Sea trout are funny things, they tend to make human beings obsessive and with the sea trout season nearly upon us, I for one are one of those who are obsessed and cant wait to be back out on the river. It’s hard graft early on in the season as there are not so many fish around, the weather is usually a bit groggy but going through a pool at night, waiting for the first heart stopping take of the season cannot be beaten.
Unfortunately I haven’t picked up a fly fishing rod in months. It’s been a very long winter with some terrible weather and Im hopefully that it will settle down soon. To keep me somewhat sane through the closed season, I’ve dug out my fishing equipment and started to get everything in order.
I like to use two fly rods at night, with my favourite being the Airlite from the Airflo range. For the past three seasons or so I’ve been using these almost religiously and find these rods will do everything I want them too. The two I use are, 10ft 7/8 weight, and the 9ft 6′ 7/8 weight. Each rod allows me to cast well and in tight spaces. Both are kitted out with Airflo V-lite 7/9 fly reels, loaded with a set of Forty Plus Lines – slow intermediate, fast intermediate, and a DI3. I find this set up ideal and the 40+ lines cover everything that I need them to, whether it’s a short cast or long cast at night, or for finding the right depth while fishing through a pool.
My preferred leader for night fishing is either Maxima ultragreen in 12lb, or Airflo sightfree extreme in 15lb. I started using the sightfree extreme last season and found it to be very strong, especially when you hook the odd tree on the opposite bank!
Flies wise, I would normally use tubes between 1 and 2 inch including a few large singles at the beginning of the season, and as the season progresses the fish become more active and a surface lure, depending on weather conditions, can produce some decent action. I’ve had some good fishing as early as the second week of April on a surface lure, so it’s worth mixing your tactics up a bit. Generally though, I would use two tubes, or a tube and a big single on the dropper as we start the new season.
I like to use a headlamp with a red and white light. The red light is great for using close to the water, and doesn’t effect your night vision as much as the white light. In my fishing bag I usually have a spare jumper in case it get’s a bit chilly, a couple of 5ft Airflo polyleaders fast or extra fast if I need to get the fly down a bit deeper, a spare headlamp and something to drink.
I’m looking forward to getting out on the river and tightlines to all for 2014!
Most of us know that humans evolved from apes and that apes evolved from creatures that came from the sea.
But now scientists believe they have found the missing link; a type of fish that had primitive legs. It’s one of the earliest forms of – us – ever discovered.
So next time you take your fishing gear for a day on the riverbank, spare a thought for your relatives. And no, we’re not talking about your long suffering partner, we mean your (very) distant cousins, the fish.
A new study of 375 year old fossils dug up in Northern Canada in 2006 has revealed a fish with ambition – the tiktaalik. Not content to spend its days swimming, this crocodile-like fish had spiracle holes in its skull – nostrils – pointing to the presence of primitive lungs and a skeletal system similar to some of today’s land animals.
The Tiktaalik’s front fins had elbows and an early form of wrist joint and at the other end, the fish’s pelvic girdle was much heavier than that of its contemporaries indicating that it might have had back fins a bit like legs. This four limbed propulsion could have seen the fish ‘walking’ through the shallows and maybe even shuffling out onto the mudflats.
This is completely new because up until now, scientists thought creatures didn’t begin to grow back legs until they had already moved to the land.
The unearthing of the tiktaalik is the holy grail for those with a passion for prehistoric life. As Jennifer Clack of Cambridge University’s fossil museum said in an interview with the Boston Globe: “It’s what we’ve all been waiting for.”
The discovery is being trumpeted as the long looked for ‘in between stage’ when the pelvic fins of fish developed. During this time, they became much larger and stronger and eventually evolved into the hind limbs of four legged land creatures, including mammals that eventually stood up and became us.
Paleontologists studying the prehistoric creature’s fossilised remains say its ungainly proportions and short, stubby fins suggest the fish was highly specialised to a shallow, muddy environment and would have moved in a similar way to a modern mudskipper.
In open water the tiktaalik would have been an easy lunch for other fish, a fact that has prompted scientists to speculate that the development of early limbs was a defence mechanism. Legs would have enabled the tiktaalik to squirm into ever shallower waters to evade predators. And eventually through evolution its descendents escaped from the water altogether.
