Posts Tagged ‘fishing’
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?
Fishing is a hungry business, so what better way to keep yourself topped up than by cooking and eating your catch as it comes in?
Here we’ve come up some fish dishes you can prepare and cook in your bivvy on the river bank or at the beach – from hook to plate in under 20 minutes – delicious fish freshly caught and cooked. What could be better?
Oily fish is best eaten fresh, and what fresher way to enjoy a mackerel than served up raw?
You’ll need: a sharp knife and a clean chopping board.
To get the best from your fish, bonk it on the head, then bleed it by slicing its gills. Next take off the fillets and slice into finger wide strips. You can serve these immediately, sashimi style, with soy sauce and wasabi to taste.
For a little more finesse, come prepared with some sushi rice cooked at home. Push the rice into an ice cube mould and bring it with you in a cool box or bag. When you’re ready to eat, simply squeeze out neat blocks of rice and drape a piece of mackerel over each. Simple, neat and classy food.
Hot Smoked trout
Fresh trout tastes fantastic smoked. While we’re pushing the 20 minute envelope here, we’re sure you’ll appreciate one of the greatest taste sensations ever to grace a bivvy on the riverbank.
You’ll need: salt, clean water, a kitchen towel, your smoker and some oak chips.
First gut, and clean your fish. Rinse it in clean water, then butterfly it. Add two tablespoons salt to two cups of water. Put your fish in the water to soak for 20 minutes while you get back to your fishing.
Now, light your smoker, and deploy your oak chips in line with manufacturer’s recommendations. Retrieve your fish from the brine and pat dry with the paper towel. Smoke your fish for 20 mins, or until cooked. Serve with freshly buttered brown bread, salt and pepper.
For a great taste of the sea cooked right there on the shore, you can’t beat a nice barbequed sea bream.
You’ll need: a lemon, pepper, salt, olive oil, a newspaper, string.
First, gut, clean and scale your fish. Open out your newspaper to the centre fold. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Scatter a few slices of lemon. Pepper and salt the fish and put it on the paper. Add more slices of lemon. Drizzle with olive oil.
Fold your newspaper so the fish is at the centre of the parcel. Secure with string. Soak briefly in a bucket of sea water. Put the parcel on the barbeque. Cook for about ten minutes a side depending on the size of the fish and the ferocity of the flames.
Foil cooked chilli bass
For something a little more sophisticated, you can’t beat a nice freshly caught bass, cooked in the fire and eaten snug and warm in the bivvy.
You need: sticks, matches, tin foil, a sea bass, spring onion, a fresh chilli (fireyness to suit your taste), ginger, lemon, pepper and salt, olive oil.
First light your fire down wind of your fishing spot and bivvy. Gut, clean and scale your fish. Rip off a length of foil suitable for making a roomy parcel for the fish. Slice lemon, chop onions, ginger and chilli and put them in the cavity and round about. Apply pepper and salt, drizzle with oil. Fold the foil around the fish. Put it in the embers of the fire. Leave for about eight minutes a side.
Herrings in rolled oats
The old ways are the best – herrings rolled in Scotch oats.
You need: herrings, seasoned porridge oats, butter, a frying pan, whisky.
Kill, gut, clean, scale your herring. Light a fire or ignite your camp stove. Cut off a knob of butter, add to the frying pan and set to the heat. Open out your herring and press it into a tub of pre-seasoned oats until both sides are well coated. Fry until cooked.
Repair to your bivvy. Serve with a wee dram.
An 18ft long Oarfish has been found dead off the shore of southern California by Marine Biologist Jasmine Santana. The rarely seen Oarfish is said to be the likely culprit of many Sea Serpent legends from sailors and deep sea fishermen.
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 using any sort of fishing tackle as they can dive up to more than 3,000 feet (914 meters) in depth. Because of this sightings are rare and these magnificent fish are largely unstudied.
