Floatation Suits for Sea Fishing

…….How much is your life worth?

The NEW TF Gear floatation suits are now in stock and available here at Fishtec!

Constructed from the most durable and water replant material on the market, high visibility orange and reflective tape in case of emergences which are held together with top quality fittings throughout, the Wavehopper Floatation Suit range is the ultimate garment for safety and comfort whilst Sea Fishing. Both garments feature secure pockets a storm shield hood to keep spray and rain from your head, high thermal properties including thermal hand warmer pockets and both are CE certified! Never feel vulnerable on the water again. Each garment has been designed with the perfect angler cut, allowing maximum movement and freedom but ensuring warmth, dryness and safety.


The One Piece Wavehopper Inflatable Floatation Suit has been designed with full safety aspects of sea fishing in mind. Featuring everything possible that could save your life, this full piece garment is ideal for boat, shore or pier fishing. The one piece floatation suit is ideal for those freezing winter nights where the temperature can fall below zero in the blink of an eye. This garment will retain heat and make sure cold air doesn’t get close to the skin.

Available here: TF Gear WaveHopper Floatation 1 Piece suit


The Two Piece Wavehopper Inflatable Floatation Suit has been designed with all the same safety features as the one piece suit, offering everything possible that could save your life. The two piece floatation suit is suited more to the warmer seasonal days, where the temperature can rise and fall without notice. This garment will retain heat when worn fully, or allow air to circulate by removing the jacket when things start to head up.

Available here: TF Gear Two Piece Wavehopper Floatation Suit 

Variety is the spice of life

It was my intention to just fish the day for Tench and Bream but after checking the weather report it was all too tempting not to go for the night and catch my first Eel of the year. I know most don’t like Eels but for me they seem to be the only species with a bit of mystery to them and when you think about the levels they go to just to breed that alone deserves respect.

Reed Lake at about 1am the heavens opened and the rain was relentless but that’s what the weather report said would happen but with high humidity and the temperature in the 12 to 14 degree category I plodded on knowing it was perfect for Eels. On arriving at the lake I set up my TF Gear Day Shelter which thankfully because of the rain only takes seconds to erect. Organizing and setting up your coarse fishing tackle in the dark can be a right pain in the backside but after a few mishaps i was all ready to go.

It was a three rod set up; the two main rods were my new TFGear Banshee Commercial Specialists with the Avon top, fantastic rods, slim, great casting and they really do look the part, with this I had my new TFGear Power GT reel loaded with 8lb line. The rigs were fairly simple, a flat in-line 1oz pear lead with a 4inch 8Ib hooklenght with a hair holding to yellow pop-up sweetcorn the other was a  free running cage feeder with a 4inch 8Ib hooklenght with two fake casters glued to the hair. The third rod was my TFGear 10ft Commercial Carp Rod and my small TFGear free spool reel loaded with 15Ib main line, this rod was intended for the eels and it may sound a bit over the top but if you are lucky enough to hook a big Eel and your fishing next to snags then you’ll thank yourself you had the tackle, an Eel is a tremendous fighter and will give it’s all before you have a chance to land it. The rig for the Eels was a 2oz square lead on a free running rig to allow minimal resistance, the hooklenght was 15IB korda N-trap braid with the coating on, I’ve found this to be great for Eels if you’re using worms, the hook a size 6 Drennan super specialist. Bait for the Bream and Tench apart from the fake baits already on the hair was a mix of live and dead maggots, hemp, casters and 4mm Halibut pellets, this was then added to the groundbait which was Cotswold Bait Creations Bloodworm stick mix, brown crumb and Cotswold’s liquid bloodworm with real bloodworm added to it, hook bait for the Eels was a nice juice Lobworm with the same feed as I was using for the Tench and Bream.

With everything set up and the rods out I settled down for the night with my rather wet clothes on not doing me any favors, still at least the temperature was high. All night my two rods intended for Bream and Tench remain motionless but the Eel rod was going all night with runs, unfortunately only one connected with a fish, a little bootlace Eel, still my first this year but nothing much happened at night apart from the rain hammering down.

