11 Goriest Fishing Injuries

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The calm and tranquil settings, the peace and quiet, the feeling of being at one with nature … ahhh, fishing is a beautiful hobby. Finding your spot, casting your fly line and hearing a horrific cry of pain as you hook somebody’s eyeball. Ouch.

Eyeball-hooking does happen, along with all manner of other nasty injuries, from being bitten by aggressive fish to nasty infected toe stubs – fishing can be a brutal hobby. Just look at this gore-fest for proof.

fish hook in eye
Image source: Anglerwise
That hook’s an eye sore!
fish hook in eyelid
Image source: Outdoor Life
Eye piercings have never been fashionable, pal.
fishing injury - another hooked eye
Image source:Eye Eye Sir (tumblr)
Eye piercings have never been fashionable, pal.
fish hook in finger
Image source:Flickr
Just put a plaster on it.
another hooked finger
Image source:Flickr
Just a nip, but tricky to remove.
fish hook in top lip
Image source:Fishcrack
An inch lower and this guy’s lips would have been sealed.
hook a foot
Image source:Sportsfish
Fishing in flip-flops isn’t advised.
a nasty split toe from a fishing injury
Image source:Fly fishing newbie
Nasty fishing-related toe stub.
infected ankle from barnacle injury
Image source:Louisiana Sportsman
After scraping his ankle on barnacles, this man contracted the Vibrio Vulnificus infection – very nasty indeed and sometimes fatal.
fishing spear through buttock
Image source:Deeperblue
Hmm… no caption could do this image justice.
fishing spear through shoulder
Image source:Speardiver
Spearfishing with friends has its drawbacks.

Llyn Clywedog Trout Fishery Revisited – Tim Hughes

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Fishtec’s marketing director Tim Hughes dusts off his stillwater trout fishing tackle and revisits an old favorite haunt in the beautiful hills of Mid Wales. Llyn Clywedog trout fishery is one of the unsung gems of the UK fly fishing scene; 615  beautiful acres of  premier fly fishing venue stocked with hard fighting rainbow and brown trout. Read on to find out how he gets on!

The beautiful llyn Clywedog fishery
The beautiful llyn Clywedog trout fishery.

Llyn Clywedog is an established reservoir fishery of 615 acres set in the beautiful rolling hills of central Wales. I used to fish the reservoir regularly many years ago when I lived in the area, but it had been quite some time ago since my last trip – over 10 years in fact!

A typical Clywedog rainbow.
A typical Clywedog rainbow.

Clywedog always has been a fantastic fishery and one of my favourites due to it’s scenic location and excellent stocks of fish.  Clywedog fish are reared on the fishery in state of the art cages, so the quality and fighting ability of fresh stocked fish are second to none.  These fish grow on rapidly and full tails are the norm in a short space of time. Below the cages huge double figure browns and rainbows are known to lurk, and occasionally come out to play! Native wild brown trout are also present in really decent numbers in the reservoir.

A grown on doube figure rainbow from Clywedog.
A grown on doube figure rainbow from Clywedog.

Earlier in the year I had found out that for the first time petrol engines were now available on their fleet of well maintained boats. This would open up a vast area of this huge sinuously shaped lake for anglers – previously their electric engine only policy meant you were really limited to where you could go; if you made the wrong move that was it for your day!

As luck would have it I had the perfect excuse to  return to Clywedog when I had a text from my good friend Russ Owen, who invited me up for a day’s fishing to my old hunting ground over the recent August bank holiday weekend. This saw me frantically rummaging round trying to get all my reservoir trout fishing gear together in readiness for the trip.

The alarm was set for early bank holiday Monday, but unfortunately the weather didn’t want to play ball and the drive up from Brecon was quite wet and miserable but I was still excited as I pulled off the road down to the car park.

I met up with my pal and fishery manager Russell Owen at the boat jetty and was seriously impressed by all of the hard work that him, and full time rangers Gareth (aka ‘Gazza’) and Aled Dixon had been putting into the fishery.  The boats and jetty were absolutely spotless and the facilities had been greatly improved since my last visit 10 years ago.

The boat jetty was spotless.
The boat jetty was spotless.
The boat jetty at Clywedog.
The boat jetty at Clywedog.