Like so many breakthroughs, the discovery of the tiktaalik owes much to chance. The rock containing the fossil was loaded onto a helicopter at the end of a trip to the Arctic. It wasn’t considered to be of high priority, until that is, it was found to contain the fossilised remains of the creature that links land and sea life.
A second trip to the same area produced another fragment of pelvis, but not as was hoped, an entire rear fin. Now researchers plan to turn their attention to another area of the Arctic to study even older rocks to see if they can trace the origins of fish.
So next time you cast, wade or walk, just think, you have more in common with your quarry than you might previously have thought. Those arms and legs of yours used to be fins.
The rays are around on the Kent shore with a January thornback for Dover specimen hunter, Brian Price, one of three in a couple of trips to Sandwich Bay.
The mild winter, it may have all changed by the time you read this, has lulled anglers into the false dawn of spring. Thoughts are already on plaice bling and rays and surprise, surprise the latter are already showing in Kent. Are they late autumn or early spring is the question? The answer I believe is that ray numbers have increased in recent years as they took over the habitat of the missing cod etc and they are now appearing inshore earlier simply because of the overflow of stocks. In my region rays always were a winter species for the boats when the cod left, now they are a winter species for the shore rods and have replaced the cod. Now rays are never going to set the world alight in terms of their pace or guile, but for sheer plastic bag in the tide pull they take some beating – Shame they don’t make the 100lb mark – I remember some diamond rays I hooked from the Beach in Africa that just run all the line off and Gambia’s sting rays take some stopping once they beat the 50lb barrier. All in all ray fishing can be fun when there is nothing else of any size to fish for, some people even eat them!
However, its plaice that get my attention now that the light evenings have hit 5.30pm. The species have been in decline for the last couple of decades with the numbers and average size having dropped dramatically, but last year they made a small comeback along the Channel coastline. OK, not mega size plaice of the past but enough tipping the pound to suggest they were worth fishing for deliberately. Anglers flocked to venues like Brighton and even Kent could boast of a couple of plaice venues with Dengemarsh and Seabrook amongst the pick, the reason given for the upsurge in the plaice population was that the commercial quota limit had been reduced. Well an MZ is about to come on line in Hythe Bay and that should do the region’s flattie population a power of good because soles and plaice are plundered mercilessly by the regions trawlers.
Back to the plaice and it’s time to check out the bling that you can add to hook snoods to attract plaice to your baits. I am a big fan of pop up beads, the luminous pattern with pink spots from Gemini, although beware because they can lift bait clear off the bottom – too many beads and you will be fishing for garfish on the surface. Sequins and plastic beads are also favourite and during a trip last year aboard Brighton Diver out of Brighton after plaice – I discovered the deadliest bead combination ever. Twelve standard plastic coloured beads on a snood with red, green and yellow bringing the best results. Bait was lugworm and you could do worse than add a sliver of squid to the hook point, plaice seem to like that! As for spoons, they also work with a short snood full of beads and sequins and if you bend the sequins alternatively that adds extra reflection angles! Not so keen on blades because they spin and cut casting distance although in summer they do add the chance of a mackerel to the catch.
I am just back from the Irish Winter beach festival fished from the Wexford beaches where I switched to fixed spools and light line because of an arthritic shoulder, but reeling in left handed did me little good in the event and I finished half way down the list. But I did fish Continental style with the new range of lighter blanks from TF Gear including the Force 8 Continental and the Delta Slik Tip (look out for them in the coming week) It’s a whole new ball game fishing with light sea fishing tackle and the one thing that struck me is the decrease in tide pull using lines below 12lb. This brings plain leads into the game, or should I say wireless leads because I tried some weird shapes and removed wires. All I need now is a watch lead mould because they hold bottom well with a light set up. I also used a variety of cone and pyramid leads with the double cone coming out best – where can I get them from, my last lots came from Portugal?
The winter beach was won by Paul Tyndall of Bray another of the up and coming Irish Match anglers – I tell you what I was impressed by the standard of the Irish – to a man they fish light and small and I reckon if the Irish World team was picked from the anglers that fished the winter beach event Ireland would win a gold medal. But Ireland has a county selection problem and that means they rarely field a team of top anglers, time for change there.
