I’ve been using the Thermo-Tex Gilet for around 7 months now. It’s remarkably lightweight when you take into account its tremendous thermal abilities. It’s extremely comfortable to wear too and allows plenty of freedom of movement, which to me is a real plus point. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve got a straight jacket on, even if you do need one!
On several evenings when I’ve been wearing this gilet from fishtec, I haven’t felt the need to pile on the usual extra layers of clothing. The gilet is superbly warm, which for some reason surprised me. I guess mainly because it feels so lightweight but that definitely belies its impressive thermal abilities. Certainly an item im glad to have in my coarse fishing gear right now.
It’s well made and I like the fleece hand warmer pockets, they keep your hands much warmer when that cold winds blowing. They also allow room for those odd bits and pieces anglers like to tuck away into every nook and cranny. There is also a side pocket next to the zip which is very useful for a mobile phone.
Overall I’m very impressed with this fishing jacket and to coin a phrase, feel that it does exactly what it says on the tin. It will be coming with me on all of my summer and winter sessions in future. It’s ideal on those summer evenings and mornings when you just need something a little extra over a shirt and in the winter it makes an excellent and very important under layer for when it gets really cold.
Despite having to organise the Dover three day pier festival, I managed to find time to fish myself and was rewarded with fourth place overall plus prizes for the most fish, heaviest fish on the final day, and the best over 50s. Festival winner was Folkestone angler, Martyn Reid, who is on fire at present, especially at the draw bag. He won two days by a clear margin with a three day total of 20.890kg. The weather played a big part in the event and as any winter anglers will know, an in-your-face gale certainly sorts the men from the boys. It also sorts out the wet weather gear and I must say my neoprene chest waders and the latest Delta Marine smock from TF Gear kept me warm and dry on the final day of the event when winter arrived in earnest. In such conditions being able to sit on your tackle box without getting the wet bum is a real plus to your concentration and being warm and dry allows you to concentrate on the fishing. It was touch and go whether we stayed on the Prince of Wales pier inside Dover Harbour with the wind gusting SE force 9, but the event made the time which took the pressure off myself as organiser and the only hiccup at the prize presentation was a clash of venue with the local pensioners club!
The very next day I had a repeat of the weather making a DVD for TF Gear’s new sea tackle range. Instead of the planned session after Dungeness cod which was in the midst of a force 9 storm, we had to divert to the relative gale at Deal. The weedy sea made conditions difficult and I only managed whiting and a single dab – it was even too rough for the dogfish, and that’s a first in Kent. However, we did manage to get lots of tackle advice and tips on the DVD. The next day the swell from the storm cancelled the boat trip and that has to be rescheduled before the DVD goes public.
Fishing News and Competition Reports
Coming soon is the final of the Clubman league organised by Sea Angler magazine – this involves a five man team from Mersey-based Sefton Sea Angling Club versus a team from Sea Angler, including me. The fishing is from Otterspool promenade in the Mersey. More on the venue, etc., next week.
I missed my trip to fish the West African Beach Championships in Gambia this year – the event had gone stale and lots of competitors stopped going because – to be blunt – the organisers lost interest with tight pegging and poor selection of venues leading to fewer fish. So next year, a group of us are organising our own event in February 10. If you are interested send me an email (email@example.com) and I will keep you in the loop as to when and where. Currently my angling representative is visiting the Sheriton Hotel near Banjul to sound out the accommodation, etc.
Look out for the Force 8 beach umbrella from TF Gear – at last, a brolly that will hack sea fishing. It was my idea to introduce a 45inch brolly with skirt built to exacting sea angling standards. The model has reinforced fibre glass stays, both flexible and corrosion proof and the canopy is in hard wearing waterproof material that is welded to the ends of the stays rather than help by a plastic cap. The main support pole has the options of an upright fixing in the rear of the brolly for calm days or in the straight position when it’s windy. Some might say why only 45inch? Well, it’s my experience that larger brollies are much more difficult to anchor in sea angling conditions, and that 45 inch is the maximum size for stability, especially if you don’t want to play kites! The model is light weight enough to use on the beach when you are moving back and forth with the tide.
