9 Father’s Day Fishing Gift Ideas!

June the 19th marks father’s day in the UK! Why not treat your angling obsessed dad to a fishing related gift? To make things easier, we have put together 9 of our top father’s day gift suggestions for you – all available on a next day delivery from Fishtec!

1. Head Torch – Every angler needs a head torch! It’s something fishermen are guaranteed to lose on a regualr basis. The TF Gear Night spark is a quality bit of kit – waterproof, with a very bright 100 lumen light and batteries last ages. Price £19.99

The Night spark head torch from TF Gear

The Night spark head torch from TF Gear.

2. Polaroid Sunglasses – Another essential for any type of angler. Whether you are stalking carp, walking the chalk stream looking for trout, or barbel spotting on a big river polaroid glasses cut through the surface glare and allow you to literally see beneath the surface glare. These neat interchangeable glasses from Airflo are actually 3 glasses in one – a different coloured lense is supplied for each light condition. Price £29.99

The Airflo Interchangeable sunglasses - three glasses in one.

The Airflo Interchangeable sunglasses – three glasses in one.

3. Water proof phone case – For some dad’s, getting them onto a ‘smart phone’ took long enough in the first place… why change from a Nokia 3310???  Make sure they don’t ruin their new fangled iPhone in the drink with one of these awesome overboard phone cases. Price £18.99

Overboard phone cases

Water proof overboard phone cases.

4. Online Gift Voucher – Ran out of time or cannot make a decision on a gift? Fishtec online gift vouchers are the ideal gift for father’s day. Easy to buy and use, you can select the amount, the date the recipient will receive their voucher, and even include a Father’s day message. Price – you decide! From £10 up.

Fishtec Gift vouchers

Fishtec Gift vouchers.

5. Ridge Monkey toaster – Dad’s love having a munch whilst waiting for a bite. These nifty toasters are the best thing to hit the bank since sliced bread…. and that goes really well into one of these with a load of cheese and BBQ sauce! Price £16.99 (standard size) £24.99 XL size.

ridge monkey toasters

Ridge monkey toasters.

6. Dr Slick deluxe gift set – A lovely little gift set with two very important things for any fisherman – forceps and a razor sharp set of line nippers. Also supplied with a retractable zinger and a fly box, this is the ideal gift for dads who like to fish for trout and salmon especially. Price £35

Dr Slick deluxe gift set

Dr Slick deluxe gift set.

7. New wellington boots – Wellies are an essential part of any fisherman’s tackle. We bet your dad’s are well past it, and smelly to boot, so why not get him a new pair? These ultra comfortable boots from Hardwear feature flexible neoprene, and are very warm and stylish. Price £34.99 (rrp £49.99)

Hardwear neoprene wellingtons

Hardwear neoprene wellingtons – incredible comfort!

8. Tackle box – For putting your bit’s and pieces in, you simply cannot beat the Lok box from TF Gear! A basic box but very well built and will not break the bank.  Price £14.99

TF Gear Lok-box - a great tackle box that will not break the bank!

TF Gear Lok-box – a great tackle box that will not break the bank!

9. FishSpy underwater camera – This is for the tech-savvy dad that already has it all – fishfinder, electric engine, own boat, garage bulging with gear and is crazy about carp! This bit of kit will enable you to see what you’re missing quite literally; with it’s live and recorded underwater footage. Simply cast it out and transmit to your phone. Price £199.99 (rrp £249.99).

Underwater camera

Image Source: http://www.fishspy.com/
For anglers who love their tech.

 

10 Fantastic Fishing Songs

10 Fantastic Fishing Songs

singing by the river

Image source: BigStock
The riverbank has always inspired great music.

Do you have your own all-time favourite fishing songs? Here are 10 of ours, spanning genres as varied as country, blues and folk. These catchy little odes to the world’s best sport have been collected together from our much-listened to playlists, YouTube watchlists, and much-loved records on our shelves.

Be advised, these fantastic fishing songs will have you running to the riverbank (or the record shop) in no time at all!

1 – “Fisherman’s Blues” – The Waterboys

Marking their transition from rockers to adopted Irish folk-rockers, “Fisherman’s Blues” is the titular song in The Waterboys’ now-classic 1988 album. Singing of their wish to be fishermen, “tumblin’ on the seas, far away from dry land and bitter memories”, they evoke the amazing sense of freedom that fishing gives you. Listening to the line, “no ceiling bearin’ down on me, except the starry sky above,” it’s almost more than we can take not to dash out into the night with our fishing rods right then.

2 – “Fishin’ Blues” – Taj Mahal

For a song called “Fishing Blues”, Taj Mahal’s tune is downright upbeat. But that’s because he’s a man who’s pretty darn happy; he’s “goin’ fishin’, yes I’m goin’ fishin’ and my baby goin’ fishin’ too”. Who wouldn’t be happy about that? Taj Mahal, a renowned American blues musician, recorded this version in 1968, but the song’s a lot older than that; the earliest version we know about dates to 1928. More than just a jaunty tune, it’s also got some decent advice at it’s core: “many fish bite if you got good bait”. Simple, but to the point.

3 – “Gone Fishin’” – Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong

Now for an oldie, but a goodie. Legendary duo, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong, have got their priorities right in their 1951 classic  “Gone Fishin’”. They’ve left the “hoe out in the sun” and hung signs on their office doors, and headed straight to the river to fish. “Mister Satch and Mister Cros” really know how to live. Roughly a decade after the success of this song, Bing and Louis recorded an entire album together; a dynamite duo like this doesn’t come around every day. As for this song, we dare you to listen and not croon along with them.

