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1. (WO2018224820) BAIT DISPENSER
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BAIT DISPENSER

Field of Invention

The present invention relates to bait dispensers for use by anglers. It is particularly concerned with bottom opening bait dispensers, that is dispensers arranged for opening on the bed of a stretch of water, especially a river or lake and suitable for angling for bottom feeding fish such as barbel or chubb.

Background to the Invention

European Patent Specification 2244564, UK Patent Specification 2456085, European Patent Specification 2515638 and European Patent Application 13717544.4 all disclose a teardrop shaped bait dispenser configured to burst open upon impact with a water surface and comprising a container in substantially two halves with a fin array at a rear, tail or proximal end thereof, a plunger and opening/closure device principally at a nose, bow or distal end thereof, a hinge linking the two halves at a trailing edge of the fins, and a spring configured to drive the two halves open.

Summary of the Present Invention

According to the present invention a bottom opening bait dispenser in the form of a container having a longitudinal axis and comprising two or more parts with a fin array at a rear, tail or proximal end thereof, and a nose cone, the container thus having an aerodynamic shape, the said two or more parts being hinged together aft of the nose cone, a weight/plunger combination at the nose, a spring configured to drive the two parts open about the hinge, perforations in the container, the plunger being associated with a catch mechanism configured to normally hold the container closed but to release upon depression of the plunger, the dispenser having also line attachment means.

In embodiments:

• the container may be teardrop shaped;

• the hinge may be at the trailing edge of the fins;

• the container parts may be just two, preferably substantially similar one to the other;

• the fins may comprise two sets thereof, one set transverse to the other;

• the dispenser body may be formed of a metal but preferably of polypropylene; · the dispenser body may have a rearward extending arm, and the attachment means may be at the rear end of this;

• the length of the container may be 16 to 18 cm and its maximum breadth, preferably diameter, 5 to 7cm;

• stops may be incorporated on the trailing edge of transverse fins to prevent deleterious over-opening of the container.

The perforations preferably comprise slots extending lengthwise along the container, at least from just to the rear of the maximum breadth or diameter thereof and terminating as close to the rear of the container as is reasonably possible for the integrity of the dispenser. They may commence just to the rear of maximum breadth for minimum drag or further forward for the most rapid water ingress. The perforations are preferably of such dimensions as not to allow the escape of bait. Accordingly a maximum perforation diameter or slot width may be of the order of 5mm. A minimum diameter or slot width may be 1 mm, but to ensure sufficiently rapid inflow of water and insofar as it may become necessary to unblock the perforation or slot by removing debris then a diameter or breadth of 3 - 4mm may be ideal. With such dimensions two such slots per container part may be adequate, making a total of four per dispenser. Where the container comprises substantially two halves and effectively four fins the slots may extend intermediate the fins.

The perforations may comprise an array of circular holes with a diameter of 1 mm to 3mm. The total area of void is preferably greater than one third of the container surface area, indeed ideally greater than 50%. Where it is determined that perforation in the container might occupy approximately 50% of the container surface, ribs may be incorporated in the interior of the container to assist in maintaining strength and shape.

The slots may be faired outward at the rear ends thereof, to reduce drag. Insofar as it is deemed wise for the maintenance of shape and integrity to bridge the slots part way therealong, the slots may also be faired outward at such bridges. The forward end of each slot may likewise be faired outwards, to assist water ingress.

For the catch there may be a bulkhead toward the bow of one of the container parts, configured to hold a spring-loaded hook device arranged to detain a detent formed on the other container part. The spring-loaded hook device may be mounted on the plunger.

In one embodiment the plunger may be formed of lead and arranged to screw onto the catch mechanism. It may protrude 2 - 3 cm from the container and weigh 15 to 35 grams, preferably 1 ounce (28 grams).

With a metal plunger detachable from the body of the dispenser, the dispenser may be arranged to be convertible between water surface and bed opening. Surface opening dispensers are described in European Patent Specification 2244564, UK Patent Specification 2456085, European Patent Specification 2515638 and European Patent Application 13717544.4. These also include a device for adjusting spring load, thus in the present case permitting adjustment between the load required to permit surface opening and bed opening.

