The TF Gear 60” Brolly

I have written of the TF Gear Poncho, explaining the total-protection nature of its material and design. Now I feel compelled to shout about the TF Gear 60” Brolly having sheltered under my own for more than a few nights this year.

Our weather has, generally, been good for some time – although August was like a mini-winter! Up until that month, and certainly since, the climate has been kind to those of us who willingly shun our beds in favour of a sleeping bag by the river. Fortunately, I have had no need to employ the over-wrap: my nights under the stars have merely been long and damp. I cannot then, in all honesty, sing the praises of the 60” Brolly’s stability or rain-repulsion qualities, though it is clear to anyone who has erected and used this superb refuge that those criteria would be well served.

For me, the TF Gear 60” Brolly provided a roomy yet cosy sanctuary from the damp and the night generally; there was sufficient room for the largest bed-chair (though I chose to sleep on the ground-sheet) and loads of space for one man’s gear, (personally, I prefer to use a brolly over a fishing bivvy because they are easier to transport) but even with active cooking-gear, this brolly would have accommodated and shielded a stove from all but the most awkward, ‘straight-in’ winds – largely thanks to the amply-proportioned wings at either side of the brolly entrance. With the wings (or side-flaps if you prefer!) level to the ground I initially perceived the entrance to be too low, but this was an illusion brought about, I believe, by a lifetime with brollies of standard size.

On entering my ‘cave’ I found little need to bend more than was necessary to effect a stoop – loadsa room! And as for stability, the six good quality pegs and two storm-rods made it patently clear that the TF Gear 60” Brolly would be going nowhere if a gale blew up – it hugged the ground like a limpet! With no centre-pole and an abbreviated rib-boss my 60” Brolly experience was a good one, and I can easily imagine the sheer luxury within once the weather really turns and forces me to use the over-wrap – bring it on!!

TF Gear Chill Out Onesie

The TF Gear Onesie is a hooded, one-piece, fleece suit that will truly keep the keenest deep winter carp specialist wrapped in a thermal second skin all day and all night.

You may ask yourself is it OK to wear a onesie? But for those anglers who spend nights on end in a cold fishing bivvy waiting for that one bite, you may want to think again and get one for yourself.

tfg-chillout-onesie

Field testing of the TF Gear Chill Out Onesie illustrated its outstanding insulating properties and incredible comfort, our testers have endured the coldest weather with ease. With no belts, buckles, gaps or joins the wearer enjoys complete freedom of movement and draft-free, whole body warmth. The TF Gear Onesie is an utterly superb sleep-suit, the perfect mid layer and a rather trendy outer garment.

Don’t deprive yourself of the best piece of winterwear you could wish for – invest in a TF Gear Onesie.

Available in sizes Medium through to XXL 

 

How we used to do it!

We ad it at toof

“Well of course, we ‘ad it toof…”

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!

Fishing Bivvy

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?

January – Carp Fishing on the Estate Lake

Well it’s all back to normal again, the tinsel is keeping the mice warm in the loft and the tree is all folded up in its box again. I had a bit of a lay off from fishing over the holiday period but I was breaking my neck to get back out there at the beginning of this week, especially with the mild weather we have been having.

I set off on the Monday morning for Northampton and a return to the Estate Lake, arriving just as it was getting light. Apparently nobody had even thought about carp fishing the place for two weeks and I wondered if the carp would still be holed up where I caught my last three fish from?

Obviously this was going to be my starting point and it didn’t take long to get three rigs out there on the spots.

I was sticking to my successful method of a standard hair rig with a bottom bait and the addition of a small PVA bag of 10mm baits, just to give the carp something to home in on through the thick silt.

With the fishing rods out I quickly set up the Hard-core Bivvy and then stuck the kettle on for a brew but something seemed different, quieter than usual, and then I realised there were no sheep. Usually there are woolly Ovines wandering around everywhere, sneaking up behind your bivvy and startling the hell out of you with a sudden loud bleat but, for some reason, they had all disappeared today; maybe Lamb had been on the menu at a big New Year’s Eve dinner at the manor house!

I didn’t have to wait long to find out if I was in the right spot, sheep or no sheep, the carp were definitely still there as I had my first take about ten o’clock in the morning. After a bit of a tussle in the silt where the fish sent up huge sheets of bubbles as he tried to bury himself under the mud, I managed to steer him into the margins where he just plodded up and down for a few minutes before waving the white flag and rolling up into the net.

This was a nice welcome back present and a great way to start the New Year but I couldn’t help but wonder what I might have missed out on over the previous few weeks. On the scales he registered twenty eight and a half pounds and, after a couple of pictures, I slipped him back into the cloudy water.

