Category Archives: Fishing equipment

‘Tackle Tart’ and ‘Fancy Pants’ are defiantly among the top sayings whether you’re coarse, fly or sea fishing, most anglers refer to these sayings when they come across someone who likes something ‘upmarket’. Fishing equipment with hefty price tags usually get all the attention, when most don’t even bother to look twice at discount fishing tackle!

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.

FISHSPY – See What You’re Missing


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

A selection of Fishspy camera units

A selection of Fishspy camera units.

What is FishSpy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fishspy transmitting a live video feed under water.

FishSpy recording video under water.

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

Some Screen shots of the IOs FishSpy app.

Some Screen shots of the iOS FishSpy app.

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

Fishspy setup

FishSpy setup.

 

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

How does it help you catch more carp?

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

Check out these amazing videos filmed using FishSpy:

Fish spotting fun:

Using FishSpy for feature finding:

Seeing how various bait types appear on the lake bed:

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

Where does Fishspy come from?

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

Dave Lane working on a prototype Fishspy accessory.

TF Gear consultant Dave Lane using a prototype FishSpy accessory.

How much does it cost?

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

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

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

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

What you get for your money - a game changer

What you get for your money – a game changer.

 

The future of FishSpy?

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

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

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

Find out more:

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

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

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

 

Top tips for catching more fish at night

There are plenty of good reasons to go sea fishing at night, but number one has to be that the fish are easier to catch when the sun goes down.

Sea Angler magazine sums this up beautifully: “As daylight fades, fish move close to the shore to feed, knowing they can hide in the shadows from marauding predators. Fishing under the cover of darkness, an angler can boost his chances of having a great night out… simply because the fish are in casting range.”

Night fishing might have its advantages, but it also has some serious drawbacks. It’s easy to get the spooks when you’re out there, all alone in the dark. And night fishing can be dangerous when you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you want to have a go at night fishing, here are five tips that will keep you safe and help you catch more fish:

1. Consider the time and conditions

Night fish when the conditions are most favourable

Image source: Shutterstock/Ruslan Mikhaylovich
Night fish when the conditions are most favourable

The best time to fish after dark is “between 8pm and 3am with high water before midnight,” says Sea Angler magazine.

Should I be worrying about a full moon when going night lure fishing for bass?” asks sea angler and photographer Henry Gilbey on his blog. Nah, replies Rich Collins: “You want to fish the same conditions and tides at night as you would during the day; no surf and a sluggish tide are far more worrying for me than a bright moon.”

2. Take the right fishing equipment

Pack spares of everything for a night fishing trip

Image source: Shutterstock/Matt Howard
Pack spares of everything for a night-fishing trip

What and how much kit you take night fishing largely comes down to personal choice. But here are some useful things to pack, as recommended by Matt Sparkes at Angler’s Mail:

· Torches – modern LEDs can be economical and a head-torch will keep your hands free. Pack a spare for emergencies.
· Isotopes – handy for finding your stuff
· Single burner for a hot drink/warm food – plus a small pan and a kettle
· Small emergency kit with basic essentials
· Mobile phone
· Superglue and electrician’s tape (for emergency repairs to your kit)
· Batteries
· Spare clothes and socks

3. Keep your stuff to hand

Darkness might be your friend when it comes to catching fish, but it’s your enemy when you need to find anything. That’s why you have to get everything ready and within reaching distance before the sun goes down.

“The last thing you want to be doing is hastily fumbling around in the middle of the night locating your unhooking kit, still stowed away in your luggage,” says Matt Sparkes.

“Your bait also needs to be organised away from clumsy feet,” says Sea Angler magazine. Enough said.

4. Stay warm and fed

A regular supply of hot drinks will keep you warm through the night

Image source: Shutterstock/Lolostock
A regular supply of hot drinks will keep you warm through the night

Cold and hunger will ruin a night fishing trip, so you want to avoid both.

“Wear lots of thin layers of clothing, plus waterproof salopettes and jacket, to keep warm, and don’t forget a hat… A spare jumper or fleece to wear at dawn, when it is coldest, is a good idea,” says Sea-Angler magazine.