After a chat with Russ on what was working well we rigged up with floating lines and various dry flies. My fly line was the Airflo Super-dri Xceed – a lovely soft and supple fly line with a short compact head, which was absolutely perfect for presenting dries on the drift.

Insects such as the heather fly and flying ants had been coming off the surrounding land in the past few weeks, giving some incredible surface sport for both the stocked rainbows and the resident wild browns. Russ gave me a couple of his top patterns to try, his CDC shuttle cock and CDC red legs. Both are great fly patterns for Clywedog where the fish are always looking up to the surface for wind blown terrestrial insects. A world famous beetle hatch in late May and June, called the coch y bonduu in particular really triggers the fish into surface feeding, and they stay looking up for food pretty much until the end of the season.  This makes Clywedog one of the best fisheries in the UK for consistent top of the water sport.

We started the day motoring up to braich y ffedw, which is an arm right at the very top of the lake. Previously with an electric motor this trip would have taken a very long time and seriously depleted a battery. We were there in no time at all, despite it being a few miles from the boat jetty. It was fantastic to finally have petrol engines on the boats and get around the lake so quickly! Watching ospreys swooping onto the lake whist drifting out of braich y fedw was quite an amazing sight.

Tim Hughes into a fish on the dries.
Tim into a fish on the dries.


Russel Own into a fiesty Clywedog rainbow.
Russel Owen into a feisty Clywedog rainbow.

We make our way down the lake picking off fish regularly despite the weather conditions not being great. The water level risen by a meter over the last week putting the fish off a bit but we still had some really decent sport casting blind whilst drifting down the lake.

A typical Clywedog rainbow taken off the top.
A typical Clywedog rainbow taken off the top.

The weather picked up and it started to warm up; on our last few drifts of the day fish started rising regularly and we caught and released another 10+ fish in a short space of time, giving us a total of 25+ fish between us to the day- not bad sport for an off day!

Ranger Gazza with a Clywedog wild brown trout.
Ranger Gazza with a Clywedog wild brown trout.

We ended up down the opposite end of the reservoir at the Bwlch Y Gle Dam, something that we simply couldn’t do in the old days when I fished there using electric engines.

I left the water a happy chap, with a future trip already in mind. This really is the premier reservoir trout fishery in Wales and a tribute to the team up there for all their hard work.

For more information on ticket prices and fishery details visit www.clywedogtroutfishing.co.uk

September Spinners – By Rene Harrop.

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Late summer brings a more comfortable existence to those who pursue trout with a fly fishing rod. By September shorter days and cooler nights high up in the Rocky Mountains announce an arrival of fall weather that can be as much as a month earlier than in lower elevations.

Good Trico Water.
Good Trico Water.

Insect hatches on the Henry’s Fork and other notable waters in the Yellowstone region can become somewhat more sporadic and unpredictable during this period of seasonal transition. With consistent potential for opportunity in mind, I am more inclined to rely on a mid-morning spinner fall than trying to time the emergence of several mayfly species that can appear at this time.

Generally, I can arrive on the water at about 9:00 A.M., which is as much as 3 hours later than would be suitable a month earlier in August. Even at this advanced hour a quiet calm can usually be expected to last until at least noon, and this is the condition in which a spinner fall is most likely to occur.

Surge to a Callibaetis Spinner
Surge to a Callibaetis Spinner

Through much of September and even into early October, early autumn mayflies like Callibaetis and Tricos comprise a significant portion of a trout’s diet, and the spinner stage seems to produce the concentrated numbers of these important insects. They are a significant food source on most area still waters as well as the Henry’s Fork, of which I am especially fond.

Mayfly spinners almost always represent pure dry fly fishing. With the trout looking up exclusively for a meal that arrives from above, precise casting is the name of the game. Because they exist mainly in water with very slow or no perceivable current, Callibaetis and Trico spinners both can induce a feeding pattern marked by travel as trout feed greedily from the surface.

A Spinner Victim
A Spinner Victim

Perfection in timing and accuracy combine with more than a little luck when fishing to a moving target that may never rise in the same place twice. But the satisfaction of having it all come together is something special.

Because mayfly spinners are in a dying or dead condition when they are on the water, an effective fly pattern is often a low floating imitation that can be difficult to see. The CDC Biot Paraspinner does an excellent job of duplicating the spent wings of an expiring spinner while providing welcome visibility with a short, white wing post. And it can also be adapted to any mayfly species.

