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Andrew Pilgrim

New Year, New & Old Gear

When Chub fishing I often like to use two rods. Apart from the obvious benefit of having two baits out it allows me to cover more water and ring the changes when it comes to baits and methods. My go to rod for the last few years has been my trusty Diawa Harrier Z MK2 quiver tip.

Its been fantastic for most of my fishing, mainly roving the Suffolk Stour for my my favourite Chub but it has been equally at home launching feeders half way across the Trent and method feeders to the far bank on many Dutch Rivers. It’s a strong durable bit of all round kit with bags of power. But, for the New Year I thought I’d treat myself to a couple of dedicated Chub rods. When I mentioned this to my beloved Sheena she immediately advised that I should purchase a couple of her favourite rods, Drennan Acolytes. She appeared somewhat miffed when I pointed out that the Acolyte range, excellent as they are, does not as yet have a rod that would meet my requirements. The Acolyte 11ft Plus comes close. I have borrowed Sheena’s and it is a fantastically well made rod and a joy to use but it has it’s limitations. It is still too soft for flicking a 3oz lead into a flooded river or weir pool, and it is what I would call a ‘through action’ rod, great for commercial waters and slower moving stretches of river. But as I often find myself fishing up close and under trees, bushes and other features I really need rods with more ‘grunt’ to keep the bigger specimens out of snags. I spent the Xmas period researching the rods available and settled on the Drennan Specialist Twin Tip 11ft Avons. My dilemma was which to chose the 1.25lb or 1.5lb test curve. For those that don’t know how this rating works it’s quite simple. If you were to hold the rod horizontal the test curve is the amount of weight it would take on the tip to pull it round 90 degrees so the tip was pointing strait down. My decision was made easier due to the limited stock currently available in the country and a pair of 1.5lb TC rods were delivered a couple of days later. On inspection the build quality was very good, DPS screw reel seat, SiC guides and the rods are a rather fetching matt green. Also a big plus were the tips were white! I would argue that white is by far the most visible colour for quiver tips in most conditions buy especially at this time of year with the low light and the usual 2″ of bright red, yellow or green that you usually see on quiver tips is designed to catch the angler more than fish. If you don’t believe my get some tippex and paint the top 4″ of your quiver tip white, try it you may be pleasantly surprised. The same applies to floats, What’s the most visible colour?…. Yellow, Red, Orange?… It’s actually Black, yes that’s right Black. Don’t believe me? than get a marker pen and paint the top of your float, you will be amazed how much more it stands out.The reason you never see black floats for sale is because we simple anglers are drawn to the bright colours thinking they will be more visible but, unless you are fishing in a very dark shadow, often they are not.

The next decision to be made was what reels to pair the rods with. To be fair reels are not something lacking in my tackle store, from vintage 1950s centerpins to top end Shimano’s and Diawa, all were available for me but I needed something rugged and reliable, something that I wouldn’t be precious about dropping in the mud and would stand up to the abuse that river stalking often entails, something guaranteed not to let you down, and as I’d just spent a couple of hundred on rods – something cheap. The choice was an easy one, The legendary Mitchell 300, and as luck would have it the same day as the rods arrived the postman brought me 2 boxes, each containing a pair of Mitchell 300s. How fortunate.!

Sheena did point out that I do indeed already have quite a collection of these cracking reels but, I told her, these were different. Two were imaculate 300As made around the late 1970s and the other pair were the ones I hankered for back in the start of my match fishing days in the 1980s, the Mitchell 300 Pro, I was a happy boy. I would say at this point that these old classics should not be in anyway confused with the modern Mitchell Reels which are made and sold by the Pure Fishing Group who also bought, and now own, other great names from the past such as Abu Garcia, Berkley, Chub, Greys, Hardy, JRC, Penn, Shakespeare, SpiderWire, and Ugly Stik. Although they do have some quality products in their portfolio in my opinion the quality is often lacking especially on the cheaper models which are Chinese made. The Mitchells I have were made in France, or rather ‘engineered’ in France. They are absolutely tough, reliable and will last you a lifetime. In fact most of the second hand ones have already lasted someone a lifetime and will ‘see me out’!

So my new acquisitions were serviced, re-greased and oiled and were good to go for another few decades . Time for a quick test so I headed down to the Suffolk Stour at Deadham Mill which is a delightful place.

I set up the new tackle and waited patiently with double worm on a size 14 hook on one rod and bread flake over liquidised bread down the edge on the second.

I started fishing at noon and at 2pm I had my first bite, a confident tug tug and then the tip bent right round on the worm rod. This annoyed me as at that very moment I was winding in the other rod and completely missed the ‘unmissable’ bite. Nothing for the next two hours but then a flurry of activity on the worm rod with a further 5 ‘unmissable’ bites in the next 45 mins only one of which resulted in a small Chub.

I went big with a No 6 and a snake of a Lob tipped with a small worm for added movement.

Still nothing. All this time the other rod had been rotating Flake, Cheese Paste and Chunks of cheese without a touch, It was definitely a worm day. By 5.30 the temperature had dropped and I decided to pack up. That hour or so when dusk turns to night was certainly evident today, The Golden Hour.

So how were the new set ups?…. Mitchell reels were reliable and perfect as they always are and will remain so for generations to come. The Drennan rods also performed well although I am looking forward to geting a bigger bend in them soon. One thing I would say is that the 1.5tc rods come with a 3oz and 4oz tips which will be great in a faster flow like we have had recently but I have now orded a couple of 2oz tips as on this day I could have done with something a little lighter for rolling a bait across in the flow. Something like Sheena’s Acolyte I suppose, but dont tell her that.

2 replies on “New Year, New & Old Gear”

The test curve definition you give is of course the usual one. It is in fact mathematically incorrect. With the rod held horizontal, and a weight dangling from the tip, you will NEVER quite reach a state where the tip points vertically down. The physics just do not allow it, and it will always fall a little short of 90, so in measuring the TC this way it is difficult to say “when”. A better definition is “The MINIMUM force required to put a 90 degree bend in the rod.” Better to have both rod and line in the horizontal plane. True 90 degrees CAN be achieved like that, (although NOT with the line at 90 degrees to the butt). Find the best angle to pull on the line for a minimal value……., Pedantic and nit picking I know: sorry.

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