Budget Peaked Bivvys under £200

I have been on the look out for a good bivvy in the entry/budget range of the market since I  returned to fishing four years ago.

I have been using my father-in-laws Trakker brolly dome that he didn’t like. It did the job but is more suited as a shelter rather than a 48hr session bivvy. I was for ever banging my head on the mechanism inside.

I have had my eye on a number of bivvys over the last couple of years in the £100-£200 price range.

The main features I was looking for were.

  • 1 man but with plenty of space
  • As much height as possible
  • Peak to stop rain coming in
  • Heavy duty groundsheet option
  • Winter skin option

From asking questions on the club forum and looking at angling material. I had a few option in mind.

Chub S-Plus Max

The S-Plus Max bivvy is the top of the range hooded version of the new S-plus range. With its extended hood, storm side panels and rigid frame the S-plus Max provides maximum all-round protection from the elements.

The frame is manufactured from 5 section 6061 pre-formed aluminium tube, which makes it quick and easy to erect. Supplied with a complete set of in-line tension bars, T-pegs and shock corded pegging points the bivvy is very stable even in strong and gusty winds.

The S-plus Max features a three way door system which offers many options. The door can be opened from the top or bottom and even completely removed if preferred and is fitted with a clear vision panel, mosi window and cover. Complete with detachable lightweight groundsheet and carry bag.

An overwrap and heavy duty groundsheet are available as optional extras.

  • Rigid 5 section 16mm 6061 aluminium poles
  • 5000mm Hydrostatic head waterproof cover
  • Ultra stable in-line frame support
  • Detachable lightweight groundsheet
  • Shock corded pegging points
  • Supplied with T-pegs and carry bag

Costs

  • Bivvy £129
  • Overwrap £80
  • Heavy duty groundsheet £30
  • Total £230

Vision Kashkym Prodome 1 Man

Featuring 3 Easy-Rib style ultra-light 6061 aerospace-grade aluminium pole supports and tension beams, fully taped seams throughout, reinforced pegging points and new windtex fabric technology. The dome has a rubberised heavy gauge groundsheet where the main body of the bivvy sits. The second groundsheet then clips on, and the integrated twin skin is clipped to the main outer skin forming a formidable and state-of-the-art bivvy system. Featuring heavy duty T-Bar pegs, clear infill door panel and durable carry case.

Features include the following:

  • The system features removable groundsheet.
  • Featuring 3 “Easy-Rib” style ultra-light 6061 aerospace grade aluminium pole supports and tension beams.
  • Fully taped seams throughout.
  • Reinforced pegging points and new Windtex fabric technology.
  •  The dome has a rubberized heavy gauge groundsheet where the main body of the bivvy sits.
  • The second groundsheet then clips on, and the integrated twin skin is clipped to the main outer skin forming a formidable and state-of-the-art bivvy system.
  • Featuring heavy duty “T-Bar” pegs.
  • Clear infill door panel and durable carry case.
  • 315(W) x 225(L) x 140(H)

Costs

  • Bivvy, overwrap and twin skin £179.99

Prologic Deluxe Dome 1 Man

Prologics development team found that the perfect colour that really came out as a unique “blend in” at the waterside – was not green – but more brown.

For years, Prologic have worked with their carp and specimen proanglers across Europe, to come up with the new Green colour, that would blend in perfectly with most waterside environments across the EU and that would be a good match for winter, spring, summer, and autumnal colours and tones. A superb 4 season blend in colour that also matches Prologic’s very successful Max4 Camouflage perfectly!

