Tackle reviews.

We all have to use equipment to enjoy our sport, I for one have tried to buy the best in the hope it will improve my skills, high quality gear has always given me pleasure in its use.

I do a lot of float fishing and have a lot of rods I could review, but I’ll start with something that will be popular, Feeder Rods. There can never be just one ideal rod as I fish many different waters, from the river Trent, to small commercials. So this review will cover several rods.

My latest rod is a Drennan Ultra-Lite 9′-10′ feeder rod. Designed for main lines around 4lb, but like many rods it’s underrated and I’m comfortable with 6lb mainline for my small river Chub and Barbel fishing. Understandably it’s perfect for those swims you cannot get a normal 12′ rod in, or would damage the tip, striking upwards into tree canopies. I’ve teamed mine with a 2500 Abu Revo top line reel, it’s so light to carry and use, that I can honestly say it’s a joy. I’ve just landed that good Chub mentioned in the last post and it dealt with it with ease. It comes with two complete tops, on a fully fitted 3/4lb t/c quiver tip and the other is a 1lb t/c. It will make a cracking winter Roach rod both river and still-water.


The second rod is another Drennan, the Match-pro Medium Feeder at 12′. If I only fished medium size rivers for Chub and Barbel this would be my one rod. My own view is most people use rods far too heavy for Barbel, when an Avon style rod would land the biggest of fish, provided the line and reel are fit for the purpose. This rod has the normal slip in feeder quivers that attach to a shortened second part of the two section rod. The quivers start at 2oz through to 3oz. The rod curve is very Avon in style and not tippy at all, unlike its bigger brother. I find 6lb line ideal right through on this rod, but would happily use 8lb if fishing near snags.

The final rod is the one mentioned above, the Drennan Super-Feeder 12′. This is my big Trent feeder rod and is much more tippy than the smaller sister the Medium. It will cast 3oz feeders across the Trent or lob slightly bigger ones. Personally I don’t ever go heavier than 3oz on the Trent, as I find using a thinner main line allows the use of smaller leads. If you use 12/15/20 line on any rod, then want to hold the middle Trent in a normal flow you will need 4/5/6 oz of lead depending the place you fish, it’s that simple! Then you will need a rod capable of casting that weight, it’s a vicious circle. This rod is ideal, perfect for the specialist angler fishing for big Chub or Barbel. The 3oz tip is made for the Trent and it will pick put both Roach bites if set up correctly, and the nibbling Chub bites we seem to get a lot these days. I could use this rod on a little river if it was in flood. If I only fished the Trent or Wye this would be my one rod, again I love this rod and it’s tippy action.

Alan Scotthorne does a nice Trent review of this very rod, worth a look if your looking at buying one. You-Tube Alan Scotthorne fishing the Trent. 


Apart from the little new Ultra-light, I have used and abused these rods and they look as good as new. It seems Drennan don’t make a bad rod in truth, and they have been around a long time. Their rods are always well priced, but not crazy, worth the money I’d say?



So the weather was not very promising to be honest, cold with little wind, but bright. Most anglers know this type of weather can be the kiss of death to any river fishing, you’re better with mild and wet, windy, but?

I decided to go back to the swim I blanked in last week. A big fish swim (known to me anyway) where I’ve taken several big Chub, including a 6lb 6oz fish in 2015. There is always a fear the fish have died, or simply moved, but hey you have to try. I arrived at 9 am, very early for me with the sun just coming through, but it was very cold. I’ve just brought some new warm weather gear recently in the hope I can stay warm longer. “I’ll do a post on this at some time, because I think you would be interested, if like me you fish during the winter and feel the cold?”  The swim is down a steepish bank, but out of any wind, and sunshine, so it took a long time for the sun to get around to me, and the swim.


Early morning and a weak sun just getting through.

I settled for my little Drennan Ultra-light feeder rod at 10′, loaded with 6lb line and my own sliding paternoster with a double swan shot as weight. The river had almost no flow, just a gentle trickle down the centre. Hook was a size 8 Kamasan B983 a hook I have used for years when fishing for Chub. Its light but strong with a nice wide gape, ideal for bigger baits like worms, bread and cheese paste. It’s not a hook I’ve seen mentioned much by anglers like myself, maybe its a best kept secret? I tied it on spade end style as it has an out-turned eye, see it and it will make sense.

