Tripods are an essential item of equipment with anglers fishing from beaches, with many anglers fishing from rock marks, harbours, piers and other places also finding them extremely useful. Tripods allow a rod to be held upright so that anglers can see bites register on the rod tip, and good tripods will also keep the rod steady and secure, even in bad weather. As well as tripods there are a range of other devices which are used to hold fishing rods, all of which are reviewed below.
Tripods are now widely used by anglers who fish a variety of different marks across the whole of the country. Using a tripod means that the rod is held up off the ground, meaning that the line is clear of breaking waves, and any bites registering on the rod tip can be clearly seen. While some types of fishing such as spinning or bass fishing may see anglers hold their fishing rod in their hands for most – or even all – of their fishing time, most full-sized beachcasters are too heavy to hold, making tripods an essential item of equipment. Many anglers fishing from rock marks also prefer to use a tripod. While rocks may provide places to set a rod down there is always the risk that sharp and jagged rocks may damage the line. For this reason many anglers prefer to use a tripod when fishing from rocky areas.
There are a wide variety of sea fishing tripods available to anglers. While most have an aluminum construction in common there are a wide variety of other design characteristics.
- One of the first things anglers need to consider is the size of the tripod they want to use. Sea fishing tripods vary from 3ft to 7ft in height once set up, with single piece tripods having a set height and telescopic tripods being adjustable. For sea fishing with a full size beach caster (of 12ft or longer) most anglers prefer to use tripods which are at least 5ft high when set up.
- Many tripods are designed with a double head to take two rods, but cheaper tripods may only have a single head meaning they can only take a single rod. For most anglers it is best to spend a little extra on a tripod that can take two rods.
- Telescopic tripods are more convenient to store and carry, while single piece tripods can be more stable and solid and usually have legs which clip to the body for ease of transport. An additional advantage of telescopic tripods is that the length of each leg can be changed which can make setting up on an uneven rocky surface easier.
- A range of useful extras can be included on many tripods, with some featured for free but others being optional extras which cost more money to add. Extra options include trace holders which anglers can use to hold an extra baited rig and make quick rig changes once they have reeled in. A hook to suspend a bucket of bait is included in many tripods, while others feature a tray which is suspended between the legs. A leg lock kit is available with some tripods which increases the stability in bad weather.
- Most tripods come with butt cups which are used to lift the butt section of sea fishing rods off the ground. On almost all tripods the butt cups can be adjusted to move either up or down the tripod. Tripods lacking this feature should be avoided as this will mean the butt section of rods will be left to rest against the ground.
- The vast majority of tripods feature spiked feet which can be pressed into sand or shingle. While this is an advantage on soft surfaces it can be difficult to steady a tripod with spiked feet on a solid concrete or stone surface, such as a pier.
- Being able to adjust a tripod is important. If anglers need their rod to be higher in the air (to get the line past breakers) this can be done by moving the butt cups upwards to get the rod higher, while lowering them will take the rod lower which can be advantageous in windy conditions as the rod will be buffeted about less. The angle at which the rods rest can also be easily changed by moving the legs toward or away from the main section of the tripod. The vast majority of tripods are very stable and will only fall over in the very worst weather. Most anglers will use the leg lock kit which comes with tripods to increase stability, while suspending a plastic carrier bag full of weights or rocks from the bucket hook will also steady a tripod.
The only real disadvantage of tripods is that they are bulky to store and transport (although telescopic tripods partially solve this problem) and it can be tiring to carry a tripod along with all of the other fishing gear to a distant fishing mark.
Some of the most popular sea fishing tripods are reviewed below, with links to buy the products from Amazon.co.uk:
Ian Golds Super Match Tripod – to many anglers this is the perfect tripod for UK sea fishing. This tripod is available in a number of different sizes up to 7ft and features many extras as standard such as trace holder, bucket hook, spiked feet and a double head and cup. Available for around £30 – £45 depending on the size that is selected.
Imax Tripods – Imax make a range of different tripods including a telescopic tripod which extends to 7ft high and a 6ft tripod which features clip-away legs, two heads and butt cups and a trace hold. Prices are around £33 – £40 depending on the exact model which is chosen.
Shakespeare Salt Tripod– Shakespeare are a very well known name in UK sea fishing and their Salt brand has proved extremely popular with its combination of high quality and good value. Their Salt Tripod collapses to around 4ft in length but extends to 6½ft, making it ideal for UK anglers. It also features locking stabilising arms and has an attractive powder coated aluminum finish. This tripod retails for up to £60 but is often available with substantial discounts.
Sand Spike Rod Holder
Some anglers fishing from sandy/shingle beaches use a sand spike rather than a tripod. As the name implies this is a device which is made up of a spiked bottom section and an upper section which can hold a fishing rod. The spiked bottom section is driven into the ground and then the fishing rod is either placed or clipped into the upper section. Sand spikes have the advantage of being lighter and easier to carry than full-sized tripods.
However, there are a number of disadvantages with sand spikes with the most prominent being that sand spikes will only work on sandy, shingle or muddy fishing marks. Indeed, even these surfaces can fail to keep a sand spike upright if the sand or shingle is too loose. It is important that sand spikes are large enough for sea fishing (around three feet in length or larger) to ensure that enough of the spike can be driven into the ground to provide a stable hold in the sand. Longer continental rods – which can be up to 16ft – may prove too large for sand spikes. Another disadvantage of sand spikes they also lack the additional extras such as somewhere to store rigs and a bait bucket which tripods have. Despite the drawbacks many anglers fishing from sandy beaches and similar marks prefer to use sand spikes to tripods, especially if they are travelling light and taking a minimum of tackle with them.
Shakespeare Saltwater Spike is a good choice for many anglers and comes complete with a cloth bag to store the sand spike in. This product is available from Amazon with many sellers sending this product out with free postage. Fladen’s Heavy Duty Sand Spike is another product which is useful for UK anglers and is also available on Amazon.
Rod Rail Holders
One of the advantages of fishing from some piers and breakwaters is that there is often a wall, rail or some other structure which can be used to place the fishing rod against. Despite this, many anglers still invest in a device which holds their fishing rod. This is because placing a fishing rod against a wall or railing can damage the line or scratch and damage the rod itself. Furthermore a strong gust of wind can cause the fishing rod to tip over and crash onto the ground, causing potential damage to the rod and reel.
The Breakaway Boat and Pier Rest is popular with anglers and can be quickly and easily attached to any type of railing on a pier or breakwater. It then provides a V-shaped holder which will keep a fishing rod securely held in place whatever the weather, and also keep line safely clear of any abrasions which may be caused by the railing itself. View and purchase this product from Amazon by clicking here.
An alternative to this is the Zebco Rod Rail Holder. This consists of a section of material which Velcro fastened to a railing, with another Velcro strap is being used to over the top to hold the rod in place. This rod rail holder therefore protects the rod and line from abrasion against the railing and also prevents the rod from falling over or being blown over in bad weather. Buy this product from Sea Angling Shop by clicking here.
Despite the fact that tripods are an essential piece of equipment for most anglers they seldom receive much attention or thought. A well chosen high-quality tripod can, however, last for many years and the many extra options added to a tripod (such as rig holder and bait bucket hook) really can make fishing sessions easier and more productive for anglers.