Posted 06:23, 14 May 2014
- If you fish a fair bit I’m sure you have a number of marks that you visit fairly regularly, and as a result of the time spend on them, you then know them pretty well. I love the familiarity of fishing certain places again and again, but then I am also one of those people who can’t help thinking about what might be around the corner, or what else is out there to go and explore and have a look at, and then quite possibly end up fishing……….
- Around where I live is one special part of the world, but at the moment we have a problem in that the big expanse of Whitsand Bay seems to be just so “fragile” after the winter we were subjected to. I can’t think of a better word than “fragile” - just as it starts to feel look and feel normal again, then the merest suggestion of some lively weather and the whole place is essentially coloured up again. There must be so much sediment and other stuff around that has not had the chance to either settle or evacuate after the sustained brutality of that winter, and livelier weather simply blows it all up. So what do you do? Do you keep on thrashing the same bits of water in the hope that it is suddenly going to come right, or do you go looking?
- Whilst I am forever grateful that a number of remarkably kind Plymouth anglers were so generous to us uni students with their time and knowledge, I found a lot of spots we used to fish by none other than good old leg power. Get out on that coastline, go looking for good looking marks, and then start fishing them and working them out. Nowadays we don’t half have have some powerful tools on the internet to help us with our searches, indeed I would argue that never has the coastline been more accessible - that is if you are into the idea of walking and scrambling, and I suppose that our coastline is mostly so special simply because most human beings are inherently bone idle and don’t do walking or exploring.
- There is a pretty big stretch of coastline around me that I just haven’t really explored yet, but the current situation we have in Whitsand is almost forcing my hand if you like. And wow does this sort of stuff excite me. It inspires me. I love fishing “new” marks, as in ground that I have not personally walked, explored or fished before. I have a good feeling about it in that it looks to have some fantastic potential for bass, wrasse, pollack etc., but to fish new ground you need to have the mindset that it’s one big learning process and you might well catch less than you might hope to when fishing locations that you know pretty intimately. Personally I love the whole “learning new marks” process simply because I love the thrill of fishing areas I haven’t fished before.
- Which in a smaller way is the whole spirit of adventure thing I suppose. I have to pinch myself that my work in fishing has given me so many opportunities to see, photograph and fish some of truly out of the way places on this earth, but I suppose that thrill is fed by my desire to see what might be around the next headland. I love trying to find more out of the way places where as a family we can head for the coast/beach, partly because of course I want to try and help implant a bit of adventure spirit in my two girls, and majorly because I don’t like it when you’ve got too many other people around to spoil the peace and quiet. My fishing is along these lines as well - but then fishing to us is life is it not?
- Now of course I could end up pulling away from this particular stretch of coastline if over a length of time it simply doesn’t produce the sort of fish I think it might. But it just looks so good, so “fishy” if you like, and lots of it requires a bit of walking. Andy and I met a mad-keen lure angler in an out of the way little car park the other day - he reads this blog (thank you!!) and of course we got yapping as you do. I love meeting anglers and believe it or not, I love talking fishing!! Anyway, we met this guy by pure chance, and he essentially confirmed to me that it’s worth persisting with this bit of coastline.
- We actually ended up fishing together last Sunday and he had the most awesome lure rod that he very kindly let me have a few chucks with (you surely know about my issues with lure fishing tackle!!) - a custom built 9’6’’ BXL T-Russell 8-28g from Dorset Fishing Rods. Holy frigging cow I had almost forgotten what an awesome job Richard Cake does with his blanks, but I pretty quickly handed the rod back to this rather nice angler as I simply can’t trust my headspace around lure rods that feel so nice. Anyway, how in the hell did I get onto my addiction? I was on about how inspiring and exciting I find it to fish new locations. Time will tell of course, but the thrill of discovery is surely something that some of you feel I hope. We might well be “discovering” locations that other anglers already fish, but if they are new to us and they “breathe” fish, well it’s that extra jolt of “I haven’t fished here before” inspiration that does it for me.
Posted 08:09, 12 May 2014
- So nearly the best things since sliced bread, but on the last day of my Irish trip the other day I was proudly showing off these FiveTen SAR canyoneering boots to a mate and saying how incredibly well they were doing as wading boots for me, and then he noticed there was a split on them - on my left boot, down the left side of it where the upper joins to the sole as in the (arty and exciting) photo you can see here.
- Damn, damn, and sod it. I have tried all kinds of wading boots out over the years and these FiveTen SAR boots are without doubt the most comfortable and easy to wear, albeit they are not actually wading boots. Light, flexible, I love those buckles (rather than laces), and with some studs in the sole the grip on them is the best I have ever come across on anything that we might wear out on the rocks. So before I tell you categorically that these boots have failed on me, bear this stuff in mind :
- They are not wading boots and they are not designed for the sort of use I have been putting them through in saltwater. Sure I wanted these boots to last a lot longer, but the simple fact is that I have been taking a punt (and blogging about it) on a pair of non-wading boots that I hoped might work as wading boots.Regardless of the fact that I am hardly some featherweight being, I have always been I think abnormally hard on shoes and boots. When I was bait fishing on the rocks all the time, if I got six months from a proper, roughly £100 pair of hiking boots before they either fell apart on me or the sole wore flat, I was doing well. I have trashed all manner of non-budget wellies with walking the dog, to the point that I have given up on them and gone back to the cheap ones. I just wear shoes and boots hard.
- Forgetting the fact that these FiveTen boots are just starting to split, one thing I have noticed is that there is no wear I can find on the soles, in that they look brand new to me - and that is quite something if you ask me. Not only do they provide quite outstanding grip, they don’t seem to be wearing down at all. I only have to think back to a couple of the lads on the Kerry trip whose soles were literally falling off their wading boots, and it was only rubber bands and rivets that kept the things working.
