10 Carp Fishing Sunset Shots

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Dave Lane - Sunset fishing.

Dave Lane – Sunset fishing.

We recently posted up a sunset image image taken by Dave Lane from the banks of a carp lake (see image above). It proved so popular that we soon had lots of our facebook page followers posting their own awe inspiring fishing sunset shots. The images were so good we decided to pick out our top 10 from the Fishtec Coarse facebook page and share them here. Enjoy….

John Radford -Sunset shot.

John Radford -Sunset shot.

Jay Jack-Daniel Allen Archipelago Lakes... France... heaven..

Jay Jack-Daniel Allen – Archipelago Lakes, France. Heaven…

Graham Moore Chequertree fishery, Bethersden Kent.

Graham Moore Chequertree fishery, Bethersden Kent.

Barry Blenkey - lovely lake shot.

Barry Blenkey – lovely lake shot.

Armo Armzee - superb 'rods at the ready' shot

Armo Armzee – superb ‘rods at the ready’ pic.

Stuart Waters - rods all set at dusk

Stuart Waters – rods all set at dusk.

Stephen Godwin Horcott Lakes

Stephen Godwin – Horcott Lakes.

Dan Hayward - What an amazing sunset!

Dan Hayward – What an amazing sunset!

Trevor Edwards

Trevor Edwards.

Tony Jennings - Monks lake Steeplehurst

Tony Jennings – Monks lake Steeplehurst.

 

Summer Catch Competition Shortlist

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Fishtec Summer Catch Competition - Top prize blog

The entries are in, the judges have created a shortlist of magnificent catch photos, and now it’s time for you to vote.

The winner will receive £100 in Fishtec vouchers, and there are three runner-up prizes of £30 vouchers for the best in the sea, fly and coarse categories.

So get voting – who will be the lucky winner? It’s up to you!

Vote for your favourite pictures - Select up to three, and hit the 'vote' button.
Voting will close at 10am on Tuesday 30th August 2016

View Results

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1 – Andy ‘Tetly’ Collicott

andy-tetly-collicott-53lb15-st-ives-colin

Andy ‘Tetly’ Collicott with ‘Colin’ from St Ives lakes shallow pit. Lake record of 53lb 15oz. caught with a single tiger nut on a 360 rig fished under ads, baited with lots of particles and Mainline Hybrid.

2 – Chad Critchley

chad-critchley-16lb16-barbel

Chad Critchley with his second barbel after targeting a double. One ounce shy of 17lb.

3 – Christopher Hughes

chris-hughes-18lb-welsh-pike

Christopher Hughes with his 18lb Welsh reservoir pike.

4 – Craig Woodrow

craig-woody-woodrow-9lb-pollack

Craig Woodrow with his 9lb pollack caught off rocks on Tory Island – a small island in Donegal, Ireland.

5 – Dale Lander

dale-lander-2lb1-roach

Dale Lander with a 2lb1oz roach from the River Severn at Bewdley.

6 – Daniel Stigg Graham

dan-stigg-graham-rainbow-unac-river-bosnia-herzegovina

Daniel Stigg Graham with a rainbow caught on the Unac river in Bosnia Herzegovina. Put up a hell of a scrap on a 5 weight in a fast-flowing river!

7 – Dean Kibble

dean-kibble-fly-caught-pike

Dean Kibble’s 32lb fly caught pike. Landed with 10ft Airflo Nantec comp special, Switch pro reel and a Di 7 forty plus G3 fluoro with a cat booby.

8 – Ian Davies

ian-davies-15lb-river-towie-salmon

Ian Davies with 15lb River Towy salmon caught at Llywch Gwyn beat on the Abercothi estate.

9 – Jake Belgium

jake-belgium-chew-brownie

Jake Belgium: “The best Chew brownie I’ve had to date”

10 – Jason Whatley

jason-whatley

Jason Whatley: “Totally drowned, but it doesn’t matter when they are as perfect as this! “

11 Joshua Thomas

joshua-thomas-88lb-sturgeon

Joshua Tomas with an 88lb sturgeon. 79 inch length, 37inch girth – absolute beast!

12 – Luke Thomas

luke-thomas-wild-brown-trout-ebbw

Luke Thomas with wild brown trout from the lower stretches of the Ebbw River, caught on a dark olive dry fly pattern.

13 – Matthew Randall

matthew-randall-34lb5-catfish

Matthew Randall’s catfish. New PB at 34lb 5oz: “Happy days!”

14 – MJ Bird

mj-bird-3lb-plus-roach

MJ Bird with a specimen roach, estimated at 3lb plus

15 – Nathan King

nathan-king-8lb-bass

Nathan King’s 8lb bass, “caught at Magazine Lane Southampton in August 2016 using my rod and reel bought from Fishtec”

16 – Neil Pope

neil-pope-11lb2-bream

Neil Pope’s 11lb 2oz Cheshire mere bream

17 – Paul Hunter

paul-hunter-germany

Paul Hunter with: “Rainbow trout caught in Germany on my Grey’s fly rod I got from Fishtec.”

18 – Scott Brown

scott-brown-35lb3-mirror

Scott Brown with a 35lb 3oz mirror from Nuddock wood lakes

19 – Simon Unwin

simon-unwin-ray-3-species

Simon Unwin with three species of ray in a session from a North Wales mark

Now, head to the top of the page vote for your favourites – you can vote for up to three different pictures. Remember to share this on Facebook, and get your friends to vote as well!

Closing date for votes: 10am Tuesday 30th August 2016.

Take your kids to the bank – fishing with children

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young boy catching fish

Image source: Shutterstock
Hats off to all those junior anglers out there!

When did you learn to fish? We say no one’s too young to enjoy the riverbank in one way or other. Fishing gets kids out in the fresh air. They learn about nature. And they spend quality time with you and the rest of the family. What’s not to love about that?

