Category Archives: Fishing Tackle

For a fisherman, reading about fishing tackle is nearly as exciting as purchasing it! Below we aim to bring you the latest in fishing tackle trends, new and exciting products and tackle news.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Late August 2014

bass and eel littelstone Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Late August 2014

Don’t you just love this drop in temperature, strong wind and a rough sea – Lots of anglers are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of autumn arriving and an improvement in the shore sea angling. It is though a time to bite the bullet and get out there in some uncomfortable conditions with an onshore wind and sea invariably the time to fish most venues. After the calm sunshine of summer a blustery rain swept beach can be difficult, BUT like all things it eventually becomes the norm and we all get back into winter mode. Time for the heavier fishing gear and time to break out those 7oz fixed wire grip leads, bait clips and the more powerful beachcaster rods. There is no doubt that from September onwards shore fishing is not for whimps with wands, it’s a time when casting distance and keeping a lead where it lands is very important. But it’s also a time when lots of novices catch their biggest ever bass with the species picking up a short cast big bait and so let’s start there and look at the prospects for a giant bass.

Big bass are usually solitary because the rest of their shoal have been caught or died. But there are enough still around to ensure that some lucky angler will nail a lunker in the next month or two. Luck plays a big part because bass are caught really close to the sea edge and rarely at long range. So the early winter cod angler fishing a giant bait in the edge is the one with the best odds of catching a big bass and that’s the novice. Few experienced cod anglers will deliberately fish a big bait close in for cod and so the novice with his inadequate cast is the most likely to get that lunker bass. That is unless you deliberately target a big bass by fishing close in. AND the best way to do that is with a live bait. Pick a calm, dark night and a steep deep beach venue and hook on a small pout and fish it in the first twenty for the waters edge. Keep the noise and light flashing to a minimum and you may catch a big bass. Often at this time of year the bass arrive on a venue because anglers are returning small fish or gutting mackerel etc. This especially as dusk and darkness arrives.

A favourite way to target bass is to slide a short trace down the main line of a rod cast out with a lip or tail hooked pouting on a strong 3/0 so that it floats in the edge.

Lots of anglers will now be thinking about cod and this summer many regions have seen an improvement in codling stocks. The trouble is that this has happened before with lots of codling in August, but by October they have gone. Fish over the size limit are easy prey for the gill nets and trawlers and it’s these that decimate the codling shoals. The bigger cod are very thin on the ground and usually don’t show until November and December.

Another fact of autumn, its better described as the start of winter, is that waterproofs and shelters return to the sea fishing tackle essentials. Options include the full Hurricane shelter which is ideal for those contemplating a marathon beach session over the complete tide, or a brolly which is a more portable shelter and is especially suited to the mixed weather of this time of year. I prefer the umbrella for the beaches in early autumn, the cheaper Hardware umbrella is ideal, especially where lots of moving with the tide is required, take a luggage strap and strap it to your tackle box, even better to your seat harness. The cheaper green brolly is lighter and more compact and can be erected quickly. OK it’s not the full Monty of the shelter but it’s great for a short session or the occasional shower. Once the weather deteriorates, then I switch to the TF Gear Force 8 brolly which is a bespoke sea angling umbrella like no other. OK others also have wings to widen the protection area, but the Force 8 has a removable cover, tough non metal frame and pockets for the shingle etc to hold it down.

Waterproof wise I prefer the full jacket and bib and brace suit – it goes without saying that being able to take the jacket off helps control temperature when the sun comes out and that the full sallopettes trousers not only keep you warm but clean!

Make no mistake in a few weeks your will need that protective clothing and shelter – we have been spoilt for weather this summer and the winter could well bring some shocks!

Having recently switched to fixed spool reels and braid main line I have to say what a revelation that has been. Bites are bolder, fish pull more and my sea fishing is more enjoyable. For years I tried braid on a multiplier, but it just does not work, but micro braid on a fixed spool reel is another ball game and I recommend those of you out there thinking about a switch to braid, go ahead but only with a fixed spool reel.

