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Looks Can Be Deceiving…

Dan Webb explains how, in his experience, being a tidy angler is massively overrated!

Anglers are not always the tidiest of people. Yesterday’s trousers still covered in slime and a van with more back copies of The Sun lying around than most greasy spoon cafés are not uncommon sights on a Sunday.

Some people naturally set their gear up in the same manner as a child empties a toy box, with bait boxes, rig trays and hook boxes strewn across the bank! Others, however, set up their gear as if they are waiting for a panel of judges to arrive and mark it! Perfect symmetry, aligned bait boxes and waterproofs cleaner than the Queen’s knickers just add to the “my gear has never been used before” look.

What makes me smile the most, though, is when everything matches! When most people buy gear, they look for the most suitable, functional and affordable gear they can. There are others, however, that treat the exercise the same as when looking for clothing and buy something just because of the name!

An apprentice at the company I work for asked my advice on what pole to buy for around £1,000. Naturally, I told him to look at the new Preston M50 as it’s a great pole for the price and totally interchangeable with the top of the range Preston poles in case he wanted to upgrade later (plug, plug, freebies please?).

I also told him to look at second-hand Sensas poles as they have kept the same mandrel for years and all their sections are interchangeable. In the end, he bought a Maver. When I asked why, he told me he already had a Maver seatbox and jacket and wanted all his gear to match! I can just about look him in the face now without laughing, but I can’t stop that voice in my head that screams “tart, tart, tart, tackle tart!” every time I see him!

I’m personally very particular about my gear and keep everything neat and tidy on the bank. I sometimes get told I’m a tackle tart but I make a lot of things myself; some of it is very old and none of it matches.

I’ve also now been fishing with a telescoped No4 section for a year and match my lovely Preston DF20 jacket with some old Gore-Tex overtrousers I was given 10 years ago! I also carry too many hooks and rigs in case the venue runs, is deeper than I remember or turns into a commercial mid match! I think this keeps me out of the ‘tart’ category and firmly plonks me into the ‘obsessive eccentric tackle tinkering-box perfectionist overprepairing just in case this might happen’ box, or Fruitcake for short.

Sometimes after a few hectic weeks of fishing, work and nappy changing I do wish I wasn’t quite as fussy with my gear. Hours of sorting, organising, cleaning and making things, just for the feeling of readiness to be tainted by drawing next to Graham Dack! With his reel held to his rod with gaffer tape and a seatbox that looks like it contains the sweepings from a second-hand tackle sale at Glastonbury, he gives the illusion of being unprepared yet somehow manages to win matches while sat amid a pile of gear that could have just fallen out of a skip!

Try and explain to him about your limited edition black line white embossed superbox and I’m sure you’ll get a perplexed look! I’m sure he would think that Guru trainers are a type of Angling Trust approved coaches!

In my hunt for some visual evidence to back up my musings, I called upon some friends to help out. So thanks Ricky Marshal and Andrew Moss for the tidy pictures. Tidy it up please John Fairhurst. Well used I’d say Paul Knapman, but as for Simon Richardson… you disgust me!

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Tackle tidiness can go from one extreme…


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… to the absolute other!


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