So with that in mind – as if you needed further encouragement – we’ve put together a celebration of the next generation of anglers!

Getting started

grandparent fishing with small child

Image source: Shutterstock
Getting kids on the river is the first step in teaching them to fish!

Dan Bryant on the Total Fishing blog understands kids and fishing very well:

“If you take a kid fishing, he can enjoy it for the day, but if you teach a kid to fish, he can enjoy it for a lifetime”

Teaching children to fish can be the start of a life-long love for them, and the creation of some great memories for you. Plus, as Dan’s happy to report, it gets them away from television and video games, and can be extremely beneficial for their self-esteem.

Not to mention the fact that, if you take a kid fishing, as Dan says, you just might find “that you enjoy teaching them as much as you enjoy fishing yourself.” And there you were, thinking that fishing couldn’t get any better.

young boys fishing

Image source: Crooked Lines
Luke and Zach (5 and 7) learning to fish.

Dominic Garnett, of the popular Crooked Lines blog, was one angler who absolutely loved teaching his friends’ kids to fish. His earliest memory is of a fishing trip, so he’s happy to pass along the favour to the next generation.

He’s noticed that lots of people talk as if it’s a battle to get kids fishing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As far as he’s concerned:

“You just have to get them out on the bank. I have yet to meet a boy or girl who didn’t ask loads of questions or didn’t want to inspect, hold or release their first fish.”

If in doubt, take Dominic’s advice and just start kids out with the simplicity of a pole on a small lake for “a light and largely tangle-proof way to have some fun.”

family fishing

Image source: Tide Lines
Letting the kids watch you is a great way to catch their interest.

Or there’s always Martin’s approach. Writing in his blog, Tide Lines, he explains that he encouraged the kids to watch as he reeled in his catch.

Martin had 10 minutes to catch them a fish, but managed to do it in five. By showing them how, he taught them where food comes from and got to show off some serious skills. And by the looks of it the little boy has now got dreams of landing a fish of his own. His interest is definitely piqued!

Landing a Catch

young boy with pb carp

Image source: Fishtec Facebook
Just look at the size of that carp!

Once kids have got the hang of holding a rod or pole, there’s no telling the kind of amazing catches that their angling future holds. Tim Stanley’s little boy managed to land his very first carp in October 2015, as he told us on our Facebook page. But not only that – it was a whopping 10lb 6oz!

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: there’s nothing better than the feeling of landing a spectacular catch. Now Tim’s little boy knows that feeling. Is there anything better for a father to pass on to his son?

young angler, massive pike

Image source: Facebook
Based on his catches so far, young angler Daniel is sure to have a fish-filled future!

Now that’s the face of a kid who loves to fish. And so he should! Daniel and his dad Matt fish together frequently. In fact, Daniel smashed his dad’s PB earlier this year when he caught his own PB 28lb 10oz pike on Hampshire’s River Test, as well capturing the Chew Valley lake monster in the image above. Looks like this is one angler with a bright future!

young angler with common carp

Image source: Seven Lakes Angling
A keen young lad with his 5½ lb Common

Just think of the kind of fish Joshua (pictured above) has gone on to catch. He caught this 5½lb Common back in 2013 when he was only 8 years old!

For kids who are showing a real interest in angling like Joshua, junior competitions are a great way to help them hone their skills. They’ll also meet loads of other children who share their interests.

A lifetime’s journey

children with their fishing catch

Image source: Environment Agency blog
Paul Lidgett’s kids loved learning to fish – they’re already planning their next trip

Even if it’s just a hobby you want to help them develop, then that’s great, too. At the end of the day, this is something you can share for a lifetime, like blogger Sam Edmonds knows. He started fishing with his dad as a kid, and has never stopped. They still regularly go on trips together, and spend loads of time on the rivers.

Paul Lidgett, Fisheries Advisor at the Environment Agency, is just at the beginning of his angling journey with his children. Having taught them in Scotland, on the same loch-side pier he learned on as a child 40 years ago, they’ve already mastered the basics:

“Casting a line, playing a fish and releasing it unharmed – and they are already pestering me about this year’s fishing trips!”

He says: “If your children are anything like mine, they’ll love it and want to spend the summer by the water’s edge.” His top tip? Remember your rod license. It’s just £5 for children, and under 12s go free. So there’s no reason not to charge ahead and give fishing with your kids a go!

Are you going to teach your kids to fish, or have you done it already? Why not do as Tim Stanley did and post pictures of your kids’ incredible catches and trips to the riverbank on our Facebook page?

Stillwater Therapy By Rene’ Harrop

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There is a calming element to everyday spent fishing and I believe I have survived to advanced age because I fish a lot. In recent years, however, many rivers in the western United States have fallen upon harder times.

Therapy

Therapy.

Drought, climate change, and a host of other disorders both natural and man caused have altered conditions necessary for trout and the aquatic organisms by which they are sustained on some of the world’s most renowned fly fishing streams.

For this reason I am fishing even the Henry’s Fork with a sense of concern that subtracts from the state of well-being I am accustomed to.

Start of a good day

Start of a good day.

Most of the still waters I frequent are not exclusively self-sustaining fisheries. Therefore, I do not experience the same anxieties on Hebgen, Sheridan, or Henry’s Lake as on moving waters that depend upon the fragility of wild trout in maintaining their viability.

The mental state I crave at this time of year is most reliably found in the quiet of early morning on still water. Whether casting to cruising surface feeders or probing the depths with sunken imitations my mind does not go to a dark place where negativity can invade my consciousness.  And in this manner optimism that has recently begun to wane becomes recharged and I am able to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Anticipation

Anticipation…

As fly fishers, we will always be compelled to defend the water we love, and in my case it is the Henry’s Fork. Battles here are currently being waged in defense of water quality, stable flows and other factors that influence the river’s ability to sustain a healthy fishery. And with the help of those who care, I believe these battles can be won.

