For the angler with everything: FISHING LINES

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The Independent Online
All the fishing magazines are full of what to buy for keen anglers this Christmas. So in keeping with giving readers what they want, I have found a few tasteful selections so those who know nothing about the sport can choose a tasteful, practical but original gift.

Surprise the angler who thought he had everything with a Broadbill 130 rod. It's a mere 5ft or so, but for just £1,300 (about £260 a foot) you get gold anodised rings and a gold-coloured marlin label on the rod. This is not the kit for splashing around in your local canal. These colourful broom handles are designed for battling giant black marlin or bluefin tuna. The catalogue from which I have taken this information, with fine subliminal advertising, warns: "A poorly designed rod will hurt you badly, let the fish toy with you and generally make your fishing time miserable."

A bit expensive? That's the trouble with big-game fishing. A decent reel to go with such a rod will set you back about £l,000. A cheaper gift for the person who wants to catch monsters of the deep is a Plunger. This is not a device to clear the sink, buta chunk of shiny polystyrene with eyes on either side and a multi-coloured skirt. This looks like a squid that's swallowed a parrot and is trailed behind a big-game boat. The catalogue description is worth repeating. "Very agile and noisy, and with sucha big face, it draws a lot of air that produces a long bubble trail." Still, marlin are very partial to them, and if you don't use them for fishing (at about £60, they're a bit expensive to waste on fish) they make rather an attractive mantelpiece display.

For the technically minded, Rothery's Tide & Fish Master looks the perfect present. The catalogue says "it is a hand-held microcomputer that computes solar, lunar, barometric and tidal information into a convenient, easily understood format. lt will synchronise you with nature to make you a better fisherman".

For £200, that sounds a pretty good deal, especially as current users are said to include marine biologists, a maritime college, the Fisheries Department and the Army and Navy. Quite why the Army need to become better fishermen is sadly not made clear. Perhaps they want to synchronise with nature. Further endorsement comes from the angling journalist John Mondora. He claims: "With some species of fish, it is exactly correct and with others it is awfully close to perfect."

Searching for a gift to suit the DIY angler? Look no further than the Rod-Building Lathe, a snip at £410. For your money, you get "everything to build a first-class rod. lt is powered by a 240-volt motor for epoxy drying and it has a second motor for wrapping."

You can even add on "extra bed sections" for £45, though I'm not sure what they have to do with rod- building. For real addicts, buy a backbone locator, which for £40 will "locate the spine of rod blanks for correct guide replacement".

For the thoroughly modern fisherman, a spool of Triton Dyneema line would be a special treat for Christmas. It is wildly expensive at about £20 for 100 metres, about five times the price of standard line, but it's half the diameter and you're buying "gel-spun polyester fibre, at least 10 times stronger than steel, and comes from the technology used in bullet-proof vests". But watch out! The catalogue warns: "Do not attempt to break with bare hands. This line will cut fingers to the bone."

There are a few real mysteries in this catalogue. I'm particularly fascinated by Rex Hunt's Invisible Hooks. A picture accompanying the blurb shows the packaging, but, of course, you can't see the hooks because they're invisible. It's a great idea, but there are obvious disadvantages. For instance, how on earth do you put on bait or tie a fly when you can't see the hook?

The one that intrigues me most is the HTS Chopper Bag. Even a picture does not give any clue to its use, though it is described as being of "sturdy nylon canvas construction, brass snap closures, brass drain holes, who front storage pockets and carry strap". Still, it would probably make an ideal stocking filler and it costs only £l7.

The bad news about all of these novel gifts is that they are listed in the 1995 catalogue from Harbord of New South Wales. Still, I suppose if you really can't think of anything else, you could always send off for the catalogue and give that as a Christmas gift.

Harbord Tackle Supply, 16c Lawrence St, Harbord, NSW 2096, Australia.

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