As you can see by the photo the line marks on the Eel are another reason many people don’t fish for them as the small one’s are notorious for tangling the lineup. The morning came with a bit of a chilly wind so after rebaiting I got back into my sleeping bag for a lay in as I had only managed about an hours sleep, typically just as I got comfortable the Banshee rod sprung into life and I immediately knew it was a Bream as there not the best of fighters and a small skimmer hit the net. I replaced the Eel rod during the day for my TFGear 10ft float rod to see if the Tench would feed in the margins but the margins were over 10ft in depth, not good for Tench but good for Eels still I set up with an insert waggler on 6Ib line and a size 8 hook with a Lobworm. Throughout the day I was hit by wave after wave of skimmer Bream between 1Ib to 2Ib but no sign of anything bigger but I then the left hand Banshee rod was away which I had cast to a showing carp near some reeds. I connected with the fish but as it run the line went slack, Bugger! I lost it was pretty much the words in my head but reeling in revealed that I had in fact been bitten off by I would have guessed a Pike, never mind new rig made and out we go again. It was about two in the afternoon now and not much had happened apart from an untold amount of small Bream but the float in the margin was covered in bubbles so something had to happen and it did, as quick as lighting the float shot away and before I had a chance the fish run straight in to the snags. I could feel the line grating against the branches of the snag tree and the fish doing its best to escape but after a tense 5 minutes I managed to get the fish to open water and with a bit more pull a beautiful 3Ib 11oz Tench succumb to the net, Lovely.

With the Tench back in its home the skimmer Bream action continued keeping me busy which is always nice.

The float rod was away again but this was no Tench as the fish was doing its best to snag me by swimming backwards, so it could only be one thing an Eel. Again the 10ft float rod handled  the fish very well and by keeping a tight line I scooped the Eel into the not with no tangles, a bit bigger than they have been at a pound exactly I was happy and considering it takes an Eel almost ten years to gain a pound again more reason to give them respect.

I was due to leave the lake soon and the swim had gone quite so I decided to take a walk over to Blue Lagoon Lake to see what was happening on there as this is another lake I intended to fish soon. Arriving at the first swim I was greatted by a wonderful side, Half a dozen of the lakes elusive carp were feeding in the margins, the Gods had thrown me a bone and I wasn’t going to give up the chance so I ran back to my swim and grabbed the maggot box’s, float rod, landing net and scales and unhooking mat. I set the depth on the float which looked about 2 feet and throw some maggots out to watch their reaction. Almost immediately they started to feed so I hooked a few maggots and cast out, feeding so fast they clouded up the bottom making it hard to see the bait and as a Carps tail broke the surface the float sailed away and with a firm strike the drag went into overdrive. At first I was adamant I was into one of the Carp but after a long hard fight which seemed to last forever I slipped the net under a fish I never expected to catch and have only ever caught one about 11 years ago at 1Ib, a Barbel. I was over the moon a 3Ib 11oz unexpected Barbel and a new PB what more could I ask for, Fantastic.

The day had come to an end but before I jumped on the train home I stopped by the match lake to see if I could winkle out a Carp to round the day off. Again float in the margins did the trick with a worm and a 4Ib 6oz Common Carp was banked within 5 minutes, what a great day.

If you would like to watch a video version see below.


Until the next time tight lines and best fishes.

Unhooking and Handling fish – Dogfish

One of the mostly widely asked questions and problems people encounter whilst out fishing is what is the easiest way to unhook a fish? Fish such as Dogfish which usually take the bait deep and are very difficult to handle. Using their very abrasive skin to their advantage, the dogfish always tries to wrap itself around your arm which causes a rash and burning sensation. Using the correct fishing equipment to unhook and handle fish can make a your fishing session a lot more enjoyable.

Alan Yates describes the best way to hold and unhook a dog fish.

Disgorger tool available here 

TF Gear Force 8 S mag 65 Reel

The TF Gear S-MAG65 fishing reel takes distance casting to the next level. Working to incredibly high tolerances it’s precision engineered one piece open frame houses a spool that runs on larger spindle than other multipliers preventing any distortion and maintaining perfect balance to produce super smooth casts time after time. The combination of magnetic and centrifugal braking allows you to fine tune the reel to suit want ever the conditions throw at you and still achieve maximum range and fishing capabilities.


