The Secret Diaries of Dave Lane

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for! The fishing has been on fire at the St Ives shallow lake over the past month, but as a tactical move Laney had to keep things quiet – and boy did it pay off!!

What you are about to see is a 4 part series of ‘secret’ carp fishing blogs, leading up to the capture of Colin, the 52lb 12oz St Ives lakes mega carp.

Watch part one here:

Watch part two here:

Watch part three here:

Watch part four here:

River Coarse Fishing with TF Gear Fishing Tackle

TF Gear team members Simon and Ceri recently headed down to the River Wye one evening after work. The guys picked up a decent catch of barbel and chub on a selection of TF Gear tackle, including the Airlite free-spool reel, Nantec mono and Banshee barbel rod.

This quick report with images shows what great fun you can have whilst river coarse fishing!

In the jungle, waiting for a bite!

In the jungle, waiting for a bite!

Simon elected to use the new Nash Cultured boilie hook baits with a delivery of groundbait and pellet in PVA bags. The banshee barbel rod in 1.5lb test curve was definitely man enough for the job. These tactics paid off almost right away!

Releasing a River Wye barbel

Releasing a River Wye barbel.

Using cage and feeder tactics with groundbait, Ceri started picking up decent sized chub on 8mm pellets, and also the odd minnow – some of them new personal bests!

Ground bait all ready to use.

Ground bait all ready to use.

A nice size chub

A nice size chub.

A new PB minnow

A new PB minnow.

With 12lb nantec main line, there was no danger of loosing fish or tackle. The drag of the TF Gear Airlite reels are perfectly smooth, and excel in playing strong fish such as barbel and big river chub that like to dive for the nearest snag.

The TF Gear airlite reel size 40 is perfect for river coarse fishing.

The TF Gear airlite reel size 40 is perfect for river coarse fishing.

Last knockings are often the best times for river coarse fishing – it really pays to stay on until the darkness and beyond if you can! There was a flurry of action as the light faded, with chub to 4lb and barbel to 6lb gracing the nets.

Last knockings River Wye barbel

Last knockings River Wye barbel.

TF Gear fishing tackle is ideal for river coarse fishing, visit the website to checkout the entire range!

Dave Lane on Camera’s – Get your carp fishing self takes right!

I probably get asked as many questions about cameras as I do about fishing nowadays.

I suppose that I normally have a remote in my hand in most of my trophy shots and a lot of people would like to improve their self-photography as this is the main subject of the inquiries. The reason I take so many self-take photos is a mixture of two things really.

I do often fish alone and I much prefer it that way but, even when other anglers are on the lake, I tend to take my own pictures whenever possible. Firstly I do not like to drag other people away from their fishing, particularly not at the main bite times, which is generally when you have a fish to photograph.

If another angler has to reel in his rods to help me deal with a fish then I always think that I am depriving him the chance of a carp himself, which hardly seems fair.

Also, there are actually only a handful of people that I would trust to take shots that a fussy git like me will be happy with. This is not a slur on others photographic skills it is just that, once the fish has been returned, there is no chance for a second attempt.

A nice daytime self take

A nice daytime self take

Photos are very important to me, I spend a lot of time chasing carp and I like to able to look back and see that magical moment, a sixtieth of a second, frozen forever in time.

Obviously the safety of the fish on the bank is paramount and yes, it is a lot to deal with when you have the camera and the carp to contend with but this is easily solved by forward planning, the correct equipment and a bit of practise without a real live fish in the equation.

All of this goes out of the window if I get a really huge fish, a target I have been hunting, a personal best or anything that really blows me away because, just like everyone else, I still get a bit flustered at the sight of a really special fish and then I will enlist some help.

Basically, you need to get into a routine where your camera is acting almost like another angler in the swim (without all the wisecracks) it should be in the perfect position, ready to take a photo at any time and capable of showing you the result without you having to move an inch.

To this ends I would only recommend a camera with a flip screen, one that actually points at you and displays either the picture you have just taken or, even better, has a ‘live view’ function so that you can frame the shot before pressing the fire button.

In the old days we used to have miles of cable for an air shutter release running across the ground but most half decent cameras nowadays either come with a remote or you can purchase one to suit.

Personally I like to use an SLR camera and my model of choice is the Cannon 70D, not a cheap camera by any means but I think it’s worth the outlay.

The previous model, a 60D is also incredibly good and I had one for years up until recently. You can pick up a second hand 60D for around £400 on e-bay, with a lens, which may sound a lot but, in reality, it is about the price of a new bivvy, or a couple of new rods and it will give you excellent results for years to come.

If that is out of the budget then there are ‘bridge camera’s’ like the Canon G series to consider, I used to have a G-3 that gave amazing results and I saw a second hand one on E-Bay for £40 the other day, boxed and complete with leads and a spare battery!

Bridge cameras are a halfway house between a full on SLR and a compact. Even compact cameras can be bought with ‘flip screens’ now and they are available in every price range.