4 – “I’m gonna go fishin’” – Peggy Lee

Another vintage entry into our Top 10, this time from the 70s, comes from American jazz singer Peggy Lee. Originally composed by Duke Ellington, “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’” has been performed by the likes of Woody Guthrie, Mel Torme, and New Orleans star Dr John over the years. But we like the spin Ms Lee puts on this classic track. Just listen to her sultry, dulcet tones singing about fishing for trout. “I’m gonna go fishing and jump in the lake,” she sings. We wouldn’t mind jumping in with her…

5 – “Can’t Catch a Fish” – The Fishing Musicians

You don’t need to dive down deep to get the wisdom of “Can’t Catch a Fish”, it’s right there in the fun, cheery lyrics. Offering life advice in the guise of an ode to our favourite pastime, the Fishing Musicians remind you that “you can’t catch a fish if your line ain’t in the water.” True words, indeed. And if you like what you see, you can always catch more of the Fishing Musicians on their YouTube channel.

6 – “Fish and Whistle” – John Prine

Now let’s take the tempo down a notch with “Fish and Whistle”, a song from John Prine’s 1978 album, “Bruised Orange”. A brave choice for the opening track, this sweet-sounding song is a meditation on mankind’s flaws, and almost a celebration of all the little things in our lives. Settle back, let it wash over you and take its message to heart. “We’ll forgive each other till we both turn blue, then we’ll whistle and go fishing in heaven.”

8 – “Deep River Blues” – Doc Watson

Conjuring up steamboats and banjos and early morning river mist, Doc Watson’s “Deep River Mist” is a bluesy tale of heading to the river to escape your troubles. You wouldn’t know it by listening to his masterful fingerwork but Doc, born in 1928, was actually blind from the age of one. Never letting his lack of sight slow him down, Doc went on to become an accomplishment folk and bluegrass musician and, later, one of the best acoustic guitarists in the states.

9 – “Five Pound Bass” – Robert Earl Keen

Another musician with tiptop skills, Robert Earl Keen’s tale of the five pound bass will get your toes tapping. There are no metaphors or life lessons here; Keen’s song is a hearty, uptempo song about waking up to catch an epic fish. “I find a perfect spot… I tie my lure, I make my cast”, watching the “lure as it’s flying through the air” into the cool, clean water. And does he catch it? Dear reader, he does. And “it’s big as a god-damned baby.”

10 – “Fishin’ in the Dark” – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The American country music group, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (or NGDB to fans), released “Fishin’ in the Dark” in 1987. It was a massive hit then and it’s still a classic now. And though it doesn’t take a genius to see through the euphemisms, this is an all-out feel-good tune about love and fishing… of sorts. “It don’t matter if… the fish don’t bite” when “you and me go fishin’ in the dark, lyin’ on our backs and countin’ the stars.”

“A Bad Day’s Fishing (beats a good day’s work)”, Slim Dusty

We can all agree that Slim Dusty knows what he’s talking about. A mediocre day at the river still beats most things – especially a day at work. We all know that feeling when the fish aren’t biting, but the midges are and yet, somehow, you don’t care. That’s because, as Slim would say, even a “bad day’s fishing is good for the soul.” Sing it, Slim!

So that was our Top 10, but the fishing song fun doesn’t stop there; we’ve put together a playlist of some of these songs for your listening enjoyment, plus a few extra for good measure. Now you can enjoy fishing songs wherever you are! But we’re always on the hunt for more, so let us know some of your favourites on our Facebook page.

UK anglers’ public enemies are ravaging the rivers

peaceful river

Image source: shutterstock
Beautiful fishing spot – but what danger lurks around here for fish?

Marauders are ravaging our rivers! Fish stocks are depleted, and river ecosystems are suffering. Quite simply, there are too many mouths to feed and not enough fish.

But who is devouring all the fish? Where did they come from and what is being done to minimise their impact? We take a look at six of the most infamous predators and the problems they’re causing for anglers.

Cormorants

Cormorant

Image source: Steve Waterhouse
Cormorants are out of control

Cormorants may only eat what they need to survive, but survival means a significant diet! They feed on at least a pound of fish a day, which they catch with their long, hook-tipped bills while swimming underwater.

Historically, cormorants have been controlled through pesticide pollution and persecution, but that changed after Denmark and Holland introduced protective legislation in the 1960s. The British Trust for Ornithology explains how:

‘The European population increased rapidly and continental birds started to extend their wintering range into Britain & Ireland.’

Before 1981, you would have found cormorants breeding mainly on the British coast. But when one tree nesting colony established itself at a reservoir in Essex, others followed. By 2012, they were breeding at 89 inland sites in England! Numbers have risen ever since, and it’s estimated that 30,000 birds come to the UK every winter.

Why does this increase in population matter? Because cormorants are a real threat to fish stocks. A survey by Swansea university found that they are causing a problem for most fisheries. In fact they’re considered to be more of a threat than mink or otters.

Cormorants favour medium sized fish and often leave damaged victims on the bank if they can’t swallow them. Martin Harper for the RSPB paints a vivid picture:

“To a cormorant, an angling lake stocked full of fish is much like a bird table to a blue tit – a feast to be harvested.”

There’s no easy solution either. Cormorants are protected under the Wildlife and countryside act 1981. However, thanks to three years of campaigning by the Angling Trust, it’s now to simpler to apply for a license to shoot cormorants that are causing major problems.

Goosanders

goosander

Image source: shutterstock
This sawbill duck loves salmon

This streamlined swimmer originally came from Nordic countries to over winter in Scotland, but since the 1970s, they’ve spread throughout England and Wales.

Goosanders are medium sized members of the sawbill group of ducks, so-called because they have long narrow bills with saw like teeth, good for gripping fish. Their preferred diet is salmon and trout.

Upland river fisheries in particular, see goosanders as a problem. Not a surprise when you realise a young goosander needs 33 kg of fish to reach adulthood! Blogger Nick Hart witnessed them doing their stuff on the Deveron last Autumn:

Their synchronization was incredible, several birds corral the fish while others dive below the surface.  Then they swap…  …there were pods of these saw-bills guzzling fish amounting to in excess of 100 birds!  The fish did not have a chance.’