Because I must be there, I will fish the river tomorrow, and the next day as well. By Monday, however, I will be seeking the soothing therapy of stillwater where my mind will again be temporarily relieved from a very pressing objective.

Splendid!

Splendid!

Fifteen Fantastic Fishing Gifs

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That quick snippet of life, the animated gif is a great way of capturing a unique moment and this collection is guaranteed to leave you chuckling. So grab a drink, sit back and prepare to be amused as we share some of our fishy favourites.

Shocking encounters

Creepy crawly catch

what's coming from this fish's mouth?

Image source: funnyjunk.com

James Green of drowning worms, where this also appears, is still trying to identify the star of this gruesome gif:

“Can anyone help us identify this horrible creepy crawly, which almost makes this angler jump out of his skin?”

If you know the identity of this alien invader, let us know!

Cap stealing carp

angler loses hat to flying carp

Image source: World Fishing Network

Suncream? Check. Flask? Check. This guy knows that preparation is key to enjoying a day on the river. Unfortunately, nothing can prepare you for having your sunhat sabotaged by an Asian jumping carp! Impressive flying for a fish!

Fancy a swim?

angler gets washed off harbour wall by wave

Image source: wideopenspaces

This avid angler can wave farewell to his fishing rod (and his dignity)! Is he brave or foolish? You decide!

Fish hook horror

fisherman stabbing himself with fish hooks to demonstrate removal

Image source: newsFlow24

The wise angler never forgets that fishhooks are very sharp. Virginia Kruta at ijr.com agrees:

“The tiniest of distractions — or an errant cast of the rod — could leave one lodged in your skin. “

But if you do find yourself in this predicament, the experts at Total Fisherman advise you to push the hook in until the barb exits the skin, cut the barb off or flatten it and then back the hook out the way it came in.

You can view the whole process on YouTube, but beware, this video is not for the faint-hearted fisherman!

Tipping point

two anglers and a tipping bench. one angler falls and gets wet

Image source: Giphy

The moral of this fishing fail? Select your seat with care! This unlucky angler’s pal is completely oblivious to his friend’s predicament until he hears the splash!

Alternative angling

3D fishing

fish caught with 3d printed fishing reel

Image source: 3Dprint.com

Wondering why Casey Johnson’s fishing kit caught our eye? Incredibly, the whole caboodle was created by a 3d printer!  Casey used AutoCAD to design his three piece rod and fishing reel.

“The whole thing went from an idea to actually catching fish in one day, which is pretty neat.”

Helicopter Hero

man catches fish from helicopter

Image source: Salt strong

This is what we call angling with attitude! The gif shows New Zealand’s extreme angler Matt Watson jumping from a helicopter to catch a marlin. Matt was a big game fisherman before he discovered his talent for daring stunts, which have also included catching marlin from a surfboard and a jet ski. We wouldn’t recommend this as a hobby!

Cool hand fluke

dude-catching-a-large-bass-fish-with-bare-hands1

Image source: Drowning worms

You have to hand it to this guy. Using just his bare hands and presumably a tasty treat, he manages to catch a bass and bring it up out of the water. We’d love to know his secret.

Angling Aussie style

Hunting Fish with a Boomerang

This poor fish was knocked on the noggin by a boomerang! What was this Aussie-style angler thinking? His aim’s pretty impressive but this is one boomerang that won’t be coming back!

Spear fishing scare

goliath grouper steals catch

Image source: drowning worms

This spear fisherman doesn’t stand a chance of keeping his catch when a hungry Goliath grouper appears. If you’re wondering about the name, these fearless fish can weigh up to 800 pounds and grow up to three metres long!

Awesome animal anglers

Salmon snack stop

bear catches leaping salmon

Image source: Giphy

Every summer brown bears take the opportunity to hunt for salmon migrating up the rivers of north America and Russia. This gif captures the bear’s speedy reflexes as he snags the fish with the front of his mouth before carrying it to shore.

Sheep shove

sheep butting angler

Image source: cheezburger

It’s behind ewe! A sheep’s the last thing you’d expect to see on a riverbank while you’re fishing.This one obviously couldn’t resist temptation! We love the way the sheep carefully gets into position before taking a run up.

Speedy sea lion

sea lion steals anglers catch

Image source: Drowning worms

The speedy sea lion in this gif is clearly a canny angler with an appetite! We couldn’t help chuckling at the look of amused disbelief on the angler’s face as he realises his dorado has disappeared!

Underwater attack

kingfisher catches fish underwater shot

Image source: drowning worms

James Green of drowning worms often fancies being fish for a day. But not on this occasion, as the fish in question falls victim to an aerial attack.

“Although I’d love to be able to breath underwater (imagine!), there are certain times that I’m glad I’m not a fish. And this is definitely one of them…”

Panicking pooch

fisherman falls, dog trapped in net

Image source: Giphy

This unsuspecting pooch falls victim to a clumsy angler and ends up in a net. Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to bring the dog on a fishing trip?

Feathered fishing

kingfisher dives into water

Image source: tumblr

This creator of this gorgeous gif captures the grace and speed of the Kingfisher as it dives towards its catch. A majestic moment that deserves to be animated! If you want to see further steps, you can catch them at on tumblr, where the whole sequence is broken down into four amazing segments.

Which gifs are keeping you amused this summer? Head over to our Facebook page and share your favourites!

The Llanilar Airflo Classic – The Results!!

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The Llanilar Airflo Classic fly fishing competition took place on Sunday 7th August on Llyn Brenig. Conditions began well, but by 1pm the competitors were faced with very gusty winds and bright sunshine, extremely difficult conditions to say the least!!

At the jetty on Llyn Brenig

At the jetty on Llyn Brenig.

The Winner

Kevin McCabe took the no.1 spot, with a staggering 17 fish. We would like to congratulate Kevin on this amazing result, which given the conditions was a truly astonishing haul.