Codling and eel from the pier at Dover Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Late August 2014

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

DIY carp fishing bait

What gets the fish biting at your local water? Chances are, you’ll have developed your own particular carp fishing tackle set-up – a unique combination that works for you.

But what about baits? From boilies to groundbaits, from floating, to sinking, there’s a plethora of commercial bait options out there. But nothing satisfies like making a great catch on a bait you’ve concocted yourself.  

Something of a dark art, making your own baits is fun and can save you money, and most, if not all the ingredients are available at your local supermarket. All you need to do is experiment until you hit the jackpot!

What carp want

Carp DIY carp fishing bait

Image source: The Session
Appeal to carp cravings for best results.

Think like a fish – appeal to its appetites and you’ll hook a beauty. The best baits attract because they’re tasty and nutritious; we’re talking bait ingredients that are energy rich and protein packed:

• Proteins
• Carbohydrates and starch
• Fats and oils
• Milk constituents
• White sugar
• Malt sugars and grains

Add colour and flavour and mix to a consistency that’ll either hold together well enough to hook, or that’ll disintegrate, providing a nutrient-rich soup to fish over.

Supermarket goodies

Cat food DIY carp fishing bait

Image source: Cats&Co
Cats and carp must have similar tastebuds!

For a floating feed that works wonders, use your catapult to ping dog biscuits into a small area of water; little and often is best as it provides a concentrated source of food the fish will congregate to compete over.

From the confectionary aisle, a marshmallow makes a great floating hook bait. Bobbing amongst the dog food, although a slightly different colour, the sweet, carb-loaded temptation is approximately the same shape and size, so it’s more likely to be wolfed down by an unsuspecting carp.

Alternatively, supermarket bread lasts well and it’s super cheap. Try a smear of marmite – just like humans, the fish will either love it or hate it!

A not so secret, secret weapon, cat food works a treat. Simply mash it up and pop it in the water before you drop in your meat bait. The soupy cloud of meaty mush is likely to prove irresistible to carp. Your hookbait could be a single hunk of cat food, a cube of luncheon meat or for added punch, why not try a piece of pepperoni?

Health food haven

Health food shop DIY carp fishing bait

Image source: Food Navigator
For health conscious carp!

Beans and pulses are the staple diet of students, hippies and new age travellers, but did you know carp love them too? For a homemade particle bait, soak chickpeas, kidney beans, maize, wheat, black eyed beans – whatever you like – in water for a day or two. Add a birdseed mix from your local pet shop and soak some more.

Cook for 30mins to make sure your mixture is nice and soft – and to ensure any kidney beans are safe for fish to eat – then blend half the mixture into a sticky paste. Mix it all together and you have a killer bait you can make in bulk and that won’t cost a fortune.

DIY boilies

DIY boilies DIY carp fishing bait

Image source: French Carp and Cats
Boil up your own tempting treats.

Flour, semolina and eggs are the bedrock from which to make your own unique boilies. Sports supplements like whey protein powder and casein will make your boilie mix super nutritious, help ingredients to bind, and add attractive smells to the water. When you’ve mixed all your ingredients into a stiff paste, simple roll into balls and boil!

To make your boilies a taste sensation irresistible to the biggest, wiliest carp in the lake, you need an attractant that’s different to the run of the mill flavours out there. How you decide on your final concoction is up to you, but while you’re stirring your carp equivalent of ‘love potion number nine’, consider adding any or all of the following ingredients:

• Liver powder, paste, or pate
• Anchovies
• Beef or yeast extract
• Garlic
• Cheese
• Fruit juice
• Honey or sugar

We’d love to hear what you add to your homemade baits, so if you’ve got a recipe you’d like to share, do get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter!

