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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Dave Lane’s Top Carp Fishing Tips Competition

We recently ran a competition on one of our social media pages where carping legend Dave Lane asked for Facebook fans carp fishing tips for the month of May! The winner will receive a pair of TF Gear 10 foot banshee carp rods. We had a great response, and Dave has been looking through them all, and he decided that the winner is Paul Scott!

Here is Paul’s tip-

Paul Scott. This time of year the fish seem to be on the move quite a bit so although the key is to find fish, maybe take a bit more time in watching the routes they take and spotting traffic lanes they use. If your intending to fish that lake for the rest of the year, it will prove to be invaluable on the rest of your campaign!! Happy hunting.

The Key is to find fish – take time in watching the routes carp take.

Dave also liked Charlie Hallidays tip, so he gets a runners up prize of a TF Gear babes calander and baseball cap!

Charlies tip– When you want an accurate cast , mark your standing position and use a quick link to your lead’s swivel (for rig attachment) then un-clip your rig and cast to the desired area with just the lead , if you go into an snag or on an island you can get your setup back with ease and just keep casting until you hit the mark , then put your line in the clip and attach your rig ! Accuracy made easy with less fear of losing your rig don’t forget to use marker elastic for the next time and unclip after the cast for safety.

And finally the best of the rest-

Ashley Gray.
Make sure your bedchair is level before you attempt to go to sleep. It’s frightening when you slip down the end and then the bed tips up!!

Jonathan Ryder. I like to use solid bags but with a twist. Use a syringe to inject hemp oil and coconut oil into the centre of the bag mix. Has worked well for me!!

Anthony Bates. Coat your free baits in oil (i use tuna) then coat your baits in a good amount of salt its a big edge before they spawn.

Leigh Harmer. Keep mobile, watch the water and zigs are always a option

Dave Guy. Outside my bivvy I have three solar panel garden lights not bright but I can see my rods and nets and there not heavy and charge during the day.

Steff Parr. I found a pretty effective way to fish margins and near rushes if your able to lower your lead instead of casting and have your rig closer to the rushes than your lead and when baiting the area just plop a single boilie at a time and no more than 5 had a bite within minutes each time I do it now I always have one rig out and a popup near the rushes and if there is berry trees around the lake pick a few and use them as hookbait the lake fish know it to be a natural food.

Terry Robert Spurgeon. If using a long zig, loop the line then lick and fold over PVA foam at 2 or 3 places on the loop. Tangle free!

Kev Hudson. When using zigs I find placing a piece of pva foam below the hook , then cutting a few pieces of foam down and placing them a couple of feet apart down the zig line all the way to the lead negates tangling on the cast and makes sure your zig is sat correctly in the water column

John Buckingham. Always put my head torch in my boots at night!!! Or else I forget it.

Paul Jarvis. Check all your kit for wear and tear epically if it your first outing of the year, as mice can chew through anything

Glen Marshall. Don’t be afraid to move swims had one then nothing so moved swim had another two to 16lb…

Colin Smith. When zig or top fishing dip your bait’s in oil of clove’s work’s every time.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary MAY 2015

This month the mackerel feathers, floats, mini lures, etc are returned to the fishing tackle box – Its summer, well the calendar says its summer, although that cold easterly wind reminds us to keep that spare jumper handy.

Lures make a return to the fishing tackle box.

This time of year sees lots of species movement around our coasts and it’s a time to keep alert to what’s going on because the fish can appear and be gone in a week as they migrate north. Here in the South East the fish move through in a rush and it’s so often the anglers who are out and about regularly that make the best catches. Take the mackerel and garfish, they are now rare during mid summer. In the region with May the time they move through, you can make some great early catches of mackerel this month, but look the other way and they are gone all in a rush. One of the reasons why catching those early mackerel can be a good idea is that many consider they are the best for freezing down because they have not got the oil content of the late summer fish which have stuffed themselves with oily whitebait and other tiddlers and are said not to freeze down so well because the flesh is soft when they thaw out. How true this is I am not sure, but I have noticed a difference in the quality of the flesh of different batches of frozen mackerel. Same from the shop – have you noticed how some frozen mackerel, sandeel, even squid catches and others don’t and could this be the reason? It’s also worth mentioning on this subject that garfish flesh is far less soft when frozen than mackerel and many anglers consider it a better bait when frozen than mackerel.

Good news for fixed spool users this month is the arrival of the new TF Gear Force 8 fixed spool reel – Having been forced to swap from multiplier to fixed spool I nagged TF for a better fixed spool model. The cheaper models are great, but it’s like most things when you improve your skill, you want better equipment and that costs more. Well the new Force 8 fixed spool has arrived and I am well pleased with the result. It’s got all the features of the expensive models, but only sells for £129.99, currently on offer at a £79.99 introduction price.

The new TF Gear Force 8 white edition sea fishing reel

It includes a long tapered casting spool, 4 to 1 retrieve ratio, pucker front drag with quick wind off setting, a full set of bearings (7) a comfy handle and a cotton reel like line lay system all in a compact and balanced design that sits neatly under the butt and rejects the fixed spool past reputation as gawky. On the beach it casts great with 12 -15lb mono, not tried mine with braid yet – My only complaint and that may be rectified very soon, it doesn’t come with a spare spool. The big thing about fixed spool reels is that a couple of spare spools give you spare reels because the spools can be swapped in seconds and they can be loaded with different size and type of line – far more versatile than the multiplier.

Dogfish love or loathe – either way they are easy to catch!

