Give Your Tackle a Seasonal Sparkle!

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I actually love my winter fishing but I understand that a lot of anglers either cant cope with the cold or don't wish to spend hours fishing for fish that perhaps really don't want to feed at this time of year. For me having a few spare days holiday over the Christmas period gives me a chance to 'fettle' my gear ready for when my fishing really takes off in the spring.

In this months blog ill give you some tips and tricks for some of those little tackle maintenance jobs that are perfect to do at home in the warm but can still give you a 'festive fishing fix'.

Tip 1 = Maintenance of Rods & Reels

Lets start with rods. I've lost count of the number of rods I own but all my rods including my sea and fly rods get let out of there bags, set up and a spray with wax furniture polish that gives them a clean and protection whilst in storage. For my regular use rods that includes my carp rods, feeder rods and poles these need a bit more elbow grease in the form of a kitchen/bathroom type wipe to get most of the muck off before a liberal spray of furniture wax polish.

Although most of my reels are either Shimano or Daiwa that are of super quality and are very reliable the least I do is pop off the spool and dribble some maintenance oil down the main spindle shaft. My regular carp fishing Shimano Ultegra big pits have a maintenance port in the body that allows you to oil directly onto the gears without stripping the reels right down. For my bait runner feeder reels its a bit of a long winded job to strip down but I've found a slightly cheating way in that I loosen the screws in the body panels to be able to lift them up without taking them all the way off. Using a tin of spray grease I then give the inside a quick blast before putting them back together. Once all done they get a light spray with WD40 that I then polish off. Using this style of yearly maintenance has kept all my reels including a pair of 4500 bait runners in great nick for over 30 years.

Regular rod and reel maintenance keeps you gear in good working order for years

Tip 2 - Reload Your Reels With New Line

Some of my reels get such a bashing throughout the year that I actually re-spool new line onto them at least a couple of times a year such is my belief how important good condition line is. Fishing in weed as in Swan and Kingfisher Lakes is especially tough on even good quality nylon mainline. Interestingly the clutches for playing fish and especially bait runners on most good reels are now so good that they actually make line twist really bad that in itself causes real problems for nylon mainline.

I've tried some pretty expensive lines that are really good but there are some really good pretty cheap lines that when bought on bulk spools are really worth using. During the 80's and 90's I was beach fishing several times a month and at the time was using (brown) Daiwa Sensor in 15lb bs and it proved to be strong, supple and super reliable mainline to the point where I thought why not use it for carp fishing and I soon discovered that in all but the lightest breaking strains its just as good and I've been using it in 6lb, 8lb, 12 and 15lb bs ever since.

One of the most important aspects of changing your line is the way you spool on the new stuff. You read about all sorts of ways and techniques trying to alleviate line twist that if you're not careful you can make worse by spooling on new line hap-hazzardly!

I still use the technique I used to use when I was Tournament Surfcasting back in the 80's and 90's and this is to place the new spool of line in a bait tub on the ground half filled with warm water. Put the reel on a rod butt section and bring the new line up through the butt ring and tie onto the spool. When you're winding in allow the spool to turn in the water like a drum and wind onto your reel under nice steady pressure until you fill the spool to just under the lip - Don't overfill your spools as this will cause all sorts of issues and you will end up cutting off many tangles etc. 

Using a tub of warm water will allow you to spool your reels with soft, supple and as straight as can be new line

Tip 3 - Tie Up Some New Rigs

In the dark cold evenings when you've eaten to much and watched to much TV that is the time to sit down and tie up some new rigs. Whatever your favourite style of fishing you can always tie up some fresh rigs whether it be pole rigs, carp or feeder rigs or just hooklinks. Indoors is always a good place as the light is better, its warmer and all your knots etc will be so much better, These can be stored on many different types of rigs bins, boxes or winders.

Its so much better to tie up quality rigs 'indoors' ready for your next sessions

Top tip = my current favourite rig for carp is the 'Ronnie Rig' or as some would know it the 360 or 'Spinner Rig'. I tie up my own but they can be awkward to tie but as is always the case you can now buy shop bought versions that are top draw. I crimp mine to 30lb Flouro boom.

Superb quality shop bought Spinner or 'Ronnie Rigs'

One of me home tied 'Ronnies' crimped to a 30lb flouro boom and a pop-up balanced with putty

Tip 4 - Cook Up Some Bait

Although I do use a bit of bait including particles during the winter its not until the spring before I start to use quantities of 'spod mix' in particular seed particles. These seed particle once cooked freeze down very well. I'm lucky that I have my own bait freezer at home that I fill at this time of year with 1kg bags of hempseed and pigeon conditioner. Bearing in mind its only a matter of a few months now before the Park opens and fishing resumes in earnest.

Because of the quantities I use I buy all my particles in bulk and batch prepare them. All my seeds are soaked in pure water for at least 24hours, I then use the cooler box method of cooking them in large quantities. At least half fill a picnic cooler box with your soaked particles and cover with boiling water - obviously this will take perhaps six or seven kettles full to fill the cooler box completely with boiling water. Let it stand then for several days and your particles will be superbly cooked and ready to be bagged and frozen down.

A great 'spod mix' for a days session in the new Spring season would be 1kg hempseed, 1kg pigeon conditioner, 1kg mixed pellets and another kilo of mixed dead maggots, sweetcorn and chopped boilies!

I use the 'cooler box' method of batch cooking my seed particles - before freezing

Tip 5 - Tech

Treat your bite alarms to new batteries! My Delkims are really economical on batteries but every Christmas they and my remote gets new ones so I'm happy they will be in top order until next Christmas.

And lastly if you've got really bored of all the Christmas movies try loading YouTube onto your TV (its a Sky App these days) PC, laptop or even your iPhone or Android. There are some rubbish videos on there but particularly those from Korda, Nash, Fox, Matrix, Guru and Preston Innovations and numerous other companies there are some superb quality TV quality videos about all aspects of angling most of which can apply to fishing on Cosgrove Park. I bet you'll learn something and if you cant fish for real then watching somebody fishing in the sun is the next best thing!

Right that's it then for this year - I hope you have a great Christmas and a very Happy New Year!


Tightlines for 2020 - Gary S














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Venetian Marina Whilton Caravan Storage Whilton Marina
Cosgrove Park. Main Street, Cosgrove, Milton Keynes, MK19 7JP.
Phone: 01908 563360 Fax: 01908 263615