Category Archives: Fishing Rods

A fishing rod is probably the most distinct part of an anglers apparatus, often being a vital link to netting or loosing the fish of a lifetime. Here at Fishtec we offer the latest in fly, coarse, match and sea fishing rods. Read on below for fishing rod news and how to choose the correct one for you.

6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Ever considered having a harpoon tattooed across your chest? No? As an avid angler, perhaps you should consider it.

Traditional tattoos are imbued with deep meanings and as an enthusiastic hefter of a fishing rod and reel – the inking of a harpoon on your skin indicates you’re a member of the fishing fleet!

Read on to discover the significance of seafarers’ tats – nautical ink for salty sea dogs!

1. Hold fast

Hold Fast 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Thor
A very literal tattoo for some!

Never mind knuckles of “Love” and “Hate” – for sailors on the main, there was little time for bare knuckle boxing; far more important was to keep a firm hold of the rigging. Back in the golden age of sail there were no safety lines, no deck lights and no life jackets. One slip while working aloft  and you either thudded into the deck, leaving a nasty mess for your shipmates to clean up, or you plopped into the brine and sank to the “Odd Place” – Davey Jones’ locker.

No wonder sailors had the words “Hold” and “Fast” tattooed to their knuckles – it was an ever present reminder to cling on tight!

2. Compass rose

Compass 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Lady Dragonfly CC
Never get lost again.

Such were the rigours of life at sea that many an able seaman perished by cannon ball, man-overboard, tropical miasma, gruesome discipline, falling spars, swinging blocks…the list of ways to die was long. No wonder sailors are such a superstitious bunch.

Chief among the concerns of seafaring men was getting back home. The inking of a compass rose on your skin was for luck in finding the way to your loved ones. And the nautical star? That represents the pole star – with one of those tattooed on your body, you need never be lost.

3. Swallow

Swallows 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Tony Atler
One swallow = 5000 miles of sea travel.

One way to tell a seafarer who’d proved worth his salt was to see how many nautical miles he’d covered. But in the days before logbooks and RYA qualifications, sailors made a tally of distances logged directly on their skin.

Swallows, famed for their long distance migrations, were proof positive of distance travelled. Each bird flying across a man’s skin represented 5000 miles of passage making. A flock of birds made you a true salt.

4. Ship

Ship1 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Sarah-Rose
Made it through Cape Horn? Better get a ship tat stat.

Anglers are a competitive bunch. Let’s face it, if you’d caught a monster carp like Two Tone (RIP) chances are you might think about inking your achievement on a shoulder or arm – a permanent reminder of a day never to forget.

The same goes for the seafarers of yesteryear. There are certain experiences that make a man a man, and in the days of sailing ships, the toughest challenge of all was facing the “grey beards”, the terrifying, tumultuous waves of Cape Horn. And if you made it through that narrow, shallow bottleneck where the monstrous swells of the Southern Ocean squeeze between the Tip of South America and Antarctica – you’d want to celebrate your survival. A tattoo of a full rigged ship will do it!

5. Turtle

Turtle 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Tony Atler
A cute tattoo with horrid connotations.

“Hazing” was the name given to the ritualised humiliation of sailors who had not crossed the Equator. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be remembered with a shudder. You could be stripped, beaten, painted, dunked overboard – and all under the very noses of the officers who were supposed to maintain discipline aboard a man o’ war.

Your crime? You’d crossed the equator and entered Neptune’s realm. Once the torments were over – you were declared a “shell back”, and were permitted to have inked on your body the symbol of a true seaman – a turtle.

6. Anchor

Anchor 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Ettore Bechis
An anchor to keep you grounded.

Life on the open ocean was harsh and always dangerous, and sailors were away from home for months and often years at a time. It was a life of hardship, mishap and boredom – interspersed with moments of high drama, and terrible danger. Sailors were a breed apart, but like most men separated from friends and family – they dreamed of home.