Callibaetis CDC Biot Paraspinner
Callibaetis CDC Biot Paraspinner

CDC Biot Paraspinner (Callibaetis)

Hook: TMC 100 BL size 14-18
Thread: Tan
Tail: Light Pardo Coq-de-Leon
Abdomen: Tannish Gray Goose or Turkey Biot
Thorax: Tannish Gray Dubbing
Wing: Paired White CDC feathers trimmed to 1/3 usual length
Hackle: Sparse turns of Grizzly 2 sizes larger than usual tied parachute style. Trim forward fibers to form a wide “V” over the eye.

How do fish see colour underwater?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

coloured lure collection

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

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

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

FISHSPY – See What You’re Missing

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For years now carp anglers have been crying out for a game changing innovative technological fishing tackle accessory to help enhance their fish catches. To date there hasn’t been anything available specifically for the carper – yes we have the Waterwolf for predator anglers and GoPro’s of course; and although great fun these gadget’s don’t actually enhance your fish catching capabilities.  An exciting new product, known as FishSpy, which retails at just £249.95 and is available from early November, could well be the answer to the serious carp fisherman’s prayers.

A selection of Fishspy camera units
A selection of Fishspy camera units.

What is FishSpy?

FishSpy’s tag line is ”see what you’re missing”, and this accurately sums up what this product does. FishSpy is an Innovative professional quality waterproof camera, specifically designed to aid carp fishing.

Housed inside an aerodynamic waterproof marker float it uniquely streams live underwater video footage direct to your phone or tablet. FishSpy generates its own Wi-Fi signal and transmits it to your portable Wi-Fi enabled device- so there is no need to have an internet connection or even phone signal when fishing.

Durable and designed to withstand the rigors of fishing it is submersible to depths of 10m, and transmits video in 640 x 480 quality – a great compromise between image quality, file size and therefore streaming range and reliability.

FishSpy transmitting live video via it's own Wi-Fi signal.
FishSpy transmitting live video via its own Wi-Fi signal.

FishSpy can stream live and recorded footage on the waters surface at a range of up to 100m according to conditions. The range is assisted by a foam ring which pops up the camera and it’s aerial as high as possible from the lake surface, allowing for better transmission. Once an interesting area, feature or fish is spotted it can be fully submerged for a closer look- simply hit the record button and wind it down for a better view of the lake bed. The same would apply if the water is very deep, murky or clouded and you cannot see the bottom from the surface.

The video footage taken when submerged is then stored on the fully waterproof camera’s generous 7 hour capacity built in memory card. It can then be floated back up to the surface where you can view the video of the lake bed you just recorded on your smart phone or tablet, via the Wi-FI connection.  You can then repeat this process to cover a huge area of the lake you are fishing and truly open up a whole new under water world. We can honestly say this is something that has never been achieved before!

Fishspy transmitting a live video feed under water.
FishSpy recording video under water.

FishSpy communicates remotely to your mobile or tablet device via a custom built app for iOS, or a web browser for Android devices with a built in control interface.  FishSpy features an action tag so you can mark those fishy encounters and those all important hotspots on your video playback,  therefore enabling you to locate the best sequences for easy and convenient playback at a later date.  Three hours of battery life and seven hours of recording time complete the package. You can view all of your recordings via your smartphone or tablet, and download them to your PC once you are home.

Some Screen shots of the IOs FishSpy app.
Some Screen shots of the iOS FishSpy app.

FishSpy is attached to your line, and you cast out just like a regular marker float:

Fishspy setup
FishSpy setup.


For more full in-depth technical specification visit the FishSpy website.
Or watch the FishSpy tutorial video:

How does it help you catch more carp?

As well as the obvious fun element of actually spotting the fish, and knowing they are in the vicinity, the major benefits are feature finding – for example finding a clear gravel patch or a silt bed loaded with blood worm. You can then cast your rig at the FishSpy in the same way as you would a traditional marker float, thus ensuring you hit the hotspot every time.  You will be able to see how your bait and rigs are presented and appear on the lakes substrate, allowing you to fine tune your presentation for best results. As any carp fisherman knows getting a perfect presentation is very often the critical difference between failure and success.

