While humans spend money on fishing tackle to bring home the catch, here we take a look at the finest fishing equipment money can’t buy.
Fishing tackle straight from nature.
Just like a 19th century able seaman armed with a British naval cutlass, a sword fish uses its proboscis to hack and slash its prey into submission. But the swordfish’s best bit of natural fishing equipment is speed.
As a 60mph swimmer, the swordfish is one of the fastest fish in the world. Although overfished – restrictions on long lining in coastal areas have helped to bring about an upsurge in swordfish numbers in those areas.
Catching one can be a risky business though, and there are reports of swordfish having smashed their way through the planking of small boats.
These eight armed denizens of the deep feast on fish, worms and crabs.
Their sharp parrot-like beak is the only hard part of their body and they use this to drill into hard shelled prey. Octopus saliva is paralysing – one nip is enough to immobilise a fish long enough for it to be devoured alive.
Octopi are truly amazing creatures. They have three hearts, blue blood and are so intelligent they’ve been known to break into fishing boats to steal the catch.
There’s no need for a fishing rod and reel when your body is a fish stunning machine.
Twin batteries on either side of the electric ray’s brain can deliver a pulse equivalent to the power released by dropping an electric hairdryer in the bath. That’s more than enough juice to incapacitate your average fish.
Electric rays were long thought to be magical creatures and were used by the ancient Greeks to numb the pain of childbirth. So there you have it – grateful mothers popularised the name Ray. (I made that last part up).
Who needs fishing tackle when you have a mouth that holds up to ninety tonnes of water and food?
Blue whales – the biggest creature on earth – guzzle up to three and half tonnes of krill in a single day. The longest blue whale ever recorded was a staggering 110 ft in length, but despite its enormous size, sadly the creature is no match for man. Before the introduction in 1966 of a total ban on hunting – blue whales had become virtually extinct.
Now numbers are thought to be hovering around the 5,000 – 12,000 mark. A far cry from the quarter of a million thought to have existed before the introduction of commercial whaling.
Over 20 ft long, teeth as sharp as razors and with serrated edges, a top speed of around 25 mph and a liking for the taste of blood – here’s one apex predator.
Great whites feast on other fish, dolphins, seals, sea turtles and birds. But if you think Great Whites are a man eating killing machine in the same vein as Speilberg’s ‘Jaws’, think again.
This shark is a discerning feeder. It selects its prey carefully before ambushing it from below in a single devastating attack. Big sharks go for high fat marine mammals – so you’ll be fine – probably.
The sea fish that comes closest to using fishing tackle, the deep sea angler fish makes use of a lighted proboscis mounted on its forehead to lure fish within reach.
Its ingenious fleshy fishing rod can be moved in all directions, allowing the fish to jiggle its light like a lure. When our intrepid angler snaps its gaping jaw shut, long needle like, inward pointing teeth skewer the prey.
There’s no escape from there. Angler fish have dislocatable jaws and distending stomachs and can swallow prey up to twice their own length.
Today’s fishing tackle box is full to the brim with bright, garish things that wriggle, sparkle, spin and bob.
Electronic bite alarms inform us of the lightest nibble, and the technology of the space race keeps us warm and dry on the bank and in the bivvy. But what of times past – gentler days when fishing tackle was truly inspired by nature.
Here we take a look at fishing equipment, vintage style.
The best cane rods are still made from Tonkin cane, hand planed, whipped with silk thread and varnished to perfection. To buy a new one will cost at least a few hundred pounds and easily a lot more than that.
Cane rods take a bit of looking after too. Stored badly they can warp, and varnish may crack if a rod is exposed to too much heat. But the bottom line is, nothing casts quite like a cane fly rod. And well maintained, you’ll only ever need to buy the one.
Good value when you look at it like that.
A traditional landing net is made from ash, bamboo and knotless mesh. As with many items of traditional fishing equipment, the production process is long, labour intensive and produces a stunning end product.
Take straight grained ash, drill it, steam it and bend it around a former. Now wait up to six weeks before immersing the wood in a preservative for a further week. In the meantime, you can be busy straightening and heat treating the bamboo handle and hand dying the net. When the thing is complete, it will retail for upwards of £400.