No wonder that floating far from hearth and home, and separated from kith and kin, seafarers yearned for the stability of dry land, and familiar faces. They needed something to keep them grounded – an anchor tattoo with the names of their loved ones inscribed beneath. Mum!

7 Surprising carp facts

How well do you know your carp?

Here are some fun carp facts to help you become a font of carp wisdom.

1. Carp originate from the Black, Aral and Caspian Seas

Carp origin map 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Maps World
The carp is now endangered in their native waters.

The common carp has its origins in the Black, Aral and Caspian Sea basins. From there the species spread east into Siberia and China, and west into the Danube. The Romans were the first Europeans to farm carp, a practice that probably developed earlier and separately in China and Japan. The later spread of the fish throughout Europe, Asia and America is purely a product of human activity.

In the US, the Asian carp is a menace, devastating native fish populations, in Japan, the Koi carp is revered as an ornamental fish. Here in the UK, we love our carp and always put them back, travel to Eastern Europe and you’ll find them on the menu. Carp are plentiful everywhere, except their native waters, where they are now endangered.

2. They arrived in Britain in the 15th century

Treatsye of fysshynge wyth an angle 474x395 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Budden Brooks
“He is an evil fish to take.”

It wasn’t the Romans who brought carp to Britain. In fact, the fish hasn’t been here nearly as long as some might think. The first reference to the fish appears in the, “Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle.” There carp is described as:

“He is an evil fish to take. For he is so strongly armoured in the mouth that no light tackle may hold him.”

There is some debate as to when the manuscript of the Treatyse was first written – the text is late 1400s, but the introduction is almost certainly a copy of a 12th century manuscript – but the fact that Chaucer makes no mention of the fish in his 14th century works makes it likely that carp came onto the menu sometime in the 15th century.

3. Carp are part of the minnow family

Minnow family 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Fish Tanks
Who’d have thought the mighty carp was related to a minnow!

Carp can grow to monstrous proportions, but the fish we love to catch is actually, a minnow. The biggest carp ever caught (Guinness book of records) was a 94 lb common carp hooked by Martin Locke at Lac de Curton, France on 11th January 2010. He nicknamed the fish, Lockey’s Lump.

The reason why carp grow so big may be an evolutionary one. Carp don’t have a true stomach, instead, their intestine digests food as it travels its length. As a result, carp are constantly foraging for food. Eating a lot promotes growth, and growing quickly helps young fish avoid becoming prey. The result: a quick growing fish that eats a lot – potentially 30 –  40% of its body weight a day.

4. Carp caviar is popular in Europe and the US

Carp caviar 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Danube Caviar
Europe and the US can’t get enough carp caviar.

Carp was originally introduced to America in the 19th century as a cheap food source.  Overfishing of native species from rivers and lakes, as well as the appetites of European settlers encouraged the US department of fisheries to begin a concerted campaign to breed carp in 1877.

To begin with, carp were prized for the table, but over time, as they escaped into North American river systems, the fish became an invasive menace, out eating its native rivals and destroying fragile ecosystems. Carp are now hated, but nevertheless, like in Europe the US market for carp caviar is booming – proof that if you can’t beat it – you may as well eat it!

5. It’s tricky to know their gender (unless it’s mating season)

Carp gender 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Trekhrechie
“Hey Carl!”, “It’s Carly!”

Sexing your catch isn’t easy, especially outside of the mating season, but there are some clues about whether your prize specimen is a boy or a girl. First off, males tend (though not always) to be a little slimmer than females, and their genital opening is concave and less noticeable than that of the female, which is larger and may even protrude slightly.

During mating season, it’s a whole lot easier to tell male from female. Females’ abdomens swell with eggs and their genital enlarges to resemble a small fleshy tube. Males, meanwhile develop “tubercles”, small bony lumps around the head and gills, and they lose their mucus coating, becoming rough to the touch.

6. Carp are considered a good omen

Kwan yin carp 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Yunnan Adventure
A statue of Kwan-yin overlooking a natural water fish lake.