A regular supply of hot drinks and snacks will help you stay warm and keep hunger at bay. Paul Badger recommends you: “Keep cooking and hot drinks simple to start off with. Use pot noodles, pot porridge, sachet coffee/chocolate so that you can concentrate on fishing.”

We agree with Matt Sparkes that: “A decent hot meal is very welcome, but a mug of hot tea or coffee is absolutely essential on all night sessions!” So don’t forget your kettle!

5. Stay safe

The tide is your biggest danger when night fishing

Image source: Shutterstock/Helen Hotson
The tide is your biggest danger when night fishing

Above all, keep yourself as safe as you can. Carry a charged-up mobile phone; inform someone where you are going and what time you expect to get back; take plenty of warm, dry clothes with you; and keep warm with regular hot drinks.

The most dangerous aspect of fishing at night is the tide. Check your tide table and make sure you know when high tide is and how high it’s going to be.

“Never fish a new area for the first time at night when it is much easier to get into trouble and harder to get help or raise the alarm,” says the British Sea Fishing blog. Being cut off by the tide filling into gullies behind you poses the greatest danger.

Here’s some sound advice from lewis888 over on the worldseafishing forum, which we’ll finish with here:

“If you have any second thoughts about fishing don’t fish… if you don’t feel 100% safe it’s not worth fishing.”

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.

 

Getting The Most Out Of Your Fishing Waders

I am pretty certain we have all  invested in a nice expensive new pair of fishing waders,only to find that after a relatively short period the waders start leaking like a sieve! Which is quite frustrating to say the least when you are up to your chest in icy cold river water.  Read on to find out how to avoid such a wader calamity, and also how to extend your chest waders life.

Not the way to look after your waders!

Not the way to look after your waders!

1 . Get the correct size
Make sure you try your waders on in the fishing tackle shop, or call or email them with your exact sizes if doing mail order before purchasing. If waders are too tight they will strain at the seams, especially in the feet and the groin areas and eventually leak prematurely. Too baggy and the stocking feet may rub in the boots and wear out, and you may have inner leg abrasion when fabric rubs against each other when walking.

2. Avoid harmful objects
It sounds obvious but many people think waders are just indestructible! Sitting on rough or thorny ground, ploughing through beds of thistles and brambles. Impaling the fly into your leg, standing on them on stony ground while getting dressed and of course barbed wire! All of these things do no good for your wader. To avoid such damage just think twice and use some forward planning when walking the banks and deciding your entry into the water.

3. Proper care and storage

Always store the waders by hanging them in a ventilated location so the inside of the wader dries out.  If the inside of the wader is not completely dried, mildew will form which in the case of breathable waders will damage the breathable wader membrane and cause seam tape to peel and eventually water to seep through.    Don’t leave wet waders inside the stuff sack or car boot for extended periods of time.  Boot foot waders do no like being hung by the braces, it can ruin the braces and stretch the seams between boot and fabric due to prolonged pressure.

Simms wader retired after 8 years

A Simms wader finally retired after 8 years hard use

What can I do if the waders are leaking ?
Well if its too late for them you could always contact a wader repair specialist, like Diver Dave’s wader repairs up in the Scottish highlands. This man really knows how to fix a pair of waders at a very reasonable price. Or you could do a self repair – some wader companies like Simms manufacture their product from Gore-Tex, which means you can repair them with the help of rubbing alcohol. One member of the Fishtec team kept his waders alive for eight years using their method. Check out this video on how its done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Fishing for Plaice – Bling it up!

Gordon Thornes plaice- Greenfield match
The first few weeks of spring usually brings a calm sea, clearing waters, sunshine and plaice – It’s time to break out the bling, decorate those hook snoods with beads, sequins and the like and go in search of plaice.

There is something about catching plaice that stirs the imagination, the rod tip nods and

on the strike and retrieve resistance builds, the tackle seems to hang deep and then the lead surfaces ahead of a big flattie using every ounce of its width and strength to stay on the sea bed. They say plaice don’t fight, but catch one on light sea fishing equipment from the pier, beach or boat and they will prove that opinion wrong!