A tripod is an absolute must have item but fear not, they are ridiculously cheap and I recently upgraded to a taller, telescopic, version for video or camera and it set me back a whopping £14 online.

So, with your kit sorted the next most important thing is composure, where are going to take the photos, and this should be sorted long before you actually catch a fish.

You need to pick a spot that will either have full shade or full sun, work out where the sun will be at the most likely time you will need to use the camera, pick two spots just in case one has got dappled sunlight in it because this is the absolute ‘kiss of death’ for fish photography.

Full on shade will give a nice, realistic, defined shot of the fish whereas full on sun can sometimes be a bit glary off the carp’s flanks.

Pay special attention to the backdrop, make sure that the skyline is constant and you do not have a quarter of the shot showing bright sky and the rest in shade, as this will confuse the light meter in the camera and darker the foreground, losing you and the fish in shadow.

As with the sun, go for one or the other, either open sky or totally closed background, such as bushes or trees.

For night time photography you will need the latter, an area where the flash will bounce back from, a solid background that is as close as possible to your back or you will end up surrounded by inky blackness.

This will make or break your finished pictures so make sure you have it right, take a look through magazines at some of the more impressive shots, or your own album at your favourite ones and find a common denominator that please your eye.

Look at the background of the best ones and see what is similar in each one.

Once you have everything ready, set it all up as if you have a fish and get some practise in, digital photo’s cost nothing and can be deleted at the press of a button.

If you set up the mat, the camera on its tripod, and even a bowl of the water you will need for the fish you can pre-create the exact scenario you are going to be in when the time comes and, this way, there will be no surprises.

Everything set up ready and a fish on the bank

Everything set up ready and a fish on the bank.

Hold a full gallon water bottle and use this as the fish and keep trying until you are totally happy that you have everything framed as you like it, even soak the bottle in water if you are using a flash to see how bad the bounce back is going to be.

Once you are happy with the results then mark them all down.

Take a landing net pole and lay one end in the centre of the mat and mark the distance on the  pole with a piece of tape to show exactly where the centre of the tripod should go, this will always be the same so mark it permanently and you will have one less thing to consider.

If you are using a compact camera then the automatic feature will work out the settings for you but, with an SLR or Bridge camera, you have a lot more options.

Thankfully nearly all of the better cameras will have either one or two custom settings, usually marked as C1 C2 on the control wheel.

I like to set one of these up for night shots and one for the daytime but, if there is only one then use it for nigh time shots as it is hard enough in the dark anyway, without having to change settings.

If there are none then use a notebook or a notepad app on your phone.

Every variable should be sorted out in advance, not necessarily every trip but, once you have a winning formula, it can be applied everywhere.

Before you even think about lifting the fish from the water you should have your kit set up, your camera turned on (check the settings to make sure it stays on standby as long as possible) the remote function enabled and the remote sensor in position next to the mat.

Take a trial shot first, just hold up your hand at the width you want include and check the picture for clarity, light, and composure. Make sure you do not have a branch behind you that makes you look like you have a set of antlers, or a gaudy sign stating ‘deep water beware’ make sure you are happy and confident and then retrieve the fish.

Your remote should always be held in the hand that has the head end of the fish as there is a wider area to balance on your hand, the tail end requires a more closed grip and it’s very awkward to work the remote.

Confidence is the key, you know the camera is going to work, you have practised enough times and you know the settings are correct, the only difference to having a photographer there with you is that one little button in your hand.

At night it is often the auto focus that really lets you down and, because of this, I NEVER use this function at night.

Firstly you need to use the landing net pole method to get the exact distance for your focal point, this is best done in the daytime and, once you have the exact focus and length you need to mark the camera lens with two little dots (tippex) one on the actual bit that spins to find focus and one on the fixed part of the lens. When these two dots are in alignment turn off the auto focus on the side of the lens and the camera will always be in focus for the correct distance, which is marked on your pole.

Alternatively, just place a water bottle where the fish will be, shine a bright light on it, and  focus the camera from the tripod and then turn off the auto focus (while the fish is still safely in the net).

And a night self take, with a bit of practise

And a night self take, with a bit of practise.

Practise makes perfect and you have plenty of time for that whilst waiting for a bite and practise will build the confidence that you need to take perfect self takes every time.

Barbel fishing – Roll on June 16th!

It wont be long before the TF Gear team turn their attention to barbel fishing – and the long awaited June 16th river opener!

A river Wye Barbel

A river Wye Barbel.

In the TF Gear office we are literally counting down the days when we can get onto the river bank straight after work, and fish into the late midsummer evenings.

Luckily we are within a fairly short distance of the river Wye, one of the best barbel fishing rivers in the UK. For what the Wye fish lack in size, they make up for in sheer numbers, with fish in the 4 to 8lb class being very common with the odd sprinkling of double figure fish.

The delightfull River Wye

The delightful River Wye.

TF Gear make plenty of fishing tackle for the barbel angler – for example our Nan-tec barbel rods, which combine power with finesse and stunning good looks. Available in 1.5lb test curve and 2lb test for ‘big river’ flood water condition these lovely rods come with full cork handles.