A rich man’s luxury for sure, but a beautiful object nonetheless.
Keep fish fresh and cool the old fashioned way. A willow creel should be lined with moss then dipped in the river to wet it.
When you catch a fish, simply pop it in the top and let evaporation do the rest. No need for ice or cool blocks – nature works best. There are still a few basket makers constructing creels for anglers, but why not make one yourself?
A basket weaving course at your local adult education college and you’ll be away.
Quill, reed, balsa and cork are the building blocks, nature provides. Handmade floats are an art in themselves and every bit as beautiful as exquisite hand tied flies.
What better camouflage can there be for a float than that provided by the use of entirely natural materials? In our throw away society we can sometimes forget to cherish our belongings, but if you own a handmade float and you’ll still be looking after it long after its plastic equivalents have bitten the dust.
Centre pin reel
Few things beat the simplicity of a centre pin reel. And yet fishing with one requires time to master the art of the drag free drift.
This is fishing stripped to its bare essentials. You’ll experience your fair share of tangles when your reel over spins but the payoff in terms of developing that all important feel will make you a much better fisherman in the long run.
The oldies aren’t always the best, but fishing a vintage fly pattern is something of a homage to times past, and a nod to some angling greats. It can be fun to have a crack at fishing the old way using natural materials.
An unsuccessful trip with the Dover Sea Angling Association Team to fish the World Club Championships at Grandola in Portugal set me back on my heels a tad. Its not often I fish a match and do so badly – in fact despite a section win for two team members all five of the team suffered at least one bad day and over the four day match we only managed to finish 14th. Now considering there were 18 teams that’s pretty horrendous and I offer no excuses except to say that maybe we concentrated on casting distance too much and used too heavy hook snood line. Winners were Spain who fished for garfish in the edge and that proved the most consistent method, although more spectacular was the results of long casting in terms of individual anglers and catches of mullet, mackerel and trigger fish.
The good thing is that the team learned a lot and expressed the thought that they should have done what Wales did, they finished fifth, and practised for the week previous to the Championships. Best performance of the event in my opinion was from Belgium who took the bronze medal behind Portugal’s silver. Belgium fish fairly light and small at home, but they did adapt to the finesse required fishing the Portuguese Atlantic beaches. Eye opening is just how fine in terms of line you can go when using a fixed spool and continental style beachcaster, I coarse fish a lot and am used to carping with light lines, but I used 0.20mm mainline and 0.18mm snood line and others went finer than that. For me it was a glimpse into the future of UK beachcasting and already at home we can see the beginning of the fishing light revolution in LRF and fishing Continental beach style. OK the main drive towards fishing with light line, small hooks and soft fishing rods in the UK is the decline of the fish stocks, BUT it allows anglers to enjoy the sport and the small species the commercials have left us! In Portugal catching mackerel on light gear is a skill and it should be the same here with the species given more regard. Forget the feathering hoards and mackerel madness, one mackerel at a time at long range on pop ups and size 6 hooks on 0.14mm line is a terrific way to match fish and I can’t wait for someone, or an innovative club to run a mackerel, bait only with no jigging match, from a UK beach in summer.
Talking about line diameter- the only way to be sure about a line is by measuring its diameter – My measurements reveal that lots of the so called stronger lines are simply thicker!!
Now I am off to Sardinia for the Magrina Championships, which is a major Italian event. The same light line tactics apply and I am trained up so to speak and expect to do better. But match fishing is a continuous learning curve even for an old hand like me and its full of shocking surprises, especially for those that think they know it all!
At last some smoothhound and bass showing in my region, the crabs are peeling and perhaps now we can get back to thoughts of summer – The lure rod is in the car for those opportunistic night tides when the sea is calm, single mackerel on a spinner or plug are fun, but a schoolie bass is better! I have a few rock marks I can creep around when the conditions are still and clear and the light is low enough just to see. Its grab the TF Gear bum bag and hit that short “deadly” window at dawn or dusk that is most likely to produce a take!
Finally the weather has turned and spring has arrived, the fish have come out of winter mode and are now on the move. For a few weeks I’ve been looking for a venue (not too far away) that holds some big, good looking carp. After searching the web a friend put me on to Bears Lake in Burton upon Trent. Before any successful fishing trip you must research a water, going blind into something you don’t know usually means you’ll fall flat on your face so I and a friend went up to Bears for a recce and managed to get a few works in with the local bailiff who was more than helpful.