Giant dustbin lid plaice are a catch of the past and the species has been a real victim of over commercial fishing. As a popular plate fish its numbers have been thoughtlessly plundered, whilst the average size has fallen to under 1lb nationally. But, the good news is that during the last few years, especially through the English Channel and to the west, a quota limit seems to have allowed plaice numbers to increase slightly and the fish have returned in numbers.

I would say where to fish for plaice is more important to the shore angler than how – Just a few regions consistently produce the species in numbers. The best plaice fishing venues are mostly through the English Channel and up the Irish Sea with a few specimens taken from the shore line through north of Cumbria. The species is also not so prolific in the North Sea although several piers and harbours in the North East do produce regular pockets.

The best plaice fishing venues

Beaches around the Channel Island
South Hams beach
Slapton and Beesands in Devon
Chesil beach in Dorset with Cogden and Abbotsbury consistent
Poole harbour produces the odd specimen, especially the dinghies

Eastney, Southsea and Lee on Solent in the Solent in Hampshire are the southern plaice hot spots and although the species thins out toward Sussex and Kent the odd specimen is always possible from venues at Pevensey Bay, Dover Breakwater and the Prince of Wales pier at Dover.

On the Irish Sea side of the UK plaice are few in the Bristol Channel, but the North Wales estuaries like the Dee at Mostyn and Greenfields and the Mersey at Birkenhead and further

to the North west venues around Fleetwood and Morecambe Bay in Lancs produce good catches, whilst north west plaice marks include the beaches between Workington and Maryport at Blackbank, Redbank and Grasslot, The Whitehaven piers and further north the western Scottish Lochs.

You will find plaice on a variety of sea beds from plain sand and mud to sand and shell grit banks to patches of sand between rocks, weed and pea mussel beds. The best terminal rig for catching them is dependent on the venue with the Wishbone rig an often quoted favourite. Its two hooked design includes bait clips to streamline bait and rig making it suitable for distance casting. This fits the requirements of most plaice venues where the fish are often found at range, but not always. Where long range is not required a one up, one down flapper rig with longish snoods is the alternative.

Wishbone rig

Plaice have a fairly large mouth, which when extended can engulf a large bait with a size 2 and size 1 long shank Aberdeen the perfect hook size and pattern. These smaller sizes

being easier to remove than the larger sizes should you want to return the fish.
A range of baits will tempt plaice with the marine worms favourite, although location does influence bait choice and although lugworm are considered best by many, in some estuaries where ragworm are more prolific they produce more fish. Other baits that catch plaice regularly include peeler crab, harbour ragworm (maddies) snake white ragworm and a strip of squid which works well from most boat locations.

Plaice are attracted by movement and colour and are renowned for responding to bling, any bling! But don’t forget the basics first – deadly are wriggly ragworm tails and the potent scent of worms and crab juice, make sure that a few worm tails are hanging (Dip the bait in the sea before casting and they will stay intact)

It is the standard when fishing for plaice to add beads, sequins, vanes, spoons, in fact anything that glitters, reflects flutters or moves etc to the hook snood and this without doubt does increase the chance of a plaice taking the bait. More or less anything goes.

Bling for Plaice

Also when shore fishing for plaice it is possible to attract fish to the baits with movement and the attractors by simply lifting the rod tip occasionally, or releasing some line in the tide causes the baits and lures to flutter.

PLAICE FACT BOX

Latin Name: Pleuronectes platessa
Nickname: spottie or red spot.
Minimum legal size: 28cm
Specimen size: Average 2lb depending upon region.
British shore record: 8lb 6z 14drams caught at Southbourne beach, Bournemouth.

ID: Nobbly head. pronounced red, orange spots on top side, chevron white or clear on undersized smooth skin, rounded tail.

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

 

 

2015 CLA Game Fair Update

CLA Gamefair Update

KAYAKS AT THE GAME FAIR

I’ve just come from a planning meeting for this year’s CLA Game Fair and one of the most exciting developments for many years is in the pipeline:

They’re creating a complete ‘Kayak Experience’ within the fishing village. Game Fair visitors can come and see the very latest kayaks and fishing equipment, but beyond that they will also be able to try them out on the lake! Wetsuits will be provided with full changing room facilities and experts will be on hand to help! offer advice and look after safety. Leisure, sport and surf kayaks will be involved, as well as kayaks specifically designed for fishing.

