Weird fishing baits

bait and beer

Image source: Piscatorial Quagswagging
Baits and beer!

Glace cherries, curried peas, Peperami – we love anglers who think outside the tackle box to come up with perfectly strange bait ideas. 

We’ve got the lowdown on some of the weird and wonderful concoctions anglers use to tempt their prey. Why not give them a try?

Meat you by the riverbank

spicy sausage pepperoni

Image source: shutterstock
Pepperoni power!

The strong spicy flavour of Peperami makes it an excellent bait for winter and spring, when plainer flavoured pellets don’t pack enough punch to attract attention.

The crew at Gofishing fish their Peperami in “small chunks hair-rigged and fished alongside a PVA bag of pellets”. They say it’s the combination of flavoursome spices, garlic and fat that attracts fish like chub, barbel and even carp.

Meat loving sea anglers also rate bacon for bait. South West Sea Fishing say that although bacon isn’t the obvious choice, smoked or unsmoked rashers make great bait for catching Bass, Mullet, Pollock and Smoothhound. Here’s how they present it:

“Concertina it up the hook until it is tightly packed”

Bacon’s strong flavour draws the fish to it, then the softness of the meat works in your favour too. When the fish bites and you strike, the hook pulls straight through the bacon giving you a great chance of hooking your catch securely.

Consider “Carpohydrates”

macaroni cheese

Image source: Go Fishing
Pasta la vista, baby

Go Fishing reckon tinned macaroni cheese is a “devastatingly effective” bait for luring carp and tench. Bites are near unmissable because the hook pulls straight through the soft pasta.

According to the Go fishing guys, the best way to bait your hook with macaroni is to:

“ Pass a large, round bend pattern straight through the inner, following the curve of the bait”.

As macaroni is so soft it can’t be cast, only lending itself to close range work using a pole rig.

Vegged out

potatoes for bait

Image source: shutterstock
Carp your eyes peeled for a great catch

The humble potato was once a popular carp bait, but fell out of fashion as more commercial products became available. Now is the time to rediscover spuds.

The King’s Lynn Angling Association‘s, Martin Chandler adapts a technique used by angling champion Bob Nudd: raw potatoes punched into 6 mm discs and dyed with coffee or gravy.

For the summer months, Martin soaks raw potato discs in molasses and warm water. He says: “The molasses dyes the bait and gives it a sickly sweet flavour fish just love.”

Fishing in UK recommend that you make the potatoes softer by parboiling before cutting to pellet size and soaking in gravy or coffee.

curried bait

Image source: smartcarping
Curry favour with your catch

Carp are suckers for strong flavours and veg baits make perfect carriers for added spices. Ian Gemson from Smartcarping recommends fishing with “curried baked beans using Fox armour mesh to keep the bait on the hair”. He says curried peas will do the job too.

Love it or hate it

marmite

Image source: abimages / shutterstock
Marmite, the Fisherman’s Friend

You either love it or hate it, but fish love yeast extracts like Marmite. The naturally high vitamin content of the paste has a very strong smell, which is instantly attractive. Tim Richardson  from Fish South West says it sends a message to the fish that there’s “soluble nutrition” leaking from your bait.

For a dynamite bait combination that’ll really get the fish biting, Tim mixes Marmite into a paste with flour, Parmesan cheese, garlic granules, curry spices, sea salt, eggs and liquid amino acids.

Angler’s Mail writer Colin Davidson smears Marmite on small chunks of white bread or dips dog biscuits or pellets in it to make them sticky and yeasty.

With Marmite, less is more. Colin reckons if you use too much of it on your pellets, you’ll turn a floater into a sinker, so use it sparingly.

Turn to jelly

jelly cubes

Image source: shutterstock
Jelly is a winning bait!

Ever wondered whether fish have a sweet tooth or not? Fred Davis at Talk Angling reckons they do. On the lookout for a hookable soft pellet recipe that was inexpensive to prepare, he hit on powdered gelatine mixed with molasses.

Simply mix half a sachet of the gelatine into a 1/4 pint of water and add molasses or Activ-8. Allow the mixture to stand, then pour it over pellets, leaving them soak up the solution.

Angler’s Mail offer a similar idea to Fred’s, swapping the powdered gelatine for good old Rowntree’s Fruit Jelly.

Hook, line and sweetener!

strawberry laces for bait

Image source: smartcarping.com
Strawberry laces for bait!

From aniseed balls to pink shrimps, the sweet shop is your oyster. Mike Samways from catch-app recommends jelly babies, marshmallows or bubblegum balls for luring carp. But any sugary ingredient you have in your kitchen cupboard is worth a go – glace cherries are always a good bet.

Smartcarping’s Ian Gemson is also a fan of the sweet approach saying that that tic-tacs and even strawberry laces make great bait for chub and carp.

What usual bait ideas do you have to share? Head to our Facebook page and join the conversation!

How to buy a fishing rod licence

fishing licence

Image source: Environment Agency
David Miller’s beautiful design for the 2016/17 licence. Got yours yet?

The fine for fishing without a licence is anything up to £2,500. Each year, thousands of anglers are prosecuted for fishing without a licence, and while it’s unusual to receive the maximum penalty, a fine of between £200-£800 is quite common.

If you bought a licence last year, it’ll expire on the 31st March. Don’t get caught out – renew!

So how do you avoid the fines and stay on the right side of the law? It’s easy – just by a rod licence. A standard licence costs £27. Here’s how (and why) you should go about getting one.

Who needs a licence?

