Memories of Swing Tipping

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SeanM
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Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by SeanM » Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:58 pm

I recently bought a WA Allcocks Adonis and when I opened the bag the seller had enclosed a Freddie Foster style swing tip. It was one of the commercial copies with the screw in rod top adaptor:

Image

The nylon hinge can be adjusted by holding in the steam from a kettle and bending it to the correct shape. The hinge is a push fit into the screwed adaptor so that the angle at which it sits can be adjusted when screwed into the rod tip.

This, coupled with the recent thread on swing tipping, prompted reminiscences on fishing in sweepstake matches on Carr Mill dam in Lancashire in the early to mid 70s. St Helens, Leigh and Wigan were hotbeds of match fishing during the 60s and 70s producing famous anglers such as Benny and Kevin Ashhurst and Billy Makin (Senior and Junior) as well as equally skilled, but less well know anglers such as Joe Lee. Being situated at the heart of this area and holding a good head of bream, matches at Carr Mill would always be of a high standard. Not surprisingly these matches were dominated by the swing tip.

Each match was a learning opportunity and my mates and I soaked up knowledge like sponges. Most of the tackle was home made as commercially available stuff was either too expensive or not thought adequate. Rods were generally made from 9ft 5 weight fly rod blanks as these were light enough in the tip to protect the fine hook lengths used, short enough for the angler to see the tiniest bites and long enough to pick up the line easily when striking.

Swing tips were made from cane of either 3/16" or 1/4" and were around 8" to 10" long. Two eyes were fitted, one at the tip and one close to the hinge. Any more than 1 inch down from the hinge and you would get wrap-arounds on casting. The hinge was a piece of valve rubber just long enough to allow free movement. One end was pushed on to the screw adaptor and one on to the cane. Rings were either bought or made from safety pins - I found that you could easily get a season out of safety pin rings so being a poor student I used these.

The rods were fished at a shallow angle to the bank and set up so that the end of the swing tip just touched the surface of the water when the tip was at an angle of around 80 degrees to the surface. This showed up tiny bites well as on calm days the tip would disturb the surface even when the tiny movement was almost impossible to see. On windier days the tip would be loaded with lead wire and the skilled angler tuned into the rhythmic movements of the tip in the waves and struck at any suspicious movements.

Not surprisingly I never won a match although I did place on occasions, but the real value of those days was the development of skills that have stood me in good stead ever since.
Quot homines, tot sententiae. (And now we are 6!)

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Tizer
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Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by Tizer » Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:51 pm

Happy days mate,nice little surpise and a nice little story. :Thumb:

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Santiago
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Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by Santiago » Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:52 pm

Very interesting! I have one of those swing tips that came from eBay with other tackle and only a few days ago I was looking at it wondering how it was used! The nylon hinge is still straight so I guess I'll need to steam it then, before using. Do you think it would work on the Thames??
"....he felt the gentle touch on the line and he was happy"

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JerryC
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Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by JerryC » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:00 pm

I have used them in years gone by but at the time of its popularity I was mainly on the rivers using more suitable methods . in my opinion the best positioning for the tip is about 20 degrees from vertical, with the end of the tip just touching the water. This allows the tip just enough movement to indicate drop-back bites as well as forward takes. It’s a good method on stills as it’s more sensitive than a quiver and the fish feels no resistance.
If you understand what you’re doing, you’re not learning anything...........

Flightliner

Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by Flightliner » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:34 pm

During my match angling days in the sixties to early seventies I used the "tip" extensively in fenland with modest success. Rivers like the Witham, Welland, Nene, drains like the south forty foot,middle level, relief channel , Coranation cut and the odd Boston drain where the tip was king. All the top men used them and Bream were the target species.Some of the catches were incredible considering the pressures on some of the waters mentioned.
Matches could number over a thousand anglers such was the popularity of the fishing and the following day the same reach of water would be fished again--- and almost every competitor using the swingtip.
Bites could be notoriously difficult to spot at times and this led to the development of the target board with lines painted on them for the tip to be aligned agaianst
The model shown by the OP was the same that was made by Sheffield tackle dealer and rodmaker Earnest Stamford-- a top matchman himself and most likely the maker of it.
Sadly, the massive bream shoals in many of the waters I mention seemed to go into slow decline and with roach making a comeback from columnaris methods changed and the tips popularity went into decline tho as mentioned its a great bite indicator.

