The world’s oceans as safari parks?
When it comes to some of the most amazing sea creatures, increasingly we’re packing away our fishing tackle and reaching for our cameras.
Here we take a look at some spectacular fish and marine mammals now worth more alive than dead.
Steven Spielberg’s iconic film, Jaws made a monster out of the shark. But of around 480 species, only four are responsible for most attacks on humans. Great whites, tigers, bull sharks, and oceanic white tips are dangerous to man, but the fact remains that most sharks seldom go near a human being, far less attack one.
But as well as being demonised, sharks are prey to humans on a massive scale. Shark fin soup is a Chinese delicacy, and with the rise and rise of the Chinese economic machine, the soup is more in demand than ever.
But now there’s hope that in future this apex predator will be better protected from shark fishermen. New figures show that shark tourism generates a whopping $314 million a year.
With increasing numbers of thrill seeking tourists willing to pay to enter the shark cage this figure is set to rise to $780 million in the next 20 years. As the value of a live sharks goes up, so does the incentive to protect them. Good news for our sharp fanged friends.
Manta rays are famed for the supreme elegance with which they ‘fly’ through the warm tropical waters they live in. But unfortunately for them, apart from their value as meat, they are also highly desired as ingredients in Chinese medicine.
Despite there being no evidence that manta ray has any medicinal value, their cartilaginous gill rakes are used to treat a wide range of non-related ailments, from chicken pox to cancer.
But whereas a Manta on a slab at a Sri Lankan fish market is worth around $40, alive, one of these wonderful fish can fetch a fortune.
During its lifetime, a single specimen living off the Maldives contributes an estimated $100,000 to the tourism industry – surely enough to see fishermen swap fishing tackle for scuba gear.
Some species of whale were hunted almost to extinction, and even now, despite decades of protection, stock levels of some of them stand at less than one percent of their original level.
These animals are now well loved by most of us – particularly those with an interest in the marine environment – sea anglers for one.
So you’ll be delighted to know that world wide, the whale watching industry is worth a colossal $2.1 billion. In 2008, 13 million of us in 119 countries took to the sea to watch whales.
Although whaling is still practised by fishermen in several corners of the world, the increasing value of live animals must surely bring hope for the future for these giants of the deep.
Turtle meat is said to be delicious, but if like growing numbers of anglers you’d rather turn vegetarian than see this wondrous creature disappear from our seas forever, take heart because there is hope.
In areas where turtles are killed for meat, eggs, shells and leather, the industry is worth just under $600 million. Quite a total for the developing countries where turtles come ashore. Well you’d think so but compared to the money to made from turtle tourism, the figure is literally a drop in the ocean.
So how much are shell backs worth alive? Three times as much. Sustainable fishing beats turtle targeting hands down.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the fur trade had all but died a death – but sadly it lives on. In Namibia, thousands of seal pups continue to be killed for their fur on the same beaches visited by seal watching tourists.
But demand for pelts is not what it was and a single skin is now worth as little as £4. In 2008 the seal hunt generated a paltry £320,000.
Compare that to the £1.3 million gained from tourist pounds over the same period. This puts great pressure on the Namibian government to end the slaughter of seal pups. Great ammunition for seal conservationists.
Well I had two more trips after my initial success on the North Met, only these were not quite as successful, mainly due to the fact that the fish were practically living in the out of bounds areas, either that or deep within a huge reed-bed, just trying to make the most of the pretty poor levels of sunlight we were having.
On my fourth visit to the water, a short one night trip due to the bank holiday stealing half of my session, the weather had picked right up and it was actually hot for a change.
I set about walking the entire circumference of the lake and determined not to set up until I had found something to fish for.
The first thing I noticed, being the day after bank holiday, was the litter everywhere, not from anglers I hasten to add but from the general public as the North Met is actually part of the Lee Valley parks and is used by a multitude of different people. Just why people think it is alright to leave all their discarded wrappers, bottles, bags and even used nappies laying around the place I do not know. If they turned up for their picnic and found the public areas looking like a rubbish dump then they would be disgusted and go elsewhere but they think it is totally acceptable leave it in this state, just who do they think cleans up after them every time?