All this talk of spring is all very well, but what if it does turn cold? Catching anything from the shore once the temperatures have fallen and the frost have got a hold is a challenge. On many venues cold rain or snow melt water, exposed sand that has frozen overnight combine to drive the fish away and that’s on top of the terrible weather – Just rockling, small coalfish, tiny codling, dabs, whiting and the odd flounder remains and in such conditions, fish on and you must accept the consequences.
The problem is that fresh and sea water do not completely mix – they layer because fresh is lighter and floats above sea water – That’s why Icebergs float, they are fresh water! This means that layers of freezing cold freshwater can invade the inshore regions. This is particularly common in the large estuaries like the Thames, Solent, Severn, Mersey, Tyne etc after heavy rain or snow where the fresh water layers can drive fish completely away from a venue during an ebb tide, whilst on the other side of the river the fish are prolific in the salty flood tide.
Small rivers, streams, even road drains and localised fresh water outfalls can affect the fishing on all types of beaches even well away from the estuaries. Beware too of snags comprised of trees, bushes and rubbish spewed into the sea with the flood water at the mouth of the stream etc
Another major hazard for the winter angler is that a shallow region of sand and sea bed exposed to an overnight frost will cool the incoming tide so rapidly that the fish will avoid it. – My rule after for February and March is: NEVER TO FISH WHERE I CANNOT CAST PAST THE LOW TIDE MARK – In other words always fish on a sea bed that is never exposed at low tide!
My next away trip is to Norway, which I may have mentioned before, in a quest to catch shore cod after the worst cod season in my memory. It seems the cold is going to be my biggest problem with Norway in March a bit chilly. Thermals, onesies, floatation sallopettes and a Delta Marine jacket plus woolly hat, thermal socks and gloves, even my Rockhopper boots have snow grippers. The only trouble with flying is that it doesn’t leave much room for the tackle!
Last year I fished for the Dover Sea Angling Association team in the World Club Champs in Portugal –This year it appears that England is not represented at the event in Spain – the probable reason is cost because it’s around £2000 what with accommodation, flights etc. If you can raise a club team get on to the Angling Trust.
These days, it is the rare individual who does not bring a lasting ambition to cast a long line when he first picks up a fly rod. As a tool designed specifically for this purpose, a weight forward line is generally the first choice of a beginner, and many will never try anything different.
Like anyone else, I appreciate the ease in which a weight forward taper can be applied in situations where a long, straight line cast is the foremost objective. This especially applies to still water fishing where a floating line is not subject to the same factors found on moving water.
With a lifelong fondness for fishing dry flies on the predominantly larger rivers of the Rocky Mountain west, my preference lies in a much different line configuration when compared to the popular weight forward taper.
On moving water, inducing a natural presentation of an artificial is often almost equally dependent upon casting and mending. With maximum control both in the air and on the water as requirements more important than easily attained distance, my choice is a double taper floating line.
Even on big waters, I try to wade within 30 feet of a feeding trout. At this range and anything less, the performance of a weight forward and double taper line are essentially equal. It is beyond this distance that I begin to struggle with line control when fishing a weight forward taper.
Unlike a weight forward, there is no hinge point with a double taper because the weight of the line is distributed throughout its length rather than being concentrated in the first 30 feet. With consistent flex and contact with the rod tip, a double taper permits superior line control while also making it easier to regulate the velocity of fly delivery. And while there are exceptions, shooting slack line into the cast is not something I generally apply when presenting a dry fly. Additionally, I find it difficult if not impossible to make certain casts that rely on controlled line speed or consistent response to the rod tip when fishing a weight forward beyond 30 feet. Curve casting, aerial mending, and a long reach cast are much more easily accomplished with a double taper.
Precise mending techniques are vital to managing the drift once the fly is on the water. With the thinner running line in the guides, it is virtually impossible to reposition the heavier front portion of a weight forward taper as a means of overcoming problematic currents that can disrupt a natural drift by causing the fly to drag.
