King Of the Pond (K.O.P.) Terminal Tackle Range
Reviewed by Andrew Kennedy
I've recently been sent a new range of terminal tackle to review from a company called “King Of The Pond”. The company claims to focus on providing quality and value-for-money in its products, and based on the ones I’ve seen so far, I cannot dispute those claims in the slightest! On the whole, the rig components are thoughtfully designed and of a very high quality. I have briefly described and reviewed them individually, below
All of the King Of the Pond swivels are of exceptional quality. They are all extremely well finished off, with no visible joints or seams and no sharp edges. The swivels are also very smooth-spinning and very strong. There are four different styles of swivel available in the K.O.P range; Rolling Barrel Swivels (£1.65 for 50), Quick-Change Link Swivels (£1.99 for 10), Quick-Change Helicopter/Chod Swivels (£1.99 for 10) - all of which are available in size 8, feature a matt anti-glare finish, have a breaking strain of 65lb and are compatible with their range of lead clips & buffer beads - and Micro Swivels (£1.25 for 20). The rolling swivels are the perfect all-round swivel for most specimen fishing situations and will suit anglers targeting Carp, Barbel and Pike, amongst others. The quick-change swivels allow hooklengths to be changed quickly, when using “dynamite sticks” to deliver loosefeed or when experimenting at a new water, when it can be useful to alter your rigs regularly to find a method that works, without having to break down the rest of your terminal tackle each time. The addition of a large-diameter rig ring to these swivels on the Helicopter/Chod model allows these to be used effectively over leadcore and rig tubing, and can also create an extra hinge-point on critically tuned carp rigs. I use micro swivels as an essential feature of all my float rigs, to prevent line twist of the hooklength when baits rotate on the retrieve. These micro swivels are also useful when scaling down is required to tempt tackle-shy fish. The K.O.P micro swivels are not anti-glare finished, but I have yet to find a brand which is, so this is my only minor criticism of what is a superb series of tremendously good value swivels.
Rubberware (Beads & Sleeves)
King Of the Pond have a selection of camouflaged rubber products available, which include 5mm Shock Beads (£1.99 for 50), 25mm extra-long Buffer Beads (£1.60 for 15), 40mm Anti-Tangle Sleeves (£1.50 for 20) and 20mm Mini Anti-Tangle Sleeves (£1.55 for 25). The shock beads are tough with a small-bore hole, so they won’t slip over a stop-knot and will grip firmly onto leadcore for making chod & helicopter rigs. They’re available in three colours. The K.O.P buffer beads, available in 2 colours, are thicker walled than most brands I’ve seen, yet they are still very soft and supple. I have several uses for these handy beads, including covering swivels and pulling over swivels on leads to make rigs less tangle prone and better camouflaged. I also use Solar quick-change clips to make my wire traces on pike rigs quickly removable, and these buffer beads are the perfect size to slide over the clip to ensure it doesn’t snag or release the trace during a fight. I also employ the mini anti-tangle sleeves as crimp covers on pike traces, because their tapered design helps stop the mainline hanging up on the crimps; especially a problem with braided lines. The full-size anti-tangle sleeves do exactly as the name suggests, and I employ these on most of my leger and feeder rigs as they provide a paternoster-effect. To improve this further, slip one on either side of the swivel and force an 8mm rubber bead up the mainline-side sleeve. Then fish your feeder on a run-ring and you have all the resistance-free benefits of a run-ring and all the anti-tangle benefits of a paternoster boom! As with all of the K.O.P products I’ve seen, these rubber products are of the quality you’d expect from a major brand, but at a fraction of the price.
Lead Clips & Tail Rubbers
K.O.P Lead Clips & Tail Rubbers feature everything you would expect from this popular rig component, plus a couple of extra touches which you might not. Of course, safety lead clips are designed for fishing bolt-style set-ups which are fish-safe, in the fact that they will release the lead in the event of it becoming snagged. The K.O.P clips are strong and neat, with an anti-glare finish to keep them discreet in clear water. One problem I have experienced with some lead clips in the past is leads flying off accidentally on hard casts. These clips have a couple of features which should combat this, because the lead-holding leg extends a long way inside the tail rubber. Also, the inside of the tail rubber is ridged, helping it grip the clip better, but still releasing under reasonable pressure. The K.O.P range of clips are compatible with their size 8 swivels and there is a removable locking pin to hold the swivel securely inside the clip. The tail cone rubbers are supple and thick-walled to prevent splitting. K.O.P lead clips are available in various colours, including “Muddy Clay”, “Sandy Gravel” and “Weedy Green”, to allow you to blend your rig components in with different lake beds. Surprisingly, there is also a clear version available, which I think I’ve only seen available from one other manufacturer. The clear clips don’t feature the internally-ridged tail rubbers or swivel locking pin, but they seem as tough as the other designs and might just give you an edge on some waters. All of the safety lead clips are £2.99 for 20 clips and tail cone rubbers, which is very good value.
These high-carbon steel "Samurai" treble hooks from K.O.P are well-featured and extremely keenly priced. They are made from a heavy-gauge 1mm wire and feature quite a long shank with a medium gape and a slightly in-turned point. They remind me of a Partridge pattern, but with heavier gauge wire. For a number of years I’ve used the amazing Owner ST36 trebles for all my pike fishing and while it would take a mind-blowing hook to persuade me to switch from these, they are very expensive and in some circumstances I simply can’t justify using such an expensive hook. In certain waters and swims, there are so many snags that the risk of tackle loss is quite high and getting through several traces or lures in a day is possible. This is where I’d look for a strong hook capable of landing a large pike, which doesn’t cost too much. Well, this K.O.P hook’s certainly strong and fairly sharp, but the key selling feature has to be the price tag… they come in at an astonishing £1.99 for 25, or just 8 pence EACH! With the price of these K.O.P hooks, I could buy (and potentially lose!) 7 of these for the price of 1 Owner! If you’re fairly new to pike fishing and looking to start tying your own traces or you’re looking for a cost-effective replacement hook for lures, or one to use in snaggy swims, then you won’t go far wrong with this model. They are available in sizes 4, 6 & 8 and are also available in blood red finish. Please remember - for the pike's sake - crush down those barbs!
K.O.P. also produce a catfish single hook pattern, available in size 2 and 3, which I'm yet to test out fishing, but it is a very strong-looking pattern, reminiscent of the Catfish Pro Eagle Wave hook. As far as I'm aware, these hooks are only available in a barbed variant, though most waters will allow you to crush the barbs down. These hooks also seem perfect for single hook pike rigs, which are slowly gaining in popularity. I think this will be the most likely rig I shall be using them in so once I have a more in-depth review, I shall update this page.
The K.O.P shrink tubing comes in good-value packs of 1 metre total length, cut down into 20 more practical 5cm lengths, handy for creating anti-eject rigs by creating the “critical angle”, or tidying up crimps on your wire traces. It is available in 3 colours of four different diameters (1.2, 1.6, 2.4 & 3.2 mm) which all have a shrink ratio of 1:3, which is easily attained when held over a steaming kettle or submerged in recently-boiled water. The clear stuff seems great, and most diameters are also available in black or brown. It costs just 80p for 1 metre of the stuff!
For further information on the King Of the Pond range, you can visit their website at www.kingofthepond.com/ or visit their eBay store direct at http://stores.ebay.co.uk/kings-of-the-pond. You can also find King Of The Pond on Facebook here http://www.facebook.com/kingofthepond.
Reviewed by Andrew Kennedy.