Anyway, rant over, but I do so abhor litter in any form whatsoever and there is just no need.
I took a long slow stroll around the lake, with the dog charging on ahead at every opportunity and chasing anything that look stupid enough to run, squirrels, other dogs, ducks, sparrows, he’s not particularly fussy although he couldn’t actually catch his own tail but that never stopped him trying.
After a good hour or so of looking I climbed a small tree situated on the mouth of a dead end bay. It was a perfectly situated swim as it sits adjacent to a gap that the fish have to pass through on their way from one end of the lake to the other, a natural bottleneck with a small bay set to the side for resting and sunbathing in. A very shallow bar cuts across the swim about twenty five yards out and forms the mouth of the bay so that, once the fish have passed over it, there is nowhere else to go but into the bay, passing right through the little swim I was now standing in.
I stood up the tree for a bit and then saw what I was after as a carp appeared over the bar and slowly cruised beneath me, shortly followed by three more and this was all the encouragement I needed, I was off like a rabbit for my carp fishing rods.
Luckily I had stashed the barrow about five hundred yards away when I arrived, being almost at the end of my first circuit meant that I was nearly back to the fishing gear anyway and it didn’t take long to get everything into position.
Before casting I spent another ten minutes up the tree just to make sure I was picking the best spots and then I flicked out three rigs into the best looking interception points, scattering about a dozen free baits around each one.
It was one of those situations where you just know you are going to catch, definitely the best chance I had since starting on the lake and I wasn’t at all surprised when my left hand rod signalled a drop back after only half an hour of casting.
The fish had kited around into the bay, away from the bar and the small island in front of me, perfect really and it was a good tussle in deep clear margins that followed. I could see about ten feet down into the water so I knew it was a decent fish way before I got him into the landing net.
He was a nice long and old looking mirror of thirty one pounds, almost a leather along his flanks with a great big head, what a way to start a trip.
With the photo’s done and the rig back out there I put the kettle on and sat back to bask in the sunshine but not for long!
This time it was the left hand fishing rod and that was where the danger really was, the shallow bar had a snag growing out of the top and, had he managed to clamber over it into the main lake than I really would have been in trouble, I was a real battle of wills for a few minutes and huge surges of water washed up the side of the bar as he tried over and again to gain the sanctuary of the open water.
Eventually he realised I wasn’t going to give in that easily and he tried to make it into the bay but he’d gambled his biggest energy reserves with the bar and I soon had him under control.
Once again I could see him way below the surface and this time I knew I had hooked a real biggie. Every time he turned and twisted below the rod I could clearly see his deep flanks and huge shoulders and I knew he was somewhere around the forty pound mark; quite a scary thing really knowing just how big they are so long before they are beaten.
Beaten he was though, eventually, and into the net he went with a last defiant slap of his tail.
On the scales he stopped just short of forty, just a few ounces mind and still a real whacker.
This one was more of a big pit chunk, a real deep bellied, broad shouldered beast and he looked just fine with the sunlight bouncing of his orange flanks.
With two fish under my belt I knew I was staying put for the night, even the swim was tiny and barely more than a little grassy slope to the water.
The night was quite eventful as well, I had a further four takes before it grew light, two of these I unfortunately lost but a pair of twenties finished the session of perfectly. As if often the way at this time of year I awoke to a completely different day, the sun had been replaced by cloud and rain and the fish had moved off to find more suitable areas to live in but I packed up happy with my results.
Next week I will be starting my campaign on a huge 250 acre clay pit, full of bars and mystery with an unknown stock, right up my street!
“Tackle Testers Choice”
The Airtex waders, which replace the old Delta designs, come in standard chest and also zip-front versions. They do away with the secondary outer layer of material running down the leg and also have a more snug fit around the legs and the ankle with a contoured cut and articulated legs. They are made from a three-layer Finetex material that is not only waterproof but very breathable so keeps body moisture to a minimum even when you are on the move.
All the inside seams are fully taped. These chest waders have built-in stretchable gravel guards made from a very tough and abrasion-resistant fabric. The guards have a rubber grip strip on the inside edge and a metal lace hook for a secure fitting to the boot. The neoprene feet have a contoured fit so are very comfortable and again they are fully taped throughout. There are three integral belt loops to accommodate an adjustable and detachable 1.5-inch wide webbing belt with a quick release bayonet fitting.
