Fishing Tackle Review – The RidgeMonkey Bivvy Light


The RidgeMonkey duo bivvy-lite

The RidgeMonkey duo bivvy-lite.

I have had my RidgeMonkey bivvy lite Duo for over 5 months and used it most nights when out fishing. I don’t use it to read by or keep it on for hours, just to bait up and do a spot of cooking.

This clever bit of kit has two light settings. I tend to use the brightest setting, not the red, as I am not sure about that one yet. I have been fishing at least one night a week, if not more and used this light most nights.

There are two light settings.

There are two light settings.

The battery power has proved to be wonderful – I have still yet to charge it up! This is just brilliant and the fact that it would be quite a simple process, as I carry a power pack for my phone. So when I finally have to charge up the light, I will be able to do it on the bank.

Attach anywhere you wish using a magnetic strip.

Attach anywhere you wish using a magnetic strip.

It has a  handy magnetic strip you can attach it to your bivvy or brolly

There are two cords either end which enable you to hang it from brolly spokes or a magnet hook.

I have attached a clip to mine which makes it a bit easier for me to attach.
This allows me to clip it on quick over the brolly spoke and I can just slide it up and down depending on where I need the light to be under the brolly.

I have also found a use for those old pva tubes! A perfect place to store the bivvy Light when not in use.

This is a great bit of kit and I believe I have finally found a bivvy light that is simply perfect for the job. Full credit to RidgeMonkey for doing a great job here – carp anglers have been waiting for something as good as this for a long time!

Regards Richard.

Weird and wonderful fishing: The bizarre ways anglers make their catches!

bizarre fishing

Image source: shutterstock
Waiting for a bite?

When was the last time you challenged your tried and trusted angling techniques? Here to inspire you, we’ve put together some of the weird and wonderful ways fishermen around the world catch their fish! A collection of the the mad, the bad and the ludicrously dangerous

You wouldn’t necessarily want to try any of these methods at home.

Sewer fishing

Bait a hook with a chunk of hotdog sausage, poke it down a hole in the storm sewer cover and wait. That’s what this American lad did. Would you eat a fish caught in a drain? This is an ingenious fishing method that brings new meaning to the term, “foul hooked”.

Video: The Fish Whisperer

Drilling for fish

We promise we’re not winding you up with this clip which shows just how inventive anglers can be. A battery powered drill replaces a traditional rod and reel, and takes all the effort out of bringing in the catch. Sounds to us like it also takes all the fun out of it.

Video: The Fish Whisperer

Use the family linen

Here’s a traditional Middle Eastern way of catching bait fish. All you need is a friend, a headscarf, a stream or shallow pond and some slight of hand to help you sieve out your quarry. Probably best to avoid trying this with the family tablecloth, though!

Video: niceman69100

Current fishing methods

Here, a group of sparky Australian biologists whose fishing technique is literally electrifying. The fish are briefly stunned for the purpose of environmental monitoring.The UK Environment Agency uses the same method to track the fish populations in our rivers over time.

Video: Tim Young

A handy way to make a catch

No rod? No worries! These fisherman in Guyana don’t let a lack of fishing tackle stop them. They get into the water fully clothed and chase the Tarpon that swim nearby, using their bare hands to make their catch. No mean feat considering some of these fish can weigh anything up to 280lbs.

Video: LuckiRam

Strictly cod dancing

If it’s too cold to stand around – dance! Not only will it you warm up, you’re likely to make a speedy catch too. Here, anglers leap about on the edge of the ice bordering a river. The fish respond to the thumping of the anglers’ boots which agitates the water beneath, literally leaping into the net! Ice cool or what?

Video: JefferyRPeoples3

Cormorant and get it

Feeling peckish? Using birds to catch fish is a technique that goes back a thousand years in the Far East. An ingenious fishing technique – is this a case of man and nature working in harmony or humans exploiting the hell out of a flock of birds? We’ll let you decide.

Video: Hans A. Leupe 

What weird and wonderful fishing techniques do you have to share? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us all about it on our Facebook page!

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’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!

Tackle up for Early Season River Fly Fishing

The 2016 river trout fishing season is soon to be upon us! Here in Wales it begins on March the 3rd, with the rest of the country soon to follow suit. We simply cannot wait to get out on our local rivers and start fishing again.

But first make sure you tackle up! For your larger freestone river fishing, you need the appropriate fly fishing gear in order to make the most of harsh early spring conditions. Here we have picked out six essential tackle items for your early season trout fishing forays, and explain why you need them.