  • Casts like a dream
  • One Piece Extruded Open CT Cage
  • Larger Spindle To Prevent Spool Distortion
  • Aluminium Anodised Double Sports Handle
  • Carbon Multi Disc Drag for Optimal Performance
  • 2 Stainless Bearings in the Spool
  • Machined Brass Gears
  • Corrosion Resistant IAR Bearing
  • High Torque Winding Power
  • Mag/Centrifugal Brake System
  • RRP: £199.99 – Fishtec price – £169.99
Click here to view theTFGear S mag 65 Fishing reel



TF Gear Dave Lane Hardcore Sleeping Bag

I spend at least one night a week, during the spring, summer and some of the autumn, out camping. This means I can fish for 2 days but only necessitates one trip there and back. It makes more economic sense to do it that way. Up till now I have used a cheap sleeping bag from my carp fishing days. I guess it did the job OK. It was quite cheaply made to be fair and most of the bedchair attachments had broken and when the temperature dropped it was next to useless.

So I decided to invest in a new bag. Something that would keep me warm in the colder months but hopefully not cook me on a summer’s evening. I ordered the new Dave Lane Hardcore bag. I thought that with his name endorsing it, it must be good. I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

It is made from a breathable material, so even in the height of the summer you shouldn’t sweat your socks off. Well no more than you would normally on a hot summer’s night. It’s very spacious, which I like and has an intriguing design that enables you to expand the bag either side. You can unzip a folded section of the bag to add to its width by several inches on each side. The bag is surprisingly lightweight too. It seems unusually thin considering its ability to keep you warm in sub zero conditions. I have used the bag quite a bit recently and I felt very snug, despite the bitterly cold conditions.

The bag itself seems well made and I like the robust bedchair tags used for tying the bag onto the bedchair. The zips are heavy duty and nothing about the bag gives the impression of being made on the cheap. I don’t actually fish whilst using a bag, so I can’t comment on its ease of escape whilst a bite alarm screams at you in the middle of the night. What I can tell you is that its very comfortable, light and well made.

I would certainly recommend it.

Here is the manufacturers speil:

When temperatures turn freezer-like it’s time for the Hardcore Sleeping bag.

When travelling fast and light it’s time for the Hardcore Sleeping bag.

When you need a bag that breathes on warm summer nights it’s time for the Hardcore Sleeping bag.

When you need the best it’s time for the Hardcore sleeping bag!

This remarkable sleeping bag has been developed and tested to destruction by the UK’s best carp angler Dave Lane. Whether session fishing in the depths of winter, or quick overnighters in the summer, this is the only bag Dave Lane will ever use.

Pushing the boundaries of sleeping bag technology the Hardcore Sleeping bag is the first and only genuine all season sleeping bag, Hardcore is rated to expedition level for winter fishing, yet due to it’s intelligent breathable outer it will allow you to remain perspiration free during hot, summer nights.


• The highest warmth to weight ratio
• Premium quality filing – instant and sustained heat throughout the coldest nights
• Breathable – no more unpleasant sweating during warm nights
• Unique expander panel – adjust your sleeping bag for your individual body shape
• Soft, luxurious lining
• Genuine all year round comfort
• Crash Zips – so easy to exit
• Bedchair attachment straps
• Tested and approved by Dave Lane

See the Fishtec website for more information:  TF Gear Dave Lane Hardcore Sleeping Bag

Impressive Plaice?

Charles Beddard caught this impressive 6lb 12oz plaice from the shambles bank, from Portland, Dorset. Fishing on board the ‘Fish-On’ boat skippers by Josh Simmonds, Charles boated this fish on july 21st 2011.

  • Rod | 20lb penn waveblaster
  • Reel | Abu7000i
  • Mainline | 20lb varivas sport
  • Hook Length | 30″ Length
  • Attraction | 8 yellow/green 8mm beads
  • Hook | 2/0 Sakuma Manta
  • Bait | Fresh mackerel-strip

After photographing and releasing the fish,  the next drop Charles hauled up a 7lb turbot, using exactly the same rig and bait. Charles said “A Pretty impressive day to add to an amazing week in weymouth, encountered many firsts personnally, including wrasse on feathers, 50+lb congers, 6lb cod, first ever ray which was a 10lb 2oz spotted ray, this turbot, and plaice. A totally magical week with the guys at ‘Fish-On’ at shambles.


Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary

Happy New Year to all of you and may all your dreams turn into bent fishing rods, wet nets and huge carp.

Now that all the festivities are over, the remains of the turkey has finally been deposited in the bin (and good riddance to it) and the relatives you thought would never leave have at last got the hint, it is time to dust off the rods and get back out there on the bank.

The weather this winter has been so mild hasn’t it, it’s more like Autumn than winter and even a mild frost is a rarity, or at least it is around here.

