Tripods are an essential item of equipment for anglers fishing from a range of different marks. 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 is a range of other devices which are used to hold fishing rods, all of which are reviewed below.
Tripods are most commonly used by anglers fishing from beaches. 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 of the time they are fishing, full-sized beachcasters are too heavy to hold for long periods of time, making tripods an essential item of equipment. Anglers fishing from piers, harbours and rock marks often prefer to use a tripod, as placing a rod on jagged rocks or railings risks damaging the line.
There are a wide variety of sea fishing tripods available to anglers. While most have an aluminium 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, 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.
- 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. These include a trace holder (which anglers can use to hold an extra baited rig), a hook to suspend a bucket underneath the tripod or a bait tray which can be fastened to 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 hold 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 are held 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.
Ian Golds Super Match Tripod – The Ian Golds brand of tripod has been a favourite with anglers fishing around the British coastline for several decades now. The head and cup can be adjusted so that anglers can set up their rod in the exact way they require for the conditions they are fishing in. This tripod is available in a number of different sizes up to 7ft and features many extras and additions. These include a trace holder, bucket hook, spiked feet and a double head and cup. This is a reliable and secure tripod which anglers can rely on in the harshest of winter fishing conditions. Available from Amazon for around £30 – £45 depending on the size and variation that is selected.
Shakespeare Salt Beach Rod Rest– 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 Rest/Tripod collapses to around 4ft in length for transportation and storage but extends up to 204cm (6½ft), making it ideal for UK sea fishing. It also features slide locking stabilising arms which ensure it stays secure and stable even in high winds and harsh conditions. It is adjustable and can accommodate two rods and is made out of lightweight but robust aluminium in a black/blue powder coated finish. This tripod retails for up to £60 from Amazon.
Midwater Luggage Sea Fishing Tripod Rod Rest Net is an addition for rod rests. It is a very handy storage tray basket which fits underneath any size or type of tripod. Made in England out of robust coated mesh material this product can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.
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 Sand 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. Tronixpro’s Sand Spikeis another product which is useful for UK anglers and is also available on Amazon.
Rod Rail Holders
One of the advantages of fishing from 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 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 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 will last for many years and the numerous 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.