Scientists recently discovered a fossilized fish face at the bottom of a Chinese reservoir that’s believed to be 419 million years old. Making it the oldest known creature with a face (after Mick Jagger).
Rather impressive you’ll agree.
However it’s not quite as impressive as the prehistoric fish that are still around and having it large today. That’s right, the deadly meteor, or whatever it was, didn’t quite wipe out everything. So keep an eye out for this lot next time you’re out with your fishing gear.
Anything named after a goblin is going to be a bit scary and the goblin shark doesn’t disappoint. Its translucent skin is a pinkish colour giving the shark a ghostly presence as it moves underwater.
Yet its weirdest feature is the set of teeth that are able to spring out of its mouth like some Ridley Scott sci-fi creation. The good news is that it swims at depths of over 4000 feet, so rarely comes into contact with human beings.
There is something about the name, hagfish, that suggests this could be a fictional creature. And many wished this were the case when they learn of the gruesome feeding and defence mechanisms of this fish.
Also known as slime eels, hagfish produce large amounts of slime which turns into sticky goo when mixed with water and this can choke potential predators. When it comes to eating, hagfish attach themselves to their prey like a leech and gorge on their victims from the inside out. There’s 500 million years worth of bad manners for you.
Boasting a double-jawed arsenal of sharp teeth, thick-scaled armour and weighing in at up to 200 kilograms, the alligator gar hasn’t survived since the Cretaceous period because it looks pretty and barters well.
It’s a formidable predator and the largest freshwater fish in North America. Quite an achievement when you consider some of the big fish found around those parts.
The magnificent sturgeon is a survivor from the early Jurassic period, which is about 190 million years ago. With 25 known species (the biggest growing up to an incredible 6 metres) sturgeons are protected with bony plates called scutes, and bottom feed in both freshwater and at sea.
These fish pose no real danger except when they decide to leap out of the water and land on something, which usually gets crushed by their weight. Unfortunately for the sturgeon, it’s the main source for caviar, so it’s done well to survive alongside human beings for so long.
Nicknamed the Living Fossil, as it was once considered extinct before popping up again in 1938, the coelacanth is perhaps the most famous of all living prehistoric fish. Its discovery in a fishing net in South Africa caused a worldwide sensation on par with finding a living dinosaur.
Growing up to 2 metres long, these large predators are found in deep, dark waters and feed on smaller fish, including sharks. They have very complex fin movements and almost appear to be running. No surprise then, that they’re considered by some to be the missing link between fish and amphibians.
With its abnormally large dorsal fin, which resembles a dinosaur sail, the lancetfish certainly looks prehistoric and its proper name – Alepisaurus Ferox – reinforces this as a fish with history.
Around since the Mesozoic era, this predator has a long streamlined body similar to a barracuda and six very sharp fang-like teeth. It is often caught by commercial fishermen by mistake and is regarded in this trade as being a nuisance.
This one is a real beauty and one of the most primitive sharks alive being from the Cretaceous period, but is rarely seen in the wild due to dwelling in deep waters where it feeds on squid.
One of the most unusual looking creatures on the planet, the frilled shark has surely inspired many sea monster myths with its almost alien appearance. Its mouth has an incredible 25 rows of razor sharp hooked teeth (that’s 300 teeth in total) and it can extend its jaws to feed on prey almost half its size. It then digests them quite similar to how a snake does.
For all the gripes about the cold, wet weather here in the UK, at least the British don’t have to deal with the dangerous animals, insects and fish found in hotter climates.
Err … actually the fish part needs revising.
With recent news reports revealing the Amazon pacu fish (also known as the Ball Cutter for painfully literal reasons) has been discovered in European waters, we’ve cast the net to keep tabs on how close the frightening fish are getting to the UK.
We’ll start with the big news. Commonly found in the Amazon, the pacu fish, infamously nicknamed the Ball Cutter, has reportedly caused South American fishermen to bleed to death by biting off their testicles. Ouch.