Features include the following:

  • Alu ridged Stormsafe frame.
  • 100% Water Proof 5000mm Outer Fabric.
  • Wide double stitched taped seems.
  • Extra tough 100% waterproof ground sheet.
  • Flip out doormat.
  • Roll back front and side panels.
  • Flex front door, with several options.
  • Back wall mozzi mesh ventilation window.
  • Oversized zippers.
  • Rod holder straps front bow.
  • Multi aligner pegging points.
  • 13 Deluxe Ground Pegs included.
  • Oversized carry bag.
  • Removable groundsheet.
  • One man dome: 215x260x125cm & 11kg
    Two man dome 260x345x170cm & 15.6kg

Prologic Deluxe Overwrap

Features include the following:

  • 100% Water Proof 5000mm Outer Fabric.
  • Wide double stitched taped seems.
  • Roll back front and side panels.
  • Rod holder straps front bow.
  • Multi aligner pegging points.
  • 13 Deluxe Ground Pegs included.
  • Flex frontdoor.
  • Oversized zippers.
  • Oversized carry bag.
  • Sizes & Weight:
    One man overwrap 215x260x125cm & 3kg
    Two man overwrap 260x345x170cm & 3.9kg

Costs

  • Bivvy, wrap and heavy duty groundsheet £150 from climaxtackle limted stock left.

Final decision

So after a lot of thought I decided that any of these bivvys would be suitable and would gladly have brought all 3 of them.

The Chub is the perfect one to buy for a first bivvy costing £130 and the groundsheet/overwrap can be brought separately.

The Vision one is a great all round package and I think would have been the one I would have picked from these three.

Eventually I choose the Prologic one mainly due to the full package ticked all the boxes for me. The offer from Climaxtackle was the clincher £150 and I got everything I wanted.

I was such a good deal that both myself, Steve and Phil got one.

I will post up a long term review in the future to let you know how we are getting on with the bivvy. So if you are on the look out for a budget bivvy take a look at anyone of these three!!

If you’ve got some tackle you would like to review or be reviewed then please let me know.

Tight lines

Barrie

Spomb and Mini Spomb Review

I first encountered the spomb a few years back now at a charity fishing competition. It caught my eye at first because of its bomb like appearance, after watching the angler use it to cast 10kg of pellets over the course of the weekend. I got to watch its flight and its accuracy, I was also impressed with the lack off spillage unlike what I had myself encountered using a spod. I was also impressed with the lack of disturbance it made when being retrieved it aquaplanes across the top of the water. (always reminds me of a waterboatman)

I have been using one now for nearly 3 years and have not looked at spod since. No need to have a spod for all occasions the Spomb does it all. Pellet, Boilies, particles, maggots groundbait balls E.T.C . If you want to get something in your swim if it fits inside you can get it there with the spomb.

I use my spomb with a fox warrior spod rod and would recommend using at shock leader as I cracked my first one of and lost it when I knocked the bail arm over on a cast.

When I saw that they were producing a mini Spomb I couldn’t wait as I had been that pleased with my Spomb. But to have a Mini Spomb meant that I could deliver smaller amounts of bait to my swim with reduced disturbance. The mini Spomb is a 1/4 of the size off it big brother, holding around 10-15 15mm boilies where as it big brother holds 60 ish.

The capacity of the mini Spomb. It can take 35 x 10mm boilies, 17 x 15mm boilies and when fully loaded with a heavy bait, like sweetcorn, it weighs 3 oz (85 gm).

I got to use my mini spomb last weekend and was very impressed with it. I was able to deliver a good handle full of maggots to my swim and small amounts of boilies with minimal disturbance and quite good accuracy for me. I also used it on my 3lb test curve carp rod which was more than up to the job of casting the mini Spomb out to my required baited spot. So no need to fork out on a dedicated spod rod.

I would highly recommend that you take a look at the Spomb if you are after a spod.

Spomb’s retail for £12.99 rrp for the Spomb and £9.99 rrp for the Mini Spomb

For more info and stockist see their website Spomb

Spomb video

Mini Spomb video

Center Pin Review

Hello all

Thought it would be worth telling you about one of my recent purchases as there are a fair few river rats on the forum who might be interested.

I always fancied a centre pin reel for long trotting on rivers and such and saw the budget offering from Avanti in Anglers Mail recently so thought, for the money, it may be worth a look.

I did a bit of digging on line and apparently it is very similar to one offered by TF gear but at less cost and that, when out of stock at Avanti they change hands on eBay for up to £50. I figured that I may get out with it half a dozen times per year at a push and couldn’t justify spending lots on one that would get little use.

