Friday, 20 September 2013

Minke Fishing Tool Review And Bridgewater Canal On the Pole


 “Minke makes threading and tying your hooks simple.  With Built in clippers and a lanyard anchor, it’s the first all-in-one multi-tool which covers all your fishing needs.”

A few weeks ago I was approached by Meso design to see if I would be interested in reviewing a product they have been working on, included in that email was a small presentation on the product show above.  Once the presentation had fished playing I was instantly in love with this product it looked amazing and not only that I knew straight away if it did what it claimed to do it I was looking at a serious bit of kit.
A few days later I came home to the news a small parcel had arrived and opening the product I was firstly impressed with how the product was packaged in a sturdy metal box with a see through front so you could see the fishing tool inside housed snugly in a moulded foam bed.  Flipping the box over revealed a set of easy to diagrams with simple instructions on how to use the tool to tie a hook on.

Opening the box and holding the product for the first time it sat snugly in the hand which for such an unusually shaped object I was surprised at.  It felt well-made and the metallic blue colours coupled with the silver clippers and silver logo on the real made it not only look but also feel the part the only downside I felt was the fact I was due to go on holiday for a week so it would be a week before I could give this tool a work out for the purpose it was made for.

Getting 2 Grip’s with the minke Fishing tool

After returning from holiday I set about getting to grips with learning how to use the tool.  I am a man that has mainly got bye with two knots, a grinner and a Palomar knot so the knot this tool ties, the clinch knot, was a completely new knot for me to learn to tie.  With all stuff that’s new it takes time to learn but I must say I found learning to use this tool really quick and easy and to get to a stage where I could tie without looking at the instructions took around 1.5 hours if I am honest but this is easily less time than if I had been learning this knot without the Minke Fishing Tool.

 Top Tip:- when learning with any knot it  better to use big hooks a line when learning before moving over to smaller hooks and lower diameter lines, it is so much easier to learn.
When using the tool to tie the hooks on I found out just how much work had gone into designing this product
1)      The rubber that holds the hook in place is designed in a way that it will grip any size hook from a number 8 to a small number 18 without letting the bigger hook stretch to rubber too much so the smaller hook slips out.
2)      The hole in the middle of the tool so you can slide the tool in your finger and grip the back of the minke Tool with your thumb gives it plenty of stability for treading the eye and finishing off the knot.
3)      The small recess in the top of the tool allows you to easily thread the line underneath the loops to tie the knot, had this small recess not been there looping the line under would not have been so easy.
4)      The hook eye cleaner on the rear is a touch that shows the designer has thought of common problems faced by anglers tying hooks on the muddy bank side.
These above may all seem link little things but when you notice little things like this it shows the designer has thought and tested the product which I feel I can sometimes question with some products I buy.

Link to slide show of minke tool on website:

My thoughts:
After using the minke fishing tool for the past few weeks I can honestly say I am really impressed with this tool and I still stand by my original thoughts that this tool is going to be really popular once it get released to the general angling public.  Where will this fit into our sport? Many match men carry both a hook tie and a pair of scissors, I can see the benefits it will have for them as they who always looking to save space in their tackle boxes as this tool incorporates both a hook tie and scissors in one handy tool.  I can also see this being a part of a fly angler’s arsenal as well and with the Minkes lanyard top being a big plus point that I think will surely see this tool hanging around a fly angler’s neck whilst they are wading into a stream.  From a personal point of view I can not only see me using this tool each week from now on but can see this tool being a life saver on those freezing cold mornings in winter on the River Dee when the ice and rain leave your fingers far to numb to tie a hook, this simple tool will really come into its own for me then.
The ultimate test of any product /tool/tackle is when you actually get out there to use it and I not only used hooks tied by this tool for the fish in last week’s blog but also for all the fish caught in this week’s below for now but its suffice to say this little tool gets a big thumbs up from me and a big thank you to Meso Design for asking me to review such an innovative and forward thinking product.

The Company currently have the product at a stage where there looking for investment to move it further and
on to this weeks fishing:-

Warrington Anglers Bridgewater Canal Saturday 14th September

It has been some time now since I purchased my MAP TKS 125 13m pole and I have thoroughly enjoyed every session I have been out fishing with it but although I did plenty of research into the pole before purchasing it I was very wet behind the ears when I made choices around what elastics to put in the 2 match kits and 2 power kits and regular readers of my blog will remember I fitted the two Power kits with Black Hydro-elastic and the 2 match kits with Blue and White Hydro-elastic respectively.  I have used these elastics for getting on 2 years and in that time I have developed my knowledge of these elastics by seeing how each elastic performs when handling different size fish and I have noticed the following, 1) I am hardly using the power kits and can count on one hand the amount of sessions I have used them on 2) Although the blue hydro is OK for silvers i find i cant use the white elastic for a second line because it bumps the fish as its too strong.

With this in mind i decided to have a bit of a change around and took the black elastic out of one of the power kits and kitted it up with white hydro elastic on a power kit so this and the black elastic will be my two kits for commercial carp fishing.  I also mentioned above that I have struggled with using the white elastic when silver fishing so have been making do with using the blue elastic and swapping and changing rigs for each different swim so on Friday I went out and purchased a new light elastic for my other match kit and went with a solid Orange Preston number 4 elastic.  This now gives me the option to fish two lines when i fish for silvers and this can be essential on venues like the canal where swims can die quickly.