A week later we decided to take the carp fishing rods and venture back to Burton Upon Trent to try our hand at the Bears carp. Despite our efforts throughout the day we both drew a blank. I took the opportunity of our dire performance to walk around the lake, searching for any feeding activity and talking to the local anglers who seemed to be netting a few fish. After a few laps of the lake I was certain I’d found a few feeding fish and was confident that with the right tackle and approach I could get them.
A fortnight passed and I managed get some time to get out on the bank. On the Thursday morning the weather was relatively similar to that of the day we fished previously, so I took the 40 mile round trip to have another look around the lake and check on the fish I found previous, pre baiting some of the spots in mind.
As Bears Lakes is a day ticket and members waters, baiting one swim a couple of days previous could lead to disaster, so managed to pre bait three spots as I couldn’t be certain of the peg I wanted. When I arrived at the lake the sun was beaming down and the carp where all over the surface, I walked around to the first peg I fancied and a mid-teen swam straight in front of me and into the tree that overhangs that peg. I scattered around half a kilo of cell boilies hoping that they would feed and hold up under the tree. After waiting and watching the pre baited peg, I made my way around the lake and places some free offerings into another two spots. These other two spots held some fish, but nothing could keep my mind from that first peg.
After work that Friday evening I arrived back at the lake and was greeted with an almost free lake, other than the two bailiffs that were fishing. Fortunately the peg I wanted was free. Jordan (one of the bailiffs) informed me there had been fish all around that peg all day. After a quick look at the peg I couldn’t see any sign of the fish he’d mentioned, so I wandered around to the next peg and was astonished to see twenty or more carp in and around the tree!
To say I was excited is an understatement, I chose to set up on the peg, fortunutaly it was one I’d pre baited, and keep an eye on any feeding activity. Tactics wise my aim was to sporadically draw the fish from the far side of the tree rather than fishing over them and risk spooking the lot. After putting a some more boilies into the swim I set up both of my TF Gear Delta 3.25lb carp rods. On one rod I used my faithful fluorocarbon rig on a TF Gear weedy green lok down leader and a cell boilie on a hair rig. I positioned this right next to the tree, ahead of where the fish were mooching and heading towards. The second carp rod was set up with a solid bag which incorporated another weedy green lok down leader a size 8 wide gape hook and a Fluoro cell pop up, all of which I intended to throw out into open water, in case of any stragglers.
At 7pm, just an hour or so after pitching the rods and bait, the bobbin shot up and the bite alarm sounded. A beautiful Tench of around 4lb picked up the fluorocarbon rig next to the tree. After a quick snap I re-positioned my rod in that exact area, hoping to locate something bigger and carpier!
As the night grew on there were no other indications of bites, the fish I saw earlier seemed to be dormant, and so I climbed into my Force 8 sleeping bag hoping to get some shut eye. After the tench I doubted my chances of catching off the tree again as I thought any fish under there would have been spooked. At 11pm id dropped off for an hour so only to be woken by one of my alarms. I ran and picked up my right hand rod which was the same one that done the damage earlier on that evening and there was no movement; my first thought is that it had done me in the snags. I give the rod a few pulls and then I felt a fish pull back hard, it tried to pull me back into the tree but luckily my Delta XS out powered it and the fish slowly but surly come unstuck. The fish started to pull out into the deep margins and kept down, I was not scared of a hook pull as the nice progressive action of the rod cushioned all over the lunges.
A few minutes later I managed to tempt a gorgeous mirror over the landing net. I threw a clenched fist into the air with joy and Paul, the resident bailiff come with a helping hand. We pictured the 17lb 7oz fish then let it go, a beautiful fish to start my frequent carp fishing spell at Bears.
Bears Lake is noted for being a tough lake to fish and I was proud to net this magnificent fish. I continued to fish until 5pm on the Saturday with no more success but I managed to wander the lake to find a couple of areas where the fish were laying up, until next time, tight Lines!
Why not try your luck in one of our Facebook competitions? You could just net yourself something decent!
