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:

www.aardvarkmcleod.com 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.

www.frontierstravel.com 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 .co.uk 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!

Tightlines

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.
carpionon

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: info@fishspy.com

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.

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Channel Kayaks. October 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk 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 www.channelkayaks.uk
Or email byron@channelkayaks.uk
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.

HOW FISHSPY COMPARES

comparison table of fishing gadgets

Fishing gadgets comparisons

fishspy in the water

Image source: www.fishspy.com
FishSpy in action

GoPro

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.

FISHSPY AT A GLANCE:

  • 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.

Drones

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.

Fishfinder

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 globalflyfisher.com, 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.

Plan

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.

Secure

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

lockdown

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.

Personalise

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.

Protect

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?

Re-boot

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, ifish.net 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!

How much fishing tackle do you really need?

dog with heavy fishing barrow

Image source: Fishtec Coarse facebook page
The dog’s not going to be pulling this one…

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself: “how much fishing tackle do I really need to take?”

Judging by the barrow-loads of tackle some anglers cart to the riverbank or lakeside, you’d think the answer was, “you can never have enough”. But fishing is supposed to be about relaxation, so why keep burden yourself with excess baggage?

Less gear means less stress. So to help you declutter, here are some great tips from minimalist anglers to help you lighten the load.

Rods and reels

Unless you’re planning to fish a three or four rod water, two fishing rods and two reels are plenty. Remember, the more rods you take, the more gear you’ll need. More gear equals more hassle.

Take blogger The London Angler — when it comes to cutting to the bare essentials, he’s a true believer. As far as he’s concerned, all you need is:

“landing net, weighing scales, unhooking mat, rod rests, chair (I am not sitting on the muddy bank!), ground baits, hookbaits and a tackle box full of rigs, hooks, weights and other items such as boilie drills, stoppers… the list goes on”

His message is clear: Why take more if you can do fine with less?

Tackle

car full of fishing tackle

Image source: Bath Angling
To the riverside – are you really taking everything?

Excess kit is dead weight. Work out how many leads you can realistically expect to use in a single session. Take what you need in a small tackle box and leave the rest in the boot of the car.

Remember, less tackle doesn’t necessarily place a limit on the number of species you can catch. According to Josh Mann who writes the, Minimalist Approach, you can simply adapt a small range of tackle to a wide range of uses:

“When I know I’ll only be fishing with live bait. The only thing [my tackle box] has in it are size 1 hooks and 1/8 ounce split shot sinkers, which are really all I need in a wide variety of situations”

While he admits it wouldn’t be the ideal tackle box for every situation, his attitude is to take a little less stuff, and make it work.

Tackle box

small fishing tackle box

Image source:Fashionstock/ Shutterstock
Neat, tidy, and light

In fact, why not dispense with a tackle box altogether by making like a fly fisherman and wearing a fishing vest? With its many handy pockets it makes an ideal, wearable, tackle box.

And for those who really like to travel light, simply clip all your essential fishing tackle to a fishing lanyard, and slip it around your neck. It’s the ultimate hands-free fishing experience.

Bait

colourful fishing bait

Image source Bukhta Yuril/ Shutterstock
Bait is beautiful – but you don’t need your whole stock

Boilies, glugs, pellets, and pastes — how much bait do you really need? Not much if you’re Ian Gemson. Writing in The Fishing Magic blog, he certainly thinks less is more:

“…maybe a kilo bag of boilies, a few pop ups, and some plastic baits would work well, offering me another huge weight saving of nearly 20kg.”.

Save on kilos and on cost by baiting wisely. Try looking for tell tale signs pointing to an area a previous angler has already baited. And try not to over-bait – more is not necessarily better!

Comfort

We’d never suggest you skimp on comfort, but do check the weight of your couch. Looking for a new chair? Go for a lightweight option like the Indulgence Nomad Ultra-Lite, which weighs just 4kg. Overnighting? JRC Stealth X-Lite Bedchair is the lightest around.

Food and drink

Remember, you’re going fishing, not crossing Death Valley, so only take the fluids you’ll actually need.

Fancy a brew but don’t fancy carrying the kitchen sink with you? Here’s another top tip from blogger, Ian Gemson:

You don’t always need the extra weight of a stove bag and its contents, you can take hot water in a thermos flask to make hot drinks.”

Lastly, there’s your little rucksack of creature comforts — things every angler takes along on fishing trips, like a few cans of loosening-up juice. But we wouldn’t want you to skimp on that one!

How do fish see colour underwater?

the right coloured lure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

coloured lure collection

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

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

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

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 early November, 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. Four 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.”