The bad news is that there have been sightings this year in the River Seine in Paris and also the Øresund channel between Denmark and Sweden, which has prompted warnings for men to keep their trunks on if swimming. If that isn’t enough to freak you out, take a look at those strangely familiar teeth. Nothing a good fisherman with some quality fishing gear can’t handle.
Great white shark
National newspapers have this year reported sightings of a great white shark, which was spotted by experienced fishermen off the coast of Cornwall. Now experienced fishermen should know their mackerels from their muscles, so surely they know a great white shark when they see one.
What we can be sure about is that the great white shark is feared by millions of people especially after Spielberg’s terrifying movie Jaws. With its razor-sharp teeth, stealth, speed and power, the great white is the ultimate marine killing machine. Let’s hope it keeps its distance.
Found lurking mainly in dark crevices in sub-tropical and tropical seas, the moray eel’s razor-sharp teeth coupled with its strong, locking jaws will inflict severe injuries on humans if they get too close.
The bacteria which coats its teeth can also cause infection, so all things considered, moray eels are best avoided, which means don’t go poking fingers down dark holes when diving abroad.
Oh by the way — a 4ft-long moray was caught in the UK in 2009, so they do occasionally stray.
This small fish isn’t so frightening to look at and is becoming quite common in UK waters. However it will give you a nasty shock if you happen to stand on it, which is much easier to achieve than you might think.
This well camouflaged fish has sharp venomous spines spaced along its dorsal fins, which stick up out of the sand and can spear unsuspecting bathers and surfers. The venom injected into the soles of feet is a nerve poison, which generally causes excruciating pain in the victim.
The common stingray is found in UK waters and is a fairly placid and beautiful relation to the shark. Its first line of defence is to flee; however, if the stingray is cornered, then it has a brutal alternative to escaping.
Concealed in the stingray’s tail is a long serrated, venomous stinger, which carries a protein-based venom. This weapon can cause fatal injuries especially if it snaps off inside its victim. In 2006, the shock death of wildlife expert, Steve Irwin warned the world about the dangers of stingrays.
The snakehead fish is commonly found in warmer seas, but in 2008 an angler hooked one of these in an East Midland’s river, which came as quite a shock to wildlife experts, who suggest it was abandoned by somebody.
The snakehead fish originated over 50 million years ago and has evolved with all the raw brutality needed to survive crueler times. It owns a large mouth lined with sharp teeth and will devour just about anything in or around water. It breathes atmospheric air too, so it can survive on land long enough for it to crawl from pond to pool wreaking havoc on the native species.
The tiger fish (or goliath fish as it also known) is as ferocious as it looks. It’s renowned for being a highly destructive predator able to take on prey much bigger than itself and boasts all the nasty tools required for a proper job.
Exceptionally strong, fast and well armoured, the tiger fish owns powerful jaw muscles and those frightening teeth mesh together just like a piranhas for maximum mess factor. The good news is that it’s only found in freshwater in Africa. We just thought we’d throw it in the pool to show you how lucky you are living in the UK.
The FlyCastaway boys testing their new fly fishing equipment!
The FlyCastaway boys have been lucky enough to produce some of the best saltwater fly fishing footage available anywhere on the internet! Chasing some amazing Tarpon and tussling with large Bonefish and, almost everything else that will take a fly! They’ve also just produced the above promotional video highlighting their new sponsors, Airflo, G.Loomis and Smith Action Optics!
These boys fish for some extreme fish and their fishing tackle needs to cope with immense amounts of pressure. When a Tarpon hits the fly and you set the hook, you need to know that the leader, fly line or rod isn’t going to break when you initiate the strike… The G.Loomis fly rods paired with our Airflo saltwater fly lines give the best casting and fish playing ability on the market today, that’s why these boys choose to use our fishing gear!
Fishtec TV is a new an exciting innovation that helps you choose the right fishing equipment and give specialist hints and tips from our resident experts, all to improve your fishing experience! Our team has put together a wide selection of fishing videos from tackle reviews (old and new) including great tips to get more fish on the bank. These fishing videos will help you make an informed decision on all your fishing tackle purchases.