Another staff favourite are the Banshee barbel, which in 1.5lb test curve are ideal for low summer flows – such as we find at the season’s start. With an Airlite freerunner reel in size 40 completing the deal, this set up is often what we throw in the car for an evening on the Wye.

TF Gear Airlite baitrunner reel - Size 40

TF Gear Airlite freerunner reel – Size 40.

For mainline the Nantec mono in 12lb is simply unbeatable – this stuff is  very strong and abrasion resistant, so you need not fear a break off or fish loss in a snag or weed bed.

We like to keep things simple and use basic cage feeder and groundbait  tactics with  a hook link of 10lb Airflo fluorocarbon with a hair rigged trout pellet. There is no need to use a ridiculously heavy winter feeder in summer – a 23 gram cage feeder is more than enough in low water conditions.

Often, we see anglers turn up in a swim and automatically lump out a cast to the far bank, with no regard to fish location or snags present in the swim. This looses tackle and results in less fish on the bank.

Think before you cast.....

Think before you cast…..

We like to scout out swims and loose feed a handful of pellet before carefully and quietly casting the bait just a few yards out, looking for side creases, bankside drop offs, dips in teh river bed and gaps in the weedbeds on the our side of the river.

A short accurate cast also helps ensure your presentation is spot on. If there are fish present expect a ‘3 foot twitch’ – sometimes within minutes, provided you haven’t spooked them when approaching the swim. Make a move if nothing happens after an hour – keep roving the bank until you find them and the rewards will follow.

Good luck and may you have a successful June 16th!

A Wye barbel goes back.

A Wye barbel goes back.

How Dave Lanes Uses The FishSpy Underwater Camera To Check Baited Areas

Our revolutionary FishSpy underwater camera is already proving it’s worth to carp anglers up and down the country, despite the wettest and windiest winter on record! Here leading UK carper Dave Lane explains how he uses FishSpy to check baited areas. What he reveals is astonishing!

One extremely handy use for FishSpy is to check baited areas; whether this is pre-baited spots or just the actual areas you are fishing before topping up the swim.

FishSpy screen shots showing uneaten bait on a variety of lake beds.

Uneaten bait can be a problem on heavily fished waters and nobody would actually chose to fish over it so, checking a swim out before you start a session has obvious benefits.

After catching a fish, however, there has been no way to know how much of your loose feed has been eaten and, in my experience in the past when using boats, I have learnt that this varies dramatically.

Sometimes, particularly if you are using a pop-up, it can be the hook-bait that goes first and the rest of the feed barely gets touched. On other waters, and in different circumstances, the fish can take everything and leave the hook-bait until last or even return later and take it when it is being fished as a single bait.

On one occasion this summer, during testing, I caught a thirty five pound mirror from a spot I had baited with two spombs full of whole and chopped boilies. The fish came during the early morning feeding spell and was my only bite of the day.

Later, when the bite time had passed I considered re setting the trap for the following day and applying a further two spombs of bait to the area. Using the FishSpy camera I checked the area first and found that most of the bait was still present.

This told me that I had either hooked a solitary feeding fish or that the other fish had spooked off as I got the bite, leaving the remaining bait untouched.

I could see no point in applying yet more bait and simply recast on top of the existing feed, hoping that the fish would return at some stage.

Had every scrap of bait been gone and the bottom of the lake visibly disturbed then I would have increased the baiting levels, hoping to create a situation where I received more than just one fish the following day.

In the video below Dave uses FishSpy to investigate his swim after a missed bite at 4.30 am, and discovers a spomb full of bait.

The implications of bait checking with a FishSpy camera are simply huge.

  • Save yourself a packet in the cost of bait over a year.
  • Save time by avoiding areas where fish are clearly not feeding.
  • Maximise your chances of a carp taking your hook bait with just the right amount of bait being present in the swim.
  • Check how successful your pre-baiting is, by seeing if those spots have been visited.
  • By using boiles of differing colours, shape and flavours it is now possible to determine a selection preference by checking baited spots.

I had always relied heavily on guesswork but the FishSpy has changed all of that. I can now see exactly what is on the lake bed and fish far more effectively because of it.

Tightlines, Dave Lane.

For more information visit www.fishspy.com

 

Upcoming events – See the FishSpy underwater Camera in action at three major UK Carp Fishing shows!!!

The TF Gear team are very pleased to announce we will be attending a number of the UK’s largest carp fishing tackle shows over the coming months!

Our unique FishSpy camera is one of the biggest products to ever hit the carp fishing scene – there simply hasn’t been anything like this since the invention of the bait boat! So naturally we appreciated you might want to take a closer look at the innovative new underwater camera everyone has been talking about.

Therefore, we decided to take FishSpy on the road this winter and spring to three of the biggest carp shows in the UK. This is your perfect opportunity to try and buy before the carp fishing season kicks off in earnest so why not come along and see what you’re missing ?

Been thinking about buying one, but can’t decide?