Jasmine was snorkeling with colleagues when she spotted an unusual shimmer from the ocean floor. As she approached what looked to be a half-dollar sized eye starting at her from the sandy bottom, the uncertainty that the fish was dead dawned upon her, but slowly and cautiously making her way towards the prehistoric looking creature it was distinctly lifeless.
After taking a closer look Jasmine discovered it was indeed the carcass of an Oarfish, the first she has ever seen and a discovery of a lifetime for the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) employee.
She dragged the eel-like beast from the sea for more than 20 meters until fifteen other adults waded into the sea to help her bring it ashore.
Oarfish are a deep-water pelagic fish and the longest bony fish in the world, according to CIMI. This one measuring a staggering 5 meters in length. Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, CIMI’s sail training ship, said “We’ve never seen a fish this big! The last Oarfish we saw at CIMI was just three feet long”.
The fate of the carcass is still being decided, but Waddington would prefer the fish to be burred in sand until it decomposes and the skeleton cleaned naturally before being reconstructed for display. The fish apparently died of natural causes.
The fishing has been tough and the weather fairly unpredictable but Dave Lane has still managed to put together another of his Carp Fishing video diaries, showing you exactly what hes doing to try and temp large carp to the bank.
This week his two part carp fishing diary takes him to Big Lakes at Bedford…
For most of us, a fishing bivvy is just that: a place to hang out while waiting for the fish to bite. But in times past, canvas has played a huge role in the daily life of millions of people.
And nowhere more so than the United States of America.
Here we stray from the river bank to take a look at some of America’s original bivvies – wild west shelters…
Otherwise known as a wigwam, the wikiup is a dome shaped shelter made from flexible spruce boughs or other available wood. It was the preferred means of shelter for nomadic native Americans. The structure could be erected very quickly, occupied for a few days or weeks, then left behind.
The type of covering varied according to the time of year. In winter, it would be covered with thick brush to keep the inhabitants warm. During the summer months, hides or canvas offered lightweight protection from the elements.
While a wikiup might look thin and flimsy, in fact, its dome shape offers incredible wind resistance, and for backwoodsmen out hunting or fishing, they’re still used from time to time.
Synonymous with the tribes of the plains indians, the tipi is iconic. But to the Native Americans who used them, they were simply home. Lightweight, transportable and quick to erect, tipis are warm, dry and perfectly adapted to their environment.
Native Americans followed the food. Their tent villages were part housing estate, part hunting lodge, part fishing bivvy. In summer, the canvas or hide walls could be rolled up for ventilation. In winter, they were lined and insulated.
The central hole is covered by adjustable flaps for optimum draft, allowing smoke to escape. During the harshest winters, the tent could be staked to the ground – with no flat surfaces, it’s almost impossible to knock over.
The arrival of white settlers spelled disaster for the indigenous inhabitants of the land. The settlers believed in ‘manifest destiny’; their God given right to occupy the land, and exploit all its natural resources. From mineral deposits to game and fish, as far as they were concerned – it was all theirs for the taking.
For modern Americans, the archetypal settler’s wagon, the ‘Prairie schooner’, represents the great trundle West in search of opportunity. To native Americans, that same canvas covered wagon serves as reminder of the ruthless extermination of a people.
The wild west was a lawless place populated by people on the make. But while few were the gun toting desperados of movie shoot ‘em ups, all were in search of land, and wealth.
For some that meant settling on the banks of a good salmon river, for others it meant trapping for furs in the far North. For yet others it was the gold fields of Colorado that fired the imagination, for still more, staking out a land claim and tilling the earth was the dream to follow.
With money in short supply, uncertain relations with native neighbours, and the constant temptation to up sticks and try their luck elsewhere, accommodation had to be cheap, easy to erect and portable.
That’s where wall tents came in. A simple pitched roof, with side walls to add height. And they weren’t only used as homes. Many main streets were constructed entirely of wooden facades – behind which lay nothing but a tent.
Tented accommodation is making a comeback in the United States. The land of the free is also the land of the desperate, and never more so than since the property crash of 2008.
