For a number of years now some of the UK’s top shore and boat anglers have been storing their match rigs on EVA foam winders. These neat little spools store complete rigs without kinking line or phantom tangling, as is often evidenced when poly-grip bags and rig wallets are used. Round EVA winders used to be difficult to locate in the UK and anglers often had to buy products in from abroad. Foam winders have now become easier to source in various sizes and colours from UK Tackle shops, but prices for what are essentially the same products, do vary ridiculously from one brand to another.
UK-based company Tronix offer a variety of terminal tackle products, including hooks, swivels and ready-made rigs, but it was their colourful EVA winders that caught my eye while surfing the net. At the very sensible price of just £3.00 for a pack of 10 Tronix winders, I ordered several packs and crossed my fingers.
At that price I wasn’t expecting Rolls Royce items, but I was pleasantly surprised with the quality when they arrived a couple of days later. I own more damn winders than you could shake a stick at, but not all are good quality. Some are made from soft foam that tears easily, some aren’t wide enough to hold a three-hook rig, and in other cases the indented central wrapping channel is too shallow to accommodate several wraps of thicker mono and larger hooks. I’ll confess surprise on discovering the Tronix winders did not suffer any of these common shortcomings. In fact, they boast a tough foam construction with supporting rims of equal thickness around the spool, offering close to perfect tangle-free storage of shore and boat rigs. Rig winders are not for everyone. But for those regularly using lighter and longer rigs, they eradicate the tangle frustrations suffered when taking such rigs from a bag. Loading a rig onto a winder could not be simpler. Using a map pin, tether the lead clip to the winder and then wrap the rig around the spool, gently pushing each hook into its side for safe storage before locking everything in place with a second map pin through the eye of the top swivel. It really couldn’t be any simpler. To remove, just reverse your loading procedure, unpinning the top swivel first before unwinding.
So far so good then, but there is always a “but’… isn’t there? As a PSF review demands, I have thought long and hard to identify improvements or changes that these Tronix foams would benefit from. And in terms of functionality and size etc of the actual winders, none come to mind. However, there are a couple of options that I would like to see introduced concerning how the winders are made available, and perhaps a compact carrying option.
In the pack of 10 spools, you currently get five different bright colours. This is great, but I would also look at packaging the product in single colours – all red, or all blue etc. Call me sad and pedantic, but all my wrasse rigs are on red winders, while my bream rigs are all wound onto blue ones. In a match situation, it’s just a matter of a quick grab for the correctly coloured spool without any need to scrutinise or read labels. I would also like to see a custom winder box to take the Tronix winders made available. A medium-sized plastic box taking around 20 rigs would be ideal. There currently doesn’t appear to be anything specific on the market for EVA foam winders. The large Stanley bits-and-bobs box available from B&Q or Amazon for example, easily holds up to 60 Tronix spools. These unnecessarily large Wally-boxes are a pain in the rear, and don’t comfortably fit inside a seat box. I would prefer something more compact that slots neatly into my tackle box or bag. Now you could always fix the big donkey-box to the top of your seat box with Velcro and look a complete wombat. But, a smaller, neater winder box is something many anglers would like for Christmas.