Seeing FishSpy first hand will truly open your eyes to what this ground breaking device can offer carp anglers. Discover exactly how it can improve your carp fishing and give you insights you had never dreamed of.

You will be able to speak to FishSpy’s inventors, meet the TF Gear development team, and talk with Dave Lane, one of the UK’s foremost carp anglers who has been heavily involved in the intensive two year field testing of this product.

We will be able to answer all of your FishSpy questions and will have plenty of them on hand for you to test and take a much closer look at. FishSpy underwater cameras and accessories will also be available to purchase from ourselves at each show.

In running order, the 2016 FishSpy shows are:

1. The Brentwood carp show.
Dates: 6th & 7th February, The Brentwood center, Essex.

Packed full of exhibitors from all of the top carp fishing tackle brands, the emphasis this year is on NEW tackle – and that includes our revolutionary FishSpy camera! Make sure you check this show out – what else it there to do in February anyway!?

For more information and ticket prices click here.

2. Carpin’on – THE carp show.
carpionon

Dates: 12th & 13th March, Five lakes resort, Essex.

Carpin’ On is the UK’s #1 carp fishing exhibition, covering all aspects of carp angling and bringing all the biggest tackle brands together under one roof!

Over 90 exhibitors, outdoor demos and displays and the best entertainment line up of all the UK shows including live forums, slide shows and tell-all interviews from leading anglers. This is your chance to meet the experts including TF Gear consultant Dave Lane!

For more information and ticket prices click here.

3. The BIG One.
Date: 19th & 20th March, Farnborough Hants.

Fishface promotions bring you THE BIG ONE! With well over 180 exhibitors, as the name suggests this is simply the largest UK carp show of 2016. This year will see the exhibition jam packed with carp fishing celebs and top tackle marques- just in time for launching your full-on spring carp fishing campaign!

For more information and ticket prices click here.

(Please note: Dave Lane is unable to attend this show.)

See you there!
The FishSpy team

For further information please email: info@fishspy.com

Alan Yates Sea fishing Diary October 2015

IT’S TIME FOR COD

The cod season has arrived and an increasing number of anglers are out after them, with catches from all around the UK being much improved on recent years. In some regions it’s possible to catch four fish over 3lb in a session and a few are making 6lb. Reports from various regions include the river Tyne being packed with small codling so the future seasons are also bright there. Inside the Humber estuary codling are showing at Immingham. In the East Anglia codling of 3lb plus are a regular feature of competitions and that shows they are around because the matches are not always organised for the best fishing, more towards social hours and the pub times.

Ian Dancey of Waterlooville, Portsmouth with two cod from Ferry Bridge, Chesil beach

Ian Dancey of Waterlooville, Portsmouth with two cod from Ferry Bridge, Chesil beach

In Kent Dungeness has already produced four codling in one session. Reports of cod from Brighton and Shoreham beaches show the English Channel has prospects, whilst the hot spot on some days is Dorset’s, Chesil beach. The Bristol Channel looks good with Blue Anchor, Dunster beach and Brean/Brean Down the top high water venues. The Fylde coast cod season looks good with codling showing already with fish averaging 1lb to 2lb. Best reports are coming from the northern end of the coast from the west facing beaches like Cleveleys, Dronsfield Road and Beach Road, Fleetwood.

Chesil beach - a great spot for catching cod!

Chesil beach – a great spot for catching cod!

All you need to do is get the sea fishing tackle out and head for the beach or pier, although a good overhaul of you fishing gear might be worth it before you venture out! Especially check you main lines because they will almost certainly require changing. Look at rod rings for wear and hair line cracks and reels for salt corrosion. Terminal rigs that have been returned from last year’s fishing should be binned and it’s not a bad idea to tie up a few new ones, especially because every season advances in tackle accessories are made and you may miss out on something special.

Check out the TF Gear web site: www.totalfishinggear.co.uk or www.fishtec.co.uk for a comprehensive selection of sea fishing equipment.

Bait wise, little beats yellowtail or black lugworm and squid as a front line codling bait, although a few fresh peeler crabs can be deadly on many venues, especially the rough ground and estuaries.

Ben Arnold of Brighton with an 11lb cod from Dover Admiralty pier - it won him the three day pier festival and is the first of the bigger shore cod from Kent

Ben Arnold of Brighton with an 11lb cod from Dover Admiralty pier – it won him the three day pier festival and is the first of the bigger shore cod from Kent

HANDLING YOUR CATCH

The way you handle your catch has become a far more important issue nowadays with political correctness demanding more attention to fish welfare. Dumping the fish in a fish box as they are caught is still practiced, but some anglers want to kill the fish that they catch, others simply release everything alive.

Personally I eat a lot of the fish I catch and so I do kill what I want to take home, but release those that are unwanted, or I feel need returning. There are of course rules and regulations governing legal minimum size limits and not all fish are legally big enough to retain, but those that are big enough are not always candidates for catch and release simply because many a hook hold is fatal to a fish, especially the small species and those species that always swallow the hook. So it’s an open ended situation and I sometimes take home fish I would otherwise have released. There are of course also catch limits nowadays, the new bass three fish a day is the first of many I think we have to come. Some species are barred from capture, eels, tope, shad to name a few.

