Tom Dove extols the virtues of Korda’s latest lead-dropping gadget
For many years people have been trying to find a way of dropping the lead on a helicopter rig. There have been many options thought up, yet all of them were time consuming or simply not very effective. We have finally developed a system that allows you to drop the lead with ease. There’s no need for bits of PVA, loops of leadcore, or any other bits and pieces – the Heli-Safe conquers all.
There are several advantages to dropping your lead and although it’s not always necessary, there are times when it is. At certain times of the year, the summer in particular, the extensive weed growth will make landing fish without dropping the lead almost impossible. Dropping the lead often sees the fish rising up in the water, even breaking the surface at times; this gets the fish up and out of the way of the weed. If the lead is kept on, the fish are far less likely to rise up, instead ploughing straight into the weed surrounding the area, and a weeded fish can cause huge problems if you’re unable to use a boat in order to retrieve it.
All other forms of lead system had been developed some time ago in order to suit this situation; all except the helicopter, that is. As I mentioned, there were ways of doing it, but as we went into the development of this product, there was nothing out there in production that enabled the angler to do so. It has taken some time, but the wait is over.
Chod and helicopter rigs are used by lots of people in weedy situations. The chod in particular allows you to present a bait effectively where many other presentations fail to do so, so there’s no wonder it has become so popular over the last decade. Now the rig can be even more effective.
Second to its uses around weed, there is also the bonus it offers when range fishing. The chod rig is fantastic for fishing at range. It doesn’t tangle, which can be a problem when casting long distances and you’re unable to watch the rig during flight, and as I mentioned earlier, it will present anywhere, which is ideal if you’re unable to use a marker rod effectively at that distance. With long range casting comes the inevitable use of heavy leads, which in some cases could be up to 4-5oz. In the past when using these leads with a chod rig, you were unable to ditch the lead, so it was left banging around by the carp’s head. This isn’t ideal for the fish and will also provoke hook pulls – a problem which no longer exists.
The Heli-Safe can be used with a standard helicopter rig or a chod rig, on a leader or naked on the main line – either is fine. One of the great things about this product is that you don’t have to drop the lead every time; you’re able to keep it attached, should you want to. By attaching a small plastic collar, you are able to lock the lead into position; in effect, creating a standard helicopter setup. Nobody wants to lose leads just for the sake of it, but neither do they want to have to chop and change the lead system depending on whether the lead needs to stay on or drop off. The Heli-Safe is a spring-loaded mechanism and when pressure is applied upwards to the swivel attached to main line or leader by a hooked fish, the spring tightens and the gate opens, allowing the lead to drop off. The collar restricts the movement in the spring and this keeps the lead in place.
If you are fishing a weedy venue, it is advised that you position a bead above the Heli-Safe, which will act as a buffer should you hook any weed when retrieving the rig. Make sure the bead is just about held in position, so that it moves under pressure, but not too little an amount of pressure. Have a play around and you will find the right amount of tension for you.
Another thing to bear in mind is that this product is not suitable for use when casting at range with PVA bags, because the pressure applied to the Heli-Safe by the PVA bag is simply too much and may see the lead detach. If you want to use PVA bags and fish at distance, then simply pop the collar on.
If you are a fan of helicopter presentations then this is a product you must try. Not only does it make the fishing much safer for the fish, but it also makes you more efficient as an angler.
Setting up the Heli-Safe on leadcore
- STEP 1: The components and tools you will need
- STEP 2: Thread a sleeve and a bead on to the leadcore
- STEP 3: Slide these three parts of the Heli-Safe on to your needle, in this order
- STEP 4: Pull them on to the leadcore
- STEP 5: Splice the half swivel on to the end of the leadcore and you should have something that looks like this
- STEP 6: The collar then sits over the top – note the groove inside which helps the two pieces to locate
- STEP 7: Push the two pieces together – make sure it is located properly and looks like this, ready to be locked together
- STEP 8: Once locked it should look like this
- STEP 9: Carefully slide the bead down against the Heli-Safe and position the collar a couple of inches above
- STEP 10: Remove the swivel from your lead and attach it to the latch
- STEP 11: Slide your hooklink swivel down the leader and secure it in place using a No-Trace Bead
- STEP 12: The Heli-Safe is ready for action