AROUND THE SCENE
In many regions, the summer casting events have come to an end as more casters return to the beach in search of cod. The last Kent Sportcast event held at Norton in Kent saw Steve Swan with the top cast of the day of 220.9meters with 150grams, which in the calm conditions was exceptional. With the casting ended for another year, the club reflected on another successful season. The highlight was Steve Morris hitting the first 250metres on his favourite 100gr lead in March, then later in June, Didier Laroy and his group of casters travelled from Belgium to take part on the day when Steve Boyt reached 256m on the 150gr, creating a new Norton distance record. On the 28th August with ideal wind conditions, Jason Carter obliterated all previous records with a cast of 266.44m using the 150gr lead.
I fished the latest Kent Open series at Seabrook and was delighted to make the frame against some of Kent’s top competition rods. Winner was my mate, Ceiran Bull, who is a fishmonger from Hythe and has recently been amongst the Kent bass. He racked up a bunch of dogfish and whiting while fishing a Loop style terminal rig for 6.670kg, taking home a large wedge of cash. In second place was Deal angler Saul Page, fishing his last match before he leaves (along with my son Richard and the rest of the England squad) to fish the World Shore Championships in South Africa. Saul landed 19 fish, a mix of dogfish and whiting for 6.20kg. The event saw competitors plagued with small whiting, mostly 26cm; would you know it, the minimum size limit is 27cm! It’s a bit of a mystery why the Kent whiting have stayed so small this autumn, they have been undersized for months and it does look as if it’s just sheer weight of numbers and lack of food.
Ceiran Bull With His Winnings!
Away from the beach casting, I took a day out and went trout fishing. I was intending to fish Kent’s Bewl Water reservoir, but was shocked to find it only half full so switched to Power Mill Reservoir at Sedlescome in Sussex. What a cracking fishery, well run and in some pleasant woodland scenery. A boat costs just £12. I fished with Folkestone’s Paul Foot and we decided to fish the bank. Although we didn’t set the trout fishing world alight, we did manage to catch some quality rainbow trout from the dam wall using damsel flies. I can vouch for their eating quality, a change from all those cod and far better from clean water reservoirs than from muddy ponds! Fishery details and so forth are available from the bailiff/manager – telephone 01424 870498
FISHING NEWS AND COMPETITION REPORTS
The pegs are running out for the popular Sheerness Steel SAC, Kent Classic Open being fished in the Isle of Sheppey on the 21st November. The event is always a sell out so if you want to fish, hurry and contact Trevor on 01795 877127, or Ray on 07930 390761. More details on: http://www.sssac.webplus.net.
Nearly 500 sea anglers fished the Gateway Holiday Park Flounder Cup in the Lougher Estuary, South Wales, and a record number of 1kg plus flounders were landed. Even better, over £5,000 was raised for the RNLI Local Inshore Lifeboat, and that’s just about one of the best charities to run an angling match in aid of because you never know when you may need them. Match winner was William Dykes who landed the best flounder of 1.134kg, which was worth £1710. Jonathan Harris was second with a 980g flounder (winning him £1040) and Dominic Lewis was third with a 974g flounder, winning his £650. Junior winner was William Thomas with a flounder of 818g, and he won a £200 tackle voucher.
Another charity event suggested that charity really does begin at home with the 75 competitors fishing at Highcliffe, Dorset, raising £1020 for the England Junior International team. It’s a sad fact that the sea angling teams have to fund much of their own costs; they do receive a small grant towards travel costs but that’s usually about it. In my day, the sea anglers didn’t even receive that and it was a fact that most of us who fished for England used our annual holiday, and that cost more than one a marriage!
Matt Brook of the Isle of Wight won the catch and release total of 353cm.
England’s Junior International Team (credit: Clive Morgan)
The cold Northerly winds this week sent a chill along the beaches – time to dig out the thermals. What kind of weatherproof clothing do you wear during the winter? I am a big fan of the bib and brace trousers and waterproof jacket combo and am well pleased with the new Delta Marine Clothing from TF Gear which is Teflon coated, 100% waterproof and fleece lined, with jacket and bib and brace both at £59.99. Sallopettes can be worn alone when the sun is out and they give you some warmth around the lumber area. I am not a fan of one piece suits although for the really cold weather and the boats, the floatation suit can be essential. It’s difficult to get the combinations of clothing right with the UK climate, cold one minute and sunny the next.
