Berkley X9 braid review

Over the closing weeks of the river season Angling Times News Reporter Chris Haydon was out on the banks in search of perch and pike on lures. Whilst catching a few fish, including a new personal best, he’s had the perfect chance to fully test Berkleys New X9 braid in a number of conditions, here are his thoughts…

The X9 will load up well on small reels - perfect for perch fishing.jpg

I’ve had a brilliant experience whilst testing the X9 Lo Vis Green braid in both 10lb and 20lb breaking strains. These low diameter and low visibility braids are perfect for crystal clear water conditions which are common in the colder months. This attribute is particularly beneficial when fishing for species such as perch as the low visibility enables a shorter fluorocarbon trace to be used, which can greatly improve bite detection. The diameter also proves beneficial in other areas too as I only use a small 2000 size reel when perch fishing, which the braid sufficiently filled and sat neatly on.

Casting is where this product really comes into its own though. Great distances can be achieved effortlessly and accurately due to the zero stretch and low noise properties of the braid. Like all braids most anglers choose to spool up with, the Berkley X9 offers superior bite indication to a monofilament mainline, again, due to its zero stretch properties. This enables the angler to feel everything that the lure comes into contact with on the bottom. Whilst using the braid I found I connected with 90% of the bites I had from perch, which I caught up to 3lb 4oz.

PB perch of 3lb 4oz whilst testing the X9 Braid.jpg

An issue often encountered when using braid is tangles, but this wasn’t an issue with the X9, despite its extreme suppleness. In terms of strength the X9 also appeared reliable with all knots holding and pike up to around the 8lb mark landed with ease. I used a variety of lures including some big plugs and the braid cast them all without cracking off.

Latched into a river pike the X9 braid held firm.jpg

Despite several sessions the braid showed little signs of deterioration, even when often being left set up running through the rod rings for ease of use on my often short sessions. Overall this product is great for the mobile lure angler and will suit a variety of applications from roving with small lures on rivers to chucking plugs for big Stillwater pike.”


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·       Available in Fluoro Green, Lo Vis Green and Crystal Clear

·       150m spools

·       Designed for optimum strength and casting distance

·       Smooth for long and quiet casts

·       High knot strength

·       9-carrier construction

·       PE Core

Price: £42.99 (If you shop around you’ll find it cheaper)

Colmic Jolly Float Review

Believe it or not, there was a time before all-singing and all-dancing handmade pole floats were all the rage and it’s pleasing to see that many of the patterns that were on the go 20 years ago are still catching plenty of fish in 2018!

One of those is the Colmic Jolly, several of which adorn the winder trays in my seatbox and there’s one very good reason why – versatility.

In the smaller sizes, the Jolly makes a super float for fishing hemp or pinkies into far bank rat holes on canals and drains but up this to the 4x14 and 4x16 sizes and you’ve got a very good model for catching roach and skimmers on deeper venues. Go bigger still and the Jolly becomes a brilliant float for to hand work the whip or for running a bait down a big river.

With a classic pear-shaped body, carbon stem and thin plastic bristle, the Jolly remains surprisingly stable for such a thin pattern, the carbon stem giving the hookbait a slower fall through the water than if you were using wire. Dotting the bristle down is easy too as adding a No 11 shot doesn’t suddenly turn the float from a Belisha Beacon sticking out of the water to the proverbial lead balloon.

Available in sizes 4x8 to 8g, the only off-putting part about a Jolly is the pink colour – but who cares if it keeps going under?

RRP: £1.99

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Mick Wilkinson Steady pole floats review

Mick Wilkinson Steady pole floats

Simplicity is important to me when it comes to pole rigs for commercial waters and I try to keep my float choices to a minimum.

MW Steady - just use the float.jpg

That means you’ll find only five or six patterns among my pole rigs and of these, the Mick Wilkinson Steady is my first choice for the majority of open-water situations in anything but a gale.

With a highly-visible but thin hollow antenna of 1.25mm diameter, super-strong polystyrene body and 0.5mm wire stem, these floats sit up quickly, are unbelievably stable and can be used with confidence with baits from sweetcorn to maggots.