Our fishing tips section gives you the opportunity to explore all aspects of fishing with everything from tying knots to landing your catch, for each and every discipline! With hints and tips from our resident fishing experts such as Alan Yates, Dave Lane and not forgetting previous World Fly Fishing Champion, Iain Barr for everything fly fishing. Your landing net won’t be left dry if you follow these specialist fishing tips!
The fishing tackle reviews section has been designed to help you make your own, informed decision on what fishing equipment you should be using or may need to purchase. With detailed overviews of almost every fishing tackle brand there is, TF Gear, Greys, Airflo, Nash, Chub and many more, you can review the lot and choose which tackle item is best for you. A great way of knowing exactly what your getting, with expert anglers giving their professional opinion on each piece of tackle.
You can find Fishtec TV on the Fishtec website and on YouTube!
While humans spend money on fishing tackle to bring home the catch, here we take a look at the finest fishing equipment money can’t buy.
Fishing tackle straight from nature.
Just like a 19th century able seaman armed with a British naval cutlass, a sword fish uses its proboscis to hack and slash its prey into submission. But the swordfish’s best bit of natural fishing equipment is speed.
As a 60mph swimmer, the swordfish is one of the fastest fish in the world. Although overfished – restrictions on long lining in coastal areas have helped to bring about an upsurge in swordfish numbers in those areas.
Catching one can be a risky business though, and there are reports of swordfish having smashed their way through the planking of small boats.
These eight armed denizens of the deep feast on fish, worms and crabs.
Their sharp parrot-like beak is the only hard part of their body and they use this to drill into hard shelled prey. Octopus saliva is paralysing – one nip is enough to immobilise a fish long enough for it to be devoured alive.
Octopi are truly amazing creatures. They have three hearts, blue blood and are so intelligent they’ve been known to break into fishing boats to steal the catch.
There’s no need for a fishing rod and reel when your body is a fish stunning machine.
Twin batteries on either side of the electric ray’s brain can deliver a pulse equivalent to the power released by dropping an electric hairdryer in the bath. That’s more than enough juice to incapacitate your average fish.
Electric rays were long thought to be magical creatures and were used by the ancient Greeks to numb the pain of childbirth. So there you have it – grateful mothers popularised the name Ray. (I made that last part up).
Who needs fishing tackle when you have a mouth that holds up to ninety tonnes of water and food?
Blue whales – the biggest creature on earth – guzzle up to three and half tonnes of krill in a single day. The longest blue whale ever recorded was a staggering 110 ft in length, but despite its enormous size, sadly the creature is no match for man. Before the introduction in 1966 of a total ban on hunting – blue whales had become virtually extinct.
Now numbers are thought to be hovering around the 5,000 – 12,000 mark. A far cry from the quarter of a million thought to have existed before the introduction of commercial whaling.
Over 20 ft long, teeth as sharp as razors and with serrated edges, a top speed of around 25 mph and a liking for the taste of blood – here’s one apex predator.
Great whites feast on other fish, dolphins, seals, sea turtles and birds. But if you think Great Whites are a man eating killing machine in the same vein as Speilberg’s ‘Jaws’, think again.
This shark is a discerning feeder. It selects its prey carefully before ambushing it from below in a single devastating attack. Big sharks go for high fat marine mammals – so you’ll be fine – probably.
The sea fish that comes closest to using fishing tackle, the deep sea angler fish makes use of a lighted proboscis mounted on its forehead to lure fish within reach.
Its ingenious fleshy fishing rod can be moved in all directions, allowing the fish to jiggle its light like a lure. When our intrepid angler snaps its gaping jaw shut, long needle like, inward pointing teeth skewer the prey.
There’s no escape from there. Angler fish have dislocatable jaws and distending stomachs and can swallow prey up to twice their own length.
Today’s fishing tackle box is full to the brim with bright, garish things that wriggle, sparkle, spin and bob.
Electronic bite alarms inform us of the lightest nibble, and the technology of the space race keeps us warm and dry on the bank and in the bivvy. But what of times past – gentler days when fishing tackle was truly inspired by nature.