These predatory ducks can be shot under license, and the government have now extended the control season to May at times of low flow, when salmon and sea trout smolt migrations are particularly vulnerable.

Otters

otter goldfish

Image source: Hugh Miles
Otters are turning to ornamental fish

Hungry cormorants and goosanders are also causing problems for other river predators. Tim Paisley of the Predation Action Group, believes the increase in cormorant predation has created a chronic shortage of otters’ natural prey:

‘…otters, to an increasing extent, to seek their prey in what would not normally be their natural hunting grounds; still-waters, carp waters, fish farms, and even garden ponds… have all become part of the new hunting grounds

In the 1970s, otters were extinct across much of UK. That all changed in the 80s and 90s when Philip Wayre, founder of the Otter Trust, released 117 otters into an ecosystem that couldn’t support them.  Ron Key of The Angling Times explains why this was a bad move:

‘Unfortunately the reintroduction of otters coincided with predation from other species such as the cormorant, signal crayfish and goosander, and the negative impact they were having on our waters. Predation is not just about otters. In recent years the otters’ main food, the eel has also reduced drastically, increasing the need for them to look at alternative food sources.’

It’s bad enough that otters now have extra competition for food. Add in the fact that they’re at the top of the food chain, and it’s no surprise that they’ve became a problem. Champion angler  Bob Roberts comments:

‘The otter has no predators. It is the apex predator of the waterways. It did not exist everywhere in the past and certainly shouldn’t do today.’

It doesn’t help matters that otters fish for fun as well as food!. Shaun Harrison blogger for Angling lines describes them in action:

‘The problem with otters is that they work like cats and kill for fun as well as food… and then seem to delight in a couple of mouthfuls, and then leave the carp to a slow and agonising (I would guess) death.’

Anglers can’t do much to change the situation, as otters are a protected species, You’re breaking the law if you harm, them capture them, or destroy their breeding place.

Mink

mink

Image source: Canal and River Trust
Is the problem with mink of our own making?

As with otters, it could be argued that the problem with mink was also caused by human mistakes.  American mink arrived in Britain in 1929. Suddenly in demand due to the popularity of commercial fur farms, they were reported to be breeding wild in the UK in 1956, due to escapees and deliberate release.

In 1998, animal activists released 8000 mink from a fur farm in North Staffordshire. A lot of the animals were trapped but the rest have populated vast areas of Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire.

Smaller and slimmer than otters, with a deep brown coat, minks are more confident than otters and are spotted more often in daylight hours. They’re from the same family as stoats, badgers, weasels. According to the Canal and River Trust:

‘Mink are opportunistic predators who will happily eat a variety of fish, small mammals, birds and invertebrates.’

Like otters, they hunt for fun as well as sustenance, and often leave fish remains on the bank. They’re a particular threat to salmon and trout fisheries.  As well as devouring fish, these creatures eat rare birds, and are having such a huge impact on water voles, that they may soon be extinct throughout much of Britain.

Volunteers with the Lochaber mink project are making a concerted effort to catch mink troublemakers. The process involves ascertaining exactly where the mink are coming to feed. To do this they use a mink raft.

‘Mink rafts have a tunnel over a clay pad; as mink go through the tunnel (they are naturally inquisitive) they leave tracks on the clay. Rafts can be checked every one to two weeks and so are less labour-intensive than trapping.’

Mink are then trapped on the rafts or by traps dug into the river bank.

Seals

grey seal

Image source: shutterstock
Salmon-loving seals are being shot

Seal populations are extremely healthy around the UK coastline, and numbers have grown rapidly in recent years. While they enjoy salmon, these appealing creatures aren’t overly fussy about the fish they consume. Pike, bream and carp have all been victims. However, seals are fussy about which parts of a fish they’ll eat. They leave plenty of leftovers!

As seals are a protected species, non-lethal deterrents have to be the first port of call. Seal scarers that emit a high pitched noise can deter them. However, sometimes they become such a problem that fishery managers apply for a license to kill. They are regularly shot in Scotland under licence to protect salmon and sea trout stocks in estuaries. In 2013 alone, 200 seals were shot.

Even the RSPCA recognizes that the issue of seal control is far from simple. They say that there is significant evidence that fish can feel pain. They point out that farmers are also under legal obligation to protect their fish.

Seals hit the headlines in 2013, when a female dubbed Keith turned up in the River Severn following flooding. Convinced that Keith was depriving them of catches, anglers tried to bring in a hitman to get rid of the seal for good.

Blogger Carl over at Fishing Adventures wasn’t impressed:

‘Can you imagine what the anti anglers would say about that? It would be in all the papers, ‘Anglers shoot seal!’ Now that would do angling’s image a whole load of good… NOT! The other option is to find a humane way of removing it from the river, namely transporting it back to the sea.’

A tricky problem to solve, indeed. But the problems aren’t all about birds and mammals…

Killer Shrimp

killer shrimp

Image source: S. Giesen
Beware this destroyer of native shrimps!

D. villosis (aka the killer shrimp) is an aggressive predator which spread to the UK from Eastern Europe. This tiny terror kills and feeds on native freshwater shrimps, young fish and insect larvae.

Why do the shrimp’s feeding habits matter so much? According to Woodlands blogger Chris:

‘Where it invades, it tends to dominate the habitat often resulting in the local extinction of native freshwater species.  This alien invader can be as small as 3 mm BUT can grow to be three centimeters in length – much larger than our native freshwater shrimps.’

Over the last few years, DEFRA has been running a campaign to raise public awareness of this killer. The key words of the campaign for all anglers are CHECK, CLEAN and DRY. All it takes to destroy any clingy shrimps is fifteen minutes submerged in hand-hot water! But if you don’t follow this advice, the shrimps can survive in your wet fishing gear for up to 15 days.

