Angling for disaster

fisherman in small boat with shark

Image source: Andrea Crisante/ Shutterstock
You’re going to need a bigger boat…

Cast your line, sit back in that comfortable chair and breathe in the taste of tranquility as you settle in for another rewarding day of fishing.

Ahh … the sun’s shining, the birds are singing and it’s about as idyllic as it gets.

What could possibly go wrong?

Sealed with a kiss (asbonline)

You won’t believe it! You’ve just caught the biggest fish of your life and are posing proudly for the photograph to show your friends — and then this happens.

We may be top of the food chain, but take your eye of the prize for one minute and there are plenty of smart movers waiting to strike. Outfished!

Bacon butty cast off (Buddy Stump)

Be sure to clean the grease off your hands after eating that bacon butty. There’s a technique to casting, and this isn’t it. Doh!

You may well have been fishing for years, but it’s always useful to freshen up on your casting technique. Michelangelo at Fly Fishing Discounters tells us:

“Fly casting is an art form. Your fly rod is the brush, The fly reel holds the line like an artist’s palette holds his paints. And the fly line is his paint.”

In your face (BlacktipH )

Experienced fisherman, Joshua Jorgensen of BlacktipH Fishing, gets a nasty surprise when trying to land a monster fish out at sea. Top marks to him for staying cool and not turning this video into a raging fishing reel. That’s a nasty injury too.

Goliath strike (Gimbb14)

Good luck can turn rotten in seconds. You’re stoked after landing a 4ft-long shark and it looks like a satisfying day’s fishing. But then the Goliath Grouper turns up and dead shark hits the fan.

After such bad luck there’s only one way to soothe your disappointment and that’s going back out to fish for Goliath Groupers. The question is: Are you up to the job of catching a fish that can weigh as much as 800 pounds? Jamie Hibbert at Fishing Blog says:

“As a result of how heavy the Goliath Grouper can get when it fully matures, it is important to consider getting a strong fishing rod.”

Sharpshooter fisherman targets drone (Life Generation)

How would you react if a noisy drone was disturbing your fish? You’ll be amazed at what this maverick angler does. A bad day’s fishing becomes a bad day’s droning. The noise of that mechanical fly was scaring away the fish, so this one’s a victory for the anglers.

Slipping with sharks (Fish Pelagic)

Whoops! This really isn’t the thing to do when handling a shark, though to be fair, this fisherman doesn’t seem to bothered. Super confident with sharks or just stupid — we’re not sure.

The Shark Trust’s, Shark Handling Guide states,

“If possible, release the shark from the side of the boat, only inboard a fish when absolutely necessary.”

There are many ways to spoil a day by the water – we’ve seen just a few here. What has ruined your angling trips? Tell us what happened on our Facebook page.

How to win the Classic Catch competition

Have you sent in your picture for the Fishtec Classic Catch competition yet? If you’re still biding your time, we’ve got some hints for you!

We did share some slightly more technical tips a while ago, but here are some ideas based on submissions readers have made.

We’ve noticed that some entries are better than others, so let’s look at what works and what doesn’t for entrants after our monthly grand prize (it’s £150 worth of Fishtec tackle, so it’s not to be sniffed at…). No-one expects Magnum quality pictures, but there are some tried and tested techniques.

1 – Have a great catch to display

August’s winner Ryan Jones sent in a fantastic vote-hooking picture. His fish is beautiful, and the picture is framed well. Ryan’s obviously delighted with the catch (and he’s claimed his prize of a TF Gear soundwave alarm set already!)

Ryan Jones river wye pike

PB 26lb River Wye pike. First time out on the river last year.

2 – Good lighting is vital

John Lewis also has a fine catch. His picture is well-lit, and the fish, like Ryan’s, is in full view – you can clearly see the size of the catch, and again, John’s face is a picture of happy angling:

John Lewis Smooth hound

A 9lb smooth-hound caught on a pulley rig loaded up with squid as bait, Morfa Beach, S. Wales.

3 – Use the scenery around you

Fiona Guest’s picture is not only of a beautiful catch, held by a delighted angler, it’s also set in some stunning scenery. Classic catch pictures are all about the fish, but framing it with some lush countryside is never going to hurt:

Fiona salmon The River Tay

Fiona’s first salmon on The River Tay. 10lb caught on Vision 110.

