Posted 08:26, 19 May 2014
- Almost more important to me than a rod and reel is my waders and a good pair of polarised sunglasses, and yes, if you had asked me some years back whether I could ever have imagined that spending what it takes to get a really good pair of polarised sunglasses was remotely worth it? I’d have struggled to be honest. But after wearing really good sunnies for years now? Worth every single penny if you ask me, indeed I can’t really imagine life without them. Any chance at seeing better into the water and protecting my eyes from the sun and of course hooks is just a serious no-brainer to me. Once you’ve used proper polarised sunglasses, you will understand what the fuss is about, and also be aware there’s no going back!!
- I have tried all manner of different polarised sunglass over the years, from cheap as chips ones that I thought might be a bit of a bargain, to what I believe are the best you can get - Costa del Mar. After a couple of cheap charlie pairs broke on me in the heat of Angola, I vowed to myself to go looking for “proper” polarised sunglasses, and via Smith I think it was I then ended up using the Maui Jim ones for a while - all very good sunglasses, but I couldn’t help noticing that most of the professional guides I was working around were wearing Costa del Mar out on the water. As with all fishing gear, polarised sunglasses are personal things, and especially the frames and the kinds of lenses, but I still can’t get over how frigging awesome these Costas are. The best out there? Well I haven’t personally used anything better, and that comes from using them all around the world in all kinds of light and on all kinds of water.
- Nope, Costas are not cheap, but then neither is a Shimano Stella or a Daiwa Branzino. The best always costs and the best tends to the best for various reasons. I never had any problems with Maui Jim for example, but then I went and took a pair of Costas to Belize I think it was (with the 580G Green Mirror polarised lenses) and it all changed - to me it was like I was looking at the world in high-definition if that makes sense. Everything suddenly seemed that much sharper, clearer and better defined and I was just smitten. If you are reading this and wondering how on earth a middle aged bloke could get so emotional about his sunglasses then I would respectfully say wait until the day you go fishing with a pair of Costas - read on and you could win a pair if that helps.
- I thought it might help if I gave you my thoughts on the different Costa del Mar lenses that I have used, but if you want the cheapest (all things are relative) way into this awesome brand, then the plastic (i.e. non-glass) 580P lenses are, if you ask me, very close to being as good as the top of the range and ridiculously good 580G (glass) lenses - and the Copper 580P is an especially good lens colour for everything. So far I have never scratched a pair of the (glass) 580G lenses, but you need to be aware that although the (plastic) 580P lenses are tough, they can scratch if you aren’t careful with them - bear in mind though that I ended up with one tiny scratch on a pair that I used for most of a year.
- Costa del Mar 580G (glass) - Copper - As with my photography and the use of a (gentle) warmup polarising filter, I really like my polarised lens to slightly warm the world up if that makes sense. I could use the Copper lens for ever and be happy as it’s just something else how good they are, and I reckon they work really well in all kinds of light. I don’t pretend to understand why these Costa 580G lenses are so good, but there is loads of info about them here. A slight warmup in my mind really helps to boost contrast and “warm” colours up, and without a doubt I reckon that makes for a kind of high-def lens that you can wear for hours on end and then be a little disappointed that the world looks somewhat less good when you then take them off.
- Costa del Mar 580G (glass) - Silver Mirror - A gentler, perhaps subtler version of the Copper lens colour I reckon. If you want something closer to neutral then check out the Silver Mirror, and as much as I like them, I do prefer the higher contrast look of the Copper lenses around saltwater especially. Costa say the Silver Mirror are especially good for freshwater use, and considering that I took this lens colour to Mongolia with me and they were outstanding, I would have to agree.
- Costa del Mar 580G (glass) - Blue Mirror - My least favourite Costa lenses, as in they are still a great polarised lens, but I am not so into the way the Blue Mirror lenses slightly cool things down - as in they seem to be slightly “cooler” than neutral if that makes sense. I know some anglers who get on really with this lens colour, and especially for long periods in insanely bright conditions (not a massive problem here in the UK, although how awesome were the last few days?). Costa say the Blue Mirror 580G are best for open water, i.e. out at sea, and on a bright day that does make sense.