Failing banks and staggering levels of foreclosures have turned some areas into ghost towns. But on waste ground and in woodland areas, it’s another story.
Newly destitute people are moving in droves to, ‘tent cities’. Former teachers, factory workers, tradesmen and women – all sections of society are well represented.
When is a fishing bivvy not a fishing bivvy? When it’s your home.
Cuba 2013 San Lazaro/Las Salinas
Fishing trips to Cuba are always special but this year was looking at being even more so as the Airflo crew would be fishing the newly opened area of the Zapata national park called San Lazaro. After an overnight stay and a few Mojito’s we made our way over to the Playa Largo hotel which would be our home for the next week, while not the most prestigious accommodation it certainly suits the anglers needs. Check out their Facebook page here: Casa Batida Fishing Club
The next morning we were all up bright an early, all very excited about the days fishing ahead. The trip to the fishing grounds is an experience in itself comprising of a coach ride into the middle of the Zapata mangrove swamps where you suddenly come across the marina and after a 20 minute boat ride down the narrow channel you pop out into what can only be described as a saltwater anglers paradise, miles and miles of pristine flats, channels and lagoons which had scarcely ever been fished. You will never see another angler throughout the day, and the diversity of wildlife is just mind blowing. The guides are all of the highest standard and Lazaro my guide for the week was no exception. A biologist and former Director of the Zapata Park his knowledge of its flora and forna was incredible and his fish spotting was as good as I have witnessed anywhere I have fished.
Late afternoon and back at the hotel’s beach bar with Mojito’s in hand the talk was of plenty of Bonefish, Baby Tarpon and lost Permit which considering the cloudy conditions was a great start.
The conditions on the second day were bright and clear skies with low winds, compiling to create the perfect fish spotting conditions. With this new sense so to speak, many bonefish were landed together with a few baby tarpon but while many permit are spotted as ever with these fickle fish, none landed. Due to the policy of rotating the fishing grounds, no area is fished two days in a row ensuring that it is never over fished.
As the week moves on the fishing just seem to get better with the team starting to relax and sighting fish becomes easier. Airflo’s MD Rob Williams manages to hook-up and after a battle lasting 45 minutes, landed an elusive Permit of around 25lb while the rest of the team continue to land good quantities of bonefish and baby tarpon.
The last days fishing come way to quickly Rob Davies and myself decide to make the longer journey to fish solely for Tarpon. After an hour’s boat ride the skiffs arrive at an area of mangrove channels leading straight out into the Caribbean sea. The heat and humidity is intense and as the skiffs move through the channels we turn a bend to be face with Tarpon rolling and hitting bait fish everywhere. With shaking hands the first cast are made and it’s not long before the line is almost ripped out of my hands and a fumbled stripe strike is made but due to the incredibly aerobatic fight and almost armour plated mouth the fish first three fish are lost. Then a good hook hold is made and after a good fight on a #10 the first Tarpon is landed, at about 15lb only small by Tarpon standards followed by another slightly larger and then a much better fish or around 35lb is hooked and landed, this fish brings an end to another truly amazing and not the last trip Cuba.
For all you Airflo fanatics we have now set up an Airflo Fishing page on Facebook!
To follow on from our buzzing and inviting Fishtec Fly page on facebook which hosts all out our new products from every supplier we deal with, the Airflo page will only host Airflo related products and information, making it easier and clearer to find what you’re looking for be it fly fishing tackle or blog posts!
What you’ll find on the Airflo Page:
- New products and releases
- Airflo Technologies
- Airflo Blog announcements
- Favourite fishing website
- Airflo First – Did you know Airflo did this?
- Pro Staff stories from around the world
- Facebook Competitions
- And much more!
Like Airflo Fishing here:
Or visit the Airflo Fishing Facebook page by visiting the link.
It’s been a bit of strange few weeks for me since catching that big leather over at Northants. I suddenly found myself without anywhere to fish, a situation I was neither familiar nor particularly happy with.
