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   Old Thread  #1000  19 Jan 2012 at 6.39am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
SAFE SACKS Part 1

It seems to me as if carp fishing’s thought police have been a bit overactive of late, what with issues over leads, leadcore, rigs and rig ethics…They have even turned their wrath upon carp sacks. Yes, it’s true! Apparently only a selfish angler who thinks solely of his trophy shots would use a sack these days. In fact, the way some folks go on about them you would think they were the tools of the Devil. Well, here’s a counter-view from a guy who has used carp sacks for over 35 years and will continue to do so regardless of the thought police! A carp sack is part and parcel of my fishing and an important tool of my trade, so I always have three or four in my kit.

The whole issue of when and how to sack a carp has now been smothered in a welter of condemnation, but provided you follow a few simple rules, then sacking a fish for anything from a few minute to a few hours will do them no harm, and I have absolutely no problem with their use. Yes, there are risks if safe sacks is not practised but these guidelines will ensure that no harm will come to your sacked prize.

PHOTO 1.



Carp sacks have come a long way since the days of Hessian sacks tied up with bits of string. This photo dates from 1978 when today’s modern carp tackle manufacturers were a distant dream of all anglers. There were no proper sacks or even unhooking mats back then so we carp anglers have a lot to thank the tackle trade for.

PHOTO 2.



Carp sacks come in all shapes and sizes. Thankfully gone are the days when sacks were longer than they were broad! Now we can all get hold of well constructed sack that are designed to actually hold a carp without folding it in half, as they are now broader than they are long. In addition the majority are well designed with tough zips and other fittings. Indeed, some are even fitted with correctly positioned carrying handles.

PHOTO 3.



However, not all sacks are fitted with handles, so if yours does not have them remember to carry the sack to the mat with your arms held wide apart so as not to fold up the carp in the sack.

PHOTO 4.



Unfortunately a few carp sacks are still sent out with thin, flimsy bits of string that are intended to attach them to the bank. Thankfully not all sacks are thus, so make sure when choosing a sack that the security aspect is up to scratch. This Fox sack is perfectly adequate.

PHOTO 5.



If you are at all uncertain, then do as I have done for years and change the flimsy bit of string for a length of tough half-inch polypropylene rope. I like to splice the rope to the fitting on the sack but I accept that not everyone is going to take the trouble to learn how to splice just to customise a carp sack, so instead tie the rope to the security fitting using a bowline. Tuck the free end under the strands for added security.

PHOTO 6.



I generally use a 2m length of rope and at the other end I splice in an eye. Again you can use a bowline to form a secure knot or just tie a simple overhand loop, same as you would if you were tying a stiff rig to a swivel.

PHOTO 7.



Always tie your sack to something fixed and solid. If possible attach the rope to a sturdy tree, root or branch. Learn to tie strong, 100% reliable knots! As you can see from this photo, the fishing was a bit hectic on this occasion!

PHOTO 8.



As an ex-seaman I trust my knots 100% and always prefer to tie my sacks to a solid object like a tree. However, there will be times when you have no option but to use a bankstick. This old Gardner stick is almost as old as me and it has done me proud over the years. The stabiliser comes in very handy too…

PHOTO 9.



Here you can see how I have trapped the loop at the end of the rope under the stabiliser. The bankstick is pushed deep into the ground and the rope is now held securely in place. I am not sure if these ‘old fashioned’ stabilisers are still around, but I am sure you can find a modern equivalent.

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   Old Thread  #1000  19 Jan 2012 at 6.40am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Part 2

PHOTO 10.



I made up this very handy item of tackle a great many years ago when I was fishing a lake that had no water’s edge trees to which I could tie my sack, and where the ground was too soft safely to hold a bankstick. This is nothing more than a 10m length of rope with a snap link attached to one end.

PHOTO 11.



You can buy these heavy-duty links in yacht chandlers and farmers stores/warehouses. Make sure you buy one that features a safety ring in the narrower end. This guards against the faint possibility of the rope sliding up to the link’s opening and possibly coming away altogether. (Unlikely but it can happen.)

PHOTO 12.



Now select a very solid object within 10m of the water’s edge. A tree, a rock, the tow-hitch of your car…anything will do as long as it is solid and immoveable. Tie the end of the rope to the solid object and then attach the loop in the end of the rope on the sack to the snap link. That sack is going nowhere!

PHOTO 13.



Finally for a belt and braces safety measure, it is a good idea to attach a floating object such as an empty pop or water bottle to the carp sack. However, here a Gardner H-Block marker has been employed. Now in the event that the sack comes away from the bank for some reason you will be able to track it and retrieve it. The H-Block marker float is very buoyant and the cord will unwind if the sack starts to sink. It will then lock in place. The same thing happens if the fish is towing the block, however, when the fish stops swimming the H-Block stays on the surface right above it.