The winds though, they have definitely been the main feature of the last few weeks, howling great Westerly’s and South Westerly’s have been ravaging the lakes and clearing out all the deadwood from the trees. My dog has loved it, everywhere he looks there are sticks to play with, it’s like doggy heaven.

I had a trip up to Monks just before the new year, just to get a bit of a fix before the enforced lay-off and I also wanted to play about with my maggot presentation a bit, just fine tuning the rigs as the Monks carp seem to love those little wrigglers in the winter.

There were three other guys on when I arrived, which is fairly busy for mid week so I was surprised to find one of my favourite swims still free, particularly as it was nice and sheltered on the back of the wind. I do like the back of the wind in winter, I think it produces equally as many, if not more, fish than ‘on the wind’ and it makes the whole session so much more enjoyable as well.

One of the guys at the lake had taken a trip to the maggot farm so I picked up my order of two gallons and set about spodding it all out there using a ‘spomb’ which are so much easier for the maggots than a conventional spod.

With both the bottom rigs on clear spots, a couple of zigs set up at varying depths and the hardcore bivvy set up against the elements it was just a case of sticking the kettle on and waiting, and waiting, and waiting!

The peak on this bivvy really makes such a big difference when the weather is a bit iffy, from where I sat I could still watch the water perfectly but the wind and occasional shower where kept just out of harm’s way, no annoying dripping of rainwater into the front of the bivvy area either. You do need to be comfortable at this time of year as the winter nights just seem to drag on forever and I think there was about fourteen hours of darkness to endure, luckily though the boredom was interrupted about six in the morning by a take and, after a brief but unconvincing tussle, a little mirror of around sixteen pounds rolled into the net.

Although he wasn’t the biggest of carp he was the only fish between us all that night so I was still quite happy and full of confidence for the second night, so confident that I used up the remainder of the bait and put extra effort into making sure the rigs all landed bang on the right spots. Quite often in the winter the takes can come at pretty much the exact same times each day so I was surprised, and a little disappointed when I woke up at first light and nothing else had occurred.

The conditions had stayed the same and, you would have thought, ideal but the carp had different ideas, in fact that was the only bite between all the sixteen rods fishing throughout the entire two days.

Personally, I am not convinced that the mild and windy weather is any better in the winter. We all tend to relate it to feeding weather but, is it what the fish really want. Surely the winters should be cold and frosty with high pressure and nice crisp sunny days, I know one thing for sure, it’s definitely what we need for the zigs to start working properly. I have yet to get a bite on a zig this year which is very strange as this has been my most successful method over the last two winters, it’s one of those methods that can just kick into gear at any time though and, when it does, the results can be amazing.


Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Jan 2012


I have been out in Kent after the gales over the night tides without catching a cod – its whiting city from the Kent shore with the thousands of small hungry mouths eating other species out of house and home. So my advice if its cod you want is to go and fish somewhere else other than Kent – The Bristol Channel being worth the drive!!!!!

Meanwhile in Kent it’s a bite a second with the whiting and last week my son Richard fishing in a Deal 1919 Angling Club beach match weighed in 38 dogfish – no mean feat in three hours. Most hate dogfish, but in a match they can be hectic, the clubs in my region give you 500 grams C & R per dogfish which is a great idea although some say we should cull them.

I did well in a couple of pier events at Folkestone with lots of big fat sprat dabs, whilst the only open I fished was the British Legion open on Hythe Ranges over the holiday and I packed up early fed up with the undersized whiting.

Currently the weather is hanging on and the freezing conditions have not yet got a grip but they will and then its going to be even harder although we have the rays to look forward because they arrive earlier every year with some big thornbacks around from March onwards.


I have not been to Gambia for a couple of years – The championship organised in November had become stale with close pegging and duff venues deterring me from going again. BUT now I see Bernard Westgarth who has a house and angling guiding business in the Gambia is putting on an event in April so I am interested in returning for that although the one hook idea I am not keen. Going on a fishing holiday I want a maximum chance of catching and one hook is not that – Better would be two rods with one hook or one rod with two hooks. Anyway the details are.


Pegged Match Series to take place on selected beaches in The Gambia, West Africa 15th to 19th APRIL 2012. Match days are Sunday 15th , Monday 16th , Tuesday17 th and Wednesday, 18th April 2012. Presentation & Prize Giving: Thursday, 19 April.