It would have been the ideal time to start on a winter water, getting a bait established and learning a bit about the fish movements etc while they were still active but as I had nowhere in mind or no tickets in hand I decided to visit a few of the places I have been meaning to try some carp fishing for ages.
The first one of these was my old mate Alan Taylors place over at Ecton, also in Northants.
The Ecton complex is an extremely pretty chain of lakes comprising of three syndicate and one private lake all of which are well established and have many islands and peninsula splitting them up and making them seem smaller than they actually are. As a result of this my first walk around the complex on the Monday morning ended up taking me five hours, mind you I was looking for signs of fish feeding and somewhere to actually angle so I was taking my time.
Eventually though I spotted a couple of fish rolling on the biggest of the lakes, in a channel between a shallow bar and long island, and I decided to load up the carp barrow and make my around to there.
The swim looked hardly fished, probably due to the fact that it was the opposite side of the lake to the track and the swims on the track side could be fished practically from the car.
The bar in front of the swim almost reached the bank and it ran parallel to the bank, a bit like a road going through the swim, the water on top was very shallow so anything hooked would probably have to be netted by wading out to the drop off.
I set up all three rods with yellow pop-ups and fanned them out over the thirty yard gulley between the end of the bar and the long island that made a backdrop to the swim, scattering a fair spread of boilies over the entire area.
Any fish moving through would come across bait and hopefully stay around long enough to find a hook-bait as well.
I waded the landing net out and propped it up on a long bankstick, just on the drop off where the gully started as I was sure this was where I would end up netting the fish but, just to be sure, I set up a second net on the bank as a fail-safe. I always carry at least two nets with me and quite often three, I think they are such an inexpensive item compared to a lot of the kit we carry and having the option to split your rods up in adjacent swims or either side of some bushes etc, improves your chances of multiple catches no end. I love to have one rod on its own waded along the margins with its own net and fishing far more effectively with a short line between the rod tip and the bait.
Anglers who don’t use bivvys or any kind of shelter, regardless of how short the session could be caught out with this temperamental British weather… Kit and clothing will take the brunt if not kept safe and dry. With everything set and the bivvy erected I sat back to wait but as soon as I did the first rod was away. A lively scarp, a bit of well-planned wading and I was soon waddling back with a common of around eighteen pounds in the net, perfect!
Later that evening I had to repeat the whole affair again, only this time it was a mirror of similar size. I was glad I’d had the little bit of practise in the daylight though because I could have easily come unstuck as I stepped off the bar into the slightly deeper margins close to the bank.
The swim died a death after this second fish but I suppose all the paddling about couldn’t have helped much still, two fish from a new water in a one night session wasn’t a bad result and I drove home a happy man.
I’ve not done much Catfish fishing over the past few years and my PB was only 15Ib 8oz so after an offer from Mike Morrison of Manor Fisheries to fish on the Catfish Lake I couldn’t refuse.
Heading down to the lake I must say I was very excited like a kid at Christmas, the fact is this lake holds catfish to over 50Ib and the thought of a big moggy just got the adrenaline pumping. I was surprised to find that there was nobody fishing any of the lakes which allowed me time to get accustom to my surroundings and a free chose of any swim I fancied. After about 30 minutes, no tell a lie 5 minutes because of excitement I settled on a swim facing the island.
I used my tried and tested coarse fishing tackle with a set of Delta XS rods in a 3lb test curve. The TF Gear V8 reels with a 15Ib mainline, this should be up to the job and little did I know they would be tested, a dumbell rig with lobworms as bait on the surface was my first choice of rigs along with a running ledger with Cotswold Bait Creations 22mm Crab pellets being the second. Both rigs had an eagle eye hook size 2 tied with 70Ib braid.
I strategically placed the pellet rod in the middle, between the island and the margin, hopefully to intercept any fish coming from depth. The surface worm rod was placed under a tree next to the island to target fish coming around the island following the flow. I sat down for a cup of tea and by the time the water had boiled the worm rod was away, left right forwards backwards it was a crazy fight but it wasn’t long before it came in. On the scale it read new PB, 15Ib 8oz so before I had even started my PB was broken.
