Posts Tagged ‘fishing rods’
Male midshipman fish have been keeping scores of families awake in Southampton with their loud mating calls.
The loud droning from their swim bladder, which is used to attract females, can go on for hours and increases in volume when competing males join in.
After a bit of fishing about, we’ve discovered that there are actually some really loud sea creatures out. Some are able to generate noise in excess of 200 decibels. When you consider the average human conversation is around 60-70 decibels and a jet engine produces 140 decibels, you’ll agree 200+ decibels is loud. Fear not though, as most of the noisy stuff is too big (or small) for one of your fishing rods.
Water boatman — 105 decibels
This one isn’t the loudest, but at just 2mm long, the Micronecta Scholtzi still manages to produce around 105 decibels with its mating song, which means that it is the loudest animal on this planet in relation to its body size. Even though 99% of the sound is lost when transferring to water to air, it is still loud enough to be heard from the riverbank when the creature is at the bottom of the river.
Perhaps even more impressive is that the boatman creates his songs by rubbing his penis against his abdomen in a process called stridulation. Don’t try this at home.
Northern elephant seal – 125 decibels
Found in the cold aquatic environments of the north, the large proboscis of the adult males resembles an elephant trunk hence the name. A complex breathing apparatus consisting of multiple chambers for storing oxygen, and it’s also what the seal uses to blow its own trumpet (metaphorically of course).
During mating season the seals make very loud roaring noises with this wannabe trunk to woo females, and can peak at around 125 decibels. That’s loud when you consider how many trumpets will be blowing at the same time. Good job they prefer the Polar Regions.
Blue whale – 188 decibels
It may be the biggest mammal in the world, but this graceful 200-tonne beauty with a tongue as heavy as an elephant, isn’t quite the loudest. It’s not far off though, as the blue whale’s siren call can reach levels of around 188 decibels, which is still much louder than a jet engine or even a rock concert.
The blue whale also emits a low frequency series of pulses, groans and moans, which can travel great distances under the water. Scientists believe that other blue whales travelling at distances of up to 1000 miles can pick up these noises.
Pistol shrimp — 218 decibels
Despite being only 2 cm long the aptly named pistol (or snapping) shrimp is able to generate a split-second sound, which at 218 decibels is louder than a gunshot. Recognized by owning one humungous, oversized claw, which resembles a boxing glove, the pistol shrimp uses this deadly weapon to stun its prey.
The claw snaps shut with enough force to fire a jet of water at up to 62 mph. This generates a low pressure cavitation bubble that bursts with a loud snap and stuns unsuspecting prey. Death by deafness — ouch.
Sperm whale — 230 decibels
So if you like to play Top Trumps, you’d want the sperm whale card to win the noisiest sea creature category. The sperm whales head has a structure called monkey lips, which it uses to blow air through and also produce loud, booming clicks.
These clicks or codas, which are unique to each whale, are used like sonar to find food and also to communicate with other sperm whales. It is estimated by biologist and whale researcher, Magnus Wahlberg of Aarhus University in Denmark, that these clicks can reach levels of 230 decibels underwater. Meaning the sperm whale is the loudest sea creature we could find with the net.
As we move in to November we could well be wondering if the winter is actually coming at all this year. I am certainly not complaining though, the weather conditions throughout October have been perfect for carp fishing and my catch rates have been a reflection of this.
At the beginning of the month I moved back onto Monks Pit, in Cambridgeshire as I thought it was about time I targeted some large carp again. I have enjoyed my summer excursion on the large gravel pit in search of unknown monsters but, with the year getting into its last quarter, I wanted somewhere to settle down on, in readiness for the colder weather.
Monks has been good to me in the past and I have had a total of five different fish over forty pounds from the venue. I thought, at one stage, that I had finished with the place but, recently, I got chatting to a couple of mates who still fish there and realised that there are probably still three or four over that weight I haven’t caught so a return for the winter seemed more and more like a good idea.