An Early season wild brown from the river Ebbw.

An Early season wild brown from the river Ebbw.

1. Thermal underwear suit. In early March the water temperatures will still be extremely cold, and wading for more than an hour or two will leave you chilled to the bone. We recommend Investing in a decent set of thermals for the start of your season.

The new thermolite body suit from Airflo is absolutely perfect for the job. Worn as part of a layering system this body suit is guaranteed to keep you warm and comfortable. Another benefit is getting your waders on and off. This becomes a much easier job due to this suits smooth, soft, friction free surface. Simply ensure you wear in the correct way (i.e over your other clothing) and you will reap the benefits.

Airflo's thermolite suit.

Airflo’s thermolite suit.

2. Get a decent net. There several excellent nets on the market designed purposely for the river angler, such as the Airflo streamtec pan net. At a sale price of just £14.99 these nets are a true bargain – so why not invest in a new one for your seasons start?

These great nets are very lightweight, with an a ergonomic rubber handle and are sized ‘just right’. There is nothing worse than struggling to unhook a fish twisted up in overly deep net meshing, and the depth here is just perfect. The mesh itself is extremely fine, just like that of a coarse fishing match net head, making them extremely fish friendly and a lot harder to end up with your your fly entangled within it. Attach with a magnetic net-release to the D-ring on your vest and you are good to go!

Wild Trout in Airflo pan net

A 14 inch wild river Taff brown – Safe and sound in the Airflo Streamtec pan net.

3. Waterproof phone case. At the start of the season river flows will be very strong from the constant winter rain, so a careless wade could easily result in a dip. To save you getting a new phone, we recommend you invest in an overboard phone case.

These cases really are an indispensable piece of kit for the river angler – I’m sure plenty of us have ruined a phone whilst river fishing, we certainly have!

Overboard phone cases

Overboard phone cases – how much is your phone worth?

Wear securely round your neck, or in your wader pocket safe in the knowledge if you do ship some water or stumble on the rocks your phone will be saved. Unlike a lot of cheap ebay imitations (which often split apart after just days!) the overboard cases are designed for ease of entry and are very durable – guaranteed to keep your phone safe and dry for many years.

4. Warm headgear. It’s a well known fact that body heat is lost most rapidly through the head. We stock a wide section of warm head gear, but our favourite has to be the Simms trout visor beanie. A great bit of kit which unlike some others has a visor peak so is ideal for blocking out low angle light glare.

Simms trout visor beanie in action

The Simms trout visor beanie in action.
Image: Simms Fly Fishing

5.Thermolite hoody. These awesome jackets by Airflo have got it all – functionality, smart appearance, and cold weather performance to match. These jackets are simply great value, and are a firm staff favourite at Fishtec. Ideal for early season on the river, and the pub afterwards.

warm gear East sleep fish

Warm Gear: Airflo Thermolite hoody with polar Buff.
Image: Eat Sleep fish

6. Polar Buff neck wear. Keeps wind and cold out of the neck and face area. An essential for early season angling. The polar version features a continuous double layer of polyester microfibre and fleece, making ideal for autumn and winter fishing escapades. Wear it with the fleece inside or out to keep warmth and comfort to a maximum. The possibilities are almost endless, rather like the product!

Why not let us know how you got on at the start of your river season? Visit our Facebook page and share your early season catches with us.

Tackle Up for Destination Fishing – Chris Ogborne.

One of the most rapidly growing sectors in the angling market is destination fishing. Here experienced guide and tackle consultant Chris Ogborne takes a look at what’s available and how to get the best out of it.

Destination fishing is having a massive upsurge in popularity

Destination fishing is having a massive upsurge in popularity.

Destination fishing – or fishing holidays to you and me – is enjoying a massive upsurge in popularity at the moment. It’s hardly surprising when you consider the vagaries of the British climate, plus of course we’re all feeling more confident as the recession fades into memory and there’s a degree of optimism about.

But I think it goes beyond this, as more and more anglers realise that destinations considered ‘too expensive’ a few years ago are actually well within our reach. Coupled with the poor results on many fabled UK salmon rivers, and the fact that more and more anglers are looking for something that’s more of a challenge, and you can see why travel is a definite option.

It’s also true that the whole concept of destination fishing has a certain cachet to it, an appeal that exceeds the expectations we have of fishing in our home waters. It’s actually quite cool now to bore your friends with tales of huge brown trout from Iceland, GT’s from warmer waters, or fisheries where you can expect rather more than the miserable returns on over-priced Scottish rivers or Hampshire chalk streams.

he whole appeal of going away for a fishing holiday or break is that you escape the confines of our small island and visit somewhere remote and wild.