At the top of the waders is a set of elasticated, adjustable and detachable braces with male and female buckle at the front so you can’t get them crossed over or twisted. The waders are a two-tone color with a less spooky brown from the waist down and a tan colour on the top half.
On the standard Airtex chest waders there is a large front pocket that is accessed by a water-resistant YKK zip. On the zip-fronted model there is a RIRI waterproof zip, which runs from the crotch to the top and two smaller chest pockets with zip access. The zip front waders come in sizes M-XXL while the standard waders come in these sizes plus medium and large king. The standard chest waders cost £179.99 and the zip front waders are £229.99 and these prices include a pair of the Airtex wading boots.
The Airtex Wading Boots are incredibly light – the pair of sizes 10′s I had for review weigh in at just 2lb 7oz – But they don’t compromise on build quality. An important consideration when buying wading boots is how rigid and effective the toe box is, and on these boots it’s stiff enough to withstand a good amount of water pressure. This reinforced toe section is also ideal for kicking about on the lake or river bed.
I have quite a wide foot but didn’t feel restricted in these boots and could wiggle my toes in relative comfort. The synthetic uppers are hard-wearing and quick drying and there is a protective rubberised section around the rand, toe section and heel for extra durability. There is also a definite increase in padding around the angle that not only offers good comfort but great support as well. There are four sets of metal eyelets plus two sets of quick release hooks for the laces.
The boots are available with either a felt or Vibram sole and I had the Vibram one to review. Although it is not a heavily cleated pattern it gives excellent grip over a wide range of terrains encountered on stillwaters such as mud, grass, shingle and dam walls. You could use Airflo’s wader stud kit (£9.99 for 30 studs) to increase grip for river fishing conditions.
These Airtex wading boots come in sizes 7-12 with felt sole and 8-12 in a Vibram sole. I think these are Airflo’s most comfortable waders and boots setup to date and offer excellent value.
Written by Robbie Winram.
Fishtec TV is a new an exciting innovation that helps you choose the right fishing equipment and give specialist hints and tips from our resident experts, all to improve your fishing experience! Our team has put together a wide selection of fishing videos from tackle reviews (old and new) including great tips to get more fish on the bank. These fishing videos will help you make an informed decision on all your fishing tackle purchases.
Our fishing tips section gives you the opportunity to explore all aspects of fishing with everything from tying knots to landing your catch, for each and every discipline! With hints and tips from our resident fishing experts such as Alan Yates, Dave Lane and not forgetting previous World Fly Fishing Champion, Iain Barr for everything fly fishing. Your landing net won’t be left dry if you follow these specialist fishing tips!
The fishing tackle reviews section has been designed to help you make your own, informed decision on what fishing equipment you should be using or may need to purchase. With detailed overviews of almost every fishing tackle brand there is, TF Gear, Greys, Airflo, Nash, Chub and many more, you can review the lot and choose which tackle item is best for you. A great way of knowing exactly what your getting, with expert anglers giving their professional opinion on each piece of tackle.
You can find Fishtec TV on the Fishtec website and on YouTube!
Airflo’s Sales Director, Gareth Jones talks more about the Airflo Forty Plus fly line range!
The Airflo Forty Plus fly lines have been developed to give every angler, no matter what their ability, extreme distance! Available in a full range of densities and two head lengths, the standard forty plus and a longer head for the experts, from floating to type 7 sinker, featuring all the components which turn a good fishing line into a great line.
All Forty Plus fly lines from floating to the heaviest sinking feature our braided powercore, just 6% stretch throughout the whole length of the line. Enhancing sensitivity, giving you full control on the cast and keeping you in direct contact with your flies.
Ever 40+ fly line features a colour change from head to running line giving you an great visual accuracy to locate the load point to see where the running line is allowing you to cast quickly and efficiently all day long. The colour change also acts as a great hang marker, especially when fishing from the shore as the head is usually somewhere near that magic ‘drop off’.
Behind the head of each line there’s our award winning Ridge running line which features super low friction giving you extreme distance with no tangles.
