The best fishing tackle innovations of the decade: Have your say

The last 10 years saw some of the greatest fishing tackle innovations in history. But what were the most important developments from the past decade? Mark Sawyer investigates…

The ever-evolving tackle industry saw some of its greatest innovations hit the shelves over the past decade, changing the way we fish forever.
Influenced by the commercial carp scene, a shift in where and how we buy our gear, and a worldwide credit crash, there were many key advances which bucked the trend in what has been the toughest time for the industry.
Angling Times chief tackle tester Mark Sawyer asked eight of the biggest names in fishing to put forward the case for what they believe to be the most important tackle development during the ‘Noughties’.



SHORT RODS - Steve Ringer, the UK’s top commercial fishery angler

“Up until the ‘noughties’ when it came to float and feeder fishing on commercials three-piece 12ft and 13ft feeder and float rods were still pretty much the norm.
“There were only a select few anglers, included myself who were using shorter rods, as the conception was that they were just not powerful enough for the job in hand.
“That has now all changed, and short two-piece rods are considered standard equipment for all commercial fishery work.
“Shimano quickly recognised this phenomenon and produced the first two piece 9-11ft Beastmaster feeder rod.
“The instant success of this midget blank prompted a full range of purpose-built, easy-to-carry, ready assembled Beastmaster float and feeder rods which have proved to be a huge hit with commercial match anglers. The early trend for short rods looks to be very much set to continue for the foreseeable future”.

Angling Times Verdict
Short rods may have originally started as being a bit of a one-off summer fad in the early noughties but they have become recognised as ‘must-have’ products that all commercial match anglers carry in their holdalls.
From pellet wagglers to super soft-actioned feeder rods, short two-piece rods offer an easy way of transporting ready assembled rods, and provide the match angler with an accuracy of casting that longer length rods cannot achieve at short distances.




FAKE BAITS - Martin Bowler, Britain’s best big-fish angler



“There have been very few significant advances in fishing tackle during the past decade, in my opinion, but without a shadow of a doubt one area that has seen an immense increase is in the usage and choices of fake baits.
“Plastics have had a simply massive impact on the specimen fish scene during the ‘Noughties’ and the ability that they have to filter out smaller species such as roach and rudd makes them hard to beat when used as particle hookbaits for the larger hoover feeders such as carp, bream and barbel.
“I would be completely lost without fake sweetcorn, and the ability that it has to be left permanently glugged in my favourite Hi-attract liquid flavours further adds to its fishy attraction.
“It wasn’t so many years ago that fishing shops did not stock any fake baits other than lures. Well, take a look around your local shop next time you visit, there are now literally dozens to choose from and the quality of them just keeps on improving.”

Angling Times Verdict
Martin Bowler’s choice of product is impossible to argue against.
The plastic revolution has now produced so many great fake baits that they have become one of the most important weapons in the specimen anglers everyday bait armoury.
They can be used successfully in the most difficult of angling circumstances, and their sheer ability to perfectly mirror the real thing, whilst providing an improved balanced hook-baits makes them virtually unbeatable when using small particles.




PVA MESH - Peter Drennan, Managing Director of Drennan International



“The use of PVA mesh has become a real cornerstone of the specimen angler's armoury during the ‘noughties’.
“This super-easy-to-use product has accounted for just so many big fish, it is simply impossible to ignore as one of the best methods of feeding ever produced.
“PVA has possibly helped to bank more specimen sized fish than any other during the last ten years.
“The popularity of using PVA mesh continues to grow within the sport, and is not just restricted to the big-fish scene, with many commercial match anglers also now using it with winning effect.
“When a small PVA bag is placed on the hook as part of an integral feeding method set-up, it delivers an amount of loose offerings with pin-point accuracy around your hook that provides a presentation that is all-but impossible to improve upon.”

Angling Times Verdict
Attributed in its development to top carper Nick Helleur around the early part of the noughties, when the ‘Dynamite stick’ first emerged, using PVA has now become second nature to all specimen/carp anglers.
I would doubt that there is any big-fish angler that does not carry a tube of PVA with them at all times, and matchmen are quickly following suit.




HYDROLASTIC - William Raison, Fishery owner and World Champion


“First patented in 2000, Hydrolastic was not just innovation, it was an invention.
“Many differing types of hollow elastics are now available, but Hydro was the first and best of its kind.
“Plus it is still the only elastic that has the added benefit of having a liquid shock absorber inside that acts as an added barrier between the walls when the elastic is compressed by stretching.
“You only have to look at how many versions of Hydro are now out there to know just how popular the hollow elastic concept has become.
“And it’s not just on commercials where Hydro helps to put extra fish in your net. I used it to win both the world Championships in Italy in 2008 with carp and carrasio using the white and black versions and also the European Champs in Slovakia 2005 catching barbel in a river.”