Here we take a look at fishing equipment, vintage style.
The best cane rods are still made from Tonkin cane, hand planed, whipped with silk thread and varnished to perfection. To buy a new one will cost at least a few hundred pounds and easily a lot more than that.
Cane rods take a bit of looking after too. Stored badly they can warp, and varnish may crack if a rod is exposed to too much heat. But the bottom line is, nothing casts quite like a cane fly rod. And well maintained, you’ll only ever need to buy the one.
Good value when you look at it like that.
A traditional landing net is made from ash, bamboo and knotless mesh. As with many items of traditional fishing equipment, the production process is long, labour intensive and produces a stunning end product.
Take straight grained ash, drill it, steam it and bend it around a former. Now wait up to six weeks before immersing the wood in a preservative for a further week. In the meantime, you can be busy straightening and heat treating the bamboo handle and hand dying the net. When the thing is complete, it will retail for upwards of £400.
A rich man’s luxury for sure, but a beautiful object nonetheless.
Keep fish fresh and cool the old fashioned way. A willow creel should be lined with moss then dipped in the river to wet it.
When you catch a fish, simply pop it in the top and let evaporation do the rest. No need for ice or cool blocks – nature works best. There are still a few basket makers constructing creels for anglers, but why not make one yourself?
A basket weaving course at your local adult education college and you’ll be away.
Quill, reed, balsa and cork are the building blocks, nature provides. Handmade floats are an art in themselves and every bit as beautiful as exquisite hand tied flies.
What better camouflage can there be for a float than that provided by the use of entirely natural materials? In our throw away society we can sometimes forget to cherish our belongings, but if you own a handmade float and you’ll still be looking after it long after its plastic equivalents have bitten the dust.
Centre pin reel
Few things beat the simplicity of a centre pin reel. And yet fishing with one requires time to master the art of the drag free drift.
This is fishing stripped to its bare essentials. You’ll experience your fair share of tangles when your reel over spins but the payoff in terms of developing that all important feel will make you a much better fisherman in the long run.
The oldies aren’t always the best, but fishing a vintage fly pattern is something of a homage to times past, and a nod to some angling greats. It can be fun to have a crack at fishing the old way using natural materials.
Once upon a time, local knowledge was a closely guarded secret.
But now fishing wisdom accumulated through the ages is available via the super computer in your pocket. Thereby turning anyone with a rod, fishing reel and smartphone into an expert.
Here is our guide to some of the best fishing apps out there, helping you to harness technology and keep reeling ‘em in.
This clever iPhone app tells you where to fish, which species to target and even suggests what tackle setup to use.
It combines several key factors impacting on fish feeding and set up patterns, to produce what they think will be a winning strategy. As well as that, the weather forecast and phases of the moon are integrated with expertise provided by angling experts, meaning you need never think for yourself again!
Every day you’ll get three different fishing options that best match the conditions, together with advice about rigs, baits and tactics.
Priced at £2.99, we feel sorry for the fish.
A comprehensive resource for sea anglers, What Fish boasts a 164 fish strong identification index. Whilst the app will help you to correctly identify your catch, it is much more than just a fish identification tool. You’ll also be able to access useful information such as minimum catch size, specimen shore and boat weights. Detailed maps show where target fish are likely to be swimming.
Add to that suggestions about baits and rigs that work best from different locations such as shore, boat and kayak. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are even recipes so that you can cook your catch to perfection when you get home.
An impressive amount of info for £1.99 and available for both iPhone and Android.
A wealth of information for anglers, you can use this app to save time locating the perfect fishery. Using your phone’s GPS, no matter where you are, you’ll be able to see where the fishing spots are in your area. Better yet, they’re rated so you won’t waste valuable angling time trying to find a decent spot.
The data on offer is comprehensive – with over 2,800 coarse and game venues listed. You can also access the five day weather forecast and lunar calendar and interact with other coarse and game fishing enthusiasts. This encyclopedic app also includes over 1,000 fishing tackle shops.
A serious amount of knowledge to keep in your pocket with member deals and discounts to boot. £1.99 from iTunes.