Limited entry of 30 anglers on a first come, first served basis.
All venues will be pegged and zoned (depending upon numbers).
Matches will be based on a point system with each species being awarded a set number of points.
All fish exceeding 3kg being awarded 10 additional points.
All matches are to be one hook.
Only bait provided by the organisers will be permitted and will be distributed on each match day.
Flights and accommodation can be arranged if required.
Transport to/from match venues is included within match fees.
All interested parties must be registered and fully paid by 31 January 2012. For those interested details of costs and a full set of competition rules can be provided by contacting Bernard Westgarth on 01325 720113 (evenings).

e: bernardwestgarth@yahoo.co.uk | www.fishthegambia.com


A number of anglers have commented on my rod rest light – It’s a Speleo headlamp, which I have bolted to the top of the rod rest so that it shines up the rod rings. It’s a really effective way of highlighting the rod tip. I have enhanced the whole set up by adding a set of luminous insert rod rings to my original TF Gear Force 8 beach caster.

Its spring clean time – don’t you just get the urge to sort out the tackle box, I do. A purge on the rig winder/wallet will see all my winders go in the dishwasher for their annual shower. It’s a great way to clean off the lug crud, weed etc (thanks to Heather Lindfield for the original idea) But don’t forget to let them all dry off before you put them back in the wallet. Leads are always in need of some maintenance – Don’t know about you, but I think Breakaway wire has gone down hill – wires on their grips never used to snap so easily? Anyway I take the time to redo the wires of my leads and the bonus of this is that you can choose the wire type and length you want.

I have also sent several multipliers back to the service centre for an overhaul, repair etc. I shall be switching to the multi tip and fixed spools in coming weeks, rockling matches are looming, so the next few months is the time for so reel TLC. Make sure you pack them securely and send by registered post or courier with a list of the problems – AND don’t forget to include your return address – you would be surprised how many anglers send reels in for repair etc and don’t include their address!

TF Gear – Dave Lane Hardcore Bedchairs

The TFG Dave Lane Hardcore bed-chairs is one of the most comfortable and practical carp fishing bed chairs available.

Delivering all the essential benefits of pressure reliving comfort and theraputic support the Hardcore range offers complete, essential back protection. The deluxe mattress padding works in perfect harmony with the latest breathable technology designed to eliminate moisture and guarantee temperature controlled rest and recuperation.

Dave Lane describes the features and how to get the best out of the DL Hardcore bed-chairs.

  • Deeper more restful sleep guaranteed
  • Mattress moulds to the shape of your body
  • Offers complete support for neck, back and shoulders
  • Strong load bearing frame – built to last for years
  • Premium alloy construction – so easy to carry
  • Fully adjustable legs – maintain level seating on any bank
  • Total comfort pillow
  • Extra layers of support
  • Luxury padded mattress
  • Breathable spinal column regulates temperature
  • Super strong frame
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Fully adjustable legs

TF Gear Thermo -Tex Extreme Jacket

We all know the importance of being warm and comfortable on the bank in the winter and know that that can be the difference between a good days fishing or a bad. Thanks to TFGear that problem is no more.

On receiving the Thermo-Tex Extreme Jacket my first impressions where that there’s no way this was going to keep me warm, it’s to light and thin, how wrong I was. Now the first thing to remember when trying to keep warm on the bank is to layer your clothing, first you have the base-layer, second skin top and bottoms, next you have the mid-layer a fleece top and/or fleece trouser, then there’s the outer-layer and that’s where this jacket comes in.

So with all the layers on I decided to go fishing for a couple of hours for perch. I didn’t catch anything but the jacket was fantastic, moving around was a breeze and as for the warmth the temperature was a cool 5 degrees C with a chilling wind, was I bothered, not one bit. I was extremely comfortable and couldn’t feel the wind at all which was great.

On the jacket itself there are to external pockets which keep your hand lovely and warm and a hood to protect your head against driving winds and rain, inside there’s a small pocket on the left hand side, good enough to keep your mobile, keys, cash, etc and two large mesh pockets for any bits of fishing tackle, bait, even a book.

So in conclusion looks can be deceiving would be the way to describe this jacket, it’s extremely light weight, incredibly warm and 100% water proof, and you can also buy a pair of matching trousers to go with it. Without a shadow of a doubt this is the jacket for you if you want to be warm and comfortable on the banks this winter, 110% faith in it.

Jacket available here – Thermo – Tex Jacket  – Reviewer – Scott Cordingley