TF Gear DVD Big Carp Tactics with Dave Lane

Join Dave Lane on the banks of one of the most famous carp lakes in history, the prestigious Yateley Pads lake. Dave attempts to lure the elusive Pad lakes monsters, learn how to successfully target the largest carp in the lake on methods which are no so widely used. Joined by Total Carp editor Marc Coulson who gives a master class in chod rig fishing and shows you everything you need to know about this devastating presentation.

Get an exclusive first look at the exciting new carp fishing tackle Dave has been developing for TF Gear over the past 12 months. Highlights include Laney’s new long distance carp rods and watch in amazement as he erects his new Force 8 Shelter, the fastest shelter in the world, in under 10 seconds.

He reveals the new Hardcore Brolly System with its unrivalled luxury, versatility and stability – this is surely the ultimate all season brolly system. Including many other TF Gear products which are all available from Fishtec.

Look out for part two, three and four over the next week.

 

New Anglers Buffs at Fishtec!

insect repelant New Anglers Buffs at Fishtec!

What’s the worst possible way to put you off staying out fishing? Many anglers will say nothing, but those who fish high in the mountains on a warm summer evening will undoubtedly say midges! The invisible menace can often spoil a great evenings fishing where many of the jungle formulas and insect repellents simply don’t work.

Buff have introduced a new and exciting UV Insect Shield Buff which is based on High UV protection Buff® which offers at least 93% protection from harmful UV rays, this new Buff also features ‘Insect Shield’ technology; It’s been impregnated with a special long lasting, effective, odourless and convenient form of insect repellent.

The treatment is effective for at least 50 washes against mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, fleas, chiggers and even Scottish midges. Insect Shield technology is a man-made version of the active ingredient found in some chrysanthemums – an additive which only the bugs will know is there!

The UV Insect Shield Buff features everything you would expected from Buff, it’s seamless design which offers unrivaled protection in hot weather activities is made with Coolmax Extreme which wicks moisture away from your skin whilst offering a bug repellent buff.

Buy the UV Insect Shield Buff at Fishtec!

We’ve also introduced more designs to our range of Anglers Buffs and Original buffs here at Fishtec, these include the new Bonefish, Tarpon, Trevally and the Original Chalk Buff Logo.

newanglersbuffs New Anglers Buffs at Fishtec!

 

 

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary August 2014

Alan Yates plaice on bling Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary August 2014

Plaice caught using a blinged up rig

This month can be slow for shore anglers in some regions with the sultry, balmy weather and clear water keeping the fish well away from the shore in daylight. But in darkness and in regions of coloured water, like the major estuaries, things can be a lot different and it really is a case of a change of venue or tactics to continue catching.

One species that show at this time of year are the sole and lots of venues around the country offer the chance of this unusual flatfish. For most the sole is considered nocturnal, but the facts are that on clear water venues they do mostly feed at night, especially near dawn, whilst in muddy water they are more common in daylight.

Tactics are simply enough once you have found a venue and its worth pointing out that sole do not show everywhere and sole venues are precise in many regions – Just a matter of miles from a shoreline that produces sole will be a venue that does not. So first look for a venue that produces sole regularly, the species seems to like shell grit and muddy sea beds and catching them once on the right venue is not that difficult. Fishing light with small size 2 or 4 hooks is essential, whilst baits include lugworm and ragworm. One top tactic is to fish short because the species are not shy of the shallows or the low tide gutter on many venues. Lots of anglers use two rods for this reason with one cast short and one cast further our which covers the options.

Talking about fishing light, there is a growing trend in sea angling to fish “Continental style” with lighter rods, thinner lines and small hooks. Much of it is to do with a reduction in the average size of fish and dwindling stocks as we fight to keep our sport interesting. However, it is also the case that anglers have realised that the fish do shy away from heavy gear and that lightening down can bring more bites and action. Check out YouTube where anglers have lowered Go Pro cameras alongside the pier wall and you can see clearly fish do shy away from heavy sea fishing gear etc. The biggest plus thought of going light is that small fish are allowed to fight, especially using micro braid lines and sea fishing is no longer hit and haul or playing cranes.