Some love nothing better than to set off for the pond, carp fishing rods in hand, others wouldn’t dream of catching their favorite koi. But whether you’re a European who loves to catch carp, or an Asian who rears them to look at, what we share is our love of carp and an ancient belief in the good fortune they bring.

The Christian tradition of eating fish on a Friday originates in the pagan mythology of the Norse and Germanic peoples of Europe. The day’s name comes from Freyja or perhaps Frigg, both goddesses, and possibly originally the same deity. Freyja was the goddess of fertility – and her symbol is the fish.

Travel east to China and you’ll find carp associated with the “Great Mother”, Kwan-yin. Associated with, among other things, rebirth and fertility, Kwan-yin is often depicted in the form of a fish.

7. Koi carp can fetch over a million dollars

Expensive koi fish 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Pets4Homes
Koi carp can fetch insane prices.

Japanese Koi carp are among the most expensive fish on the planet. A symbol of prosperity and status, it’s impossible to say exactly how much the most expensive fish are sold for since negotiations usually happen in private.

It’s thought that at the peak of the Koi “boom” in 1980s Japan, the most highly prized specimens could fetch as much as $1,000,000 – or around $2,800,000 in today’s money. The buyers were rich corporations who displayed their “catch” in ornamental tanks in office atria.

Shark Whisperers

People who want to catch big game fish use big game fishing rods, sharp hooks and wire leader, right?

Not if you happen to be one of a select group of so called, ‘shark whisperers’; people who love to rub noses with sharp fanged predators.

Why do they do it? We thought we’d look into it.

Great White Hitcher

With a name like Ocean Ramsey, it’s no surprise to discover that the girl enjoys snorkelling, but she takes ‘swimming with the fishes’ to whole new depths. The Hawaiian often dives to photograph sharks, but while for most of us the prospect of coming nose to fin with the scariest shark of all would fill us with fear, she describes the experience of meeting a great white like this:

“It’s difficult to express the incredible joy and breathtaking emotion experienced locking eyes with a Great White.”

Hmmm, if you say so, Ocean. As it happens, there is method to Ocean Ramsey’s madness. Just like Sara Benes, she is passionate about spreading awareness of the destruction of this vital component of the marine ecosystem. All the same, we think you’ll agree, this footage of Ocean catching a lift with a Great White, is frankly terrifying!

Hooked on Sharks

Would you willingly put your entire arm into a shark’s mouth? We wouldn’t either but here’s another ‘shark whisperer’ who not only would, but has actually done just that! Cristina Zenato is a shark woman of some renown, and here she is delving into the jaws of well…jaws, to remove a hook buried there. Despite a wriggle of irritation, the shark lets Cristina pull the hook free without even attempting to bite her.

Think there’s something a little fishy about this? Well you might just be right because the Italian-born diver is not quite the risk taker she appears to be.

Zenato first rubs the shark’s snout lulling it into a trance like state by over-stimulating the “ampullae of Lorenzini”, jelly filled pores – electroreceptors – the fish uses to detect its prey. Only when lulled does the diver actually put her hand into the shark’s mouth, and even then, we must point out, she’s wearing an armoured wetsuit. Sensible lady.

14-year-old Shark Whisperer

bigstock Two Caribbean Reef Sharks 49788356 Shark Whisperers

Image source: Shane Gross
Sara Brenes has set up a charity to protect sharks in the wild.

Sara Brenes was just 14 years old when she first dived with sharks. And she so fell in love with them, she said she felt, “like they were my babies, like puppies almost.” It’s an interesting take on what is after all an apex predator with teeth designed for shredding flesh, but nevertheless, with the help of her family, Sara was inspired to set up, Shark Whisperer, a charity that helps spread awareness of the plight of sharks in the wild.

Regardless of whether it’s wise to trust a shark not to turn you from a ‘whisperer’ into ‘lunch’, Miss Brenes does have a valid point. Sharks are persecuted the world over and they’re being killed in frightening numbers, mainly for their fins which fetch big bucks in Asian markets where they’re the prized ingredient in shark fin soup.