4 – Show us the whole fish

Lee Ashton’s 15lb rainbow is a beauty for sure – but the picture loses a little in composition. The tail’s chopped off, and we can’t revel in the full glory of the catch. Give us just a little bit more, Lee!

15lb rainbow

Lee Ashcroft 15lbs rainbow, CDs black daddy

5 – Show us the whole angler!

Richard James is proud of his catch – and rightly so. If only we could see all of the fisherman as well as the fish. Watch out for chopped off heads, and make sure you’re not scalped in your photo!

richard james 10 and a half pound sturgeon at Kingsnordley Farm Quatt, Bridgnorth Shropshire

richard james 10 and a half pound sturgeon at Kingsnordley Farm Quatt, Bridgnorth Shropshire

6 – Having a good angle is helpful

This picture from Stan Tear shows him happily displaying a catch from his local fishery – but we can’t really see the fish very clearly. Display your fish side-on to the camera, and we’ll be able to appreciate your efforts much more easily.

Stan Tear - I caught this at my local fishery, literally 50 yards from my house. It's not a whopper but fishing for me is about relaxing and not all about monster fish.

Stan Tear – I caught this at my local fishery, 50 yards from my house. Not a whopper but fishing for me is about relaxing, not all about monster fish.

7 – A fresh catch always makes a better picture!

Ian Swindlehurst may have had a fine waterside duel with this fish, but by the time it makes it to the kitchen door, your haul isn’t going to be looking its best. Freshly caught live fish will always make for a better picture – and if you snap it as soon as it’s caught, you’ll capture the excitement of fishing as it’s happening.

This is my Uncle Ian Swindlehurst with his catch!

This is my Uncle Ian Swindlehurst with his catch!

You should now have all the knowledge you need to take the ideal catch photo. Remember to think about your composition, lighting and how you display your catch – but if you have any other tips to share, just let us know.

Submit your catch here:

How much fishing tackle do you really need?

dog with heavy fishing barrow

Image source: Fishtec Coarse facebook page
The dog’s not going to be pulling this one…

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself: “how much fishing tackle do I really need to take?”

Judging by the barrow-loads of tackle some anglers cart to the riverbank or lakeside, you’d think the answer was, “you can never have enough”. But fishing is supposed to be about relaxation, so why keep burden yourself with excess baggage?

Less gear means less stress. So to help you declutter, here are some great tips from minimalist anglers to help you lighten the load.

Rods and reels

Unless you’re planning to fish a three or four rod water, two fishing rods and two reels are plenty. Remember, the more rods you take, the more gear you’ll need. More gear equals more hassle.

Take blogger The London Angler — when it comes to cutting to the bare essentials, he’s a true believer. As far as he’s concerned, all you need is:

“landing net, weighing scales, unhooking mat, rod rests, chair (I am not sitting on the muddy bank!), ground baits, hookbaits and a tackle box full of rigs, hooks, weights and other items such as boilie drills, stoppers… the list goes on”

His message is clear: Why take more if you can do fine with less?


car full of fishing tackle

Image source: Bath Angling
To the riverside – are you really taking everything?

Excess kit is dead weight. Work out how many leads you can realistically expect to use in a single session. Take what you need in a small tackle box and leave the rest in the boot of the car.

Remember, less tackle doesn’t necessarily place a limit on the number of species you can catch. According to Josh Mann who writes the, Minimalist Approach, you can simply adapt a small range of tackle to a wide range of uses:

“When I know I’ll only be fishing with live bait. The only thing [my tackle box] has in it are size 1 hooks and 1/8 ounce split shot sinkers, which are really all I need in a wide variety of situations”

While he admits it wouldn’t be the ideal tackle box for every situation, his attitude is to take a little less stuff, and make it work.

Tackle box

small fishing tackle box

Image source:Fashionstock/ Shutterstock
Neat, tidy, and light

In fact, why not dispense with a tackle box altogether by making like a fly fisherman and wearing a fishing vest? With its many handy pockets it makes an ideal, wearable, tackle box.

And for those who really like to travel light, simply clip all your essential fishing tackle to a fishing lanyard, and slip it around your neck. It’s the ultimate hands-free fishing experience.


colourful fishing bait

Image source Bukhta Yuril/ Shutterstock
Bait is beautiful – but you don’t need your whole stock

Boilies, glugs, pellets, and pastes — how much bait do you really need? Not much if you’re Ian Gemson. Writing in The Fishing Magic blog, he certainly thinks less is more:

“…maybe a kilo bag of boilies, a few pop ups, and some plastic baits would work well, offering me another huge weight saving of nearly 20kg.”.

