Fox Impact Spod Review

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The Fox Impact Spod has been one of the most eagerly awaited products of 2015. Ever since the announcement that Fox have designed a bait delivery device which will be sold under license from Spomb, the forums along with various social media platforms have been buzzing in anticipation. The reason that it’s been sold under license is that Spomb have a patent which protects their IP and clearly Fox needed some of those protected features to produce the Impact Spod. It sounds like a deal where everyone’s a winner so hats off to both companies for making it happen. Another winner of course is the carp angler who now has another tool in his/her armoury when it comes to dispensing bait at range.

Fox have released a medium and large version and I finally got my hands on a pair this week (mid-December 2015). In this review I will go into each feature of the Impact Spod in depth, compare them against the Spomb and try to answer as many questions as I can within the content.

First Impressions

When I first picked up the Impact Spods in the shop they looked great but felt quite ‘plasticky’. I know I just made that word up and these things cost between £11 and £13 so were never going to be made from the recycled dashboard of a Mercedes but that was my first impression. In reality I’m sure that the material has been selected carefully and will be fine for the job. The mechanism worked well and the workings of the opening button on the front are covered. Because of this I’m confident that bits of particle won’t get lodged in the button and stop it working which has happened to me with a Spomb before.

Size

As mentioned earlier there are two sizes available – medium and large of which I bought one of each. Maybe Fox are undecided about a small version which is why they haven’t released one but have kept the option open by releasing a medium and large. 

Impact Spod vs Spomb - Sizes
From left to right: mini Spomb, medium Impact Spod, midi Spomb, large Impact Spod, large Spomb.

As you can see by the image above, the large Spod is similar to the large sized Spomb and the medium Spod is similar to the medium sized Spomb with the mini Spomb being somewhat smaller. Capacity wise, the table below shows the difference in how much bait each one can hold compared with the Spombs. 12mm Sticky Baits Krill boilies (shelf-life) were used for this and the weight of the bait compared.

 Bait Capacity (grams)Bait Capacity (ounces)
Mini Spomb37g1.3oz
Medium Impact Spod69g2.43oz
Midi Spomb74g2.61oz
Large Impact Spod125g4.4oz
Large Spomb114g4oz

Weight

This is the bit I was the most interested in as my ‘workflow’ goes like this:

1.) Cast out a lead to find my spot. This is done with my normal fishing rod and monofilament. Yes a marker rod and braid would give me more feel but I can normally find a spot like this and it sets me up nicely for the next step

2.) Clip up so I can hit the spot again

3.) Cast out and ensure that I’m getting a consistent drop

4.) Attach a mini Spomb and put some bait on the spot – because of the size of the mini Spomb it casts fine with my 3lb TC rod

5.) Attach my rig and cast out to the spot

Simple but effective, accurate and suits my style of fishing (I’m not one to be putting kilos and kilos on a spot). Can the medium Impact Spod be cast with my rods like the mini Spomb can? I don’t like my workflow being messed with! Here’s a comparison table of the weights of each fully loaded Spod/Spomb, again Krill boilies were used for this test.

 Loaded Weight (grams)Loaded Weight (ounces)
Mini Spomb61g2.15oz
Medium Impact Spod106g3.74oz
Midi Spomb113g4oz
Large Impact Spod177g6.24oz
Large Spomb172g6.1oz

So, my mini Spomb will definitely still get some use although the medium Impact Spod loaded with boilies is only 3.74oz so should still be fine to cast with my 3lb TC fishing rods, just…

Bait Delivery Bag
Plenty of options!

