Following a few comments on the forum regarding budget tackle, we set about a challenge
to catch a double figure fish for under £100 including tackle and the fishing ticket.
First we had to find a suitable venue. The immediate thoughts turned to the big fish
waters such as Dever Springs, Chalk Springs and Lechlade. The problem with the big
fish waters is the price. High fish sizes means high prices..... However, seeing
as the purpose of the challenge was to catch a double figure fish, we deemed it only
fit to visit a big fish water. Lechlade in Gloucestershire was out choice of venue.
A two fish ticket on Lechlade is £35. That only left us with £65 to get all the tackle
we needed for the day.
We looked at various kits on the market around that price and the one that stuck
out was from Glasgow Angling Centre. I phoned up Glasgow Angling Centre and spoke
to them about ordering an all in kit. I managed to get a deal on a Steelhead Pro
Kit for £59.99. The kit comprised of:
•9 foot 6/7# Ron Thomson Steelhead Pro Fly Rod
•Ron Thomson Dynadisc Pro 7/8# Reel + Spare Spool
•Ron Thomson Energy Floating Line - 8#
•Ron Thomson Energy Intermediate Line - 7#
•Double Sided Fly Box
•2 Spools of Backing
•3 Braided Loops
•100 Flies (50 Wets & 50 Dries)
•2 x 50 metre spools of leader (5lb and 6lb)
That's a lot of kit for the money, but how did it stand up to the challenge?
We arrived at Lechlade and asked in the tackle shop about flies. Damsels and Bloodworm
had been catching well so I picked up 5 flies for £3.75 as we had a few quid left
over from the £100.
Lechlade is a fishery that doesn't demand long distant casting. In fact, with the
distance available for the backcast, it makes carrying large amounts of fly line
The rod was actually very respectable for casting with. It is a soft actioned rod
and the choice of GAC to provide an 8 weight line with a 6/7 rated rod was an interesting
one. However, the rod loaded pretty well and casting was not an issue. I don't know
how the rod would have coped with carrying large amounts of line as I didn't get
the opportunity to test this, but if handled the required casting at Lechlade well.
After an hour or so I managed to hook a fish. The rod bent over double and it was
a bit of a hassle trying to put much pressure on the fish. The rod has very little
backbone, but it was enough to stop the fish more or less. A five minute fight ensued
and the rod held its own without as much as a creak! The fish came in at a respectable
5lb 8oz. It wasn't the double I was after though!
I switched over to the 7weight Intermediate line which also cast nicely with the
rod. I soon picked up my second fish which came in at 7lb 12oz. Again, not the double
I wanted, but the rod coped fine and I am sure that had I hooked a double figure
trout that the rod would have coped well.
A lot of the budget rods are very heavy and cumbersome to cast with all day, but
this rod was pleasantly light. The major downside of the rod for me is the fact that
it is 2 piece - I find 3 piece rods a lot handier both for storage and travel. The
cork on the rod feels cheap but that is to be expected from a rod of that price.
The whippings on the rod itself are all very good and the rod has a nice finish to
The weak part of the kit is the reel. Whilst winding the line on to the reel you
get two very distinct different noises, rather than a continuous noise that you would
expect from a respectable reel. The reel doesn't look as if it would stand up to
much abuse but if you're careful then it should last you long enough, but it would
be the first item I would upgrade. I tested the drag on the reel and there wasn't
a great deal of difference between the highest and lowest drag settings. Again, this
is a feature of reels in this price range.
The fly lines cast well and were supple enough, however the floating line had a bit
of a memory problem. I gave the line a good stretch but this didn't solve the issue.
Apart from that, the lines were very good for the price.
The net was put up easily and the handle extended smoothly. The net itself isn't
massive but it coped with the size of fish we were catching and you're not going
to be catching fish bigger than that on a regular basis. The priest looks durable
enough and was heavy enough to dispatch the two fish quickly.
The fly selection was a bit disappointing for our means. Dries and wets probably
aren't the best flies to include in a starter pack - the inclusion of some lures
would have been welcomed. That wasn't an issue though as we managed to pick up the
recommended flies from the tackle shop at the fishery.
The fly box is very respectable and retails for £15 usually. It is a double sided
box with 4 sides of foam. It will hold hundreds of flies and is nicely made. Whether
the fittings will stand the test of time I don't know, but I have used similar boxes
before and they have stood the test of time.
Obviously the tackle has only been used once so durability can not be commented on.
Time will tell on that issue, but the first impressions of the kit are good. I would
certainly recommend these kits to a beginner who does not want to fork out hundreds
of pounds on a kit when they don't know if they'll enjoy the sport. The kit would
also make a good spare kit for your children.
Whilst the challenge failed to throw up a double figure fish, I am left in no doubt
that you can give yourself a good chance of catching a double figure fish for under
£100 including a ticket and tackle.