Removing hooks is a major problem for a majority of sea anglers and lots of sea fish are killed by anglers who want to return a fish, but simply lack the technique and skill to remove a hook without harming the fish. Some hooks cannot be removed without damage, but the majority can if you know what you are doing. Using a sea fishing disgorger helps although many cannot work the likes of the Gemini effectively. It does take practise; get another angler to show you how.

If you are totally intent on fishing catch and release then use small hooks – these do less damage and are easier to remove. Size 8s or event 10s are not as practically efficient as larger sizes, but far more fish friendly if you can call a hook that. Such freshwater hook sizes being an example for their ease of removal with a simple freshwater stick (Stomfo) disgorger. Another good idea for C&R is to use crushed or micro barbs on hooks which make them easier to remove, barbless is less popular, but again it’s more fish friendly for those fishing catch and release.

Another major issue with fish welfare is handling the fish, grabbing a pouting, whiting, mackerel, etc around the middle, fighting the hook free and then releasing the fish does a lot of damage to the fishes protective, scales and slime coating. I am not in agreement with the theory that ALL mackerel handled die because of this. As a regular coarse angler I handle lots of freshwater fish and because they are caught and released regularly it is well known that they survive handling, although a wet hand, cloth or unhooked in the net, plus gentle handling is more commonly practised in freshwater angling.

At sea a problem is that different species are more delicate, some swallow hooks and some are reasonably tough. Bass for instance rarely swallow the hook and have a tough bony mouth and scaled body making them more resistant to unhooking and handling. Mullet on the other hand shed scales easily and need to be handled with great care. Dogfish are very resilient to unhooking and handling, whilst codling and the rest of the cod family and the other soft fined species are very easily damaged by a hook or handling and a very low percentage of those hooked survive. Dropping fish from a high venue is also a problem although this can be solved by the use of a bucket to net or even hooking the fish on the grip lead wire.

Flatfish are also prone to damage when the hook is removed because of the trap door nature of their mouth, many swim away strongly look like they will survive, but die later. The reality is that with the best will in the world some fish will not survive and it is my personal policy, provided a damaged fish is sizable, that I retain it for the table.

If you have to kill a fish or want to prevent it gasping its life away in the fish box then a sharp blow to the head is still the best method. Most boat skipper use the aptly names “priest” whilst from the shore small fish can be dispatched with the fish measure or knife handle

At the end of the day, fish welfare is and always has been a matter of personal conscience and although anglers may differ greatly in opinion it is totally their own personal decision and no one else’s!!!

Tight lines, Alan Yates

 

Alan Yates TF Gear Sea Fishing Dairy – September 2015

At the time of writing this I am also working on the prospects/hot spots pages for the next issue of Sea Angler Magazine with an eye on the coming cod season and I have got to say it looks good!

Alan Yates with a codling.

Alan Yates with a codling.

Well for many of us the cod are already here and although I haven’t actually hooked a codling yet, this week maybe, I have seen a few landed. Most striking is that they are not really as big as I thought they would be and this raises a few interesting issues. Back in the day it was said that the cod doubled their weight each season and I must admit to thinking that this September would see the last year’s crop of 2lbers return as fives! But no, depending upon where you fish, they all but that and in fact in the South East some as small as 3lbs. Other reports do put them at 5lbs, but of course you have to factor in the freelance sea angler’s reputation for exaggeration because most do add on a bit. I have always based my reports and news in the match result weights because they are truthful and in the case of codling size a match fish is 3lb and a freelance fish is 6lb.

Anyway, in some regions the fish are thin, as are the enormous shoals of whiting and I believe all this is down to the number of fish and the available food. Add in the dogfish hoards and the sea is being swept clean of food and those fish are struggling to put on weight. On the plus side of course is that with winter coming and the lower sea temperatures and gales the dogfish will soon move into deeper water in many regions and the codling and whiting will be inshore after the gales to feast and its then they pack on the weight – November and December.

Dogfish and whiting - eating the cod out of house and home.

Dogfish and whiting – eating the cod out of house and home.

In the meantime it’s a fact that the bigger codling will come from the rough ground and the richest sea areas in terms of food. Current reports put Chesil Beach and East Anglian venues as best for the plumper, fitter fish and the cod drought in South Wales may be over, whilst further north into the North Sea the codling are usually fatter anyway, I wonder if that down to fewer dogfish?

On my own patch, Kent the codling are expected to range from 3lb to 5lb and at that size the great thing is that they pull the string – no mistaking a codling bite and they pull and are far more difficult to land up a wall etc without a net. Of course the added bonus is that the off fish with beat 6lb even 7lb and now we are starting to talk cod!

And what about catching one or hooking one, how difficult is that going to be?