Worried that your other half isn’t going to be best pleased to find your fishing gear soaking in the bath? Angling coach Roger Patrick  has come up with an inventive idea:

‘I bought a large plastic storage box and use that. It takes my boots, waders, landing net and reels… Easy really and it leads to greater harmony in the home.’

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits releasing non-native species into the wild, but no one has been prosecuted under the law. However, some MPs are pressuring the government to allow environment officers to enter any land where they suspect invasive species are creating a problem.

Get back to basics

Image source: Angling Times

Image source: Angling Times
Your licence helps restore rivers

Anglers are agreed. When it comes to predators, we need to learn from our past mistakes. Blogger Hugh Miles, writes:

“There should be a law in place that allows Natural England to insist on an Environmental Impact Assessment before any release to protect the balance of nature. Releasing an apex predator into the wild should require a license.”

The Angling Trust believes that the situation will only change if the government focuses on restoring healthy fisheries. How this can happen?

‘Through controlling pollution, reducing abstraction and restoring habitats. This will make fish populations more resilient to otters, cormorants and other predators.’

So anglers, it’s time to take action! You can support the Angling Trust’s plan by doing one simple thing. Pay for a rod license (you probably do this already, right?). The Angling Trust currently uses rod license fees to employ three fisheries management advisors. These advisors coordinate the efforts of local fisheries to manage cormorant predation.  They also help erect fencing to exclude otters, as well as placing submerged fish refuges in fisheries.

Have you had any close encounters of the predatory kind? Head over to our Facebook page and share your stories. We look forward to reading them!

The invasion of British waterways

North american crayfish

Image source: Trevor Renals, GB Non-Native Species Secretariat
Our riverbanks are being invaded by non-native species

British waters are under attack! Non-native species of plants and animals are invading our waterways, destroying native river inhabitants and destabilising ecosystems.

Anglers are the first line of defence. According to the Angling Trust we already spend 100,000 hours every year combatting the invasive non-native species (INNS) that impact fishing. But there’s still more we can do to slow the onslaught and defend our waterways.

We take a look at five of the “Most Wanted” invasive species and give you some top tips on invasion prevention!

The Signal Crayfish

signal crayfish

Image source: Angling Trust
Beware the omnivorous signal crayfish

Introduced to the UK as a high-end seafood, the signal crayfish is the one enjoying the meal now. Treating British waterways as its own personal buffet, these large crayfish not only attack our native white-clawed crayfish, but will kill and eat small fish, fish fry, and fish eggs.

The signal crayfish is a disaster for indigenous wildlife. It transmits a “plague” which kills the native crayfish and displaces native fish, including Atlantic salmon parr and stone loach. Even worse, by burrowing into riverbanks, the signal cray erodes the aquatic habitats of other creatures and renders streams to shallow for fish to swim in.

The topmouth gudgeon

topmouth gudgeon

Image source: Creative Commons/ Wikipedia
Small but deadly, the topmouth gudgeon can be mistaken for a sardine

Don’t let its small size fool you. According to the Environment Agency (EA), the topmouth gudgeon is a “tiny yet destructive” fish, which carries a disease that can kill Britain’s native salmon and trout. This wily sardine-lookalike dominates the rivers and lakes it spreads to, even out-competing carp.

Accidentally introduced to the UK from Asia in the 1980s via the aquatic trade, the topmouth gudgeon quickly spread to 23 sites around the country.

But this is one of the success stories. The EA is battling back and the topmouth gudgeon is steadily losing ground. With a bit of luck it will soon go the way of the fathead minnow and the black bullhead catfish, both of which now no longer exist in the UK. Victory is possible!

The killer shrimp

killer shrimp

Image source: CanalRiverTrust
The killer shrimp is aptly named, often killing without eating their prey

Killer shrimp are deadly to freshwater invertebrates like native shrimp and also to small fish, often slaughtering without even eating their victims. They also kill any insect they encounter, including damselflies and water boatmen, reducing the amount of food available for fish.

The watery assassins come from the Black and Caspian seas but migrated here aboard commercial shipping. First spotted in the UK in 2010, the Killer Shrimp’s insatiable appetite and fast breeding cycle make them them one of most damaging invasive species not just in the UK but across Europe.

Floating pennywort

Floating pennywort

Image source: canalrivertrust.org.uk
Floating pennywort has almost completely covered this stretch of river

The pretty green leaves may look nice, but floating pennywort is an angler’s worst nightmare.

This invasive plant thickly carpets British waterways with its crinkled, kidney-shaped leaves, driving away fish and other river residents by blocking out the light and depriving the water of oxygen.

And, to make matters worse, the plant grows up to 20 cm a day and can spawn from even a tiny piece of root making it difficult and expensive to remove.

Originally imported to the UK in the 1980s to prettify ponds, floating pennywort is now considered so destructive that in 2014 the UK Government banned its sale here in the UK.

The sunbleak, or motherless minnow

sunbleak

Image source: Adrian Pinder/ Mike Ladle
The sunbleak moves in large shoals and can outcompete much larger fish

Small in stature the sunbleak may be, but you’ll be amazed the harm one small fish can cause. As Mike Ladle points out, it’s a fish that punches way above its weight:

“They… compete for food with other fish – particularly the young of rudd, roach or bream… [they] devour the fry, hatchlings or particularly the eggs of larger species.”

Sunbleak reproduce at lightening speed, rapidly colonising the rivers and moving in large shoals. Depressingly destructive, this fish is yet another example of a foreign invader originally imported to the UK to prettify fishponds.

What can you do?

Check, Clean, Dry

Image source: GB Non-Native Species Secretariat
Make “Check, Clean, Dry” your new mantra

To stop the spread of invasive species, remember three words: “Check, Clean, Dry”. Here’s what you should do each time you finish fishing for the day – or – move from one fishing spot to another:

CHECK: Check all your fishing gear for any living organisms.