The Environment Agency says a licence must be held by:

Any angler aged 12 or over, fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England (except the River Tweed), Wales, and the Border Esk (and its tributaries in Scotland)

There are discounts for under-16s, over-60s and Blue Badge holders, but if you’re over 11 – get licenced!

What type do I need?

There are two main types of licence available: the Non-Migratory Trout & Coarse Licence and the Salmon & Sea Trout Licence. The Salmon & Sea Trout Licence is more expensive, but also covers you for Non-Migratory Trout & Coarse.

You can buy either licence for one day, eight consecutive days, or a full year. Dedicated anglers will make sure they have a full-season licence so they can fish whenever they want during the season.

How do I buy my licence?

PO_Header_Desktop_Logo_79x59

Rod licences are issued by the Post Office. They offer a number of ways to buy:

 

Online:

Just head to the Rod Fishing Licence page on the Post Office’s website, and fill out a few details. You can either buy a fresh licence, or renew an existing one (if you have your renewal number to hand). You don’t need to register with the Post Office if you’re only buying one licence, and it’s quick and easy to go through the process and pay securely with your bank card.

By telephone:

There are two numbers available here:

Call 03708 506 506 to set up a Direct Debit. Once you’ve done this, your licence will renew automatically each year, taking the payment on the 1st of March. You’ll get your new licence through the post in time for the 1st of April. Easy!

Call 0344 800 5386 to buy from the rod licence sales line. This doesn’t renew automatically. Between 1 March – 30 September the line is open from 8.30am-8pm daily. Between 1 October – 28 February the hours are 8.30am-6pm Mon-Sat. The line is closed on bank holidays, apart from Easter.

In person:

Just head to your local Post Office and buy one over the counter!

Proposed changes to the licence reported in the Anglers Mail include making the licence a rolling licence, so that it ends a year after purchase rather than at the end of March each year – but that won’t come into effect until 2017 – watch this space for more information!

Once you’ve paid for your licence, you’ll be given a receipt number and (if you’ve bought online) a transaction email. Take these details with you when you go fishing, and if the bailiffs come to your swim, you’ll have evidence of having a licence, if it hasn’t arrived yet.

Make sure you only buy your licence from the Post Office. There are scam sites around, and the Money Saving Expert site has some great advice on how to avoid these. Don’t get stung!

How much does a fishing licence cost?

  Adult Senior (60+)/ Blue Badge Junior (12-16)
Non-Migratory Trout & Coarse Licence £27 £18 £5
Salmon & Sea Trout Licence £72 £48 £5

Again, the proposals to update the fishing licence include removing the Junior licence – so that from 2017, all under-16s can fish for free!

If you want to fish the locks and weirs of the Thames, there is an additional licence you’ll need: the Lock and Weir Fishing Permit (£48 for adults). This is in addition to your fishing licence, so make sure you have both if you’re heading to those areas.

What do I get when I buy a licence?

A Trout and Coarse licence gives you the right to fish two rods in rivers, streams, drains and canals in the UK. That doesn’t include spod or marker rods, as long as they don’t have hooks on the line. Want to fish with three or four rods? Buy another licence!

The proposals for the 2017 licence include increasing the allowance to three fishing rods rather than two – but for now, make sure you’ve only got two hooks out there!

The Salmon & Sea Trout Licence allows you to fish one rod in rivers, streams, drains and canals, and two rods in reservoirs, lakes and ponds.

Where does my money go?

The Environment Agency uses the revenue from fishing licences in a number of ways. Over £20 million is raised each year from licensing. Here are just a few of the ways it’s spent:

  • Rearing coarse fish to stock fisheries
  • Improving fishery habitats
  • Enforcement of fishing laws (including licensing)
  • Fish movement operations to improve fisheries
  • Fishery monitoring and improvement

The EA gives a full report of its annual expenditure in its Annual Fisheries Report. There’s an enormous amount of detail there, much of it broken down by region.

Get licenced!

Make sure you get your licence before April 1st. If you’re out fishing without a licence and you’re caught by one of the licence enforcement team, you could find yourself with a hefty bill to pay.

The angler’s guide to sharing FishSpy video

FishSpy - see what you're missing!

FishSpy – see what you’re missing!

The FishSpy camera is capturing the attention of anglers out there, and many of you are using it to help make better catches. Did you know how easy it was to edit and share the videos you take?

Here’s the lowdown on exactly how to do it, and we’ve got plenty of hints and tips to help you on your way.

To give you an example of what you can do with the FishSpy footage and VideoPad Editor (we’ll show you how to use that), here’s a video made from raw footage supplied by our FishSpy testers. Enjoy, and then learn how to do it yourself!

Transferring footage

fishspy connectivity

Fishspy is made for connectivity

Taken some great footage, but unsure how to show the world? If you can upload photos from your digital camera, you’ll be able to do the same with your FishSpy footage.
Take the flight off the FishSpy, and find the USB port

fishspy connected

Plug in, and you’re good to go

Plug your FishSpy into your computer with a USB cable. It’ll show up in your file explorer, where you can navigate to the FishSpy files. The footage can then be dragged, dropped and saved to your machine.

finding fishspy

Finding the FishSpy

fishspy files

All your favourite FishSpy moments

The FishSpy Manual also shows you how to get rid of any film you don’t want:

‘Delete footage from FishSpy using your computer or using Wi-Fi by pressing the X button’

Basic Editing

Want to edit a short section from a longer piece of footage? VideoPad Editor by NCH is free to download and easy to use. It’s compatible with Windows and Apple machines, and their ‘how-to’ guides on YouTube are incredibly helpful.

