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Tackling up

Once you have decided which swim you are going to fish you can begin to assemble your tackle. Do this away from the water’s edge and then you are unlikely to scare any fish which may be near the bank. If the banking is very high and devoid of cover do not stand on the top of this or you will be outlined against the sky and will scare away all the fish in the vicinity. When you remove the rod from its cloth bag put away any rubber caps, which protect the ferrules, into your pocket so you do not lose them. Fit the rod sections together and then glance along the length to check that all the rod rings are correctly lined up. Fit the reel on to the rod handle about six inches (15 cm) away from the top of the handle and secure it in position with the winch fittings. Ensure that the centre of the reel is lined up with the bottom ring of the rod. Press a rod rest into the ground and lean your rod against this whilst threading your line. Open the bale arm of the fixed-spool reel and thread the line carefully through all the rod rings.

Selecting the type of float to suit the swim you are fishing is very important. For turbulent, strong flowing water you need a float which is capable of carrying a lot of lead shot, such as an avon float or a balsa float. In a steady, smooth glide a stick float will be ideal. The strength of flow in the river and the depth dictates the amount of buoyancy needed in the float. Assuming that the chosen swim is not very turbulent or fast flowing, select a stick float and attach it to your line with a float rubber at both the top and bottom of the float. Slide the float carefully up the line and form a loop at the end of the line using a three-turn loop knot. A si/.c 16 hook will be ideal for using with maggots as bait, and after tying the hook to a nylon hook length, fasten it through the loop in the end of the reel line. Give the line a steady tug to ensure the knots are secure. The split shot is then nipped on to the line between the float and the hook length. If the current is strong then the bulk of the shot should be well down towards the hook length. In a steady flow the shot can be spaced out evenly along the line in groups of progressively lower weight towards the hook. Set the float at the depth you consider the swim to be at the spot where you have chosen to fish. Fasten the hook to the bottom rod ring and reel in to tighten your tackle and line against the rod. Leaving the rod propped against the rod rest, begin assembling your keepnet and landing net. Place your keepnet in the edge of the river making sure there is sufficent depth of water to cover the mesh and that the net is not in too strong a current. Quietly carry the rest of your tackle down to the water’s edge, taking advantage of any bankside vege-tation. Arrange your seat and tackle so that you can fish without having to move about to reach items. Ideally, you want to be able to hook, land, and place a fish in your kecpnet without moving from your scat.

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