Kevin is pictured here with the Llanilar Airflo Classic trophy, together with an Airflo rocket Rod, Airflo switch pro reel & fly line prizes. Kevin we salute you!

The Llanilar Airflo Classic winner - Kevin Mcabe.

The Llanilar Airflo Classic winner – Kevin Mcabe.

2nd spot was taken by Gareth ‘Gazza’ Dixon with 11 fish, with his brother Aled coming in at 3rd position. A great performance from both.

Here are the full results:

Llanilar AIRFLO Classic 2016 Page 1

Llanilar Airflo Classic 2016 results Page 1

Llanilar Airflo Classic 2016 results Page 2

Llanilar Airflo Classic 2016 results Page 2

We would like to thank all who attended the competition. A more detailed match report and specifics of next year’s event to follow!

Best Summer Barbel Rigs and Baits

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Beautiful Wye barbel

Beautiful Wye barbel. Image Ceri Thomas

Summer offers the barbel angler a wonderful opportunity to catch their chosen quarry.

Consistent water levels and clarity, bright conditions, and steady water temperature all contribute to an environment which makes barbel willing to feed and easier to locate.

The Barbel Society’s Dan Whitelock takes us through the most effective methods, rigs and baits for a summer barbel session.

As mentioned in our beginners guide to barbel fishing, the biggest factor is location. Look for steady gravel runs, streamer weed beds, overhanging cover and depressions in the riverbed. If you were good in the closed season and did your homework, you’ll know where these areas are. Find these features and you’re much closer to getting those barbel to your unhooking mat.

Remember to wear your polaroids, keep off the skyline, and avoid stomping around on the bank. Be discreet – that way you’ll avoid spooking the fish before you get a chance to see them, and minimise your chances of a blank day.

Static or mobile?

A Wye barbel caught using the mobile approach

A Wye barbel caught using the mobile approach. Image: Ceri Thomas

 There are two main ways to approach summer barbel fishing. Firstly, the mobile approach on small, clear rivers with minimum baiting. Or, the static approach (‘bait & wait”) where you build a swim up over several hours and let the fish gain confidence in feeding over your baited spot. The latter is a popular method on larger rivers such as the Trent or Lower Severn, though it will also work on smaller rivers such as the Great Ouse, Lea, Teme and Loddon.

One rig to rule them all

simple barbel rig

Keep it simple and you’ll catch!

There’s one basic rig you can use for both of these methods. The key factor is simplicity. There is no need to overcomplicate your rigs and end tackle. Barbel are confident feeders and lack any hint of intelligence, so there are no trick tactics needed to hook them.

My go-to rig is a simple running rig compromising of my mainline running through a run ring, stopped by a bead, which is tied onto a quick change swivel. I thread a tail rubber onto my hooklength to lock it in place. So when I have a fish resting in the net, or I wish to change my hooklength I simply have to slide the rubber down, unclip the hooklength, pop the new one on and slide the rubber back over the clip.

quick change barbel setup

Quick change setup.

Fishing smaller rivers

For fishing on smaller rivers, use a long hooklength – at least two feet. This keeps the bait as far from the mainline and lead as possible, to avoid line bites and enhance the presentation. That said, it also pays to use a couple of pieces of plasticine up the line as a backlead, to keep the line away from fish as they move around your swim.

If you’re lucky enough to watch barbel feeding, you will see that they work their way over the baited area, sucking in morsels of food and abruptly turning downstream to the tail of the swim again. It’s this turning that gives us the classic barbel bite that we all love and I believe that the longer hooklength, light lead and slack mainline enhances the presentation, and gives the barbel the confidence to pick up the bait without feeling any resistance.

This rig is best suited to fishing with larger baits such as boilies, pellets and meat on smaller venues. Start off by choosing a section of river about two to three hundred yards long, with roughly 50 yards between each swim.

The swim

A barbel swim is simply the place you choose to put your bait. Start at the downstream end, and using a baitdropper, deposit no more than a dozen samples of your chosen hookbait into the swim. It’s best to do this in all four or five swims then return to the first one.

A Summertime barbel swim on the Wye

A Summertime barbel swim on the Wye. Image: Ceri Thomas

Swing the rig gently into position, with a small PVA mesh bag of freebies clipped on to the lead. It’s best to clip it to the lead, as when the PVA melts in flowing water, most of the bait is washed far beyond the hookbait if it’s clipped to the hook. By releasing the bait where the lead is, it drifts down and lands around your hookbait: right in the path of the barbel!

Fish each swim for about an hour before moving on to the next one. Before leaving the swim, drop in another dozen freebies in case you choose to return later. Barbel can travel quite a long way and by having five small swims baited up you’ll greatly enhance your chances of catching.

You can even try a variation on this method, fishing even more swims for a shorter amount of time, say, twenty to thirty minutes.

Staying still?

The variation to the running rig works best when you are staying in one swim and building up the feed with particle baits such as hemp, maggots, caster and corn. The rig is almost identical to the mobile approach, but uses a much shorter hooklength – it only needs to be about 4-6” long –  and a large, heavy swimfeeder. This gives a bolt effect which is required when fishing with small particle baits on the hair such as casters. Barbel tend to ‘’hoover’’ up lots of these in one go so we need a bit of resistance to be felt to encourage that abrupt turn when they pick up the bait.

This approach requires both patience and confidence but will give you a much greater chance of a bite.

Baiting up for static fishing

The best bait for this method is a hemp and caster combination, or maggots. Either way, you’ll need about a gallon of bait. With the hemp and caster combination I like to use about three pints of caster for a gallon of hemp. Start off by depositing a good couple of pints of bait in your swim using your baitdropper.

Leave this alone for about an hour for the fish to gain confidence. It’s best to select a swim where you can gently swing a dropper out with minimum disturbance to avoid spooking the feeding fish. However, it’s amazing to see just how quickly feeding fish will return to a swim following the splash of a dropper.