To upload and edit in VideoPad, click ‘add media file’ icon on the toolbar. This will open up your files. Browse to find your clip, select and click ‘Open’. This drops it into the Media List.

Importing files

Cutting out duller stretches of recording between more interesting snippets is easy. VideoPad lets you set ‘in and out points’ in your film. Select your video clip in the media list so it appears in the clip preview window.

Play the file and drag your cursor to the point you want to start, and click the red flag. This will set the ‘in point’. Mark the ‘out point’ by dragging the cursor to where you want the film to end and click the blue flag. This will set the end of the clip. To set it you click the green arrow.

Setting in and out points

If you’re not content with shorter clips, try compiling all your best moments from different trips into one blockbuster ‘Cream of the Carp’ movie.

Adding transitions to your film

Give your film a professional touch by adding in transition sequences. Transitions are smooth ways to move between clips. Fade to black, crossfading between clips and sharp cuts can give your film a more polished look. Select the film clips you want to move between and click the ‘Transitions’ tab on the toolbar. You’ll see a number of different effects to experiment with. Once you’ve found one you like, select it and add a duration time. About one second is usually plenty.

Adding text to your movie

Add interesting titles or snappy comments to your film by using the text editor. Use the ‘Overlay’ tab on the left hand side toolbar. Type your text into the ‘Add overlay text or image’ box. The text is added at the ‘in point’ on the film clip. You can move this to feature in a different place by simply clicking and dragging the little box and dropping it in the position you’d like.

Saving and exporting your film

It’s easy to save your film as a work in progress. Select ‘File menu’ and ‘Save file project as’. Give it a name, and choose a location on your PC to save it to. Files from VideoPad are always saved as .vpj files, but you can choose to save as .avi which is a better format for sharing on social media,.

Once it’s finished, export it! Find the ‘Save movie’ button at the top of the screen. There are a few options for saving your movie. Save to a disc or to your computer first. Then you can choose to save the film in a format that will be easy to send to YouTube or to your portable device such as an iPhone or other smartphone. Select which option you want to use, give each file a name, and then hit ‘OK’.

Social media sharing

Now your FishSpy film is looking great, what better way to show off your skills than to share it with your angling buddies on social media? Here’s how!

Uploading to YouTube:

Log in to YouTube and use the Upload tab in the top right hand corner. Drag and drop your exported movie into the box, or search your PC for the right file. Click the file and choose ‘Open’, and it will send it to YouTube.

You have options to personalize the film, so give it a title, add tags and a description. It can take a little time to upload the film, but when it’s finished and you’ve edited the boxes, click ‘Done’ and it will appear.

Uploading to Facebook:

Uploading directly to Facebook is a great way of achieving wider views and shares of your film than if you simply link to the YouTube video you created.

On your Facebook profile page, go to the status update box. Find the camera icon in the ‘What have you been up to?’ section. It will open up your PC files and you can select and add your film clip.

Depending on the size of your file, upload time varies, but you’ll get a notification to let you know when it’s complete. Add in a snappy or catchy title for your film, and let all your friends know where to find it online.

Sharing more privately

If you prefer to share your film clips with just a few select angling buddies, then why not try applications like Dropbox or Google Drive? You need to sign up for an account to use them, but it’s very quick and easy to do and it gives you more control over who you allow to see your videos

Using Dropbox to share files:

One great advantage of using Dropbox is that it allows you to find uploaded files on any computer, anywhere, any time! Use the ‘upload’ tab, select and it will ask you to ‘Choose files’. This will open your file explorer and you can select the FishSpy footage you want to send. Click ‘Open’. You have the option to add more than one file. Once you get a green tick on the right hand side of the upload box, you know your files are uploaded. Click ‘done’ and your file appears in your Dropbox folder.

To share your film, go to your Dropbox folder and search for the file you’ve uploaded, click the link and it will turn light blue. At the top of the screen is a tab labelled ‘Share link’. Type in the email of the person you want to share it with and hit send.

Using Google drive to share files:

Head to the Google home page and click the ‘sign in’ button at the top right hand corner. Log in, and find the apps tab in the top right hand corner. This will show you your Google Drive page. Select ‘New’, and then ‘File Upload’.

Choose your FishSpy clip and select ‘Open’, and it will add it to your Drive. To share, right click the file, add in the email(s) of the people you want to send it to. Then simply choose ‘Shareable link’ and ‘Done’. Easy!

Sending files to friends

wetransfer

Wetransfer’s easy, quick form

Another great way to share your films with friends is to just send it to them! Wetransfer is a service which provides a really easy, free way to do that. Using their simple form, just upload your clip an enter their email address and your own. Include an optional message, hit ‘Transfer’. It’s that simple – they’ll get an email with a link to download the file. No logging in, no account to set up, nothing. You can even choose to send the link via Facebook if you sign up to a premium account!

Now you’ve seen just how easy it is to record and share your footage from FishSpy, why not have a go yourself and show us your results? We’d love to see what you can come up with, so share away on our Facebook page!

How do fish survive the floods?

river ouse flood

Image source: RobertChlopas / Shutterstock.com
York, flooded when the Ouse broke its bank

When the floodwaters rise, fish hunt for places to shelter; riverbanks, side streams or under bridges where the current is sluggish. But sometimes, things go wrong.

We take a look at what happens to fish when rivers burst their banks, and what you can do to help.