I’m a great believer in, buy cheap, buy twice and you get what you pay for but feedback all seemed ok so I took the plunge. I have been sorely disappointed by Avanti/ Dragoncarp products in the past but threw caution to the wind and blew a full £30 of my own money on the reel.:w00t:

48 hours of waiting by the letterbox flap later… :unsure:

First impressions were very good. The reel comes in a rather natty, faux velvet drawstring bag to stop it getting scratched and is finished to a high standard. It weighs around 8.5 oz and has a solid positive feel to it. The twin handles feel robust and are made from varnished wood that is pleasing to the touch. (oooh er missus… :ymca: )

The ratchet mechanism is simplicity itself – surely it won’t go wrong in many, many years.

The reel is smooth as silk and spins for getting on 1 minute if you give it some beans.

All in all things look superb but as a ‘pin’ virgin I have nothing to compare it too and am yet to use it in anger so cant make comment as to every day use and how well it would stand up to the rigours of combat fishing, sand and being dropped. I’m sure like anything though if you look after it it will look after you!

To summarise, if you fancy giving ‘pin’ fishing a go but wont be on the river every day of the year I would say that these are worth a look.

Since writing this review they have replaced the reel with a mk2 version

£40.00 & £6.00 P&P  http://www.dragoncarpdirect.com/products/Marco-Cortesi-Mk2-Excellence-Signature-Centrepin-reel.html

(All you need now is a wicker creel, checked shirt and floppy hat to complete the authentic Mr Crabtree look)

Got a new product you want reviewing feel free to contact us

Rod Tip Repair

I bought my self a Fox Warrior carp rod a couple of years ago and have managed to snap about 3 inchs of the top of it in my bag. I took it to my local tackle shop where they repaired it for a fiver. I dont think the tip was pushed on to well as  it managed to bend off, not had chance to get it repaired just after the tip came off. I had some spare time yesterday so I took it to the tackle shop to get it repaired, I was a little disapointed  as the didn’t really have   much tips rings in stock to do repairs but was happy for a non matching top ring to be put on the rod. As long as it was useable I am happy, but they were unable to repair it because they didnt have a lighter. They gave me the stuff I needed to repair the rod and I was quite surprised how easy it is to replace a top eye.

So I thought I would share how easy it is to replace that damaged top eye on your rod.

You can get a pack of eyes for £1.25 http://www.mullarkeys.co.uk/fishing/rods-(includes-kits-and-combos)/rod-building-equipment/1/mullarkeys/12390/ all you need then is a small needle to warm a little heat gun glue under and your back fishing

So something you could do on the bank, hope this helps to save you guys some money and gets you fishing again on the bank asap.

Drennan Series 7 – float reel

I’m ashamed to say that this reel was bought through impulse rather than necessity as I have 2 reels that are perfectly adequate for float fishing but given the specification and price of Drennan’s new float reel I found it hard to resist.

Drennan produce two reels in this, the series 7 range one of which comes packaged as a feeder reel with 3 spools and this reel, rated slightly lighter than the former but with the same looks and features. First impressions are outstanding, like with all of Drennan’s products that I have used it is obvious that they take the utmost pride in the innovation, design, quality and variety of their wares and to top it off for me they are 100% British designed and built for the UK angling market.

The reel’s aesthetics are simple, functional and elegant which I like and best of all they are understated which I think is important in fishing tackle. The body of the reel is a mix of metal and hard plastic with a lovely powder coat/ graphite dark grey finish which is highlighted by regions of ‘Titanium’ finished metal such as the one touch button on the handle, the mounting for the rear drag dial and the pivot points of the bale arm mechanism. I’m not taken by fancy fake chrome that scratches easily and looks ‘naff’ after a few sessions. Well done Drennan for focusing on the job in hand and not getting carried away with unnecessary trinkets and ‘bling’.