Save on kilos and on cost by baiting wisely. Try looking for tell tale signs pointing to an area a previous angler has already baited. And try not to over-bait – more is not necessarily better!


We’d never suggest you skimp on comfort, but do check the weight of your couch. Looking for a new chair? Go for a lightweight option like the Indulgence Nomad Ultra-Lite, which weighs just 4kg. Overnighting? JRC Stealth X-Lite Bedchair is the lightest around.

Food and drink

Remember, you’re going fishing, not crossing Death Valley, so only take the fluids you’ll actually need.

Fancy a brew but don’t fancy carrying the kitchen sink with you? Here’s another top tip from blogger, Ian Gemson:

You don’t always need the extra weight of a stove bag and its contents, you can take hot water in a thermos flask to make hot drinks.”

Lastly, there’s your little rucksack of creature comforts — things every angler takes along on fishing trips, like a few cans of loosening-up juice. But we wouldn’t want you to skimp on that one!

FISHSPY – See What You’re Missing

For years now carp anglers have been crying out for a game changing innovative technological fishing tackle accessory to help enhance their fish catches. To date there hasn’t been anything available specifically for the carper – yes we have the Waterwolf for predator anglers and GoPro’s of course; and although great fun these gadget’s don’t actually enhance your fish catching capabilities.  An exciting new product, known as FishSpy, which retails at just £249.95 and is available from early November, could well be the answer to the serious carp fisherman’s prayers.

A selection of Fishspy camera units

A selection of Fishspy camera units.

What is FishSpy?

FishSpy’s tag line is ”see what you’re missing”, and this accurately sums up what this product does. FishSpy is an Innovative professional quality waterproof camera, specifically designed to aid carp fishing.

Housed inside an aerodynamic waterproof marker float it uniquely streams live underwater video footage direct to your phone or tablet. FishSpy generates its own Wi-Fi signal and transmits it to your portable Wi-Fi enabled device- so there is no need to have an internet connection or even phone signal when fishing.

Durable and designed to withstand the rigors of fishing it is submersible to depths of 10m, and transmits video in 640 x 480 quality – a great compromise between image quality, file size and therefore streaming range and reliability.

FishSpy transmitting live video via it's own Wi-Fi signal.

FishSpy transmitting live video via its own Wi-Fi signal.

FishSpy can stream live and recorded footage on the waters surface at a range of up to 100m according to conditions. The range is assisted by a foam ring which pops up the camera and it’s aerial as high as possible from the lake surface, allowing for better transmission. Once an interesting area, feature or fish is spotted it can be fully submerged for a closer look- simply hit the record button and wind it down for a better view of the lake bed. The same would apply if the water is very deep, murky or clouded and you cannot see the bottom from the surface.

The video footage taken when submerged is then stored on the fully waterproof camera’s generous 7 hour capacity built in memory card. It can then be floated back up to the surface where you can view the video of the lake bed you just recorded on your smart phone or tablet, via the Wi-FI connection.  You can then repeat this process to cover a huge area of the lake you are fishing and truly open up a whole new under water world. We can honestly say this is something that has never been achieved before!

Fishspy transmitting a live video feed under water.

FishSpy recording video under water.

FishSpy communicates remotely to your mobile or tablet device via a custom built app for iOS, or a web browser for Android devices with a built in control interface.  FishSpy features an action tag so you can mark those fishy encounters and those all important hotspots on your video playback,  therefore enabling you to locate the best sequences for easy and convenient playback at a later date.  Three hours of battery life and seven hours of recording time complete the package. You can view all of your recordings via your smartphone or tablet, and download them to your PC once you are home.

Some Screen shots of the IOs FishSpy app.

Some Screen shots of the iOS FishSpy app.

FishSpy is attached to your line, and you cast out just like a regular marker float:

Fishspy setup

FishSpy setup.


For more full in-depth technical specification visit the FishSpy website.
Or watch the FishSpy tutorial video:

How does it help you catch more carp?

