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

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?

Tackle

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.

Bait

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!

Comfort

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!

How do fish see colour underwater?

the right coloured lure

Image source: lure and light game
Learn to see like a fish and choose the right lure for the job

Every angler has his favourite lure. Entire fishing trips have been spent debating the merits of type, colour and material. So what are the qualities of a great lure? Can we settle the argument once and for all?

In order to find the perfect lure we first need to understand just what it looks like to a fish.
What looks good to us on land doesn’t necessarily look good underwater. It might explain why something that looks drab to us never fails to land a catch; a puzzle blogger Henry Gilbey has long been pondering:

‘It will never cease to amaze me how such a plain and perhaps even boring looking soft plastic lure can be so lethal, and especially when there are so many lovely looking shiny bits of hard and soft plastic out there that look far more appealing both on the shelf and in the water’.

We might think that brightly coloured or iridescent lures are the most attractive but, in truth, a fish may not even be able to see them.

This is because fish eyes have a different anatomy to our own, even though they contain the same basic types of cell: cones and rods. Cones are used during the day, and can perceive differences in colour, while rods only measure the intensity of light, and are responsible for night vision. Fish have almost spherical lenses (unlike our flattened ones), which let in more light, but limit the distance they can see. Many fish have extra cones, allowing them to see more of the total light spectrum than we can. Trout, for instance, can see bits of ultraviolet and infrared light.

This means they can see more ‘colours’ than we can. The extra cones in their eyes are able to detect frequencies of light we can’t. Light travels as a wave, and different wavelengths (the distances between two peaks in the wave) produce different colours. Visible light (the part of the spectrum we can see) is made of different wavelengths, and how objects absorb or reflect particular wavelengths determines their colour. For instance, a red fishing float appears that way because it absorbs all the visible light which hits it, apart from light in the red part of the spectrum. White reflects all light back, black reflects none.

It is easy to think of light as being immaterial, but that isn’t true. It can be affected by the environments it passes through, and this has a big impact upon whether or not your favourite lure is going to catch you any fish today.

While “be the fish” might be a piece of advice too far, it is true that you need to picture the world from the fish’s point of view. Location, weather, water depth, and even season play a role in deciding how effective your lure will be. Wavelengths of light get absorbed by water at different depths – red and orange are the first to go, with violet being the last. So red might work near the surface, but if you’re going deep you’ll want something violet on the end of your line. Uli-Beyer.com have done some extensive research into the effect of water depth on colour reflection and fluorescence (in fresh and sea water), and have found that fluorescent lures can have a marked effect on your results. There are those, of course, who have questioned whether these lures are just a groovy gimmick.

Season and location play a role because they dictate which colours are being reflected into the water. Fish in a pond surrounded by trees with yellowing autumn leaves will be used to seeing yellow and orange in the water. Is it better to choose a lure that mimics those colours in order to fit into the environment, or to go for something out of the ordinary? It depends who you talk to.

coloured lure collection

Image source:River Piker
Match lures to the season, the weather, and your catch

Fish will be able to perceive colours better on bright days, where there is more light getting underwater to reflect off things, than on overcast ones.

So is there a perfect lure? Technically yes, but it depends upon where you are, what the weather is, what time of year it is, and what you are trying to catch. Equip yourself with a varied set of lures to give yourself plenty of options, and you should be able to use the information in this post to better match the lure you use to your fish of choice.

Barbel Fishing On The River Wye

The eagerly awaited coarse river fishing season began on 16th June, and several members of the Fishtec team were itching to get out there and fish for barbel on the famous River Wye, one of the best mixed game and coarse fisheries in the whole of the UK. Read on to find out how the guys did on England & Wales’s finest coarse fishing waterway, and what methods and tackle they employed.

The majestic river Wye

The majestic river Wye.

Many of the popular beats on the river were booked solid post June the 16th, but with the help of the informative and friendly people at the Wye and Usk foundation we managed to book a lovely stretch of the famous river Wye for the day, just a few miles upriver from Hereford during the second week of the new coarse fishing season.

Making a booking with the Wye and Usk foundation is a piece of cake- simply visit their website, select the beat and date you wish to fish and make payment by card online. Beat availability and recent catch reports are all very clearly shown on the website. Alternatively give the guys a call- they will be more than happy to give you advise on which beats are fishing well and swim availability. The beauty of these beats unlike some of the cheaper day ticket venues the fishing pressure itself is very light, and you either get the beat completely to yourself or share with just a handful of rods.