Refined nymphing methods involving submerged flies in moving water can require precise casting and deft mending techniques that are quite similar to fishing a floating imitation. Whether maintaining a natural drift or inducing controlled action to the fly, it is not unusual to experience some difficulty when fishing beyond 30 feet with a weight forward line. For the same reasons that apply to dry fly fishing, I generally prefer a double taper when presenting a subsurface pattern to a big, nymphing trout in moving water.
In keeping with the example of old time steel-headers prior to the popularity of two handed fly casting, I rely on a double taper floating line for spring and fall streamer fishing for trout when the water is low and often quite cold.
Swimming the fly mostly with the current or on a slow, pulsating swing often involves long, looping mends that may require some serious roll casting to execute correctly. And while a long cast on big water may require significantly more effort, I find 60-70 feet to be a reasonable distance for a 6 or 7 wt. double taper. Again, as in other situations discussed herein, I value line control above ease in gaining distance for low water streamer fishing where presenting the fly means considerably more than simply stripping it quickly through the water.
I have many highly accomplished friends and acquaintances who will stick with a weight forward line for virtually all of their trout fishing, and many will disagree with my comments and personal opinion regarding a double taper. This I accept without argument because fly tackle performance is an entirely individual matter, and I would never try to convince anyone that my way is best.
In general, I believe a double taper to be a specialized line best suited for refined presentation of dry flies on moving water. But failing to understand its versatility is a common oversight by many who might benefit by simply giving it a try.
Have you ever come across something whilst out fishing that was too close for comfort?
Even though documentaries are very informative, they can sometimes put the heebeegeebees into anglers! TV programs such as David Attenborough’s Life of Mammals and River Monsters can give us anglers a great insight into whats really out there or beneath the surface but here are a few ‘fishermens tails’ which you couldn’t tame with your fishing rod!
We’ve all heard some sort of big cat story, the beast of Bodmin Moore is one that particularly sticks in my mind, but the black panther is an elusive and feared creature and is occasionally spotted whilst anglers wander the river banks.
James Anderson said “A large cat, size of German shepherd, black, long thin tail, it just stood and watched me as I walked past it just 10 yards away towards my favourite pool. It was safe to say I didn’t hang around long!”
Fallen trees are always a hazard – Motorists, public and fisherman can severely effected by fallen trees. Here are two fallen tree/angling related accidents, one with a lucky escape, the other, unfortunately not so lucky.
Stephen Gale said “About 4 weeks ago me and my friend Tim were fishing the river for grayling and he wanted to try some fast shallow water. I didn’t fancy that bit of water for some reason. Good job we went to a deeper stretch as a big tree up rooted in the water 50 yards behind us. The tree went with a right bang and we were so glad we went further up stream. I am still a bit nervous of windy days on the river“
Anthony Evans said “At 2am one morning I made out the shape of another angler on the bank, we said “Hello” and he asked me what the wading was like where I was out in the river. I told him it was level gravel. He shared with me that he no longer waded… not since his brother had been taken by a fallen tree and drowned! I left the river shortly after“
As friendly and adorable as they look, we all know the problems they cause on fish stocks. But when one jumps from the bank in the middle of the night, right behind where you’re peacefully swinging your flies for sea trout, they can certainly scare the living daylights out of you!
Alex Jones said “I was fishing the river wear at dusk in September and heard an almighty splash. After a little confusion and nothing in site I put it down to the eroding bank falling in or possibly a salmon leaping from the water. So I waded back in and heard breathing in front of me but couldn’t see as the light had almost gone then saw a huge otter snarling in front of me I ran out of the water and back to the car, scary buggers“
Probably the scariest of them all, a wooden, bow front landing net.
Peter hendrix said “Walking back to the car last summer when it was nearly dark I absolutely **** myself when I heard something creeping up behind me. It was my landing net which had come off the magnetic clip and was dragging across the floor!“
The worst thing is when you are out in the dark and the creeps suddenly get into your head – no matter what you do they wont go away. What you should try and tell yourself is that most animals are more afraid of you, than you are of them and that you are probably safer in the middle of a river than most city centers at kicking out time.
I mean, there’s not too many axe murderers stalking the rivers at night looking for victims – Right?
