Waveney Valley: There’s still plenty to try out away from waters
It has been a job for the bold and the brave to venture far with pole, or rod and line, with most commercials frozen over and the river beginning to ice across even at Dunburgh's wide Three Rivers bend and Geldeston dyke.
Perhaps on outings of minus temperatures the Whip can demonstrate how much easier things are made these days to compete against the elements.
Gone are the days of freeing up frozen rod rings with bold breath to get the line running through to cast, or retrieve.
Annoying solid elastics that used to freeze in the crook of the bend or the Stonfo, refusing to extend, can now be avoided. However, for freezing cold fingertips little changes, and while neoprene does much for the whole hand the idyllic days of summer seem a long way off.
So stuck indoors there are still things to try out. Following an earlier month of how to tie an eyed hook, much the same principle can apply to spade ends.
With hooks and rigs to tie the preference for spade-end over eyed comes into question quite frequently, but it is down largely to personal choice.
The quality of hooks has improved tremendously and at one time we used to file the rounder edges of the spade down before tying, to reduce spin, but then they used to appear like a teaspoon almost by comparison.
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This guide shows to lay a loop against the shaft or shank, then wind round progressing upwards, returning to the bottom to eventually pass the line through the loop of line. To do this, hold the bend of the hook in your left finger and thumb tip, wind with the right, closing on each turn you make like a tiny vice, to keep it tight.
When 8-12 turns are complete, carefully change hands, then tighten by pulling the long end (to rod).
Fiddly, but practice makes perfect, and I can still do a size 18 Drennan Red barbless, to 1.7 Bayer Perlon, in about 20 seconds on the bank – on a good day! A long shank helps.
There are a few variations on the theme but with this method the strain goes mainly into the nylon. With a tiny loop, pre-tied, on the end before whipping, the hair-rig can yield a direct straight through masterpiece.
A little 1 or 2 cm trimmed tag will keep the hook inside a caster ideally.
Does the spade cut or wear the line?
Nothing like a disgorger does, especially if one is still stuck on the old metal designs instead of plastic.
For youngsters start with a washing line and get to understand the turns of the knot, then scale down through to a sea hook, and on to smaller sizes.