Check out these amazing videos filmed using FishSpy:

Fish spotting fun:

Using FishSpy for feature finding:

Seeing how various bait types appear on the lake bed:

This is a must watch  video of Dave Lane using FishSpy on a recent session –  it really shows just how useful this gadget can be for the committed carp angler.

Where does Fishspy come from?

FishSpy has been brought to the market by the tackle company TF Gear. The development team at TF Gear have been working intensively on this project for over two years – initially a pipe dream, the guys have worked very hard at bringing something completely new and innovative to the table. Working with some of the sharpest minds in the UK fishing tackle  industry this project has really taken shape- from what was originally just a crazy idea in the office. Despite being incredibly difficult to achieve from a technical standpoint, the TF Gear team invested thousands of hours of research and testing to come up with this amazing and unique product. FishSpy has been launched as a stand-alone brand, under the umbrella of the TF Gear group.

Dave Lane working on a prototype Fishspy accessory.
TF Gear consultant Dave Lane using a prototype FishSpy accessory.

How much does it cost?

A FishSpy underwater camera unit costs only £249.95. For those of you who now exclaim ‘wow that’s expensive’ lets take a little rain check of what your carp fishing gear may have cost you over the past season. Carp anglers spend more and invest more money than any other group of fishermen on their fishing tackle collection…. we simply have to! As we all know, specimen carp are the ultimate freshwater challenge and can be exceedingly difficult to catch.  So lets have a look at some of the figures –

  • Annual syndicate, fishing rod license and day tickets: £1200.
  • Microcat Bait boat: £709.99
  • Set of 3 x delkim Txi and remote: £507
  • Trakker Tempest Bivvy System: £629.99
  • Set of 3 x Free Spirit CTX carp rods £359.97
  • Annual weeks Carp fishing holiday to France: £2000

And if you look at bait, (which you are essentially throwing away) then around £500 per year of your money goes into the lake.

So when you put things into perspective FishSpy, at only £249.95 is relatively small change. Considering what FishSpy actually does, this makes this product a real game changer – and worth every penny in our opinion! Just one of these will radically improve your carp fishing catches over not just the short term, but for many years to come. FishSpy cameras are fully guaranteed for 12 months, so you can be fully assured you are going to get full usage out of this ingenious bit of kit. FishSpy also has a full range of useful accessories, which you can see here.

What you get for your money - a game changer
What you get for your money – a game changer.


The future of FishSpy?

There are lots of other applications that FishSpy could be used for in the future – for example dead bait pike fishing  immediately springs to mind, as does river fishing for barbel and other coarse fish species. Even fly fishing anglers could satisfy their curiosity – image running this down a pool on a river, and seeing shoals of salmon and sea trout?
There are plenty of exciting future developments underway to make FishSpy an even more useful addition to any fisherman s tackle armory, and many more interesting and useful accessories will be made available for this unique product in the coming years and months.

FishSpy - it's a whole new world down there.
FishSpy – it’s a whole new world down there.

Find out more:

For full technical specification and more informative product videos visit the Fishspy Website.

FishSpy also has several new exciting social media channels – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. So why not give them a follow!

We hope you see what your’re missing – we did.


The Shortlist – Classic Catch Competition

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Classic Catch Comp image
The Classic Catch Competition winner for August 2015 is…

Ryan Jones

Ryan’s impressive pike catch photo earned the most votes this month.

E Jones river wye pike
PB 26lb River Wye pike. First time out on the river last year.

Want to win £150 worth of fantastic fishing tackle? Upload your catch photo to our Classic Catch Competition page here.

In case you missed them, here’s the full August shortlist gallery:

1. Terry Bromwell

Terry Bromwell wild brown trout
Wild brown trout caught on the River Taff on a large dark olive pattern. Dry fly fishing cant get any better.

2. Michelle Condliffe

Michelle with her first big cat fish.
Michelle with her first big cat fish. She now has a bigger PB catfish than her fella.

3. Rob Bending

rob bending
A fin perfect 3lb wild Usk brownie taken on the dry at Brecon.

4. Martyn Venner

martyn venner first fish after 4 years
First fish after 4 years of disappointment, and to top it off my old man by my side.

5. Fiona Guest

Fiona salmon The River Tay
Fiona’s first salmon on The River Tay. 10lb caught on Vision 110.