As well as the obvious fun element of actually spotting the fish, and knowing they are in the vicinity, the major benefits are feature finding – for example finding a clear gravel patch or a silt bed loaded with blood worm. You can then cast your rig at the FishSpy in the same way as you would a traditional marker float, thus ensuring you hit the hotspot every time.  You will be able to see how your bait and rigs are presented and appear on the lakes substrate, allowing you to fine tune your presentation for best results. As any carp fisherman knows getting a perfect presentation is very often the critical difference between failure and success.

Check out these amazing videos filmed using FishSpy:

Fish spotting fun:

Using FishSpy for feature finding:

Seeing how various bait types appear on the lake bed:

This is a must watch  video of Dave Lane using FishSpy on a recent session –  it really shows just how useful this gadget can be for the committed carp angler.

Where does Fishspy come from?

FishSpy has been brought to the market by the tackle company TF Gear. The development team at TF Gear have been working intensively on this project for over two years – initially a pipe dream, the guys have worked very hard at bringing something completely new and innovative to the table. Working with some of the sharpest minds in the UK fishing tackle  industry this project has really taken shape- from what was originally just a crazy idea in the office. Despite being incredibly difficult to achieve from a technical standpoint, the TF Gear team invested thousands of hours of research and testing to come up with this amazing and unique product. FishSpy has been launched as a stand-alone brand, under the umbrella of the TF Gear group.

Dave Lane working on a prototype Fishspy accessory.

TF Gear consultant Dave Lane using a prototype FishSpy accessory.

How much does it cost?

A FishSpy underwater camera unit costs only £249.95. For those of you who now exclaim ‘wow that’s expensive’ lets take a little rain check of what your carp fishing gear may have cost you over the past season. Carp anglers spend more and invest more money than any other group of fishermen on their fishing tackle collection…. we simply have to! As we all know, specimen carp are the ultimate freshwater challenge and can be exceedingly difficult to catch.  So lets have a look at some of the figures –

  • Annual syndicate, fishing rod license and day tickets: £1200.
  • Microcat Bait boat: £709.99
  • Set of 3 x delkim Txi and remote: £507
  • Trakker Tempest Bivvy System: £629.99
  • Set of 3 x Free Spirit CTX carp rods £359.97
  • Annual weeks Carp fishing holiday to France: £2000

And if you look at bait, (which you are essentially throwing away) then around £500 per year of your money goes into the lake.

So when you put things into perspective FishSpy, at only £249.95 is relatively small change. Considering what FishSpy actually does, this makes this product a real game changer – and worth every penny in our opinion! Just one of these will radically improve your carp fishing catches over not just the short term, but for many years to come. FishSpy cameras are fully guaranteed for 12 months, so you can be fully assured you are going to get full usage out of this ingenious bit of kit. FishSpy also has a full range of useful accessories, which you can see here.

What you get for your money - a game changer

What you get for your money – a game changer.


The future of FishSpy?

There are lots of other applications that FishSpy could be used for in the future – for example dead bait pike fishing  immediately springs to mind, as does river fishing for barbel and other coarse fish species. Even fly fishing anglers could satisfy their curiosity – image running this down a pool on a river, and seeing shoals of salmon and sea trout?
There are plenty of exciting future developments underway to make FishSpy an even more useful addition to any fisherman s tackle armory, and many more interesting and useful accessories will be made available for this unique product in the coming years and months.

FishSpy - it's a whole new world down there.

FishSpy – it’s a whole new world down there.

Find out more:

For full technical specification and more informative product videos visit the Fishspy Website.

FishSpy also has several new exciting social media channels – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. So why not give them a follow!

We hope you see what your’re missing – we did.


Carping With Dave Lane – Tackle, Tactics and Expert Tips.

If you are a fan of Dave Lane’s excellent carp fishing video blog then we have a real treat in store for you here – a 114 minute long full length feature film of the legend himself. Filmed in the spring of 2015 with TF Gear and total carp magazine, this epic DVD is an essential watch.

Follow specimen carp expert and carp fishing tackle consultant Dave Lane on a windswept and wild session on Norfolk’s Kingfisher lake. In some of the worst conditions a filming crew has ever encountered Laney guides you through what it takes to successfully catch carp, even when the odd’s are heavily stacked against you. Dave reveals the tackle and tactics which have made him one of the UK’s most respected carp catchers – these tips will truly transform your carp fishing strategies forever.

Dave is also joined by total carp magazine editor Marc Coulson, who gives us informative step by step guides on rig creation and in-line drop off set ups. These tactics will put more fish on the bank for you – guaranteed!