UK sea anglers have used over heavy tackle for years and that is much to do with manufacturers offering a limited range based around ancient designs and techniques. Swivels and hooks for instance, a few years back most would not look out of place on a crane, or for use with the largest fish species, but modern improvements in materials like carbon steel, design and construction have increased their strength and allowed a reduction of size down from the giant weed collecting swivels or hooks that could tow a bus! It’s similar with rods, reels and line, the distance casting revolution of recent years did much to improve rod and reel design, quality, strength and performance promoting lighter tackle which is more responsive to fishing enjoyment and sport. Check out the TF Gear range for the new TF Gear Force 8 Continental model or the Delta Slik Tip and the quiver tip favourite the Delta All rounder. All great for another option – fishing light!

The toughness and knot strength of monofilaments, copolymers and fluorocarbons is also particularly improved, so much so, that you can now go to a lighter breaking strain line with less risk of failure, whilst using the modern lower diameter micro braid lines is proving a practical advantage when fishing fine.

In general sea angling around the UK has had no need to go to the lengths of finesse that coarse anglers do. Sea fish are not always returned and so do not learn about line and hooks like their freshwater relatives, mullet and a few other clear water species being the only exceptions. Meanwhile the sea is often a hostile whirlpool of deep and chocolate brown water that hides tackle anyway.

The first problem fishing light tackle in the sea is dealing with the wind, tide and the rugged seabed, that’s the reason why tackle has always been tough and strong in the first place. You need to get a bait out to a decent distance, punch it through a headwind, so that its stays put in very strong tide. After that you sometimes need to retrieve it through a maze of kelp and rocks. Then there is the safety factor of casting that involves swinging the lead in power casting styles like the pendulum, the big distances they produce comes at a price with tackle beefed up for safety’s sake. But, the need to use an 80lb shock leaders may be more to do with an angler’s casting ego than practical thought about presentation. In terms of casting safety any move to fishing light can only involve the use of the fixed spool reel and an overhead casting style. This combination is far safer than the multiplier and pendulum cast.

A big plus for sea anglers that change to the fixed spool is that the modern reels are designed for long range casting, some with a carp fishing pedigree, are far superior to the models of the past. Long profiled /coned spools, stronger gears, ball bearings all make modern reels more efficient for sea angling and casting.

Crucial to the use of lighter tackle is the line diameter and lines as low as 6lb and up to 15lb are used with the lighter rods and fixed spool reels making this possible. The major problem when lightening down tackle is that terminal rigs must also be balanced to the rod action and line strength. It is pointless using a lighter rod with heavy line as it is using ultra thin lines with standard 8oz beach casting rod. However, a move to far lighter rigs involves thinner lines and a major problem with. multi hook rigs in very light line are prone to tangle easily. On the Continent really long snoods are commonly used and there the anglers say that the longer the snoods the less they tangle, although they must NOT be able to overlap.

The big advantages of increasing rod lengths to 15ft and above is that a longer rod allows the use of a longer rig length and this allows hook snoods to be placed farther apart so that they can be fished over a wide area as well as up in the water and do not overlap or tangle.

Longer lighter snoods also allow the hook bait to react naturally in tide and this is an important consideration when fishing either up or in clear water. The addition of floating or pop up beads also enhances bait presentation and allows baits to be raised to the levels the fish are.

Lots of shore anglers fishing light in summer use small hooks, which are essential to the more delicate bait presentation for some of the smaller species. However, there is every chance that you may hook a large smoothhound or a bass and so it’s a good idea to opt for the strongest patterns.

For many this and next month are last chance saloon for catching mackerel as the large shoals move south and it’s a case of making the most of the conditions whilst the fish are around, especially if you want to keep a few for the freezer for the winter whiting. On that note don’t forget the garfish – they are a very underrated tipping bait for lots of the autumn and winter species – bag them in the freezer as well.

