BALANCING A FINE BRISTLE
Ultra-fine pole bristles can be excellent detecting for shy bites, but a bit of a nightmare to keep proud of the surface. One useful dodge is to apply a touch of Mucilin or Vaseline to keep the very tip showing. If you forget these, you could also use the natural grease from the sides of your nose (no kidding – it works!)
With lighter elastics the opposite problem occurs – you might land a large, ponderous bream on a number 4-6 for example, but a powerful fish such as a tench would give you minimal control.
Llangollen Canal Fishing Photo Gallery
Hollow elastics are perhaps the best compromise when you want to catch small and large fish on the same rig. These are more expensive, but possess added stretch and durability. They are noticeably thicker than traditional, solid elastics, but have more ‘give’. The lightest of them are ideal for catching both average-sized shoal fish but also stopping the odd larger party crasher (that said, I would still pick a solid number 4-6 elastic for catching roach and skimmers). The thicker grades are superb for battling tench, chub and carp but are also soft enough to handle more docile, softer-mouthed fish such as bream Various companies have their own differing colour-coded strengths, so do pick carefully.
The tension of the elastic can also be crucial. In open water areas with smaller fish, for example, you could set elastics quite gently to provide plenty of give so that species such as roach don’t wriggle off the hook easily. At the other end of the scale, fishing to snags demands thicker elastics set tighter. With large perch or chub hooked beside snags, for example, you can’t afford to let the fish run, hence you want a heavier elastic that provides plenty of initial resistance.
Elastics should usually be set up so that the connector returns smoothly but snugly to the pole tip. Loose elastic protruding is bad news. Cutting and re-tying is one answer to this loss of tension, but better still is to use a bung that allows the elastic to be carefully tensioned.
One final point: regardless of which elastic you use, apply some lubricant. Various types are widely available and should be applied directly to the elastic as you stretch it from the pole tip before fishing. One cheap solution is watered down washing up liquid, which literally can be poured down the tip of your pole as you give the elastic a pull, for maximum lubrication.
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