The whole appeal of going away for a fishing holiday or break is that you escape the confines of our small island and visit somewhere remote and wild.

For me the key word always has been and always will be ‘wild’. Like it or not, fishing in British waters is becoming just a bit predictable – some would say domesticated – and pressure on fisheries in our small islands is huge. The whole appeal of going away for a fishing holiday or break is that you escape the confines of our small island and visit somewhere remote and wild. With no people around, a wilderness setting and just the local wildlife for company, it’s absolutely possible to get back to nature. If the fishing’s good as well then it’s almost a bonus.

There are now a load of specialist companies to help you plan your trip. Whilst it’s arguably unfair to select names from the list, I wouldn’t be able to write this article without at least giving a few pointers and I have to say that the following are amongst the very best. I’ve travelled with all of them and their service is simply amazing: Saltwater, salmon, char and all fishing in between, these guys do it all. Aardvark McLeod is a company managed by anglers for anglers, and it shows. Frontiers are one of the longest established companies and still at the very top of their trade From Argentina to Alaska their trips are the stuff of legend. Immaculate admin and stunning locations.

www.gofishingworldwide Great locations, great guides and great attention to detail.

Equally, there’s nothing to stop you saving a few quid and doing it all yourself although I can fully understand why so many anglers prefer to let companies like this do it for you. Travelling with an established destination company gives you security and confidence, and whilst you could arrange it yourself with an evening on the internet, it’s arguably much safer to travel with the experts.

It’s arguably much safer to travel with the experts.

It’s arguably much safer to travel with the experts.

The choice of destination is a personal one, and such is the variety on offer that I simply can’t list all the options here. Have a quick look at any of the websites above to see what I mean. In the end, it will come down to what floats your particular boat, although for many it will be a combination of other things besides the actual fishing. For me, the scenery and the wildlife is just as important, whilst for others it will be the quality and skills of the guides, or maybe the luxury of the accommodation, or even the food and ‘apres fish’ activities. Whether it’s wading in warm water for bonefish, hunting specimen brown trout in Iceland, trophy salmon in Alaska, or huge Grayling in Lapland – for me it’s the wilderness, the remoteness, and the feeling of being unavailable to the rest of the world that really matters! That old phrase ‘far from the madding crowd’ is very relevant!

Alphonse Island - Far from the maddening crowd.

Alphonse Island – Far from the madding crowd.


However, whatever your choice and wherever your destination I do have a some personal tips to offer, borne of long experience and from fishing trips all over the World. Hopefully these will help a little:

Destination: What, EXACTLY what do you want from the trip? If it’s wilderness you seek then maybe a camping trip or a remote lodge is the key. If you want luxury as well as great fishing then consider a decent hotel or lodge as part of the package. If you want variety then choose a destination with multiple fishing options, whereas if you want to target a specimen GT then make sure your chosen venue has that capability. By far the best advice here is to TALK to your trip provider – most of them are anglers themselves and they understand fisherfolk. By doing this you can be sure that your dreams are brought to potential reality – it’s just the bit about catching the fish that’s down to you!

travel light - an organised selection of fly fishing gear

Travel light – an organised selection of fly fishing gear.

Travel light: I never understand why anglers feel the need to clutter themselves with too much gear, and I know many who aren’t happy unless they can take the kitchen sink with them. My advice is to go light. Take minimum gear but still ensure that you’ve got enough to cover ALL the fishing available at your chosen venue. You may be after Salmon, but do you REALLY want to miss out on those specimen Grayling and Trout as well?

Luggage: Custom fishing luggage is not a luxury, it’s an essential. Airflo produce some of the finest in the form of their Fly Dri range. A combination of the roll top back pack and the 90 litre duffel will give enough capacity for most trips, and the smaller carryall will double as a carry-on for the flight. If you need a huge capacity with the ability to fit in literally everything (and the kitchen sink!) then the 150 litre Fly Dri cargo wheelie bag is the one. This cleverly designed bag is super tough, with more than enough room to accommodate several fly rods, in addition to a huge mountain of fishing gear. All Airflo Fly Dri luggage is made of super tough nylon coated PVC tarpaulin, which is 100% waterproof as well as being rip proof –  ensuring they are remain safe from even the most careless airline luggage handler.