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

 

 

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!

Create your own Fishing Reel!

dcr4 Create your own Fishing Reel! Ever wanted to create your own fishing reel? Well here’s your chance with the DCR from Daiwa!

Daiwa have taken the plunge and offered it’s customers the opportunity to take control and create their own, personalised fishing reel!

The concept is simple. Take the body of the classic Daiwa Basia reel (RRP £599) and choose your preferred components, colour or style along the way. Daiwa have set up a user friendly 12 step configuration process, allowing you to choose from a selection of genuine, Japanese made parts to customise your version of this classic carp fishing reel.

How do I get one?

Simply head over to the Daiwa Website, and select whether you want to build your own fishing reel, or carp rod! Once you’ve completed the 12 steps, you can choose your favourite Daiwa Stockist who are appointed DCR dealers, and place your order through them. No fuss, no hassle.

Here’s one we’ve quickly put together…

DCRreels Create your own Fishing Reel!

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 29/06/14

Untitled 1 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 29/06/14

Kieron Jenkins’ Cwm Hedd Article

Check out Kieron Jenkins’ article on Cwm Hedd in the July edition of Total Fly fisher http://www.totalflyfisher.com/current-issue

TAPP Open day at Cwm Hedd– free fly fishing coaching

Torfaen Angling Participation Project are running an open day at Cwm Hedd on Saturday August 2nd, where free fly fishing coaching for anglers of all abilities will be available on an informal basis – All fly fishing tackle will be supplied and available for all participants to use. All ages and abilities are welcome. To register your interest please contact Bob Mayers on bmayers@grouse.plus.com so that he can ensure that a sufficient number of coaches are available. Bob’s also entered the British Legion comp at Cwm Hedd in November, so that’s another place gone!

This week at Cwm Hedd
The hot days inevitably make for difficult fishing, and like many fly fisheries this has led to a recent reduction in numbers of anglers attending. Every cloud has a silver lining though: low attendance results in stock levels being very good indeed, as well as the rainbows getting plenty of rest.

For those anglers undeterred by the heat, around half are blanking, especially in the daytime, whilst the other half are striking windows of opportunity where the fish turn on, reporting that the fish are still fighting hard and not showing any signs of stress.

The fish are closely monitored and inspections of the fish taken show them to still be in excellent condition, so the usual summer shut down is on hold for the time being, although there may be an adjustment to opening times in the next few weeks.

There are many ups and downs to running a fishery, but one of the biggest pleasures at Cwm Hedd is the camaraderie that exists between anglers, who are always pleased to share tips and discuss tactics. It takes a number of visits to get to know a fishery and Cwm Hedd is no exception, with regular anglers more than happy to advise new customers.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings are generally recommended at the moment, although regular Keith Cox prefers to battle with the day time heat. It just shows that you never can tell for sure when is the best time to come as Keith is the top angler of the week, taking one on each of his two day time visits and returning five. Keith favours an intermediate line and took most on a black and green tadpole, but also had success with an orange blob. Another regular Paul Elsworthy took one and released four early on Saturday on a montana, a black and green daddy and a bloodworm, recommending a very slow retrieve.

Talented young anglers Jacob Mills and Ben Jackson are also regulars, each taking one on damsels and floating lines on Saturday evening, with Jacob returning another on a shipman’s buzzer. Clive Murray took one and released two on a black and green fritz; Ken Bowring took 2 on a small white lure and a sinking line, whilst Sally Ann Iles preferred the Airflo Di-3 sweep and a mini-cat. Just to emphasise that variety is the key, John Belcher opted for an orange shrimp and a floating line, while Michael Collins and Lee Davies each took one on buzzers, Michael on a black buzzer and Lee on a red buzzer with yellow cheeks. Roy Western enjoyed his Sunday evening at Cwm Hedd taking one and returning two on a bloodworm and a floating line from the platform at the tip of the main island.