Our floating and intermediate fly lines feature welded loops which make for easy leader changes or even the opportunity to insert a poly-leader to lengthen the head, or create a extra long mini tip style line.
All our lines are made from our unique patented polyurethane material which is extremely durable ensuring your fly line will last years, resistant to UV, sun screen, deet and fuel giving you peace of mind that each line won’t break down.
Gareth Jones, Airflo’s Sales Director gives you an in-depth look into the Airflo Sixth Sense fly line range!
The Airflo Sixth Sense fly lines have been developed for the top still-water anglers in the UK, featuring all the most asked for components that turns a good fly line into a great one. There are four main factors which make the Sixth Sens fly line range the first choice for the competition boys in the UK.
Everything from the floater right through the full Sixth Sense Sinking line range feature our braided powercore, 6% stretch throughout the whole length of the line. Enhancing sensitivity, giving you full control and feel over your flies.
If a fish even breaths on your fly, you’ll know about it!
The SS lines cover the whole range of sinking densities with everything from floating, slow and fast intermediate lines and three heavy sinking lines, all of which sink exactly the same speed which aren’t overlapping. As Gareth says in the video “If you’re using a type 5 sinker and your friends on a type 5, you’re lines are sinking to the same depths”
Built in hang markers have also helped put more fish in the net. Allowing you to pause your flies and accurately judge the amount of line left outside the tip ring. The hang markers are part of the fly line, ensuring they’ll never break off and are no thicker than the rest of the line creating a smooth transition between the hang markers. Situated at three points in the fly line a long marker at 30 feet, 2 smaller markers at 20 feet and 1 at 10ft covering a lot of depths accurately when fishing the hang.
All our lines are made from our patented polyurethane material which is extremely durable ensuring your fly line will last years, resistant to UV, sun screen, deet giving you peace of mind that each line won’t break down.
Finally the weather has turned and spring has arrived, the fish have come out of winter mode and are now on the move. For a few weeks I’ve been looking for a venue (not too far away) that holds some big, good looking carp. After searching the web a friend put me on to Bears Lake in Burton upon Trent. Before any successful fishing trip you must research a water, going blind into something you don’t know usually means you’ll fall flat on your face so I and a friend went up to Bears for a recce and managed to get a few works in with the local bailiff who was more than helpful.
A week later we decided to take the carp fishing rods and venture back to Burton Upon Trent to try our hand at the Bears carp. Despite our efforts throughout the day we both drew a blank. I took the opportunity of our dire performance to walk around the lake, searching for any feeding activity and talking to the local anglers who seemed to be netting a few fish. After a few laps of the lake I was certain I’d found a few feeding fish and was confident that with the right tackle and approach I could get them.
A fortnight passed and I managed get some time to get out on the bank. On the Thursday morning the weather was relatively similar to that of the day we fished previously, so I took the 40 mile round trip to have another look around the lake and check on the fish I found previous, pre baiting some of the spots in mind.
As Bears Lakes is a day ticket and members waters, baiting one swim a couple of days previous could lead to disaster, so managed to pre bait three spots as I couldn’t be certain of the peg I wanted. When I arrived at the lake the sun was beaming down and the carp where all over the surface, I walked around to the first peg I fancied and a mid-teen swam straight in front of me and into the tree that overhangs that peg. I scattered around half a kilo of cell boilies hoping that they would feed and hold up under the tree. After waiting and watching the pre baited peg, I made my way around the lake and places some free offerings into another two spots. These other two spots held some fish, but nothing could keep my mind from that first peg.
After work that Friday evening I arrived back at the lake and was greeted with an almost free lake, other than the two bailiffs that were fishing. Fortunately the peg I wanted was free. Jordan (one of the bailiffs) informed me there had been fish all around that peg all day. After a quick look at the peg I couldn’t see any sign of the fish he’d mentioned, so I wandered around to the next peg and was astonished to see twenty or more carp in and around the tree!