There are also informative carp fishing tackle reviews and insights on the new and innovative fishing gear that Dave has co-developed alongside tackle giants TF Gear in his role as their consultant.

Top Ten Pictures Taken From Inside Your Fishing Bivvy!

Views from you bivvy - Simon Howells Lakemore Fisheries

Views from your bivvy – Fishtec’s Simon Howells at Lakemore Fisheries.

We recently ran a Facebook competition on our Coarse fishing page where we asked for pictures taken from inside your Carp fishing bivvy,  with the best one winning a TF Gear Airlite baitunner reel. We had such an enthusiast and varied response we just had to share some of these images on the Fishtec blog! Here are our top 10 favourite images- each featured bivvy photographer will get a TF Gear Cuban style baseball cap, with the winner of the TF Gear Airlite reel announced at the end. Good luck!

1. Simon Naylor – With what looks like a giant killer swan emerging from the lake – Swanzilla?

Swanzilla attacking Simon Naylor's bivvy

Swanzilla attacking Simon Naylor’s bivvy.

2. Al Maclaren – It looks like he has all the creature comforts you will ever need inside a bivvy; including a TV and electric kettle! The bivvy is an almost house sized  Avid Carp Euro HQ, which he calls the ”armordildo” for some reason!

Inside and out of a monster Avid euro HQ bivvy

Inside and out of a monster Avid euro HQ bivvy.

3. Harry Robinson – A crack of dawn close up of kit on the pod. You can tell this man is well into his carping gear – this is a lovely neat and ordered selection of fishing tackle,  and those Delkim TX-I alarms are a great bit of kit!

Close up Carp tackle shot. Harry Robinson.

Close up Carp tackle shot. Harry Robinson.

4. Nick Stroud – Morning mid-summer sun burning off the mist.  A great shot, which really makes you want to get out there and fish!

Early morning sunshine over the Lake.

Early morning sunshine over the Lake. Nick Stroud.

5. Christopher Millward – Two mates in a bivvy. This is what it’s all about fella’s! Good times on the bank with a pal. Who cares if you blank?

Two pals carp fishing.

Two pals carp fishing. Chris Millward.

6. Anthony Locke – Looks like he is set up to fish a narrow urban water with his excellent TF Gear compact carp rods – 10 foot long so great for getting into tight spots.

TF Gear compact rods - set up on a pod. Antony Locke.

TF Gear compact rods – set up on a pod. Antony Locke.

7. John Fletcher – Best bite of the day. We would have to agree John- those sausages look awesome, just the start to the day us fishermen need.

Bite of the day - John Fletcher

Bite of the day – John Fletcher.

8. Michael Liddell – Man’s best friend. A fishing dog – a great fishing buddy and invaluable company for those days when not much happens.

A Fishing dog - man's best friend. Michael Liddell

A Fishing dog – man’s best friend. Michael Liddell.

9. Stephen Dean – An evening shot that almost looks like he is fishing on another world with two suns- perhaps a binary solar system like Star War’s Tatooine?

Sundown with two suns in the sky. Stephen Dean.

Sundown with two suns in the sky. Stephen Dean.

10. Lee Freeman – This is great shot on a tranquil lakeside setting, hope the swans didn’t start playing with your bait!

Sunset and swan - Lee Freeman

Sunset and swan – Lee Freeman.

And finally the winner of the TF Gear Airlite reel – Brent Parkinson has come up trumps, with this classic carp fishing image of a beautiful rainbow over the lake. Lets hope as well as a pot of gold there was a nice golden bellied carp at the end for him.

Rainbow over the lake - Brent Parkinson

The winner – Rainbow over the lake – Brent Parkinson.






Dave Lane’s Top Carp Fishing Tips Competition

We recently ran a competition on one of our social media pages where carping legend Dave Lane asked for Facebook fans carp fishing tips for the month of May! We had a great response. Dave has looked through them all, and he decided that the best one was from Paul Scott. We thought we would share all of the tips here. If you are a serious carp fisherman these tips are well worth reading, you never know they may help you catch the fish of a lifetime!

Here is Paul’s tip-

Paul Scott. This time of year the fish seem to be on the move quite a bit so although the key is to find fish, maybe take a bit more time in watching the routes they take and spotting traffic lanes they use. If your intending to fish that lake for the rest of the year, it will prove to be invaluable on the rest of your campaign!! Happy hunting.