My first trip was an impromptu affair, pulling off the big pit halfway through a session when I thought I should be making the most of big low pressure system, and turning up at Monks with just an hour and a half of daylight remaining, just enough time to get the carp fishing tackle sorted and setup for the night.
Having not been on the lake for two years I would have preferred a bit more time to walk about and suss the place out a bit but, instead, I opted for a swim that I had always liked in the past. The swim I chose was in the middle section of the lake, always a good bet to start with and it gave me a good view if anything topped elsewhere.
The carp at Monks do like a bit of bait so I spent the next hour spodding out a bed of boilies, hemp, tigers and corn, setting all three carp fishing rods at the same distance in a line across the swim.
That first night went by without any action and I was just thinking about a move when a good sized fish topped right over my right hand carp rod. It couldn’t have even been a full minute later when the line tightened up and the tip pulled down towards the surface, signalling my first bite.
Right from the off the fish felt heavy and incredibly powerful, but then I had been used to catching twenties from the big pit over the previous months so I was unsure exactly how much bigger this beastie might turn out to be. He fought well in the deep and clear water eventually weeding me up in a big bed of Milfoil down to my right. After trying all the usual tricks with no success I had to resort to going out in the boat to free him, this is always a lot easier and safer with heavy weed once you actually get right above the fish and change the line angle as it enters the weed-bed. After a few hairy moments I managed to get him free and then it was just a matter of playing him out in open water. With the clarity being so good I could clearly see him ten feet below the boat, twisting and turning on the line and he did look very, very big indeed. Although I’d never seen the fish before I recognised him from a description I been given only the previous night and, as he went into the net, I knew I’d cracked one of the few remaining big fish in the lake that I hadn’t already caught. He was a fish known as the ‘Hartford mirror’ and he weighed just a little over forty pounds, what a way to start a return to Monks!
Once I had sussed where and how they were feeding I juggled the rods around a bit and kept a constant supply of bait going in over the area and, during the next twenty four hours , I managed to bank a further five carp up to mid-thirties but the Hartford mirror really was the star of the show.
If I had had any doubts about where to pass the colder months of winter then they have been dispelled now, with fish of this stamp only an hour from my doorstep I reckon that Monks will be seeing quite a bit more of me and Paddy over the coming few months, I can’t wait to get back out there.
For many of us, fishing is a lifelong passion. Years of casting, reeling and patience have made us into the anglers we are today. Whether its a catch for sport or for supper, we know our methods work and we trust our equipment.
However, some folk like to test the water with a plethora of unusual techniques. The fishermen seen below cast aside their reels and fishing rods in favour of methods unconventional, curious and downright bizarre.
From the creative to the traditional, here are our favourite crazy ways to catch fish.
With your hair
With a remote controlled helicopter
With a large tea towel
With a bow and arrow
With trained cormorants
Stealing from a grizzly bear?
Have I learned some lessons this week!!
On Saturday I spent the ante-meridian hours pleasantly laid-back, just slothing around and ‘recovering’ from the previous five days at work. My job is not physically demanding but it does require concentration and much attention to detail, so by Friday evening – like most of us, I suppose – I was looking forward to an extra hour in bed and a morning of nothing in particular.
By afternoon the urge to wet a line had taken hold of me, so with the river just minutes away from my back garden gate I assembled a few odds and sods and decided to walk to my favoured swim. But I’ve got lazy. I loaded my fishing tackle into the car with my two precious 10ft custom-built light leger rods fully made up; that is, fully assembled with their tips protruding out of the passenger window and resting between the wing-mirror and the body. I kid myself with increasing frequency that it’s not laziness that compels me to drive the few hundred yards with my tackle raring to go, but a pragmatic expedience that simply saves time…
I found the small riverside car-park struggling to contain the vehicles of so many visitors this beautifully sunny afternoon, three or four nudging the hedgerow of the approach lane and another obstructing a field entrance. I did, however, espy a small gapette and hurriedly clunked my Vectra into reverse…in it went without a hitch! Into neutral, hand-brake on, engine off…windows up.
