Alan Scotthorne – Making the right rod choice

After a very busy year on the international front I have finally managed to get back onto the commercial fisheries. Two weeks at White acres were reasonably good for me with an 8th and 11th to qualify for the Parkdean final. I drew on a peg that I did fancy a little in the final but with pegs 16 and 15 probably the best two pegs on Jenny’s Lake it was a tall order to even win the four-peg section. Des Ship put in a great performance to take the final and its 25k pot. Well done Des who is outstanding when it comes to commercial fishing.

I have now started fishing matches back at Drennan Lindholme Lakes and have already made the frame on a couple of occasions. It normally takes a few matches for me to get back up to speed and I now feel like I can start to compete well with some great matches through the winter to come. I fished a very popular feeder league last year run on Tuesdays by the very flamboyant Nick Speed and was lucky enough to win this and look forward to trying to retain the title.

What I did learn from this competition is how important rod choice is when it comes to fishing on these short chuck commercials. In the past I have always used 10ft Drennan Acolyte Ultra or Plus Feeder rods for this type of fishing catching F1s and carp, never really looking at the advantages that 9ft rods give. The change to these shorter rods was monumental in a good few areas of my fishing and totally changed my way of thinking.

I have always struggled to be accurate when casting a method feeder tight to an island and a lot of this was caused by using a rod too long for its purpose. Changing to a Drennan 9ft Acolyte Plus made me much more accurate simply because you have much less bend in the rod when hitting the clip to land the feeder. It’s simple but the shorter blank makes it all the more easy to land the feeder in the tightest of spots, a revelation for me. At White Acres, Twin Oaks Lake is one where you need to be tight to the far bank with the method feeder to catch carp and I made the change this year to the 9fts, what a difference I felt it made there.

The other major advantage is landing fish quickly and when catching weights of a ton plus of F1s the shorter rod allows you to bring the fish closer to the bank. Using a long stiff landing net pole, you can net the fish much faster therefore upping your catch rate. I am now a big believer in using the clutch of the reel when the fish come in close and this prevents hook pulls and breakages when fish bolt at the sight of the net.

One other important part of method feeder fishing is the fish not moving the feeder when they catch the reel line when the feeder is in the swim. If the feeder does move the trap needs to be reset, winding in and recasting is the only option. Fishing with a soft quiver tip is a must to prevent this. A 1oz tip is just right in a Drennan Acolyte Plus and Ultra Feeder matching the curve of the rods perfectly. The soft tip bends on liners preventing the feeder moving so ultimately you can spend more time in the catching zone.

The shorter rod makes it easier to get onto the rod rest and I use a long Matrix feeder rest which gives a bigger area to put the rod onto, less chance of moving the feeder trying to get the rod onto a smaller version once you’ve cast to a line clip. Incidentally I fish with very little bend in the tip, again protecting against liners moving the feeder.  The softer Acolyte Ultra Feeder I use for bomb work and the Acolyte Plus Feeder for the method feeder.

This said, longer rods are still needed for casting bigger distances on open water, but if you fish smaller commercial lakes get on the 9fts they are the perfect rod for the job. They have really transformed my feeder fishing.