out there I still couldn't manage to find any reliable comparisons of the size of the three largest OC Baitrunners. Asking on The Pikers Pit I came to the conclusion that the 6000OC and 8000OC are pretty much the same reel apart from the 8000 having a deeper spool. Give or take a few millimetres on the spool diameter. Wanting (rather than needing, in all likelihood) a bigger baitrunner than the 6000OC which isn't the XT-A LC medium I took a chance on ordering just one 12000OC. I'd read some comments that made it sound massive and heavy.
The reel arrived at my friendly tackle dealer on Friday. With Saturday poultry day I wouldn't get a chance to use it, but I did get it spooled up with 20lb mono. Then I went to put it on the prototype rod. When I threw the rod together I put a locking collar on the reel seat. It seemed like it might be a nice feature to have on a rod that I intend to use for catfish next year. The lock nut certainly makes the reel secure. However, it also made it impossible to back the rear hood off far enough to get the foot of the 12000OC in! I had to screw the nut over the rear Duplon. A good job I'd fitted a very slim one.
Eventually the reel was in place, the line threaded trhough the rings and the rig tied on. Out in teh garden and hook the end treble in my rod testing loop in the side door of the garage. All seems to balance nicely and the clutch is just as good as I expected. One thing I do like is that the anti-reverse lever is bigger and more prominent than on the XTA. Although I use the drag more than I used to these days, and for catfish I'll not be backwinding (been there and rapped my knuckles) I do like to knock the anti-reverse off when netting fish. On the XTAs that's been a fiddle to do.
I'd been a little concerned that the 12000OC might have a stupidly large handle knob. Luckily it didn't. The grip is the same style as on the 6000 and the XTA - just considerably larger. Perfect.
The spool diameter is very similar to that of the medium XTA. donning my anorak and getting the callipers out I measured the back of those two spools at 67mm each, the 12000 is the same at the front while the XTA is narrower at 63mm. Where they differ is in the length, the 12000 being just 24.5mm with the XTA being 32.5mm. Given the much nicer line lay on the XTA combined with the spool length that should be the better casting reel. In practice I doubt it will affect me. Not when casting livebaits at any rate.
|L to R - 6000OC, 12000OC, XTA LC medium|
I haven't compared the weights of the reels because the 12000OC doesn't' feel unduly heavy. Not when it's going to be sitting on a rod rest most of the time. What it does feel is more robust than the XTA, in the same way the 6000OC feels more robust than my Aero Baitrunners. The OCs are proper predator reels while the XTA and Aeros are OK for carping - you know, for not catching much and being mollycoddled!
|R to L - 6000OC, 12000OC, XTA LC medium|
Having said all this I will admit to liking the XTAs. Just as I like the 11ft 3lb Torrixes they've been on all summer. They make a great combination. Having given up chasing carp I'm not sure what to do with them now. The rods are good for eeling (although I like using ten footers for short session) but I'd rather have smaller reels on them for that. One might become a marker reel and the other two sold on. I do know that it had been a toss up between OCs and XTAs earlier in the year and the XTAs won because I knew how big they were. Wish I'd gone for the 12000s now. D'oh!