Airflo's custom designed Fly dri wheelie bag

Airflo’s custom designed 150 litre Fly dri wheelie bag.

Safety: This is my top tip – ALWAYS take your fly boxes and favourite reels as carry-on when flying. It’s a fact of life that luggage sometimes goes astray and whilst you can almost always buy a new rod, your fly boxes are near-irreplaceable. With this in mind and if the worst happens, you can still borrow a rod and go fishing whilst the airline finds your bags!

Rod Tubes: Very few airlines these days will allow you to take rods on board, even the short multi section ones, so sadly you need to consign them to hold luggage. So buy yourself a decent rod case. Amongst the best and most practical is the Multi rod tube. It’s strong enough to withstand the worst that baggage handlers can throw at it, yet it’s still light and very portable.

Clothing: Obviously this will depend on where you travel – you don’t need too many fleeces in the Caribbean. However, whatever the venue you’ll ALWAYS need a fishing vest, so that you’ve got all your favourite accessories to hand. It’s all too easy to think you can manage without it but take it from me, you cant! My Airflo Mesh vest goes with me, everywhere, every trip.

Rods: The most regular question I get asked at shows and Game Fairs is about rods. Is there one rod for all seasons? Probably not, but there IS one rod that comes close – the Nine Foot 5 weight. There is VERY little you cant catch with this and I have my Airflo Elite kit in the boot of my car every single day of my life. If I get an unexpected invite to fish, then I can do so with this kit, irrespective of the where, when and how! It’s very close to the holy grail of ‘all things to all fish in all waters’.

Airflo's essentail fly dri luggage!

Destination luggage safe and sound after a successful international transit. Next stop the river!


Chris Ogborne.

Upcoming events – See the FishSpy underwater Camera in action at three major UK Carp Fishing shows!!!

The unique FishSpy camera is one of the biggest products to ever hit the carp fishing scene – there simply hasn’t been anything like this since the invention of the bait boat!

The guys at FishSpy and parent company TF Gear appreciated you might want to take a closer look at the innovative new underwater camera everyone has been talking about.

FishSpy will be on the road this winter and spring at three of the biggest carp shows in the UK. This is the perfect opportunity to try and buy before the carp fishing season kicks off in earnest so why not come along and see what you’re missing?

Been thinking about buying one, but can’t decide?

Seeing FishSpy first hand will truly open your eyes to what this ground breaking device can offer carp anglers. Discover exactly how it can improve your carp fishing and give you insights you had never dreamed of.

You will be able to speak to FishSpy’s inventors, meet the TF Gear development team, and talk with Dave Lane, one of the UK’s foremost carp anglers who has been heavily involved in the intensive two year field testing of this product.

The show team will be able to answer all of your FishSpy questions and will have plenty of them on hand for you to test and take a much closer look at. FishSpy underwater cameras and accessories will also be available to purchase from ourselves at each show.

In running order, the 2016 FishSpy shows are:

1. The Brentwood carp show.
Dates: 6th & 7th February, The Brentwood center, Essex.

Packed full of exhibitors from all of the top carp fishing tackle brands, the emphasis this year is on NEW tackle – and that includes our revolutionary FishSpy camera! Make sure you check this show out – what else it there to do in February anyway!?

For more information and ticket prices click here.

2. Carpin’on – THE carp show.

Dates: 12th & 13th March, Five lakes resort, Essex.

Carpin’ On is the UK’s #1 carp fishing exhibition, covering all aspects of carp angling and bringing all the biggest tackle brands together under one roof!

Over 90 exhibitors, outdoor demos and displays and the best entertainment line up of all the UK shows including live forums, slide shows and tell-all interviews from leading anglers. This is your chance to meet the experts including TF Gear consultant Dave Lane!

For more information and ticket prices click here.

3. The BIG One.
Date: 19th & 20th March, Farnborough Hants.

Fishface promotions bring you THE BIG ONE! With well over 180 exhibitors, as the name suggests this is simply the largest UK carp show of 2016. This year will see the exhibition jam packed with carp fishing celebs and top tackle marques- just in time for launching your full-on spring carp fishing campaign!

For more information and ticket prices click here.

(Please note: Dave Lane is unable to attend this show.)

For further information please email the FishSpy Team:

Kayak Fishing – By Chris Ogborne

Kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing branches of the sport. Here angling expert Chris Ogborne gives us a unique insight, along with details of a brilliant offer to help you get started.

Kayak fishing is great fun

Kayak fishing is great fun!