Before I put any bait in I put a big lobworm on, breaking off the tail to let the juices out and cast it just ten yards downstream of me. The light 1.oz tip settled, and they’re it remained for the next 30 minutes, until in nodded and bend round nicely. The fish spent most of its time trying to get in the bank-side reeds, (it’s the only time I regret the 10′ over a 12′ rod) but finally it came to the net  and all was well. I really didn’t think it was that big, maybe 5lb. But after re-settling my digital scales and re-weighing the little sling, I had to settle on 6lb exactly, no more, but no less. Clearly I was over the moon, and only half an hour in the swim.


A stunning fish of 6lb taken on Lob-worm.

I stayed on until it was almost dark (4pm) when I had another cracking bite, that broke the line at the hook, this time on cheese paste. I packed up with feet like blocks of ice, realising I’d had my feet in water all this time. The swim is on a reed-bed that when you stand on it sinks down to the water. The car was covered over with ice and getting colder as I contemplated on the journey home, that this is the third six pound fish I’ve taken from this limited beat, all different ones according to the photos. A peasant made a noise in a tree far away, saying good-bye and come back soon. I’m sure it won’t be too long.

River levels and winter rain!

Despite some decent rain recently, it seem the river levels are remaining the same. The crazy rainless summer heatwave of 2018 dried out the ground so much it seems, it will take a huge amount of water to soak it through. I’d imagine the aquifers underground are all but empty, and I wonder what the consequences of another such summer in 2019 would be. Without this rain I’ve found the rivers low and clear making my fishing really difficult.


I’ve gone back to my old recipe for Cheese paste, dumping the one made with bread recently, it was just not how I liked it. So with a ready made pasty mix, mature cheddar, blue stilton the paste looks and smells amazing now, how could any fish resist it? In the old days 1960/70s I would just leave this in my bag, so it would age, and get more tacky and smelly as the months past by. Now I just pop it in the fridge between trips, if it makes a difference I don’t know, but the garage doesn’t smell of rotten old socks. Also pleasingly you don’t have to hold your nose when baiting up. I’m told putting some pop-up mix in the paste can help with buoyancy, but I’m undecided. I think a cheese bait should lay on the bottom naturally as the free-offering lumps do. Any way we will see, out soon, pop back and see how I do.




Stationary baits in cold weather.

As you know by now I love my long trotting, in fact its my preferred way to fish 90% of the time. However once its really cold, experience has told me a stationary bottom bait takes some beating especially for those better fish. You need a decent head of fish in front of you to make trotting worth while, but when you’re fishing for just a few big fish, sitting it out with a quiver tipped bait can up the percentages.

So I’ve made up a bit of cheese-paste, collected a 100 lobworms and have bread flake at my disposal for my next trip, tomorrow. I’ll be fishing a little piece of river that holds some very good fish. These are only a few swims, and these are always very touch fishing wise. By that I mean some days the fish seem absent totally, while others you could get more than ONE bite. As some big perch are in this beat along with the Chub, I’ll be putting my faith in the Lobworms. I do have some nice liquidised bread with hemp birdseed and krill powder mixed if the condition allow.


Early morning (today) saw me approaching the little river with some trepidation, as the weather was bitterly cold, that cold mist staying longer than normal. I knew exactly where I wanted to fish, tucked down low on the bank, as much out of the wind as possible. While the wind was not too bad, it was just the cold coming from the East that made it seem so cutting. I’d collected my maggots from the farm, just a pint of reds today as I did not intend to feed much, just a few every cast or two. But sadly even though I thought I fished well, the bigger fish were not at home. A few little Roach were all I could managed, but at least the new little Drennan feeder rod was christened.

Even though I’m retired and tell myself I can fish anytime, the truth is a little different. Today Monday, and tomorrow are going to be the coldest days of the week, warming up later Thursday/Friday when I busy doing other things. I cannot moan really as those other things I also enjoy, there just not fishing?

In the Footsteps of Wilson!