Ergonomics

One of the design features of the Impact Spod is the one handed operation and yes I can confirm that it’s much easier to do anything with one hand than the Spomb is. Another feature is a larger swivel which might make it slightly easier to loop/tie onto the line but I’ve never had an issue with the smaller swivel on a Spomb. Fox say that they are ‘intrinsically buoyant’ so will float into the margins should you crack off during a cast – I’ve only just got these so was limited to a test in the kitchen sink but it did seem very buoyant whereas the Spomb immersed with water almost immediately and ended up with the majority of the body under the water. I filled the Impact Spod with water too (it was good that this didn’t happen without my intervention) to see if it would sink. As you would expect it was nowhere near as buoyant but did still float. In reality this won’t be an issue of course as they would be open after dispensing the bait but I wanted to push them and see what would happen and the Impact Spod stood up to the test. As far as casting goes I’ll have to update this post once I get out with them but talking to Mark Pitchers on a recent tutorial, he said they fly great.

One of the things I saw a couple of people online say when they first got hold of the product was that the springs seemed a bit lightweight. I didn’t notice to be honest and only time will tell how robust they actually are. They don’t need to do much though so I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Spod Spring

Fox Impact Spod vs Spomb

All in all I think this product is great but will I be throwing away my Spombs any time soon? No, not only will I still use the mini one as already discussed but also both Fox and Spomb have said that they can give very different results in terms of the spread of bait that can be achieved. The Spomb is said to be better for tighter baiting and the Impact Spod for a slightly wider spread – this was pointed out in the joint press release. Do I think the Impact Spod will be a hit? Absolutely, the guy in the tackle shop told me they’d been selling like hot cakes and based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m not surprised. If want to buy one or two of your own you can get them here.

Other useful links:

Fox Impact Spod (Fox website)

Spomb (Spomb website)

Until next time, tight lines…

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Best Carp Fishing Line – My Top 5

This article contains affiliate links which means that if you click through to a retailer’s website and go on to make a purchase, the retailer may pay us a commission on the sale.

Other parts of the NCA carp fishing tackle buying guide:

Part 1: Line

Part 2: Bite alarms

Part 3: Bait

Part 4: Barrows

When fishing for specimen sized carp, the line you use is of the upmost importance. You must have confidence in your line when casting and playing fish. Whilst there are some great lines on the market, there are also some which you want to avoid. In this roundup of the top 5 carp fishing lines we will compare diameters, breaking strains, suppleness, durability, visibility and how well each one sinks. All of these lines are very popular and are made by top brands – most are monofilaments as opposed to fluorocarbon, I may do a round up of fluorocarbon lines in a future post.

A common question that people seem to ask is what breaking strain should they go for. For me the answer to this question is the heaviest you can get away with. If you’re casting short distances, a 20lb+ breaking strain line would be my first choice – when I fish heavy I’m more confident. If you’re casting a fair distance then you’ll probably need a thinner diameter line so going down to a 15b or even 12b line may be required. When using a thin diameter/low breaking strain line with a heavy led casting big distances you should think about using a shock leader – the last thing you want is a 4.5oz lead breaking the like and flying backwards during your cast. It’s worth noting that most venues state in their rules a minimum of 12lb breaking strain line but where I can I always try to fish much heavier than this.

For this roundup we’re going to compare 15lb breaking strain versions of each line where possible although some lines like the first one are slightly higher than this.

Fox Exocet

The Fox Exocet line is used by top anglers such as Tom Maker, Adam Penning and Mark Pitchers. I’ve spoken with Mark and Tom personally about this line and both have said that it’s strong, hard to see in the water and sinks like a brick. Available in breaking strains from 13b to 23b there’s a line to suit every occasion. Fox pitch this as a distance casting line which is especially true at the thinner end of the diameter scale. I personally use the 23b version, like I said above I like to fish strong.

Exocet is green in colour, is highly abrasion resistant and is very supple. You also get 1,000m to a spool and it comes in a nice presentation tin.

ESP Syncro XT

This is another favourite of mine and I currently have it spooled up on 3 of my reels. It’s quite supple, sinks well and is very strong especially in the knot strength department – I use it in the 18lb version. ESP have this year released a new version of this line which I’m yet to try out but I head good things about it and the likes of Gaz Farnham, Kev Hewitt and Martin Bowler have all been involved in the testing of it, not bad eh! They claim that the loaded version is a better colour, sinks faster and is harder to see sub-surface.