Fishing is all about fun, we know that. Its rewarding, relaxing, and a therapy. It’s about excitement as well, and occasionally when it all goes right it can be downright exhilarating. On rare occasions it can also be a true adventure, and that’s the essence of kayak fishing – the very heart and soul of this amazing branch of our sport is ‘adventure’.

I’ve been kayak fishing around the UK shoreline for more than thirty years now and because my home base is in the far south west it’s inevitable that most of my trips are focussed on the stunning coast of Devon and Cornwall. The fishing’s great, the scenery even better, and for most of the time we get better weather than anywhere else in England. All of which makes for ideal kayak conditions.

It’s hard to fully explain the appeal without indulging in too many superlatives. For me it’s more fun than any other branch of fishing, more involving and occasionally more demanding. I suppose the very crux of the matter is that you’re down there at water surface level, right in the aquatic environment, and almost at eye level with your quarry. There’s no noisy outboard motor to disturb the peace or the fish, no pollution, and no real intrusion into the natural world. It’s just the slow rhythm of the paddle, the gentle sluice of water under the hull, and the genuine feel that you’re doing the ‘hunter – gatherer’ bit in the 21st century.

If all that sounds a bit poetic just believe me when I say that it’s only half the story. Once you get into kayak fishing you’ll see what I mean. It’s relaxing, it’s healthy and it’s arguably one of the ultimate challenges left in our sport.

kayak 1To further explain the appeal, let me show you briefly how easy it is to get started:

Choose the right Kayak It goes without saying that the boat is the most important factor, so choose one that’s designed for the purpose. There are literally hundreds of kayaks out there, but when you start to look at fishing kayaks the list gets shorter. Basically it’s all about three things:

Stability: You need to be confident and secure when you’re fishing
Speed: You don’t want to take forever to get to your chosen spot, and
Tracking: You don’t want a kayak that swings all over the place every time you take a stroke with the paddle

With this in mind you can discount any kayak under ten feet in length when it comes to fishing, as it just wont work. Ideal length is between 10 and 15 feet, depending on your build, fitness levels, and where you’re going to fish. For rivers, inland waters and estuaries then a smaller boat is fine, but if you’re going to sea then a more substantial craft is called for.

Choose the right accessories: This is a bit like ordering a BMW from a main dealer – it’s much too easy to tick all the option boxes! The truth is that you can fish very effectively with a minimum of accessories, but there are a few that are vital. These include:

Carbon paddle: These are SO much lighter and easier to use
Buoyancy aid: or life jacket – an absolute essential
Rod holders: You simply can’t go fishing without at least two, preferably three
Decent seat: This will seem like a VERY good investment after a full day afloat!

You can add the rest depending on your budget and your fishing, but as long as you’ve got these essentials sorted you’ll have a good (and safe) day out.

Get some training: As in any branch of fishing, it pays to seek help when you’re getting started. There are loads of BCU (British Canoe Union) trained experts all over the country and an hour with a good trainer will save you days of experimentation and mistakes
Another great tip is to start off fishing in calm and shallow waters – far better to make any early mistakes here than out at sea.

Sort the right gear: Airflo make some great kit for kayak fishing and I always like to cover as many bases as possible when I’m out for a day. The Elite kit 9 foot 5 weight is a great all rounder for fly, but I also like to have spin and drop shot options as well for saltwater fishing – the TF Gear Blue Strike fishing rods and reels are perfect for both. With these brilliant all-round rods you can also troll if you like – they really are great tools with multiple options.

I would also advise a decent bag as well such as the fully waterproof Airflo Fly Dri carryall to hold tackle, a spare fleece or jacket as well as food and drink. This will sit behind the seat for ease of access and can be held in place by the bungee netting over the kayak’s storage area.

You can also add in lanyards to hold a landing net, priest, GPS or any number of extras Bungee lanyards are among those ‘almost essential’ options that you really should consider.


Channel Kayaks. October 2014. Photographer Freia Turland m:07875514528

Channel Kayaks.

For the last two years I’ve been involved with an exciting new kayak company called Channel Kayaks. Unlike most manufacturers, they sell direct to the public so they are able to offer a top quality product at a hugely competitive price.

As well as making brilliant kayaks they also specialise in what they call ‘Adventure paddles’ which is basically a series of days out around the coast where you can sample all the delights of kayaking at first hand, and under expert guidance. These days are run in conjunction with the RNLI so you’re guaranteed great water safety advice as well.