- You can most likely sense that I am reluctant to damn these FiveTen boots, and you would be right. I like to think that I might just be unlucky that a split has started to appear, or perhaps they simply aren’t up to what I have been doing with them. I can’t give you a definitive, but at around the £100 mark I still feel they are a more than viable alternative to most of the “cheap/budget” wading boots that many anglers press into service for saltwater lure fishing, and then find them falling to pieces far too quickly. If you take into consideration that a lot of anglers simply don’t get to fish that much then I reckon these FiveTen boots are more than worth a go - and especially if you were to wash them down in freshwater and dry them out after use. I must be honest here and admit to leaving my FiveTen boots sitting outside after most trips out, wet and bedraggled, but I wanted to see how this might affect them - which it might well have.
- I was out over the weekend exploring/fishing some new marks (we found awesome water in a gusting 8 W/SW) and I was wearing a brand new pair of the Simms Vapor wading boots that I have gone and invested in - see here. I can’t fault any Simms wading boots that I have used so far, albeit I wish they were a bit cheaper to make them more viable for more lure anglers - because in my experience nothing lasts like them. Now these new Vapor boots feel very comfortable and you know straight away that you’ve got a pair of Simms wading boots when you are walking and clambering around (this is a good thing by the way), but I can’t get away from the fact that my FiveTen boots are lighter to wear, not so rigid (not sure if that is good or bad), and are I think that little bit more comfortable and “easier” to wear. Simms wading boots though have been just about bombproof for me.
- So yes, I am gutted these FiveTen boots have started to go on me. I am gutted they have split like that, and in all honesty I don’t think they have lasted long enough, and even if I have been using them as wading boots when they are not designed for it. But if you gave me a choice of “budget” wading boots or these FiveTen ones? Well I reckon I’d go for the FiveTen SAR boots, but then you must bear in mind that is coming from somebody who have up on “budget” wading boots a long time ago. It’s been an interesting experiment that I hope might have helped some of you out, and if any of you end up using the FiveTen SAR boots as wading boots, please do keep me posted as to how they get on.
Posted 06:14, 9 May 2014
- Watch the above short fishing video and then sit back and think about it - what is your first reaction? Wow I love the look of that stuff and I would kill to do it, or crumbs those guys are stupid to be doing that stuff, let alone videoing it and putting it up on YouTube………..
- Well my opinion is holy frigging cow that fishing looks awesome and how much would I give to see, do and photograph some of that!! It’s how fishing should be to me - fun, adventurous, risky, potentially a bit dangerous, addictive, in your face even, hell, I take my hat off to those nutters for doing what they do, videoing it, cutting it, and getting it out there for the world to see. Outstanding stuff if you ask me and I wish we saw more of it in fishing.
- But I have seen various other reactions to this video, more along the lines of stupid people who should know better etc. Now I understand this point of view completely even if I categorically disagree with it, and for me it comes down to the modern obsession with health and safety and trying to remove any kind of risk from anything that we might do, together with this strange urge to then try to damn those people who delight in living their lives a little more on the edge.
- Did any of them get hurt making that video/doing that sort of fishing? I would expect so, but so what? It’s up to them. They look like some pretty hardcore anglers who are loving what they are doing, and the sort of fishing they are doing in that video is surely what any keen lure angler would want to be doing - strong, powerful fish that pull proper string. OK, so I don’t personally want to start jumping in to land my fish, but it bothers me not for one second that they are doing it, and good on them I reckon for making fishing look more edgy.
- Hang on though, isn’t it terribly irresponsible to make fishing videos that show something potentially dangerous going on? Well the health and safely police would probably say yes. Hell, if we had gone by the book when we were filming we would not have been able to do half of what we ended up doing - and of course that was somewhat tame in comparison with this video. But do you care that what these nutters are doing might be putting the “wrong” message across? Is it “wrong” to take risks? They have chosen to target those big fish, they look like some young lads, and they look like they are having plenty of fun doing what they are doing. Why not shout out to the world about it and at the same time trust that there is just about enough intelligence out there to make up your own mind about what you choose to do or not do? I used to love watching some of the Jackass stuff, but did I then want to go inserting a plastic toy up my rectum?
- Never for one second will I ever understand this obsession with trying to remove all risk (fun) from life. When we go to the beach as a family and one of my girls falls off a rock she is trying to climb up for example, do I then need to rush over and make the situation worse by fussing over her? No way - unless she is properly hurt of course, but kids are actually pretty resilient are they not? I would lay down my life for my girls, but I firmly believe in them learning to play without parental fussing (I believe it’s called helicopter parenting?), having loads of rough and tumble sort of fun, taking some risks, picking themselves back up again, and of course as a result, learning from their mistakes. If we do it all for them, how do they ever learn? And yes, I have had “the look” from other disapproving parents!! And yes, it makes me proud that my youngest girl runs away from the dreaded First Aid at school because it takes away from her playtime. My eldest was smacked in the face by the boom when she was out sailing after school the other evening and she just got on with finishing the course. It’s what kids are meant to do isn’t it?
- In my position as a fishing journalist, should I be the one to say how irresponsible those lads are in the video? Should I hell. I celebrate what they are doing because I think it makes fishing look exciting, and I am just not going to stand there tutting away and trying to stop people doing what they want to do. I believe that we make our own decisions and we stand or fall by them. If you watch that video and next time you go lure fishing you decide to jump in and get into all kinds of trouble, well one must be blunt and ask why on earth you went and did it. I don’t want people getting hurt, but on the other hand I passionately believe in fronting up, making your own decisions, and then not blaming others if something goes wrong that was your doing. Come on, tell me you don’t want a piece of that fishing………………