CLEAN: Clean everything you took fishing, including your footwear, clothes and gear.

DRY: Make sure everything is completely dry before you use it again.Some invasive species can survive for days in damp conditions.

Help spread the word. The GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) produces posters, signs, and other materials about the campaign that you can put up at your local angling club.

If you think you’ve got invaders in your local stretch of river, head over to the Angling Trust and NNSS websites to look at some of the mugshots on display. Can you identify a non-native? email your report to the NNSS or fill out the form.

Have you had any encounters with river invaders? Head over to our Facebook page and tell us your stories from the front lines!

I’d rather be fishing!

gone fishing

Image source: shutterstock
Better than a birthday party?

Nearly half of all anglers admit to dodging an important event to go fishing! According to our Big Fishing Survey, just over 1400 of the 3100 anglers who took part admitted to ducking their responsibilities to get an extra few hours by the water.

In fact you’d be amazed what some audacious anglers get up to when they should be elsewhere! Read on to find out how anglers skip work, weddings, anniversaries and more – and all so they can wet a line!

Birthday or Bass?

birthday cake

Image source: bigstock
Birthday bunk-off

Ever missed a family member’s birthday to go fishing? 60% of you have, including Sigurður from Iceland, who missed his wife’s birthday and drily remarks: “This will never happen again.” We’re sure it won’t!

It’s not just birthdays that anglers miss. Rod-crazy Rhys admits to being by the water when he should be eating birthday cake. He also tells us he nearly missed the birth of his own child! He doesn’t say how close it was, only that he “just made it”.

Anniversary or angling?

anniversary couple

Image source: shutterstock
Away on your anniversary?

More than a third of you said you’d gone fishing on your wedding anniversary. What an unromantic lot! One angler admits that he simply forgot it was his anniversary and had accidentally booked a weekend fishing trip. Well, it would have been rude not to go…

iain fraser

Image source: flyfishingwithfraser.co.uk
There may be trouble ahead…

Not everyone has such an understanding partner. Blogger Iain Fraser was Captain of the English Police river team competing in the Home International. All but one of his teammates blanked, but there was worse to come when Iain got home to his wife, Anne. Ian says:

“I missed our 41st wedding anniversary so wasn’t too popular with Anne, who contacted the organiser and told him if he didn’t put the event back a week, I wouldn’t be going in 2015 (he did.)”

Wedding or waders?

sad bride

Image source: shutterstock
To love, honour and… fish?

What could be more important than a family wedding? Fishing, according to 14% of you who took part in our survey! Angling mad John missed his sister’s nuptials to go fishing. And not even a stag night can entice every angler. Several said they missed a stag do, and one resolute rod-carrier even missed his own stag celebration.

Your honeymoon escapades are even more shocking. Unromantic Ian says he sent his new wife to Spain while he went angling with friends. They do say absence makes the heart grow fonder!

We couldn’t believe fishing fanatic John’s honeymoon story. He left his beloved at home and trotted off to Scotland to pursue his passion for angling.

Then there’s the groom who went fishing with his best man while the bride went on holiday with her bridesmaids. Whatever floats your boat!

Career or Carp?

interview

Image source: shutterstock
Focused on fishing?

Our survey reveals that 10% of participants have missed a job interview to fulfil their need to fish. But it doesn’t stop at the interview. Those of you lucky enough to land a job end up dodging important work commitments to go angling!

One angler bunked off work for a whole week to go fishing:

“I called in sick, packed my rod and off I went to Cornwall.”

Another keen angler was meant to hold a presentation with important customers but went fishing instead. Funnily enough, the customers got tired of waiting and left!

“I managed to get them back the next week, but my boss was not happy.”

Fishing-mad Fin was so keen to maximise his time on the riverbank he actually resigned from his job.

Escape from exams

boy fishing playing hookey

Image source: shutterstock
Playing hookey? Surely not; it must be the weekend!

According to our survey, your casual attitude to work seems to have started in the school classroom. Many of you posted your memories of skipping school to fish. One enthusiastic angler even missed his university finals to take part in an international match at Lough Owel.

Barry McConnell remembers how his parents confiscated his rods as O-levels loomed. But even this didn’t stop him finding ways to fish:

“I’ve still got the old diary from 1973 that records a catch of three mirror carp taken on floating crust without a rod. I used a handheld spool from a Mitchell 300, which was hidden in the schoolbag. I was supposed to be sitting my French O-level exam that day and didn’t dare tell my parents. See what I mean – obsession.”

Family or Fishing?

family friction

Image source: shutterstock
Family friction!

Wait until you read some of the family fables you shared with us! Angling-absorbed Kenny recalls that his wife gave birth to his daughter on a Friday night:

“I had to ask my dad to pick her up from hospital to take them home, because I had a sea fishing competition to get to. It didn’t go down well!”

We’re not surprised!

Then there are the stories of missed parents evenings and missed operations. Avid angler Nigel admits that he missed his son’s graduation because his partner had booked him a fishing session for his birthday. Would you have gone?

It’s not just your children who’ve suffered. Many of you admit you’ve missed Christmas dinners or New year parties; several even skipped funerals to go fishing. One angler competed at a commonwealth fly fishing competition while the rest of the family attended his aunt’s funeral.

Finally, you have to feel sorry for the poor pooch whose owner forgot to pick him up from the vets because he was out fishing. The dog endured a night at the vets and the angler was hit with a £100 bill.

At the end of the day…

Many of you really would rather be fishing than doing almost anything else. But seasoned angler Mark Barrett strikes a cautionary note about his commitment to the sport:

“I have missed countless nights out, family occasions etc. You don’t get those back.”

But perhaps you can have it all… Take a leaf out of Andy and Marie Dickinson’s book. The angling couple tied the knot draped in fishing nets, and presumably promised to “love, honour and fish every day.”