To say I was excited is an understatement, I chose to set up on the peg, fortunutaly it was one I’d pre baited, and keep an eye on any feeding activity. Tactics wise my aim was to sporadically draw the fish from the far side of the tree rather than fishing over them and risk spooking the lot. After putting a some more boilies into the swim I set up both of my TF Gear Delta 3.25lb carp rods. On one rod I used my faithful fluorocarbon rig on a TF Gear weedy green lok down leader and a cell boilie on a hair rig. I positioned this right next to the tree, ahead of where the fish were mooching and heading towards. The second carp rod was set up with a solid bag which incorporated another weedy green lok down leader a size 8 wide gape hook and a Fluoro cell pop up, all of which I intended to throw out into open water, in case of any stragglers.
At 7pm, just an hour or so after pitching the rods and bait, the bobbin shot up and the bite alarm sounded. A beautiful Tench of around 4lb picked up the fluorocarbon rig next to the tree. After a quick snap I re-positioned my rod in that exact area, hoping to locate something bigger and carpier!
As the night grew on there were no other indications of bites, the fish I saw earlier seemed to be dormant, and so I climbed into my Force 8 sleeping bag hoping to get some shut eye. After the tench I doubted my chances of catching off the tree again as I thought any fish under there would have been spooked. At 11pm id dropped off for an hour so only to be woken by one of my alarms. I ran and picked up my right hand rod which was the same one that done the damage earlier on that evening and there was no movement; my first thought is that it had done me in the snags. I give the rod a few pulls and then I felt a fish pull back hard, it tried to pull me back into the tree but luckily my Delta XS out powered it and the fish slowly but surly come unstuck. The fish started to pull out into the deep margins and kept down, I was not scared of a hook pull as the nice progressive action of the rod cushioned all over the lunges.
A few minutes later I managed to tempt a gorgeous mirror over the landing net. I threw a clenched fist into the air with joy and Paul, the resident bailiff come with a helping hand. We pictured the 17lb 7oz fish then let it go, a beautiful fish to start my frequent carp fishing spell at Bears.
Bears Lake is noted for being a tough lake to fish and I was proud to net this magnificent fish. I continued to fish until 5pm on the Saturday with no more success but I managed to wander the lake to find a couple of areas where the fish were laying up, until next time, tight Lines!
Why not try your luck in one of our Facebook competitions? You could just net yourself something decent!
We’ve decided to offer our Facebook fans a great opportunity to WIN over £1000 worth of fishing tackle! All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is:
Sign into Facebook > Go to one of the following Facebook pages > Like the Page > Share our competition!
To enter click here: Fishtec Coarse Fishing Facebook Page
For the Coarse and Carp anglers, we’re offering 3 sets of 3 TF Gear Project X carp rods, a new product we have recently launched and introduced to our range.
What’s so good about the Project X carp rods?
Each model combines raw power with subtle playing actions. Not only will you enjoy extra casting distance, you will benefit from the highest quality carbon construction, unrivalled balance and incredible sensitivity.
Delivering all the qualities and specification demanded from a top of the range carp rod, the Project X offers you the opportunity to experience superior accuracy, unmatched fish control and the versatility of a truly special rod.
To enter click here: Fishtec Fly Fishing Facebook Page
There’s been much speculation to how good the new Airflo Super-Dri Fly Line are, so we’ve offered 10 super-dri lines to ten of our lucky Facebook followers! If you like Fishtec Fly on Facebook, share the competition image to be entered into the draw!
About the Super-Dri Fly Line
The SuperDri technology has been developed for the serious floating line angler, featuring a friction reducing coating which lets the line glide through the rod rod rings and adds yards to your cast. The SuperDri’s coating gives you unparalleled floatation with the ability to repel water, dirt and surface scum better than any material in the history of fly lines.
To enter click here: Fishtec Sea Fishing Facebook Page
With plenty of fishing coming back into the shorelines and some monster Cod out in the deeps, what’s better than being able to catch these fish on a brand new multiplier reel? We’re offering 3 TF Gear Force 8 reels to three lucky Facebook fans!
About the Force 8 Reel
The TF Gear Force8 reels are designed and manufactured utilising the very latest CNC engineering and highest grade materials to create what we believe are without question the finest sea fishing reels available today. Tested and developed by top sea angler, Alan Yates, we can say these reels have been tested in some of the harshest conditions, and will confidently reel in almost anything you can stick a hook in!
Once upon a time, local knowledge was a closely guarded secret.