I’d done it a thousand thousand times before but never with four hundred quid’s worth of fishing rods sticking out of the window! With half a second before the deftest decapitation I saw my mistake and desperately fumbled for the reverse button but all I managed to do was centrally lock the whole vehicle and alter the angle of the driver’s wing mirror, then…. SNIP! I froze in disbelief with my eyes fixed on the two twelve inch sections of carbon dangling from limp 8lb line on the other side of the glass. I looked away either to confirm that I wasn’t dreaming or merely to blot out the horror of my stupidity – I’m not sure which – but the fact was I’d just beheaded the rods bequeathed to me by one of this country’s finest anglers. Forcing myself to take a diverting interest in the movements of sheep I half-prayed to the god I’ve always denied for a miracle or for the realization that I was still in bed and suffering a nightmare, but no… Closing my eyes and turning my head before opening them again produced nothing less than a vision of abject misery: a pair of formerly proud purpose-built, close range tench rods cut off in their prime… two nine foot sections of finest Roger Hurst neatly divested of their heads by Madame Guillotine!
An evening competition on Samphire Hoe at Dover reminded me that it was high summer. Not only the scorching weather, blue sky and the gin clear sea, but the slow fishing, until it got dark. Despite the poor spring and early summer weather when the fishing was amazing it was inevitable that the month long heat wave would got things back onto normal and low and behold Kent is in the summer doldrums. Lots of species have swum past us into the North Sea, whilst others are well away from the shoreline in the dark deeper water.
It’s much the same around the rest of the UK and Ireland – Could you believe the clear water during the open golf at Muirlfield, little other than mackerel swims in daylight in that! The key to fishing now is to find some colour, heavy rock, weed or fish at night. Great if you live near one of the large estuaries like the Severn, Thames, Humber, Solway, etc, or on the more rugged coasts, but on the open shores only the piers and rocky headlands offer the fish enough depth, cover or darkness to allow them to venture close in. OK there are species exceptions like the mackerel, garfish etc, although they too have been thin on the ground in some regions – No it’s late into the night if you want a few bites.
The good news of course is that the nights are drawing in and the falling daylight hours are what kick starts autumn and its great fishing. AND autumn is just around the corner with, hopefully, some improved fishing is on the way. My tip is to look out for some giant bass in the coming weeks. Fishing close in with a fresh mackerel head, flapper or fillet from the pier end, or at night from the beach with a live pout or whiting. My bet is that Dover will reclaim the bass record soon with the end of the Admiralty pier at Dover the venue to head for. On that subject the pier walkway has recently been renewed and narrowed and Dover SAC have banned certain items of sea fishing tackle like trollies, broillies and rod rests from the wall.
Lots of talk about the potentialfishing bans in areas around the UK. Hythe Bay is one in my region and the local fishermen are up in arms and organising meetings with MPs etc. Of course the anglers are joining in and the Hythe Bay situation has reached panic stations for many. Some may scoff and say it’s only going to involve the commercials and it probably will, but there are so many opinions involved with everyone wanting their say who knows where it’s going to end? As an angler of 60 years I have seen the fishing deteriorate dramatically and to me it’s obvious that the commercial fishing, EU and foreign trawlers etc are to blame. It’s not the number of fish it’s just the quality. Instead of cod, plaice, sole etc, its wall to wall dogfish, plus ray and smooth hound and its obvious what is happening. The species that can reproduce in a year or so can survive the commercial onslaught, the species that take several year to mature and are popular on a plate cannot! Fishery conservation requires a commercial fishing ban inshore, catch limits bigger size limits for anglers including an upper size limit for bass and compulsory catch and release.
One species on the up is the Tope since its protection from commercial fishermen. Michael Bell of Seaton has just landed a Tope over the British Record fish (It was returned) of 66lb 10oz. He was fishing from the northern beaches of the isle of man with a mackerel fillet.