6. Ryan Jones

E Jones river wye pike
PB 26lb River Wye pike. First time out on the river last year.

7. Billy Lovell

Belshaw carp
My hubby’s first double 12 1/2lb carp.

8. Charlie Halliday

Charlie Halliday Melissa the carp
When I saw the fish’s head I recognised it from a photo on Facebook, it was Melissa the carp at a whopping 47.8lbs!

9. Alan Monaghan

Alan Monaghan carp Ireland
My new PB from a wild lake in Ireland, 26.4lb on a quick over nighter. 4lb off the Irish record!

10. Alex Lemin

Alex small carp
Alex, aged 6 on his first fishing trip. He must have caught 30 small ones! Needless to say he’s now hooked on fishing!

11. Martin Ashby

Martin Ashby cock salmon River Wye.
Fresh run cock salmon, caught on the River Wye.

12. Derek Forrest

Derek Forrest fishing in Holland
Fishing in Holland last year, loads of huge roach. Holland is the place of dreams for fishing.

13. John Lewis

John Lewis Smooth hound
A 9lb smooth-hound caught on a pulley rig loaded up with squid as bait, Morfa Beach, S. Wales.

14. Jed Grayston

Jed Grayston with brown trout
Brown trout caught on the fly on the River Test. Unweighed and released as soon as she was ready.

15. Jason Williams

Jason Williams Rainbow Trout Sutton Springs
14lb Rainbow at Sutton Springs on a buzzer.

Thanks for the amazing response! If you didn’t make the shortlist this time, keep submitting your best catch photos for a chance to win £150 worth of fishing gear next month.

For full details, terms & conditions or to submit your catch photo, please visit the Fishtec Classic Catch Club Competition page.

Top tips for catching more fish at night

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There are plenty of good reasons to go sea fishing at night, but number one has to be that the fish are easier to catch when the sun goes down.

Sea Angler magazine sums this up beautifully: “As daylight fades, fish move close to the shore to feed, knowing they can hide in the shadows from marauding predators. Fishing under the cover of darkness, an angler can boost his chances of having a great night out… simply because the fish are in casting range.”

Night fishing might have its advantages, but it also has some serious drawbacks. It’s easy to get the spooks when you’re out there, all alone in the dark. And night fishing can be dangerous when you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you want to have a go at night fishing, here are five tips that will keep you safe and help you catch more fish:

1. Consider the time and conditions

Night fish when the conditions are most favourable
Image source: Shutterstock/Ruslan Mikhaylovich
Night fish when the conditions are most favourable

The best time to fish after dark is “between 8pm and 3am with high water before midnight,” says Sea Angler magazine.

Should I be worrying about a full moon when going night lure fishing for bass?” asks sea angler and photographer Henry Gilbey on his blog. Nah, replies Rich Collins: “You want to fish the same conditions and tides at night as you would during the day; no surf and a sluggish tide are far more worrying for me than a bright moon.”

2. Take the right fishing equipment

Pack spares of everything for a night fishing trip
Image source: Shutterstock/Matt Howard
Pack spares of everything for a night-fishing trip

What and how much kit you take night fishing largely comes down to personal choice. But here are some useful things to pack, as recommended by Matt Sparkes at Angler’s Mail:

· Torches – modern LEDs can be economical and a head-torch will keep your hands free. Pack a spare for emergencies.
· Isotopes – handy for finding your stuff
· Single burner for a hot drink/warm food – plus a small pan and a kettle
· Small emergency kit with basic essentials
· Mobile phone
· Superglue and electrician’s tape (for emergency repairs to your kit)
· Batteries
· Spare clothes and socks

3. Keep your stuff to hand

Darkness might be your friend when it comes to catching fish, but it’s your enemy when you need to find anything. That’s why you have to get everything ready and within reaching distance before the sun goes down.

“The last thing you want to be doing is hastily fumbling around in the middle of the night locating your unhooking kit, still stowed away in your luggage,” says Matt Sparkes.

“Your bait also needs to be organised away from clumsy feet,” says Sea Angler magazine. Enough said.

4. Stay warm and fed

A regular supply of hot drinks will keep you warm through the night
Image source: Shutterstock/Lolostock
A regular supply of hot drinks will keep you warm through the night

Cold and hunger will ruin a night fishing trip, so you want to avoid both.