Carp Lake Maps
Ideal for those crossing the channel to France in search of specimen carp, this app offers clear maps that detail features of lake beds, to help you maximise your strike rate. Whilst it doesn’t have a vast number of lakes as of yet, there is plenty of scope for future inclusions.
Bought individually, the maps would total £54 but the phone app costs just £2.99 and is available to iPhone and Android platforms. Bargain! So if you’re likely to fish any of the locations featured it surely makes sense to download the app. If you’re a keen angler and want to see some new features, Carplakes are looking for new suggestions to add.
A favourite with us, wreckfinder has been developed by Cornish company, App Future, to help anglers and divers locate wrecks at sea. Data from the UK Hydrographic Office is integrated with Google maps to give the location of 12,000 wrecks in UK and Irish coastal waters. And you don’t even need to have a phone signal to use it either, as all the locations are downloaded with the app.
Where possible additional information about the wreck is included and all co-ordinates can be input into other electronic navigational aids. Your phone’s GPS also gives your location in relation to the wreck sites in your sea area.
A great concept and one we’re sure will be a hit with sea anglers everywhere.
£3.99 and available for iPhone and Android.
Found a fishing app that you think is a star performer? Why not let us know so we can review it?
Any angler knows that fishing can cause wear and tear on the body.
Periods of relative inactivity interspersed with flurries of intense effort can result in injury, as can the repetitive motions of casting and retrieving. Physical fitness can really help you up your game and keep you healthy too.
So kick off your fishing boots, clear some space in your bivvy, and try some of the stretches below while you’re waiting for a bite.
It’s all about posture
How we stand when we fish has a major effect on the muscular balance of our bodies.
When standing, most anglers tend to rest more of their weight on one leg, with their pelvis rotated forward. Holding a fishing rod is a shoulder-rounding stance and gazing down at the water places a strain on neck muscles.
In short, fishing puts your body out of balance.
To counteract the stresses that fishing puts on our bodies, we need to stretch in such away that unlocks tensions in muscles and joints – particularly our backs. One exercise that’s very useful for anglers is the ‘superman.’
Not only does it release tension in your lower back, it strengthens core muscles too. Lie on your front with your arms stretched out in front.
Keeping your head in a neutral position, lift your arms and legs clear of the floor. Hold and slowly release.
Added release for shoulders and neck can be incorporated into this exercise by bringing your arms back so that you resemble an aeroplane. Not sure? It’s easy – babies do it all the time.
Pain in the neck
Fishing puts a strain on your neck, so make sure that you stretch before and after fishing.
The lateral neck bend is a simple exercise. Look up – look down, look right – look left. Bend your head towards one shoulder, straighten, then bend toward the other. Keep your shoulders relaxed and in a neutral position throughout.
You can do the exercises at any time so make sure you take them fishing with you. Take your time to perform the movements slowly and smoothly.
Lower back problems affect vast numbers of people. The human body wasn’t designed to sit down for hours every day.
Enforced immobility is a major problem in Western society – but to ensure you remain fit enough to fish – there are steps you can take.
Simply take a step forward, lower your back knee and at the same time push the front of your hip forward. Only bend as far as you find comfortable and always stop if you feel pain.
With this exercise, it is important not to bend your front leg beyond a right angle. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds before slowly straightening. Then swap legs and do it again.
A simple exercise for improving core strength is the plank.
Pay great attention to getting the pose right and you’ll reap the reward of this very effective exercise. Keep your knees locked and your legs straight.
Your hips should be level at all times. As you tire it’s tempting to let your back sag. Don’t.
It’s far better to let your knees drop to the floor and do a modified stance. Your head should be in a neutral position and your upper arms at right angles to the floor.
Hold the position for as long as you can – it’s great for your core, back upper body and legs.
Forearms and elbows.
Winding the handle of your reel and casting are highly repetitive motions that can lead you to develop tennis elbow. This is a very painful condition that can take all the fun out of fishing. Keep your muscles and tendons supple by performing this easy stretch.
