This quick report with images shows what great fun you can have whilst river coarse fishing!
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.
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.
A nice size chub.
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.
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.
TF Gear fishing tackle is ideal for river coarse fishing, visit the website to checkout the entire range!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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
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 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.
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.
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.
Looking for a new rod to kick start your spring campaign? Look no further than the TF gear compact range of coarse fishing rods, ideal for those starting out in the sport and the seasoned veteran alike.
What are the compact rods you ask? Well the concept is these coarse fishing rods are shorter in length than the traditional fishing rods on the market. This confers many advantages to the fisherman.
Easy maneuvering – in tightly spaced commercial fishery swims, or on the river bank when you have to clamber through heavy bank side foliage.
Greatly reduced weight – These fishing rods are also significantly lighter in the hand making your fishing more pleasurable.
Easy transportation – these rods are guaranteed to fit in your car!
Better casting accuracy – with less leverage to deal with and a quicker recovery time accurate casting becomes much easier.
Improved control when playing a fish – its much easier to put the pressure on a decent fish and change angle of play quickly with a shorter rod.
Reduced cost – shorter length equals less carbon used. This cost saving has been passed on, so higher quality blanks and components are used in manufacture. You get a better quality product for less money.
Fish playing fun – feel everything, and put the thrill back into a fight! While at the same time there is enough power to quickly tame large specimen fish.
TF Gear produce a compact rod for every fishing scenario you will ever encounter. There are two ranges – The original compact rods, which and have a classic brown ground matt carbon finish, and feature smooth mid-tip progressive actions. These rods are great value, but no compromise has been made on quality or finish. Secondly the lighter weight and higher modulus carbon nantec range, which feature slimmer blanks and a slightly faster action. In addition most of the nantec rods come with a free TF gear Airlite reel, making them an incredibly competitive package.
The TF gear compact allrounders must be the best seller best in the range. These highly versatile rods offer you numerous options, you can go from a 8 to 10 foot length with a two foot extension piece. They are also supplied with 3 x push in feeder quiver tips and an avon top, allowing you to fish multiple methods – float, feeder, touch ledgering, surface fishing or even spinning.
The TF Gear Compact commercial float and feeder rods are available in either 8 foot or 10 foot configurations. The feeder rods come complete with 3 push in quivers. They are ideal for small fishery work, from roach and rudd to tench and bream, these rods handle them all. The 8 footers in particular are ideal for really crowded swims, and also make superb rods for youngsters to easily use.
TF Gear Compact carp rods are 10 foot in length with a 2.5 test curve. These fantastic rods are not just ideal for carp, they can be used for barbel, large specimen tench, chub or even pike and zander fishing using a float and deadbait presentation.
Alex Bones, expert carp and match angler talk us through the nantec compact carp rod.
The first few weeks of spring usually brings a calm sea, clearing waters, sunshine and plaice – It’s time to break out the bling, decorate those hook snoods with beads, sequins and the like and go in search of plaice.
There is something about catching plaice that stirs the imagination, the rod tip nods and
on the strike and retrieve resistance builds, the tackle seems to hang deep and then the lead surfaces ahead of a big flattie using every ounce of its width and strength to stay on the sea bed. They say plaice don’t fight, but catch one on light sea fishing equipment from the pier, beach or boat and they will prove that opinion wrong!
Giant dustbin lid plaice are a catch of the past and the species has been a real victim of over commercial fishing. As a popular plate fish its numbers have been thoughtlessly plundered, whilst the average size has fallen to under 1lb nationally. But, the good news is that during the last few years, especially through the English Channel and to the west, a quota limit seems to have allowed plaice numbers to increase slightly and the fish have returned in numbers.
I would say where to fish for plaice is more important to the shore angler than how – Just a few regions consistently produce the species in numbers. The best plaice fishing venues are mostly through the English Channel and up the Irish Sea with a few specimens taken from the shore line through north of Cumbria. The species is also not so prolific in the North Sea although several piers and harbours in the North East do produce regular pockets.
The best plaice fishing venues
Beaches around the Channel Island
South Hams beach
Slapton and Beesands in Devon
Chesil beach in Dorset with Cogden and Abbotsbury consistent
Poole harbour produces the odd specimen, especially the dinghies
Eastney, Southsea and Lee on Solent in the Solent in Hampshire are the southern plaice hot spots and although the species thins out toward Sussex and Kent the odd specimen is always possible from venues at Pevensey Bay, Dover Breakwater and the Prince of Wales pier at Dover.
On the Irish Sea side of the UK plaice are few in the Bristol Channel, but the North Wales estuaries like the Dee at Mostyn and Greenfields and the Mersey at Birkenhead and further
to the North west venues around Fleetwood and Morecambe Bay in Lancs produce good catches, whilst north west plaice marks include the beaches between Workington and Maryport at Blackbank, Redbank and Grasslot, The Whitehaven piers and further north the western Scottish Lochs.
You will find plaice on a variety of sea beds from plain sand and mud to sand and shell grit banks to patches of sand between rocks, weed and pea mussel beds. The best terminal rig for catching them is dependent on the venue with the Wishbone rig an often quoted favourite. Its two hooked design includes bait clips to streamline bait and rig making it suitable for distance casting. This fits the requirements of most plaice venues where the fish are often found at range, but not always. Where long range is not required a one up, one down flapper rig with longish snoods is the alternative.
Plaice have a fairly large mouth, which when extended can engulf a large bait with a size 2 and size 1 long shank Aberdeen the perfect hook size and pattern. These smaller sizes
being easier to remove than the larger sizes should you want to return the fish.
A range of baits will tempt plaice with the marine worms favourite, although location does influence bait choice and although lugworm are considered best by many, in some estuaries where ragworm are more prolific they produce more fish. Other baits that catch plaice regularly include peeler crab, harbour ragworm (maddies) snake white ragworm and a strip of squid which works well from most boat locations.
Plaice are attracted by movement and colour and are renowned for responding to bling, any bling! But don’t forget the basics first – deadly are wriggly ragworm tails and the potent scent of worms and crab juice, make sure that a few worm tails are hanging (Dip the bait in the sea before casting and they will stay intact)
It is the standard when fishing for plaice to add beads, sequins, vanes, spoons, in fact anything that glitters, reflects flutters or moves etc to the hook snood and this without doubt does increase the chance of a plaice taking the bait. More or less anything goes.
Also when shore fishing for plaice it is possible to attract fish to the baits with movement and the attractors by simply lifting the rod tip occasionally, or releasing some line in the tide causes the baits and lures to flutter.
PLAICE FACT BOX
Latin Name: Pleuronectes platessa Nickname: spottie or red spot.
Minimum legal size: 28cm
Specimen size: Average 2lb depending upon region.
British shore record: 8lb 6z 14drams caught at Southbourne beach, Bournemouth.
ID: Nobbly head. pronounced red, orange spots on top side, chevron white or clear on undersized smooth skin, rounded tail.