In our case the chosen beat was the lower canon bridge near Madely, which takes up to 4 rods – plenty of room as the stretch is over a mile long. Cannon bridge is in the beautiful rural Herefordshire countryside, situated on the opposite bank of the beautiful wear garden national trust property and was just a 40 minute drive from our Brecon HQ. A sumptuous good looking stretch of river to say the least.

The canon bridge stretch of the river Wye.

The canon bridge stretch of the river Wye.

Our plan was to take a half day off work, with fishing continuing into the late summer evening, with some of the other guys turning up after their shift in the Fishtec warehouse. Myself and marketing director Tim Hughes were the lucky ones with the afternoon off. We headed off to the river at lunch time and arrived at the bank approximately 2.30pm.

This beat is one of the longest walks to the fishing area on the Wye and Usk programme, being about 1/2 a mile stroll through a farm track and fields; so our intention was to seriously reduce the fishing tackle and travel very light to counteract the long walk. Despite this, after the trek to the river on what was one of the hottest days of the year in very humid conditions, we reached the river feeling a little hot and bothered. I was very grateful that I was wearing my breathable fishing waders, rather than the traditional neoprene or rubber types, an essential bit of fishing gear in my opinion for the warmer summer days.

The perfect barbel swim.

The perfect barbel swim.

After a quick scout up and down the banks we found two absolutely perfect swims – Tim’s at the head of a pool, where thick weed beds and a good flow faded into a deep area on a bend, and mine on the main pool itself, just 30 yards below him with a nice drop off on my side and partially submerged branches to my left side for fish cover. A bit of careful marginal wading would allow me to place a perfect cast onto where the bottom faded out of view. Initial observations indicated a lot of fish present – gold flashes in the depths and the odd fish topping and crashing about were quite evident in the swims.

The TF Gear Airlite reel - a great reel for barbel fishing in the 40 size.

The TF Gear Airlite reel – a great reel for barbel fishing in the 40 size.

Now for the fishing tackle– as I mentioned we had traveled very light, with just one rod (a beat rule) a long bank stick, and a small carryall with all of the terminal end gear and baits, plus a net with shoulder strap with unhooking mat wrapped round the handle. No chairs or any cumbersome gear were brought along whatsoever.

My fishing rod choice was the great value TF Gear banshee barbel, fitted with a 1.5 test curve avon top, matching Airlite reel  with 12lb TF Gear nantec mono mainline. On the business end was an 18 inch fluorocarbon hooklink made up of 10lb Airflo Sightfree G3, 23 gram guru cage feeder and size 10 QMI hook with 2 x robin red 8mm pre-drilled pellets hair rigged into place. I had a small tub of halibut groundbait mixed up with some pellets, some of which we had sparingly thrown or catapulted into the swims before setting up the rod’s on the bank sticks. We took some time to walk the banks to check out further suitable swims and feed in a sparing amount of bait into the most likely looking spots.

Tim catapulting some pellets into a swim.

Tim catapulting some halibut pellets into a swim.

I made my first cast at just 5 yards out – never ignore the water close to you if it looks good, fish this first rather than blasting out to the far bank. I settled back quietly and moved slightly up the bank away from the rod, eagerly awaiting a bite.  I had angled the rod as high up as possible on the bank stick, so to avoid any untoward influence from the current. Within just minutes the rod tip jagged a few times, then pulled right over with a solid take. I reeled down and felt a thumping, kiting, head-shaking weight at the end of it. This must be a barbel I thought! And indeed it was. I gave Tim a shout and after a dogged, very spirited fight we had the first barbel on the bank – these beautiful fish sure know how to hang on!

The first barbel graces the bank.

The first barbel graces the bank.

After a quick snap I took great care to rest the barbel in the net before release; it is important to do this because barbel give their all during the fight, in the summer time dissolved oxygen levels are much lower in the water so the fish may become very tired and stressed. This ensures the barbel can swim off strongly without keeling over from exhaustion later, when back in the river fighting against the flow.

Back she goes - take care to rest barbel in the net first.

Back she goes – take care to rest barbel in the net first.

Tim Hughes into a hard fighting Wye barbel.

Tim Hughes into a hard fighting Wye barbel.

The action continued for the next couple of hours for both of us – with many thumping rod wrenching takes all round, we both landed and lost several nice barbel each. At one stage the bites were frantic – it was literally every cast, and just minutes after the feeder hit the river bed in some instances. This was great fishing -what you might call a red letter day!

A golden Wye barbel, great looking fish.

A golden Wye barbel, great looking fish.