The swim will need topping up with a couple of pints per hour for a good three or four hours, if you can do this over five or six hours then even better. It may sound hard to fathom, spending six hours by the river and not casting a baited hook, but it’s essential to build up that confidence in the feeding fish so that when you do cast your rig out, the bites will come very quickly.

The most effective presentation of the hookbait is to use two neutral buoyancy rubber casters glued to a fine hair. This avoids the problems of smaller fish destroying the hookbait and hooking themselves. The feeder is loaded with the loosefeed, and cast into the same spot.

It’s vital that the dropper and feeder land in the same place every time. You can make sure you manage this if you sit in the same position each time, and use the reflection of a tree, telegraph pole or weed as a marker.

Mobile barbel baiting

simple barbel baits

Barbel baits are a simple matter.

A favourite bait for the mobile method is boilies, fished either whole in smaller sizes, or broken in half and fished back to back to offer something a bit different.

Any decent boilie from a reputable company will catch barbel. The fishmeal base mixes with a meaty/spicy/fishy flavour are the most successful. Halibut Pellets are a superb summer bait too, in the small quantities described, and will draw fish to your swim quickly. If bites are hard to come by, and you know that you have fish in the swim, try supergluing two small pellets back to back on the hair with a smaller hook.

For after dark fishing, try wrapping boilies in a matching paste and leave in the swim for a good hour, or fish a generous lump of flavoured luncheon meat over a bed of hemp and small pellets. Beware though, if your river has problems with signal crayfish your lump of meat won’t last long!

Go fish!

barbel swim

Keep low, keep under any cover you can find – they’re under your feet!

So that’s about it, you can’t get any more simple. Use this rig and these baits to catch barbel all over the country throughout the summer months. The tackle you need is all covered in the beginner’s guide.

There’s never any need to over-analyse your rigs, worry if your bait is working or if you’re wearing the wrong colour hat! Barbel are an incredibly obliging fish once you find them: all they’re designed to do is eat, avoid danger and make little barbel. Keep that in mind and your barbel fishing will rapidly become more successful.

Remember, though, that success isn’t always measured in the biggest or most fish. Enjoy the time on a riverbank in the summer as it’s one of the most magical places you can spend a few hours. Don’t take it too seriously and remember to smell the flowers along the way.

A hard fighting summer barbel

A hard fighting summer barbel. Image: Ceri Thomas

Always consider that in the summer the fish fight hard and can take a while to recover from the battle, so make sure you follow the Barbel Society Handling Code, and ensure fish are fully rested before release. If you release an unrested fish, they may struggle later in the day when they’re moving against the flow of the river.

Tight lines, and happy fishing!

All images © Dan Whitelock unless otherwise stated

Beat The Heat – 5 Tips for Summer Stillwater Trout Fishing

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At the height of summer stillwater trout fishing can be at it’s hardest. There are however ways you can beat the heat and catch stillwater trout in even the worst conditions.

Read our 5 Summer trout fishing tips to find out how you can beat the heat!

1. Fish mornings and evenings
– Make an effort to concentrate your fishing when air temperatures are cooler. Avoid the middle of the day. If you can, get there at dawn – fish will often be in the margins feeding hard, only to vanish when the sun is up. Same goes in the evening – as it gets dark, fish will wake up and usually feed heavily for a short spell at dusk.

Evening on the Barrows tank

Evening on the Barrows tank – Image: Bristol Water Fisheries Facebook

2. Fish in the rain – Nobody likes getting wet. Fact. But if it rains on a summer day make the effort to hit the fishery with your waterproof fishing jacket! Wet weather, overcast skies and wind are our friends in mid summer. Get out in the rain – it will be worth it!

3. Fish deep – If you do have to fish in the day time, make sure you bring a selection of sinking fly lines. Locate the deepest areas of the lake, for example a dam wall or bank with a steep gradient indicating a drop off into deep water. The Sixth Sense range of sinking fly lines from Airflo are indispensable at this time of year – especially the Di5 and Di7 models.

The Airflo Sixth Sense Di7 fly line.

The Airflo Sixth Sense Di7 fly line.

4. Find Oxygen rich areas – Trout are always more active and congregate in areas rich in oxygen. On reservoirs and fisheries look out for boils and aerators. Other areas to target include inlets with water flowing in, or where water is being visibly pumped into the lake. Target these places and the trout will be nearby.

Look for oxygen rich areas - like these boils.

Look for oxygen rich areas – like these boils.

5. Keep looking – Even on a hot day a few trout will be on the feed, somewhere. Don’t waste time casting fruitlessly if nothing is happening, spend it either walking round the venue fish spotting, or gently motoring round the reservoir until you see signs of life. When you do find fish approach with stealth. An example of this is around the vast weedbeds on Rutland water – invariably a few grown on trout will always be on the prowl in such places in summer. Hard fishing but when you get one it could be a slab.

Go looking for fish - and you might get a result! Image: Rob Waddington

Go looking for fish – and you might get a result! Image: Rob Waddington

Summer Angling: How to deal with insect pests

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mosquito biting flesh

Image source: shutterstock
Mosquitos are just one of the creatures that make anglers’ lives uncomfortable…

Summer angling is a joy, but spending time on or near the water puts you in the firing line as far as insect pests are concerned. But while you can’t avoid them, you can prepare to take them on. Here’s our guide to protecting yourself from the insect onslaught.

Insect repellents

insect repellents

Image source: scoutingmagazine.org 
The choice is endless

The old saying goes that ‘prevention is better than the cure’, and anyone who’s ever been bitten by a horsefly will know just how true that is.

There are countless insect repellents on the market, but what you have to decide is whether to go down the chemical or natural route, or some combination of the two.

DEET

As far as the petrochemical industry’s offering goes, DEET is a highly effective bug repellent. Developed by the Americans following their experience of jungle warfare during WW2, it’s great for warding off mozzies. But DEET is also a neurotoxin, and some health professionals have raised safety concerns over its use.