For the purposes of this blog, Channel Kayaks have also come out with a very special pre-season price for you, as follows:

PRO kayak Normally £749 but NOW £520 (Perfect all-water kayak)
BASS kayak RRP £399 NOW £265 (Great for inshore and estuary)
TANDEM kayak RRP £579 NOW £395 (Two seater)

In all cases, this price includes the kayak, the seat, the paddle AND delivery within the UK, and as such it’s an amazing deal.

Just visit their website for all the contact details, or talk to them direct as there will always be staff to answer your queries or to help with free advice.

Channel Kayaks
Or email
Phone: 01275 852736 or 07710745211

Kayak 2

FishSpy And Other Gadgets – Hi-Tech Fishing

The FishSpy underwater camera marker float.

The FishSpy underwater camera marker float.

Your angling experience is about to be revolutionised. Available from Fishtec, the FishSpy is a pro-quality camera, hidden inside a specially designed marker float. It transmits live video to your phone or tablet so that you can see what’s going on under the water in “reel” time.

Use the footage to help you fish smarter. Store it to analyse later, and share your best action shots with friends. FishSpy combines all the best features of all the other imaging gadgets out there in one, easy to use device.

Because FishSpy is designed for anglers, it’s there to enhance your experience. You’ll still have to use all your ingenuity to outsmart that specimen carp, but now you’ll be able to watch the underwater action at the same time!

Here, we take a look at FishSpy’s key features, and compare the device to other options available.


comparison table of fishing gadgets

Fishing gadgets comparisons

fishspy in the water

Image source:
FishSpy in action


People rave about the GoPro. And rightly so; as an all action video recorder, it’s hard to beat. Take techy angler Richard Handel, author of the fishing blog UK Carp and Coarse Fishing. He loves his:

“ I have only had my GoPro just over a week and it’s an amazing bit of kit.”

The design team at Total fishing gear, the company behind FishSpy, obviously listened to anglers and decided to go one better. By incorporating a top quality low-light, wide angle lens video recorder into an in-line aerodynamic housing, they created an action cam that ticks a couple of boxes the GoPro misses.

FishSpy uses in-built wifi to record and stream live footage to your smartphone, enabling you to watch the action over your hook, as it happens. That’s right, you don’t even need a mobile phone signal – FishSpy does it all.

If the water is too deep, or murky, simply lower your FishSpy to the bottom, record the footage and relay it once you return the device to the surface.

And of course because FishSpy is designed specifically for anglers, it’s dead easy to cast and position, just like a regular carp fishing marker float.


  • Tough outer casing and aerodynamic design
  • Performs at depths of up to 10m
  • 100m range
  • 4 hour battery life
  • Record up to 7 hours of video
  • 640 x 480 resolution video


If you’re anything like the thousands of other anglers who like to upload their videos to share with other fishermen, you’ll have some incredible footage to bring to the party with FishSpy – just watch these feeding tench and carp:

Water Wolf

Here’s a device that started off life as a hobby project. Just like FishSpy, the Water Wolf allows you to record and review the action close to the business end – the hook.

The cam also rigs in-line which is great because, as they say over Carpvid:

“The real magic happens on the last metre of your line.”

Check out this footage on their blog:

So far, so good. The Waterwolf is an excellent addition to your tackle bag.

But now, with FishSpy, we believe they have moved the goalposts. That’s because the live feed we mentioned earlier, streams to a specially designed app on your apple smartphone or tablet, or direct to a browser when using android devises. Not only can you can check your bait is presented properly, and watch live, as that big fish approaches, you can also mark the footage to find it again later.

And don’t forget social media. Never before have you been able to capture the action and relay it to your friends as quickly and easily.


drone in the air

Image source: Lonny Garris/ shutterstock
The drones are here…

Just because you have the option to use hi-tech gadgets, does that mean you should? Fishing is a time-honoured, traditional sport, and some would like to keep it that way. Fox and Mainline Baits consultant, Mark Pitchers, told Anglers Mail:

“I am all for technology but there must be a point at which it stops.” He says of the drone: “I really can’t see the point in this…I for one wouldn’t welcome it on my fishery.”

We agree. For us, the use of drones brings noise and nuisance to the lake side. At the end of the day, your attitude to technology is a personal matter, but when it starts to bother other anglers, that for us, is a no-no.

That’s why in designing FishSpy, they were careful to create a device that adds to your fishing experience, unobtrusively. You won’t bother other anglers with this device, it looks just like a marker float.