Barbel success, with the new Fishing Rod!

Cliff Barbel Barbel success, with the new Fishing Rod!

At the beginning of this year I wrote of my enthusiasm for the TF Gear Classic Nan-Tec Barbel rods I’d bought for the coming season, would I “…christen them with a double?” I asked. Well, as it happened, I was unable to get out in June and July as much as I’d have liked but early August saw me doing regular after-work sessions on my local stretch of river. As a rule I use the finer, very sensitive top section for my barbel fishing despite the disconcerting bend it adopts on hurling 4oz of bait-packed feeder to the far bank; but I’ve taken to using the standard tops which are sufficiently tactile to show me when a fish is interested.

And so it was a couple of Mondays ago. Fishing alongside His Wyeness, Geoffrey Maynard of Hay, and sharing a recently acquired Korum Rod River Tripod, my unblinking attention to my rod-tip was rewarded by two or three slow pulls; there was nothing rhythmic about them so I discarded any suspicion that my rig had merely rolled in the current or had picked up a twig or something. My right talon poised for action, I watched the rod-tip bow a fourth time and on this occasion it went over just a fraction further and stayed there! The classic barbel fishing rod was swept back with some enthusiasm, (I assure you!) taking on a pleasing bend just past the perpendicular. At this stage the fish might have been of any size but only a few seconds passed before I was able to state – and I did – that “This is a good fish, Geoff – a big one”

His Wyeness – it must be said – was a little nonchalant and reluctant to look up from his PVA activities. “Tell me if you need the net” he said; his head down in concentration, apparently uninterested in my increasingly lively barbel-battle.

“Well…I’m pretty sure this is a double” I replied as the fish yanked-down the rod and tore ten yards of 8lb mono off the Shimano, but Geoff had seen too many five and six pound ‘doubles’ to stir his complacency.

“Ok…give us a moment”

Normally I would net the fish myself but the bank at this point necessitated the assistance of an extra pair of hands. Not before time, His Wyeness stood and took in the scene: 2lb test curve barbel fishing rod arced and repeatedly stabbing at the water, Shimano issuing short, staccato bursts of complaint, great patches of flattened water and one very excited angler…the penny dropped and he was soon in serious mode, net poised for the job.

Before long, a bulging, glistening net was placed on the grass and parted to reveal what was clearly the best fish of the season from this stretch. On the scales the needle settled at just 2oz short of 12lb – a fine fish indeed.

 

12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Tying the knot? Will that be a blood knot, a stopper knot or are you simply getting ‘hitched’?

We know how much you love your fishing, but when you’ve fallen for someone, hook line and sinker, just how far do you go to make their special day that bit more memorable?

A fishing themed wedding? Here are some happy couples for whom the special day wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of a fishing rod, reel and line!

1. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Flickr
It’s offishal!

2. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Wedding Bee
Hooked on one another!

3. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Kunelius
Anyone for catch of the day?

4. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Sweet Violet Bride
These two were meant for each other.

6. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Green Wedding Shoes
A very fishy affair!

7. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Today’s Bride
Top marks for the cake topper!

8. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Pinterest
He hooked a good’n.

9. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Team Bekki
“Come on, you’ll love it really!”

10. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Blommade
Gone fishin’.

11. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Fowlefoto
“We really should get back to the guests…”

12. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Procopio Blog
She’s got her something blue sorted!

13. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Rutheh
He fell for her hook, line and sinker!



Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

Well here it is – The Amazing capture of the 55lb Common Carp by our TF Gear consultant Dave Lane!

Many of you would have already seen the capture on Facebook and our various social networks, but such a fish is worth seeing more than once, don’t you think?

Dave mentioned to us that this magnificent fish was caught using the new TF Gear N-Tec Carp rod. On this particular range of carp rods we’ve been working closely with Dave to produce a responsive and accurate – A true casting tool. The N-Tec rods are high-modulous carbon and feature high quality components all round. Paired with the N-tec, Dave use the TF Gear PitBull Big Pit Free spool reel – An outstanding ‘big carp’ tackle combination.

