Popping Stick for KZN


Value for money the Talavera TES 70 H is an amazing offshore rod. Paired with my Saragosa 10000, loaded with Suffix 832 65lb, it is a fantastic combination.

The Talavera has a very soft tip but a huge amount of backbone. With the soft tip you are able to target smaller species such as Snoek while the huge amount of back bone,  allows you to target bigger species such as  Yellow fin Tuna,  without worrying about the rod not coping.

The Talervera is a very good popping rod as it absorbs the swing of the rod when casting. It unloads beautifully in the cast which gives you that extra distance you often need.


I have managed to pull  20kg Yellow fins to the boat  in approximately 3 to 6 minutes with my Talavera.

The Saragosa 10k has a very strong and smooth drag which allows you to put a huge amount of pressure on the reel without your drag sticking.

I have filled my Saragosa with the 65lb Sufux 832. It casts beautifully with Sufix 832 65Lb which has a small diameter for a fairly heavy braid, allowing you to fill 300 m of braid on you reel.

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This combo is not only great value for money but it has never let me down.





Written By Craig Bashford

Winters Coming

As the season changes into our winter months on the KZN South Coast we get our crispy off shore winds in the morning with very low temperatures which at times leave your fingers ice cold and blue and your bottom lip vibrating like a Rapala!!!! Never the less the ice cold mornings should not stop your motivation for fishing it’s an exciting time of the year for fishing on our shorelines. This time of year we get many good species of fish moving up the coast like the shoals of Shad, beautiful Kob, Garrick, Brusher and fat Bronze Bream feeding in the shallows which makes winter fishing so much more exciting. As the winter months can be challenging at times with big rough sea which can put a lot of anglers off but I’ve been a firm believer not to be a fair weather fishermen as you will find yourself disappointed many times, I’ve learnt to adapt to sessions change and different weather patterns as there are my skills to learn and many different ways of finding good quality fish on artificial lures and good bait presentation.
As the years have passed by, targeting Garrick from the shoreline has become so exciting for me, my knees get knocking as they chase and smash your artificial lures on top of the water there is nothing more exciting. My choice of equipment for targeting Garrick this season is going to be a little bit lighter as I enjoy the challenges of fishing but testing the great quality of Shimano equipment, my first set up is the new Shimano Technium spin fishing rod matched with my old favourite Shimano Symetre 4000FJ reel, my second set is the Shimano Vengeance 8foot rod and Shimano exage 4000FD reel, both of the reels have been topped up with 20lb Sufix 832 Advanced Superline braid which is extremely strong and reliable and has proven it’s quality time and time again.My leader line is is generally about 1.2 meters in length using 40lb to 60lb Double X Super Shock fluorocarbon leader to join my braid to leader line i use the PR knot which I found is perfect to join these two lines as your knot is able to pass through your guides of your rod.
Garrick are a sucker for a artificial lure skipping and splashing on top of the surface as they can put up an awesome show at most times,my choice of lures are going to be the Storm Sea Bass Thunder minnow 170mm long 34 grams in weight, Williamson Surface Pro 150 and Rapala X-Rap long cast shallow 140 all of the lures I’m going to be changing the treble hooks to VMC good quality inline singles as they do less damage to the fish and have a better hook up as I release these awesome species of fish.
As the the ocean swell can change and get a bit rough and nasty it’s the perfect time for me to do some gully fishing also known as scratching, lots of fun can be had finding the perfect white water and deep holes between the rocks, all types of fish can be found in these conditions from fat Bronze Bream, Brusher, Kob, Rockcod and Stumpies. For this type of fishing i just enjoy using my Shimano Exage Surf 110H matched with the shimano Spheros Sw6000 and topped with 20lb Sufix 832 Advanced Superline braid which is the perfect combination for this type of fishing not heavy and not to light. VMC have a wide range of good strong, extremely sharp quality hooks, I’m currently using VMC Chinu eyed 7136 no’1 perfect size for smaller baits like crayfish and prawns for bronze bream for the bigger baits and many different types of presentations I’v really enjoyed using the VMC Sunset Circle 7381 no’4/0 and the VMC Sport circle 7384 no’3/0 as these hooks will find there way into the corner of a fishes mouth without damaging any bone structure or stressing the fish out as we can release the fish for another day to come.
Written by Justin Alborough

Gearing up for Winter Fishing.


