Slider fishing – a bit of a forgotten art?

With more in-vogue tactics being far more prevalent on many waters nowadays I think it’s fair to say that, yes, it is a bit of a forgotten art. However, retail giant Benwick Sports has teamed up with UK tackle manufacturer Tri-Cast to produce this – the 14ft Trilogy XS Super Slider.

I’ve dabbled a little (and I mean a little bit) with slider fishing before. However, I would say straight from the start that it’s not a tactic I would consider myself to be proficient in. It certainly is a bit of an art form, but luckily today I’m out with MF editor and former World Champion, Dave Wesson. Dave won the 1991 World Championships fishing this very tactic in Ireland, so who better to have with me for a bit of a nostalgic slider fishing session. 

My day starts with a trip to Lane’s Tackle shop to pick up a few accessories and some maggots. Lane’s is my local and their bait has always been highly regarded by many, myself included. With some micro swivels, beads, extra shot and a few other particulars paid for I leave the shop with my slider fishing essentials and head to Meadowlands to get set up and ready for the session.The rod first of all then – well, it’s made by Tri-Cast (exclusively for Benwick Sports) and is based on the famed Trilogy XS blank. However, it has been ‘tweaked’ to better suit this style of UK slider fishing. It’s purposely 14 feet in length to allow for faster line pick-up, meaning a better response (and therefore more hooked fish) on the strike, especially in deeper water. Tri-Cast describes it as a tippy action rod, before the extra power comes in through the middle section of the blank to cope with larger fish. It has been designed to be much more forgiving than a traditional slider rod which, if you’ve ever picked one up for a waggle, can be quite stiff, certainly the more Continental-orientated models anyway. Not ideal for UK slider fishing really and this new Tri-Cast model certainly does feel more forgiving and less intimidating.

One major issue the rod addresses is the rings on the tip section. With slider fishing you’ll be using a stop knot and with the trend having moved towards smaller, lighter rings that isn’t a combination that works perfectly for this style. So, for this rod, Tri-Cast has fitted slightly larger guides to the top section to allow the stop knot to pass more easily on the cast. This also helps to ensure the stop knot doesn’t get trapped and move at all, otherwise you could unintentionally alter the depth you’re fishing at, which wouldn’t be ideal of course.Tri-Cast also says that this would make a great stick float fishing rod, too, especially for targeting slightly larger fish, or with heavier stick floats as the line runs so well through the larger guides. The rod has a stated casting weight of up to 15g, with reel lines suggested up to 8lb.

On to the session then and getting the rig set up is the first port of call. Using one of Benwick Sports’ own slider floats from the Silverlite range, a 6g model is attached with a quick change slider adaptor at the base and stopped by a small plastic bead and stop knot. The 2ft 0.11mm hooklength is attached to the 4lb reel line via a micro swivel. This is just to help prevent any tangles or line twist, especially as we’re fishing mainly with a double maggot hook bait today.The bulk is the key – positioned around 3.5ft from the hook a bunch of AAA shot forms the main weight to cock the float. Between that bulk and the size 18 barbless hook sits another bulk of five No8 shot, which cocks the float perfectly to leave around 8mm of the orange bristle showing. Plumbing the depth is a bit of an art and after around 20 casts tweaking and changing the depth we get it spot on. The swim is around 13 feet deep (so it’s ideal slider territory) and the rig is set around 18 inches overdepth. It’s windy today and towing pretty hard so I want to try and keep some line (and the hook bait) on the deck.

I kick-start the swim with a few small balls of fine, sweet fishmeal groundbait at around 25 yards where we’re fishing. Casting the rig takes some practice and it’s more of a lob than a cast to get the bulk and float to land on the surface neatly without any tangles. The first few casts just give me a feel for it, then the first bite on the slider follows and a nice Meadowlands skimmer hits the net. Feeding some small balls of groundbait starts to work well with regular bites and regular skimmers heading to the net, along with a few bigger Meadowlands residents as well. I must say it’s a very refreshing and rewarding way to be fishing! Okay the conditions and tow aren’t making it easy by any stretch, but in more favourable conditions I can imagine it’s a lovely way to spend a day on the bank.The rod feels plenty capable enough to fish at much longer range, but it’s also handling the soft-mouthed skimmers with absolutely minimal hook-pulls. Double red maggot certainly feels like the right hook bait choice and the small balls of groundbait keep the cold water skimmers interested. Dave hops on the box for a couple casts and soon looks right at home chucking that slider out into the expanse of water in front of us both.

I can well understand why Tri-Cast and Benwick have designed the rod this way and certainly from my (brief) slider session I quickly felt comfortable with it – powerful enough, yet forgiving enough. It’s a really enjoyable way of fishing and if it’s not something you have tried before then maybe get yourself out for an experimental slider session somewhere. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just like I have today.

Check out the Benwick website for more details on the rod and its ranges of slider floats.

• Casting weight – 15g
• Line rating – up to 8lb

RRP: £299