Well the answer does depend on the angler and lots reading this will have ambitions way above their ability – I don’t mean to be rude, but a majority of sea anglers, especially novices, live in a dream world when it comes to catching cod.

The first problem is finding a venue – A productive and worthwhile venue and lots can’t be bothered to make any effort in this direction and simple fish their nearest mark, usually close to the car park. Ignore the stories, look for facts! After that the choice of tide and weather are paramount and then there is the question of day or night? This makes up around 40% of the solution to catching cod – Remember you can’t catch em if they aren’t there! The spring tides are the best without doubt and coloured water is better in daylight than clear. At night clear water can be productive but make an effort to find and fish the venues best tide time. On some marks it’s the flood on some the ebb, but mostly around high tide. Long marathon sessions can be fun and tiring, but with knowledge you can spend the same hour on the venue as the cod!

Catching cod consistently from the shore is not about throwing cash at the subject, it’s about using a few brain cells and getting out there and making an EFFORT!

I would say tackle is just 20% of the subject and a quality rod and reel costing around the £200 is all that’s needed. Check out the TF Gear sea fishing tackle range because we’ve worked on a range of functional, tough tackle that can cope with the winter season. Look for a good reel in particular because that will help you to a smoother, longer cast – most beach casters in the 4oz to 8oz range are adequate and you only get a designer label for that extra cash – spend it on a top of the range reel instead.. Avoid cheap tackle, especially if you are a beginner because you will need all the help you can get. A couple of sessions with a casting instructor is next, 20%. He will put your right on tackle balance etc and may even add a few casting yards and they are vital in winter!

The remaining percentages needed to catch cod include the small things like bait – Black/yellowtail lugworm, quality frozen squid and fresh peeler crab if you can get them are the only essentials, other baits you can forget. After that terminal rigs, hooks, leads and the comforts like a day shelter, rod rest, good clothing are all not to be neglected because an efficient, warm dry angler is a contented angler and he will be more likely to be successful.

Things to avoid – rumours, myths and tackle shop talk – it’s usually too late to capitalise on a venue rumour, but what you can do is note the tide and weather on the venue and when it repeats, fish there then!

Be honest with your ability – if you are short on casting range looks for a pier or deep water beach where you can reach the fish and if you are really down on casting skills then only fish at night because the inshore sea is more likely to be stacked with fish closer in under the cover of darkness.

My final piece of advice is to buddy up, find a mate who knows how to catch cod or join a group club that have knowledge and ability and copy them – That’s how we learn life – copy others because it’s all been done before and nothing says that it’s not YOUR turn!!!

Cruise liner terminal venue at Dover

Cruise liner terminal venue at Dover.

Before I go, some good news for sea anglers is the opening of a new venue soon at Dover in Kent – Because the Prince of Wales pier is closing for a new Marina the Port Authority are opening an inside section of the Admiralty pier near the Cruise terminal.

Tight lines, Alan Yates.

Introducing FishSpy – See what You’re Missing.

FishSpy - See what you're missing.

TF Gear would like to proudly announce what we consider to be the most exciting product we have ever developed.

FishSpy is an innovative underwater camera, which we feel is going to be a game changer for carp fishermen world-wide. Our technical team have been working intensively on this project for over two years now, and we consider this to be an innovative product that is going to completely revolutionise the carp fishing world. Uniquely FishSpy is capable of transmitting live and recorded video direct to your smartphone or tablet with it’s built in WiFi, up to 100 meter’s distance away. FishSpy retails at just £249.95 and will be on the shelves early November 2015.

We think this short video speaks for itself:

Why did we develop FishSpy?

We felt the need to create a technological fishing product that would help the carp angler. Products such as water wolf are good for entertainment value (especially if you are a predator angler), but do not actually help you catch more fish. The same with GoPro’s – they make excellent recordings but these cannot be instantly applied on the bank side to help you land more carp. We thought about making a product that would show you the lake bed and the fish instantly, via a live video feed- therefore giving the angler the ability to adapt your tactics there and then. There was clearly a gap in the market that we stepped forward to fill – there simply wasn’t anything like this out there, or indeed technically possible to manufacture. So we looked at applying this concept by integrating a water proof camera into a marker float. Two years later, after thousands of hours of testing and hardcore fishing – and this is the end result. FishSpy will change the way you fish for ever.

Two years in development - A FishSpy underwater camera

Two years in development – A FishSpy underwater camera

What can it do for you, the carp angler?

FishSpy is very useful to the carp fisherman because it can give you an instant idea of what is happening on the lake bed.  The major benefit is feature finding – you can find a clear patch on a very weedy lake bottom, or a silt bed loaded with bloodworm. Once you locate a prime area you can use it just like a traditional marker float, and aim your cast right at FishSpy. Another benefit is you will be able to see just how your bait and rig behave on the lake bottom- seeing how your bait presentation sits in the sediment, allows you to adjust rig type, bait buoyancy etc. See how your bait stands out on the bottom, and throw in, bait boat, or catapult free offerings around FishSpy so you know how they appear on the substrate and act in the water column. This allows you to comprehensively fine tune your bait presentation to maximize your fish catching results- as any carper knows getting a perfectly presented bait into the right area is ultimately the difference between success and failure.