For the second time in just a few months, another giant sea creature has been found on the coast of California. This time a Giant squid measuring over 150 feet from head to tip of the tentacle has been washed ashore on the beach of the west-coast of the United States.
Judging by reports, experts in ‘radioactive gigantism’ believe these enlarged animals are coming from the waters near the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in the Futaba District of Japan. Just three years ago the Nuclear Power Plant suffered badly from the Tsunami triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake back in 2011. The plant released an estimated 10-30% of radioactive material of that recorded at the Chernobyl disaster 1986 – the second (first – Chernobyl) to be recorded a level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. An unknown number of sea creatures suffered genetic mutations that triggered uncontrolled growth – or “radioactive gigantism” due to the incident.
The problem is, say officials in Santa Monica, CA, “These giant sea creatures seem to be drifting towards the US from Japan” They intend to remove the beast in pieces to Scripps Research Institute so they can study it in detail.
This may well be a hoax, but could you imagine a 30ft long eel swimming up your local river, or maybe a giant mackerel following your 20lb cod hooked on your favourite fishing tackle from the bottom of the ocean? This is the possibility of radioactive gigantism!
More genetically modified fish:
Oarfish have been reported to grow up to 15 meters in length, but the longest recorded and verified is 9 meters long. Rare fish such as these are almost impossible to catch as they can dive up to more than 3,000 feet (914 meters) in depth.
Could you imagine hooking into something like this on your carp fishing rod? A giant Goldfish? After a ten minute battle, this thirty pound goldie was returned to fight another day. But with the lack of corroborating evidence, there have been many claims that the photo is nothing more than a clever hoax.
Another classic case of fish mutation would be Blinky the Three-Eyed Fish (or Blinky) – a three-eyed orange fish species, found in the ponds and lakes outside Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. The Nuclear Power Plant caused the mutations.
All the above look real enough, there is some suspicion to them all, but who are we to cast judgement. What do you think?
Does your partner, parent or friend think all fishing rods are just the same? One of the best replies we’ve heard is, “If they were all the same, why would there be so many on the market?”
As with most hobbies, fishing has become increasingly specialised, with specific types of tackle to suit every possible fishing scenario.
Some anglers are firmly set in their choice of rod, it determines what fish they will catch, what method they will use and presumably how big their catch will be! Using a fishing rod which is specifically designed to target your intended quarry can result in a better overall user experience.
Choosing a carp fishing rod must be one of the most confusing situations for any angler whatever their level of experience. With so many brands to choose from, selecting the ideal length and test curve for your fishing can become confusing.
Watch how to choose the right rod
Dave Lane and Marc Coulson explains everything you need to know about choosing a carp fishing rod in the video below.
Understanding test curves
The test curve of a carp fishing rod usually indicates how powerful it is. The higher the test curve the more powerful the rod is. For example, a rod in the 2lb test curve bracket can cast around 100 yards, a test curve of 3lb or higher are highly specialised rods, designed for anglers casting large leads and baits well over 140 yards.
A 2.5 – 2.75lb test has a very forgiving blank, allowing fish to run and lunge under the rod tip without hook pulls, these rods also make the whole experience of playing a fish more pleasurable. The higher the test curve the more brutal they are in their fish playing abilities, expect hook pulls at close range if the fish are lightly hooked.
What length rod for carp?
Most standard length carp rods are 12′ to 13′. Generally a 12′ rod will suit most carp anglers, giving sufficient length for good casting and perfect control when playing a fish. 13ft rods are more of a specialist tool, again the longer rods help achieve greater distances but the added length can become a hindrance when fishing in tight swims and battling over hanging trees.
Cosmetic VS Performance
We all know anglers are partial to a great looking fishing rod, the term ‘tackle tart’ instantly springs to mind but experience has shown us that as nice as it is to own something pretty, it’s not always the best or most practical option when it comes to looking for a carp rod. We know not everyone can make it in store to try a rod before they buy, so make sure to check online fishing tackle reviews and magazine articles to get a feel for what’s available.
Fishing has been around for a very long time and of course in centuries past fishermen didn’t have all of today’s fantastic gear to feed their families.
Not such a big deal when they could rely on animals to assist. Here are a few of the fisherman’s best friends.