- Costa del Mar 580G (glass) - Green Mirror - If I had to use one Costa lens only for evermore, it would be the Green Mirror - they’re a freak of nature they are so good. Almost like a copper lens on steroids, as in they really warm the world up but with something else in there that to me just gives the most incredibly sharp boost to everything. On the flats the Green Mirror 580G are just insane, but after using them on the flats to start with, I then wondered how they might do for the sort of light conditions we might find with our fishing - and I reckon they do one hell of a job for our conditions. The boost in contrast and saturation with these Green Mirror lenses freaks me out, and how these things remove glare is in my mind what makes Costa lenses so special.
- Favourite frames? Well I do tend to favour a more wraparound style of frame as I think it helps block any distracting light coming in from the side - I really like the Blackfin, Corbina, Permit and Tuna Alley frames, and the Hatch and Galveston in the ultra lightweight frames with the 580P Copper lenses. Yes, Costa del Mar are not exactly budget polarised sunglasses, but they are the best in my opinion - I can’t argue with the fact that they come with a lifetime warranty, so unless you go losing them (use retainers, it’s another no-brainer), you’ve got them for life.
- I have been kindly given a pair of Corbina 580G Green Mirror Costas to give away to some lucky person here (above) - tell me in no more than thirty words why a pair of the best polarised sunglasses there are would help you catch more fish!! Serious, funny, sad, honest, inventive, you decide what to write and I will decide the winner. Leave a comment on this post below with your no more than thirty word entry, and make sure to email me the exact same comment/entry with your postal address to this email address here - I will let this run for a week or so and then pick a winner and pop the sunglasses in the post to you. My profound thanks to Costa del Mar UK for letting me give a pair of Costas away here.
Posted 12:25, 16 May 2014
- What started off as a good chat between John Quinlan and I has turned into something that I am really keen on getting more and more into. I blogged all about my first experiences of “guiding” with one of bass fishing’s best professional guides (check here, here, and here), and although John Quinlan and their rather excellent Thatch Cottage Fishing lodge operation is heavily booked up right through the season, we have bashed heads and come up with another set of dates for an August trip (check here).
- Look, I’ll be honest - give me any excuse to head back to John’s part of Kerry. He is a true gentleman, I love their setup, and working with John was just awesome. OK, so John is the professional, experienced guide in what we are working on together, but my first proper foray into “guiding” bass fishing was something that I loved doing and I would like to do more of it. Working with anglers like we did was a great experience and I am pretty sure the clients we had were essentially ok after spending that time around me!! I have put some photos up on my website from that first trip - see here.
- The dates for this next trip are as follows : arrive Thatch Cottage Tuesday 5th August, then fish with John and I on Weds 6th, Thurs 7th, Fri 8th and Saturday 9th - return home on Sunday 10th August. John loves the summer fishing out there because so many of the different kinds of locations tend to be firing with the warmer water and weather - rock marks, estuaries, open beaches etc. are all on song (with regards to weather and conditions of course), plus there is all manner of rock fishing for pollack and wrasse, and even salmon and sea trout on John’s private stretch river, conditions dependent again. Basically it’s fishing in a very special part of Ireland, and if you follow my blog you might have got an inkling of an idea that I rather like being around fishing in Ireland!!
- John and I are also looking at further dates for this year, plus we are going to work on getting ahead of ourselves for 2015 with some cracking tides and dates, so in the meantime, if you are remotely interested in coming fishing in Kerry with John and I, then please check here for our new brochure - and even if you don’t want to come along, check out the brochure anyway because it’s got lots of pretty pictures in it!!
- You all have a good weekend, and I hope you have a bit of this perfectly stunning weather we have currently got here in Cornwall. Wow, this is more like it, although you never get everything - the water around here is currently all messed up with that horrible May bloom. Get the barbie going, put some suncream on, weld those Costas to your face and spend as much time outside as possible. Hell, this might even be the right weather to get the new IMA thong on. Work? Highly overrated when it’s like this!!
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.