A hard fighting golden Wye barbel

Another hard fighting river Wye golden torpedo.

As well as some cracking barbel we also had some super chub, most in the 3 -4 lb bracket. Now these chub fought in a much more sneakier fashion than the barbel- what they lacked in dogged long distance stamina they made up for by heading right into every bolt hole and snag they could find, and they definitely knew them all.

A wiley river Wye chub

Some fine river Wye chub.

Some fine river Wye chub.

Fishtec’s Warehouse manger Mike Morgan showed up at around 6.00pm, and took up a promising position on a gravel bar at the very tail end of the pool. Mike made some risky long range casts close to the farthest bank into some weed bed slots- a spot where Tim has catapulted some pellets into earlier.  This strategy paid off for Mike with three hard fighting barbel being his reward.

Mike Morgan with his third Wye barbel.

Mike Morgan with his third Wye barbel.

The barbel just loved hoovering up robin red carp pellets.

The barbel just loved hoovering up robin red carp pellets.

The bites in my swim had finally slowed down as evening drew on, up until now the fishing had been so good there had been no need to move swims. If the bites dry up then don’t be afraid to make a move! So I took a walk and baited up a few likely looking spots first, then  switched swims to a few hundred yards further downstream and cast my feeder rig into a perfect looking area just opposite an old boathouse-  depth, flow and cover all combined together in this area to make a sweet looking spot.

A nice Wye chub to end the day.

A nice Wye chub to end the day.

Four decent chub came to the net in quick succession, but with absolutely no sign of any barbel in this area.  The clock had finally ticked down on us – doesn’t time fly when your catching fish? So we called it a day with a dozen barbel and eight chub landed between us, plus numerous other chances and fish lost. A productive and fun afternoons fishing on this majestic river to say the least.

 

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.

 

TF Gear Compact Rods

Dave-Lane Carp Fishing

Looking for a new rod to kick start your spring campaign? Look no further than the TF gear compact range of coarse fishing rods, ideal for those starting out in the sport and the seasoned veteran alike.

What are the compact rods you ask? Well the concept is these coarse fishing rods are shorter in length than the traditional fishing rods on the market. This confers many advantages to the fisherman.

  • Easy maneuvering – in tightly spaced commercial fishery swims, or on the river bank when you have to clamber through heavy bank side foliage.
  • Greatly reduced weight – These fishing rods are also significantly lighter in the hand making your fishing more pleasurable.
  • Easy transportation – these rods are guaranteed to fit in your car!
  • Better casting accuracy – with less leverage to deal with and a quicker recovery time accurate casting becomes much easier.
  • Improved control when playing a fish – its much easier to put the pressure on a decent fish and change angle of play quickly with a shorter rod.
  • Reduced cost – shorter length equals less carbon used. This cost saving has been passed on, so higher quality blanks and components are used in manufacture. You get a better quality product for less money.
  • Fish playing fun – feel everything, and put the thrill back into a fight! While at the same time there is enough power to quickly tame large specimen fish.

TF Gear produce a compact rod for every fishing scenario you will ever encounter. There are two ranges – The original compact rods, which and have a classic brown ground matt carbon finish, and feature smooth mid-tip progressive actions. These rods are great value, but no compromise has been made on quality or finish.  Secondly the lighter weight and higher modulus carbon nantec range, which feature slimmer blanks and a slightly faster action. In addition most of the nantec rods come with a free TF gear Airlite reel, making them an incredibly competitive package.

The TF Gear nantec compact allrounder

The TF gear compact allrounders must be the best seller best in the range. These highly versatile rods offer you numerous options, you can go from a 8 to 10 foot length with a two foot extension piece. They are also supplied with 3 x push in feeder quiver tips and an avon top, allowing you to fish multiple methods – float, feeder, touch ledgering, surface fishing or even spinning.

The TF Gear compact commercial feeder rod

 

The TF Gear Compact commercial float and feeder rods are available in either 8 foot or 10 foot configurations. The feeder rods come complete with 3 push in quivers. They are ideal for small fishery work, from roach and rudd to tench and bream, these rods handle them all. The 8 footers in particular are ideal for really crowded swims, and also make superb rods for youngsters to easily use.

TF Gear Compact carp rods are 10 foot in length with a 2.5 test curve. These fantastic rods are not just ideal for carp, they can be used for barbel, large specimen tench, chub or even pike and zander fishing using a float and deadbait presentation.

Alex Bones, expert carp and match angler talk us through the nantec compact carp rod.