Extreme Product Testing - Alan Taylor

When I first started fishing abroad in the late eighties at St. Cassien, very few carp anglers were venturing abroad to fish. In fact, it was a rarity to see another angler on the ferry or even a car with rod holdall strapped to the roof on the AutoRoute. Often on the ferry now, it's alive with carp anglers all easily recognisable… oh how things have changed!

It was similar when I started carp fishing back in the 1970s other carp anglers were a rarity, rather than the norm, as it is today.
With so few anglers venturing overseas, I don't expect it was worth manufacturers considering their needs. For instance, braided main lines were purchased from sea tackle shops, generally white in colour. Sea leads or moulds were purchased for making anything over 2oz and you couldn’t purchase a supple hook link material in anything over 15lb. The choice of fishing gear now is phenomenal, and for many commercial fisheries abroad this is perfectly suitable. However, for the more extreme or wild fisheries and inland seas, there has been little choice, There has been a token item available here and there, but even then they sometimes took a bit of tracking down… until now.

Over the last year or so, I have been using and testing some new products that my good friend Damian Clarke has sent to me. From what I’ve experienced so far, I believe at this moment in time the products I’ve used are the ultimate for what is required is these severe conditions.

Whilst testing some of these amazing products, the outcome in some instances was unbelievable. The way they coped with what they were put through was amazing and after fine-tuning, and being asked to compare similar samples with very slight differences, the finished articles are perfect.

One product that really has stood out for me is the new Kamo braid. It’s a coated braid that is available in breaking strains ranging from 15lb to 80lb, but obviously being 65lb it does appeared quite thick in diameter compared to what I had been using, which is to be expected as it’s a much heavier breaking strain. It knotted easily, looked very neat and has a perfect colour, which matches for the bottom. It’s stripped very easily by hand, the inner braid had a very nice soft feel and looked really good in the camo, which made it almost invisible when tested in the shallow margin. I really did use and abuse this product for two weeks and landed carp to 65lb.

The great thing is that a lot of these products come in varied heavy breaking strains 50lb to 80lb and in various colours to match. I am sure you will be impressed with the products, their performance and the choice available.

Occasionally you get ‘done’ and one will make a snag unfortunately. However, all is not lost at this juncture, as often they can be extracted with a little bit of patience and thought. Very occasionally brute force is called into play, and at this stage everything is tested to its very limits! It's imperative that whatever happens, the fish is not harmed in any way shape or form. Should a loss occur and you find the carp has miraculously transferred the hook to a nice big lump of woodwork then the utmost effort should be made to remove as much tackle from the snag as possible. Occasionally this is impossible but with a little endeavour only the hook and link at the very most should remain. With some of the heavy materials it has been impossible to break the line, leader or hook link pulling from the boat by hand, I now carry in the boat at all times a pair of work gloves, a weigh bar and a small grappling hook on a rope. The gloves ensure that any braid does not cut into your hands, the bar can be used to wrap line around when a real heave-ho is required being careful not to sink the boat at this point! I have removed some massive snags whilst retrieving gear!