In another embodiment there is a weight incorporated in the nose of the container. The weight may be formed of lead and may be formed to clip into the container. It may further be formed both to occupy container volume between a bulkhead and the container bow and to overlay the container bow by from 3mm to 6mm. It may weigh 15 to 40 grams, dependent upon the size of the dispenser.

The weight may define a hole through which the plunger passes and may be sleeved or bushed therefor. The plunger may comprise a rod arranged normally to project forward of the weight by 15 - 25mm, preferably 2cm. The rod may be a plastic such

as Acetal with a diameter of 3 - 5mm. It will be apparent that such a rod should have minimal deleterious effect on the aerodynamics of the dispenser.

In use, in addition to being charged with bait, a small piece of soluble, light coloured, non-polluting buoyant foam can be placed in the container. Then upon opening of the container the foam can rise to the surface of the water to indicate the position of the dispenser. The angler knows then where to cast the baited hook. The foam will shortly dissolve.

Description of the Drawings

An embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

Figure 1 is a side elevation of a bait dispenser in a closed configuration;

Figure 2 is a side elevation of a dispenser in an open configuration;

Figures 3a and 3b depict slotted dispenser body parts in section;

Figure 4 depicts the spring for driving the dispenser open;

Figure 5 depicts the line attachment bar;

Figure 6 is a sectional view of the bow end of the dispenser;

Figure 7 is an exploded view of the bow end of the dispenser;

Figure 8 is a view of a dispenser incorporating a float;

Figure 9 is a view of a plunger holder and fulcrum facility within one of the body members;

Figure 10 is a view of the detent facility within the other body member;

Figure 1 1 a is a side view of a plunger holder;

Figure 1 1 b is a plan view of a plunger holder; and

Figures 12a and 12b depict a dispenser locking facility.

Figure 13 is a side elevation of a bait dispenser in a closed configuration;

Figure 14 is a side elevation of a dispenser in an open configuration;

Figure 15 is a sectional view of the bow end of the dispenser;

Figure 16 is a part sectional view of the bow end of one part of the dispenser;

Description of the Preferred Embodiments

As shown in the figures the dispenser comprises a teardrop-shaped container comprising two container halves 10, 1 1 attached one to the other at a proximal or rear end by a hinge 12 formed on stabiliser fin halves 13 and mating to define a bait containing hollow. Each container half 10, 1 1 carries further stabiliser fins 14, transverse to the fins 13.

Each container half 10, 1 1 defines, intermediate the fins 13, 14, slots 10a. In some embodiments these slots 10a extend substantially the length of the dispenser; in others only from about maximum diameter to close to the tail end. For the purposes of integrity and durability the slots 10a are bridged, as at 10b. To minimise aerodynamic drag the rear end of each slot 10a is sloped, as at 10c. In some embodiments the slots 10b extend rearward for substantially the whole container length, as in figure 3a. In other embodiments they extend rearward from the region of container maximum breadth, as in figure 3b. The breadth of the slots is 4mm.

A spring 15 is fitted at the rear end of the container, formed to urge open the container halves 10, 1 1 . As shown in figure 4 the spring 15 comprises two arms 15a hooked at their outer ends 15b to engage the container halves 10, 1 1 , and coiled at the inner end to form an attachment ring 15c.

The line attachment bar 16 illustrated in figure 5 has a spring engagement hook 16a at its forward end and a line engagement hook 16b at its rear end.

Rubber sheath members 17, 18 sheath the spring attachment ring 15c and the bar 16, the sheath member 17 being deformable to expose the hook 16b for attachment to a line and upon release to cover the attachment to the line thus retaining the attachment.

In some embodiments the trailing edge of the fins 14 each carry a stop member 19 formed to abut the sheath 18 upon the container opening. This feature acts to prevent the spring 15 overreaching and perhaps distorting during opening. Otherwise the spring 15 dictates the opening angle of the dispenser.

The opening of the dispenser illustrated in figures 1 to 12 is effected by the impact of a plunger with the bed of a stretch of water after casting. Thus, as shown in figure 6, at the distal or bow end of the container, the body half 1 1 carries a bulkhead 20 reinforced by brackets 21 and upon which is centrally mounted a plunger holder 22. The plunger holder 22 carries a plunger 23 arranged to be urged forward by a spring 24. The plunger 23 has a flange 25 which is arranged to pivot on a shoulder 26 on the container half 1 1 and a latch 27 arranged for engagement with a detent 28 formed on the container half 10. As shown the distal, bow or lead end of the two container halves 10, 1 1 are formed with a mouth to which the plunger 23 forms a continuum.