It had to happen! We are following the Continentals down the two rod competition route. With the fishing getting poorer, because of those commercials, angling clubs are attempting to improve competition catches by allowing competitors two fishing rods. Why not, carp anglers use four? Well of course the problem is you need more bait and that puts pressure on supplies etc. The latest club to try the system is Swanage SAC, although they have only allowed a total of three hooks between the two rods which sound like a good compromise. The event takes place on the 5th October at Swanage, fishing and release without size limits. Contact Graham Woods the main organiser on Tel 07967 491 995 or E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Staying with the competition theme, entries are dropping off all around the country to the larger “open” events and it’s only the local club competitions that are really thriving. In an attempt to improve things clubs are changing the rules – two rods is one idea but I think bait supplied is the next big change and the ten worm challenge idea is one that I think will catch on..
The dates are out for next years four day Gambian West African beach Championships. I fish it every year and have enjoyed some excellent fishing in recent times. My chance to catch a big fish from the beach. The event is being fished from the 27th March to 30th March 2014 inclusively. Organiser, Bernard Westgarth has a ceiling of 40 entries and you can pre book with him on E-Mail: email@example.com
For accommodation check out the Gambia experience web site.
I’m just back from organising the Sea Angler Penn Sea League Final at Milford shingle Bank (Cut Bridge). Thanks to my mate Chris Clark for his help locally with stewarding, pegging and the pub at the end. You will be able to catch up on the result on Sky TV Tight lines as well as Sea Angler magazine. Catches included some nice black bream as well as wrasse, mackerel and garfish, a venue well worth a try NOW!
What do carp anglers looks for in a rod pod System? It’s a piece of fishing tackle which needs to be sturdy and lightweight and stick to almost any banking or terrain…
The TF Gear Micro Pod is a new ‘pod’ system designed by the in-house anglers and designers at Fishtec. Specifically designed to anchor your fishing rods to the most awkward terrain and give you the portability and weightlessness needed for those sessions where you’re on your feet more than in your bivvy!
When I took the TF Gear Micro Pod out of the packaging the first thing that instantly impressed me was the quality of the carry bag its supplied in. A lot of anglers don’t pay much attention to details like this but when the zips break or split two weeks later and everything starts to fall out they’re not so impressed and blame the manufacturer. The bag is really compact so it’s great for anglers who like to travel light or for those who don’t tend to use a rod pod much so it can be easily stored in the boot of the car, just like I usually do.
The pod itself is a really nice bit of kit, all of the legs are independently adjustable to cope with uneven banks. The main frame is also adjustable so if you’d like to have your front and rear buzz bars further away than the more compact set up, you can easily adjust the width with the use of one clip. You can also adjust the height of the buzz bars so you can have your tips high in the air ‘European style’ or more conventionally down nearer the water.
The clips are impressive too, where you’d adjust the legs the clips are easy to grasp and are strong, not like some of the brittle plastic you get on others. What I like most about the TF Gear Micro Pod is that it has quite a wide footprint, ensuring there is no way the pod can be pulled over or tipped buy the weight of your rods or a moving carp!
First time on the bank this micro pod was brilliant. I managed to set up three of my carp fishing rods comfortably into a tight swim, the first hour the alarm sounded and I hooked into a 23lb mirror right in close to a snag. It tried to pull me straight into it and the pod stayed put and never moved an inch. If I’m honest rod pods aren’t usually my thing but I really like this one. In fact since receiving it I’ve used it every time I’ve been on the bank.
All in all a fantastic compact pod system finished in TF Gears ‘Hardcore Green’ at a great price, at £49.99 you get a mean rod pod! Written by Alex Moyle.
Click here buy the Micro Pod!
The problem of an increasing number of seals taking fish around the coast of the UK was highlighted for me by the dramatic fishing demise of Dover Harbour. With commercial fishing of any kind banned inside the harbour for decades the harbour was always a natural sanctuary for a number of common sea species including bass, pollack, flounder, plaice and even pouting in summer and cod, dabs and whiting in winter. But all that has changed in recent years with the arrival of several large seals inside the harbour only dogfish can be caught consistently, which tells me that seals are not that keen on the doggies. Just up the coast from Dover harbour the River Stour estuary has a similar problem, but even worse the Canterbury coarse angling club report that seals are plundering bream, chub and pike stocks well up the river past Sandwich. They have secured photographic evidence, which they have passed to the Environment Agency for action. Seal cull? – No way. So politically incorrect it looks like we are stuck with them!
