I’ve been on the lookout for a while, looking for a couple of improvements in not such much actual tackle but in my accessories.
One item has been a groundbait bowl … over the years I’ve used various devices from small round household buckets to larger square ones and to collapsible made-for-the job commercial collapsible buckets … but all have have their failings. Household rigid buckets of any shape are just too bulky to carry and if they are suitable to double as bait/tackle carriers too in an attempt to make their size less inconvenient then they are far too deep or wide to be good for groundbait mixing and trying to actually ball the groundbait whilst sat in your seat to feed throughout the session is far more of an ordeal than it should be. The collapsible commercial groundbait bowls/buckets from several failings in my opinion as being often made of a plastic lined material (canvas or similar) … (a) as they are not rigid enough mixing up groundbait is a nightmare and you often discover patches of dry powdered g’bait in the middle however well you try to mix, (b) by nature they are essentially a circle of fabric with a base in sewn in, which means seams and hems which are impossible to clean out at the end of the day and live maggots added to your g’bait will find their way into those folds and hems and hide away and return home in the bowl with you to later hatch out as unwanted visitor in your home and (c) the plastic lining soon becomes brittle or worn and cracks up and water will leak through the material causing to groundbait to dry out … and then the material itself get torn and the groundbait dries out even quicker…. My solution, which to me is the 101% perfect one and has no flaws whatsoever – being easy to mix in with no sharp corners or seams or hems, has the perfect dimensions for transporting to the water, for mixing and for access to ball up during your session and no leakage or water loss…..and lightweight too … and far cheaper than commercial mixing bowls….. and it is ….
… one of those silicon collapsible washing up bowls intended for camping. With a size of: 14.5” x 10.5” x 2” (closed) and 14.5” x 10.5” x 4.5”cm (opened) its easily carried in, or attached to, your bag – I use a Korum Mat bag as my unhooking mat and this bowl shares space with many other items in it for carriage to and from the waters – and plenty big enough to mix up my usual 1-2Kg of dry groundbait along with added hemp, maggots, etc… and would easily cope with more. And being quite easily available in many places – Wilko have them as a standard stock item at £5, and Aldi and Lidl do them often in their camping special offers.
The other item that I’ve sourced and has been deemed a ‘super-replacement’ by me is a small camping table, specifically a Hi-Gear one from Go Outdoors which has now replaced my old bait waiter…
Old Bait Waiter
Problems with the bait waiter – (a) sits on top of a single bank stick (a tripod could be used but I’ve never found those to be particularly stable anyway) and unless set perfectly vertical maggot can slope themselves over the bait containers lip … and on soft ground can slowly tilt depending on weight of baits, etc and (b) relatively small in size, can hold up to 4 standard sized bait boxes and nothing else or can use 2-3 bait boxes and use the empty bottomed section(s) for phone, baiting needles, disgorgers, etc. Anyway, due to the tipping/unstable aspects, and Go Outdoors having a 15% off everything offer on I thought I might go along get a bivvy table that had been reduced to £9.99 … I found then but they were small, in fact would probably only hold 2 bait boxes and quite heavy too…
… however, as Liz and I wandered up to the camping area we came across a small fold up picnic table ….
… at £13.99 (so with 15% off = £11.90)…. and it looked perfect for my needs – and, in fact, has proven even better in reality. Its lightweight (weighs only 4lbs) and when folded in its bag measures just 13” x 16” x 2” and when opened out for use it’s 24” x 16” x 10”. It also sits at a perfect height next to my fishing chair for easy access to whatever its holding … and its sturdy (rated to support up to 66lb) …. and also travels in my Korum Mat Bag so really is no extra burden…
PLUS…. and it is very roomy as can be seen in the pic below easily holding my ‘new’ groundbait bowl and 3 standard 2 pint bait boxes and with plenty space left over for ancillary items and phones, etc.
So, I’ve now 3 items of kit that I’d deem to be my crème-de-la-creme whereby I reckon that no better could be achieved … the two items above …. and my Wychwood Pocket Pod (ca £25) which really is a god send, purchased after going fishing thinking I wouldn’t be needing my main pod only to find I couldn’t get my bank sticks in (and I use screw pointed bank sticks which will deal with far harder ground than simple pointed ones – but even these will not cope with wooden platforms or rock solid frozen ground). As the name ‘pocket’ suggests, they are easily carryable (and again carried in my Mat Bag) with absolutely no problem. All that are needed are 5 bank sticks and a pair of lightweight bars – the bank sticks are normal items that are carried anyway for use ‘in the ground’ – for four of them as long as they have a standard 3/8” BSF thread to form the legs of the tripod then that’s fine but the fifth does require that the bank stick will fit through the hole in the front section – which means that screw point or broadened arrow point bank sticks are not any good for the purpose. However, I do carry as standard a 4’ extending to 7’ bank stick that is used mainly for use on the river – and I remove the sliding inner section to form the connection between front and back sections and this works perfectly. It works so well for me that, even now when I know that I’ll need a rod pod, I’ll leave my main one at home and use this set up unless the water is very close to the car….