My Steadies have taken a right battering over the years but even stems that have bent after fish ploughed into reeds have been easily straightened. They’re consistent in shotting from float to float, and I find the 4x10, 4x12 and 4x14 sizes perfect for most of my fishing. Mind you, I’m pleased hear that larger sizes than 4x16 are soon to become available for when the wind really blows across the Fens…

Kevin Wilmot

Deputy Editor, Angling Times

Guru Super LWG Banded ready rigs review

I’m not proud to admit it, but as I’ve grown older I have become lazier in my fishing preparation. But can you blame me, when there are products like the range of Guru ready rigs on the tackle-shop shelves?

My favourite of these rigs currently are the superb Super LWG Banded ready rigs. For over a year now I have been using these hooks in sizes 18 and 16. Both come supplied on 6ins of 0.13mm diameter line, perfectly tied with small, strong but flexible bands on a small loop. I’ve used them for hard pellets in 4mm, 6mm and 8mm sizes, and also for banded caster and worm when shallow fishing, all on the pole.

Hand on heart, I haven’t have a single band break on me, and hardly any fish losses either – and I’m talking fish from 12oz F1s to 15lb carp. No wonder I’m getting lazy…

Kevin Wilmot

Deputy Editor, Angling Times

E-S-P Clothing

E-S-P’s new 25k Quilted Waterproofs offer all-weather protection and comfort thanks to a rip-stop shell with a 25,000mm hydrostatic head and 10,000g breathability. rating, meaning they will keep you dry during an absolute downpour without making you feel sweaty and uncomfortable.   

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These salopettes have a warm insulated lining, yet remain light and comfortable. 

There’s reinforced double-layered material on the knees, handwarmer pockets, a deep zipped chest pocket and a zipped fly. Side-accessed water-resistant boot zips make them easy to put on and take off. 

In all sizes from S to 3XL. 

Price: £149

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These offer a comfortable fit with an elasticated adjustable waistband, zipped handwarmer/security pockets and easy-on boot zips. The knees are double reinforced. Sizes S to 3XL

Price: £109

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An insulated ‘waffle’ lining makes for excellent winter wear. High collar and peaked hood keep the elements at bay, while the full-length YKK zip is protected with rain baffles. Sizes S to 3XL. 

Price: £149

Kodex terminal carp tackle

Top specimen carp brand Kodex has added several new items of terminal tackle to its range. 

Everything from ready-rigs to surface controllers has been well thought out, with clever design tweaks that will stack the odds in your favour when targeting pressured and wary carp.

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The Multi is a rig like no other. Its anti-glare size 8 swivel fits all popular lead-clips, and can be switched to a size 11 Flexi/Heli swivel (included) for heli rigs. You get two hook sizes with every rig – choose from sizes
3 & 5, or 5 & 7. 

Hooks are super strong GenomicMGP Chods with micro-ground sharp points and a matt anti-glare finish. 

They’re tied to the latest Micro-Strip 15lb coated hooklink material, which automatically sinks and pins down the rig, leaving you only needing to apply a small amount of Graviton putty on the knot near the hook. 

Also included with each rig is bait floss and a micro rig swivel.

Price: £3.49


This semi-stiff coated hooklink can be stripped to reveal a flexible dyno-core. The pliable outer coating doesn’t crack when knotted. It sinks quickly and pins itself to the lakebed, excellent for bottom or pop-up set-ups. 

This is the same material as used for Kodex’s ready-tied skin-coated stiff rigs and multi-rigs. In 15lb and 25lb options, on 20m spools.
Price: £6.99

Air Zig-Toppers

These buoyant mini hair stops are shaped like a piece of corn and are designed to attract more takes. Available in fluorescent red and yellow colours, they provide added visual attraction to your hookbait, giving carp a target to home in on.

Each pack contains 20 pieces.

Price: £1.99

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Meltz PVA Bags

Extensively tested by Kodex’s expert consultants, Meltz solid PVA bags are strong and securely sealed, but melt down at a quick rate for perfect presentation, leaving virtually zero residue.

They are available in three sizes, each in a plain or perforated version. 