The plunger 23 is a composite member, having a lead protrusion 23a protruding beyond the mouth of the container. In some embodiments this protrusion 23a is attached to a screw 23b projecting from the main body of the plunger 23 (Figure 6). In other embodiments it is attached by a screw 23c screwed into the main body of the plunger 23 (Figures 12a, 12b). This latter embodiment is preferred for a dispenser which is convertible between bottom and surface opening.

In use the body half 1 1 of the open bait dispenser is heaped with bait and the two body halves 10, 1 1 are then snapped shut. That is to say, the hinge 12 is closed against the force of the spring 15 and the latch 27 engaged on the detent 28 to hold the dispenser closed. If not already attached the dispenser is attached to a fishing line via the line link 16b, the sheath 17 having been pushed forward at the rear end thereof.

When the line is then cast, upon hitting and going through the water, water flows into the dispenser via the slotsl 0a. Upon striking the bed of the stretch of water the plunger 23, 23a is pushed into the body halves 10, 1 1 against the spring 24, releasing the latch 27 from the detent 28. The spring 15 then urges the container halves 10, 1 1 apart to allow the bait to leave the dispenser. The angler may then reel the open dispenser in. The 45s open configuration of the dispenser, and the length of the line attachment arm co-operate to ensure a low drag, relatively non-turbulent reeling in

process thus minimising line entanglement and allowing the reeling in to be quite rapid.

Detail of the plunger holder 22 is shown in figures 1 1 a, 1 1 b. The plunger holder 22 comprises a flange 22a which abuts the bulkhead 20, a hollow plunger shaft receiving boss 22b and finger grips 22c. The flange 22a has two opposing flat edges 22d and two rounded opposing edges 22e. One of the rounded edges 22e carries two stops 22f constructed to impede unwanted rotation of the plunger holder 22.

Figure 9 shows the arrangement by which the plunger holder 22 is detachably held to the bulkhead 20. The brackets 21 carry flanges 80 under which the rounded edges 22e of the plunger holder 22 can be captured, but not the flat edges 22d. Thus, turning the plunger holder 22 alternately captures and releases the plunger holder 22. The release of the plunger holder 22 frees both the spring 24 and the plunger 23 from the body half 10.

It will be noted that, as shown in figure 7, the arms of the plunger 23 differ one with respect to the other. The flange 25 comprises two teeth with a valley 25a between whilst the latch 27 comprises a single tooth. Figure 9 shows a protruberence 26a from the shoulder 26 for receiving the valley 25a and guides 20a depending from the bulkhead 20 for receiving the appropriate arm of the plunger 23. It will be appreciated that the angles of the face of the latch 27 and the detent 28, and the areas and textures thereof will have been determined, in consort with the spring stiffness etc., such that the required sensitivity of the release mechanism can be obtained. However, notwithstanding these particular arrangements, the plunger 23 is formed so that if it is rotated through 180°, opening of the dispenser will be a little more difficult. This feature assists the conversion of certain embodiments of the invention between water surface opening on the one hand - without the lead protruberance 23a - and bed opening on the other.

Figure 9 shows the location of the detent 28 in the body half 1 1 . It also shows a bracket 1 1 a (also shown in figure 1 ), which serves to maintain the shape of the

dispenser half 1 1 and also to impede access by bait to the working parts of the dispenser.

Figures 1 1 a, 1 1 b illustrate an alternative construction in the embodiment described with reference to figures 1 to 6 and 8 - 10, namely two different detents 28 and 28a, each set at a slightly different angle around the dispenser axis. The detent 28 is for opening the dispenser upon impact during use. The detent 28a, which may be alternatively engaged by the plunger latch 27 following turning the plunger 23 through a few degrees, serves to maintain the dispenser closed during transportation.