PHOTO 14.



Remember that the longer you leave the fish in the sack, the livelier it will be when you take it out again. As a result you can end up with a very lively carp. This puts the fish at risk and often results in some pretty useless photos as you end up soaked in sweat and covered in slime. So rather than do the photos straight away, allow the fish to rest on its side, still in the sack, for a few minutes, say the time it takes to smoke a fag. This will give its eyes time to adjust to the slightly stronger light. It will also calm down the fish.

You might say that keeping it out of the water for the time it takes to smoke a fag is damaging to the fish. Let me tell you, it’s not half as damaging as the fish flapping about in someone’s arms, falling to the ground, missing the mat and ending up dead (seen it happen), or being damaged by flapping off the mat onto hard ground, breaking a fin or snapping the tail, or being damaged in some other way. No, the fish is far more at risk from being dropped than from the procedure I have suggested.

PHOTO 15.



Even though you now have the fish on the mat you still need to act cautiously as you need to allow the fish to get used to full daylight. You can do this by opening the sack close to its head so that the eye is uncovered. Have the sack ready to drape across the fish if it starts to flap at this point. (If a fish is going to start kicking up it’s most likely to do so when the shock of full daylight hits its eye.)

PHOTO 16.



Gradually expose the head to daylight until the fish has adjusted to the change from the blackness of the sack to the brightness of the daylight. After taking these last two steps you should find that the fish will be far less likely to flap about, allowing you to do the photos quickly and with the minimum of risk to the fish.

PHOTO 17.



At some stage you need to check the bottom of the sack. This can often reveal what the fish has been eating, be it either natural food or your baits. Here you can see the residue of mussels and crayfish that the fish had been eating prior to tripping up on your hookbait.


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   Old Thread  #1000  19 Jan 2012 at 6.40am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
PART 3.

PHOTO 18.



Our carp are precious to us so make sure you return them to the weigh sling rather than the sack before you carry them back to the water to be returned.

Finally you must consider the time of year and the weather before you decide to sack a carp. Here are some hard and fast rules that should always be followed.

· If the lake is very silty, make sure that you do not pay out too much rope as this will result in the sack sinking into the silt. Preferably try to position the sack on a hard lakebed. A small amount of silt is acceptable, but deep silt can be dangerous as the sack will sink into the silt and the fish will not be able to breath and will suffocate.

· NEVER sack a fish in shallow water during the summer months. Shallow margins heat up very quickly and the temperature can climb much higher than out in the middle in deeper water. You again put the fish at risk of suffocation if you sack a fish in shallow margins in hot weather as the hotter the water becomes the less oxygen it can hold and I have seen a fish suffocate after less than thirty minutes in such conditions.

· IF IN DOUBT DO NOT SACK IT!


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   Old Thread  #55 17 Jul 2017 at 4.55pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #54
Not a particularly helpful post...

Sacks are only as dangerous as the peeps who use them incorrectly. (That's not aimed at you btw.)
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   Old Thread  #54 4 Jul 2017 at 5.43pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #53
Be careful Ken, don't you know sacks kill fish 🙈😂
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   Old Thread  #53 3 Jul 2017 at 11.39am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Photos now refreshed after Photosumbucket messed up my account.

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   Old Thread  #52 12 Dec 2016 at 4.31pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #51
Yep I also will use sacks !
Always have and always will ! But only if it's special and I try to do it for the shortest time possible !
Personally not ever had a problem !
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   Old Thread  #51 2 Mar 2015 at 3.34pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #50
I am referring to a Fox carp Sack in post 38, not the retention sling.
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   Old Thread  #50 27 Feb 2015 at 8.44pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #38
What's the exact name of this. When I search for it all I can find is the fox floating retention sling but obviously that's not the one your talking about. Already have the chub version of that I was planning to use. But having read this I'm thinking I should buy the other type also for times I need to hold the fish longer

Good read
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   Old Thread  #49 20 Sept 2014 at 7.19am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #48
...there are highly educated anglers/owners who not only ban sacks but also retainers now.

So not all that highly educated then! On the other hand, I know of one or two lakes that INSIST that you retain the fish for a few minutes, so it's not all bad.

The problem is once something gets a bad name it's nigh on impossible to changes peoples minds unless thier open to alternative views.

Sad but true.
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   Old Thread  #48 29 May 2014 at 11.31pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #47
I doubt it BOF...there are highly educated anglers/owners who not only ban sacks but also retainers now. The problem is once something gets a bad name it's nigh on impossible to changes peoples minds unless thier open to alternative views.
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   Old Thread  #47 29 May 2014 at 10.16pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #1000
This reminds me of the hysteria over the use of Peanuts back in the day. Same "thought police" attitude got a perfectly good bait banned all up and down the country. I do hope this well informed and illustrated piece gets the response that it deserves, and the nonsense about the sacking of Carp is consigned to the scrapheap soon.