The Key is to find fish - take time in watching the routes carp take.

The Key is to find fish – take time in watching the routes carp take.

Dave also really liked Charlie Halliday’s tip-

Charlies tip–  When you want an accurate cast , mark your standing position and use a quick link to your lead’s swivel (for rig attachment) then un-clip your rig and cast to the desired area with just the lead , if you go into an snag or on an island you can get your setup back with ease and just keep casting until you hit the mark , then put your line in the clip and attach your rig ! Accuracy made easy with less fear of losing your rig don’t forget to use marker elastic for the next time and unclip after the cast for safety.

And here are the best of the rest-

Ashley Gray.
Make sure your bedchair is level before you attempt to go to sleep. It’s frightening when you slip down the end and then the bed tips up!!

Jonathan Ryder. I like to use solid bags but with a twist. Use a syringe to inject hemp oil and coconut oil into the centre of the bag mix. Has worked well for me!!

Anthony Bates. Coat your free baits in oil (i use tuna) then coat your baits in a good amount of salt its a big edge before they spawn.

Leigh Harmer. Keep mobile, watch the water and zigs are always a option

Dave Guy. Outside my bivvy I have three solar panel garden lights not bright but I can see my rods and nets and there not heavy and charge during the day.

Steff Parr. I found a pretty effective way to fish margins and near rushes if your able to lower your lead instead of casting and have your rig closer to the rushes than your lead and when baiting the area just plop a single boilie at a time and no more than 5 had a bite within minutes each time I do it now I always have one rig out and a popup near the rushes and if there is berry trees around the lake pick a few and use them as hookbait the lake fish know it to be a natural food.

Terry Robert Spurgeon. If using a long zig, loop the line then lick and fold over PVA foam at 2 or 3 places on the loop. Tangle free!

Kev Hudson. When using zigs I find placing a piece of pva foam below the hook , then cutting a few pieces of foam down and placing them a couple of feet apart down the zig line all the way to the lead negates tangling on the cast and makes sure your zig is sat correctly in the water column

John Buckingham. Always put my head torch in my boots at night!!! Or else I forget it.

Paul Jarvis. Check all your kit for wear and tear epically if it your first outing of the year, as mice can chew through anything

Glen Marshall. Don’t be afraid to move swims had one then nothing so moved swim had another two to 16lb…

 Colin Smith. When zig or top fishing dip your bait’s in oil of clove’s work’s every time.









Carp Fishing On Crowsheath Fishery Essex

Gareth Morris, our resident sea fishing sales adviser at Fishtec tries his hand at fishing a commercial carp venue in Essex for a few days. Take a read to see how he gets on with his first attempt at landing some hard fighting carp.

I visit some family members each year in the South east of England. This occasion I had decided to combine the trip with some carp fishing, having never really done any serious carping or any overnighters before. I had heard my destination, Essex, is basically the birth place of modern carp fishing- where Team Korda began their epic journey, as well as Nash and Mainline Baits. I packed the car up with the carp fishing tackle and began the long drive from Brecon in South Wales, to fish a fantastic well established Essex fishery called Crowsheath.

Crowsheath Fishery Essex

Rods out on Crowsheath Fishery Essex.

Crowsheath has been established for many years and is actually within the Essex greenbelt making it very peaceful, you can’t even hear a car go past and the only view you have is pleasant greenery and the only sound you will hear is the birds and bank side wildlife. Nick who is the onsite bailiff and owner of Crowsheath is a great character, who constantly strives to improve the fishery.  As well as the main carp lake that is situated here there is also the ”cat canal” which boasts some of the biggest catfish in the UK, with some knocking over the scales at 100lb+ and also including the unique ”mandarin” breed. There is also a predator lake on site with pike to  the high 20’s, and a new match lake is in the pipeline.

We arrived at the fishery with very high expectations of that dream big double figure carp, our hopes were somewhat dampened by the news from other anglers that had been there all weekend. Nothing was coming out, and even if it was something it wasn’t what they wanted… Myself and my brother in law Sean moved quickly to get settled into our bivvys and pre-baited our swims ready, and got the rods out onto the pods- eagerly awaiting that first run to the alarms. My chosen set up was a TF Gear Compact 10ft 2.5lb matched up with DL Speendrunner 6000 reels, with 12lb TF Gear Nantec Gunsmoke Mono Line. This set up is perfect for the size of carp we were looking to encounter this week.