Korda Touchdown

A recent addition to Korda’s range of lines and one that I’m particularly excited about. The name touchdown came about because of the low stretch properties of the line – the theory being that it’s easier to feel the lead down because of the low stretch in the line. In all honesty I’ve never had trouble feeling down the lead with a normal mono but I do fish tight up against islands and far margins at some of the venues I fish so a line with not a lot of stretch helps with accuracy. I also like using a mini Spomb which I can cast with my fishing rod and a low stretch line means I can find my spot, bait up and get my rig out with the same rod within 3 or 4 casts – my kind of fishing!

Gardner GT80+

The GT80+ has evolved from the GT80, a very popular line. The line is a copolymer which includes an additive which makes it sink faster. Supple, heavy, smooth and great knot strength is what you get with this line and there are clear and green versions available.

Daiwa Sensor

Being one of the cheapest lines on the market it’s easy to think that Sensor is an inferior product but that’s absolutely not the case. When I first got into carp fishing I used Sensor on all 3 of my reels and found it great. When reading the forums, people generally say good things about it and it’s stood the test of time. It’s available in 2 colours – brown and clear and a range of breaking strains.

An Autumn Weekend at Brandesburton 3&4

Whilst on my tutorial session with Mark Pitchers, I had a text conversation with my carp fishing buddy Gaz about arranging a session at Brandesburton. We last fished it back in May which was a very successful trip so we were itching to get back to make sure that our luck last time wasn’t a one-off! We agreed to take the Friday off work and travel there on the Thursday evening even if it meant setting up in the dark. As it turned out, Gaz also took the Wednesday afternoon and Thursday off so headed to the lake late afternoon on the Wednesday to secure the lake’s only double peg (yes yes I hear you hardcore carpers saying that you shouldn’t pre select your peg before you get to the lake but we fish for enjoyment and there’s a social element to it too, plus we know the spots well in that peg and thought that the fish might be there at this time of year so there was some justification for it!) It turned out that there was nobody else on the lake so Grassy Bank it was and Gaz managed to get his bivvy up and a single rod out before dark. That night there was no moon and not much wind which meant it was pitch black and very quiet – enough to spook any man and Gaz later admitted that it was quite creepy so he got an early night! I’d told him to keep me up to date throughout the next day but I didn’t hear from him until mid-afternoon when a picture came through of a 13b mirror, not a bad start!

IMG_5289.JPG-2
Gaz’s first fish of the session

I was desperate to get to the lake but really didn’t fancy setting up in the dark so I decided that the best plan of action would be to go for a curry and beers with some of my old friends that I don’t see too often and head off on the Friday morning. Naturally, Friday morning turned into Friday afternoon and I arrived at the lake at around 2pm. Gaz hadn’t had any more action but had seem plenty of activity in front of him so I got the gear out of my car and setup next to him in the double peg. I got my first rod out but literally within 2 minutes Gaz had a take and the fish decided to go through my line. After a bit of a panic, we managed to untangle the rods with the fish still on – result! After a short battle Gaz there was a 19lb common sat in the net, Gaz was over the moon as it was his biggest yet from the venue and I was chuffed for him. We did the pictures and slipped her back. I got the rod back out and I couldn’t believe it when just 5 minutes later it ripped off! A short while later I had a lovely 14lb mirror in the net – what a start, a fish each within a few minutes of me being there, that’s no coincidence of course 😉

IMG_1894

 

Over the next few hours I’d had another 2 bites, I lost one of them and the other was a 12lb common which I caught just after it got dark at around 7:30pm. Because I was fishing against the far margin close to overhanging trees I decided not to try and get the rod back on the spot so just fished with 1 rod for the night (I was only fishing with 2 during the day anyway – i figured that 5 rods between us in that swim was pushing it somewhat). We got all the rods sorted for the night and sat back to have some food and chat the night away. Once bed time came I got warm inside my Fox Ventec 5 season bag (it’s soooo warm) while Gaz kept getting liners on the same rod, he was getting that many he ended up winding it in to get some sleep! The last time we fished the lake the bite times were early morning so I was expecting some action, it never came though and we didn’t even see many shows which was surprising as Gaz said they were boshing out all over the place the previous morning.