This looks to be a golden opportunity to sample this exciting and growing branch of game fishing so put the dates in your diary: Harewood House near Leeds, 31st July to 2nd August 2015. Save money and buy tickets now at www.cla.org.uk

Christmas fishing folk tales

Dicken’s Christmas Carol is one of the most famous ghost stories ever told.

The spooky writings of MR James were originally Christmas Eve tales the Cambridge don told to entertain his students; Susan Hill’s acclaimed gothic ghost story, the Woman in Black is recounted during a Christmas Eve house party. Christmas ghosts are a rich tradition that harks back to Victorian times and beyond.

But what about ghostly fishing stories? Tales of the sea, pond or riverbank that will have your carp fishing equipment trembling in your hands…

Hella Point

A shipwreck below the sea with dolphins

Image source: AlienCat
The chilling tale of a missing sailor, love and a shipwreck.

The Southern tip of Cornwall is a wind ravaged place. Isolated and bleak, in winter, its cliffs and coves are storm lashed and lethal. When young Nancy fell for swashbuckling sailor called William, their union was frowned upon by the girl’s family and she was forbidden from ever seeing him again.

But the two met in secret on the beach at Porthgwarra, where they pledged their undying love for each other.

When William returned to sea, Nancy would pace the headland at Hella point, looking out for the return of her lover. But as weeks turned to months, and still there was no sign of him, Nancy became frantic with worry, and nothing anyone said could calm her.

Then one stormy evening, an old woman saw Nancy down in the cove. Sat on a rock, huge waves roared and seethed around her. The elderly woman began to hobble down to the beach to warn the girl of the danger of the tide. But then she stopped in her tracks, for there sitting beside the girl was none other than the missing sailor.

A breaker rolled into the bay, and broke over the rock. Nancy disappeared, never to be seen again. And when news came to the tiny hamlet, it told of shipwreck and disaster. Williams ship had sunk, and all aboard were drowned.

Dead fisherman’s family

Blurry face

Image source: donatas1205
A starved fisherman’s family haunt this river.

The river Adur in West Sussex is a spooky body of water if ever there was one. One of the sights that greets visitors is an old wooden boat, long since wrecked, its rotting timbers slowly decaying in the turgid river current.

On dark nights, it’s said, anglers have been chilled to the marrow by the sound of sobbing that emanates from the boat’s crumbling bulwarks. Closer inspection reveals the spectral horror of a woman and her children damned to an eternity of sobbing despair.

The boat once belonged to a fisherman. One dark night in 1893, a tempest blew his fragile craft upriver from Shoreham harbour to be wrecked on the rocky riverbank. No matter how hard the poor man tried, he couldn’t refloat his boat.

Death by starvation was the fate of the fisherman and his entire family. Now the ghosts of those unfortunates appear hollow eyed and desperate, forever trying to push the boat back out to sea.

Jack Harry’s lights

Ship sailing against the sunset

Image source: Digital Storm
A ghosty ship in St Ives Bay, yep, you’ve seen Jack Harry’s Lights.

If ever you’re out sea fishing at St Ives Bay and you see a ghostly ship cruise against wind and tide across the bay, put away your tackle and run for dry land. If ever you see the lights of that dread ship glimmer and disappear in the night – run for your your life because disaster will surely follow.

You’re gazing upon ‘Jack Harry’s lights’.

Jack Harry was the man who one afternoon watched a ship sail into the bay. He watched with horror as it sailed straight onto the rocks. Horrified, he ran to round up a rescue crew who rowed to the stricken vessel intent on saving as many of the crew as they could.

Just as they reached the ship and Jack went to step aboard, it disappeared. Confused and scared, the men returned to shore. Later that night, another ship was seen to founder. But fearing it was another ‘ghost ship’, nobody would put to sea to rescue her crew.

But this ship was real all right. The Neptune was wrecked on the rocks and next morning, the first of the bodies washed ashore. For ever after, Jack Harry’s lights have been seen up and down the rocky Cornish coast. And they’re always an omen of ill fortune and death.