The Eastern Cape winters can be some of the harshest along the coast of Southern Africa with cold front cells moving up further North during this period they brush our coast line more often than in the Summer months and bring Gail force South Westerly winds, swells upto 6 meters and a severe drop in ocean temperatures with estuaries often having an average of 12C to 14C during the peak winter period.

Although years ago the average estuary angler would merely just service and pack ones tackle away during these cooler months most anglers now fish harder during winter  as often the colder water brings better fishing and by far some of the largest local estuary species are present.


The estuaries like Gamtoos and Sundays have good showings of dusky cob of which can be caught spinning and trolling. Tidal phases play a massive roll in the feeding habits of the dusky and when the right conditions present itself it can be game on with a short window period producing great fishing.

When targeting these fish in deeper water  I often take 2 to 3 outfits with me to cover all the lure sizes making sure the lures can get to the optimum depths at the right speed.

Fishing 1/4oz to 1/2oz jigs I would use a 6.6ft to 7ft fast action rod. My 2 piece 6.6ft crucial does this job perfectly matched with a 2500 sustain and 15lbs Sufix 832 performance braid.

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My medium outfit would cover the 1/2oz to 3/4oz jigs and plastics range from the 5inch to 7inch sizes. For this I use the 2 piece bassterra 7ft rod. Matched with a Sahara 4000 or similar make reel its an outfit that can land any sized estuary fish with the capability to fish lighter lures as well. The reel I spool with 20lbs Sufix Pro 8 braid and with fishing mixed coral to red bait structure if one does get snagged you often will be able to remove the lure with the heavier braid.

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My heavier outfit consists of my Terez Wax Wing which is fitted with Fuji K series guides allowing braid to flow through the guide easily in tough windy conditions. Seated to it is my Shimano Socorro 5000SW spooled with Sufix 832 braid which any angler knows who has fished it is remarkably strong braid.This outfit is used when the wind and tide is rather strong and fished with 7 to 8 inch plastics on 3/4 oz to 1oz jigs.



Its crucial that when big fish are around to be able to present a lure to them in the right area where they would be holding and for the lure to drop into the zone through the current correctly and this outfit does that and once a hook up happens the fast action allows a good hook set and plenty of back bone allows the hook to set through any hard facial bone.
Even a 20kg plus fish with the right drag tension will be landed with in 10 to 15 minutes and larger fish who would demand more attention one can turn and lift fish towards the boat to he netted.

Best of luck with the winter fishing and be prepared for a good fish every cast.


 Written by Chris Schoultz

Rapala Shadow Rap


The Rapala Shadow Rap series has all the moves that other lures only dream about. A horizontal struggle with a big kick, plus a vertical fade or a vertical rise on the pause perfectly mimics a bait fish in its last, quivering moments before the end. The kick, the snap back to life and the slow fading or rising all trigger fish to hit the Shadow Raps, and boy do they hit them hard! The Shadow Rap features a minnow or shad body style, flat sides and a metallic finish with textured scales. The Shadow Rap series of lures feature super sharp VMC black nickel round bend hooks and are available in 24 color patterns.

This fish was caught at Midmar Dam off a rock pile in 6ft of water on a Shadow Rap.

Shadow rap

The Shadow Rap is such a versatile bait. This bait can be fished in just about any area you can think of. However my favorite area to fish this bait is on rocky banks and rock piles. This is where I find it most effective. I have caught fish with this bait in almost every season too! From the spawn to it being late Autumn I have caught fish with the Shadow Rap. My favorite colour would have to be Ghost Shiner. Overall this bait is a must have in your fishing box!

Written By Gareth Potgieter.


A New Era of Angling

I have been fishing light tackle boat since the tender age of 8 years old, whether it be on the rivers, the dams or on the sea. Over the years I have come to a conclusion that the sea side of light tackle boat tends to be the most challenging and landing an 80kg diamond ray or 70kg ragged tooth on 4kg line is no easy task. Over the last two years I have embarked on a journey in order to find the best reel and line combination in order to gain an edge on my competitors at local, national and international levels by finding the reel with the smoothest drag and the 4kg line with the strongest pooling capacity with the least abrasion in order to pull the fish that little bit harder and a little faster to maximise my fishing time on the water.

