Just a few lines to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year in 2012 and to thank you all for your support last year. I am pleased to announce that the new website is now live at http://www.Hillbillyfloats.co.uk and contains all the latest Hillbilly patterns and the materials used to make them. Should you have problems viewing the new site clearing your cookies should solve them. I owe a big thank you to my friend Chris Royle for all the hard work he has put into building it and I think you will agree he has done an amazing job.

On the float front I have received the new Tech4 foam and am very impressed with its quality and strength. After some more testing etc I will start to use it in some new patterns. The Ratcatcher3 build is now sorted and I will shortly be field testing the final prototypes with a view to an early spring release. Work is also well underway on the “ X Range” which I have decided to rename as The Immortals because they will be so hard to kill. I have tested some of the final prototypes of these and am at last happy to proceed with their manufacture. Again a spring release date is looking good.

Not much happening on the fishing front for me at the moment because I have been so busy working on the new models plus ensuring that all the current patterns were in stock for the new site launch.

ps – Don’t forget to send in your user reports for inclusion in the next Hillbillyfloats Newsletter or my Blog page – Neil (Hillbilly).

Email – neilpowell_1@hotmail.com

Tel – 01538 360343 after 7pm if possible please.

Tight lines to you all – Neil (Hillbilly).

Should you not wish to receive these Newsletters please let me know at neilpowell_1@hotmail.com and I will remove your name from the mailing list.

Hillbillyfloats Newsletter September 2011.

Just to let you all know that I am alive and kicking after being a bit ill with blood clots in my legs which managed to fragment and travel to my lungs and that the new look web site should be up and running within a short time. I am hoping to release a couple of new floats before winter the first of which will be the Frostie. This is as its name suggests a winter float with a body shape similar to the old Preston Chianti which had a cult following but suffered from several problems including taking on water. The Frostie is built on a 0.5 diameter wire stem with a tough but buoyant watertight foam body and fitted with a top quality 1.2 diameter Hi Viz hollow tip plus a 12mm long side eye securely glued into the body. The prototypes of these floats have been field tested by Dave Swain, Andy Kinder and Jamie Declouet over the last few months and the Frostie is now a firm favourite with all of them.
The second new release will be the Ratcatcher 3 which will be a slightly larger version of the very popular Ratcatcher 2. This will be fitted with a 2.5 diameter hollow tip with a choice of standard or new “finesse” type spring eyes. It will be ideal for larger baits fished both shallow and tight over and is sure to be a big seller.
After a lot of thought and experimenting I have now finalised the build and design of the long awaited X Range of line through floats. These will be of lighter build than many extra strong models on the market and will incorporate a little feature which will stop the line getting damaged where it exits the body just below the tip. This has been one of the reasons I have held this range back for so long as well as the fact that getting the right blend of materials together to produce a strong float that retains a decent buoyancy to size ratio has not been easy. I will be working on this new range over the winter period and will release them in spring 2012 when I have stocks in place to meet the expected demand.
I am also in the process of obtaining another new foam material which could take over from the hardest of the three foams I now use. This is because although the new foam has a much lower density rating it is at least as strong. It is in fact so strong that it is difficult to cut but being an engineer I have managed to overcome this problem. If tests go well this new foam will be used on some new floats and possibly be used as a material upgrade on a few of the current models in time.Just a thought but when you see floats advertised as being made from high density foam this is not always a good thing because things with a high density rating do not float very well, lead for example. The ideal materials for float building need to be of as low a density as possible coupled to the required strength and this is why I am always on the lookout for advances in foam technology.
Just a few words now on the float making industry in general. Sadly the “home made” market is being flooded with floats that are not truly home made. These floats are sold as hand made and “designed by me” which inevitably means they are balsa floats made by Bulgarian companies with a flashy paint job and the “float makers” name or initials added on a transfer to the floats body. Be warned these are NOT made to the same exacting standard that floats such as Wilkies, Malmans and my own Hillbillys are. They are purchased very cheaply (I know I have priced them and received samples) and then re sold at a very healthy profit margin. I would ask that you think before purchasing these cheap imitations and give your support to the real home made float producers rather than helping people to make a quick easy profit from simply taking floats out of one bag and packing them in another.

ps – Don’t forget to send in your user reports for inclusion in the next Hillbillyfloats Newsletter or my Blog page – Neil (Hillbilly).

Email – neilpowell_1@hotmail.com

Tel – 01538 360343 after 7pm if possible please.

Tight lines to you all – Neil (Hillbilly).

Paste heaven.

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Red Neck Blog

Barston Lake Sat 28th May.

Gaz Woods had managed to get me on this match which was run by the Coventry based Carpetbaggers match group. Once again I drew in the 50’s at peg 54 and I decided to fish exactly the same way as I had fished peg 58 a couple of weeks earlier. I enjoyed a lovely days fishing on the paste to weigh 56lb 6oz for 4th place and pick up some beer tokens for my efforts. My catch included a beautiful 14lb common which tested my now standard paste set up for the venue to the limit.

Lucky me.

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Red Neck Blog

Blake Hall open Sunday 22nd May.