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SeanM
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Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by SeanM » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:36 pm

You're right Jerry - it's certainly a lot more sensitive than a quiver tip, or, more probably, the resistance doesn't increase as the fish moves away. Casting is a bit of an acquired art though as you need a much smoother action than with a quiver tip.

It might work on a low Summer river Santiago, but even then I suspect you'll need to load it with a bit of lead wire.
Quot homines, tot sententiae. (And now we are 6!)

Old-CodJA

Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by Old-CodJA » Sun Aug 16, 2015 7:21 pm

I must have fished some of the same matches as Flightliner and with some success between 1968 and 1985 too. Swing-tipping was the most successful method as he says and we had some huge catches of 'slabs' off the Fenland Drains.

I agree with Jerry, 15 - 20 degrees off vertical and with the rod set at an angle to the usual fishing position so that a steady, sweeping strike could pick up line and connect with Bream at a distance across the wide Welland, the Relief Channel and many similar Fenland Rivers & Drains.

I always made my own swing-tips, some from cane, sometimes I shaved down the thin fibrous green canes that you find pushed into plant-pots, but more often from the top foot taken from very fine hollow glass tip blanks (fine point nearest rod) and some from knitting needles.

The best swinging link material in my opinion is bicycle valve rubber or a hollow silicone equivalent because of it's flexibility, which remains the same in cold weather when bite detection could be critical. The early very thick Nylon or plastic extrusion links can become very stiff in freezing weather

The length of the swing-tip is also very important according to venue & conditions. I have swing-tips up to 14 inches long with 5 inch valve rubber links that are very sensitive.

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Michael
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Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by Michael » Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:15 am

JerryC wrote:I have used them in years gone by but at the time of its popularity I was mainly on the rivers using more suitable methods . in my opinion the best positioning for the tip is about 20 degrees from vertical, with the end of the tip just touching the water. This allows the tip just enough movement to indicate drop-back bites as well as forward takes. It’s a good method on stills as it’s more sensitive than a quiver and the fish feels no resistance.
SeanM wrote:You're right Jerry - it's certainly a lot more sensitive than a quiver tip, or, more probably, the resistance doesn't increase as the fish moves away. Casting is a bit of an acquired art though as you need a much smoother action than with a quiver tip.

It might work on a low Summer river Santiago, but even then I suspect you'll need to load it with a bit of lead wire.
Funnily enough I`ve been experimenting with my own swing tips, using bicycle valve rubber as the "hinge" material and varying the length of said, also when required increasing & decreasing the weight on the tip section, albeit the amount of weight used/added is nominal, good results. I also experimented with split cane tips, but found them to be far to insensitive to use, now shelf decoration..... Yes, casting accurately is an acquired art...
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth
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Stathamender
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Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by Stathamender » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:20 pm

Funnily enough I`ve been experimenting with my own swing tips, using bicycle valve rubber as the "hinge" material and varying the length of said, also when required increasing & decreasing the weight on the tip section, albeit the amount of weight used/added is nominal, good results. I also experimented with split cane tips, but found them to be far to insensitive to use, now shelf decoration..... Yes, casting accurately is an acquired art...

Can you still get valve rubber? I thought it had vanished completely, certainly they know nothing of it at Halfords but then they appear to know nothing about a lot of things there.

Fred Foster was opposed to the use of it on tips finding it 'totally unsatisfactory' as it was 'too sensitive' and therefore very difficult to use in any kind of wind. He preferred the solid nylon cable kind of link (which you can get on swing tips these days from Metal Mickey) and I tend to agree. I've tried them both. On completely still water with no, or virtually no, wind I would use the valve rubber one, but any kind of movement or wind and I prefer the nylon link ones.

Fred always used the same length of link (3") but varied the length of the tips (10", 8" and 6"). He was also opposed to the use of fluorescent paint on the ends of tips but here I part company with him. I generally paint the top 2-3" below the tip ring in fluorescent orange enamel or, my latest enthusiasm, neon pink nail varnish (no undercoat or top varnish needed.)
Iain

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Re: Memories of Swing Tipping

Post by Tony1964 » Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:48 pm

I nearly always use a swing tip when ledgering on stillwaters. The fact that I can sit in a tight swim with the rod pointing straight out through the reeds is a real bonus. Access to swims like that would be impossible with a quiver tip rod unless fishing beach caster style. I have a growing collection of tips including the Fred Foster types mentioned earlier. Each tip suits a different situation, long, short, thick, thin, weighted etc. I wouldn't be without them. The odd shout of "oi mate your rod's broken" that I get from other anglers makes me smile.

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