It was in April this year at the annual South African Light Tackle Boat National championships that I found that sweet point between a smooth drag, the strongest spooling capacity and lowest abrasion of the line, and it is by far a combination that is unbeatable. I have owned a pair of Torium 14’s for two years and there drags are smooth as silk, but the issue was finding the correct line to pair with them. SALTBAA (the South African Light Tackle Boat Angling Association) provides line to all the competitors before the championships commence and to my pleasure they supplied all the anglers with Double X 4kg IGFA rated tournament line.

The Double X 4kg line has super high abrasion allowing you to land many fish before having to pull a couple meters of line off your reel and when tested after landing multiple fish on this line, it was still breaking at the same weight as when it was tested before we fished with it, and as a matter of fact it was breaking a little over 4kgs, it was breaking at 4.1kgs allowing the angler to still pull the fish that little bit harder. This is a massive advantage, especially when considering that previous brands of line supplied in the past were breaking at a weight of as low as 2.8kgs! From my personal experience, the Double X 4kg line is by far the best LTB line on the market and definitely takes pole position on the podium.

This line performs even better still if you pair it with the best LTB reels on the market, Torium 14’s. The Drags on these reels is incredibly smooth, so much so that when I was fighting the Diamond rays on the boat I didn’t even realise that the fish was taking line until I looked down at my reels and saw the line peeling off at a rate of knots. If your reels have a rough drag and jerk as the line is coming off the reel, it adds more pressure to the line, and when fighting a large fish with a tight drag, this little bit of extra pressure is enough to cause your line to snap.

The area where these reels and the line impressed me the most is the finals stage of the fight in LTB, a stage that I like to call “the danger zone”. This occurs when you bring a large fish along side the boat in order to bring it on board. This is the point in the fight when you have the least amount of line off your reel and in turn have the least amount of stretch in your line. In this stage of the fight, when the fish sees the boat it will almost definitely make a run and try get away from the boat, but this is where a smooth drag is essential. When the fish turns to run, it adds extra pressure on the line, which at this time has very little stretch and is guaranteed to snap if you are using reels with a poor drag system. During the four day tournament, I landed a total of around 600kgs of fish, 90% of this weight being diamond rays with the rest being made up by raggies and I never lost a single fish in “the danger zone”. My reels by far gave me an edge with their top notch drag system, allowing the fish to make their run and run as hard as they can without a single bit of added pressure on the line.

I can happily say that Double X line and my Shimano Torium reels played a big part in me being 2017 South African U/21 LTB champion. My team (Border U/21A) was placed first and I won the individual section, being named the top angler across the age categories for 2017 and a big shout out has to go to the Rapala VMC team, as without their top notch tackle, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

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Written by Kyle Schmidt

Gomoku Slow Rocker



I have had a lot of fun fishing with the new Gomoku Slow Rocker. I have used it off the boat as a jig, and also thrown it off the beach and retrieve it like a spoon.

The slow rocker is available in sizes ranging from the small 40g jig, through to the 70g, 90g and 120g.


The Gomoku also comes in 8 different dual faced, glow and metallic finishes. This giving you a wide rage to choose from, depending on the time of the day you are fishing and water colour.

I have caught some lovely fish while jigging off the boat. They include Shad, Bonnies, Sada Sada and many more.

This jig has a very erratic action as you retrieve it off the bottom with a very fast jigging motion. You can also do big long and slow sweeps to give the jig a different action. You can retrieve this jig fast or slow without it loosing its rolling action.

The 40g jig is also ideal for throwing off the rocks or beach. I have caught Pick handle Barracuda, and shad off the bricks with this jig.

I would recommend this lure to anyone who is looking for some fun and lots of rod bending and Shimano music.


Written by Craig Bashford

What is Right and what is Wrong

As the sun rises you are preparing to make your first cast for the day. Picking up your rod your eyes focus on the target, a small dark pocket under a tree. The first cast into any spot has a little excitement attached to it and is always done with an expectation of landing “The One”.

The rod feels comfortable in your hand; you have done this so many times, and still focused on the small pocket you are standing up behind the steering wheel. Putting your foot on the trolling motor is followed by a smooth and accurate pitch into the target area. Slow sinking plastic bumps and bounces of the limbs of the underwater tree and then stops; or did it? A slight pull and you step back on the deck, dropping the rod tip and setting the hook with everything the moment allows.