Another trip abroad to Italy this month was to fish the Magrini Championships in Sardinia. A third on the first day raised my hopes, but a blanks, along with six other GB anglers I might add, ended my chances. It seems the slow start to spring and summer even effected the Mediterranean angling with the Sardinian anglers complaining of a lack of fish. I must to admit to a liking for fishing ultra light for sea fish because most of the semi tropical species like those found in the Med pull for their size although in the case of Sardinia five hours for two undersized (15cm) weavers has tested my patience. Magrini winner was Irish angler J P Molloy who put in a consistent performance to become only the second Home Nation angler to win the event (joey Arch was the other). Only problem was winning five trophies and an armful of prizes ranging from Sea fishing rods to reels, meant a huge excess baggage charge on his return home. Never mind JP well worth the extra cost because few Home nations anglers can claim such a great win on their CVs.
Tight lines, Alan Yates
Well I have been a bit lacking on the blog writing front recently and for that I apologies. I have recently moved house and been kept busy putting together cabinets and hanging shelves, erecting sheds and all the other paraphernalia that goes with the wonders of a re-location. I’m just glad that moving swims is so much easier!
My carp fishing has changed a lot in the last few weeks, as has the weather, and with spring finally sprung I moved on to the North Met pit in the Lee Valley.
I had heard a lot about the lake in the past but never actually set eyes on the place, although Google Earth is a wonderful tool for a bit of armchair exploration; it’s just a shame you can’t see the fish jumping on there.
It’s an interesting venue, being comprised of two separate lakes that are joined by a pipe that the fish freely swim through and plenty of islands, bays and channels make for a really varied and exciting layout.
My first trip coincided with a bit of early warm weather and, amazingly, I found some of the biggest fish in the lake all lazing in a snaggy half sunken bush at the bottom of a tiny bay, more like a finger of water really. Bearing in mind that the lake is around sixty acres I was surprised, and excited, to find a concentration of eight or nine fish in such close proximity, particularly as there was nobody fishing for them.
It didn’t take much figuring out as to where I was going to start my little campaign and I soon had two carp fishing rods set up in the nearest available swim and cast out in perfect positions to intercept any fish that left the snag and travelled back up the finger.
The important thing about snag fishing is to make sure you have taken the safest option possible and that anything you might hook is going to end up on the bank and not wrapped around an old sunken tree root. To this ends I had carefully scoured the water with my Polaroids and made sure my fishing line was clear of obstructions and, with everything set, I sat up close to the rods to wait.
To be honest I wasn’t actually expecting any action until the evening when the fish might decide to move out and I was just wondering if I may have set the traps too early when one of them went off.
I had only been fishing for an hour and already I was into my first carp on a new water.
Because of the nature of the swim I didn’t let him gain any line and it was a bit of a hit and hold tactic I employed really. I could feel him twisting and turning in an attempt to gain some ground and then, with a wave of his tail, he rolled over on the surface and knew he was heading for the net.
He wasn’t the biggest fish I’d ever caught, in fact he was probably the smallest of the whole bunch I’d seen in the snag, an out-runner that was not considered big or old enough to sit in the main snag with the big girls, but he was very welcomed all the same.
It’s always good to get that first fish and to get one so quickly was a real bonus, although the swim did die a bit of a death after this and the rest of the gang melted away throughout my first night without stopping for supper as they passed me by.
I knew that the Met would only be a short interlude for me during the spring as I had a water lined up for the beginning of the tradition season but I intended to try my hardest to get a few more over the coming weeks. Plenty of walking and staying very mobile was the plan and I was really looking forward to putting it into action, everything depended on the weather though and the water temperature needed to rise considerably before the fish would leave the cover of snags, reed-beds and the like and start using the lake properly, hopefully it would happen sooner rather than later.
Don’t forget to take a look at my Carp Fishing Video Diary!