 Here’s a few pictures of the 55lb Burghfiled Common.

IMG 6586 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

IMG 6598 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

IMG 6599 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

Film review: Kiss the water

A “strange little film”, a “gemlike documentary”, and “hypnotic” – just some of the words used by reviewers of “Kiss the water”, the extraordinary film from American director Eric Steel.

Released last year, the documentary charts the extraordinary life and times of the legendary fly tier, Megan Boyd who died in 2001 at the age of 86.

Reflective interviews from the people who knew her, footage of the stunning Sutherland scenery, and impressionistic animation mingle to create a lyrical masterpiece that flows as cool and mysterious as the river Brora itself.

Enigma

Megan Boyd Film review: Kiss the water

Image source: Heather MacLeod
Megan Boyd tying flies with her dog, Patch.

Loner, eccentric and master of the art of the fly, Megan Boyd was an enigmatic character who lived a life of almost monastic frugality and simplicity. Born in England in 1918, she was just a child when her father took a job as a gamekeeper on a private estate, and brought her to the wild hills and rivers of Sutherland in the Scottish highlands.

Another gamekeeper, Bob Trussler taught Megan to tie flies by getting her to disassemble and reassemble his own creations on smaller and smaller hooks, until she had mastered the patterns. She never looked back.

At the age of 20, Megan moved to a tiny cottage perched on a hillside above the village of Kintradwell. In a tiny tin roofed studio, she spent the next 50 years tying flies for fly fishermen on both sides of the Atlantic. In time her creations became recognised as some of the best flies ever tied, famed for their uncanny knack for catching salmon.

Royal connections

Prince Charles Fishing Film review: Kiss the water

Image source: Doar Pescuit
Prince Charles was a big fan of Megan’s craftsmanship.

Among her customers was Prince Charles who became a lifelong friend – though when aides turned up at her cottage asking her to whip a couple of masterpieces together for their master, Megan refused, saying she was just off to a local dance. When awarded the British Empire Medal, she informed the Queen that she couldn’t attend to receive the honour because she had nobody to look after her dog that day.

Just like the salmon caught by fly fishermen using her flies, Megan is hard to fathom. And just as the life of the king of the rivers is shrouded in mystery, Megan Boyd remains a complex and esoteric figure.

She could have been famous but she shunned the limelight, she tied flies that were legendary, but she herself never fished. In fact, Megan Boyd claimed she could never have brought herself to use her flies and fly fishing rod to actually catch a salmon. And though her life story is woven through the film, Megan herself appears only fleetingly, towards the end.

A woman of unusual dress and curious ways, reading between the lines you begin to glimpse a strange life that defies definition, instead pouring like water through the fingers of those who attempt to tell her story. Mysterious, enchanting and luminous, Kiss the water is like one of Megan Boyd’s flies: beautiful yet mysterious.

Get hooked

Watch this video to find out more about ‘Kiss the water’.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

Lots of anglers around the country are experiencing the changing season – One minute the fish are around and then they are not and it does seem that mass migration of species is far more acute nowadays than it used to be. Could be its global warming that is sending the fish further north and that they are bypassing southern venues on their travels? Whatever, something like this is happening and I suppose to an extent it always did in the past. In the south it’s the summer doldrums when the sea seems devoid of fish, even the mackerel have passed by! For the shore angler another reason is the amount of sunlight each day – with clear water the fish just will not come inshore in gin and wait until darkness to venture into the shallows. That’s the time to fish for conger, bass, hounds and others and the deeper water venues you find are better.

But it’s not all doom and gloom because once we are past the longest day then the light evenings start to close back and change is underway, least of all those fish that passed us by on their way north are due to travel back south into Autumn and some great sea fishing is to come. The trick is not to miss it and of course the timing varies around the different regions. In the North it’s a case of making hay whilst the sun shines and fishing hard before the shoals depart south. In the South it’s a case of getting out as soon as the fish show; the codling start to show as early as August some years and September can be the best month with a mix of cod and bass. In all regions it is a case of ignoring those old traditions of the “Cod Season” and being ready when the fish are around.

