It seems like social media in the 21st century has led to an influx of carp anglers who like to spend their days ramming product placement down people’s throats, irrespective of whether the product and/or bait has been utilized by them personally. It also seems apparent that many anglers are also quick to stand by a company and back their products until they realize it’s a) garbage, b) they are being taken advantage of, c) find greener grass with a rival brand, or d) all of the above. Now I am sure at a fair trial I would be found guilty of my fair share of product placement over the years. But one thing I refuse to do is attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes for the sake of a pat on the back and a minimal discount. If I am not prepared to pay to use a product I will not try and persuade you to do it. This stems from two prior experiences. Firstly, the fact I have a conscience, and dislike doing anything morally wrong, especially when peoples hard earned money is involved. The second stems from my first ever meeting with the angling legend that is Des Taylor, who stated “if you lie about the bait you’re off the team, as the bait is so good that you don’t need to lie”.
Many people may be aware that I am part of the Nash tackle and bait team. But many will not know that I turned down several lucrative sponsorship deals over the course of 12 months because I was hoping Nash would come knocking. Now this statement is not an attempt to over inflate an already over inflated ego, but to highlight the fact that I will only sign on with a company if I truly believe their products will enhance my fishing. When some of these deals were on the table I was completely obsessed with the Nash Twister range of hooks (which I believe are currently one of, if not the best-selling hook pattern in the USA) due to the fact I had gone 2 years without a hook pull. I remember my first season on Weston Park losing around 25% of my runs due to hook pulls and hooks opening up. That is losing one out of every four fish, and some of those were over 30lb. However, in some seriously rocky and snaggy waters I had landed almost 200 fish in this period, only losing one to a cut off. The only difference in my entire rig was the twister pattern. In my eyes I would be better off paying for twisters and catching fish, than getting something else for free but losing fish.
Fast forward a few months and thanks to some amazing captures and a recommendation from Dave Moore I received an email from the one and only Alan Blair offering me a tackle deal. Needless to say I immediately accepted his kind offer and over the past two years I have been fortunate to use some incredible gear. Now in my opinion the pinnacle of the new and innovative products they have developed is the Scope concept. For those of you who do not know what the scope concept is…..where have you been? The scope concept is all about making the tackle we use smaller, lighter, more compact and easier to transport. The standard 12ft carp rods are a thing of the past, as Kevin and the team have turned everything from powerful rods, to bivvies and luggage into sizes that will blow you mind.
Initially I asked for a set of 9ft 3lb test curve rods for stalking on my local creek waters, as I had the intentions of keeping my 12ft rods for my main big fish campaigns. However, I soon realized that the scope concept is a smaller package concept, and not a stalking concept. These rods were throwing leads 100 yards, landing big fish with ease and were well balanced with both a small spinning and a large big pit reel. I immediately sold my 12ft rods and have never looked back. I will now breakdown the reasons why the scope concept is such a revolutionary and convenient option for carp anglers.
Location, location, location.
If you are not on fish you will not catch them. I learned this in the ATC a few years back, and it is one of the reasons I rarely fish in competitions. How many anglers will pack up and leave their favorite swim if it’s quiet and they see a couple of fish top a few hundred yards away? Even fewer are likely to do it if they have a lot of gear to pack away and move. For most day sessions I take the scope backpack and the scope rod holdall. I can pack down and move in minutes, and do it without a barrow or the risk of a heart attack.
Stalking and/or overgrown swims.
I love stalking, and witnessing fish inhale the bait. And am fortunate to be able to fish a local swim where I can see that happen. However, the swims (so to speak) are very overgrown, with overhanging trees. The 9ft rods worked great where a 12ft rod would have been impossible to land fish. Even the 9ft rod was touch and go, thankfully the 6ft sawn-off version will make even tighter swims even more accessible.
I can remember back in England trying to squeeze me and a mates gear into a hatchback for a 48 hour session. It was brutal, uncomfortable, and often resulted in damage to us, the tackle or the car. I recently purchased a small Kia Forte hatchback and my entire day session equipment fits in the trunk. Not only that, but if I was fishing a longer session a scope bivvy or brolly would also fit in there. I often do not take all my gear out of the car until I have walked around and located fish, and do not like to leave tackle on show for opportunists to steal. The smaller packaging leaves me with peace of mind that my gear is safe while I take my time to select the right location in which to set up.
I owned a 9ft staling rod, and I own a 9ft scope rod. They are on different ends of the power spectrum. I can chuck out solid bags and 3oz leads with ease, and am looking forward to seeing what the 10ft 3.5lb tc cork handles can do in 2015. Recently I woke up to a strange bite where a fish had become tethered somewhat around the other rig and was stuck on the surface around 30 yards out. The rod was bent fully, as was my back leaning into it. I did wonder if I was giving a telescopic rod the beans a bit too much. However, the rod performed excellent, the fish was safely landed, and my appreciation of these rods increased even more. The scopes have also gone onto land carp over 80lb in France and 100lb + catfish in Spain in 2014.
I have a lot of tackle and bait, and fortunately a very forgiving and patient wife. However, space soon starts to disappear with beds, bivvies, and bait buckets crammed into sheds, garages and basements. With bivvies and brollies and rods that packaway to just waist height, you might be able to score a few more brownie points at home.
They do everything you could ever need in one rod.
I used to own 12ft rods for targeting big fish, and 9ft stalking rods for close range and pasty bashing. I now just own just the one set of scopes. They have landed 2lb fish a foot out in a creek, and landed 30’s at 100 yards. They feel great when paired with my Daiwa ss2600 spinning reels, and surprisingly feel better with my Shimano black magnesium’s attached. As a result of this I sold a lot of my other tackle, which increased even more storage space and put a few $ in the bank also.
They look awesome.
We all want our gear to look good, especially those of you who are a little tartier than myself. They are well made, have slick logos on them, and the addition of cork handles make them sexier than a Victoria’s Secret show.
Great for kids.
One of the greatest things a carp angler can do is introduce newcomers to this amazing sport, especially youngsters. However, 12ft rods are not child friendly. The 6ft and 9ft rods are perfect for introducing young children to the sport. In fact, as a new father myself I recently ordered a set of 6ft sawn offs for my boy to use once he is big enough.
Finally, they are a good price.
When you price up the scope range it is well priced. The rods especially are comparable to other market leading rods. And when you consider that instead of two or three separate sets of rods you can sell all your other rods and get one set they do work out to be great value for money.
However, if the scope range is slightly over your budget you could always check out the Dwarf range which is the same concept but cheaper.
Tight lines, and adios snow!