I have been experimenting with lures and after reading Mike Ladles latest offering in Sea Angler magazine have decided to adopt his tactics, “Little and large” which seems logical. It involves add ons, a mini lure behind the main lure, or in a dropper in front. He also talks of using a small rubber ball to aid casting distance – I have used a clear bubble float with some effect, but a clear rubber ball is heavier and he says casts like a bullet. I will report later on how I got one. In the meantime Mike’s piece is in issue 492 of the magazine. You must use a soft, forgiving fishing rod to get the best out of this method, my preferred rod for this type of fishing is the TF Gear Bluestrike lure rod, use the weights which match your lure system.
Major on the shore sea fishing scene for me this month is the start of another Sea Angler Clubman season. Clubs all around the British Isles enter the results of their monthly evening competitions and the event includes tackle prizes from Penn for the best teams and individuals. The competition has proved very successful in recent years and because it is at grass roots, all club anglers can get involved. Points are awarded from 1st to 5th in each match with a minimum of ten competitors to qualify. If you are a club angler, give it a look. E Mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to top Isle of Wight sea angler, Russ Catling. He landed a new island record undulate ray of 18lb 1oz recently on a chunk of cuttlefish whilst fishing under the Islands eroding cliffs late at night. But Russ didn’t kill the fish to claim the record, he released it alive. What about a new catch and release British record category…
An unsuccessful trip with the Dover Sea Angling Association Team to fish the World Club Championships at Grandola in Portugal set me back on my heels a tad. Its not often I fish a match and do so badly – in fact despite a section win for two team members all five of the team suffered at least one bad day and over the four day match we only managed to finish 14th. Now considering there were 18 teams that’s pretty horrendous and I offer no excuses except to say that maybe we concentrated on casting distance too much and used too heavy hook snood line. Winners were Spain who fished for garfish in the edge and that proved the most consistent method, although more spectacular was the results of long casting in terms of individual anglers and catches of mullet, mackerel and trigger fish.
The good thing is that the team learned a lot and expressed the thought that they should have done what Wales did, they finished fifth, and practised for the week previous to the Championships. Best performance of the event in my opinion was from Belgium who took the bronze medal behind Portugal’s silver. Belgium fish fairly light and small at home, but they did adapt to the finesse required fishing the Portuguese Atlantic beaches. Eye opening is just how fine in terms of line you can go when using a fixed spool and continental style beachcaster, I coarse fish a lot and am used to carping with light lines, but I used 0.20mm mainline and 0.18mm snood line and others went finer than that. For me it was a glimpse into the future of UK beachcasting and already at home we can see the beginning of the fishing light revolution in LRF and fishing Continental beach style. OK the main drive towards fishing with light line, small hooks and soft fishing rods in the UK is the decline of the fish stocks, BUT it allows anglers to enjoy the sport and the small species the commercials have left us! In Portugal catching mackerel on light gear is a skill and it should be the same here with the species given more regard. Forget the feathering hoards and mackerel madness, one mackerel at a time at long range on pop ups and size 6 hooks on 0.14mm line is a terrific way to match fish and I can’t wait for someone, or an innovative club to run a mackerel, bait only with no jigging match, from a UK beach in summer.
Talking about line diameter- the only way to be sure about a line is by measuring its diameter – My measurements reveal that lots of the so called stronger lines are simply thicker!!
Now I am off to Sardinia for the Magrina Championships, which is a major Italian event. The same light line tactics apply and I am trained up so to speak and expect to do better. But match fishing is a continuous learning curve even for an old hand like me and its full of shocking surprises, especially for those that think they know it all!
At last some smoothhound and bass showing in my region, the crabs are peeling and perhaps now we can get back to thoughts of summer – The lure rod is in the car for those opportunistic night tides when the sea is calm, single mackerel on a spinner or plug are fun, but a schoolie bass is better! I have a few rock marks I can creep around when the conditions are still and clear and the light is low enough just to see. Its grab the TF Gear bum bag and hit that short “deadly” window at dawn or dusk that is most likely to produce a take!