Angling Times Verdict
Hollow elastics have become standard kit for most commercial match anglers and I wouldn’t mind betting that more carp have hit the landing net when attached to a length of black Hydro than all the other types of elastic put together.




THE ACCESSORY CHAIR - Ricky Teale, Preston Innovations Director


“Korum’s Accessory chair is a unique product and the very first of it’s kind, and gave the modern pleasure angler something to sit-on whilst fishing that hadn’t previously been available.
“Not just your bog standard carp chair, the Korum chair had been fitted-out with four independent fully adjustable vertical legs and was constructed using a flat folding super-sturdy robust square framework design.
“This meant the chair was then able to be used in conjunction with a whole host of adjustable handy accessories, such as feeder arms and bait bowls.”

Angling Times Verdict
There can be little doubt that since its launch in 2004 the award-winning Korum Accessory chair has become one of the best selling products to have ever hit the angling market.
Used by pleasure, specimen and even match anglers the Korum chair is now available in three differing types with an ever increasing amount of clever accessories too.




THE OVAL-SHAPED ROD - Alan Scotthorne, Five times World Champion


“The fast-actioned 14ft Shimano Aerocast float rod is simply a superb rod that holds a very special place in my heart as it was the rod that I used at Hungary’s Lake Velence to win the World Championships in 2004.
“The uniquely constructed oval shaped carbon blank provided me with the power needed to punch out a big slider whilst offering the subtlety and softness to play fish as soft-mouthed as skimmers - something no other rod could possibly have ever done.
“The unique two-way construction of the carbon blank produces seemingly limitless casting power when used vertically, yet has a supreme smoothness and gentleness when held horizontally for playing fish.
“For me, Aerocast rods simply surpass all others.”

Angling Times Verdict
Shimano’s oval-shaped Aerocast blanks were a genuine breakthrough in carbon rod design and technology and although rods can be a very personal matter, there can be no denying that the current range of Aerocast Feeder rods are incredibly attractive tools.
Beautiful pencil-thin blanks with oodles of casting power matched with the smoothest progressive playing action you could ever imagine.



LONG POLES FOR ALL - Bob Nudd, Four times World Champion


 “The advancements made in the carbon construction and pricing of long poles during the noughties has now placed long 14.5m poles within the reach of any angler.
“When you consider that in 1980 I paid £500 for my first carbon pole (that must equate to over £3k now) and had to drive to France to pick it up the actual price of poles has fallen dramatically.
“This past decade has also seen the phenomenon of super-strong power carp pole used by matchmen on commercials.
“Originally this type of pole was supplied without any spare top kits and these could end up costing you more than the pole. They also tended to be a bit on the droopy side, and when you struck they took a fortnight to stop bouncing around!
“The noughties definitely gave rise to offering the angler not only a super choice of technically advanced poles, but importantly they also offered great value for money too.”

Angling Times Verdict
Wise words indeed from one of the finest ambassadors the sport has ever had. Prices on all carbon poles has indeed fallen when you consider just how much they used to cost. And undoubtedly the technical side of producing high quality poles continues to evolve every year.




CHINESE IMPORTS - Kevin Nash, Managing Director of Nash Tackle


“In a word ‘China’. The quality of all fishing tackle went up through the roof in the early part of  the noughties, as nearly all British based companies sourced products from the far east.
And believe me, tackle prices would be at least double of what they are now for the customers if we had to rely solely on UK manufactures.
“The technical approach that the Chinese have to both build construction and improved quality of fishing equipment is quite unsurpassed. A very good example of this would be the Nash Indulgence bed-chair, since we switched the manufacture of this best-selling classic Nash product to our Chinese manufacturer the quality of the product that they supply to us went up three-fold.”

Angling Times Verdict
Straight talking Essex based entrepreneur Kevin Nash really told it how it is. The Chinese connection to the vast majority of all of our fishing equipment is factual and will remain so.
And it would seem that prices, although appearing to escalate, would be way above where they are now without the far eastern influence.


Have your say...

What do you think to this list of great innovations? Do you think these eight angling creations speak volumes for the last decade, or do you have something else in mind that is worthy of a mention?

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