Friday night was a really busy night for myself but luckily I had wrote last weeks blog in great time so I could dedicate my night to tying up two rigs for the trip to the canal the following morning, armed with the Minke Fishing Tool it did  not take too long.

I have fished the Bridgewater canal the past few weekends but this would be the first full day session we would spend on the canal itself so I spent my time through the week devising a plan for the day and came up with a plan of fishing Dynamite Baits Silver X Ground bait laced with Pinkie down the middle with a choice of pinkie or white maggot as a hook bait and also had a plan to drip feed caster over the far line out of the boat traffic with a plan of fishing down the middle for as long as possible or until the boat traffic made the bites dry up.

Swim selection was another important aspect and as much as the peg from the previous weeks had produced some nice fish i was eager to explore other stretches so we headed for a brand new stretch of canal I had scouted out on Google Earth that just screamed fish with reeds and overhanging trees on the far bank. We both decided though we would use the previous weeks swim as a fall back if the fishing was slow on this new section or the boat traffic really effected things as we knew the other stretch still fished even with heavy boat traffic.

I started of the swim by feeding 4 balls of ground bait laced with pinkie down the middle track and began catapulting caster over to the far side taking care  not to over feed it and settled in on the middle line fishing double pinkie.  The reason for such a small bait was i wanted to judge what was about and wanted a bait that would catch anything from a big bream to a tiny gudgeon and pinkie was the bait for this. The swim started off well with small gudgeon and small perch coming in the early stages but there was some gaps in the sport before normal service of regular bites was resumed and there soon became a pattern of a flurry of small silver fish like gudgeon and small roach being interrupted by a small lull before a few small perch came to the net obviously these little school yard bullies where moving in and out taking control of the swim in typical Sargent like manner.

I continued to feed the far bank swim with caster, only 3 or 4 every ten minutes, the last thing i wanted was to over feed the swim which can be very easy with caster as unlike maggot that can bury themselves in the bottom silt as they wriggle around caster is inert and will remain on the bottom where it is placed so if no fish where feeding on the line i could just have a pile of uneaten caster on the far bank.

The morning drew closer to 8am and i knew that come another hour the first boats of the day would start to trundle through so with the middle swim going through a quiet patch i moved over to my caster line.  Over i went and i straight away began to get indications of fish in the swim which was promising to say the least but my reward was only a small roach from close to the reeds.  I decided to try further out as although it shallowed up considerably i had seen the odd indication of fish over there and to say it was an instant response was an understatement as i struck into a fish that saw the elastic shoot out of the top of the pole at this stage i knew very little on how this new lighter elastic would behave but i guess i was about to find out as the fish that showed itself to be a big bronze bream realised it had a fighting chance and in very un-bream like fashion began to make hard runs for the reeds.  The elastic seemed to have plenty of stretch but got to a point where it began to have some back bone but unlike the hydro-elastic, which i am sure would have pulled the hook by now, it seemed to have that lightness to cushion the runs, i was impressed and slowly i began shipping back as the fish tired and moved into the middle channel and once there it was only a matter of time.

The bream in the onion sack I fed again, knowing these fish where over there i was no the complete opposite of before and worrying if any bait was left! Still i aired on the side of caution and then shipped back over and to my amazement the float sailed away again and i was into another decent size bream that must have been the brother of the previous one only lazier as this bream was under no illusions to what species of fish it was as it came in like a sack of tatters.

The fish joined its shoal mate in the net and i repeated again and went back over the far bank and after a short wait the float slid away and i was into something that was certainly not a bream and from the outset i was sure was one of the chub that are rumoured to populate this area of the canal as it straight away had me in the reeds this was surely going to test everything, my elastic, my hook length knots and that hook tied on with the minke tool, how would it deal when the odds where stacked against it?

I kept the pressure on the fish that i could see was right out the back of the reeds slashing on the top, i was in all kinds of trouble but i kept to what i had learnt over the past few years of pole fishing and kept the pole low and dipped the the under the water to increase the drag on the elastic and it worked as the fish reluctantly came through the reeds and into the main canal.  Once in the main channel it kept deep and hugged the bottom like all better fish do and i did wonder at one stage if i had the power in the elastic to get the fish in but i need not to have worried as the elastic played the fish well and i was more than made up with the elastic and size 16 hook as i slid the net under a clonking canal perch.

I never knew canal fishing could be so prolific but again i went back out and hit another bream that like the fist fought like a demon but like all the previous better fish came into the middle and to the top but just as i was reaching to net the fish the hook pulled and i had to watch the bream slowly swim away.  My dad always said when you lose one of these bream it can kill it on the canal but i thought seen as i had lost it in the middle i might have got away with it but whether it was this lost fish or the fact the boats started to plough through from when i lost the fish but this was the last bite i got on any line for the next 1-2 hours! crazy isn't it feast to famine in the blink of an eye.

We decided to up sticks and move to the swims we had fished the previous week but not before i took a picture of the mornings net

We arrived in the new swims around a hour later and i went with an all out caster approach against the far bank with the hope that keeping the bait well out of he boat lanes.  We both enjoyed a decent afternoon with regular bites but again i landed on the bream with me landing two and suffering a hook pull on a third.  The dreaded pike of the previous week thankfully remained inactive and we packed in around 3pm two happy anglers with our days fishing on the Canal.

my net from the second swim of the day

till next week i hope you enjoyed this weeks blog

and  tight lines


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