For thousands of years fishermen in China have used trained cormorants to catch fish. The fisherman ties a snare around the bottom of the bird’s boat, which stops larger fish being swallowed, but the cormorant still gets a feed as smaller fishes slip through the snare. It’s a dying art, but one that has created some stunningly beautiful images.
First developed in China and adopted by India and parts of Europe, otters were once used as a highly efficient means of catching fish. If otters were trained when they were young pups, they would become highly obedient and could be used to catch fish for well over a decade.
The otter would be kept on a long cord attached to it collar and be able to catch fish at a rapid rate. It was common in Sweden for a whole family to be supported by the fishing skills of one otter. The practice of training otters is now illegal due to poachers using them to steal salmon.
The Human Planet, BBC’s stunning nature series first highlighted the cooperation between fishermen and wild dolphins of Laguna in Brazil. The dolphins perform a role similar to a sheepdog in herding the shoals of mullet towards shallow water where the fishermen can cast their nets.
Remarkably the dolphins jump out of the water as a means of signalling to the fishermen the exact moment to cast nets and catch as many mullet as possible. The dolphins finish off any escapees.
Many of you may have heard of the Mongolian swimming mouse, which is the phrase given to a huge bundle of feathers used by fishermen to resemble a small rodent. This is due to bigger fish like the brown trout and taimen being partial to gulping down any small mammal that has the gall to swim overhead.
Taking this method to a darker extreme, fishermen have been known to attach a live squirrel to a hook and sweep it across the waterline to attract fish.
The retrieving instincts of dogs have performed a useful role for fishermen for centuries. Certain breeds like Labrador retrievers and Portuguese water dogs were once commonly used to retrieve fish from the water and assist in bringing the nets back to shore. If the water is shallow enough, dogs can also actually catch fish too as seen recently with flood waters spilling into suburban areas.
Although not a replacement for your fishing gear (as anything they catch goes down their hatch), orangutans do deserve a mention for their tool-assisted methods of catching fish.
Studies have shown that our closest living relatives watch catfish before using sticks to poke at the fish causing them to jump out of the water where they are caught by the orangutan. Unfortunately we weren’t able to interview the catfish.
It is almost a year since I started my position with Fishtec, a year in which my knowledge of the fishing tackle market has improved way beyond my expectations. Naturally, my heart belongs to the gear designed and manufactured by TF Gear: it’s great stuff, and it’s priced competitively enough for most anglers to enjoy. I can report our directors’ commitment to great design, good service and total dedication to ‘getting it right’. It can take many months of negotiation and, sometimes, a great deal of frustration before a particular item is deemed good enough to ‘go live’. Such was the case with the tremendously successful TF Gear Juggernaut Barrow. The carpets in our office were pretty worn out when I arrived on the scene in December of last year but endless ‘trial’ runs of the Juggernaut put a noticeable furrow in the canvas backing, I’d swear. But all the brain-ache was worth it: the TF Gear Juggernaut now trundles around countless lakes here and abroad, transporting heaps of tackle to distant swims with minimal effort and fuss. Why nobody thought before of a 3-wheeled barrow I’ll never know, but TF Gear got there first and are now at No.1 in the barrow-selling market.
Look too at the TF Gear Speed-Runner fixed spool reel. It’s a feature-packed, high quality piece of angling wizardry that satisfies the demands of many a renowned angler, including Dave Lane who never goes fishing without them. With smooth, reliable, precision-engineered gears; a strong, well-balanced, high-grade alloy body; micro-adjustable drag and ten (that’s 10) ball-bearings to boost its performance, anyone would reasonably expect to pay twice the current price of £49.99! And here’s the thing: despite their astonishingly low price tag, they perform and look and ARE good enough to grace the classiest rods.
And let’s hear it for the TF Gear Poncho! I suspect I was like many anglers in viewing a Mexican-inspired ‘cover-all’ as a bit naff, but I bought one: at less than ten quid I thought it worth a gamble. First time out with the Poncho it absolutely hassed down but by gathering my gear around and under my low chair and covering the back-rest I rendered myself and my tackle utterly waterproof. Sitting in the thundering rain could hardly be called fun but I experienced a great deal of satisfaction from thwarting the worst Nature could throw at me. When the rain stopped I stood and uncovered my possessions in so doing, and in the midst of a steaming, dripping water-world I found myself and my gear to be bone dry! How’s that for a good tenner’s worth! I now keep a TF Gear Poncho in the car as well and intend buying half a dozen more for friends and family at Christmas.
