Our latest and I think strongest so far fishing safety related video from our work with the RNLI

Never has this fishing safety related work we are doing with the RNLI felt more relevant, and if you are wondering why then I would ask you to read my previous blog post. I’m not going to bang on today because I’d rather let this new video do the talking - I put it up on Facebook last night and it’s gone a bit bananas with anglers viewing it and sharing it around, but my hope as ever is that anglers watch this new video and actually buy and wear at the very minimum an auto-inflate lifejacket. And of course it’s a profound thanks from me to all the people involved in putting this new video together. Please watch right to the end and you will understand why I am asking this.

You all have a good weekend - currently breaking my head here with the current weather conditions because there are bass around and I can’t get at them. My youngest girl turns 12 tomorrow and then at 3pm is the reason why I am currently feeling sick with excitement and nerves - England v New Zealand, holy frigging cow. Could we do it?

This angler bought a lifejacket because of what we’ve been doing, he got into serious trouble in Cornwall last Sunday, and he is alive because he was wearing his lifejacket

This is copied from a Facebook post that Neal Dews put up on Monday to describe what happened to him on the north coast of Cornwall last Sunday: “Yesterday morning this saved my life no questions asked I wouldn’t be here without it ! (there was a photo of an inflated lifejacket on this post). After passing through a cave from one beach to the next And coming out the other side put my head torch on and the sea was about 100 yards away , I took about a dozen steps and noticed a small swell coming in around kneehigh so I stood side on and brace myself only to see three waves coming over the top head high next thing im upside down under the water slammed into the rocks like jacket goes off and Surfaces me , winded , shiting myself with waders full of water. T/P (spinning reel) and tailwalk (rod) nowhere to be seen , then I noticed my lure snagged on a rock and the tip of my road sticking out of the water 20 yards away luckily managed to retrieve this , not so lucky what’s the double sided lure box that floated out to sea , don’t care though ! After the last 24 hours thinking this over and pulling sand from places I never even knew existed the facts of the matter are £70 saved my life , Don’t think about buying one do it boys ! Battered and bruised just walking but still here.”

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So I messaged Neal through Facebook and said firstly that I was bloody glad he got out of this alive, and secondly if he would mind me calling him to ask about what happened and also ask why he was wearing a lifejacket. You need to know that not for one single second am I doing any of this lifejacket and angler safety work with the RNLI for any kind of glorification - and the RNLI know all about how long it takes to get messages and indeed culture changes like this through to enthusiasts as stubborn as we collectively are - but when I heard that Neal was wearing a lifejacket because of what we have been doing I cannot tell you how pleased I was for so many reasons. A very experienced angler got into serious trouble on a mark he has been fishing for twenty one years up on the north coast of Cornwall and he got to come home to his wife and two kids because he was wearing a roughly £70 auto inflate Crewsaver lifejacket that his family had given him for his recent 50th birthday - this one here that I reviewed a while back in fact and was wearing myself on Monday afternoon in some surprisingly bouncy south coast conditions. It’s such an easy bit of kit to wear.

Amendment: Apologies, I think Neal and I got our wires slightly crossed as regards the make of the lifejacket he had on when the proverbial hit the fan last Sunday. I am pretty sure it was actually a “Kru Sport 170”, and not the Crewsaver - but it makes no difference. Good lifejackets like these need not cost much and it’s a lot of essential gear for not much money.

Neal and I spoke for a fair while on Monday evening, and the way he described what happened to him sent a chill down my spine. It was very interesting to hear him use the word panic almost straight away. Bear in mind he’s been fishing the north coast for twenty one years, so he knows all about swell and the unpredictability of it - yet he got caught out big time, and it all went wrong horribly quickly. Some of what he said tied in almost uncannily to a talk I did at the fishing show on on Sunday, when somebody was asking me about how we might be able to take our chest waders off if we end up in the water, and somebody else asked me how you use a sling-bag when you’ve got a lifejacket on. You ain’t getting your waders off and I would ask if a certain way of carrying lures (and there are other ways of doing so) is more important than giving yourself the best possible chance of not dying when the shit hits the fan as it did with Neal.

Panic, and how fast things happened, that is what really struck me from talking with Neal. What happened to Neal hasn’t happened to me, but with the testing we have done and what I am learning as I go along, it has been my growing suspicion that if things go so badly wrong so damn quickly and unexpectedly - as it did with Neal on Sunday - I don’t care how experienced you are. You are going to panic, end of, and Neal said that as he very suddenly ended up in what sounds like a horrendous washing machine kind of situation, he was upended, his waders very quickly filled up with water and also sand (I never even thought about heavy sand getting into your waders), his sling-bag that he had left open filled up with water, the hood on his jacket filled up with water, and all this combined to give all that turbulent water lots more traction as such, and increase the sense of panic and helplessness. I am not trying to scare-monger at all here, but I asked Neal again and again: “would you have survived without your lifejacket?” You know the answer. He was amazed at how quickly his lifejacket auto-inflated and helped to right him and float after he had been literally upended, and then keep him afloat and his airways clear until the water receded and he could self-rescue.