At last I drew a peg (27) that was sheltered from the howling wind and settled down with an all out method feeder match in mind. Well it was after around 40 minutes that my tip first moved and a 4lb mirror found its way into my net. Next cast produced a similar sized fish to the banded 8mm pellet hookbait but this time the wait was much shorter at around 5 minutes. In went the re loaded feeder again and within 30 seconds another carp was on its way to my waiting landing net. I would like to be able to report that sport continued at this level for the rest of the match but hey come on this is Bleak we are talking about and try as I may I could not get another bite. I tried a few speculative casts to different areas of the swim with no response and it was not until I cast back to the original area that I had any more signs. I then had three skimmers in consecutive casts with long waiting periods preceding the bites before the swim died for a second and final time. I then tried a few long 60 yard casts tight to the Peninsular in the hope of snaring a couple of patrolling fish but this tactic failed to produce so much as a line bite. I then noticed the angler next door on my right (peg 29) catch a small skimmer on the pole and next put in lose a foul hooked carp. I decided that I had to give the pole a try because I was getting very bored watching my motionless quiver tip. After quickly setting up my pole and feeding 6mm hard pellet with an 8mm expander I managed to coax out three more carp and a skimmer before the end of the match with a carp and the skimmer taken on my last two casts. I decided to weigh in my estimated 35lb in case I had managed to sneak a section win and was amazed after actually weighing 39lb 13oz to be told that I had won the match by a couple of pounds with the whole lake having fished poorly.

Bleak outlook.

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Red Neck Blog

Blake Hall open Sunday 15th May.

A draw on the exposed dam end of the lake saw me spend the match being buffeted by very strong winds and freezing cold rain showers. I managed to find a few fish but nowhere near enough for any beer tokens, so I packed in an hour from the end just to get out of the wind and rain.

Midweek break.

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Red Neck Blog

Blake Hall Thursday 12th May.

Off to my local which I have affectionately renamed as Bleak Hell for the midweek open on the Peninsular Lake which is the largest of the four at the complex. A healthy turn out of around 30 anglers saw me drawing peg 23 which is an end peg not usually noted for its form. However today the wind was howling down into the corner and I fancied a few fish on the pole from under a bank side bush. I also set up a method feeder rod to cast along the lake end bank to my left as an option. Well I had only packed my eight foot tip rods because my 11/13’s were left rigged for my Barston matches and this caused me great problems when I tried to cast along the bank. I could get the distance ok but my reel line was going over the bank side bush forcing me to cast into the open water where I struggled to take just a single stockie carp and a skimmer in the first two hours of the match. A re think was needed and so I decided to try the under bush pole swim earlier than I would have liked but this only produced a 3lb carp a small tench and a couple of juvenile skimmers before going completely dead. Fortunately by this time the wind had started to ease a little and I was able to cast my feeder with some degree of accuracy to the required area and I enjoyed a very good last hour and a half taking a few decent carp on my eight foot rods. I weighed 40lb 6oz which as about 30lb more than I had looked like getting and this was enough to win the section and sixth place in the match.

Barston Masters Qualifier Sat 7th May.

Once again Barston main lake was the venue and winning a place in the Barston Masters Final was the target. You only have to win a five peg section to achieve this but with the high standard of the competitors it is far from easy. It was a cool and wet morning and having drawn peg 58 I had sort of decided on a two pronged match with the pole taking over from the method feeder at around mid match. Well that plan went out of the window when Steve Ringer sat down on peg 57 as there was no way I was going to try to compete with him on the method feeder. So for me it was to be a pole match sink or swim and I set up a Redneck 0.4 paste float for my starter line at 7 metres and an AK47 0.2 for down the edge. Line for the Redneck rig was 0.17 straight through to a 14’s B911 coupled to Drennan yellow bungee hollow elastic set very slack for the skimmers on a puller kit. It is amazing just how difficult it is for a big carp to break the line when using this set up but of course it does take some time to get them in. For the margin rig I decided to fish very heavy as I did not want to lose any big bonus fish that came along. I set up the top six of my XRS 2K4 and a top kit containing 25’s bungee elastic. The rig was 0.24 powerline to a size 12’s Animal spade, serious gear for seriously big fish if they showed up. Well the match started very well for me fishing paste at 7 metres over a little groundbait to which I added a small kinder pot of 4mm pellets every other fish. After around 1.5 hours I had a mix of about 14 decent skimmers and F1’s in the net but suddenly sport came almost to a standstill and I was struggling to get a bite. I decided to re feed the groundbait hoping the fish would move back over it but it had the reverse effect and killed the swim stone dead. By now more than half the match had passed and I had only managed to add a couple more small F1’s to my tally but Steve was struggling also as was the angler to my right. I decided to add another section to my pole and try just feeding paste off the hook with no other feed whatsoever and first put in I was rewarded with a 3lb carp. Bites started to become more regular after a few more put ins and I decided to continue with the method until the end of the match. Well to my surprise I finished with 54lb odd and had accomplished my mission with a section win by a clear 20lb. Again I was agonizingly close to the main frame with 5th place from 72 anglers but went home happy.