Over 200 million people use DEET each year and if you’re fishing in Malaria infested regions it’s pretty much essential kit, but to be on the safe side, only apply it to exposed skin and never to cuts or scratches.

Nature’s way

For those of you who’d rather not lather yourselves in N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, mother nature provides some really excellent alternatives in the form of essential oils.

As a rule of thumb, take a sniff of an oil –  if it stinks it’ll probably help ward off insects. Examples include citronella, tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender oils. Simply chose one you can tolerate the smell of, or for even more of an insect impact, go for a combination.

Because essential oils are potent, they can burn the skin so never apply before first diluting with another liquid like distilled witch hazel or distilled water. Natural remedies store, G. Baldwin and Co. who’ve been trading since 1844, recommend a recipe containing no less than five different oils – surely enough to send mosquitos packing.

The commercial alternative

While we were researching the best bug deterrents, our antennae detected a buzz from Mark at North West Carp Blog, who writes:

“Having fished for such a long time now I’ve got to the stage where I’ve tried so many insect repellents I’ve actually lost count, the reason for me trying so many is that midges seem to like me….a lot!, and I suffer quite badly in the height of summer”

Mark swears by Avon Skin So Soft dry which he says is “so good as an insect repellent they actually dish it out to the armed forces”. Perhaps it’s the citronella it contains that does the trick. We love Avon Skin so Soft at the Fishtec HQ as well; it has proved it’s worth against Brecon Beacons hill midges many times over, which are a horrible pest in the summer evenings on local reservoirs.

Whatever repellent you use, do remember to wash your hands after applying it, or perhaps better still, apply it using latex gloves that you can remove before handling your fishing tackle. You don’t want to attach any unhelpful smells to your bait or fly.

Insects make a beeline for you?

swarms of mosquitos

Image source: shutterstock
Swarms of mosquitos – are they heading for your swim?

It could be that to mosquitos, you simply taste great – according to research, your attractiveness to the flying pests is 85% down to your genes – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to put them off.

The best way to avoid mosquitos is to hold your breath. Crazy as it might seem, the bugs home in on the CO2 you exhale, sniffing you out from an impressive if slightly depressing 50 metres away.

But if asphyxiating on the river bank isn’t for you, try that old favourite, Marmite. High in Thiamin, you may love or loath the sticky, yeasty goo but Mosquitos detest the smell of it. And don’t worry, there’s no smearing involved – you just need to eat it.

Avoidance

midge swarm

Image source: Sam Bradshaw
Many midges make anglers angry

If you think a few mosquitos are a pain in the proverbial, spare a thought for our angling brethren north of the border. During the early summer, plagues of midges stalk the highlands, swarming around hapless fly fishermen and turning their pleasure into a torment. Our best advice is make use of the Scottish midge forecast and steer well clear.

If you’re one of those anglers who’s happy to put their best foot forward whatever insect plagues infest the swim, then it pays to invest in some protective clothing like a mosquito head net and perhaps even invest in some insect repellent impregnated fishing clothing.

In particular, ticks are best avoided because although mostly harmless, they can sometimes carry Lyme disease, a very unpleasant infection that can prove tricky to treat if not quickly diagnosed.

Your best bet is not to wade through long grass wearing shorts and to tuck your trousers into your socks or wear your waders. A good fishing chair will also help by keeping your nether regions clear of the ground.

I’ve already been bitten

insect bites on neck

Image source: shutterstock
Buggers that bite

No bug spray or cream is 100% effective. But if you do get bitten, there’s no need to stand or sit there scratching.  Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion direct to the affected area and if you suffer a mild allergic reaction, antihistamines should do the trick but it’s always best to check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking anything.

Natural remedies like aloe vera, calendula organic cider apple vinegar and can also be effective at relieving the pain and itching of insect bites.

Insect pests are an unfortunate fact of summer fishing, but that won’t stop us grabbing our tackle boxes and heading to the nearest quiet spot next weekend. Have you had any close encounters with the UK’s biting insects? Know of any good remedies to keep the bugs at bay? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Fishing in France -The Beausoleil Carp & Catfish Experience

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Well it was that time of year again and a carp fishing holiday to France was just around the corner; with a just week to go it was time to double check the fishing tackle and get everything ready for the trip to France, including checking essentials like a GB magnet for the car, alcohol tester, headlight deflectors and hi-viz vest – all these are a legal requirement when traveling to France, so make sure you bring them!

The week had just flown by and the car was packed to the brim with all the fishing gear needed. Our route was via Portsmouth to Caen, with a 125-mile drive to our destination, a lake called Beausoleil, near a small town of Le Pertre which was in the Mayenne region of France.

Beausoleil Lake in the stunning French countryside.

Beausoleil Lake in the stunning French countryside.

After a long journey through lovely French countryside, myself and fishing pal Bo’ arrived at the lake. We were met by the owners Matt and Ren who welcomed us to the venue and showed us into the house.

The house at Beausoleil lake

The house at Beausoleil lake.

After Ren’s quick tour of the accommodation,  Matt took us on a visit round the lake. We started from points A, B and C and worked our way around the water. It was a really helpful tour, as Matt talked us through each swim and all their features. It’s always good to keep your eyes peeled on the walk around a new venue and make notes of what you see as this can lead to banked fish. On the tour I spotted a few feeding fish about forty yards in front of the dam end of the lake. When we walked over the bridge to the island we spooked a lot of big carp that were in the shallows, in front of the home swim and another mental note was made!

Beausoleil Lake Map

Beausoleil Lake Map.

We headed back to the house to be faced with the task of unloading the car and putting everything ready for the start on Sunday morning as we had decided to just chill out with some food and a few beers for the first night followed by a few games of pool as there was a cracking table on site.