TF Gear Lok Down bivvy - home for the next few days

A TF Gear Lok Down bivvy – home for the next few days.

The baits that I had selected were the Mainline Frozen Cell 15mm boilies– a perfect all round bait used all over the country with great results. I used a Korda DF size 10 Barbless rig, with PVA bags fully loaded with mainline Cell Stick Mix and hempseed. It wasn’t until the next morning we had the first run, but here she is, a nice little common to start off the day.


8lb 6 oz Nice little common carp

8lb 6 oz Nice little common carp.

After a nice start the weather was soon on the change from ideal cloudy and mild fishing conditions to heavy rain and extreme winds! The lake soon turned choppy and it felt like I was sea fishing on the South Wales sea coast and not on a lake. Everything just switched off. A few hours later watching the rods and with a break in the weather it seemed the perfect opportunity to try a bit of stalking a few other swims closer to the main island on the lake. With my brother In-law pulling another 8lb carp out from there earlier that morning. As the sun was staring to come out the fish were on the rise, but they were not interested in the bait, even if you dropped it in front of their nose. We tried the new Korda Ready Tied Zig Rigs, but absolutely nothing was happening.

The next day things picked up somewhat, after a night of heavy rain and wind.  The Lok down bivvy thankfully kept me bone dry all night, and at 4.30 am the alarm was screaming once again. After tripping over the bivvy door and stumbling over the bait bucket I was quickly into the second carp of the trip. Again not the biggest but a nice welcome after such a horrid night!

Another mint condition common carp - 12lb in weight.

Another mint condition common carp – 12lb in weight.

The weather had really picked up and this was out perfect opportunity to rove around the lake before other anglers had arrived later that day. Moving up a few swims with the rods in hand I wasn’t long before the carp were jumping out the reeds. After carefully putting the two rods in just before the reeds it was time to sit back, relax and wait. Less than 30 minutes of the rig being in the spot the rod almost got pulled off the deck. This fish was a proper rod bending, drag running carp! Having picked up the net to safely get the carp it darted into the reeds near the deck and bolted, this is when I knew it was over, he got off the hook. Gutted wasn’t the word that was used. It had a lovely dark colouration to it and it felt a really nice fish.

A welcome 10lb carp

A very welcome fish.

After relocating back to our swims it was back to the drawing board. I got out out the spod rod and baiting up a large area not far off the reed beds, and placed the rods over it. It wasn’t long before I had a run, It was a double figure carp but only tipping over at 10lb 10oz. Things were going well for Sean too, with several nice double figure carp to 12lb also gracing his net. We didn’t have long left to fish, and the rods where still out and fully loaded, whilst we packed up to make our way home, but I was still hopeful of latching into a bigger carp before time ran out. The bivvy and kit were packed away, with the rods of course being the last thing you bring in. Looking at the reel closely as I was just about pick up the rod, I saw the line twitch… and suddenly the TF Gear Magrunner alarm screamed off with the spool releasing line at a rate of knots! The hard fighting  carp was welcomed to the net after a strong fight.. After letting her settle down in the net it was weighing time. Sean announced it was another PB, 15oz 2lb! Not the 20 I was after but it was a very welcome fish after a difficult fishing session with challenging bankside weather.

15lb 2 oz Common Carp

15lb 2 oz Common Carp.

We were very happy to leave the fishery with ten nice Carp landed between us – no giants but it had been great fun on balanced fishing tackle. Being an experianced sea fisherman  this is the very first time I have been proper carp fishing- and what a buzz it was! I had well and truly caught the carp fishing bug, and hope to return to Crowsheath next year. Many thanks to the bailiffs Nick, Darren, Connor and Jason for a very memorable trip, and advice given over the few days.

For more information and catch reports please go and follow them on their face Facebook page. If you are in the area, pop in and have ago. There is a good head of carp at this venue and it’s worth every moment!



Celebration carp cakes!

Planning a celebration for the carp fishing fanatic in your life? You need fishcakes, and we’re not talking about mashed cod and potato either.

From across the country, cake makers put their sugary crafts on show to bring you our carp cake collection, a review of the best of British novelty cake baking.

So put away your carp fishing equipment and prepare to feast your eyes.

Gemma Cakes

Gemma Cakes Carp

Image source: Gemma Cakes
A bright green delight!