For building a 3D image of the lakebed, a fishfinder is hard to beat. As far back as the 1950s, the first anglers began to use sonar technology to locate schools of fish. These days, Fishfinders can feed live images straight into your smartphone or tablet, such as the deeper fishfinder sold at Fishtec.

Take Humminbird’s Smartcast 35, a remote transducer that transmits data to a wrist mounted display. Steve Schweitzer of, leaves no doubt as to its usefulness for revealing ground topography, depth, fish markings and temperature:

“[It’s] one handy device that has already turned my lake fishing into less exploration and more focused fishing.”

But FishSpy offers something different. Perfect for taking a quick look at the lake bed. Ideal for finding a clear spot among the weeds. Over time, FishSpy will help you build a mental picture of what the lake bed looks like. In the short term, it’s great for scoping out the swim.

We believe that with FishSpy, they have finally delivered what anglers have been asking for decades – the ability to see what is happening below the surface, as it’s actually happening. FishSpy gives you the chance to literally, “see what you’re missing”.

Plan, Secure, Personalise And Protect: Prevent Tackle Theft

fishing tackle

Part of a treasured collection of tackle

Your fishing tackle is probably among your most prized and valued possessions. The last thing you want is for it to disappear into the hands of thieves. But, our recent big fishing survey told us that nearly a third of you have had tackle stolen.

So how do you prevent tackle theft? We’ve put together ten tips for you that’ll help you keep your gear safe and sound.


1. Do your research

Before you plan a fishing trip, research the area you are going to visit. It should be relatively easy to find out online if there has been a spate of fishing tackle thefts in the area. If this is the case, you can either decide to visit another location, or take additional precautions, like those mentioned below, to protect your equipment.


2. Don’t leave fishing tackle in your car

Although it might seem like a good idea to pack up your gear the night before your trip, leaving tackle in the car is an open invitation to would-be thieves. Don’t give them that temptation. Keep your kit safely stored away until you need it. Just a few months ago, thousands of pounds worth of tackle was stolen from cars in Cornwall.

3. Consider your storage options carefully


How securely locked down is your fishing tackle?

Don’t store your expensive fishing tackle in poorly secured sheds or garages. The Carp Forum talks about several incidents where which thieves broke into garden sheds to steal expensive angling equipment. If you must store your kit outside of the house, use sturdy locks and securely fasten windows. Where possible, keep your tackle in a spare bedroom or cupboard within the house itself. It’s much harder for thieves to access your home than garages or sheds.

4. Don’t advertise your angling abilities

Whimsical, fun or amusing car stickers proclaiming the joys of fishing might seem like a harmless idea. However, these are potential signposts for thieves. Don’t give them any indication of your hobby and what you might have in the car, and your kit is more likely to stay safe.


5. Personalise your kit

Many pieces of fishing equipment are mass produced items that thieves can easily sell on. The simplest solution is to engrave tackle with details like your name, telephone number or email address.

You can also purchase special marking solutions such as newSelectaDNA and Smart Water. Invisible to the naked eye, these solutions show up when held under a UV light. Amanda Caton of the British Security Industry Association says that newSelectaDNA is ‘easy to apply and virtually impossible to remove’. You can register marked tackle, so in the event of any theft, it’s identifiable if recovered. Adding a sticker or sign warning potential thieves of your precautions can also help to deter them.


6. Consider adding deterrents

beware of the dog

Beware of the dog – even if you don’t have a dog!

Deterrents don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Something as simple as a ‘beware of the dog’ sign can be enough to put off the would-be thief (you don’t actually have to own a dog!). Phillip Villareal of the Consumerist says that you can suggest ‘you’ve got a trespasser-munching canine if you strategically place a dish that others can see‘.

Other deterrents can include motion-activated security lights, and alarms – you could even get a barking dog alarm! Again, even if you don’t have these items, you can fool potential burglars with a well placed sign or sticker advertising how seriously you take security.

7. Don’t boast

Tempted to let all your mates know how swanky your tackle is? It’s better to keep quiet about your expensive gear, especially in public. Loudly going into detail about that fine collection is as good as placing an advertisement for potentially light-fingered types.

8. Fish with vigilance

Never assume that your fishing tackle is safe. Keep your kit close by, where you can see it at all times. You should ensure you are watchful of the surrounding area, and report any suspicious activity to the police or fishery managers.

9. Fish in pairs

fishing in pairs

Fishing in company is social and secure!

If you fish alone, you are more vulnerable to theft. By going to your favourite angling spot with a friend, or group, your valuables will be much safer. This is especially important if you take a short break. Take it in turns to keep an attentive eye on all the gear.