Sunday morning was here and we got some breakfast and a coffee before going to the swims to set up for the week, Bo had decided to fish from the big double swim so I had decided to fish from point B and this also gave me the option of putting a rod in point A and C if I wanted too.

Bo's Large double swim

Bo’s Large double swim.

So we got on with the set up and made sure everything was ready for the week, I had put one rod out and moved it around a few times just to try and pick up an early fish from a random spot, until I had sorted the main areas I wanted to fish.

Bo’s rods were out and he was waiting for his first take – he didn’t have to wait long as his middle rod which was placed on a hard spot in the middle of the lake took off, and he was in. I think this rod had only been out about forty minutes and he was playing a lump, it was a catfish and it was giving him a good battle. He did have a dedicated catfish rod but as you have guessed, it never goes to plan and it was on his TF Gear 2.75 test curve carp rod!

He played the cat for about thirty minutes and couldn’t believe his eye’s as the fish just came up like a submarine and he managed to slip the net under her, he was over the moon as his PB cat before this one was about 13lb. I was on my way round to help him weigh the fish, which was 74lb – 6oz and it was now time for some pictures of the beast before slipping her back in to the lake. This was a good start and hopefully plenty more to come.

Bo's 74lb-6oz catfish

Bo’s 74lb-6oz catfish.

I finally got back to my swim and finished getting everything set up, before casting out I decided to have a quick chuck around with the FishSpy underwater camera and found some really good areas despite the murky water. The first area I found was a nice clear gravel spot tight to the island under an over hang which was for my middle rod, the second spot I found was for the catfish rod and this was a soft silty area on the far bank to the left of catfish corner for my left rod, the third spot was in the shallows to my right where I didn’t need to do any marker work. This rod was going to fish a chod rig, as I had already seen fish crashing in this area so I knew where the bait was going.

I started to bait up these spots, beginning with the island and decided to use a mix of the two boilies I had with me cranberry and trigga blue in sizes 16mm, 18mm and 20mm, I also used some particles which were mixed seeds and maize. Then I moved on to the catfish spot, which was baited up with mixed pellets from halibut to shrimp and krill in sizes 12mm to 22mm I also added in some of the boilies as well. The last one will be the shallow bay to my right and all I would do to start with was scatter about eighty of the two types of boilies over a large area just to keep the carp there and keep them confident and feeding; the areas were now ready and all they needed now were the rigs.

My first rod out was the chod rig with a very buoyant 20mm cranberry pop up which had been in the dip for around three weeks.

Next up was the island spot and I used a running rig system which I will explain about a bit later on, hook length was a ten inch Korda N-Trap semi stiff 30lb link in gravel with a Korda krank size 4 hook, I had taken back about two inches of the coating at the hook end to allow the bait to move freely. Bait used on this one was the Trigga Blue bottom bait in 18mm and this was taken out in the bait boat along with a mix of boilies, mixed seed and maize as I wanted this one tight to the island under the overhang of a tree.

Then finally the catfish rod, again with a running rig system and I used ten inches of Kryston Ton-up with a Cox & Rawle Chinu size 1/0 hook, attached to this were four boilies 2x 20mm cranberry and 2x 20mm trigga blue. I also put this out with the bait boat with a mix of pellets and boilies, I also used the TF Gear long handled baiting spoon to spread some more of the same baits over a larger area to try and attract the catfish in.

The running rig set up was a cog system but with a twist as I had the cog flat distance three ounce lead with the cog attachment number 4 which is for the three ounce flat pear lead. First of all, put the tubing on which is a metre of Nash cling on tungsten tubing and then the lead, followed by the Korda run rig rubber and then tied on a Korda cog system no.4 which I would then attach a hooklength to. The twist was that it was a running rig cog system which works like a dream, but for this lake you had to lightly push the swivel into the rubber on the lead other wise these fish would use the lead to dump the hook and get away without you even knowing about it. With the lead pushed in lightly it meant that the first shake from the fish dropped the lead and then straight to free running and the fish wouldn’t know what to do so bolted every time.

My swim - ready for action.

My swim – ready for action.

All the rods set and ready for a take, so it was time to sit back relax and take in all the surroundings. A few hours passed and at 9.20pm on the Sunday I had a screaming take on the right hand rod as the line just peeled of the spool, I lifted the rod and I was into a hard fighting fish, the fight went on for about fifteen or twenty minutes and the carp finally surfaced, I managed to slip the net under her and she was mine. I looked into the net and couldn’t believe my eye as I knew I had a new PB, after weighing the fish I was ecstatic as my first fish banked weighed in at 37lb-02oz and now it was time for some pictures before I slipped her back to the depths of the lake, then put the rod back out for another fish.

37lb 2oz

Simon with cracking 37lb 2oz mirror.

Time for a brew as all the excitement was over for now, I thought I would pass some time by tying a couple of new rigs and nodded off in the chair. I was woken by another screaming take again on the right hand rod at 12.40am early hours of Monday morning, I was into another hard fighting fish but unfortunately a few minutes into the fight and the hook pulled, I was gutted so checked everything on the rig and all seemed fine, so before putting the rod back out I sharpened the hook again and put a fresh bait on. I also spread another eighty baits back in the area before bedding down for the night.

Monday morning was here and I was woken at 7.15am by another one toner, again the line was just ripping off the spool and I scrambled out of the sleeping bag lifted the rod, once again was into yet another hard fighting fish, after about fifteen minutes I had the fish in front of me and it was just moving from left to right keeping deep but after another five minutes the carp surfaced took a gulp of air and was ready for netting. I looked at another lump but not quite as big as the first one but still a thirty as she went 32lb-14oz, all the fish so far had fallen to the chod rig with a 20mm cranberry pop up and I was over the moon because I had three takes in the first night so was looking forward to an awesome week.

32lb 14oz - nice wake up call at 7.15am!!

32lb 14oz – nice wake up call at 7.15am!!

