Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Versatile Tackle

Some items of tackle perform just one function. Others have a main function, but can be used (and often abused!) to perform other tasks. What is the most versatile item of tackle though?

My vote goes for the humble extending bankstick - the larger type that extends from about 4-7 foot. It's forever digging me out of a hole and is one of the items I can't do without.

I thought I'd pretty much exhausted the list of uses it has over the years such as:

- As a rod rest (great for deep swims just off the edge of a platform, but equally good for keeping a quiver tip high off the water).

- As a keep net handle (again great for deep water swims).

- As an emergency landing net handle because accidents do happen with the carbon net poles! Also use it for my big Carp/Pike/Barbel landing net.

- As a reel retriever. Twice now it's been used to retrieve a dropped reel from a river with a cheap plastic pole rest attached to it.

- As a chopper of undergrowth.

- As a tool to free up line when it's snagged in lilies.

- As an umbrella pole. Emergency use only of course, but I once somehow forgot my umbrella pole. However, the umbrella fitted nicely over the top section of the bankstick.

- As a walking stick when clambering around muddy and slippy banks, or when wading.

- As a supporter of bait waiters (rarely used for this purpose, but sometimes useful in the deeper, siltier pegs).

Aside from potentially being quite a useful weapon if the need ever arised, I didn't imagine I'd find any more uses for it - until last last weekend:

The place I was fishing was less than ideal for getting a signal on the phone. When sat at my peg I couldn't get a signal. However, I could just about get a slight signal just above head height, which is not exactly condusive to comfortable fishing!

Although it's not exactly the end of the world, it's just nice to stay connected in case of accidents. The missus's car hasn't been on the best of form recently (now booked in for MOT), so you can imagine the grief I'd get if it breaks down while I'm fishing and the phone isn't playing ball.

I needed a solution so it was out with the trusty bankstick, extend it to full length, fix the phone onto it with some elastic from a spool of line and hey presto:

Mobile phone mast!

Now I know what the more astute amongst you are thinking - if it only works above head height, what happens if it rings? I'll cross that bridge another time! To be fair it worked nearer to where I'd parked up, so I'd just have to take a short hike to get connected. At least I'd know someone is after me!

I also have a rucksack which I'm yet to find an alternative use for. One of my cats has ideas on that though!


  1. Impressively ingenious Sean.

    I've also used mine to suspend a carrier bag containing a drink in the river to chill.

    BTW, fancy joining next years challenge?

    The format in pole position at the moment is a % of record weight challenge.

    We fish for a wide variety of species and simply convert the weight of our fish (singular) into a % of the record. Add up all your percentages and that's your score.

    The more species you catch the more you have a score for. The bigger the specimen the better your score.

    A good balance of specimen hunting and diversity.

    I don't have an email address for you otherwise I'd have dropped you a line.....

  2. I think I'd be up for that - it sounds like a fair mix of a challenge, but I'd be nailed on for the wooden spoon if this year is anything to go by! I'll drop you a line in due course.

    Are you including all species, or limiting it to certain ones? e.g. Bullheads and Minnows are a bugger to weigh! Gudgeon, Ruffe and Bleak aren't much better unless you have Jeff's precision kit to hand.

    So, is there a case for excluding the micro species that no-one probably wants to fish for? I'd feel like a right prat trying to weigh a 1oz Gudgeon!

  3. First thoughts are we exclude everything below Dace for the very reason you cite about accuracy.

    Still up for grabs is which of the larger species are 'in' e.g. grass carp, eel, catfish, grayling?

  4. Dace and above sounds right to me. Your 2009 challenge list is a good starting point I'd say. I'd then amend it with:

    Split the Bream out to Silver and Bronze.
    Take out Wild Carp and replace with Brown Goldfish.

    Grayling is a tricky one. Easy if you fish the rigth water, but not really mainstream round these parts. A case for exclusion I'd say.

    That leaves 15 species, which sounds about right to me. Just my opinion though - I'll go with the flow whatever is decided. So long as I'm fishing I'm happy!