Gaz was leaving that afternoon and wanted another fish before he started packing away. He got his wish but it wasn’t a carp – yep you guessed it, a bream! Ah well he’d still had a good session so he headed back to Leeds.

As I now had the swim to myself, I decided to put a 3rd rod out so I cast it to where Gaz managed his 19b’er – it would be rude not to! I fired out a few of the Krill boilies over and between each rod and sat back to have some food. The evening was uneventful but I was awakened at around 11:30pm by a screaming take. It didn’t put up much of a fight and I thought it was a bream at first, it turned out to be a single figure carp which was still very welcome as it was over 24hrs since my last fish. I quickly returned it, got back into bed and the next time I woke was when it was light. I got the rod back out straight away so that I was fishing with 3 rods again to give me the best chance of getting another bite before I packed away at mid day. I had a chat with a few of the other anglers on the lake and it turned out that over the last few days we were the only ones catching – I’d love to say that it was down to our ability as anglers but sadly that’s not the case, we were simply in the correct swim for the conditions! Mid day came and it was time to pack up. I did so with a smile on my face as it had been a good session.

We have only fished Brandes twice this year, once in Spring and the other in Autumn. We fished it more last year yet didn’t catch a sausage then yet in just 2 sessions this year we have had 21 bites. A couple of those were bream, a few were lost but a good few of those saw the net too so all in all I’m chuffed to bits with our ‘year’ on there. I’ll be renewing my night permit and hoping to get there a bit more regularly next year. I might even get the odd winter day session in between now and then. You never know, I might even catch that 20lb fish I’m desperate for…

IMG_1887
I love this venue.

Until next time, tight lines…

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A Session at Majestic Pool with Mark Pitchers

Anybody into modern day carp fishing will have heard of Mark Pitchers. He’s the star of Fox’s The Challenge and contributes regularly to various monthly magazines. I’d heard that he offers tutorials so decided to get in touch to discuss various options. His schedule was quite busy but he had a place available on a group session he was running at Majestic Pool near Hull so I put my name down and started to get excited. Between booking it and the day arriving I had a family holiday and a busy time at work so I didn’t get the chance to think much about it, needless to say it came around quite quickly.

The other 3 guys were set to arrive at Majestic around 11am, I had work commitments in the morning but managed to wangle the afternoon off so set off from Leeds at 2:30pm. It was close to where I fish at Brandesburton so the journey was familiar and the weather lovely. I arrived at 4pm and introduced myself to Mark and the other guys. Mark pointed me in the direction of a peg called Sainty’s and told me to get my house in order and he’d be round soon. It was my first outing with the Fox Royale Classic bivvy so I spent some time making sure I put it up properly, after all there was no rush – we had all weekend! If you’re interested I thought the bivvy was great, you get a lot for your money – more information here

Fox Royale Classic Bivvy
I was really impressed with the Fox Royale Classic Bivvy

Not long after getting my bivvy up and my tackle in order, Mark appeared and started to give me some details about the lake, the stock and his recommended approach for the weekend. We set about looking for some spots and before long we’d found 2 clear gravely spots and one close to a snag where a fish had shown as we were looking for the open water spots. We clipped up, put the Spomb on and proceeded to put a bit of sweetcorn on the open water spots. We used the distance sticks to get the rods setup which just left the rigs to decide upon. Mark has had plenty of success using a simple but effective balanced plastic corn rig, the way it sits is lovely as I saw when he showed me in the margin – it’s just like a claw, waiting to take hold. The rods were cast and we discussed the approach for the margin spot. Because it was close to a snag the gear had to be heavy so a hinged stiff rig was selected with a few boilies scattered over the top. We were racing to get sorted before dark but we managed it and were happy with the spots that we’d chosen.