Under our website-heading ‘Fishing Hats and Caps’ you’ll see the ‘TF Gear Fleece Hat, Gloves and Neck-Warmer Set’. It costs £19.99. I ask you to look at what this very modest sum buys, then to imagine how these items will keep you warm during those rock-solid days of deep mid-winter. The neck-warmer really appeals to me: it does everything a scarf can do but without superfluous, flailing tail-ends getting in the way; you simply pop it over your head and adjust the draw-cord for instant warmth and draft-proofing – things just keep getting better! Here’s further proof, and also evidence of our (necessarily!) unbiased nature at Fishtec Towers…
The Avid Super-Low Chair: at just 2.8kgs and supplied in a good quality canvas bag, you can sling this little beauty over your shoulder and set off for a full day’s roving and stalking. Thanks to Avid, being ‘mobile’ no longer means standing all day or sitting on the ground; now you can be comfortable in every little gap you come across – and very inconspicuous. The Avid Super-Low Chair is extremely well made and ingeniously designed; it folds lengthways and features rounded EVA arms that truly enhance your comfort. It takes up very little room and can be easily stored in a small cupboard, in the boot or at the back of the bivvy for guests.
So, the Avid Super-Low is just the job for the rover and the guest, but for the longer-stay angler who needs sustained comfort in a full-size chair there is simply no need to look further than the TF Gear ‘Dave Lane’ range and the Dave Lane Hardcore Armchair in particular. Just looking at the picture on the website brings about a sense of comfort and well-being so just think of how good it actually is to relax in; it might well have been designed by a top osteopath for his much-loved mother…sheer luxury! Truth is, you could ditch the armchairs in your living room in favour of a set of TF Gear Hardcore Armchairs and continue to enjoy a perfectly acceptable standard of living (A much better one in some cases!) I mean…how many G-Plan, Ercol or Parker-Knoll armchairs have adjustable legs and mud-feet back and front? None, I’d wager. Which of them allows you to recline parallel to the floor? And can you simply fold up a glazed-chintz Sanderson fireside chair and sling it single-handedly into the back of your van? You see the advantages of the TF Gear way, don’t you? Allow your mind to race a little…imagine your WHOLE HOUSE furnished with a full range of TF Gear fishing tackle? You could literally fold-up your living-room and bedrooms and have the lot stowed in the pantechnicon in less than three minutes. All of those black plastic bags filled to bursting with duvets and bed-clothes could be replaced by a few nicely compacted TF Gear sleeping bags in their stuff-sacks. At a stroke, moving house would be relegated to about 19th place in the list of life’s most stressful events.
God, I love working here….
This is an undisguised but wholly justified plug for the products available from my employer, Fishtec!
I have written at length over many years about the hardships me and my fishing buddies used to suffer in pursuit of specimen fish, but before launching myself into this unashamed endorsement of fishing tackle I would emphasize the value of our very unsophisticated angling adventures; I really wouldn’t have missed a moment of them and, what’s more, I fundamentally believe that we owe our good health and undiminished zeal to the way we were compelled to fish. Those who entered our wonderful way of life at any time after…say, 1990, will have little or no concept of how their predecessors paved the way for today’s bank-side opulence and convenience products, their view of fishing predicated on the expectation of a dry, warm environment and hot, well-cooked meals around the clock!