Have you dodged important occasions to go fishing? We’d love to hear your stories, so pop over to our Facebook page and share away!

3 Cracking Carp Fishing Holiday Destinations

mirror carp

Image source: shutterstock
Take your holidays where the great fishing is!

If you were to jet off with your fishing tackle in tow, where would you head for the ultimate carp fishing holiday?

When we put the question to you, we were expecting you to plump for exotic foreign shores. But according to our Big Fishing survey, you don’t want to travel that far. In fact your top three carp fishing destinations are all in Europe. So where are your dream carp fishing hotspots?

1. The River Ebro, Spain

river ebro

Image source: shutterstock
Spain’s beautiful River Ebro

Although best known for it’s giant catfish, the Ebro River in Spain is also a favourite carp fishing holiday destination. Think 300 days of sunshine each year, shoals of massive virgin common carp and a current carp record that stands at 78 lbs. Why wouldn’t you want to fish the Ebro?

With carp so plentiful, you’re in with a good chance of multiple catches – and because many of these fish have never before been caught – the fight alone is worth cost of the flight to Spain.

Expect carp averaging between 20 and 30lbs but prepare for a 40, 50 or 60lb plus beauty. And in the unlikely event you get tired of reeling in carp, you’re also likely to come across catfish, zander, perch, black bass, barbel and rudd too.

Where to head

At over 577 miles long, the Ebro is the second longest river in the Iberian peninsula, and it offers a multitude of carp fishing opportunities. You could take a road trip or base yourself in one of the market towns that dot the river banks. The small town of Flix is a popular choice for anglers as is the historic town of Caspe, known for its top quality carp and catfish angling.

carping ebro

Image source: sportsquestholidays
Great carping on the Ebro!

Why not take advantage of the expertise offered by one of the many guided fishing operators working in the area? With over a decade in business under their belt, Catfish Capers know a thing or two about fishing for carp and catfish on the Ebro. Based in Caspe they specialise in providing dream fishing holidays for anyone from beginners right through to seasoned pros.

2. DreamLakes, France

dreamlakes

Image source: fishigquestions.co.uk
The peaceful tree-lined surroundings of DreamLakes

Set in the countryside of France’s Champagne region, DreamLakes is your second choice carp fishing destination. A complex of five mature and peaceful fishing lakes, the resort is within easy reach of the channel ports. Located just outside the town of Orconte, south of Calais, it’ll only take you about four hours to drive from the ferry or Eurostar terminal to the lakes. Cue a road trip to experience some of the best specimen carp on the continent.

The lakes total 40 acres and are home to numerous large carp, including common carp, mirror carp and grass carp. Well stocked with 30 and 40lb carp, as well as bigger fish nearer the 50lb and even 60lb mark, it’s surely the proximity to the UK and the quality of fish that makes DreamLakes so popular with or readers.

Where to head

Each lake offers something different. DreamLake 1 is all about specimen carp fishing with regular catches weighing well into the 50lb range. But there are bigger fish there too, if you’ve got the skill and patience to outwit the really big carp that live there. The DreamLakes record for common carp caught in DreamLake 1 stands at 70lb 20z.

dreamlakes common carp

47lb common carp from DreamLakes

Alternatively, DreamLake 4, which opened in 2000 was originally stocked with over 200 carp and more have been added since, making it a great beginner lake. More experienced anglers will love it too and many have broken their personal best fishing this lake.

DreamLakes is the brian child of British angler, Zenon Bojko, who runs the complex with his family. There are two holiday options from which to choose: the package holiday or a self-drive package. The package holiday includes transport for you and your kit and the self-drive package has the option to pre-book fishing tackle.

Make the journey to France a worthwhile one by taking advantage of the on-site bailiffs’ experience, as well as reading up on the top tips and tactics for each of the lakes before you go.

3. Anglers Paradise, England

carping at anglers paradise

Image source: masterblanker
There’s something in the water at Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise in Devon takes third spot on the podium which just goes to show that you don’t have to travel far to experience top quality carp fishing.

More than 30 lakes make up Anglers Paradise, 12 of which are exclusive to residents staying on site. These 12 lakes house carp nearing 40lb, as well as golden orfe, tench and wels catfish. Why not try your luck at the Specimen Carp Lake? It contains just 33 carp, eight of which weigh in the 30lb region. Interested? To whet your appetite further, just take a look at what other anglers have been catching at Anglers Paradise recently.

With so many lakes to choose from you’ll find something to suit all angling abilities. There’s a beginners’ lake stocked with over 1,000 carp mostly between 4 and 8 lbs. The fish here tend to be more obliging making the lake ideal for newbies or those of you who like the challenge of using lighter gear. Or you could choose to fish the Main Carp Lake. It’s the ‘Jewel in the Estate’, a beautifully matured 4 acre lake, ideally suited to those of you who’re are willing to be patient for the bigger fish or who like to fish at night

mirror carp anglers paradise

Image source: thepassionatepiscator
A mirror carp caught on the Mystery Lake at Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise is one of the largest angling resorts in Europe, with anglers travelling from all over the world to enjoy the carp fishing available there. It’s an ideal place to bring non-angling guests too as they are well catered leaving you to spend the day fishing!

Alternatively, if this winter’s rain and flooding has you dreaming of giant exotic fish species in sunny climes, Gillhams Fishing Resorts in Thailand was a close contender in fourth place. See you there!

Which of these lakes have you visited? We’d love to hear your carp fishing holiday recommendations.

Half of all anglers pull a sickie to go fishing

gone fishing

On the edge of truth…

Have you ever phoned in sick to go fishing? If you have, you’re not alone. A staggering 50% of the anglers we surveyed admitted to bunking off work to go fishing. Read on to discover how fellow fishermen dodge their work duties in favour of a day on the riverbank, and find out what you can do to achieve the perfect work / angling balance.