TF Gear has a new range of beach casters and they based on models from the Continent. Both fixed spools they feature the slim line feel and lightness of the long casting sea fishing rods from France, Spain, Italy, etc. Both include low rider rings which can be used with both multiplier and fixed spool reels plus braid, mono or fluorocarbon lines. Standard with these rings is that the butt ring is reversed which gives the rod a unique appearance and more than one novice has proclaimed the ring is on upside down! But this is not the case and 100% of continental rods using low riders feature this reversed ring build.  It’s done simply so that the rings legs prevent a loop of line going over the ring during the cast – especially braid and especially using a fixed spool reel.

The new models include the Force 8 Continental which is extremely light and designed for fishing small baits for small species using light lines and leads. With braid line its balance and feel are incredible and fishing for mackerel, pollack, scad, mullet, school bass etc is a new experience for the user. A word of warning though –it’s not designed for casting a whole Calamari squid and it’s also not designed so that the tip can pull free of snags what it is designed for is a new feel the fish sea angling experience – Enjoy!

The second model is in the Delta range and is the Slik Tip and is aimed at the in between UK fishing and the Continent – It’s a step lighter than standard UK beach casting gear and at a price that won’t annoy the wallet!

One of the big plusses with these rods fitted with low rider rings is that the guides do not affect the movement and balance of the rod as much as the larger standard UK style beach caster rings. Therefore the rod slices the air better when casting and resists the wind in the rod rest better – great for bite spotting.
Other continental rods with reversed low rider guides include Yuki Colmic etc. Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

Dogfish is considered a sea angling swear word and few anglers have a good word to say about a species that seems to have taken over the world in many parts of the UK. OK for match anglers they are obliging bites when nothing else stirs, but so often they take a bait aimed at other species and are just a pain. It’s got so bad in some regions that even the match anglers are not supporting the doggie dominated events.

So what can we do to reduce dogfish numbers or make them more enjoyable to catch?  Well having recently been laid up and not fishing my freezer was empty of fish so I took four home for dinner – Had I forgot how tasty this fish could be because of the fiddly skinning and preparation? Rock salmon is now returned to the Yates menu and I shall spread the word that this wonderful species is great on a plate.

lesserdoggy Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

I have got my hands on the new TF Gear Force 8 Beach Shelter – and I seriously recommend you take a look! At last a shelter that has pouches for beach stones in the base which makes for a much easier erection, the Viagra shelter goes up in seconds and stays there is a strong wind.

If you have ever tried to erect a shelter on your own in anything above a force five, you will know how difficult it is. The new Force 8 Shelter solves that problem because you can pile stones in the pouches before you pull it up. What’s more the F8 is collapsible and folds down to half its length for carriage – great for being strapped on top of the fishing tackle box!

I am arranging an LRF Championships (Light rock fishing) at Samphire Hoe, near Dover on the 10th August.  It’s an experimental competition. You can fish with any form of LRF gear. Basically a short spinning style rod, singe look bait/lure. It’s all catch and release with fish photographed on the smart phone on the days fish measure.  Fishing in 10am until 4pm, (Book in car park from 8.30am) all are welcome and it’s a complete rover anywhere around the Hoe. Prizes for species pts, biggest and best average fish.  Contact me Alan Yates on 01303 250017 E Mail: alankyates@aol.com

Tight lines, Alan Yates

 

5 Fish that fought back

We all like a fish to put up a good fight, and sometimes the fish wins. But there’s winning and there’s winning.

Here we’ve scoured the archives to come up with some of the cheekiest, meanest and most bad ass fish ever to take the bait – the fish that fought back.

1. Cheeky carp thief

carp 5 Fish that fought back

Image source: Credit Valley Conservation
Swallows and Amazons author, Arthur Ransome, had his tackle stolen!