The water explodes under the tree and it is game on. Pulling, tugging and manoeuvring him out from under the tree. You see him for the first time and after swinging him onboard you look at him like it’s the first bass you have ever seen.

This is the reason why we leave home at 04:00 and drive the worst roads, sleep in some dodgy places and freeze our arms off. We need to be honest… we are addicted.

After pitching and casting that bank to pieces, the life jacket comes out and the outboard whisks you off to another hopeful spot. Grass flats and lily pads invite a long cast. A popping frog jumps over them to see what lurks below. A longer rod gets picked up and it “hisses” as a power cast sends a lure travelling through the air. You start retrieving as soon as the lure hits the water. Two, three, four lilies crossed before the water boils up and something jumps on your presentation. Now the fight is on. “Turn his head” someone shouts; reminding you how you have lost a similar fight before.

A great bucket mouth comes from under the grass and acknowledges that the fight is over. Photos are taken, short videos are made and stuff posted next to your wedding photos on Facebook and Instagram for everybody to see. That is what fishing should be. There should be excitement when reversing your boat into the water and walking up to a farm dam as the sun comes up, rod in hand.

So after reading all of this and remembering those great days on the lake, with friends or your kids you look at all the rods hanging on the wall. Strange how a rod has its own personality. Now before you think I’m crazy, think about it. Every rod bought and fished and broken sticks in your mind. Good reels seem to always find their way onto a favourite rods and the time spent together.

So, should that not be the way that you buy gear. Buying really cheap obviously will have its own problems and disappointments, but buying something that feels right for you should normally be perfect.

The most expensive is not always the answer. I brought in some rods from the USA a couple of years ago and they were supposed to be the only thing you should use when fishing tournaments. Spending way too much and after all the trouble, having to admit to myself that they were horrible, I realized that I am comfortable using my current rods.

So, when a rod pitches straight, or casts a mile it sounds like you have a perfect fit. Yes, it is very nice when you can feel the bottom or the expression on the crabs face that you are passing, but it is not everything. Enjoy your fishing.

I watched someone cast an in line spinner of a R130,000.00 bass boat and life was good again. Those baits used to catch many fish in the past and we ditched them for the latest and greatest releases from all over the world.

Do what you feel is right; cast where you want to; cast what you want to and get rid of the bassin’ rule book and just enjoy being out there.

Written by Colin Wilmer

String Theory

We have all stood in front of a shelf in retail store looking at all the different options; yellow, green and even invisible ones.

The packaging becomes even more overwhelming because every box is better than the one next to it and offers so much more than last year’s model. Feels like we are buying cars. As you walk down the shelf you read the different descriptions and advantages and notice the price differences between the seemingly same products. Well, there are differences and it may not be what you expect. (No brands or labels will be discussed in this article because it is not the point of all of this.)

The application normally determines the choice of “string” or fishing line we will be buying, but this has been discussed at length, to death. Let’s just speak about application, for a little bit as a refresher and then never again.

For cranking – it was always believed that monofilament or copolymer was the best option.
For top water action – same thing … mono or copolymer.
For soft plastic worming – the belief was always that fluorocarbon was the one for that job.
Braid – never sure whether if it was best for top water action or awesome for worming.

Well, time to explain some things about fishing line to keep in mind when buying or choosing the best line to use. The most important things about lines are trust and feel. Think about it; if it does not feel right on your reel you don’t feel comfortable in casting.

Spinning reels (coffee grinders)
Choosing a line that does not drive you into the cooler box to find your inner peace. Why do we always get a line that twists and never gives you the distance you are after? There are many reasons for all of this.
Spinning reels work best with 10lb line or lighter and in saying that, the box or packaging, becomes important. In the world of line manufacturing, Japan normally produces a very high quality line and normally comes at a different price as well. The advantage of this is that you could probably get away with casting a 7lb line instead of a heavier 10lb line… distance sorted.
A higher quality line comes of the spool easier because they tend to be rounder in shape and lies better on the spool of your reel. In other words it does not flatten out and will give extended life span which improves the affordability of sometimes more expensive lines.