I have been out on the club match scene locally recently and it’s noticeable that dogfish numbers have increased – SLIGHTLY!!!! The problem is that whilst it’s great to get a bite when you are fishing, after a couple of dogfish they get boring and on many venues it’s the guy on the dogfish hot spot, end of the pier etc, that wins the event. My local club, Folkestone SAA have tried to solve the problem with a three dogfish limit – You can cull up with fish so that you bring your three heaviest to the scales at the match end, but you are only allowed three. Not a bad idea, conservation, but killing a few to try to control numbers, although after a few events the general feeling is that a limit of five would be better. Other clubs in my region catch and release all dogfish so the count for 500 grams which also works well although at the end of the day being good at catching dogfish is what match fishing is all about in many regions! My advice in that respect is learn to cast long and fish with quality frozen sandeel, although in some regions a single black lugworm or a lugworm tipped squid bait works well. But beware when using tipped baits for dogfish, often the fish go for the main bait (worm) up the hook shank and line and can miss the hook point.

A typical summer shore Smoothhound

Species to look for this month include the smoothhound with the potential for some big specimens through the English Channel and up into the North Sea around Lincs and the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel. The species is growing in numbers and size and although the well known venues where the bigger breeding fish are found in a few small areas, the main run of fish is getting bigger on many of the other venues so keep an eye on your rod because even a three pound fish can pull your rod over! As for the best bait – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the best bait for hounds everywhere is crab and that goes for the boat or shore – A whole common shore peeler, a hermit, a lump of edible, velvet or spider cannot be beaten.

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

 

TF Gear Compact Rods

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.

Fishing for Plaice – Bling it up!


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.

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 2015

The early spring sunshine brings lots of false dawns at this time of year with spring seemingly about to arrive daily, especially around the south of the Country. But extremely low temperatures, snow melt water and icy winds lay in wait to dampen enthusiasm for many shore anglers and the only true pointer to springs arrival are the extending daylight hours.

Lots of anglers may believe that temperature plays the biggest part in the arrival of spring and the start of the improvements in fishing it brings, but it’s the daylight hours that count the most. Look on the land to see why – sunshine hours are steady, regularly improving each day, tangible proof to life that spring is coming. The light does raise ground temperature, but it’s the extending length of each day that sets nature on its spring journey! On the shore the sunny side of the groyne sees the sand and mud warm in readiness for the crabs to moult, whilst shallow water calms and clears allowing the water temperature to increase.

It’s a great time of year with the change in the fishing tangible – The pin whiting so long a winter pest, start to thin out with small pouting amongst the arrivals. They are good news for the match anglers and bass food so don’t knock them! In recent years it’s a time for the rays to show along with returning dogfish and whilst the rays may be spasmodic in terms of which species and location they, especially the thornback, have become a major spring species in many southern regions.

This year with the codling fairly prolific throughout the winter, they too will show in spring and this year should be the first proper spring codling run for several years. Too small to spawn they did not leave to the deeper water at the end of the winter and will linger and fatten around many coasts to take advantage of the peeling crabs before then heading to deep water and an all fish diet.

Other spring species include the plaice and they too have enjoyed an upsurge in local populations in some regions – said to be because of a plaice quota reduction on the commercials. Whatever, it’s nice to see these very slow growing flatties making a comeback, although in the early weeks of spring fresh from spawning they really are lean and not worth eating so return if you can.

Chris Clark of Lymington with a big undulate ray – was it late winter or early spring?

 

Time to get the sea fishing rods out if you haven’t already – I’m particularly looking forward to the extended evenings, which make a late afternoon beach or pier session once again worthwhile. Night fishing is great in the winter, but daylight fishing is so much more enjoyable!

The debate about bass preservation rumbles on with EU proposals to raise the bass minimum size limit much talked about and generally supported by anglers. Whatever the limit set it will never be high enough and the commercial lobby will oppose it and angling has a fight on its hand if the commercials think they can have a legal limit lower than anglers! Catch limits are also essential and I as I have said before would also like to see a bass upper size limit. The Angling Trust is doing its best to fight the sea angler’s corner and all power to them – you can help by joining them as a member, a small price to pay for a voice!

On the tackle front the year brings, amongst a few new developments in the TF Range, a new fixed spool reel. I had to switch to fixed spool reels because of a ruined shoulder caused by years of dogfish and weed hauling and must say lightening down in general has helped make much of my shore fishing prove far more fun when the going gets tough. I have tried braid line, 10lb mono, 4oz leads, lighter rigs, tapered leaders and all in all I must say it’s been an experience. But one major factor was that I got fussier about reel performance and found some of the cheaper fixed spool models less effective than I required. And so we are introducing a new lighter model with a more sophisticated line lay for increased performance both in terms of casting and feel – I hope you enjoy it.

New TF Gear Sea Fishing Reel

Finally, have you noticed that suddenly mono line quality has improved dramatically with the arrival of more lines containing co polymers? A tougher outer shell, higher knock resistance and overall improved strength are now something you can take for granted and I urge anglers who think they are using the best line to look again, because some of the new kids on the block are awesome and they are in the TF Gear catalogue!

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

 

TF Gear Thermo-Tex Gilet – Tackle Review

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.

The TF Gear Thermo-Tex Gilet is available for just £29.99.

Floatation Suits for Sea Fishing

…….How much is your life worth?

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

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

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

Available here: TF Gear WaveHopper Floatation 1 Piece suit

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

Available here: TF Gear Two Piece Wavehopper Floatation Suit

Total Fishing Gear Babes Calendar

Having something in your fishing room, other than your fishing tackle of course, to get you thinking about where your next fish is coming from is a must for any enthusiastic fisherman.

The TF Gear 2013 Babes Calendar is the ideal gift for any angler this Christmas, whether your into carp fishing, coarse, sea or fly, there 13 beautiful babes will set your pulse tracing. A stunning selection of photographs that will delight every angler.

Take a look at the calendar girls video –