Stranded

dead fish at the goring

Image source: Matt Drew, EA
After the flood

Hundreds of bream and carp, some of them thirty years old, were stranded in floodwater near the River Severn in 2012. Rescuers were exhausted after searching ten acres of floodwater, but their dogged determination paid off and they saved the fish. Tom Sherwood from the Environment Agency’s fisheries department spells out how fish get trapped:

“As the water recedes, most fish will find their way back to the river, but you do get instances where there is a sump of water left and the fish are left behind.”

Disaster struck when thousands of fish came to a grisly end in 2014. A local man was horrified to discover the dead minnows, perch, dace and roach near the River Thames in Goring, after receding floodwaters left them desperate for oxygen.

An unexpected Discovery

There was something fishy going on at an Aberdeen golf club during recent floods. The Greenkeeper was amazed to find a salmon trapped in one of the bunkers:

“When I got down to the third hole, I saw that the bunker was flooded. However, when I looked closer I saw a fish swimming about. I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing, so I phoned the course manager to tell him and he thought I was winding him up.”

It took five people to catch the salmon. But their persistence paid off, and finally the fish slithered back into the River Dee.

Pollution and pesticides.

rain washing soil away

Image source: Angling Trust
Rain washing soil away into the river

”Catastrophic changes in the way we manage soil and grow crops make flooding more likely, says writer George Monbiot. His Guardian article laments the increasing rate of soil erosion over the past century:

“Worst of all is the shift towards growing maize. In three quarters of the maize fields in the South West, the soil structure has broken down to the extent that they now contribute to flooding.”

Water that pours off these fields contains a lethal mixture of soil, pesticides and fertilisers. The Inside Angle’s Mark Lloyd is blunt about the effects:

“Rain on wet fields runs into rivers, carrying rain with it slurry, soil, pesticides and fertilisers. These are lethal to fish and the invertebrates they eat.”

 

How can anglers help?

fish on worcester racecourse

Image source: Environment Agency
Floundering fish

Image Source: The Environment AgencyHow often do you go fishing? Anglers are in prime position to spot any trouble. Always make sure you carry the Environment Agency’s incident phone number (0800 80 70 60) just in case. Staff are on duty 24/7 ready to respond to calls about distressed fish or polluted rivers.

Early warning

racecourse fish rescue

Image source: Environment Agency
Just in time!

It was local people who came to the rescue when Worcester Racecourse flooded in 2007. At the time, coarse fish were in the shallows of the River Severn spawning, and when it burst its banks, a flooded racecourse seemed the perfect venue to head for.

But when the waters receded, fish got trapped in small pools of warm water. The situation was critical – warm water holds less oxygen than cold water. The fish had to be caught and moved before they suffocated.

A member of the public averted disaster just in time to save tens of thousands of fish. But more would have been saved if the alarm had been raised earlier. In 2014, when the same spot flooded, the Environment Agency reacted much more quickly and all of the fish were rescued.

Do you have your licence?

rod licence

The all-important licence!

You fund the Environment Agency through your rod licence fee. The £27 million raised last year provided funding for emergency responses as well as the specialist equipment needed to restore oxygen levels or rescue stranded fish.

But the Environment Agency still relies on anglers to call it in if there’s a problem. So next time the skies are full of rain, don’t let a bad forecast put you off. If you have a floatation vest to hand and you’ve checked that the current isn’t too strong, grab your waders, pocket your mobile phone and head to your local river.

You never know, it could be your turn to save some stranded fish.

6 Toasty Tips For Winter Fishing

Keep warm in winter - Dave Lane with a winter carp.

Keep warm in winter – Dave Lane with a winter carp.

Now’s a great time to get into some big winter carp. And for sea anglers, winter is the season for decent cod. You’ve got the know-how, the patience and the tactics. We’ve got the lowdown on what to wear to keep you warm, dry and comfortable while you fish.

If the thought of braving frosty temperatures leaves you cold, look no further than our handy guide to keeping warm by the water.

Layer up

staying warm

Image source: shutterstock
What’s under your coat matters

It’s not exactly your clothes that keep you warm, but the insulating air those clothes trap within and between their fibres. This is why the best way to retain your body heat is to wear plenty of layers of clothing.

Top angling blogger Leon Bartropp is a firm believer in layering up:

“There is nothing worse than being cold when you are out in the elements fishing. I’ve found through trial and error over the years that a three layer system will keep you as warm as toast.”

Base
Your base layer combines two functions. One is to keep your core warm, the other is to draw moisture away from your skin, stopping cooling perspiration from drawing heat from your body. Worn next to the skin, merino wool is a great natural insulator or for those who find wool a bit itchy, you won’t go wrong with a quality two piece microfleece.
Mid
Wear a thick wool jumper or fleece as your mid layer and for your bottom half, we suggest you go for a pair of Simms Rivertek midweight pants. They’re super-warm, and constructed so that if you get your feet wet, the water won’t seep up your legs.
Top
An extremely knowledgeable winter cod angler, Glen Kilpatrick who writes for Whitby Sea Anglers is also keen on layering for warmth:

“The best clothing for rock fishing is light breathable layers worn underneath a pair of studded chest waders and a waterproof jacket or smock.”

A waterproof jacket is certainly one option, or alternatively, a flotation suit will do exactly what the name suggests, keeping you afloat should the worst happen. And because it’s 100% water and wind proof, your under layers can do their job, keeping you toasty while you reel in the fish.

Keep your head warm

warm hat man

Image source: shutterstock
Warm head – happy angler. Beard optional

The “fact” that you lose most of your body heat through your head is actually totally wrong. The claim stems from a 1970 US military handbook that stated that without a hat, you lose 40 – 45% of your body heat through your head. The statistic originated from some vaguely scientific studies conducted in the 1950s but is manifestly untrue.