Home bakery that’s a step above the ordinary comes courtesy of this fantastic creation from Gemma’s Cakes and Desserts. From her Jacksdale kitchen, Gemma bakes sumptuous and imaginative cakes and cupcakes to order.

We think you’ll agree this specimen is one any birthday angler would be more proud to be photographed with!

Dave’s all occasion cakes

Dave's all occassionas cakes carp

Image source: Dave’s all occasion cakes
Having a swim.

“Baking is like being a builder…it’s just different materials”. That’s what Dave Mason told the Sun newspaper about his passion for doing the impossible with cake. The Cake maker from Cornwall once featured on the Alan Titchmarsh show where his work was praised by none less than Paul Hollywood one of the judges of the Great British Bake Off. Judging by this stunning carp cake, we’d say Dave has no need to be “koi” about his considerable baking and artistic talents.

3 Tiers

Three tiers cakes carp

Image source: Three Tiers for Cake
Super lifelike carp.

How do you end up baking a cake like this by accident? But that’s the story of this lady’s cake business. What began as a way to jazz up her young son’s birthdays soon developed into a cake baking passion she never saw coming. Now Three Tiers for Cake goes from strength to strength. We’re not surprised if this super life-like carp cake is anything to go by!

Creative cakes of Blackpool

Creative cakes of Blackpool carp

Image source: Creative cakes of Blackpool
So koi!

Not only does Sue Summers bake incredible cakes, she’s a fan of puns too, as evidenced above – our kind of baker! With over 20 years experience, Sue continues to create outstanding cakes as well as pass on her expert techniques to fellow icing enthusiasts.


Slattery Koi Carp Cake

Image source: Slattery
A carp on water.

What a catch! This creative carp confection was created by Slattery Patissier and Chocolatier, Whitefield’s unique centre for all things sweet toothed. More than just a cake shop, this place is an emporium of sugary delights.

Watch the bakers at work, eat in the dining room, take a baking, sugar craft or chocolate making course in the second floor, Slattery school of excellence. Forget the diet – tuck in!

Anyway – we’ll stop carping on now, it’s over to you! Let us know what you think of these creative creations on Facebook and Twitter.

Fishing Luggage Explained

We get asked quite regularly about the various types of fishing tackle luggage we sell. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the key differences in the various products. Perhaps the most commonly asked question is what are the differences between a quiver, holdall, a sleeve and a carryall? Take a read to find out more!

Korum 3 rod quivers

Korum 3 rod quivers

A quiver is an open ended item of luggage. Therefore they can accommodate any length of rod – the sections stick out of the top.  Most quivers are around 3 to 4 foot long. The way these work are the fishing rods are clipped into place onto the outside of the quiver. The rods are exposed and can be either kept made up or unmade. There is a central pocket inside most quivers, and usually side pockets to accommodate shelters, bank sticks,  pods and so on. Quivers are very lightweight so are ideal for carrying long distances – for example when river roving or if its a long walk to your chosen swim. They are also great if you carry made up rods and want to set up quickly. The down side is they offer very little protection for your rod and reels in transit.

A 6 rod TF Gear hardcore quiver opened up

An open 6 rod capacity TF Gear hardcore holdall

A holdall is an item of luggage that carries complete made up rods, fully enclosed and zipped up inside padded internal compartments. These often take between 3 – 6 rods, as well as extra tackle items such as banksticks and landing nets. Most holdalls are 6 foot long to accommodate 2 section carp rods, although in some cases they can be shorter, i.e for the TF Gear compact fishing rod range. They provide outstanding protection for your fishing tackle due to their padded and robust nature, and are perfect to leave your tackle in storage long term. The downside is they are heavy and cumbersome to move around.

A single Korum rod sleeve

A single Korum rod sleeve

Sleeves are basically an extremely slimmed down version of a rod holdall – designed to take just one rod with a reel fitted. They make a inexpensive way to purchase protection for rods, and come in handy for short sessions with less fishing tackle than normal. Some manufactures combine quivers with sleeves, to make a modular system such as the TF Gear hardcore quiver and sleeves.

A typical fishing carryall bag

A typical fishing carryall bag

Carryalls are your traditional fishing bags. They tend to be square or oblong in shape, with sizes varying from a quick day session size to accommodating everything for a full week – and the kitchen sink to boot! Many of them combine other features, so you can use them as a bivvy table, or have removable drop in cool bags and reel storage pouches.