I am all too aware of how this piece could blossom into a full-blown Python sketch, with descriptions of long, late-September nights huddled beneath a 36” brolly – a wooden-poled brolly at that! – eking-out the last dregs of lukewarm tea from the flask… I could go on and on and on and on and on about ‘ow toof we ‘ad it in thorz days and, frankly, I’d have every good reason for doing so! You see, everything is relative. (Indeed, we live in an age of relativism brought about by the tyranny of political correctness but that’s another story for a different publication)
If you’ve been smacked across the face with a big, wet cod every day of your life it’d come as a relief – nay, a pleasure – to have that cod replaced by a sprat, wouldn’t it? Think about it…EVERY rotten single day of your life – at around mid-day – you receive a jaw-jarring, eye-watering SMACK! right across your chops from a glistening-wet cod wielded by a big sadistic bruiser; then, one day, he runs out of cod and can only muster little sprats thereafter…you’d be GAGGING for that daily sprat every day for the rest of your life knowing what the alternative could be.
So in that same spirit of relativism it was considered the pinnacle of Hedonistic indulgence the day we learned how to tuck a couple of donkey jackets under the brolly ribs to form a rain and wind-break; well-informed anglers from up the bank would ‘casually’ saunter down to see our creations and briefly experience the joy of the Brollyjacket. Why we didn’t see the possibilities and immediately form the world’s first fishing bivvy company I don’t know, but I suppose it was because the novelty of being only damp and fairly cold was seen as the ultimate pleasure!
And seats! Oh, those seats! It beggars belief that quality-control officers (or whoever made the bloody things) deemed our seats ‘OK – A1’ or whatever they labelled them prior to distribution. Even the luxury longer-legged versions of the things we spent our lives perched upon should, by rights, have been marketed as ‘back destroyers’ – ‘Can also be used as a handy fishing chair!!’ They really were diabolical contraptions comprising a green-painted iron frame and a length of candy-striped nylon. A more torso-friendly tubular seat did become available but the user was compelled to sit high and straight for the duration of the session – which could have been 17 hours of damp and darkness. We did it though…for years we regularly fished around the clock from the relative comfort of these things! Still…we had a 1 pint flask of tea and a pack of sandwiches to sustain ourselves so it wasn’t too bad was it?
The thing was, fishing equipment was never designed by anglers, or so it seemed. Indeed, when good tackle eventually became available it was marketed as being ‘Made by Anglers for Anglers’ so we really do owe a debt of thanks to those guys who put their money where their mouths were. Today the tackle market is quite enormous and there’s very little you can’t buy to enhance the angling-experience. I ask you…PVA bags…twin-skinned bivvies…luxury beds…carp bite alarms…polyphonic alarm receivers…boots that keep your feet warm in sub-zero temperatures! What a bunch of (lucky, warm, well-fed) cissies we’ve become!
Leafing through the latest TF Gear catalogue this morning I came across the Hardwear Pod; at just £19.99 it allows you to fish effectively on ANY surface. Honestly! What was wrong with a small pile of bricks and a couple of milk bottles? I found a – get this – ‘throwing spoon’. Now will somebody tell me what was wrong with the throwing arm? It’s true that I regularly came near to dislocating my shoulder and that I could never hurl a ball of cheese-paste further than 40 yards but I mean…we didn’t need a super-duper, accurate, effort-free throwing spoon for Pete’s sake! And what about this on page 49? A bloody ‘poncho’!! Ok, it’s only £9.99 but why fork out nearly a tenner when you can brave the pouring rain in a pair of denims and a Pacamac? I mean….the Pacamac never tore or split under the arms did it!!! Why would anyone need a good quality, green, hooded, sleeved, all-enveloping, totally waterproof Poncho – for NINE whole pounds and 99 pennies – just for when they’re caught by surprise? And what’s this? Page 34…’Stalking Belt’ Pah!! What was wrong with stuffing a farmhouse loaf down your trousers and filling your jacket with leads, binoculars, scales, camera, chocolate bars, hook-packets, floats and split shot, eh? Nothing at all! But now you can have all your stalking stuff neatly and comfortably worn around your waist in a TFG ‘Stalking Belt’ for heaven’s sake!! Who’d want one!! Ok, it’s only about twenty quid and it does enable you to spend entire summer afternoons exploring the upper river with everything you need – but what was wrong with the way I did it??
Really…you can peruse this decadent, self-indulgent catalog and find item after item that’s cleverly designed to make your fishing life ‘better’…’easier’…’more successful’! There’s reams of stuff that “…takes out the hard work… “and “catches you more fish” but really? Wouldn’t you rather ‘ave it ‘ard?