We’ve decided to offer our Facebook fans a great opportunity to WIN over £1000 worth of fishing tackle! All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is:
Sign into Facebook > Go to one of the following Facebook pages > Like the Page > Share our competition!
To enter click here: Fishtec Coarse Fishing Facebook Page
For the Coarse and Carp anglers, we’re offering 3 sets of 3 TF Gear Project X carp rods, a new product we have recently launched and introduced to our range.
What’s so good about the Project X carp rods?
Each model combines raw power with subtle playing actions. Not only will you enjoy extra casting distance, you will benefit from the highest quality carbon construction, unrivalled balance and incredible sensitivity.
Delivering all the qualities and specification demanded from a top of the range carp rod, the Project X offers you the opportunity to experience superior accuracy, unmatched fish control and the versatility of a truly special rod.
To enter click here: Fishtec Fly Fishing Facebook Page
There’s been much speculation to how good the new Airflo Super-Dri Fly Line are, so we’ve offered 10 super-dri lines to ten of our lucky Facebook followers! If you like Fishtec Fly on Facebook, share the competition image to be entered into the draw!
About the Super-Dri Fly Line
The SuperDri technology has been developed for the serious floating line angler, featuring a friction reducing coating which lets the line glide through the rod rod rings and adds yards to your cast. The SuperDri’s coating gives you unparalleled floatation with the ability to repel water, dirt and surface scum better than any material in the history of fly lines.
To enter click here: Fishtec Sea Fishing Facebook Page
With plenty of fishing coming back into the shorelines and some monster Cod out in the deeps, what’s better than being able to catch these fish on a brand new multiplier reel? We’re offering 3 TF Gear Force 8 reels to three lucky Facebook fans!
About the Force 8 Reel
The TF Gear Force8 reels are designed and manufactured utilising the very latest CNC engineering and highest grade materials to create what we believe are without question the finest sea fishing reels available today. Tested and developed by top sea angler, Alan Yates, we can say these reels have been tested in some of the harshest conditions, and will confidently reel in almost anything you can stick a hook in!
Ever caught a specimen carp? You may feel the need to mark the achievement – but how?
A new carp rod? A framed photo of you and your catch? Or a traditional carp tattoo!
Before you choose a lasting momento of your amazing carp catch, take a look at the myths, meanings and mysteries of traditional Koi carp art.
Meaning of Koi
In Japanese, the meaning of the word ‘koi’ is simply ‘carp’, and in the past would have referred to all wild and cultivated specimens.
Over the years though, the meaning has changed. Now the Japanese use the word Koi to describe the ornamental fish found in ponds, and Nishikigoi – brocaded carp – for the most brightly coloured varieties.
The Koi or Carp is famous in Japan and China for its ability to swim upstream. Tattoos of Carp therefore represent perseverance, determination and battles against adversity. The positioning of the tattoo is also important. A fish swimming down the body indicates that the individual is going through hard times. A Koi swimming upwards denotes a person who has already broken through barriers and overcome difficulties.
Ancient Chinese legend tells of Carp swimming up the Yellow River, and that any Koi who succeeds in jumping up the falls at Dragon Gate is transformed into a water dragon.
In this respect, Koi have become synonymous with worldly advancement, riches and prosperity – another reason for the popularity of the design in tattooing.
Carp are said to be so brave that when caught by fishermen, unlike lesser fish that flap and try to escape, the carp lies still on the chopping board, awaiting the knife without so much as a quiver. In this way, Koi Carp are connected to the ideals of courage long associated with Samurai warriors.
With all these positive associations, perhaps it should come as no surprise that in Japan, the Koi Carp is the emblem of the Boys’ Day Festival.
Celebrated on May 5th, this ancient feast is marked by pennants representing Carp, one for each of the boys in the family; the biggest for the eldest son and so on to the youngest.
Carp are a central part of the festival – their strength, bravery and determination an inspiration for Japan’s youth, and integral to promoting qualities of manliness.
So there you have it – beautiful tattoos, expensive goldfish, a symbol of masculinity; when all is said and done, a reason to get outdoors and enjoy some fishing!
Once upon a time, local knowledge was a closely guarded secret.