“Wear lots of thin layers of clothing, plus waterproof salopettes and jacket, to keep warm, and don’t forget a hat… A spare jumper or fleece to wear at dawn, when it is coldest, is a good idea,” says Sea-Angler magazine.

A regular supply of hot drinks and snacks will help you stay warm and keep hunger at bay. Paul Badger recommends you: “Keep cooking and hot drinks simple to start off with. Use pot noodles, pot porridge, sachet coffee/chocolate so that you can concentrate on fishing.”

We agree with Matt Sparkes that: “A decent hot meal is very welcome, but a mug of hot tea or coffee is absolutely essential on all night sessions!” So don’t forget your kettle!

5. Stay safe

The tide is your biggest danger when night fishing
Image source: Shutterstock/Helen Hotson
The tide is your biggest danger when night fishing

Above all, keep yourself as safe as you can. Carry a charged-up mobile phone; inform someone where you are going and what time you expect to get back; take plenty of warm, dry clothes with you; and keep warm with regular hot drinks.

The most dangerous aspect of fishing at night is the tide. Check your tide table and make sure you know when high tide is and how high it’s going to be.

“Never fish a new area for the first time at night when it is much easier to get into trouble and harder to get help or raise the alarm,” says the British Sea Fishing blog. Being cut off by the tide filling into gullies behind you poses the greatest danger.

Here’s some sound advice from lewis888 over on the worldseafishing forum, which we’ll finish with here:

“If you have any second thoughts about fishing don’t fish… if you don’t feel 100% safe it’s not worth fishing.”

Recycled trainers

Save the sea: Recycled fishing gear

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It is estimated that there are between 100 and 150m tonnes of plastic already floating around in our oceans.

That amount of plastic is harming the marine environment, not to mention the fishing and tourism industries. But can anything be done? These companies are certainly having a go!

From making sculptures out of flip-flops to building skateboards out of old fishing gear, these companies are full of quirky solutions for recycling the plastic in our seas.

If the oceans die, we die

Paradise lost
Image source: relax_gap / Shutterstock.com
Paradise lost

And so Parley was born: ‘a collaboration space where creators, thinkers and leaders from art, film, music, fashion, technology and science partner up with major brands and environmentalists to raise awareness and to collaborate on projects that can end the destruction of the magic blue universe beneath us: Our Oceans.’

Adidas trainers made from sea waste

Recycled trainers
Image source: Adidas News
Recycled trainers

Footwear giant Adidas has already collaborated with Parley to produce a concept pair of trainers that are made entirely out of ocean waste and discarded fishing nets found in the sea. For a closer look at these trainers visit the Living Geography blog. Living Geography blogger Alan Parkinson told us: “I hope these trainers actually get beyond the concept stage and are manufactured, so that the message about ocean plastics spreads wider.”

Want a pair? You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled later this year!

Fishing net skateboards

Fishing net skateboards
Image source: Bureo Skateboards
Each skateboard is made from 30 square feet of recycled fishing net

Bureo Skateboards was founded by three men who each have a shared love for the environment and skating. The skateboard decks they produce each require 30 square feet of fishing net. Fishing nets are recovered from the oceans via the Net Positiva initiative, which Bureo created to combat ‘the detrimental impacts of discarded fishing nets’.

We spoke to Greg Swienton, who explained why they settled on skateboards: “We quickly found out that fishing nets make up an estimated 10% of the plastic found in our ocean, we wanted to do something about that. We needed to develop a high-value product that was scalable, something that we could deliver to the masses, so we landed on skateboards – something fun and different.”

For more information and a video about Bureo skateboards and the men behind the project visit UK Complex.

Method for the plastic madness

Method bottles
Image source: Method Press Room
Upcycled plastic bottles made from ‘ocean trash’

Method is a company that finds uses for old plastic bottles. The company recycles and upcycles plastic bottles found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a filthy area in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas.

All of Method’s plastic bottles, which they provide for other eco-friendly companies, are made from 100% recycled plastic. Method’s upcycling projects include the creation of the Junk Raft, which sailed from California to Hawaii and was made from 15,000 plastic bottles and an old Cessna fuselage.

Adam Lowry, the co-founder of Method, is an active campaigner and says, ‘We’re removing the excuse for companies to say they can’t use recycled plastic because it’s not high-quality enough or too expensive. That’s B.S. – we’re doing it with ocean trash.’

