Feeders and pickers, or quivertip rods for English bottom fishing, differ in length, maximum throw weight or feeder with bait, as well as stiffness and action. Manufacturers conventionally divide rods into pickers and feeders. Typically pickers are shorter than three meters and feeders are longer. According to the maximum cast weight, several power classes of rods are distinguished. Due to the peculiarities of using short and long rods, pickers are usually made of a light class, and feeders are of a medium and heavy class, although there are exceptions. Each class corresponds to the optimal weight of the rig, which can be thrown farthest by force. The optimal rig weight may differ slightly for rods of the same class, but from different manufacturers. As an example, the optimal weights of rigs for different classes of Trabucco rods are given.
The maximum weight of the thrown load is not always indicated and not by all manufacturers. In the medium class it is about 80-90 g, and in the heavy – 110-120. There are light feeders with a top of 15-20 g, and there are those that easily throw even a 60-gram feeder. Some extrahevy feeders can throw a load of more than 200 g, but usually the maximum weight in this class is 140-180 g. The stiffness of the feeder depends mainly on the material and structure of the blank, and rods of the same test can be both very hard and soft …
The shape of the rod is the nature of its bending under load. In classic English feeders, it is usually parabolic: the loaded form takes the form of a parabola. Less common are rods of a complex structure, in which small loads mainly bend the top, and when they increase, the entire blank is included in the work, gradually approaching in shape to a parabola. The smallest number of feeders with a truly fast action, in which only the tip of the rod works in the entire range of loads; as a rule, these are light pickers.
Stiffness and action are the least important properties of the feeder blank. Stiffness almost exclusively affects the feel of the rod. Some people like “hoses”, others like “clubs”, but most prefer the middle ground: rods are stiff, but not too much. The structure of the rod mainly affects the quality and casting distance. In my opinion, long-range power casting is best done with a parabolic rod. However, many anglers prefer to work over long distances with complex action rods. Fast action, in my opinion, is only appropriate on light and ultra-light pickers, which do not require long casting at all, but using a fast rod will sharpen the feeling of playing. In general, the choice of rigidity and tuning is a matter of purely personal preference.
Multi-feeders have either an insert between the butt and the next bend, or several butt bends, or both at the same time. Depending on the assembly option, the length of these feeders changes, and often also the stiffness and action. The tip of the rod can be considered both as a part of the rod that affects its action and participates in casting, and only as a bite signaling device that does not participate in casting. It’s all about the ratio of tip power to rod power. If, for example, there is a thin sensitive tip on an extrahevy rod, then it does not participate in casting, but only signals a bite, being, in fact, a transition from the rod to the line. But if the rod is equipped with the tip of the maximum test allowed for it, then it is a full-fledged part of the rod that affects its action. Some models do not have replaceable tips at all, but are equipped with several first knees of different rigidity.
The weight indicated on the tip corresponds to the minimum amount of load on the tulip at which the tip bends at right angles, that is, so that its end is directed vertically downward with respect to the horizontally located base. In extra-heavy feeders, the size of the top rings is very important. The fact is that for long-distance power casts of heavy end rigs, a shock leader is often used – a piece of fishing line that is much thicker than the main one. When casting, the shock leader prevents the rig from coming off and does not cut the finger holding the line. Therefore, the tip of a feeder for long-range casting of heavy rigs should be equipped with rings of a sufficiently large diameter so that the knot connecting the shock leader with the main line passes freely through them.
Ultralight and lightweight pickers
Their length usually does not exceed 2.4 m, and the weight of the thrown load lies in the range of 3-20 g. These rods are used mainly with picker rigs, that is, with weights without feeders, when the fishing point is fed from the hand, or with small feeders weighing 7-14 g. The required casting distance with these rods usually does not exceed 15-20 m, and often even less. They usually catch medium-sized fish, on average, up to 200-250 g, in the immediate vicinity of the coast. Light pickers are most effective on small rivers, where casting is carried out almost along the coast from under overhanging bushes, on small lakes and ponds that do not require long casting, as well as in bays and backwaters of large reservoirs, if the main object of fishing is medium-sized fish. But you can purposefully catch larger fish: playing it with an ultralight tackle is a special pleasure.
In competitions, light and ultra-light short tackles are used for high-speed catching of small fish from under the shore. If such use is planned, special attention should be paid to the balance of the rod-reel set so that repeated wrist casts do not cause fatigue. The picker blank for sport fishing must have sufficient rigidity to allow high-speed fishing.
Middle class pickers
Or just pickers. These are rods up to 3 m long, mostly 2.4-2.7 m, allowing to cast rigs weighing 30-40 g. Rigs are used either with picker or with medium feeders weighing up to 28 g. By the way, you should always remember about the weight of bait feeder. Its density is usually 1.1-1.3 g / cc. For example, an average feeder with a diameter of 3 cm and a length of 5 cm holds about 40 g of bait. Therefore, if you do not take into account the weight of the bait being stuffed, you can very much overload the rod. The scope of pickers is quite extensive. First of all, this is fishing for medium-sized, 100-500 g, fish where it is not required to cast more than 25-30 m, and the current is either absent or weak, which makes it possible to use light loads and feeders. Such conditions exist on small and medium-sized rivers and lakes, ponds and reservoirs. The picker also allows you to fish in awkward places, from under precipices and trees. At competitions, the picker is, if not the main tackle, then the necessary one, which can effectively catch the main sports object at short distances – small fish.
These are short, powerful rods up to 3 m long, allowing you to cast a rig weighing 100-110 g at a distance of 20-30 m. The range of such rods is very limited, and the scope of their application is quite narrow and specific. They catch large fish in rivers with strong currents, when a steep or overgrown bank does not allow casting with a feeder. In sports fishing, heavy pickers are not used. At least in my practice, there was not a single competition venue where the use of this tackle would be justified.