Blame it on the weather

fishing in rain

Image source: shutterstock
Come rain, come shine, come rain again!

When workmen down tools, it’s often the unpredictable British weather that gets the blame. But for some respondents to our Big Fishing survey, inclement work weather presents the ideal opportunity to wet a line. Bricky, Bryan tells us:

“If it’s wet, it’s a perfect excuse to go fishing. Heavy rain means it’s pointless trying to do any building, so usually it means water in the river!”

Downpours may stop roofer, Matt from working but they don’t stop him fishing:

“I can usually get away with finding the time to go fishing by blaming the weather. I wouldn’t work on a roof in bad weather but bad weather has never stopped me from fishing.”

Injury

fish hook in finger

Image source: flickr
Just put a plaster on it.

If you’ve spent all night in A&E, fair enough. But if you’re thinking of feigning injury, take heed of one of our survey participant’s tale of misfortune before you put on that imaginary limp:

“I try not to make excuses too much ever since I told a client that I had done my back in. What I didn’t bank on was that they walked their dog around the lake where I was fishing just as I lifted a 38 for the camera.”

Oops! If you are going to call in a sickie, make sure you stay out of sight!

Dodgy excuses

sabotage

Image source: shutterstock
If your equipment doesn’t work, neither can you!

Self-employed plasterer Charlie admits to sabotaging his equipment in order to provide an excuse to go fishing!

“I said my mixer had broken down and had ordered a part which, strangely, would not arrive for five days. I just unplugged the spark plug cable. The fishing trip was great!”

Meanwhile, gas engineer Tony uses this sneaky excuse to head for the riverbank:

“If I fancy going fishing I will tell my customers that I have an emergency call out. That way they don’t feel that I’m letting them down and I will arrange to do the job on the next day.”

The best careers for anglers

morning fishing

Image source: shutterstock
Can you schedule a morning fishing trip into your work day?

You’re not ill or injured and you don’t like dodging work with lame excuses? You can still fit plenty of angling into your work schedule – you just need to find the right job!

Take web developer Simon who tells us how he makes his job work for him: “I have a couple of clients who I do websites for in exchange for fishing. It’s perfect.”

Martin who also took part in the survey reckons that in order to be assured of getting enough fishing in, working for yourself is the way to go: “I became self-employed for just that reason.”

But beware mixing business and pleasure as it creates new dilemmas. Angling photographer, Henry Gilbey continually finds himself torn between taking the pictures and doing the fishing. He says it’s a “dilemma that regularly breaks my head”.

We say, come on Henry, what a lovely problem to have!

Fit more angling into your work schedule

car full of fishing tackle

Image source: Bath Angling
Ready for fishing anywhere!

Have rod, will travel. Keen angler Steve, who responded to our survey uses his initiative to fit some angling in around his work:

“Quite often I research areas where I have business meetings planned to see if there is somewhere to fish. I always carry tackle in the car!”

Remember our respondent with the ‘bad back’? These days he uses a better technique for maximising his angling opportunities – effective time management:

“What I try to do is start early and finish late Monday to Thursday, which frees me up for Friday and Saturday.”

What’s your excuse for skipping work to go fishing? We’d love to know – and don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss!

Reel to Reel: Fishing on Film through the ages

old film camera

Image source: shutterstock
Reel to reel – vintage fishing clips

How much has fishing changed over the years? We thought we’d find out.

Check out our collection of charming vintage fishing film clips and see how they compare to the videos from today’s cutting edge of angling. We think you’ll be amazed by just how far fishing has come – and how much it’s stayed exactly the same.

Competition time

Flat caps at the ready! Back in the 1960s angling contests were no less hotly contested than they are today but just look at the acres of tweed on display…

A decade later and the Brits were competing in Denmark. Check out the snazzy plastic sun visors these British anglers wore while competing in the Woodbine challenge. Locals were apparently “bemused” by their interest in coarse fish in preference to salmon and trout.

Fast forward to the 2015 World Angling Champs and what’s most striking is the professionalisation of the sport. The fishing, however is just the same as it always was.

Deep sea fishing thrills

Jump on board a trawler and chug your way out to sea for a 1960s cod fishing adventure, Icelandic style.

Now take a look at the next video, courtesy of the good folks at Sportquest holidays. The venue is the same, but check out how much quicker it is to get to the fishing grounds!

A rod’s a rod

Simple yet effective, in the 1930s rods were crafted by men working in harmony with their machines – not to mention plenty of good old fashioned elbow grease.

76 years later and the materials have changed but making a quality rod remains a skilled job with a strong craft element.

Child’s play

Worthing’s the venue for this charming summer holiday clip from the1930s. As the commentator says, the kids here are only too delighted to “swap hated books for baited hooks”.

Now it’s all about keeping the kids off the streets – here’s a novel approach – an indoor fishing venue.

They say you no longer even have to step outside your bedroom to experience the thrill of fishing. The latest gaming technology means fishing games that are just like the real thing – apparently.

But then again, maybe not. Just check this little boy’s reaction to catching his first fish. Some things never change!

The Great British Fishing Survey

fishing tackle

Tackling angling questions.

Thank you to the 3,162 anglers who took part in our recent fishing survey. We had some very interesting results…

Use the links below to head straight to each section of the survey data, or just read on.

Headlines Carp fishing Fly fishing
Sea fishing Miscellaneous answers Get the complete set of data

Headlines

Dream Holidays

If money were no object, here’s where the anglers that took part would most like to go on a fishing holiday:

1st 2nd 3rd
Carp anglers River Ebro, Spain DreamLakes, France Anglers Paradise, Devon
Fly fishermen New Zealand Canada Alaska
Sea anglers Norway Florida Iceland

There’s more detail on holiday destinations in the individual fishing sections below.

You’d rather go fishing

50% of our respondents admitted dodging work to go fishing.