In fact left uncovered, you’ll probably lose something in the order of 10% of your body heat through your head. But anyone who’s ever experienced a case of ‘icecream head’ – the agonising pain caused by the cold wind rifling through your sodden hair – will know the value of a wooly hat!

Hands

yan tan gloves by gemma garner

Image source: Gemma Garner
Go fingerless

Fingerless gloves are ideal for keeping your hands warm without getting in the way of reeling, casting and baiting up.

For added warmth, invest in a pair of hand warmers. They have changed the way that blogger, Gurn from the Intrepid Piscator fishes:

“The petrol fuelled models by Zippo and Peacock are excellent. I use two, one for each side pocket. They keep the fingertips and the core of your body warm. I cannot emphasise enough how much these items have enhanced my angling.”

Happy feet

warm socks

Image source: shutterstock
Numb toes are a no-no. Just make sure you wear your boots, too!

Keep your feet toasty with a good quality pair of Gore-Tex lined boots and a pair of thermal socks. Take the Intrepid Piscator’s advice and you won’t go wrong:

“If your feet are cold then so are you, and once they’re cold they are nigh impossible to warm up again. Good thermal, waterproof footwear is essential”

The good news is, we have the ultimate antidote for cold feet. Our battery-heated fleece socks warm up in one minute flat and are ideal for wearing with your fishing boots.

Gimme shelter

igloo

Image source: shutterstock
The ultimate winter fishing bivvy!

Being comfortable will help you catch more fish, says angling blogger, Ian Brooke. And that’s particularly true during the winter months. Ian’s advice is to invest in a quality clothing to keep you warm and dry because despite the weather,

“Carp look fantastic in their winter colours and are usually at good weights. They are harder to catch but then it was never meant to be easy.”

But a coat will only get you so far. Investing in a bivvy that’ll stand up to the worst the elements can throw at it means you can get out of the weather, keeping you fishing for longer and in worse conditions.

Writing in his series of posts on winter carp fishing, Ian recommends making sure your bivvy has a substantial groundsheet. He says it’s “essential to keep warmth in and damp out.” And he adds, “I also like to have a piece of carpet with me to use as added insulation.”

Fuel up

flask of tea

Tea. Best drink of the day.

Hot comforting food and drinks are a must when you’re angling – and never more so than in the winter. As Ian Brooke points out, “…a cup of tea is an amazing morale booster”.
Take a large insulated flask filled with tea, coffee or soup. If you are planning a longer session and don’t want to carry excessive weight, pack a compact stove and stay fuelled with dried packet mixes or reheated meals.
Biscuits and chocolate bars will also boost your energy levels.

So what are you waiting for? Switch that fire off, stop making excuses and get out there! In Gurn’s words, “There’s no such thing as too cold….just the wrong clothing!”
Got a few tips of your own to share? Let us know how you keep warm when fishing during the winter on our Facebook page.

What do you do when you’re waiting for a bite?

rods ready

Image source: shutterstock
Rods are set and ready… now what?

Would you get takeaway food delivered to your peg? When we asked you what you do while you’re waiting for a bite, some of your answers were eye opening to say the least. With the results of our Big Fishing Survey now in, we can reveal that, for some of you, an Indian or Chinese is just the thing to help you while away the hours. Read on to discover how anglers keep busy on the bank and in the bivvy.

Eat and drink

bivvy cooking

Image source: Fishtec
Bangers, bivvy-style!

Whether it’s comfort eating or keeping your strength up, it’s not surprising that many of you crack open your lunchbox or pour a coffee from your thermos whenever there’s a lull in the action. But for some of you, the food and drink you enjoy by the swim seem almost as important as the fishing.

One of our respondents reports with relish that he loves to: “Get the gas stove on and make a brew [or] cook food!” Another gent likes nothing better than to pop a cork and get stuck into his red wine. And there’s the jaffa cake addict for whom a trip to the river bank is the ideal opportunity to indulge in his illicit secret pleasure.

Get ready

Bait prep

Image source: shutterstock
Bait prep is a popular (and sensible) pastime

Two-thirds of you use the quiet moments between bites to prepare bait and make up rigs ready for when you need them. That’s what we’d call a sensible use of your time. But one would-be Hendrix prefers to “listen to music and practise my air guitar”, which we suppose is just fine as long as he remembers to keep an eye on his rod tip or float.

The guy who spends his time drawing and painting might struggle to give his fishing full attention, though. And the same goes for several of you who love to sit back and watch a movie while waiting for the fish to bite. Each to their own, we say, but it does make us wonder how you can concentrate on your angling while you’re glued to a screen.

Puzzlers

fisherman and puzzle

Image source: shutterstock
Passing the time with a puzzle

Are you one of those who spends the time between fish solving crosswords and sudoku? You may imagine you’re a great multitasker. But when scientists studied what happens to our brains when we try to do more than one thing at a time, they discovered that we “context switch”, flicking our attention from one thing to another.

In fact it’s virtually impossible for your brain to concentrate on more than one task at a time. What actually happens is that your mind’s resources are split between tasks. According to the boffins, doing more than one thing at once increases the likelihood of making a mistake by up to 50%. Do you miss the occasional bite? Best to concentrate on the task at hand!

Instructors

teacher and student

Image source: shutterstock
A relaxing brew for teacher and student!