Another popular combination is Geordie Pyjama’s – that’s chesties if you live south of Watford Gap. Neoprene chest waders (like the Hardwear Pro Neoprene Chest Waders) combined with a smock type top (TF Gear’s Delta Marine range has a smock at £59.99), are great for rock hopping and wading, but watch those wader soles; studded or none slip are essential for treading wet rocks or the kelp edges. Perhaps the most important winter garb for the angler is a hat and the peaked baseball type cap takes some beating for keeping rain and spray off glasses – and it’s cheaper than laser surgery. On colder days, the good old woolly hat is the business. But best of all for keeping warm, and keeping your fishing tackle and bait dry, is some form of angling brolly or fishing day shelter.
I have got to tell you the story of my first cod of the 2010 winter. Fishing Folkestone pier, Kent, in a Folkestone Sea Angling Association evening competition, I was lucky enough to draw hot peg four near the end of the pier. I landed a small codling midway through the event, plus dogfish and whiting. In the last ten minutes, I decided to have a last quick retrieve and cast before the final whistle. The result was a proper cod bite. My prototype TFG Delta Beachcaster bowed over in the tide, and I yelled for local angler, Ray Coyne – fishing next to me – to “Get the net!” His reply with a grin was, “It’s probably only a couple of dogfish,” but I was sure it was a cod and as Ray came to have a look it surfaced below the wall. “Its only about 3lb” said Ray, “Shall I hand line it?” The fish came up the wall safely despite my only having a size 1 Aberdeen hook, but it was a super Aberdeen, that small extra wire thickness counts in winter. It weighed 7lb 2oz and my total winning weight in the match was 21lb 8oz. My first cod of the 2010 winter, let’s hope there will be many more.
First Cod of the Winter
FISHING NEWS AND COMPETITION REPORTS
I fished the British Championships at Deal over the weekend, and although I ended up as an also ran, the match had a worthy winner in Folkestone based matchman, Martyn Reid (45) – who, for my money, should be in the England squad. They say that lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice, well, it does if you have a lightning rod! Martyn won the Championships for the second year running. I spoke to Martyn in midweek, and he reckoned that a draw in the low 1 to 30 bracket was required. At the draw on Saturday night he drew peg 19 on the same stretch of beach at Sandwich Bay where he won the event last year (peg 23). Most of the regulars thought it a no contest and predicted a second Reid win, and he obliged with a catch of 23 whiting plus a dogfish for 4.750kg, pocketing the £1,000 cheque plus a fistful of pools. Martyn’s long distance beach casting and speed fishing techniques destroyed the opposition in the low numbered peg. In second place was Shepway match angler, Greg Dixon, usually better known for his cod catches. Fishing the Deal end of the Walmer section, Greg snatched out 21 whiting for 4.380kg. Third was Alan Blythin, who travelled from North Wales to the event; he weighed in 3.860kb. The biggest fish was a 1.930kg codling for Dover’s National Penn Champion, Nathan Elliott, who finished fifth overall. The lady and junior champion was Rebecca Hurcombe of Deal with 2.670kg.
Martyn Reid Presented With His £1,000 Cheque
Staying with national competitions, the Police held their 19th National Sea Angling Championships at Portrush in Northern Ireland. Individual winner was Kent angler Barry Uden who also led his Kent A team to second spot in the team event. Barry landed 11 coalfish and a whiting on day one for first place, and followed it with third on day two for top spot overall with 4 point. He caught most of his fish using Kent piddock clams fished on mono paternoster rigs, which goes to prove it’s not always local bait that does the business.
SEA ANGLING SCENE UPDATE
“No take” zones are part of the proposals included in the Marine Bill expected to be implemented in 2012, but the first no take zone has been established in the North Sea off Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. It’s only the third NTZ in British waters. This means that nothing can be removed, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, sea weed, etc from the sea and inter-tidal habitat. The NTZ extends from the Bridlington edges of Danes Dyke to the Sewerby Steps for a distance of 700 metres seawards. Sounds like a ban on angling to me, I told you we should have voted for a sea angling licence – Three miles out to sea would be better and now the great debate for anglers is are they allowed to fish catch and release? Answers on a postcard please.
New fishing tackle to look out for includes the latest TFG Force 8 Multipliers, there is a review in issue 460 of Sea Angler magazine and I showed the Mag model off recently on Sky Sports Tight lines programme. I have been using the reels for several months now and they have been likened to another well known make. But whilst being similar have a few improved features including a thicker spindle to prevent the spool locking. On some multiplier reel models the spindle bending is the cause of the spool locking! The knobbly adjustment for the magnetic brakes is neat, very adjustable and easy to access during the cast – altogether the 65CTM model is the ultimate long distance casting multiplier reel and on offer for £99.99 it won’t break the bank!