Common excuses include illness, family emergencies or a car breakdown.

dodge-work-excuses_xls_-_Google_Sheets

Families fare no better than jobs for an angler’s commitment.

  • 46% have missed birthdays, anniversaries and weddings in favour of a day’s fishing.
  • 10% have even missed job interviews
  • a couple of participants confessed to dodging their own honeymoon to go fishing!

missed-event-excuses_xls_-_Google_Sheets

Fishing can be dangerous

  • 30% have had injuries or illness while fishing
  • fishing tackle causes the most injuries
  • falling was also a common cause of injury

injury-illness-fishing_xls_-_Google_Sheets

Rod licenses get thumbs up

Rod licenses are strongly supported in the UK. Those in favour:

  • Carpers: 91%
  • Coarse anglers: 93%
  • Fly fishermen: 75%
  • Sea anglers: 60% said they’d support a sea rod license if the proceeds helped to improve sea fisheries.

Conservation is under-supported

  • 44% of anglers that answered the survey do not support any conservation organisations.

For those who do actively support conservation, the Angling Trust is the most popular conservation group among anglers.

conservation-support-survey_xls_-_Google_Sheets

Fishing is a lifelong passion

  • 61% of respondents have been fishing for over 30 years, and 16% for over 50 years
  • 78% of anglers that took the survey are over 40
  • 68% started fishing under the age of 10
  • 17% began their waterside obsession when they were under five years old!

Family fishing traditions

Well over half of all the fishermen and women that took part in the survey were introduced to the sport by a member of their family. Most of these (38%) were parents, but a quarter were brought to fishing by a grandparent, sibling, uncle or aunt.

how-introduced-to-fishing_xls_-_Google_Sheets

Fishing disciplines

The largest group of respondents is carpers – 36%. The next largest group is the fly fishers at 31.5%. Coarse anglers make up 21.5%, and the remaining 11% are sea anglers.

what-kind-of-fishing

Why do people fish?

Everyone has their own reasons, and when we asked ‘Why do you go fishing?’, the top answers were ‘to enjoy natural surroundings’, ‘to relax’, ‘peace and quiet’, and ‘the thrill of the catch’.

why do you go fishing?

What can you get from fishing?

73% told us they get happiness from fishing. 60% have found friends through fishing, and 2% of respondents have even found their partners through fishing!

fishing-helped-you-find_xls_-_Google_Sheets

Carp fishing

Fighting over fishing spots

Carpers are largely a peaceable group, but there’s still a bit of conflict at the waterside. Just under 10% of carp anglers reported that they’d had a fight about their preferred fishing spot.

How is time waiting for a bite spent?

There’s often time to fill while you’re waiting that bite, and we asked carp anglers how they spend that time.

what carpers do when they're waiting for a bite

Anglers tend to stay focused on the task in hand, with a good third preparing tackle and bait. Carping is clearly a social sport, as the third most popular activity was to chill with mates. Sleeping is also a popular pastime.

Fishing days and holidays

33% of carpers spend three or four days a month fishing, but a good quarter of our respondents manage to get 5-10 days fishing in. A lucky 2% manage more than ten days a month fishing.

If you’re fishing for more than a few days, there’s a good chance you’ve taken time off work. We asked where carpers’ dream fishing holiday destination was. Spain’s River Ebro was the most popular, with 16% of the vote, followed closely by Dream Lakes in France with 13.7%. Pipped into 3rd place with 13.5% was Devon’s Anglers Paradise.

carp_fishing_holiday_survey_results_-_Google_Sheets

Annual spend

A great many carp anglers manage to keep their annual spend under £1000 – 47% of them, in fact. Less than 2% spend more than £4,000 per year.

Conservation

In terms of conservation, the numbers weren’t quite as strong. The Angling Trust is supported by 31% of our respondents, but 61% reported that they didn’t support any conservation organisations at all.

Fly fishing

Fly tying vs fly buying

Flies are obviously crucial to the fly fisherman or woman. Whether or not they make their own flies is a personal choice. We asked, and it turns out that 66% of respondents do make their own flies.

Fishing holidays

New Zealand, Canada and Alaska are the top dream fly fishing holiday destinations. Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents want to cross the globe and head to New Zealand.

top fly fishing destinations

Conservation

The proportion of fly fishers that support a conservation organisation is higher at 48%. Again, the Angling Trust is the most supported by this group.

Sea fishing

Seasickness isn’t too much of a problem, but 10% of respondents did say they got seasick. We feel for these people – rotten luck to love a sport that makes you feel unwell!

Sea fishing holidays

We asked: “If you won the lottery, what would be your top sea fishing holiday destination?”

Norway came out top with 34% expressing the land of the fjords as their first choice. Florida was in second place with 16%, and Iceland was the choice of 10% of sea anglers.

best sea fishing holiday destinations

Conservation

Only 44% of sea anglers who took the survey support any conservation organisations – the majority of those that do come down on the side of the Anglers Trust

Miscellaneous answers

Lies about catch sizes

One question we asked was ‘How often do you lie about the size of your catch?’. We wondered if we’d get some controversial results here, but it turns out that anglers are an honest bunch. 64% told us they’d never lied about what they’d caught:

lying about the size of your catch

Fishing and technology

We asked you how you felt about fishing gadgets. 62% of anglers generally don’t care, but 30% love them, with the remainder not caring at all. The largest group of technology fans is the carpers – 44% of this group love gadgets!

Fishing tackle security

Tackle theft is a growing problem. 30% of anglers in the survey have lost fishing equipment to tackle thieves.

Fishing as an Olympic event?

Fishing hasn’t been an Olympic sport for 115 years. We asked if anglers thought it should be an Olympic sport now, and only 41% said ‘yes’.

Get the complete set of data

Those are the results of our Great British fishing survey. If you’d like to study the data a bit more closely, get in touch at fishtecblog@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to share it with you.

Why Fishing Is Better Than Yoga

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.