The Ghost of Claremont lake

Moonlight shining over a still lake

Image source: n1kcy
A ghost with a grudge lurks on this lake.

Think phantoms are confined to wild Cornish coasts? Think again, all you carp fishermen. Claremont Lake in Esher is as haunted as they come. It’s a National Trust property now, but even if you could fish there, you’d do so at your peril.

William Kent was a renowned landscape gardener. When he was hired to revamp the grounds by Claremont House’s owner, the Duke of Newcastle, he must have been delighted at the prospect of completing such a high profile project.

Kent set to, moving streams and creating a stunning new lake fed from a grotto. But when the work was done, the Duke welched on the deal, offering to pay a paltry £100 for the huge works. Facing financial ruin, Kent argued the point, and the Duke responded by having the man thrown in his own lake.

William Kent caught cold and died a penniless pauper. Now on dark misty nights, the figure of the dead designer walks the grounds. Dressed in long brown cloak and gaiters, his tormented spirit is doomed to haunt the lake forever.  

Save our eels!

Eels are in danger of becoming extinct in our rivers, and without them, the fragile ecosystems of our wetlands will be seriously impoverished.

Since the 1980s, we’ve lost a staggering 95% of our eel populations – populations that used to be so vast people were once paid in eels. But now, as stocks dwindle, the last of the remaining eel fishermen are packing up their fishing equipment forever.

But while the eel is still with us, there’s hope, and now the eel men are fighting back. Read on to find out what’s being done to save the eels, and how can you play your part to help stocks recover.

Eels

Spotted Garden Eel

Image source: Peter Dutton
Eels are mysterious creatures.

Izaak Walton, who penned, The Compleat Angler, thought eels were generated by the “action of sunlight on dewdrops”; a wise old bishop once told the Royal Society that eels slid from the thatched roofs of cottages; some thought they materialised from the mud at the bottom of rivers; even Aristotle was flummoxed – he thought eels were “born of nothing”.

Now we know that eels are born in the Sargasso sea, but to this day nobody has ever seen an adult eel there, or for that matter an eel egg. What we do know is that they’re disappearing from our rivers.

Life cycle

Glass Eels

Image source: Wikimedia
Glass eels, before they gain colour.

When eels hatch, they’re minute, flat, willow leaf shaped and see-through. It takes them about two years drifting in the Gulf Stream to reach the shores of Europe. By this time, they’re 7 – 8 cm – so called ‘glass eels’. They swim and slither up our rivers, gaining colour as they go, until they find a nice spot and there they’ll stay, males for around seven years, females for perhaps 12; some linger for even longer, eating, swelling, becoming darker in colour.

Then, for reasons unknown, one dark autumn night they turn mottled green on top and silver underneath, and leave the river, swimming the 3000 miles back to the Sargasso sea where they (apparently) spawn and die.

Concrete evidence

Grey Heron swallowing an eel

Image source: Gidzy
The eel faces a lot of threats – including the heron!

So why have populations crashed? Like many other species, the eel has suffered a battering from a multitude of threats – we’re talking disease, pollution, loss of habitat, climate change, water abstraction and flood prevention schemes. Chief culprit for the steep slide in eel stocks is thought to be the sheer number of obstacles barring eels’ passage up river.  

But now, thanks to EU intervention and the tireless efforts of eel campaigners, it looks as though the tide is turning. Huge efforts are being made to restock our rivers – this year alone, over 90 million eels have been translocated from estuaries into rivers all over Europe. That’s good, but to create a sustainable future for eels, much more needs to be done to fit eel passes to river obstructions. Unless they can get up and down rivers, eels can’t complete their life cycles.

Your help

Jellied Eels

Image source: Jessica Spengler
Anyone for jellied eels?

The best thing you can do to help reverse the decline in eel stocks is to eat eels. This might sound counterintuitive, but sustainable fisheries are key to ensuring a bright future for one of our rivers’ most vital natural resources. That’s because, responsible fishing communities fight hard to look after their way of life.

Whether you like your eels, fresh, jellied or smoked, look for the ‘Sustainable Eel Group’ Kitemark on the packaging and enjoy a delicious, traditional treat, safe in the knowledge that you’re helping replenish our eels for future generations to enjoy!