With such a quick result I had high hopes for the rest of the session; especially when the next rod ripped off at three in the afternoon. This fish fought far harder than the previous one and I really did think I had hooked one of the really big commons for a while but, as he eventually came over the net cord, I could see he was another mirror. Incredibly pale in colour, probably due to the lack of light getting through the muddy water, he weighed in at just over thirty and a half pounds.

Thirty-and-a-half-January-Carp

Now I really was confident and I could see a session to remember stretching out ahead of me but, as is the way with carp fishing, the lake had other ideas. It was as if that last fish had pressed a panic button and all the carp retreated to the bunker for the next two days as, apart from two bream, the alarms remained silent.

The weather just got better and better and I still find it hard to believe that nothing else fed although I certainly am not complaining at two big fish in the first week of January.

I hope the rest of the month goes as well, although they are forecasting some horribly cold conditions over the next few days so let’s just hope the lake doesn’t freeze over as that’s about the only thing that will stop me being out there again next week!

Going the Distance | Fishtec Blog

Since the creation of the internet the carp fishing world has all but lost its mystery, go back 25 years and there were rumors everywhere of big uncaught carp and undisclosed lakes only a few would speak of in code. Thankfully there are still some lakes that have that element of surprise and mystery to them and I been privileged enough to put a line in one. As most of you know I still don’t drive so when I was offered to fish a lake in the Cotswold that only a few have fished I had to find some way of getting there and as usually the train was the best bet.

A 48hr session needs a fishing bivvy and bedchair so it was no easy task getting the gear there especially on the underground at rush hour, believe me you get some funny looks and to be honest I was a little nervures. The journey itself wasn’t that bad until I got to the change over at Swindon and was delayed for an hour due to some (you fill in the gape) lying down in the middle of the track, still the police had done their job and I was on my way. Finally arriving at the lake before dusk the F8 day shelter was up and all the equipment set up, scanning the lake there was a lovely clear patch between the weed right in front of me so it was an easy choice where to put the bait. Luckily I had my trusty Delta XS 3Ib tc Carp rods with me as the weed beside the clear patch was very thick and I had no doubt that any fish hooked would be straight in the, 15Ib main line on both reels should be enough with a blow back rig on one rod and a PVA bag rig on the other.

Bait for the blow back rig was the GLM, black One boilie from Cotswold Bait Creations tipped with one of their new soon to be released Coconut Cream Technipops, a few scattered boilie completed the setup. The PVA rigs again had one of the new Coconut Cream Technipops on it with a Bloodworm mix for the feed (look out in Total Carp this month for an in depth look at the PVA rig).

The night went by with not much happening and thankfully it didn’t, due to the heavy rain I didn’t really want to get out of the sleeping bag. The morning came with the songs of birds and the sound of a screaming Glimmer alarm, keeping a tight line and good pressure the fish only buried itself once but soon was in the net and what a fish to have, a perfectly conditioned Mirror at 20Ib 4oz would be the first of many good looking fish.

The rest of the day was filled with sun, rain, cloud and wind a real mixture of weather that was extremely confusing to not only me but the fish to, still the action was steady with a good number of Mirror and Common Carp to doubles hitting the net and most of them still had their original curtain in the mouth.

Again the evening came in and it was time for bed once more with not a bleep to be heard but like the dawn before I was woken up to another screaming take and before I knew it the fish was in the weed. Having a pair of waders on really help so into the lake I went to get a better angle, enough pressure moved the fish only for it to find another weed bed, several time’s this fish bedded itself and 20 minutes later the fish finally gave up the fight and succumb to the net. One the mat I knew it was another 20 but didn’t know until after being told that it was a new lake record, I couldn’t believe it I’ve never had a lake record before so to have caught what I have and then to land a lake record fish I was in my element, 23Ib 12oz mint condition Common Carp and I’m sure you will agree it’s a beautiful looking fish.

The 316 mile round trip was worth all the time and I left with a smile on my face but on the underground and after 48hrs of fish slime the looks of  “what are you doing” turned to looks of  “you need a bath mate” – till the next time tight lines and best fishes.

Checkout my YouTube channel here – By the Waterside – and check Vlog 8

TF Gear Carp Fishing Babes

Here’s your chance to take a sneak peak at some of our exclusive 2013 TF Gear carp fishing babes.

It’s not often you see anglers like these under the fishing bivvy, male anglers are often ‘put off’ or embarrassed by the attendance of a female in their swim… This usually leads to the lady angler taking the most or the best carp!

TF Gear Babes Gallery