Tagged fish

The tag fish has still not been caught, so the prize money of £200 is being equally split to fund prizes for the British Legion raffle and the Cwm Hedd Christmas raffle. The additional £251 collected from entries will be donated to Velindre Cancer Centre. Many thanks to all who have participated in the tag fish competition. When anyone catches the tag fish they will now win a refund on their day ticket.

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 6 am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm (ring before 5.45 if you definitely want to come but can’t make it by 6). Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours. Evening ticket £13.50 available from 5.45pm

Bassaleg Newport NP10 8RW; 5 minutes from J 28 M4

www.cwmhedd.co.uk  https://www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 22/06/14

10416991 250065331852666 813865144776162512 n Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 22/06/14

Cwm Hedd fly fishing report week ending 22nd June – I caught my first rainbow!

As much as we are all generally enjoying the lazy hazy days of summer, day anglers have struggled to catch in the intense sun and heat. Most instead took advantage of the late evening opening on Friday Saturday and Sunday at Cwm Hedd, fishing til sunset and beyond.

Result!

I am delighted to report that on a glorious mid summer’s eve, as the sun dipped towards the horizon, a good dose of beginner’s luck saw me getting a passable cast out and hooking my first rainbow. The site of this surprising and unexpected feat (at 9.10pm) was a platform behind the main island, where a number of rainbows had been rising. I’d like to think I targeted the fish, as I had been attempting to do this with others (probably frightening several away in the process). The truth is that I was so excited by the whole event that my mind has gone completely blank, although I yelled loudly enough when I hooked it to bring John Belcher, Derek Mills and his grandson Jacob running to help with instructions as to how to bring it in without mucking it all up and losing it (many thanks). Derek was ready with the net and John filmed the event unfolding. Later it transpired that the lense cap was still on, so no photographic evidence of my fish-catching debut sorry! With the fish in the net and mission accomplished I asked John to release the fish for me as I was so grateful for its selfless act, the Airflo fly fishing tackle I recently purchased from Fishtec also performed brilliantly.

Thanks also to Sal, who a week or so ago had given me a red bloodworm with an assurance that it would catch me a fish, as indeed it has on its second outing, on a floating line Derek, Jacob, and John had already taken fish so we were a very happy band returning to the lodge. Mike James who had to leave just before the excitement had also taken a fish on an App’s bloodworm, a fly that had brought him 3 fish earlier in the week and others in previous weeks.

Ken Bowring was the top angler of the week, taking 2 and returning 3 on a fast intermediate fly line with a white lure. On his first visit to Cwm Hedd, Terry O’Connor took 2 and released 1 on a diawl bach and a floating line. John Belcher’s evening visits have each brought him fish, on a light brown buzzer, blue shrimp and a stonefly, floating line.

Tip top fish

The fish are still in excellent condition and fighting well; there is an abundance of blue and olive damsels emerging, with floating lines, damsels, buzzers and diawl bachs recommended in the evening; sinking lines and plenty of perseverance recommended in the day.

The Med comes to Cwm Hedd ( ice cream is now available in the lodge)

Weed is under control on the lake, following the introduction of the eco-friendly blue dye (‘Dyofix C Special’) which has turned the lake water a Mediterranean blue and is hard at work suppressing further growth. The platforms in front of the lodge running left around the bay and the main island around to the far bank have been cleared and are all fishable and we can now pull unwanted previous growth out in the shallower areas at a more leisurely place due to the dye. There is a crested grebe nesting off the small island so we’ve had to leave the weed there for the time being so as not to disturb the nest.

Tag fish
Taggy the tag fish is still there, so the £200 tag fish prize is still up for grabs. £1 entry. If no one catches the tag fish by the end of June half the prize money will be put towards raffle prizes for the British Legion comp in November and half towards the Christmas raffle prizes (sounds a bit weird to mention Christmas in June!)