It’s been a lovely sunny day and I’ve seen a few fish moving but nothing on the bank, evening was here and the rods are out so time to sit back and wait for a bite. It was about 10pm and I had a few beeps on the catfish rod so thought I would take a closer look and nothing happened again, so I went back to the bivvy. Another forty minutes passed by and the alarm started beeping again and line slowly started coming off the spool this time so I lifted into the fish and the rod doubled over, I was into a large catfish which started to move very quickly to my right but I only had the catfish on for about ten minutes and the hook pulled, I was gutted and couldn’t work out why the hook wasn’t set properly, so could only put the rod back out to try and get another take from a cat.

Essential fish care gear.

Essential fish care gear.

Nothing else happened that night, Tuesday morning arrived so it was time to wind the rods in and go for some breakfast then to the supermarket to get some supplies for the rest of the week. We got back for about mid day and put the rods out for a few hours before going to sort food for the evening, the rods had been out for a couple of hours or so and the right hand rod took off again – I was into yet another fish with a right battle on my hands. The fish was trying to get to the oxygen pump that was in the lake but I managed to stop the fish from getting to it, the fish was now in front of me just moving from left to right again just holding bottom and I couldn’t get the fish to the surface, the fish then started to move hard to the right so I put some side strain on and the hook pulled. This was the second hook pull on the chod rig so it was time to think of something else because I didn’t want this to happen again!

Before I put the rod back out it was time to sort a new rig out and I decided to use the cog running rig with a hinge stiff link for my hook length, the hinged stiff link was made up from a six-inch section of Korda N-trap semi stiff in 30lb and a three to four inch chod link with a size four chod hook, I used some putty on the ring below the swivel of the chod link to keep the boilie from lifting to far off the lakebed as I only wanted it three to four inches off. All ready to go back out but it was time for the evening meal and a few beers then back to it.

I was back at the swim after food and had put all the rods out for the night, with all traps ready to try and trip up another fish it was time to make some more hinged stiff rigs for back up and then chill out for a bit before bedding down for the night. Wednesday was here and everything was really quiet through the night, not even a single beep from the alarms so time to change the baits on each rod and get them back out for a few hours before breakfast. Whilst sitting and watching the lake the fish looked like they were starting to get ready for spawning as the water temperature was about right, also some movement about thirty to forty foot out in front of the island caught my attention, it was the tail of a catfish popping out of the water and the fish must have been feeding so I made a note of this one so I could put a bait there later in the day. Time had come for breakfast so I headed over to the house to meet Bo and we got started with it, we chilled out for a few hours at the house to rest the swims as it’s good to keep the rods out of the water from time to time, especially on a pressured venue.

Tranquility in the French countryside.

Tranquility in the French countryside – perfect place to chill.

Later that afternoon after resuming fishing I was just about to get up off my chair and wind the rods in for evening grub when my alarms started beeping and swinger slowly started moving up. This was the rod I put out for the catfish I had seen this morning-  the line started pulling off the reel so I lifted in to it, the rod doubled over I felt a head shake from the fish and it just turned and made off with about eighty yards of line across the lake.

There was no stopping this fish as it was not happy at all, it made about four to five unstoppable runs and at one point tried getting behind the island but with a lot of side strain and Bo getting out in the boat to slap the surface of the water with an oar, I managed to turn the fish.  This battle went on for about forty minutes and the fish still had lots to give, we tried netting the fish a couple of times but the fish was keeping her tail down which made it really awkward to do. In the end Bo gave up with the net, and simply grabbed the bottom of her mouth and held on tight! I got the mat sorted and we both pulled the fish up onto the mat. This was another big cat but I wasn’t sure if it was a new PB for me, after weighing the fish she went 73lb–12oz just slightly smaller than Bo’s cat and as I had guessed not a new PB for me this time but still a lump of a fish, I was really happy with the result! After some pictures of her and also getting wet for some water shots, she went back to the depths to fight another day.

73lb 12oz catfish water shot

73lb 12oz catfish – water shot.

That evening I changed two rods around and put the catfish rod in the middle of the lake and took the one off the island to put half way between my swim and catfish corner, about twelve foot off the bank as I had seen a carp top there when I got back to the swim. With all the rods set just as the light had gone it was time to just sit back and wait for another take.

There was no action until I was woken by a screaming run early hours of Thursday morning about 4am, I lifted the rod into a fish which fought hard from the off. The fight went on for about twenty-five minutes; the fish surfaced so I took my chance and netted the carp. I weighed the fish which went 28lb on the nose, not the biggest fish of the trip but a stunning looking specimen, one which Matt had named Dark Night.

Dark Knight at 28lb

Dark Knight at 28lb.

Nothing happened through Thursday at all, but I was woken early hours of Friday morning at about 3.15am to a screaming alarm, the right rod was off again. This fish didn’t seem to be fighting very hard to start with but five minutes into the battle the fish soon woke up eventually the carp was in the net; I had bagged myself another thirty going 33lb on the nose. This fish was taken on the new rig I had tied to replace the chod rig, the fish was nailed in the bottom lip so I was well happy with that. After a few pictures I put the carp back and had a quick cuppa with Bo before going back to bed for a few hours.

33lb cracker at 3.15am

33lb cracker at 3.15am.

Well Friday passed and Saturday morning came around too quickly with no more fish for Bo or myself. It was finally time to tackle the rods down and get the car packed ready for the journey home to the UK, Matt and Ren turned up about 9.30am, we sat down with them to go through all the pictures we had and chatted over a cuppa before we had to say our good byes.

All I can say is what an awesome venue with quality fish which is well looked after and what a lovely couple to be the hosts, you really couldn’t ask for anything more. This will definitely be one venue I will be visiting in the near future and one I would recommend to others.

For information on carp fishing Beausoleil visit their website here.

Bo, Ren, Matt and Myself - what a trip!

Bo, Ren, Matt and Myself – what a trip!