Almost every modern pole now comes with top kits fitted with side puller systems.
At first, these seemed like a gimmick, useful only if you couldn’t land a big fish on light elastic. Nowadays, though, they are indispensable and a big help in getting carp in quickly.
In layman’s terms, a puller kit is a top kit with a side hole drilled near the bottom end. A PTFE bush or dedicated puller bush is fitted and the elastic pokes out, tied off with a bead and knot. When you break the pole down to the top kit, you can grab the bead and knot, pull elastic out and keep it there.
This means there’s less elastic for the fish to pull against, and as a result it will tire faster, while you will be able to dictate the battle and keep it away from snags.
I’ve even seen them used for roach and bream on rivers, so the puller kit is not just something you’d use for carp.
But what is the right way to play a fish on a puller kit without ending up having yards of elastic trailing all over the floor?
It all begins with having the right elastic in the first place…
THE RIGHT ELASTIC
With a puller kit there’s no danger of being broken, even with soft elastic. Don’t go too light, though, or the puller won’t work properly. White Hydro is soft enough to let you strip back lots of elastic but still cushion any surges a fish might make.
HOW MUCH TO PULL?
If you pull so much elastic out that there’s just a foot left coming out of the pole tip the elastic may bottom out and the pole may break. I’d strip enough out to have control of the fish while it can at the same time absorb the power of a bolting carp.
The fish should be on the surface without the need to overstretch with the net. If you can’t see the float when you pull to net a fish, you must pull more elastic out until you can. Let the lot go back into the top kit if the fish gains its second wind.
HOW MANY SECTIONS?
I run my elastic through either a full Power top-2 or the No2 and No3 sections of the Match kit with the No1 section removed. This equates to 5ft-7ft of elastic, ample to let a fish run but short enough to strip back when it’s time for the net.