Bait casting reels
These reels initially were developed to cast a heavier line without all the line twists because spinning reels just could not do the job. Unfortunately bass do not lie in open water with no structure so heavier line was a necessity. Control and accuracy was a by product of all this development.

So many times I have seen somebody spend thousands of Rands on a reasonable rod and reel combination but then try to go as cheap as possible on line. This will only lead to frustration.

Now let’s get to the technical stuff that will hopefully help understand what line is and where it can fit into your fishing arsenal. (Ware has a specific gravity of one – as a unit of measure)

Monofilament or copolymer
These two normally have a specific gravity in the range of 1.2 to 1.24. This means that it is slightly heavier than water. In other words the line would float and stay in the top part of the body of water in front of you. So think of casting a soft plastic worm at a tree. The first movement of that plastic will be in an upwards direction because your line is still fighting its way down. This could be removing bait out of the zone and reduces chances for that much needed bite. So, if casting monofilament or copolymer on a Mojo-, Texas- or even weightless rig, just be very slow in moving the bait for the first time.

Another interesting fact is that this line can stretch up to 14%. Think about a 30m cast… this could be a stretch of 4.2 meter. How many times have you set a hook and before you start winding that monster in, he is off? We then blame the hooks, rod and even the position of Mars in relation to the jetty we are casting at. Meanwhile, our line had something to do with it.

A good quality fluorocarbon normally stretches between 7 to 9% and has a specific gravity of 1.75. This means a better sinking line with much more sensitivity because of less stretch. This line does have a harder feel to it because the composition inside is different.

Tournament anglers flocked to this line because for so many years they believed that it was invisible under water and fish rate was picking up. The fish rate was picking up because the bait was presented more effectively in the zone. Instead of going up and out of the zone it was now being dragged through the zone for a longer period of time; obviously leading to more fish.
Be honest, does your fluorocarbon really disappears under water?

Braid has a specific gravity of 1.15 and is the real floater in the pack. The advantages of this line are different but used in the right applications it can be very effective. With almost no stretch and a very direct feel with low diameter it can be used in many applications. There has been for many years a need for something strong and thin enough to go onto a spinning reel and braid was born.

The strange part of all of this is that nylon based lines, like monofilament, copolymer and fluorocarbon, have many enemies which we need to keep in mind. The worst things for lines are UV-rays and water.

I trust that this insight on fishing lines will help readers buy and use the best string in the right way.

Written By Colin Wilmer

How Long is enough ?

So many fish, so little time is what we are all thinking when we are on the water. I always wonder how many fish were really under the boat or in the reeds while pitching or casting at them.

This would be great info to have but not make it a fair game, if we had to know. The most of us only have limited fishing time and we always try and maximize our catches for the amount of the time we have next to or on the lake. This makes us do things we should not do, like rushing to the water or rushing lures through the water at great speeds.

We always want more time, more time casting or figuring out the pattern, instead of fishing what is in front of us properly. Many times I have watched guys on the boat with me just over doing the casting thing. Many casts don’t lead to many fish and many fish don’t always mean quality fish. Let me explain the theory of everything.

So many fish caught over so many years and never catching the fish I wanted to catch. It took a long time to realize that I was catching the wrong fish in the right areas. Looking at a potential area is easy when it is visible in front of you and how many times have you said to yourself “there has to be a bass in there”. The best part of that statement is that you were right but not the best fish was caught of it. So we cast and within a couple of casts or first cast, we load up on the first taker and feel successful in the process.

For many years of tournament fishing I could not understand how the same guys came to the weigh in always weighing better bags. The answer is actually quite simple. These so called pro’s are doing what they are doing properly.

Some ten years ago I watched two Zimbabwean guys on Lake Darwendale, sitting in two wooden boats fishing for bass. I was on a bass boat behind them watching how they were fishing with the wrong rods and wrong line in the wrong spot and catching lunkers of 3 to 5kg. This stopped me fishing for about two hours just watching them, trying to figure this whole process. Everything we watched on ESPN and read was not being applied by these two guys but I would love to weigh those sorts of fish in a tournament.

They cast a 6 to 7 inch stick bait into a direction and then put the rod down on a wire bent rest on the front of their boats. They did this four times; yes four rods at a time were in the water, almost like carp fishing. They then proceeded to roll a very large newspaper and tobacco cigarette which they enjoyed for a half an hour or more before one of the rods loaded. Keep in mind, not moving or twitching or swimming to get a bite just leaving it in one spot. No weights or tricks, just patience.