Using FishSpy to find hotspots:

Using FishSpy when baiting up:

Lets not forget the purely fun element for the angler – just like Water Wolfs and GoPro’s FishSpy has the facility to actually capture fish on film. So you can view the quarry themselves, plus record and save for future viewing and social media sharing.

Carp and Tench Feeding captured on film:

As part of our development process we have involved dedicated carp anglers all over the UK to help fine tune and tweak this product, ensuring it hits the floor running.
We presented FishSpy to Dave Lane, our carp fishing and tackle consultant. This is what Dave had to say – “Feature finding made easy, what has taken me a lifetime to learn, can be achieved overnight by using FishSpy – the ultimate edge!” We filmed this great video with Dave, showing just how effective FishSpy can be in boosting your carp catches.

FishSpy with Dave Lane – Live video to your mobile or tablet:

The technical stuff:

The FishSpy camera is housed inside an aerodynamic waterproof marker float that is built to withstand depths of up to 10 meter’s. FishSpy generates it’s own WiFi network, and allows you to connect to any WiFi devise, be it a smart phone, tablet or even a laptop. You do not need mobile internet signal or even standard phone signal for this to work with your devise.
Video is streamed in 640 x 480 quality – a great compromise between image quality and file size. This is the optimum specification for maximum streaming range and signal reliability, while still giving you an incredible view into an underwater world.

On the waters surface FishSpy can transmit up to 100 m distance. This range is assisted by a foam ring, which helps buoy up the camera from the surface of the lake, increasing the reliability and strength of the signal. Bear in mind from the surface you may not be able to see the bottom directly if it is very deep, light conditions are poor or if the water is murkey and stained. This is where FishSpy really is ingenious – you can hit a record button on your devise and wind it down very close to the lake bed for a better view.
Footage is stored on FishSpy’s generous 7 hour capacity memory card. You can then float it back up to the surface and view your recording instantly by hitting the play back button on your devise.

You can repeat this procedure in order to cover a vast area of the lake, giving you a true insight into what is down there. Yes you really can see what you’re missing!

FishSpy at the surface - giving you a live video feed to the world below.

FishSpy at the surface – giving you a live video feed to the world below.

 

 

FishSpy recording video footage fully submerged. Review instantly when you bring to the top!

FishSpy recording video footage fully submerged. Review instantly on the surface!

You can access the data from FishSpy through a custom designed app for apples iOs system, or a web browser for Andriod operating systems. There are several great features integrated into FishSpy’s software – including an action tag allowing you to mark a particular part of your video sequence, allowing for quick location when playing back at a later time. You can play back and delete any recordings you wish there and then, and any recording you choose to keep can be easily downloaded when you connect your FishSpy to a PC or laptop back home – by simply dragging and dropping the files. Battery life is 4 hours, and FishSpy can be easily charged back up using a standard micro USB port, just like on your android phone.

Some FishSpy screen shots from the Apple iOs app.

Some FishSpy screen shots from the Apple iOs app.

To cast FishSpy, simply rig up and attach to your fishing line just like a regular marker float. A boom is also included with the package, which allows you to wind right down to the lake bed.

How to set up FishSpy on your line.

How to set up FishSpy on your line.

A technical spec chart from www.fishspy.com

A technical spec chart from www.fishspy.com

 

Watch this great FishSpy tutorial video which explains everything you need to know:

For more technical specifications and informative product videos visit the Fishspy Website.

How much can I buy a FishSpy camera for, and where can I get one?

A FishSpy underwater camera unit is £249.95 retail. We think for a technologically advanced fishing product of this caliber this represents incredible value for money.
When you compare a FishSpy camera to the cost of a baitboat, or a set of three decent rods and reels, your bivvy and bait over a year plus your syndicate and license fees, then the cost of a FishSpy camera is quite insignificant. The true value of FishSpy will become apparent when your carp catches radically improve, and backed by an unconditional 12 month warranty this is an investment for the future- not just a short term toy. FishSpy camera units will be available from early November 2015.

Find your UK dealer here: http://www.fishspy.com/stockists

We plan to have have Europe wide distribution of this product in the very near future, so continental carpers need not fear missing out on this fantastic product.

Follow us on social media:

We also created several new exciting social media channels for FishSpy – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest.
So why not give them a follow and see what you’re missing!

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary – August/September

I enjoyed a hectic weekend at Amble in Northumberland organising the Sea Angler Magazine Penn National final. Forty qualifiers from all over Britain and Ireland competed in what is essentially sea angling’s major ranking tournament. The full results will be in the next magazine issue, although I can tell you that southern anglers, especially the England and Wales Internationals, did exceptionally well with Cardiff Matchmen Chris Read the overall winner.