Figure 8 illustrates an alternative dispenser, constructed to act as a float and to remain associated with a definitive baited fishing line 70. Parts similar to those illustrated in the other figures have similar reference numbers. The two halves 10, 1 1 have flotation chambers 71 at the top end thereof and the relatively rigid link arm between the halves 10, 1 1 is a float 72. The line 70 carries two stops, one (70a) of which is downstream of the eye 16b and the other (70b) is upstream thereof. The stop 70a abuts the eye 16b during casting and the stop 70b abuts the eye 16b after hook deployment. The eye 16b may in this embodiment, if it is not desired for it to be hooked and associated with a retractable rubber sheath, be formed as a spring. This embodiment is particularly useful when employing a bait which might easily detach from the line during deployment. In that circumstance the hooked part of the line may be stowed in the dispenser during casting. The float 70 may for this embodiment be constructed, for example moulded in one piece, of a buoyant plastics material. In an alternative version of this embodiment the line attachment eye 16b may not be at the outer tip of the float 70 but intermediate its length or even at the base thereof.

The dispenser illustrated in figures 13 to 16 is similar to those illustrated in figures 1 to 12 except for among other things the form of the plunger, in this embodiment 100. At the distal or bow end of the container, the body half 10 carries a bulkhead 20 reinforced by brackets 21 and upon which is centrally mounted a latch holder 22. The latch holder 22 carries a latch shaft 101 arranged to be urged forward by a spring 24.

The latch shaft 101 carries a latch 102 arranged for engagement with a detent 28 formed on the container half 1 1 .

A lead weight 103 clips into the region between the bulkhead 20 and the bow end of the container and also forms a shell covering the exterior bow end. The weight defines a central hole in which is a sleeve 104. The plunger 100 protrudes through the sleeve 104.

In use the body half 10 of the open bait dispenser is heaped with bait and the two body halves 10, 1 1 are then snapped shut. That is to say, the hinge 12 is closed against the force of the spring 15 and the latch 102 engaged on the detent 28 to hold the dispenser closed. If not already attached the dispenser is attached to a fishing line via the line link 16b.

When the line is then cast, upon hitting and going through the water, water flows into the dispenser via the slotsl 0a. Upon striking the bed of the stretch of water the Plunger 100 is pushed into the body halves 10, 1 1 against the latch shaft 101 and spring 24, releasing the latch 102 from the detent 28. The spring 15 then urges the container halves 10, 1 1 apart to allow the bait to leave the dispenser. The angler may then reel the open dispenser in. The 45s open configuration of the dispenser, and the length of the line attachment arm co-operate to ensure a low drag, relatively non-turbulent reeling in process thus minimising line entanglement and allowing the reeling in to be quite rapid.

Upon retrieval it can be expected that the lead weight 103 will cause container part 10 to adopt a lower position. The fins 13 on the container part 10 will tend to assist the dispenser to aquaplane on the surface of the water.

Typically the bait dispenser of the embodiments described in figures 1 to 12 above is 1 1 cm long and 5.5cm maximum breadth. Accordingly figure 1 shows the dispenser approximately full size, with the line attachment arm approximately 6.5cm long. This bait dispenser is moulded in polypropylene, the plunger is formed of acetal and the spring 15 and the arm 17 are formed of spring steel.

The bait dispenser of the embodiment described in figures 13 to 16 above is 1 1 cm long and 5.5cm maximum breadth with the line attachment arm approximately 6.5cm long. This bait dispenser is moulded in polypropylene. The plunger 100 is formed of acetal and is 3.5mm in diameter. It protrudes beyond the weight 103 by 2cm.

The typical use procedure is as follows:

1 . Cast a marker float at the point upon the water where one has determined to fish;

2. Cast the loaded dispenser in the region of the marker float, to burst open upon impact with the water and spill out the bait in that region, then reel in the open dispenser;

3. Cast one or more rods carrying the definitive baited hooks in the region of the marker float;

4. Wait for the fish to bite!

It will be typical when employing the 1 1 cm dispenser in this way to use a rod having a test curve (t-c) of 4-5lb (2-2.5kg). For a dispenser 10 - 1 1 cm long a rod of t-c 3lb (1 .5Kg) might be used.

Any of the embodiments above described may incorporate a filler hatch wherethrough bait may be loaded with the container parts closed. The hatch may be closed by a sliding or hinged door