Ocean Sole flip-flops

Ocean sole flip flops
Image source: Ocean Sole
Flip-flops transformed into colourful ornaments & jewellery

Flip-flops are cheap and simple. They may be easy come, easy go (when the strap across the middle breaks), but the problem is that thousands of them end up floating in the oceans.

Step forwards Ocean Sole, a Kenyan company that collects the flip-flops from the ocean to create colourful animal ornaments and jewellery, which raise awareness about the amount and type of garbage found in our oceans. Ocean Sole’s next challenge is to upcycle the flip-flops to create new footwear.

We spoke to Joe Mwakiremba from Ocean Sole, who told us: “As a marine conservation organization, we collect flip flops and create masterpieces. Recycling these lost soles helps to keep our oceans plastic-free and reduce the threat to marine life.”

The Sustainablog discusses Ocean Sole flip-flops and provides some alarming stats: ‘Plastic items are nearly indestructible, they can drift for years, and for thousands of miles’.

Sea denim

Pharrell Williams
Image source: DFP Photographic / Shutterstock.com
‘Hats off’ to Pharrell for his new recycled clothing range

Inspired by the Parley initiative, Pharrell Williams and G-Star Raw have released a denim clothing range made from found ocean plastic. Pharrell Williams already owns a clothing company called Bionic Yarn, which uses recycled plastic to produce clothes, so he is setting an example to other incredibly wealthy celebrities.

Pharrell was recently interviewed about the new clothing range by Ocean Views. He explained: ‘We [Bionic Yarn and G-Star Raw] are trying to infiltrate the entire spectrum of fashion, high-end and low. It’s a part of sustainability and the cause is to never throw anything [plastics and trash] into the ocean again’. Check out the interview in full on the National Geographic website.

Fly Fishing Cuba – Cayo Largo

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AAPGAI qualified instructor and Orvis Endorsed Guide Brett O’Connor took to a summer holiday to Cuba recently. With the help of  professional destination outfitter Aardvark McLeod, he managed to fit in five fantastic days of fly fishing the flats at the beautiful Cayo Largo, in the south central region of the Cuba. Take a read of this blog entry to find out how his fishing trip went.

It was time for our annual holiday. And as my wife well knows, I can’t sit still on a beach or poolside for more than a few days without getting bored. Luckily for me, she’s just as happy with her own company, a book, a pool and a pina coloda, as I am holding a fly fishing rod. It’s been twelve years since I last visited Cuba, so we decided to give the destination another visit, especially as it seems to tick all our boxes.

Getting stuck into a fish on the Cuban flats.
Getting stuck into a fish on the Cuban flats.

Cuba, and Havana in particular, really does have so much to offer if you’re prepared to venture out and experience the local culture. During the few days we were based there, we managed to tour the city and it’s local historic sites in a convertible classic car, visit a cigar factory, take salsa lessons in a local dance studio, and even see the renowned musical group Buena Vista Social Club play a set at our hotel.

A classic Cuban car
A classic Cuban car.

As for the fishing, Cayo Largo is in the South Central region of the Cuban Archipelago, it’s one of the last virtually untouched ecosystems left on the planet. And it’s only a 30 minute flight from the local airport.

The day we arrived at the Hotel Sol Club, we were taken to our room and had the morning to enjoy at our own leisure, before being I was taken to the lodge for a briefing and setting up the tackle for the following days’ fishing.

A monster Cayo largo poon'.
A monster Cayo largo poon’.

The fishing itself is split into six zones, one for each day. All the zones have the chance of achieving grand slams, bar one, which is mainly fished for Tarpon and Snook. During the other 5 days of fishing, we spotted Permit every day. Some days in numbers, others slightly more sporadically. Getting them to eat is another matter entirely. Each new day proved eventful, with a wide variety of fish. Naturally, there’s the usual grand slam species of Permit, Tarpon, Snook and Bones, but there are also Barracuda, Jacks and Snapper too. Three of the six days fished were only a licking of the lips away from Grand Slams. So many follows from permit endured, but no luck. But that’s what makes them so frustrating, yet so desirable. I had some great tussles with tarpon and one in particular will be a memorable fight for many years to come.