BOF
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   Old Thread  #46 17 Feb 2014 at 2.08pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #45
Many thanks for that post, Chris. Glad it's appreciated.
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   Old Thread  #45 15 Feb 2014 at 6.50pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Brilliant write up with a good selection of photos to illustrate how to safely sack a carp. Its great work like this we should be seeing in the monthly magazines to teach anglers the right way from the start. Great work Ken.
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   Old Thread  #44 15 Feb 2014 at 6.18pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #43
I have already twice posted my thoughts about using a retention sling. They are fine for short periods but are not intended to be used as a long term alternative to a properly designed carp sack.
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   Old Thread  #43 30 Jan 2014 at 7.20am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
I personally would just use a floatation sling attached to 2m or so of strong rope.
I have the prologic floatation sling and I have used it to sack a 27lb common for my dad for a few hours and it was fine.
I will continue doing this until I find a more worthwhile choice.
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   Old Thread  #42 20 May 2013 at 6.38pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #23
Just seen this, excellent information.
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   Old Thread  #41 9 Apr 2013 at 10.02am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Its really informative.
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   Old Thread  #38 24 Dec 2012 at 4.33pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
I like the Fox ones...Nice strong cord, solid and secure fittings and a good zip. Fitted with two carrying handles.
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   Old Thread  #33 5 Sept 2012 at 6.05pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #1000
Frankly i have no problem with them if used correctly, a good post.
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   Old Thread  #31 4 Jul 2012 at 11.13am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #30
Hi Ken,
really good article that everyone should have a read of. I have sacked fish before when catching large carp in the hours of darkness and have not had any issues.
The sack I have was eaten by mice this winter and I am looking at purchasing a new one.
Have you got any recommendations that you have seen.
Thanks
Tich
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   Old Thread  #30 4 Jul 2012 at 10.43am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #29
Hi Guy,

Floating sling/retainers were never intended to be anything other than a short term recovery area or a brief resting place while the camera gear is set up. Fish that are retained for long periods - several hours or overnight - in such a retaining sling have been known to suffer swim bladder adjustment problems . If you want to sack a fish for anything other than say 15 minutes, then a proper carp sack is the answer, and one with a long cord too which will allow the fish to find its comfort level in the water.
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   Old Thread  #29 1 Jul 2012 at 3.15pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #28
Hi Ken

Great article!

I very rarely sack my fish but when I do I use a floating one from Fox, which to my way of thinking is an truly excellent bit of kit. However, I notice that you don't recommend the use of floating sacks for more than a very short period of time. Could you explain why please?

I have found that fish have much less of a tendency to lie on their sides in a floating sack and figured that the less constrained conditions in a well made floating sack would be a lot better for the fish...i have never noticed them flapping about or struggling in one and feel they are far less likely to damage their fins than if constrained by wet materiel clinging to them.

My train of thought is that when you catch a carp, it is better to keep the number of manipulations to a minimum and that a floating sack come weigh sling allows you to take a couple of extra and unnecessary transfers out of the equation, leaving less actions that might put the fish at risk.

My sequence is from landing net to weigh sling/floating sack on the mat, then weigh the fish directly, put floating sack back into the water to get camera gear ready and set up...if not already done in advance. Once the pics are done over the mat and sling, I put the fish back into floating sac/sling, then fold the mat (I have a folding one with handles) and carry to water for release.

It seems the best and safest way to me, but I am always open to new ideas for improving my fish handling skills, so your advice would be very much appreciated, especially if it appears I am doing something wrong!

A quick note to anyone coming to fish on public waters here in France, sacking fish at night here is illegal and is one of the first things a garde de peche is likely to check on if you get a nocturnal visit. This is one of the reasons I very rarely sack my fish.
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   Old Thread  #28 10 Jun 2012 at 12.57pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Great post ken
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   Old Thread  #27 26 May 2012 at 1.45am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Nice to see simple instructions to what I have never really considered doing before. I personally don't mind having pics taken at night although I might think otherwise if I had caught an English 40.

As I'm a novice when it comes to sacking I have a few questions that might seem obvious to some but if you don't know, you don't know and carp safety comes first.

1) If conditions were fine, what is the maximum time you would leave a carp sacked for?

