By Andrew Kennedy
Sea fishing is what I've done most of when I've been on holiday, as
most resorts have nearby harbours, breakwaters or piers, which are
good to fish from.
Besides the odd bit of saltwater fly fishing, I have one main sea
rod, which is a "Mitchell Neptune" telescopic, capable of
casting 50-150g (1.75 to 5.25 ounce). This rod is designed for beachcasting
and has a bright white tip for easy bite indication. If your intended
quarry is not likely to be on the sea bed, a large sliding float,
or fixed bung can also be hurled a great distance with this rod. There
is an extreme amount of power within it's construction, so it will
handle almost anything you're likely to catch from the shore.
Matthew Liston, who I fish with regularly was impressed last summer
when he managed to pick up a telescopic 12 foot "Storm"
surf rod for £20. This rod is rated for even larger casting
weights (4 to 6 ounce), and Matt landed plenty of Mackerel last year,
by casting feathers off rocks on Anglesey, punching out a 4 ounce
lead with ease. This highlights perfectly the amount of power available
from these modern telescopic rods. Despite this power, the rods still
manage to be sensitive. During the same holiday, Matt also caught
plenty of whiting by beachcasting baits out and watching the rod tip
for bite indication.
powerful Mitchell sea rod, left, will cope with casting weights of
over 5 ounces!
If you're heading off-shore and would rather catch a fish on your
own tackle than that supplied by the boat, there is now even a wide
selection of boat rods made in 3 or 4-piece designs!
Shimano's "Beastmaster" and "Exage" ranges include
boat rods and stand-up rods with line ratings of 20lbs, right up to
250lbs, with trolling rods available in sporting 20lb to 50lb classes.
I currently own one travel boat rod, which is a 4-piece model produced
by Harris Angling, called the "Poacher". This rod has heavy-duty,
lined chrome rings, a heavily padded butt and handle with a capped
fitting for a gimbal belt or trolling rest. It's 30lb line class is
possibly even a little light, as this is an extremely powerful rod,
suited mainly to fishing with lures - reaching just 6 feet in length
when fully assembled. I have yet to test this rod to it's full potential,
although I have used it for lighter work. The spigot joints are very
firm and appear to be graphite. I have not found the same problem
with this rod as I initially did with the glass four-piece rod - once
the joints are pushed into place they will remain so for the rest
of the session, resisting numerous casts without working loose.
Harris Poacher, left, packs down very small, but has stacks of power
when it's required
that's rods covered...
What about everything else? Obviously the reel, line and terminal
tackle you take with you is dependant on the species you intend to
catch and the methods you intend to use. It is best to have at least
some idea of your potential quarry, before you start to pack your
tackle. The internet is a great way to "do your homework"
on your destination and it's fishing potential before you leave the
UK. Search for fish, angling or fishing and the name of your destination
and you should find pages telling you what species and conditions
to expect. Also, make yourself a member of at least one of the many
angling forums. This way you can ask specific questions to the people
most likely to know the answers - other anglers! Most angling forums
are very friendly and welcoming to new members - don't be afraid to
ask the questions because it will save you time and worry when it
comes to packing your tackle to take on holiday.
In order to keep the space taken up by your tackle to a minimum, purchase
a small box for floats, weights and terminal tackle. I find that the
triple-seal food boxes are perfect, because they're available in a
variety of shapes and sizes and cannot pop open in your suitcase -
sprinkling hooks through your underwear! If you fit your tackle to
the box, rather than vice-versa you'll be surprised at what you can
fit in such a small space. If I'm going with an open mind of species
and techniques, I'll take two or three floats, some swivels, split
shot, a variety of hooks, two or three lures and some leger weights.
This way I'm prepared for the majority of situations I'm likely to
surprising just how much tackle will fit in a lock-lid food box. The contents shown are from a half-filled box!
A little tip - take some floating putty with you, available at fly
fishing shops. This stuff is so versatile and you can make emergency
floats by moulding some around a split shot or swivel. You just add
as little or as much as you need to reach the required casting distance.
It is luminous in colour, so it is quite visible at range. I also
use this for surface-feeding carp. It makes a far less conspicuous
"plop" as it lands in the water than that of a controller
The putty saved my blushes in Canada in 2003, when I was failing to
catch anything on lures, but repeatedly saw fish rising at around
45 yards into the lake. So, I dived for some mussels from the lake
bed, made a putty float set at 2 feet deep, and proceeded to catch
a seemingly endless supply of bull trout. Once again, my trusty telescopic
carp rod was the tool of choice.
small fish caught by improvising a putty float, when other methods had failed
you are intending to bait fish in another country, I strongly advise
you to purchase your hooks at home and take them with you. In the
majority of Countries, angling is a popular pass-time, but usually
the prime reason is for food, not sport. Some tackle will be available
to you out there, but in the UK tackle is generally more refined than
most other countries. Hooks can often be of questionable quality and
they may not be available in the size you want - especially if you
are looking for small hooks, for mullet, etc. Try purchasing a pack
of size 20 barbless and an insert waggler in any other country and
I promise you, you'll struggle! On the other hand, if you're lure
fishing in America, Australia or Canada for example, there are some
stunning bargains to be had on lures, braid and even rods, so it's
possible to pick up all of your kit once you get there - or at least
stock up on tackle for use back home!
Make sure you always take a good disgorger with you if bait fishing,
or a good set of forceps/hook-outs if using trebles or large hooks.
I've had tiny wrasse swallow hooks when fishing from breakwaters,
while sunfish and crappies will swallow impossibly large baits and
hooks, if you're freshwater fishing in the USA. I don't believe that
not being able to remove a hook is a viable reason to kill a fish,
and it is the angler's responsibility to go fishing fully prepared
and have the right tools to remove the hooks humanely.
Unfortunately I've seen sickening sights in the US, Malaysia, Australia
and the Canary islands, where small fish are killed because the angler
simply cannot be bothered to remove the hook properly from the unfortunate
tiny fish. I think that in Britain we are lucky in the fact that most
anglers are responsible and take good care of their catch, regardless
of size or species, but this is not the case for the whole world.
As ambassadors for our sport, it is important to take this respect
for the creatures we seek, with us when we travel. You may get some
funny looks if you put back a good fish to fight another day, but
if you aren't going to eat your catch, it should be handled with care
and returned quickly and safely to the water, just as you would at
A tip born from experience when using telescopic rods is - when you're
first setting the rod up, don't ever 'flick' the sections out as if
you were casting! Instead, pull the sections gently into place, starting
with the tip section; making sure all of the guides line up with each
other. If you do flick the sections into place, there is an extremely
high risk that they will jam into place permanently - so your handy
60cm telescopic rod becomes an impossible 3 metre one-piece rod in
a split second! Grit and salt can also cause sections to stick in
place. Occasionally, a dunk in warm water and/or some WD-40 around
the joint will free it, but once a joint becomes stuck it is usually
If you are fishing in saltwater, make sure that you thoroughly rinse
your rod, reel and line in fresh water as soon as possible, to stop
any corrosion, or in the case of line - rotting. A shower is great,
because you can direct small jets of water into all the nooks and
crannies. Doing this will ensure your reel continues to run smoothly
and your rod rings do not become scaly and corroded. It will also
help prevent a build up of salt around the rod joints, which can make
them jam, or even chip them at the ends.
you would like to discuss anything related to this issue, or if you
have a question I may be able to help with, please feel free to email
Good luck and good fishing to you all - wherever in the world you