As a novice you may have made do with various items of tackle because putting the basics together can be very expensive. Whilst your rod and reel will have been a priority, sooner or later you may want to upgrade your wooden tripod or monopod to a proper aluminium tripod, your cheap rucksack to a tackle box or an elastic luggage clip holding your rods together for a pucker rod holdall. Fortunately these are items you can add to your kit over time and this spreads the cost, what you buy may depend upon funds, but looking at other anglers gear whilst you fish will give you a few ideas.
A seat box is the ultimate in comfort for the shore angle, not only does it protect your tackle from the elements, it’s a comfortable place to sit down to bait up, etc. The most basic plastic seat boxes are little more than a plastic toilet cistern they serve the purpose and are an essential equipment for the sea angler.
The most popular seat box is the Shakespeare Beta box and thanks to Breakaway Tackle Developments its also the most efficient via a range of extras which make it slightly more sophisticated. The back rest and carry frame is a superb addition to a Beta box and many think it makes the box even more efficient than a rucksack for long angling walks. Standard tackle box carry straps are responsible for as many anglers’ back problems as bait digging, so get a carry harness! There are several other Breakaway additions such as a lead tray, lid lock and all make the Beta box the number one for the sea angler although TF Gear may also have a tackle box to interest you.
Other custom made sea tackle boxes are available, but as yet no one has produced an improvement on the basic carry frame system. Whatever box you chose beware of buying an over large coffin size box because it will inevitably get filled up!
Rucksacks: Popular with anglers who are roving or walking long distances the modern lightweight rucksacks are superb and because of the many walkers, hikers etc that use them choice is wide. They are though not every angler’s choice. Look for a plastic base to keep water from your tackle and to keep the bag stable but watch the size, its easier to fill a bigger rucksack, small is lighter and you don’t have to rumble through lots of gear to get to something at the bottom.
ROD BAGS AND HOLDALLS
Rods can be a real problem to carry around without some form of rod bag or rod holdall, especially if you want to carry several rods a rod rest shelter etc. There are a couple of different types. The rod carrier is a short stubby bag with a strap and the rods stick out of the top, its lighter and easy to get at, often the best choice when used in conjunction with cloth rod bags on the rods. The longer holdall style of rod bag totally enclose and protect the rods and also has compartment for shelter, rod rest etc. Both serve a purpose and both have fans, but basically the rod holder is best for the angler facing a hike to his fishing spot, matchmen especially, whilst the rod holdall is more protective towards rod rings etc. A really light weight solution are the cod carry straps offered by some firms, these have Velcro adjustment and are the ultimate light weight solution to rod carriage.
The more you go fishing the more gear you will collect and it’s easy to become over loaded with a large box, holdall stuffed with rods and a bucket full of bait etc…. Balancing your load can help and it’s a good idea to put some of you heavy gear, like leads, into a bucket to balance your box, a carry frame is essential for the box, whilst rod holders with adjustable straps are essential. Don’t rush off to a mark, get the balance of the load right before you start off and that way you will risk less chance of back problems in the future.
THE ROD REST
The tripod rod rest is a major tackle item that only the keenest rock or bass angler who want to hold their rods or walk miles carrying the minimum tackle may want to do without. For most shore angling situations a quality tripod rod rest is indispensable if not only to prevent your precious rod from being covered in sand and salt or scratched by rocks etc. It provides a stable stand to rest the rod on when baiting etc and when fishing allows you to position your rod with ease into the best position to watch for bites and in wind or a big sea allows you to raise you line above the waves away from weed etc.
Single leg mono pod rod stands do a job, but they are useless on a promenade or pier and it can give you neck ache watching your rod tip stuck high in the air. Modern tripods made of aluminium are very popular and most have all the gadgets and gizmos to make the sea angler’s life easier.
First decision, what tripod rod rest do I buy? The main criteria’s are stability, lightness and durability. Check out the range from TF Gear. You may only fish from the back of the car on promenades and prefer a heavy more stable rest or you may fish far off venues and want a lightweight version, most have an angle aluminium main leg, but there are light versions with three tubular legs as well as adjustable length legs. Rock anglers may prefer a shorter version and there are stubby tripods that fit the rucksack as well. In fact there are tripods for all situations with a host of extras and add on accessories to help the angler wherever he fishes.
ROD REST COMPONENTS
Single or double head/cups: Most of the quality rod rests offer heads and cups for two rods, modern versions also offer adjustment in the width between rods as well as cups that can be adjusted up or down the main spine of the rod rest to lift the rod tip high. Most also have a single rest or cup option.
Rig bars: This is a clip on bar to hang spare baited rigs or spare rigs, on some models it also serves to add stability. Adjustable rig leg clips are also an option to hang spare terminal rigs from.
Stability bars: Extended between legs to lock the in position to prevent the rod rest collapsing.
Foot Lever: This small lever near the bottom of the main leg of the tripod is used to help dig the rest into the sand/beach and is tucked out of the way along the main leg when not in use.
Leg Lock: Most tripods have a lock system to clamp the three legs together for easier carriage.
Bucket hook: A hook under the top rest can be used to add stability to the tripod via a bag of stones or a bucket. The latter can also be used for tackle.
Leg rest head: These are rod rest heads that fit on the leg of the tripod so that the rod can be position low or parallel to the rest, a favourite of match anglers.
Tackle tray: Some rod rests offer a tray or tackle hammock which is slung under the rod rest head on to which bait and tackle can be placed, handy when fishing from shores with a long inter tidal area.
ODD ROD RESTS
There are a range of situations where a tripod is not always suitable. Pier walls or railings for instance. Several answer to resting your rod on a pier wall or railings and there are a few custom made rests available around the tackle shops or you can make yourself – For a pier wall not much beats an old rubber car mat. Large rubber engine mountings cut to shape also solve the problem whilst for the railing a short length of foam pipe lagging taped around the railing does the job.
ROD REST TIPS
Fixed spool reel users – Look for a tripod rest with width adjustment on the head and cups, this helps to keep the larger fixed spool reels apart on the rod rest.
If you want a rod rest for a promenade or pier look for model with plastic none slip feet. Base leg locking bars( Some rests have a chain) are also available which completely solve this problem or you can simply tie the legs together to prevent them splaying out and the rest collapsing.
Add a small LED headlamp to your tripod for night fishing. These work especially well with rods that have rings with reflective inserts.
In weedy seas retrieving with your rod supported by the top of the rod rest can make life easier.
A monopod rest is the light weight answer for that spare rod, alternatively use a short length of plastic drain piping stuck in the sand/beach.