I have not met Neal before but I am so bloody glad he survived this incident and got to go home to his wife and kids. Too many anglers over the years have not got to go home to their families. We need to be honest about all this and acknowledge how stupid and/or ignorant far too many of us are about our own safety when we are out fishing, and wearing a lifejacket for a lot of your shore based lure fishing is going to give you a far greater chance at getting out of a bad situation alive. The Art of Fishing are listing three different Crewsaver lifejackets on their website at the moment - check here - and yes, they are the full RRP and you could most likely search around the internet and find them a few quid cheaper. Firstly here I would ask you to please get your arse in gear and buy a lifejacket and then actually bloody wear it, and secondly to buy it from the Art of Fishing because any of the profits derived from the Crewsaver lifejacket sales are going to the RNLI.

 If you ever end up in a situation like this, you seriously want to be wearing a lifejacket - this is a photo I shot while we were working with the RNLI this summer

If you ever end up in a situation like this, you seriously want to be wearing a lifejacket - this is a photo I shot while we were working with the RNLI this summer

All I am trying to do with this safety related stuff is use my voice as such to try and get the messages and information out there to try and help save anglers’ lives - there is nothing more to it than that. Haters will always hate, doubters will always doubt and say really helpful things like you shouldn’t be out fishing if you need to wear a lifejacket, and keyboard warriors/experts always know it all anyway, but I firmly believe that together with the RNLI we can get to the right people and do a lot of good here. Everything I have been doing with the RNLI feels so incredibly worth it because Neal survived due to the fact he was wearing a lifejacket because of what we have been doing. Some of you here kindly buy some of your fishing tackle via my affiliate links on this blog and website, but you need to know that there will never be an affiliate link associated with anything safety related. I don’t do this safety stuff for money and in some respects I am probably not really a very good businessman for getting involved like this, but some things to me are far more important than dosh. So glad you’re safe Neal and thanks for kindly being okay with me writing this blog post.

Some thoughts and highlights from the weekend’s European Sport Fishing Show

So the second ever European Sport Fishing Show has been and gone, and as with last year I think the location is perfect and I take my hat off to the organisers for sticking their necks out like they so bravely do and putting this show together. In truth the show seemed busier last year and I am sure that the “getting it out there” to us punters could be done more effectively over time, but to be honest what surprises me the most is some of the lack of support from the fishing tackle trade……….

Bear in mind that I work in fishing but of course don’t make or distribute of sell fishing tackle. For many years now I have had all manner of people within the UK tackle industry banging on at me about the need for a fishing show that encompasses lure and/or fly fishing specifically - and now we’ve got one because a few brave people have decided that enough is enough and we have simply got to have one. So why were far too many key players not at the show? Where the hell are the big boys like Daiwa, Shimano, Hardy, Greys, Penn, Savage Gear, etc.? With the amount of fly and lure guy these companies do you’d have thought they would want to show it off to the fishing public.

And then where were some of the smaller companies? Where was somebody like Veals Mail Order with all their Varivas and Teklon lure gear especially? Where was HTO with their awesome Nebula and Shore Game rods and all their lures and bits and pieces? I hardly saw a Fiiish lure at the show, and so on. I am also surprised that more of the internet based lure fishing companies especially don’t go along to this show and help anglers to put faces to business names and also show off and of course sell a load of the increasingly impressive lure fishing tackle we can get our hands on. Don’t get me wrong, it was an impressive show and in time it could grow into something frigging amazing, so surely parts of the tackle trade are their own worst enemies - moan when there isn’t a show, then don’t go to a new show because their might not yet be quite enough footfall, but how on earth do you grow the footfall if you aren’t in there helping to grow it by showing off and selling fishing tackle and associated gear that anglers can come along to see and buy?