The generous souls among you put their waiting time to good use by teaching a loved one to fish. Our Big Fishing Survey also revealed that most of today’s keen anglers were introduced to the joys of fishing by friends and family. It’s great to think that so many of you are willing to put your own rod aside to give a fishing lesson.

We think there’s no better way to make use of your time at the river bank than to pass on your enthusiasm for the sport you love. Having said that responses like: “Entertain an eight-year-old” and “ASSIST WIFE” do indicate a certain amount of frustration with the task of instructing newbie anglers…

Nature lovers

relaxing waters

Image source: shutterstock
The waterside is a relaxing place to be

By far the majority of you who responded to our question – “What do you do to fill the time between bites?” – said you relish the opportunity to relax, chill with friends and enjoy reconnecting with nature.

And why not? Science proves that altered states of consciousness change your brain waves for the better. When you stop to take in the beauty of the world around you or focus your attention on a bobbing float, you’re doing yourself good.

Relaxing on the riverbank enables you to return home refreshed and better able to cope with the stresses and strains of daily life. Research shows that a calm state of mind also makes you more creative. How many good ideas have come to you while out fishing?

a waterside nap

Image source: shutterstock
One-fifth of our respondents like a waterside nap…

One word of advice though… don’t relax too much or you’ll end up like 20% of respondents who admitted to nodding off while they wait for the fish to bite! Whatever you choose to do at the riverbank, enjoying yourself is the most important thing. Just keep it legal, unlike one person whose favourite between-bite activity is “unrepeatable here”. Enough said.

Reel to Reel: Fishing on Film through the ages

old film camera

Image source: shutterstock
Reel to reel – vintage fishing clips

How much has fishing changed over the years? We thought we’d find out.

Check out our collection of charming vintage fishing film clips and see how they compare to the videos from today’s cutting edge of angling. We think you’ll be amazed by just how far fishing has come – and how much it’s stayed exactly the same.

Competition time

Flat caps at the ready! Back in the 1960s angling contests were no less hotly contested than they are today but just look at the acres of tweed on display…

A decade later and the Brits were competing in Denmark. Check out the snazzy plastic sun visors these British anglers wore while competing in the Woodbine challenge. Locals were apparently “bemused” by their interest in coarse fish in preference to salmon and trout.

Fast forward to the 2015 World Angling Champs and what’s most striking is the professionalisation of the sport. The fishing, however is just the same as it always was.

Deep sea fishing thrills

Jump on board a trawler and chug your way out to sea for a 1960s cod fishing adventure, Icelandic style.

Now take a look at the next video, courtesy of the good folks at Sportquest holidays. The venue is the same, but check out how much quicker it is to get to the fishing grounds!

A rod’s a rod

Simple yet effective, in the 1930s rods were crafted by men working in harmony with their machines – not to mention plenty of good old fashioned elbow grease.

76 years later and the materials have changed but making a quality rod remains a skilled job with a strong craft element.

Child’s play

Worthing’s the venue for this charming summer holiday clip from the1930s. As the commentator says, the kids here are only too delighted to “swap hated books for baited hooks”.

Now it’s all about keeping the kids off the streets – here’s a novel approach – an indoor fishing venue.

They say you no longer even have to step outside your bedroom to experience the thrill of fishing. The latest gaming technology means fishing games that are just like the real thing – apparently.

But then again, maybe not. Just check this little boy’s reaction to catching his first fish. Some things never change!

Which Angling Conservation Groups Would You Join?

Image source: Fishtec Blog Our waters are worth looking after.

Image source: Fishtec Blog
Our waters are worth looking after.

Fishing conservation goes beyond buying a rod license. Yet 56% of anglers don’t support any kind of conservation group, according to a recent Fishtec survey.

Anglers tend to care about the environment than most people, but there’s always more to do. To help you get involved, we’ve shortlisted some of the best UK fishing conservation groups and highlighted some of the great work they do.

If you’re not sure what else to add to your Christmas list, add membership to one of these groups. It’s the ideal way to give your support.

Wild Trout Trust

fish pass

Image source: wildtrout.org
The WTT team install a fish pass on the River Hamble

Did you know the British Brown trout is more genetically diverse than the whole human race put together? Check out the Wild Trout Trust website for all everything you ever wanted to know about one of our favourite fish.

Fancy getting your hands wet (and dirty) in the name of conservation? If so the Wild Trout Trust is for you. A grassroots organisation dedicated to looking after the nation’s wild trout, here you’ll also find a wealth of opportunities to get stuck in.

And there are plenty of resources for anyone who just wants to gen up on UK river ecosystems. The Wild Trout Trust isn’t an angling organisation – but as you’d expect, many of its members are avid anglers. Tempted to join this enthusiastic community of river guardians? We don’t blame you.

Salmon and Trout Conservation UK

salmon run

Image source: salmon-trout.org/
Salmon running the Hampshire Avon – numbers still need to rise

Would it surprise you to learn that less than a quarter of rivers in England and Wales meet the Government’s own “good ecological status”? It’s because of the degradation of river environments that salmon runs are down by as much as 80% over the past 20 years.

If you think it’s time to do something to reverse the damage to our rivers, Salmon and Trout Conservation UK offers a chance to learn more, and lend a helping hand. There’s a blog too, which offers fascinating insights into the work of the charity – if you thought black box recorders were only for the aviation industry, think again.

First formed in 1903, the S&TC UK campaigns for sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. As a conservation minded angler, make sure you check out their section on how you can do your bit.