The first night saw me awake for most of it, not because of bites but because of the wind, rain and coots diving on my bait. The Delks are rather sensitive and were beeping regularly. Unfortunately this wasn’t replaced with a roaring take and come the morning my mat was still dry (well it would have been if the rain hadn’t have come down like it did…) I decided to leave things be and lay back down as I’d had a terrible nights sleep. Mark appeared before long though and showed me how to get the sediment off my lines in a morning. I asked if anybody had any luck throughout the night but unfortunately not. I was surprised, the venue holds a good amount of fish and the weather looked right for it. Mark suggested that we sit on our hands and don’t put any more bait out – if the fish had eaten the bait then we should have got a bite so the likelihood was that the bait was still sat out there uneaten. The day passed quietly but for Mark it was all but quiet – he was running around like a madman trying to find fish and get all 4 of us angling for them in the best way possible. It was very weedy so he had to spend a lot of time finding us good spots, especially the guys on the opposite bank to me as that seemed to contain the most of the weed.

My home for the weekend!
My home for the weekend!

Late afternoon and with 24 hours gone, it was time to try some new spots. Mark said that he approaches each 24 hours as a different session and this was no different especially as it had been quiet. One of the rods was left on the same spot but recast and with a bit more bait over the top, one rod was cast further out to see if the carp were sitting close to the middle and the last rod was fished towards the no fishing bank at the bottom of the drop off. Rigs and bait were the same so it was just up to the carp gods now to make something happen. The sensitivity was turned down on the Delks and the rods placed lower to the ground to try and minimise any false bleeps. It worked well and I got a great night of sleep – good for my body but not great for my unhooking mat which was still bone dry. Mark couldn’t understand it, the weather was good, we had found some nice spots, baiting was sensible and rigs more than proven – a combination of these things should have produced fish! We didn’t make any changes for the first part of the morning but by mid morning the water was like glass, completely still. Normally in these conditions you can see signs of fish feeding, the backs of carp just breaking the surface or more visible signs such as a crash. There was absolutely nothing though and it confirmed to us that they just weren’t having it. Mark wasn’t happy, he wanted us all to catch but that’s just fishing and the main purpose attending a tutorial in my eyes is to learn first and catch fish second and boy had I learnt. I’d been taking down notes all weekend and I have plenty to come away and perfect in my own fishing. For the last couple of hours we put zigs on two rods to see if we could get a bite right at the end but it wasn’t to be. Mark worked his socks off for us and if he can’t make it happen, nobody can. If you’re thinking about booking a carp tutorial then definitely consider Mark’s services – he’s such a passionate and knowledgeable angler that you can’t not learn anything from a session with him. He’s a nice and funny guy too so you’ll have plenty of laughs in the process!

I want to end this blog post by not only thanking Mark for a great weekend but by also thanking the guys who run Majestic Pool. I’d never fished there before but will definitely fish there again. Although we didn’t catch, this was out of the norm and I’m sure a return trip applying everything I learnt from Mark would make for an enjoyable and productive trip. Majestic is such a pretty and well thought out place. The owners have clearly put their heart and soul into creating a top class fishery. With over 110 fish in 3 acres it’s well stocked with English carp and 75% of the stock are over 20lb – not bad eh! The swims are great and there’s a path running around the whole of the lake for easy barrow access. You can find out more about the fishery by visiting the Majestic Pool website.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, I learnt an awful lot, fished with the man who makes The Challenge (which I watch religiously) and experienced a new lake. No fish but still, what an absolute result.