A nice Cuban Bonefish.
A nice Cuban Bonefish.
A toothy barracuda - great sport on a fly rod.
A toothy barracuda – great sport on a fly rod.
A nice bucket mouth - an unforgettable fight.
A nice bucket mouth – an unforgettable fight.

A grand slam still evades me, but rest assured I’ll be back to give it another go in the not-too-distant future. I’m sure the wife would love to go again next year… and I might be tempted to agree.

To book a guided day or to arrange casting tuition please visit Brett’s excellent website here.




Why Fishing Is Better Than Yoga

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Most people really don’t get fishing. “It’s just waiting”, they point out, as if that hadn’t occurred to us before.

We’re perfectly aware that we’ve been sitting for hours in the drizzle with a line slacker than a pair of clown’s trousers. We know it’s ironic that our net is the only thing that doesn’t come back wet. Doesn’t it occur to them that maybe that’s the point?

Yet take something like yoga, where sitting doing nothing is also a vital ingredient, and everyone views you as a healthy, well-adjusted individual. Fishing and yoga aren’t so different, but fishing is definitely better.

What’s yoga got to do with fishing?

Fishing blogger Danny gets back to nature
Image source: Danny’s Angling Blog
Fishing blogger Danny gets back to nature

On the face of it fishing and yoga already have a lot in common: they both require specialist gear (fishing rod or yoga mat), they’re often done in solitude, and enthusiasts of either sport can be spotted a mile off thanks to their outfits. Consider the lone figure sitting, concentrating and quietly reflecting; are we talking about an angler or a yogi?

An important part of yoga is mindfulness, the action of paying attention to the moment; accepting and understanding your feelings and thoughts; and learning to separate yourself from negative experiences. For many of us, the chance to spend some time alone organising our thoughts is also one of fishing’s major appeals.

Just consider how important wildlife, scenery and generally being close to nature is to so many fishermen. Read fishing blogger Danny’s account of discovering a new place, full of beautiful scenery and wildlife, and then try to argue that yoga’s idea of ‘oneness’ is really so absurd.

Fishing can be a sport, but competing to land the biggest catch isn’t for everyone. Many anglers prefer the whole package that fishing can offer. As Mark at Fishing for Memories puts it:

“The wildlife alone is joy enough to behold and just being able to witness nature’s theatre is wonderful. Treated to the sights and sounds of kingfisher, buzzard, kestrel, kite, owl, deer, fox and badger, to name but a few, makes any fishing trip a joy on its own.”

The experience of fishing is just as important as landing a fish.

Don’t panic – you haven’t become a yogi!

We all need time to relax
Image source: Shutterstock/A7880S
We all need time to relax

Calm down, we’re not trying to persuade you that you already like yoga. The point we’re making is simply that we all need time to relax, to get away from it all and be by ourselves.

Fishing ticks so many boxes for a mind overwhelmed by the pace of life. It gives us a chance to slow things down; it gives us one simple, single objective to focus on; it gives us the sense of achievement that comes from landing a catch or mastering a new skill. These are the proven benefits of angling.

And many men prefer outdoor to indoor spaces. In his blog post ‘The Power of Solitude: Why You Should Spend More Time Alone’, Mark Sisson reminds us that men are more likely to seek solitude outside. Sitting on a mat in a room full of candles while listening to a CD of wind chimes really doesn’t suit our mind set.

Fishing gets exciting at times

The moment of glory
Image source: Shutterstock/Rocksweeper
The moment of glory

Fishing and yoga have their similarities. They both allow you some peace and quiet, and the chance to get your brain in order and feel better. But people practising yoga are unlikely to get slapped in the face by a giant carp any time soon. And that’s why fishing is better.

The part of fishing that people understand – the frantic battle between man and beast, pitting your wits against those of the fish, the exhilarating tug of war – is just one part of fishing. Coarse fisherman Chris Moss sums this up brilliantly in The Telegraph:

“Coarse fishing isn’t merely a pastime. The ponds, flashes, rivers and canals of working-class Britain are filled with childhood memories and moments of glory – fighting a big carp, catching a mean pike, filling a landing net till it’s bursting – amid long periods of calm meditation.”

Fishing gives you all that fun and the relaxing benefits of a yoga class. In the battle of fishing versus yoga, fishing is the clear winner.