The Canal and River Trust

canal fishing

Image Source: canalrivertrust.org.uk
Canal fishing remains possible because of the CRT’s dedicated work

“We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.” As an angler you’re sure to appreciate the work of the Canal and River Trust.

They’re the charity that cares for 2000 miles of rivers and canals across the country.
And because they also look after the vast network of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs, they’re always looking for people willing to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.

Of course you can always show your appreciation for the charity’s work by becoming a friend of the Trust. In return, you’ll receive discounts at Trust museums and attractions, a free magazine, book of “CoolCanals” walks and a pin badge and car sticker!

Shark Trust

Basking shark

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Basking shark are regular visitors to UK waters

Often demonised for their sharp toothed savagery, if you’ve ever wondered who is standing up for this vital apex predator, wonder no more. The Shark Trust has been helping to save the shark through science, education, influence and action since 1997.

If you’re a sea angler or just someone who loves to visit the coast, you can help the Shark Trust by joining in the ‘great eggcase hunt’. It’s a data gathering exercise to establish the distribution and abundance of egg cases from shark, ray and skates

The info will help scientists work out the best places to campaign for protected nurseries. So what are you waiting for? Check out the Shark Trust’s projects page for more details and get hunting.

Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society

bass

Image source: ukbass.com
An 11 – six bass, released without being landed

UK Bass is all about anglers looking out for the interests of the fish they love to catch. Members adhere to a rigorous code of conduct, sticking to the society’s 48cm size limit for fish caught for the table and recommending a maximum take of two fish per day and only ten a year.

Even if you’re not thinking of joining, it’s worth thinking about adopting the same policy. Bass stocks really are under pressure so it’s up to all anglers to do their bit. If you’d like to get involved, UK Bass supports the SOS Save Our Sea bass campaign.

Members get a quarterly magazine, but anyone visiting the site has access to a wealth of information about bass. This is a must for sea anglers.

Marine Conservation Society

mcsuk beach clean

Image source: Lauren Davis, mcsuk.org
MCSUK members on the Great British Beach Clean

“Our seas are under immense pressure: too many fish are being taken out, too much rubbish is being thrown in and too little is being done to protect our precious marine wildlife and vital fish stocks.”

Agree? You’ll be interested in the work of the Marine Conservation Society. Check out their beach clean map to find an event near you, or if wildlife spotting is your thing, there’s a ‘report your sightings’ page that tells you what to spot and where to record it.

And if you want to make sure the fish you eat is sustainable, make sure you check out the Fish Online section for the lowdown on the fish on the end of your fork.

Angling Trust

gravel riffle angling trust

Image source: anglingtrust.net
Angling Trust members creating a gravel riffle to aid spawning habitat

The national governing body for all angling, the Angling Trust fights against pollution, over-fishing, over-abstraction, poaching and many other other threats to angling.

And the Trust battles to keep fisheries open too. If you’ve noticed new signs on the harbour wall or town pier, by the banks of a town centre river or canal – banning fishing, it’s good to know someone is standing up for anglers’ rights.

Competitive angler? Check out the competition news page for results and write ups from comps across the country.

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

parr tagging

Image source: gwct.org
Tagging parr in Frome

Good land management and healthy rivers go hand in hand, which is why the work of the Game and Wildlife Trust matters to us as anglers.

Affiliated to the Atlantic Salmon Trust, GWCT believe passionately that those who enjoy shooting and fishing have a valuable part to play in conserving the countryside for future generations.

The Trust employs over 100 scientists and staff and currently run over 60 research projects often in collaboration with universities. All that work costs money, much of which comes from members’ subscriptions. If you’d like to join you’re sure to be warmly received and the Trust is always on the lookout for volunteers.

Blue Ventures

octopus fisherman

Image source: copyright Garth Cripps/ Blue Ventures
Not the average river catch…

The octopus fishermen of Madagascar owe the resurgence of their vital, life sustaining fishery to a small charity dedicated to helping coastal communities in the tropics manage their marine resources with conservation in mind.

When charity workers persuaded one village to temporarily close a section of reef for fishing, octopus stocks bounced right back. Now the practise has gone viral with communities up and down the coast copying the strategy to great effect.

With marine conservation a hot topic here in the UK, the work of this group is very relevant to those of us who fish in cooler climes too. Big change can indeed grow from small changes. As the guys at Blue Ventures say: “taking less from our ocean can give us much much more.

The Rivers Trust

 river angling

Image source: riverstrust.org
River angling – what better way to spend a day?

With river trusts popping up all over the country, the Rivers Trust is an umbrella body which offers the opportunity for affiliates to share information and resources. As an Angler, you’ll be interested in the work of the organisation because of its role in developing ideas, best practices and policy guidance.

You’ll find a host of resources here including this excellent animated guide to the water cycle – great for educating your kids. And there’s a newsletter you can sign up to receive – great for keeping up to date with the Trust’s work around the country.

The Rivers Trust has a reputation as a body of doers who like to get their feet wet, and no wonder because anglers are among the core members of many rivers trusts around Britain. If you’d like to know more, make sure you checkout the projects page to see all the projects with which the Trust is currently involved.

The Grayling Society

grayling fishing

Image source: graylingsociety.net
Idyllic grayling fishing

Here’s a great opportunity to deepen your knowledge of one of our most beautiful wild game fish. The Grayling Society has been working since 1977 to keep like minded anglers informed about grayling conservation and fishing.

Becoming a member is a great way to forge links with fellow grayling enthusiasts both here and around the world.

And if you’d like to learn more about catching the ‘lady of the stream’, there’s an informative angling page, complete with video on how to catch the beautiful grayling.