Catching carp used to be a rarity. Writing in his lovely book, Fishing’s Strangest Days, Tom Quinn explains that prior to the evolution of modern carp fishing rods and tackle, carp were often considered almost uncatchable. He quotes Swallows and Amazons author, Arthur Ransome’s 1910 account of an encounter with one of the mythical beasts…

Hooked late in the day, a carp took his bait and took off at a blistering pace, snapping the writer’s line about two feet above the float. Ransome stood in astonishment as he watched his lost float start to skim through the water. When it was beneath where he stood the carp flashed a flank and was gone. He later wrote that the carp returned his tackle as if to say, “Not a bad first attempt, do try again.”

2. Bye bye boat

wreck 5 Fish that fought back

Image source: Prime Scuba
Was it the marlin or dodgy driving?

Was it driver error that sank a sports boat off the coast of Panama in February last year, or the huge black marlin one of the anglers on board was trying to capture? It seems the truth will forever remain a mystery.

The boat manufacturer puts the blame on the driver, alleging that while the boat was going astern, he slipped at the controls and pulled the throttle lever, burying the boat’s stern under a wave.

But perhaps the fish also played a role. It certainly was a big one. Either way, the boat sank and the crew had to be rescued. Another example of the fish getting its own back, it was later sighted doing a victory leap.

3. Right in the ribs

Jose Salvador Benitez 5 Fish that fought back

Image source: Pisces Fleet
Benitez, pictured at the rear, has learnt to “never grab an angry merlin” the hard way.

An experienced sports fisherman, Salvador Benitez was the 24-year-old mate on board a leisure fishing boat out of Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific coast of Mexico. One day he was helping take a party out to fish the rich coastal waters. After hooking several dorado, he spotted the tail of a Marlin, and cast a lure in its direction. The fish took the bait on the first cast, and Salvador duly handed the rod to one of the anglers.

As Marlin fights go, it was uneventful, until, that is, the fish was brought alongside. Sensing danger, it leapt out of the water and skewered Benitez in the side. The marlin managed to ram its bill between two of the hapless Mexican’s ribs, piercing his pleura and puncturing his lung. The moral of the story, Salvador said on return from the hospital, was, ‘never grab an angry marlin.’ You said it!

4. Painful nose job

nose job 5 Fish that fought back

Image source: Wikimedia
This pike had a penchant for noses!

Imagine one pike angler’s surprise when he lifted a 28 inch specimen from the water and, striking a pose for the camera, went to kiss it. The pike latched onto his nose! The Russian fisherman’s friends lept to his aid, but despite beheading the unfortunate fish, its jaws remained firmly locked in place. In fact, it took the doctors at the local hospital to prise it loose.

According to a report in the Californian newspaper, the Lodi News Sentinel, the Russians had been ice fishing about 60 miles northwest of Moscow when the incident occurred. The moral of the story? Don’t stick your nose where its not wanted!

5. Goldfish vs. Cat

If you’re a goldfish, there can be few things worse than being the victim of repeated fishing expeditions by the household cat. But in a David and Goliath style encounter, one fish fought back. Check out the video to see what happened next!

5 Unmissable fishing spots in Europe

Friday is Schuman Day, that ever popular celebration named after the former French foreign minister, Robert Schuman.

In Paris in 1950, he declared that he wanted Europeans to cooperate on coal and steel – and Europe as we now know it was born. Yes – it’s Europe Day.

Events to commemorate the founding of the European Union include meeting the EU’s auditors, visiting the European parliament in Brussels, or a chat with the European Union Ombudsman.

Sound exciting? You could just grab your fly fishing rods and go fishing…

Here to help you celebrate Europe Day, we’ve put our heads together to come up with our top five European fly fishing destinations.

1. Slovenia

1. Soca River Slovenia1 5 Unmissable fishing spots in Europe

Image source: Soca Valley Holidays
Soca River, Slovenia.

Thanks to EU enlargement, access to what is fast becoming one of Europe’s top fishing destinations has never been so easy. Slovenia joined the EU in 2004 and is home to some of the best fly fishing you’ll find this side of the Urals.