With your arm out in front of you, gently bend your hand back. Hold and release. Now take the same hand and bend it in the opposite direction. Repeat several times on each side.
Never stretch further than is comfortable. It’s much better to repeat the exercise two or three times a day than try to make big gains right away.
Practise little and often and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much more reeling your elbows and wrists can take.
Most modern fishing tackle boxes host many methods of catching fish. But when it comes to fishing equipment, you’d be hard pressed to beat the resourceful Hawaiians.
These ocean going Polynesians knew a thing or two about fishing long, before we in the West had it sussed. With no plastic or shiny metal in their armoury – good old mother nature provided everything.
Here’s your chance to check out some fancy fishing equipment, Hawaiian style.
Hawaiians’ lives revolved around the sea. They had an intimate knowledge of the tides and were able to predict with pinpoint accuracy the comings and goings of sea creatures.
But fishing wasn’t just a means of putting food on the palm leaf – it was also a way of pleasing the Gods, and the ruling classes – a great excuse to go fishing.
And when the fishing was done, out came the surfboards. Hawaiians knew how to fish and have fun.
To ensure year round access to fresh fish the Hawaiians used natural foreshore features to create fishing lakes.
Known as a loko kuapa these unique fish larders were fitted with a sluice gate – a makaha – through which the tide could run.
On an incoming tide, fishermen would position themselves at the opening with their nets, ready to catch fish attracted by the influx of food rich new water.
Modern hooks are a throw away item designed to rust fast. In old Hawaii, however, a fish hook was a prized possession to be used with care.
Not surprising considering that each hook was hand made from human or bird bone, shell, wood or whale ivory. Elegantly carved, the maker would embellish his hook with numerous barbs to ensure he snagged his prey securely.
With access to myriad sparkling, brightly colored or super realistic rubber creations, today’s angler has a lure for every occasion.
Our ancient grass skirt wearing friends may not have had modern materials but don’t think that stopped them.
They were limited only by their craftsmanship and imagination. Cowry shells, paua and mother of pearl were used to attract the fish as well as bait bags and wood and bone squid jigs.
What would we do without tough monofilament nylon fishing line?
The Hawaiians used a braided fishing line made from the natural plant fibre Olona. This amazing product is high strength and doesn’t stretch or kink. When Western mariners discovered it, they thought it was the bees knees.
Rope made from the stuff was half the diameter and twice the strength of hemp lines. Olona is also quite pliant and soft making it suitable for clothing manufacture – it’s one of the most useful forgotten gifts of nature.
Fishing for the future
Just two traditional Hawaiian fishing islands remain. But now residents of Oahu are fighting back. They have begun the process of restoring the island of Mokauea to its former glory.
They hope to reinstate it as a fully functioning subsistence fishing island, complete with a well stocked fish pond, helping to create a sustainable knowledge base of skills for future generations of Hawaiians.
We are delighted to announce that we will be holding the Fishtec annual warehouse clearance sale at our Brecon Factory outlet this coming weekend – Saturday 23rd March 2013 - 9am to 5pm.
Throughout the day there will be a huge selection of discounted fishing tackle at rock bottom prices – the ideal opportunity to grab yourself a bargain.
What do you need to look out for? Here at the Fishtec Open Day we’ll have Ex-Demo stock. clearance items with big discounts and also a line of new products from across three disciplines including fly lines, clothing and rods, all with sale prices!
Take this opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ on all fly fishing rods that we have in stock, see how fast you can erect a bivvy or test our bed-chairs. You can also embark in conversation with out resident fly, sea and coarse fishing experts and talk to our knowledgeable customer service team with any queries you may have. Fly tying demonstrations from a well known Welsh Angler, Jonathan Williams along with fishing tackle and tactic advice on coarse, sea and fly fishing.
If you need any more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Call: 08719117001 or Website: www.fishtec.co.uk. Free parking and food available onsite.
For directions, please take a look here.
Save hundreds of pounds on sale items from Fox, Greys, Hardy, Nash, Delkim, Simms, Airflo, TF Gear, Sage, Shimano and many more!