Penn final 2015 Warkworth

Penn final 2015 Warkworth

Back from the Penn final, my next trip was to fish Folkestone pier which has been closed for repairs for over a year- Work is complete and its opening for the Folkestone Sea Angling Association competitions only at present. The problem being that an open free for all will inevitably produce problems, especially with the mackerel fishing hoards who are considered lacking in any angling etiquette by all.

A sunny day with a light breeze produced a few fish for those at the end of the pier with local angler, Herbie Tyler winning with 9lb 14oz; he included the limit of three dogfish plus twenty pouting. Runner up was John Wells of Hythe fishing on peg two and john landed the biggest fish of the competition, a 3lb 13oz smoothhound taken on crab. I managed a steady third with a few pout and dogfish

John Wells with a smoothhound from a refurbished Folkestone pier

. John Wells with a smoothhound from a refurbished Folkestone pier

Talking to Folkestone SAA Secretary and Treasurer, Robert Harwood Brown about the future of Folkestone pier. He said it is only open for FSAA club competitions at present. However, a meeting with the port authorities is imminent and this will decide, things like access, times and the rules and regulations effecting angling on the pier.

Extensive repairs have taken place with new gates and handrail, a new tarmac surface and safety furniture. Work is ongoing and the pier will be closed for work on the wall in October (Let’s hope not too long because it’s the peak of the cod season)

A number of local anglers have expressed concern that the pier is taking on a drinking culture and that angling will be pushed to the side, especially because the major work has been carried out on the non angling areas, but I can assure all that the officers of the Folkestone SAA have no intention of allowing that to happen.

Staying with piers the next casualty is another Kent pier, the Prince of Wales pier at Dover which will close for a major port development and may not return going on Dover Harbour Boards record of public access. The Prince of Wales pier is the only pier in the South that allows disabled anglers car access to fish the sea wall.

Dover’s Admiralty pier has reopened but there trolleys are barred because of the narrow walkway and so the less able angler has restricted access. Meanwhile Dover breakwater remains closed and it looks like that is it for the venue with the Dover Harbour Board having no intention of ever allowing anglers back!!!!!

Autumns coming, time to take your shelter.

Autumns coming, time to take your beach shelter.

With a change in the weather looming shore fishing is set for a major change to Autumn and winter mode and a return of crowded and snaggy venues. Losing terminal tackle is one of the shore sea angling’s major problem areas and nothing is worse than finding your gear in a snag just when the fish are starting to bite. A major cause around the UK shore, especially in the popular sea angling piers and beaches is that anglers uses heavy (60lb +) leaders to help them cast long with thin mainline (15lb). Obviously once the lead or terminal tackle is snagged the main line will always break, usually at the leader knot leaving leader, rig and lead to increase the snag. This over four decades or more has created lots of huge snags around many parts of the coast and because mono degrades very slowly these snags stay in place. On some venues regular dredging clears them, whilst on the most volatile storm beaches the weather breaks them up or buries them, but they remain a big problem.

No matter what tackle you chose to use for fishing over snags of any kind and that includes rocks and weed as well as line snag, the first essential is choosing where to fish to avoid the snag and that vital speedy tackle retrieve.

Watch an experienced rock angler and he will make the fishing look easy, but this is because he will first select his fishing spot based on his experience of the venue’s snags. Have you even looked at low water to see what you are fishing over? A few yards along the venue can make a difference to hitting the worse snags or missing them completely, plus you location in terms of closeness to the water’s edge creates a different line angle to the any snag and a high position will give you a steeper angle of retrieve which often does the trick. Add to that that there will be a difference between fishing the flood and ebb tide and either can increase or decrease a snag’s ferocity.

A failure to grip the rod and reel firmly so that the reel can be cranked at maximum speed is a major failing on many, especially novices. Too many believe that all they have to do is clip on some gimmicky snag-avoiding accessory and all the problems will be solved. But far more effective is to pick the rod up and slowly wind the rod down to point at the lead and then with that one lifting movement lift and reel as fast as you can, keeping the rod tip as high as possible. Fixed spools which have faster initial retrieve speed than the empty spooled multiplier, are gaining popularity on snaggy venues.

If your sea fishing tackle is snagged then there are several things you can do to try to escape. First change the angle of the line to the snag, walk down or uptide and try a gradual pull, or get higher up so that the angle to the snag is more acute, this often works. If that fails then try letting the line slack or pulling sharply on the rod tip. Take care with the latter because if you get over violent with the rod tip you may break it

When you are so badly snagged that there is no alternative, but to pull for a break by pointing the rod at the snag and make sure the spool of the reel is not being pressured by wrapping the line around the rod butt. Straining the spool of the reel can result in the spindle bending and the spool jamming. Walk backwards slowly tensioning the line to its limit gradually. This can sometime move a stop knot on the rig causing it to slip and jump free. Finally, fishing amongst snags is about losing tackle, it’s an inevitability of this type of sea angling that you will lose a rig sooner than later. So always have plenty of rigs and a spare reel available and if you are consistently snagged “MOVE” it’s amazing how many anglers ignore this way to avoid snags!