Travel Tackle Guide - Part 1
By Andrew Kennedy
to take fishing tackle with you on a family holiday can be a potential
excuse for divorce! However, if your situation allows, with a little
bit of planning and careful purchasing, a lot of great fishing can
be enjoyed - whether you've got a spare couple of days, or just the
odd free hour here and there. The rewards can be excellent - catching
exotic species you would never dream of catching at home, or if you're
a coarse angler on a trip to the coast - holidays at home or abroad
can be a chance to add new species to your PB list!
Sure - there are tailor-made fishing holidays where tackle is supplied,
and then there are fishing trips to Ireland, France, etc - where plenty
of tackle can be taken with you in the car or van. There isn't much
I can say about these trips which hasn't been said before, so this
article is based on both long-distance fishing holidays and holidays
where angling is not the main focus, but a welcome interlude!
Back in 1987, when I was just 5 years old, I caught my first ever
fish whilst on holiday with my family. The fish was a small mullet
and I caught it on a telescopic rod my dad had bought for me. Little
did I know that this rod would change my life. It helped sow the seeds
of angling passion within me and this passion has only grown since
were the days - five years old, with my first fish - a mullet caught
using a telescopic rod. My fish-holding style has changed slightly
are many things to consider when planning to fish on holiday, but
in this article I shall concentrate on the primary aspect - tackle.
Which tackle should you pack? How much should you pack? Are telescopic
rods worth bothering with at all? What other alternatives are there?
These are the types of questions I shall try to answer in this article
- based on my own experience and the tackle available today. First,
I shall tackle the broad field of travel rods.
If you're travelling with just a suitcase for your belongings, there
isn't much room to fit your fishing tackle in - especially the most
bulky item - rods. The past 15 years have seen vast improvements in
travel rod technology. With more people holidaying globally, many
manufacturers have realised there is money to be made in the market
of quality travel rods, so we now have great and diverse ranges available
from manufacturers such as Shimano, Wychwood, K-Class, Shakespeare
In the past, buying a telescopic rod meant buying a 5-section collapsible
glass-fibre rod, sold in the region of £10. These rods are fine
for some occasional spinning or float-fishing from the docks, but
they are quite weak and cumbersome when compared with some of today's
superb carbon-fibre telescopic rods. If you expect to be fishing on
holiday regularly, or if you want to target larger specimens whilst
there, then it is definitely worthwhile investing in one of these
The majority of rods built for travelling are still designed as spinning
rods, which are suitable for most holiday situations as they are quite
versatile. However, more and more rods designed for specific purposes
are emerging all the time, so it may be worthwhile considering what
you intend to target before dashing out and buying any old rod. Shimano
in particular, have managed to produce a thorough range of multi-piece
rods under their STC (Shimano Travel Concept) banner. Many models
of telescopics are also available under the Shimano brand.
If you intend to only occasionally fish on holiday, one of these value
telescopic spinning rods would be the way to go. Capable of a multitude
of tasks including float fishing, light legering and light-medium
lure fishing, they are good fun to use, but lack the power to control
large fish once hooked. Six feet is usually as long as you can buy
these rods, which can be a little restrictive. They also lack the
finesse you may be used to with your rods back home.
Left, A budget telescopic rod can provide hours of fun on holiday,
for not a lot of money
A more expensive model, such as this Shimano Exage Mini Tele Spinning
STC rod (currently the smallest telescopic rod range in the world!),
which has 9 collapsible sections, besides a detachable butt section
- allowing it to reach 2.7 metres in length, but collapse down to
a tiny 31 centimetres for transport! Because there are so many sections
and rod rings, the curve of the rod is much more natural and controlled
when put under load. This, combined with the carbon construction gives
excellent strength for playing bigger fish and it allows you to fish
much more confidently.
use this rod with a very light reel and fish ultra-light lure tackle,
or light float and leger tackle. The rod tip is extremely sensitive,
so it can be used for bite indication when legering, and will flick
out a float with ease. All Shimano STC rods come with a semi-rigid
rod tube for extra protection. This also means there's a nice, clean
tube to be easily stowed in the suitcase or bag, instead of a scaly,
dirty, smelly rod!
Left, The tiny but powerful Shimano Exage STC telescopic spinning
rod with it's detachable butt section, alongside it's protective tube
method of producing a travel rod is to make it take-apart with smaller
sections than a standard take-apart rod. I currently own a four-piece
Shakespeare Ugly Stik medium spinning rod. This is a hollow-glass
construction, with a clear glass tip which helps when using the rod
for legering. This rod is nice and comfortable to use, but a little
heavier than it's carbon and graphite counterparts. One problem with
this rod was when it was new, the spigot joints worked loose after
a few casts - sending sections flying into the water on the cast,
which is very impractical for a rod designed for spinning! This looseness
does disappear after a while though, as the spigots appear to "bed-in".
I found that until the joints bedded in, a quick push on all the joints
every 10 casts or so would ensure they remained in place. If you are
keeping mobile, then maybe check the joints before your first cast
on every new swim.
I had some great fun in America with this rod, where I purchased it
for a bargain £20. I used light lure tackle to take fish of
four different species, including Largemouth Bass and beautiful Chain
Pickerel; on Ondex spinners and cricket-imitation floating plugs.
Later in the trip I switched to float fishing with the rod, in search
of Walleye and I landed a few Rainbow Trout and some hard-fighting
Catfish on this set-up.
Multi-piece rods are generally shorter in their packed-away state
than telescopics. However the pieces are loose and must be packed
properly to prevent them scratching or chafing each other.
lightweight 4-piece Ugly Stik, and a small but very pretty Chain Pickerel caught with the rod in 2004
If 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
Good luck and good fishing to you all - wherever in the world you
Click here to read Part 2of Andrew's Travel Tackle article
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