The Riverfly Partnership

mayfly

Image source: riverflies.org
The mayfly – a common sight on our rivers

They’re often called the “canary of the river”, and with good cause too. River flies and invertebrates are at the heart of the river ecosystem. A vital link in the aquatic food chain, with no flies, there would be no fly fishing.

So thank goodness there’s an organisation committed to looking after the interests of this often neglected aspect of river conservation.

How would you like to contribute to keeping our waterways teeming with healthy insect life? The Riverfly Partnership provides one-day workshops to fishing clubs and other groups to help you monitor and report on the biological quality of your local rivers.

Countryside Alliance

CA-fishing-lesson

Image source: Countryside Alliance
A fishing lesson from the Countryside Alliance

If you live in a rural area or even if you don’t you’ll be surprised just how much work the group does campaigning for better policing, planning, affordable housing, fuel and digital communications for the countryside.

Far from being a one issue organisation, the Countryside Alliance is all about traditional values, thriving rural communities, and economies and sustainable countryside management. With over 100,000 members the Alliance represents the interests of a broad swathe of countryside lovers.

And as an angler, you’ll appreciate the work of the Alliance’s Foundation, which gives young people the chance to try their hand at fishing through its Fishing for Schools programme. The Countryside Alliance is a great organisation well worth a look.

Wye Salmon Association

learning to fish

Image source: Wye Salmon Association
Learning to fish on the Wye

Until the early 1990s, the annual rod catch of salmon in the Wye would regularly hit the 7000 mark. By 2010, that figure had plummeted to just 450 fish. but now the Wye Salmon Association is fighting back.

There’s not much they can do about global warming or sea survival, but they can influence what happens in the Wye valley. The Association campaigns tirelessly to return the river to its former glory.

The website’s news page makes for interesting reading – a true snapshot of the myriad issues that river conservationists face. From hatchery and stocking debates to poaching, it’s a real eye opener and relevant to anglers everywhere.

National Anguilla Club

chris mason eel

Image source: National Aguilla Club
NAC member Chris Mason with a fine catch!

And now for something completely different! How about trying your hand at eel angling? The National Anguilla Club was formed in 1962 and is one of the Nation’s oldest single specimen associations.

Back in the 60s there were 95% more eels than there are now, and while the Anguilla Club has always been interested in the study of this extraordinary and intriguing creature, these days the club is very much a conservation group.

But that doesn’t mean they no longer fish for our slippery friends, just that they always practise catch and release. A fantastic resource for anyone interested in the life of one of the most enigmatic inhabitants of our rivers and streams.

The Barbel Society

barbel

Image source: Barbel Society
Avon barbel double and rod of choice

Angers are often conservationists too, and the fishermen of the Barbel Society surely number among the most passionate advocates of sustainable fisheries. The founding members of the organisation realised way back in the early 1990s that widening participation in the sport had to go hand in hand with effective management strategies to limit the pressure on the aquatic environment and fish stocks.

This website reflects the wide ranging interests of barbel anglers. You can read back issues of Barbel Fisher magazine, catch up with Society news through the e-newsletter and hone your barbelling knowledge and skills

There’s even an informative barbel handling video so you can make sure your prize catch returns to the water unharmed to grow even bigger. A great resource.

Guess The Fish Weight!

Here at Fishtec we like to stretch your estimation skills from time to time. We’ve gathered a collection of eleven beautiful catches for you to cast your eyes over.
Throw your weights around, and see how well you score in our quick quiz. Are you the master of measurement, or do you need a bit more time at the waterside?

Dan Jones with a big pike

big fat pike
Image Source: carpcoarseandswansea

How heavy is this pike?

Bass caught on a Weedless Weightless Texas rig

freshly caught bass
Image source: http://braidrunner.com

This bass is a fine catch - but what did the scales say?

Plump female mirror with a proud set of barbules!

female mirror
Image source: fishing-for-memories.blogspot.co.uk

This mirror came in at less than the original estimate - what was the actual weight?

This feisty little Rainbow graced the net after some acrobatics and a very spirited fight.

rainbow trout in net
Image source: finallyfishing.blogspot.co.uk

A feisty little rainbow - but what was the weight?

River Dane chub

08-phil-kelly-chub
Image source: flyandclassiccoarse

Just how chubby do you think this chub is?

A good looking wrasse...

wrasse
Image source: schogskyandhutch.blogspot.co.uk

How heavy was this wrasse before it went back to the kelp forest for its dinner?

23 inches of wild Trent Trout on a dry fly, it don't get much better...

wild trent trout
Image source: glenpointon.blogspot.co.uk

How much does this wild trent trout weigh?

Wrasse on the rocks

angler with wrasse
Image source: scillylureaddicts.blogspot.co.uk

This wrasse was 58 cm - but how much did it weigh?

Aussie salmon, happy angler!

11-sam-aussie-salmon
Image source: lurefish-ireland.com

How much did this aussie salmon weigh when it was landed?

How heavy is this beauty?

rainbow trout
Image source:chrismccully.co.uk

This beautiful rainbow was caught in East Yorkshire - but how much does it weigh?

Not ancient, but not a young bream either

12-jeff-hatt-bream
Image source: idlersquest.blogspot.co.uk

An elder bream - what's the weight?

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: http://blog.fishtec.co.uk/fishtec-competitions/classic-catch-competition

To find out more about how to get the best pictures out of your own photography while you’re by the water, check out our fishing photography guide. It’ll give you all you need to get started or learn more about the art of snapping!