But now fishing wisdom accumulated through the ages is available via the super computer in your pocket. Thereby turning anyone with a rod, fishing reel and smartphone into an expert.
Here is our guide to some of the best fishing apps out there, helping you to harness technology and keep reeling ‘em in.
This clever iPhone app tells you where to fish, which species to target and even suggests what tackle setup to use.
It combines several key factors impacting on fish feeding and set up patterns, to produce what they think will be a winning strategy. As well as that, the weather forecast and phases of the moon are integrated with expertise provided by angling experts, meaning you need never think for yourself again!
Every day you’ll get three different fishing options that best match the conditions, together with advice about rigs, baits and tactics.
Priced at £2.99, we feel sorry for the fish.
A comprehensive resource for sea anglers, What Fish boasts a 164 fish strong identification index. Whilst the app will help you to correctly identify your catch, it is much more than just a fish identification tool. You’ll also be able to access useful information such as minimum catch size, specimen shore and boat weights. Detailed maps show where target fish are likely to be swimming.
Add to that suggestions about baits and rigs that work best from different locations such as shore, boat and kayak. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are even recipes so that you can cook your catch to perfection when you get home.
An impressive amount of info for £1.99 and available for both iPhone and Android.
A wealth of information for anglers, you can use this app to save time locating the perfect fishery. Using your phone’s GPS, no matter where you are, you’ll be able to see where the fishing spots are in your area. Better yet, they’re rated so you won’t waste valuable angling time trying to find a decent spot.
The data on offer is comprehensive – with over 2,800 coarse and game venues listed. You can also access the five day weather forecast and lunar calendar and interact with other coarse and game fishing enthusiasts. This encyclopedic app also includes over 1,000 fishing tackle shops.
A serious amount of knowledge to keep in your pocket with member deals and discounts to boot. £1.99 from iTunes.
Carp Lake Maps
Ideal for those crossing the channel to France in search of specimen carp, this app offers clear maps that detail features of lake beds, to help you maximise your strike rate. Whilst it doesn’t have a vast number of lakes as of yet, there is plenty of scope for future inclusions.
Bought individually, the maps would total £54 but the phone app costs just £2.99 and is available to iPhone and Android platforms. Bargain! So if you’re likely to fish any of the locations featured it surely makes sense to download the app. If you’re a keen angler and want to see some new features, Carplakes are looking for new suggestions to add.
A favourite with us, wreckfinder has been developed by Cornish company, App Future, to help anglers and divers locate wrecks at sea. Data from the UK Hydrographic Office is integrated with Google maps to give the location of 12,000 wrecks in UK and Irish coastal waters. And you don’t even need to have a phone signal to use it either, as all the locations are downloaded with the app.
Where possible additional information about the wreck is included and all co-ordinates can be input into other electronic navigational aids. Your phone’s GPS also gives your location in relation to the wreck sites in your sea area.
A great concept and one we’re sure will be a hit with sea anglers everywhere.
£3.99 and available for iPhone and Android.
Found a fishing app that you think is a star performer? Why not let us know so we can review it?
Angry Birds took the APP world on smart phones and tablets by storm just after it’s launch back in December 2009. In the game, players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs stationed on or within various structures, with the intent of destroying all the pigs on the playing field. As players advance through the game, new types of birds become available, some with special abilities that can be activated by the player. Since then, more levels and games have been added, frustrating and entertaining people for the past two or more years. The APP was created by Rovio, a Finnish computer games developer.
Over the last few months Rapala and Angry Birds products have created a new series of fishing equipment which has been designed to entice beginners to pick up a fishing rod and give them an easy and fun way to learn. Providing items such as fishing poles, fishing tackle bags and lure boxes, Angry birds have their game faces set on plunging into the fishing sector!
These lures have been specifically designed to fish in their own unique ways, allowing the newbie or seasoned angler to identify easily what lure to use in any fishing situation. The DT Fat Bomb, pictured above, is a specifically designed and finely tuned weapon to fish the shallower parts of the lake for the more predatory fish. Fish with your rod tip high in the air, use a lazy retrieve and keep your eyes open for any subsurface action as this lure, lures any awaiting predators.
See more Angry Bird Fishing Tackle Products here!