10. Don’t fuel the demand for fishing tackle theft

shopping for fishing tackle

Always shop in the right places

When purchasing fishing equipment, always buy from reputable sources. Free sales sites and social media are often used by fishing tackle thieves to cash in on their activities. After the theft of thousands of pounds of fishing equipment in Meldreth, the South Cambridgeshire Police commented of the use of these channels by thieves: ‘If you are buying anything from ebay or similar websites, make sure that it is a trusted source. If the price seems too good to be true, the item could well be stolen’. If we don’t buy from them, they won’t have the same incentive to steal. Anglers need to stand together on this!

And finally…

It’s also important to get your equipment insured. Don’t assume that your car or home insurance will cover fishing tackle. There are specific policies aimed at anglers, so that if the worst does happen, you won’t be out of pocket.

Being hyper aware of the problem is the best defence. Most theft is carried out on an opportunistic basis: don’t give thieves the chance to cash in on your valuable kit!

Wade Through The Debate – Felt vs Rubber

wading boots underwater

these boots are made for wading…

Should you give your felt wading boots the boot? Damp felt soles can harbour invasive species of flora and fauna that destroy native river ecosystems. And as anglers tramp from swim to swim, they can spread damaging plant and animal life far and wide.

In fact, the issue is so serious that in New Zealand and some US states, felt soled wading boots are banned outright. In the UK, the Stop the Spread campaign highlights the dangers posed by non-native species. They say: “We are seeing fisheries in rivers and lakes being destroyed.” So should you take the next step and bin felt in favour of rubber?

The Environmental Issue

So, a few sneaky species make their way into our waterways. Is it really such a big deal? Yes it is – without natural controls to keep them in check, non-native flora and fauna spread disease and outcompete our native species for space and food.

Take the aptly named killer shrimp. A highly aggressive predator, it’s one of the most damaging invasive species in Western Europe and can spread at an estimated 124 km downstream each year. How? It’s facilitated by human activities, like angling and watersports.

In a study conducted by scientists in New Zealand, researchers tested the survival rate of the invasive algae Didymosphenia geminata on a variety of different materials. They discovered felt soles harbour the cells “much more successfully” than all the other materials they tested, including rubber.

The Stop the Spread campaign advises anglers to Check, Clean and Dry their kit. But the researchers in New Zealand discovered that because dense felt is so hard to dry thoroughly, it kept algae alive for at least 36 hours, with the potential to sustain the invaders for weeks.

But if felt is so damaging to the environment, is rubber a viable alternative for anglers?


felt and rubber sole wading boots

Image source: Kenny Clarke
both types have been extensively tested

Facing an outright ban on felt soled waders, anglers in the US were forced to make the switch to rubber. So let’s find out how they got on.
Alaskan blogger Tom Chandler carried out a year-long test on rubber and studded rubber boots. His conclusion?

“Studded rubber soles offer a practical, all-around substitute for felt and studded felt.”
The clear winner for him was The Orvis Studded Rubber Ecotrax Soles, thanks to their “aggressive, four-bladed stud design.”

But not everyone agrees that rubber can match felt for grip on slippery surfaces. Take US based outdoor writer and photographer, Zach Matthews, who writes that despite efforts by manufacturers:

“no rubber boot made to date can match (or frankly even come close to matching) felt soles for traction. Consequently, slips and falls with rubber soled boots are absolutely more common than they would be if everyone used felt.”

Which is why if you do go for a pair of rubber boots, wading studs become an important consideration

Hey, stud

As Steve Zakur, who writes for US angling mag, Hatch Magazine says: “like all rubber soles some sort of grip augmentation is recommended.” Though of course the noise of your cleats grinding against submerged rocks might spook the fish.

You can either add studs yourself or buy pre-studded boots. But a word of caution if you decide to take the DIY route – it’s all too easy to put a stud in the wrong place and find you’ve gone right through the sole!

A final word

fisherman's boots

Image Source: shinyredtype/ Flickr
best boots for the bank?

There are of course many other ways non-native algae and other invasive creatures can spread from one waterway to another, and anglers’ felt soled wading boots are only a small part of the problem. But if you do decide to make the transition to rubber – always buy the best boots you can. As Bankrunner, a member of the fishing forum, writes:

“Get mid to high end quality boots if you are going to spend time on the river.”

And while he admits his fancy boots haven’t helped him catch more fish, at least, he says: “my feet were comfortable.”

An important consideration, indeed!