Each packet contains 20 bags.

Price: £2.49

New Guru Mini range plus connectors and pots

Match brand Guru is famed for its cutting edge commercial fishery accessories, including QM1 hooks, Impact Bombs, X-Soft pole pots, superb pellet wagglers and pre-tied hooks. 

To these are now added mini versions of the hugely popular Hybrid Pellet and Method feeders, which will prove to be game-changers for match anglers fishing cooler water when less feed is needed.  

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Guru has also introduced some completely original items, including the brilliant new Rapid Release Pole Pots. Their clever vented design twist eliminates feed spill during shipping out. 

Find out about these tempting releases, and other ‘must have’ Guru accessories, in this exclusive preview…

Two new mini editions to the Method Feeder range come in 20g and 30g weights. Ideal for small commercials and winter fishing, they have a weight-forward design for optimum casting distance and accuracy. 
Price: £2.49

Guru inline method feeders.jpg

For use with the new mini feeders, this non-stick mould is easy to load, and allows you to build up layers on the feeder so you can control the size of the payload. It’s equally effective with groundbait and pellets.
Price: £2.99

Feeder mould.jpg

Smaller/lighter 10g X-Safe leads cause minimal disturbance on landing. They will accept X-Safe stems and a size 11 swivel for a bolt effect. In packs of two.
Price: £2.99

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THE new shorter X-Safe stem complements the Guru Mini range of feeders and bombs. Pre-loaded with a lighter white elastic, ideal for smaller hooks and lighter lines. In packs of two. 
Price: £2.99

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This lighter 18g mini version of Guru’s Hybrid feeder is perfect for all short-range tactics. It lighter weight make it ideals for fishing over soft, silty lake beds, especially when a more delicate approach is called for.
Price: £2.75

Mini Hybrid feeder.jpg

The XL Pole Pot follows the original Guru design, with holes to prevent feed from sticking inside but a larger 90ml capacity. It comes with a non-spill lid, and its soft-safe fitting prevents damage to top kits. 
Price: £3.99

XL Pole Pot.jpg

In small, medium and large, together these will accommodate all sizes of elastic. The subtly coloured bead is just large enough to neatly cover a knot, while a super-stiff braid reduces tangles around the pole tip. A bespoke holder makes transfer on to the elastic easy. 
Price: £4.99

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Perfect for scooping through groundbait and potting down the edge. Non-stick, three per pack, 100ml, 200ml and 300ml. 
Price: £9.99 

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every rig bit you need in ‘outline’ range from avid

AVID Carp’s new Outline terminal tackle range is the result of two years of product development. 

With its semi-transparent colour pigment and dark camo fleck finish, Outline blends in with any substrate. The fast-sinking material stays pinned to the bottom, so no need to carry an array of different coloured or tungsten-based components. 

The prices of the full collection of Outline accessories range from £2.99 to £4.99.



Click-fit lead clip, matching tail rubber and size 8 swivel. Compatible with Avid anti-tangle sleeves.


For a hinged rig presentation tie your mainline or leader to the rear and tie rigs on to the reinforced ring section. Compatible with all Avid tail rubbers.


Quick-change rigs and set-ups are easy with this double-ended QC lead clip system. Tie your mainline or leader to the rear and hook rigs on to the QC section at the front. Compatible with all Avid tail rubbers and anti-tangle sleeves.


Compatible with all Avid lead clips, these streamline your end tackle and are super-soft for maximum safety.


Compatible with all Avid lead clips, these provide streamlined end tackle when fishing without a leader. 


These ensure large leads won’t eject on impact, but allow them to do so in snags. Compatible with Avid QC and ringed lead clips.


For use with all Avid inline leads, these can also be used with Avid lead clips for a slower-releasing set-up or in colder conditions.


Shorter anti-tangle sleeves kick your rig away from the lead perfectly. Compatible with Avid QC lead clips and QC drop off stems. It comes in two versions, standard-size and extra-large. 

9) QC Drop off Stems

The first-ever drop-off stems for fishing with inline leads, with the addition of a QC link. Compatible with Avid anti-tangle sleeves and all Avid inline leads.