Until next time, tight lines…

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A Margin of Error

It’s been two weeks since my last session when I had a successful trip to Brandesburton 3&4 and cabin fever was setting in – a trip to my local syndicate lake was in order. The beauty of this lake is that it’s very close to home and it’s tiny (half an acre) so I only feel the need to fish a single rod. In fact, not only do I only take one rod, I also leave at home a lot of the ‘just in case’ gear and have bought some specific bits of tackle to help me keep the gear to a minimum. A Nash H-Gun Multi Mat can be used as a bag, an unhooking mat and a weigh sling so all of my gear fits in it and then once empty at the lake it becomes my mat and sling. In that goes a Wychwood specimen landing net which folds down nicely, a reel, an NGT 4 piece 9ft Intrepid rod, a Delkim, an indicator, 2 bank sticks, my tackle box, a catapult, a few handfuls of boilies, a pair of foreceps and a set of digital scales. The ‘bag’ goes over my shoulder and all I have to carry is my net pole and chair – no barrow needed for this flavour of carp fishing!

Summer evening carpy goodness!
Summer evening carpy goodness!

The day started with a breakfast at the local pub followed by a few chores around the house so I arrived at the lake around 12:45pm. I had no specific plans about how long I wanted to fish for, I was just going to play it by ear. I started on the opposite bank to the image above and within a couple of hours of casting out I’d managed a small carp and a chub plus another carp that fell off the hook a few seconds after the take. I only took a couple of leads with me and I’d lost them both so to continue fishing I had to put some shot on the line which I wasn’t very confident in. Because of this and the fact that the fish seemed to have gone to sleep I decided to head home and have some food. The beauty of a local lake and minimal kit is that moving swims or nipping off for an hour isn’t a laborious task.

Belly full and leads replenished I arrived back at the lake around 7pm. The temperature had dropped slightly and there were more clouds in the sky. Speaking with the owner before I left I found out that the carp will come into the margins later in the day so I put a bit of bait right in front of my swim on a rock where I could see it. I fished into open water but planned to keep an eye on the margin and if any fish did come in I’d have another option. It didn’t take long before a carp came in and helped its self to the free offerings while I kept as still as I could. I’ve never really done any margin/stalking work so to watch a fish feed right under my feet was fantastic.

Syndi2

Not long after the fish sloped off and I started thinking about how I was going to maximise the opportunity, I had a take out in open water and it felt like a good fish. Before I knew it the line went slack and once again my quarry had given me the V sign. I dropped my rig straight onto the margin spot and dropped a few more boils over the top. I was fishing a foot from the bank, it felt very odd but quite exciting – to watch a fish take my hook bait would be amazing.

Talk about fishing under the rod tip!
Talk about fishing under the rod tip!

I had to be close enough to watch the fish but because of that I managed to spook fish on a couple of occasions, I wasn’t too concerned though because they were the smaller fish and I felt that I still had a chance of a bigger one coming in. As I alluded to in my first blog post about this syndicate lake, the biggest fish swimming around is around 17lb and although that’s not big when it comes to specimen carp fishing, it’s the biggest in the lake and I want to catch it! At about 8:30 a group of 3 bigger fish all came to the spot together, they took a couple of boilies and then seemed to spook. I thought that I’d blown it until one of the fish came back about a minute later to have another look. My heart was pounding, there was only a couple of baits and my hook bait left! A few seconds later and the fish was over the hook bait so I couldn’t see it, there was an almighty explosion when the fish went mad, the Delk screamed and I fell on my backside trying to get to the rod! I had one angry double on the end of my line and it moved up the margin to my right at a pace while I tried to get it under control, all of a sudden it decided to go on a massively powerful run and before I could get to the clutch it snapped me off. I dropped the rod and sat on the grass for a minute to calm down and get my head around what had just happened.

I generally fish strong and use the best knots I can, in this case a palomar to the swivel. The line was 12lb breaking strain which I’ve used at this lake in the past without issue (I use 18lb on my main rods). I hate leaving tackle in fish but I do fish safe so the lead will have dropped easily and the hook was barbless so it should have got rid of it easily enough.

All in all it was an exhilarating yet frustrating day. There’s one thing for sure though, I’ll be back soon to search those margins but with beefed up line – that 12lb stuff is getting replaced ASAP!

Until next time, tight lines…

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