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 6 am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm ( but ring if you definitely want to come but can’t make it by 6).

Evening ticket £13.50 Fri/Sat/Sun available from 5.45pm

Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours. I might be out on the lake, so ring my mobile if no reply in the lodge.

Sea pollution solution

The amount of plastic litter strewn across UK beaches has increased by 140% since 1994.

That’s the stark figure released by the Marine Conservation Society.

Polluted Environment

Pollution underwater Sea pollution solution

Image source: Project Aware
A polluted environment leads to poisoned fish.

The frightening reality is that much of that plastic will never disappear; instead those unsightly pieces of brightly coloured junk break down into smaller and smaller crumbs until they’re small enough to be ingested by fish and filter feeders.   

If plastic in the food chain isn’t enough cause for concern, even more worrying is the plastic that does break down. Scientists reporting in National Geographic have discovered that in warm tropical seas, plastic decomposes, leaching highly toxic chemicals into the water – poisoning fish and perhaps even causing cancer in humans who eat polluted seafood.

So where is the problem at its worst? And crucially, what can we as sea fishermen and women do about it?

Ocean Gyres

Great pacific garbage Sea pollution solution

Image source: Cookie Sound
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

They’re gigantic eddies found in the world’s oceans, slowly rotating currents that drive rubbish towards the centre where it stays forever. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was the first predicted by American scientists in 1988, and in the years since, other similar rubbish dumps have been discovered in the South Pacific, North and South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

In the most badly affected areas, there are six times as many minute pieces of plastic as there are plankton – and the area we’re talking about? It’s thought the Great Pacific Patch covers somewhere between 700,000 and 15,000,000 square kilometres – the wide disparity between the upper and lower limits being accounted for by differences in the definition of what constitutes an elevated concentration of plastic particles.

Hard To Spot

underwater Sea pollution solution

Image source: Wikimedia
Pollution can be hard to spot.

It’s thought around a million sea birds die each year from ingesting pieces of plastic mistaken for food, with a hundred thousand marine mammals succumbing to the same fate. But these huge oceanic garbage dumps are all but invisible to the naked eye. In fact you could sail right across one and not notice it’s there. That’s because they’re mostly made up of those billions of small pieces of plastic mentioned in the introduction to this piece.

Plastic dumped in the sea off the Pacific coast of the USA takes six years to reach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a similar item dropped in the brine off Eastern Asia takes about a year. But once there, there it stays – the trash heaps of the sea are growing bigger by the day.

Do Your Bit

Beach clean up Sea pollution solution

Image source: S1 Prestwick
Get involved in a beach clean up.

As a sea angler, leaving no litter and disposing of sea fishing tackle carefully is the least you can do to protect the health of the marine environment. There are also local beach cleanups and national campaigns for the marine environment – groups like Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society have details of what you can do to help.

But if it all seems like too little too late, and if the thought of the poisoning of fish and marine life on a global scale makes you despair for the future, take heart. There might just be a solution.

Ocean Cleanup

Ever since the plastic pollution problem first became big news at the beginning of this century, efforts to come up with a cleanup solution have focused on boats hauling fine mesh nets. But carbon emissions, coupled with huge costs and destruction of bycatch made a resolution of the problem seem all but impossible, until, that is, a 17-year-old Dutch student Boyan Slat came up with a whole new approach – passive cleanup.

Huge inflatable booms would funnel debris into a processing unit powered by solar panels. The young inventor estimated half the Pacific Garbage Patch could be cleared within 10 years – and even better, the collected plastic could be sold for recycling.

Critics poured scorn on his idea, but with youthful determination, Slat managed to secure crowdfunding, and with the money assembled a 100 strong team of scientists and volunteers to undertake an in depth feasibility study – the results have just been announced.

The concept works.

If you’d like to find out more about how the oceans could clean themselves, check out the Boyan Slats talk on the feasibility study. The Ocean Cleanup – we can make it happen.