Whilst your rod and reel will have been a priority, sooner or later you may want to upgrade your wooden tripod to a proper aluminium tripod, your cheap rucksack to a tackle box, or maybe even invest in a pucker rod holdall.
Quality fishing gear can come at a price, so what you buy may depend on funds. Adding to your kit over time and looking at other angler’s gear whilst you fish can give you a few ideas.
Tackle and seat boxes are the ultimate bit of comfort for the shore angler, 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 of seat boxes are little more than a plastic toilet cistern – they serve the purpose and are an essential piece of equipment for the sea angler.
The most popular of seat boxes is the Shakespeare Beta box and thanks to Breakaway Tackle Developments, it’s also the most efficient via a range of extras which make it slightly more sophisticated. The backrest and carry frame is a superb addition to a Beta box and many anglers 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 lead trays and lid locks, all of which make the Beta box the number one choice for the sea angler, though TF Gear tackle boxes also offer an interesting range.
Other custom made sea tackle boxes are available, yet no one has produced an improvement on the basic carry frame system. Whatever box you chose beware of buying an oversized ‘coffin’ seat box because it will inevitably get filled up!
Rucksacks are popular with anglers who are roving or walking long distances. Modern lightweight rucksacks are superb and due to their popularity the choice is vast. Though they are 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, it’s all too easy 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 and a shelter among other things. 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, it’s lighter and easy to access, 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. A really light weight solution are the rod carry straps offered by some firms, these have Velcro adjustment and are the ultimate lightweight 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, a holdall stuffed with rods and a bucket full of bait. Balancing your load can help and it’s a good idea to put some of your 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. 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. A rod rest prevents your precious rod from being covered in sand and salt or scratched by rocks. It provides a stable stand to rest the rod on when baiting. When fishing, a rest allows you to position your rod with ease into the best position to watch for bites. In wind or a big sea, a tripod allows you to raise your line above the waves away from weeds and other obstacles.
Single leg monopod rod stands do the 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 are stability, lightness and durability. Check out the range of tripods and unirests 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 in position and 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.
RESTS FOR PIER WALLS AND RAILINGS
There are a range of situations where a tripod is not always suitable. Pier walls or railings for instance. There are several solutions for resting your rod on a pier wall or railings. For example, there’s a few custom made rests available around the tackle shops or you can make one 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 non-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 lightweight answer for that spare rod, alternatively use a short length of plastic drain piping stuck in the sand/beach.