The other experience I had was taking my wife fishing on couple of occasions and after a lot of trash talk on the way there I knew she would love to whip my behind. As with some ladies on the boat they fish hard till 10’o ‘clock and then start losing interest and just becomes too much hard work for a fish. They then start to do the following; after the boat has stopped in an area of your choice they cast next to you or around you. I would catch four fish out of an area, making twenty casts; they still have only made one or two casts. So many times the bigger bite comes on the slower fishing. Yes, they might lose the fish in the fight but she still got the better bite. I have driven back so many days knowing that the better fish were hooked, and sometimes landed, by my wife.

Slow the lures down to a standstill and work harder through the area. Everybody knows that if three guys on a boat catch fish, the biggest normally wins the day and bragging rights.

Guys are surprised when you tell them to leave the lure in the zone and some guys really struggle to “dead stick” a bait properly. Slowing it down means stopping it completely. Cast at the target, make sure you hit the bottom (whether fishing with plastic or a jig) and then just leave it. Bass are very inquisitive fish and it will take the bigger fish a little longer to react, but if they are there they will come and have a look.

A nice and easy technique to start this with is Texas rig, Mojo rig, or my favourite Shakey Head fishing.

Try it, it really makes a difference.

Written by Colin Wilmer

As Good as a Holiday

Maybe you’ve heard comments like: “I don’t through spinnerbaits or crankbaits because I just loose them”, or “I have never caught anything on them”.

These thoughts unfortunately lead to a mental block and sometimes stay forever. I have seen anglers cast the same baits over and over; no matter when or where they are fishing.
For example; conditions in the Vaal River change between seasons and water levels. “But last week (or in practice), I caught them on a fluke under that jetty and now there’s nothing!”
Yes but have you noticed that the water temperature has dropped five degrees and changed in colour?

Think about this for a moment …
Top water baits in the middle of the day in 25ft of water; is it possible or does it work?
Yes, because the water was clear, warm and bait fish where busting everywhere.

Fishing pink jerkbaits in crystal clear water at great speed; will this work? (Great speed means – if water runs over its back, you are going to slow). Watching Jerry Jooste win a Rust de Winter tournament with this technique made me doubt everything I thought I knew about bass fishing.

When last have you wacky rigged a Senko in 3ft of water, or maybe you have never fished a wacky rig before? That is like being a fly half that can only pass in one direction. Many bag limits were filled like this.

One of my favourite examples comes from a couple of years ago when anglers were preparing for national championships. The phones were ringing and the information turned into a great commodity. Only after nationals it was revealed that the most unlikely lure came back to shows its true value – the inline spinner.
The point I am trying to make is that the bass specie of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were still caught.

So, thinking of this before leaving for a two day practise session a couple of years ago, I decided to remove everything that I normally use – all my trusty go-to-baits.
I only took spinnerbaits and left feeling so uncertain about what I was going to do. The interesting part of this is that for the first time I actually had to make it work because there was no other option. All of a sudden pitching accurately and retrieving speeds became a priority.
Some fish were caught and I had something new to “go-to” when things got tough. After doing this a couple of times I had confidence in this bait and couldn’t leave home without it.

I did the same using crankbaits, jigs and Shakey Heads with the same results. In fact Shakey Heads will now easily be the first bait I cast.

The one thing that does affect this mastering approach is when you are standing in front of the shelf in your local tackle store; how to decide which spinnerbait or crankbait to buy?

Spinnerbaits for example rely on good quality wire and swivels to make them function properly, so don’t buy the cheapest possible imitation and expect the same results.

There are also so many cranks that look alike with great paint jobs, but do they last, or do they really wobble, or roll like they should? This will influence your catch rate and could put you off throwing a specific type of bait forever.

Your tackle box, like so many other tackle boxes, has some “old timers” rusting away. Remember why you bought them in the first place. Maybe because it was the greatest thing to have then. Just replace some split rings, trebles and have a second look at the old faithful dying to go for another swim.

The worst part of fishing is when you know some anglers always get fish, no matter where they are. They go to your local waters and catch the fish you only see on social media. So, start over and trust your instincts.

Written by Colin Wilmer