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One of the selling points of this reel for me was also one of its simplest but most innovative features. Included with the reel are several rubber inserts that fit into the spools to remind you, at a glance, of the line weights on your spools. The rubber inserts come in two units of measurement, millimetre diameter of line and pound test of line including popular decimals like 3.2lb, 4.4lb etc.

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Another feature that I found excellent was that the spools are designed to take a variety of line weights and diameters (Nothing new there you say?) but this includes 100 meter ‘hits’ of line of varying diameters which also negates the use of backing and guess work when loading the spools. In turn this ties in perfectly with the spools of line sold by Drennan such as the superb and classic ‘float fish’ which you would be hard pressed to beat even to this day. At circa £3 per spool you can hardly see this as a shameless marketing ploy more of a clever way to perpetuate business and make the angler’s lives easier when trying to load the spools correctly.

If you are anything like me you will always load the reels a little bit too much in the search for a few more yards on the cast but often this only results in tangles and headaches in the future. There is even a chart on the box which tells you the recommended line weights and types for the included spools which I found useful.

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The spools themselves are cleverly designed with positive and pleasing ‘one touch’ removal for quick changes with perfectly shaped taper that, when correctly filled, I have found allow much greater distance than the reels that I am used to namely browning and Avanti this is especialy noticable when using lighter floats. This is testament to the series 7’s impeccable line lay that is further aided by the clever recesses in the spools for the loop knots as well as a deeper groove in this region to eliminate any accumulative ‘bulge’ when filling. The real comes complete with 3 shallow spools, one of which is alloy and the other 2 are made from a composite material.

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The line clips are another clever design feature as, with the aluminium spool, they are a 2 piece clip so the line clip sits within a further plastic recess to prevent line damage when repeatedly casting to the clip. The line clip is attached to a metal component inside the spool to acts like a leaf spring to give further protection and durability.

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The roller on the bail arm has been cleverly designed to prevent line looping over the bale arm assembly within use and I am yet to experience this happening. This happened often with my other reels so makes the reel that much more enjoyable to use.

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The handle is made of dimpled rubber and is very tactile and fits between your fingers very nicely. Winding is perfectly weighted and the reel is balanced and although I could hear an ever so light scuff every 2 revolutions you can’t feel it and it has proved un-noticeable in ‘real world’ fishing. This has improved in the few months that I have been using the reel. The anti reverse is very easy to operate and positive with a definite click when you engage and is totally instant as is the rear drag which has a great tough plastic bezel. Again it operates smoothly and positively with audible and pleasing clicks as it rotates.

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The reel contains a whopping 8 ball bearings and one clutch bearing which is astonishing for a reel in this price bracket. The reel is very smooth and the clutch is like silk. I have landed carp to high single figures that really went and the clutch coped very very well and was very easy to adjust in the fight. The ratio is 5.1 to 1 (the bale rotates 5 times for every turn of the handle) so this is great for fishing ‘on the drop’ or where regular casting is needed. In use the small size of the reel makes it very manageable as the spool and bale arm can be controlled single handedly and line can be trapped on the lip of the spool with a finger.

I will now be critical as I have been very surprised and happy up until this point. For a starter the reels boast 8 ball bearings I would expect it to be a little smother. I have felt much smoother reels in shops that contain less BB’s but admittedly they have cost up to 4 times as much. This reel retails at about £34.00 which in my eyes is at the top end of budget reel money so you can’t be ‘too’ critical of this. The other thing that I wasn’t head over heels with it that the reel has to be cranked a bit to engage the bail arm after the cast when in certain positions. This can obviously be solved by engaging it with a finger and may improve with use but I just thought I’d try to give a balanced review.

In summary – If you are in the market for a great, float/ light feeder reel there are well worth considering. It’s Drennan’s first foray into the reel market along with their budget ‘Red’ series reels and I think that this should be seen as a great success. I am very happy with it and would recommend one to anyone especially when considering the sub £35.00 retail price point. Another great, no nonsense product from the Drennan range that I’m sure will gain in popularity for years to come and become a classic very quickly.

Andy Atack

Posted 19 January 2012 – 10:35pm