My confidence was high but the night only produced a few aborted takes so come dawn disappointment had set in, that was until the alarm screamed in to life, a battle of the giants had commenced. With every yard of line gained the fish would take five and it was ten minutes in to the fight that my arm started to ache but I knew it was a big fish so I couldn’t let up the slightest. The head came to the surface and I wasn’t sure on the size, that was until I lifted the net only to see that the fish was half in half out, it did go in eventually and looking down at the fish I had to sit down and compose myself before dealing with it. On the unhooking mat the size was amazing I’d never seen a fish so big, (only on tv) but there it was and I was the one who had caught it, the scales read 38Ib 4oz so it was a new PB for the second time, Fantastic.
The day was extremely hot at around 27 degrees C and you would have thought the Catfish would have fed but I didn’t get a bite all day until dusk which to be honest I wasn’t really bothered about as I was still buzzing about my new PB. I wasn’t expecting much on the last night but I didn’t get any sleep as run after run came my way with a multitude of double figure Catfish hitting the bank. The last one was slipped back at dawn and I really needed some sleep but didn’t want to reel the rods in so I left them out just in case. On my bedchair and in the sleeping bag I was nice and snug and ready for some shut eye when the alarm sounded… bleep… bleep… Blurry eyed I stumbled to the rod and bent in to the fish only the be greeted by heavy resistance and a fish trying to go around the island. I must say the Delta XS rods really surpassed all my expectations and handled this and all the other Cats with ease but this Cat wasn’t giving up and half an hour into the fight it was still going strong but with time and patience it was in the net, just. Now I thought that the 38 was big but this was bigger and my scales bottomed out at 40Ib’s so with nerves shacking I borrowed some scales from another angler and they read 42Ib 8oz. I couldn’t believe it I had broken my Catfish PB for the third time in one session.
A real red letter day and it really has given me the bug for Catfishing so I’ll be trying to go a lot more but I have a long way to go to beat my new PB.
Till the next time tight lines and best fishes…
Whilst out on the water your safety is always the highest point on your priority list, other than catching fish, right? But when accidents occur your waders may only be your only chance of surviving! Keeping safe and catching fish, right?
There is much speculation over the safety of chest waders, fishermen have many different theories to what happens to them when they fall in the water whilst wearing them. I for one think waders are your best friend when out on the bank or after an accidental slip!
One important thing to know is that if you fall unexpectedly into a river or lake, your waders will fill with water but will not drag you down. Your weight in waders, even when full of water will be the same of the water around you. Water isn’t heavier than water. The only thing that may add to your weight is wearing several layers of clothing.
Your goal is to get out of the water safely without any injury. If falling into running water is your main worry, just lay on your back and assume the armchair position with your feet facing downstream, this will prevent any injury from rocks or trees and keep the air inside your waders. This way you can also see where your heading and if there’s any slacks or exit points ahead.
Still-water would seem easier to negotiate if the dreaded happens, swimming is easier as there is no flow to compete against and the shore or boat won’t be too far away. Hopefully other anglers will come to your assistance, but keep your cool and gently make your way back to your the pontoon.
Secondly, anglers think if you were to unexpectedly fall into a lake, your waders will fill up with air instead of water and flip you upside down, legs in the air and head down. Kind of like a swan searching for food! This, however, has been tested in pools from jumping head first off a platform and even though waders do fill up with air, the person is quickly righted and lies flat on the water. Again, keep your legs up and lay on your back and the excess air will push out relieving itself.
One great addition to your waders would be a wading belt, not only does it make you look a lot better but prevents water from rushing down your legs if you fall in. It also traps air to help float. A Wading staff is also a great help when crossing a fast or deep pool, coloured water can impair an anglers vision and that one rock may cause a slip! That may swing you next time you visit your local fishing tackle shop.
Waders, however, should never be even contemplated as a replacement for a lifevest or inflatable jacket.