The recent death of my old friend John Wilson brought home how little time we really have on this earth, and how we should use every day as best we can. I meet John when he had his little shop In Bridewell Alley in Norwich, and I was Manger of the local Bank.


John before his move to the far East, doing his favourite thing, Long Trotting.

I had many a days Roach fishing with him (our joint passion) on the Wensum when it was in its hay-day. 30-40 two pound Roach in a season was possible for several years, then it was all gone.

When I reflect on fishing and its future personalities I find very few have the John Wilson touch. It’s either all in long stay, do or die Carp fishing, or match fishing on the circus of mini pools stocked with ugly deformed carp. One angler that breaks the rules and still fishes for wild fish on our rivers and streams is Mark Erdwin at his wonderful blog site, Fishingformemories.blog Mark breaks the mood for several reasons, he simply oozes love for fishing. His enthusiasm is infectious, and when he can get me out fishing on the coldest of days in my late 60s, well he must have something.

Not all Marks videos are 100% fishing, nature and it’s surroundings (just like John covered) brings you along on every trip. For a keen naturalist like myself I can watch Marks videos all day long. In fact I find myself going though is whole catalogue at weekends when the weather is poor. Can I urge you to take a look at Marks, sympathetic fishing videos on You-Tube, you too will be entertained enlightened, plus its a great fixed for when you’re not fishing!


I missed my fishing this week, cold weather and a bit of laziness made sure I missed a few days I could have had. I find as I get older this happens sometimes, like when I have a bowls match, or the wife has to go to the hospital. All I make as an excuse not to go fishing, but I don’t like feeling this way.

I know for a number of years I’ve suffered from a bit of depression, nothing serious, but it’s always in the background. Fishing has always been the medication I need for making me feel better so when I don’t go it gets worse. At times we can all be fools to ourselves.


I’m hoping this week will bring some rain, the local river is down a bit, and the Trent below its proper winter level. While its cold, I’ll be carrying two rods, a light 11′ Drennan Ultra float rod, and a Drennan ultra light feeder 9’/10′ plenty of length for the little river. It will give me a choice to trotting the flowing swims (for Dace and Roach) and ledgering in the slow deeper pools for Chub and Perch.

I’ve just released all my Dendrobaena worms because to b honest they have failed miserably to catch me any fish?!. Instead I’ve ordered some Lobs and I’m sure they will be a much better fish catcher, but more difficult to keep. Currently it’s really cold with an East wind so I’m indoors writing this blog, sorry guys. It will get warmer soon, then, I’m off fishing again.

Sort Rods.

I think I mentioned who much I enjoy my float fishing, and that I’m currently using Drennan Acolyte rods. These rods are not only really light, but have amazing actions, quick with nice soft times, I love them to be honest. However, I really wanted a 11′ float rod for the summer. It would be for the Crucians at Eye Kettleby lake’s, the canal Rudd and trotting on little rivers. Something I could go really light on the hook links, say 1lb for the Rudd as an example. When you look around most light 11′ rods are designed for pellet waggler fishing, with lines up to 6lb being normal. I wanted something lighter.

Forums are ideal for such questions, and many kind anglers came back with the Drennan Match-pro ultralight. Drennan suggest it takes hook-links down to .08oz so ideal. I quickly ordered one and I’m awaiting its arrival as I write.


The little river in town is a fine example of a place I’ve been promising myself to fish, but have never gotten around to it. It’s roughly 10 to 12 foot wide, mostly shallow with the odd deeper pool and full of fish, but it’s surrounded with overhanging trees. You would need to wade with minimal gear, an 11′ rod and a pouch full of maggots, a landing net would be optional?


The little lignum stick Dace floats I’ve just managed to obtain (2 x no 4s) a fine main line say 3lb with a 2lb hook link would allow me to fish the very shallow pools for the better Dace I know are about. The river holds a lot of Trout in the town beat, some big, very big. I fellow angler took one of over 5lb on a fly rod about four years ago. The fish are use to eating bread as ducks abound in the park area. So I’m sure once it arrives, I’ll be looking for opportunities to use the little eleven footer as it will be so much fun. i may even get the old centrepin out and give that an airing.