Pre-formed, so you can attach your mainline directly to the top of the stem. Great for quickly changing between pre-tied solid PVA bag set-ups. A ring swivel completes the process.


Attach a PVA link to your lead and then slide a PVA bag into the groove. A great, hassle-free way to avoid tangles when fishing with PVA bags.


Change rigs or leads quickly with a speed link. Compatible with Avid chod and heli buffers, and can be used with the ringed lead clip system.


Create safe rigs with extra movement with these high-performance size 8 ring swivels – ideal for helicopter presentations.


Neat, streamlined alignment over hooks sizes 8-12 or 6-2, respectively.


These small, grippy beads work effectively on hooks size 10-4.


Big eye hookbait swivels are neat, convenient and far less obtrusive than many others of their type.


These camouflaged hard plastic Boilie Screws will grip almost any bait. Create the perfect quick change pop-up presentation.


Streamlined, tapered camouflage boilie stops. 

19) Shrink TUBE (two sizes)

Camouflaged shrink tubing. Use on hook sizes 8-4 or 4-1


Slot your line into the dropper and twist until you get the right level of grip. 


Tungsten rig drops, a modern alternative to rig putty. Pre-formed on thicker wires.

22) Braided hooklink 20lb

Fine leader material keeps the rig pinned to the river or lakebed.

23) Unleaded leader 50lb

Ideal for use on waters where braid is not permitted.

Gardner Multi Rake

The Multi Rake is the ideal tool for quickly clearing weed, twigs and leaves from your spot.

Its design enables the rake to be attached to a rope and thrown by hand, or attached to a landing net handle or pole with the integral 3/8 BSF thread.

The versatility of having both attachment points means that this unique product can be used for weed clearance, creating small spots, clearing channels and quickly removing marginal weed to enable you to safely land any fish that you hook on weedy waters.

Multi Rakes are perfect for specialist anglers that like to rake a swim to kick up sediment and invertebrates, stimulating species such as tench into feeding.

RRP: £19.99

Free Spirit Net Handle

THIS 4m CTX Match Power Carp Combi landing net handle from Free Spirit uses the same unique carbon weave as found in the company’s best-selling CTX rods. 

The take–apart handle has standard screw fittings on two sections, offering a choice of 2.6m, 2.9m or 4m lengths. Unique rivet and pin-less net ends are super-strong and should provide years of trouble-free service. Contact

VERDICT: Having used this handle for the past couple of months, I cannot speak highly enough about its superb build quality and unbelievable strength and rigidity at any length.Truly you get what you pay for!

Price: £115.99

Guru Pellet Wagglers for carp

THESE long-awaited pellet wagglers from Guru are now in shops everywhere.

There are two main designs. The 10g, 12g and 14gbalsa-built Big Water floats promise superb casting accuracy. 

The 6g, 8g and 10g foam pellet wagglers in Guru’s latest surface camo colour are intended for very shallow work. Shot them conventionally or with Guru’s new waggler conversion weights.

BUY NOW from £5.99 for two on

Cryogen hooks from E-S-P

The cryogenic tempering process results in a pattern up to 30 per cent stronger than all other PTFE-coated carp hooks on the market. Three patterns feature durable ultra-sharp long-life needle points...


Previously available under the E-S-P Raptor banner but now even better thanks to cryogenic treatment. 

They suit a number of presentations (including the Ronnie Rig), where their quick turning, anti-eject shape and needle-sharp point guarantees exceptional hookholds.
In barbed sizes 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10.

Grip Rigger 

This hook combines several proven patterns. Ideal for chod or stiff rigs, its fine curved sticky-sharp beaked point offers extra insurance when fishing weedy or snaggy swims. In barbed sizes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.


This ‘enforcer’ of E-S-P’s Cryogen range is a medium shank pattern combining a crystal bend with a long, slightly offset fine, needle-sharp point and a slick Tufflon coating for secure hook-ups. The straight eye design allows it to be used with all bottom baits or pop-ups, with or without a kicker being added to the rig. Also highly effective for D-Rig presentations. In barbed sizes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Price for all the above: £3.95