If it’s crystal clear waters and an abundance of brown trout, rainbow trout and grayling you’re after, the so called, “green pearl of the Alps” is the place for you. There’s also a subspecies of marbled trout that can top the scales at 10 lbs.

The River Soca and its tributaries are the main fishing area. From fast flowing Alpine gorges to tranquil lower sections, the Soca is stunning not least because of the beautiful emerald green of its waters. And the good news for fishing widows is that the delights of Venice are just an hour and a half drive away.

2. Ireland

2. Shimna river ireland1 5 Unmissable fishing spots in Europe

Image source: Geograph
Shimna River, Ireland.

From the Emerald River to the Emerald Isle, Ireland would top any fly fishing bucket list. The place is jam packed with world class fishing. From the Salmon runs of the wild west, to incredible wild brown trout and moonlit sea trout fishing, Ireland has it all.

There’s fishing to suit every budget too. While some of the great salmon fishing estates charge mega bucks for the treat of wetting your fly fishing line, fishing in the Republic or the North can cost you little more than the price of a room above a pub or a local B&B – especially if it’s trout you’re after. Check the licensing regulations here.

A trip to Ireland is about more than just fishing. From babbling mountain springs, to broad stretches of river running through lush green fields and lakes with more islands than you can shake a stick at – Ireland is simply magical. And we hear the Guinness isn’t bad either!

3. Sweden

3. Jamtland Sweden1 5 Unmissable fishing spots in Europe

Image source: Mad Trout
Jämtland, Sweden.

Extending north of the arctic circle, Sweden offers fishing on a grand scale in what many think of as the last true wilderness in Europe. Head north to mountain streams and lakes that burst into life each summer with an abundance of tricky char, and grayling. Moving to the South, brown trout offer great sport just about everywhere.

In the lowlands of the South, there are pike and perch to be had and peaking in July, salmon, and sea trout runs make every river a fly fisherman’s dream.

Sweden is a fly fishing adventure that requires some planning. Fishing rights are often locally owned and run so it makes sense to do your research before you before you go, or pay for local knowledge by using the services of a guide or tour operator.

4. Scotland

4. River Dee Soctland1 5 Unmissable fishing spots in Europe

Image source: Woollie Mind
River Dee, Soctland.

No list of European top spots would be complete without mention of the lochs and glens north of the border. The Dee, the Spey, the Tay, the Tweed; the names of Scottish salmon rivers are iconic, and with some of the most stunning scenery in the world, Scotland really does represent fly fishing at its best.

Some say the Dee is in fact the best salmon river in the world. Rising in the Cairngorms, it flows through 80 miles of stunning highland country. South in the borders, the River Tweed is the most productive river in Britain for Atlantic Salmon, while the Spey gives its name to a casting technique. The Tay still holds the record for the largest ever rod caught salmon in Scotland – at 64 lbs – caught in 1922

Scotland’s rivers and lochs have long drawn people from all over the world to try their luck fishing the peaty waters. The country is well set up for anglers of all abilities and budgets. And it’s close too; no matter where you live in the British Isles, a long weekend hunting the Atlantic Salmon is never too far away.

5. Estonia

5. Estonia1 5 Unmissable fishing spots in Europe

Image source: Into Practise
Kunda River, Estonia.

Another of the 2004 intake of countries into the European Union, Estonia not only boasts the most successful Eurovision song contest record of any Baltic country, it’s also home to some of the best fly fishing on the continent.

Estonia’s unforgettable winning song of 2001, “Everybody”, may have faded from public consciousness in about as long as it takes to say, “nul points”, but we guarantee fishing for wild brown trout in Estonia is an experience you’ll never forget.

Like many former Eastern Bloc countries, Estonia offers unspoiled countryside and the kind of rural economy that’s long since disappeared from more industrialised European countries. Half the country is covered with forest and there are some 7000 rivers and streams to choose from. And all accessible in less than an hour’s drive from the capital, Tallinn. It’s a trout angler’s paradise.