2) Don't they go mad when they're sacked and in the water? As in flapping all over the shop to try and free themeselves? I mean they must be a bit confused lol

3) Do you find it hard to sleep when you've sacked a fish? Me personally would be worrying every 5 minutes that the carp was still there but I suppose you grow in confidence the more you use it
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   Old Thread  #26 17 Apr 2012 at 7.45pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #1000
Top work mate.
Ad you say, nothing wrong with sacks if thought is put into using them.
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   Old Thread  #25 31 Mar 2012 at 5.54am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #1000
Good article Ken.
As a fellow sailor I particularly like the knots and splicing
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   Old Thread  #24 2 Mar 2012 at 8.35pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #22
Edit: Found my answer
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   Old Thread  #23 2 Mar 2012 at 5.22pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #1000
very good info as usual ken i shal remember about resting them a while and letting them adjust to daylight a lot of stress would be saved all round thankyou for the info
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   Old Thread  #22 26 Feb 2012 at 1.20pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #21
Thanks for you input. However, this thread is not about the morality of sacking. If you wish to discuss that aspect there are loads threads on the topic on here.

@ John: I too have seen fish that sit high in the water when sacked. At first I would try to encourage them to drop lower in the water but they would often resurface again. I cannot explain this behaviour but they always swim off strongly.
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   Old Thread  #21 25 Feb 2012 at 11.09pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Message Suppressed by Forum Moderator.
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   Old Thread  #20 24 Feb 2012 at 1.21pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #1000
last year i had a 48 in france that i tried to sack... for shots in morning... but bugger if she would go down . all the time she sat just under the surface .. so just took horrid night shots ... or would she of been fine in the upper layers of the water. the others happily went down to 7ft and sat quiet.

was april and not too hot
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   Old Thread  #19 7 Feb 2012 at 7.49pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
ive never had the luck of landing something special enough to have to sack it until morning for a trophy shot, but since this article i was always against sacking due to the stories about it not being done properly.
but if i ever have to i shall make sure i follow the instructions!
Even thoughi shouldnt have to because sacking is banned on the lakes i fish...
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   Old Thread  #18 7 Feb 2012 at 3.45pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Excellent write up Ken.
Ive never used a sack but this artical has gave me a good insight into sacking carp safely. Thanks.
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   Old Thread  #17 7 Feb 2012 at 1.28pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
I don't have a problem with sacking and do so frequently but obviously conditions and water temperatures need to be taken into account, whether they be too hot or too cold.
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   Old Thread  #16 7 Feb 2012 at 12.22pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #12
great article ken - you mention sacking in the summer months due to temp. what are your views on sacking carp in the winter months. i saw someone sack a carp early hours of the morning a few weeks back and i remember waking up in the morning and finding the margins had frozen up. made me wonder about the carp in the sack.

i had to pack away in a rush so i never got to ask
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   Old Thread  #12 18 Jan 2012 at 5.13pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #11
bugger that. rope was bad enough.
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   Old Thread  #11 18 Jan 2012 at 5.07pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #10
Wire splicing is a whole new ball game! Ripped my fingers to shreds when I first started splicing warps!
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   Old Thread  #10 18 Jan 2012 at 4.38pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #9
always a good thing, being free!

edit: i am liking the splicing too ken! my old man used to make me sit there for hours splicing string & then ropes.
most of my school holidays were spent splicing hawsers on barges, or at least it felt like it to me at the time!
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   Old Thread  #9 18 Jan 2012 at 4.19pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #8


Parachute cord looks good. I use the rope out of habit from my days at sea, and because it was free!
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   Old Thread  #8 18 Jan 2012 at 4.15pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2
I made up this very handy item of tackle a great many years ago when I was fishing a lake that had no water’s edge trees to which I could tie my sack, and where the ground was too soft safely to hold a bankstick. This is nothing more than a 10m length of rope with a snap link attached to one end.

not wishing to bandwagon, but i often fish waters that have platforms, or staging at the waters edge,
i made my sack cords up to have a karabiner one end, & a bank stick adapter & cup-hook at the other


i use parachute cord for my sack cords, purely for ease of transporting it. its thin & you can therefore carry long lengths of it.
it is also incredibly strong for its thickness.
if it can take my weight (i've used them to abseil into a few swims, attached to trees or dog spikes!)
then it'll hold a sacked carp.............
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   Old Thread  #7 18 Jan 2012 at 4.10pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #6
What do you think about the modern "floating" recovery slings as opposed to traditional sacks?

More user- and carp-friendly for short periods but definitley not for more than say 15 minutes.

What are your views on the suitability of the "screw into top of bankstick" adaptors that typically come with slings/sacks?

I have to admit, I don't know the items of tackle to which you refer. I generally prefer to rely on my own tried and tested home made solutions.
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   Old Thread  #6 18 Jan 2012 at 1.52pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Good article Ken - thanks.


What do you think about the modern "floating" recovery slings as opposed to traditional sacks?

What are your views on the suitability of the "screw into top of bankstick" adaptors that typically come with slings/sacks?


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   Old Thread  #5 18 Jan 2012 at 1.06pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #3
i see the old "sea dog" has been at work with his knots
good article ken
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   Old Thread  #4 18 Jan 2012 at 11.45am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #1
http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh32/petrus81/1-3.jpg

Good article


You could have doubled for Lou Ferrigno Ken!

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