But now fishing wisdom accumulated through the ages is available via the super computer in your pocket. Thereby turning anyone with a rod, fishing reel and smartphone into an expert.
Here is our guide to some of the best fishing apps out there, helping you to harness technology and keep reeling ‘em in.
This clever iPhone app tells you where to fish, which species to target and even suggests what tackle setup to use.
It combines several key factors impacting on fish feeding and set up patterns, to produce what they think will be a winning strategy. As well as that, the weather forecast and phases of the moon are integrated with expertise provided by angling experts, meaning you need never think for yourself again!
Every day you’ll get three different fishing options that best match the conditions, together with advice about rigs, baits and tactics.
Priced at £2.99, we feel sorry for the fish.
A comprehensive resource for sea anglers, What Fish boasts a 164 fish strong identification index. Whilst the app will help you to correctly identify your catch, it is much more than just a fish identification tool. You’ll also be able to access useful information such as minimum catch size, specimen shore and boat weights. Detailed maps show where target fish are likely to be swimming.
Add to that suggestions about baits and rigs that work best from different locations such as shore, boat and kayak. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are even recipes so that you can cook your catch to perfection when you get home.
An impressive amount of info for £1.99 and available for both iPhone and Android.
A wealth of information for anglers, you can use this app to save time locating the perfect fishery. Using your phone’s GPS, no matter where you are, you’ll be able to see where the fishing spots are in your area. Better yet, they’re rated so you won’t waste valuable angling time trying to find a decent spot.
The data on offer is comprehensive – with over 2,800 coarse and game venues listed. You can also access the five day weather forecast and lunar calendar and interact with other coarse and game fishing enthusiasts. This encyclopedic app also includes over 1,000 fishing tackle shops.
A serious amount of knowledge to keep in your pocket with member deals and discounts to boot. £1.99 from iTunes.
Carp Lake Maps
Ideal for those crossing the channel to France in search of specimen carp, this app offers clear maps that detail features of lake beds, to help you maximise your strike rate. Whilst it doesn’t have a vast number of lakes as of yet, there is plenty of scope for future inclusions.
Bought individually, the maps would total £54 but the phone app costs just £2.99 and is available to iPhone and Android platforms. Bargain! So if you’re likely to fish any of the locations featured it surely makes sense to download the app. If you’re a keen angler and want to see some new features, Carplakes are looking for new suggestions to add.
A favourite with us, wreckfinder has been developed by Cornish company, App Future, to help anglers and divers locate wrecks at sea. Data from the UK Hydrographic Office is integrated with Google maps to give the location of 12,000 wrecks in UK and Irish coastal waters. And you don’t even need to have a phone signal to use it either, as all the locations are downloaded with the app.
Where possible additional information about the wreck is included and all co-ordinates can be input into other electronic navigational aids. Your phone’s GPS also gives your location in relation to the wreck sites in your sea area.
A great concept and one we’re sure will be a hit with sea anglers everywhere.
£3.99 and available for iPhone and Android.
Found a fishing app that you think is a star performer? Why not let us know so we can review it?
Angry Birds took the APP world on smart phones and tablets by storm just after it’s launch back in December 2009. In the game, players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs stationed on or within various structures, with the intent of destroying all the pigs on the playing field. As players advance through the game, new types of birds become available, some with special abilities that can be activated by the player. Since then, more levels and games have been added, frustrating and entertaining people for the past two or more years. The APP was created by Rovio, a Finnish computer games developer.
Over the last few months Rapala and Angry Birds products have created a new series of fishing equipment which has been designed to entice beginners to pick up a fishing rod and give them an easy and fun way to learn. Providing items such as fishing poles, fishing tackle bags and lure boxes, Angry birds have their game faces set on plunging into the fishing sector!
These lures have been specifically designed to fish in their own unique ways, allowing the newbie or seasoned angler to identify easily what lure to use in any fishing situation. The DT Fat Bomb, pictured above, is a specifically designed and finely tuned weapon to fish the shallower parts of the lake for the more predatory fish. Fish with your rod tip high in the air, use a lazy retrieve and keep your eyes open for any subsurface action as this lure, lures any awaiting predators.
See more Angry Bird Fishing Tackle Products here!