Anyway, I could go on and on about the above. We so need a fishing show like this in the UK and I can’t wait for the 2019 one. From my point of view it was awesome to be there in conjunction with the RNLI, and whilst this is very early days with the whole trying to make our fishing that bit safer so that we do get to come home to our families instead of becoming a tragic statistic, it’s really interesting to get to talk to more and more anglers about all this. I showed a brand new video at the show and I believe and I can put it onto YouTube sometime very soon. Here’s some info from the show that I know will be of interest to lure anglers:

Once again the Art of Fishing tackle shop had a hugely impressive stand, and they have my total respect for sourcing and selling the excellent and seriously good value for money Crewsaver lifejackets on sale at the show, with all profits on the sale of them going to the RNLI. I believe these lifejackets will be on their website this week as well, so keep an eye out - for a smidgen under £80 you can buy a seriously good auto-inflate lifejacket, the Crewsaver Crewfit 165N Sport - check my review of it here. I also got to waggle all the rods in their brand new Tailwalk Borderless “EGinn/do any kind of lure fishing” range - holy frigging cow, and I seriously mean that. I can’t recall waggling a more impressive overall range of lure fishing rods before and I have come away from the show actually wanting to buy and own a 10’+ lure rod for the first time ever. These new Tailwalk EGinn rods are on a scary-good introductory deal at the moment and it’s taking all my will power not to invest. A lot of anglers were quite rightly fawning over the the utterly delightful and lighter lure weight Tailwalk EGinn 86L-R, plus the “do it all” Tailwalk EGinn 96ML-R. I’d happily take them both, plus that longer Tailwalk EGinn 106M-R as I said earlier, but damn the Tailwalk EGinn 88M absolutely blew me away. If you like very light and wonderfully “crisp” lure rods then you have to check out these new rods.

I got to see a lot more rods in the new Major Craft Triple Cross range over on the impressive Todber Manor stand, and thanks to the kind people at Chesil Bait’n’Tackle I took away a hugely impressive feeling Triple Cross TCX-982Surf 9’8’’ 10-45g “Surf Style” lure rod to give it a proper thrashing. Damn this rod feels nice and it’s the perfect time of year for me to get my hands on a lure rod like this. I also saw a very impressive looking wrasse-style lure rod, the new Major Craft Triple Cross Hard Rock TCX-802MH/S 8’ 5-30g, and there is also a slightly longer Major Craft Triple Cross Hard Rock TCX-902H/S 9’ 5-35g - both would make serious wrassing rods, plus they would also work well as bass rods for those of us who like nice fast, very “crisp” actions. I am also becoming more aware of just how many technical metals especially that Major Craft are making, and I really like the prices as well. I have used an IMA lure similar to this Major Craft Jigpara Surf 28 (28g) that absolutely slayed for me on a session over in Ireland last year, so I can’t help but like how this Major Craft one seems to be along similar lines but considerably cheaper! I have also been told that these particular Major Craft slow jigs here and here have been pounding bass for some shore anglers this year. Did I resist at the show? Did I hell!

Great to see a much bigger Sufix lines/VMC hooks stand this year, indeed I am starting to test out some new Sufix lines that will come onto the UK market early next year I believe. If you read my blog then you know how much I like Sufix lines, and these new ones do feel rather special. I was so sorry to hear that the nice people at Lure Heaven could not make the show right at the last minute for family reasons, and I wish them all the best.

Always good to see the Vision fly fishing people, and they were telling me about a few new clothing and wading related products that I can’t wait to get my hands on next year for a proper test. They also assured me that there are no plans anywhere in the future to stop making their consistently brilliant Vision Ikon chest and indeed waist waders (review here) - thank you Vision!

I was so impressed that Aaron Insley the custom rod builder from Cornwall had a stand at the show, and he was showing me some brand new blanks he has got in which were of serious interest. I am not sure how much I can say about these blanks yet, but in due course I am hoping to get my hands on one of them for a bit of a test, and damn it felt impressive as a surf fishing rod. Holy cow can Aaron build fishing rods, indeed I would urge you to connect with him on Facebook or on 07858 478102 to discuss either his new lure blanks or if you’ve got any kind of fishing rods that need a rebuild etc. Aaron told me that he can now get hold of those great feeling Winn Grips rod grips and handles and I am sorely tempted to ask him to put some on a lure rod of mine.

 Do I look highly intelligent or slightly confused?!

Do I look highly intelligent or slightly confused?!

The more time I spend with the RNLI people, the more I am learning about all manner of fishing safety related stuff, and as much as I am further down the road with lifejackets especially, I still have so much to learn about them. What could be better than getting some one on one lessons from the guys about how to properly rearm a lifejacket and then repack it ready for using again? There will be lots more to come on this and I have come away from the weekend understanding so much more about how to look after and service my own lifejacket. My eternal thanks to the truly awesome RNLI.

Anyway, I’ll leave it there for the time being. Great to catch up with a bunch of our clients, great to talk fishing with so many anglers, I always enjoy seeing so many of the fishing trade people I have got to know over the years, and I so hope that next year more of the lure fishing trade especially gets right behind this fantastic new show and helps it to move onwards and upwards so that more of us fishing tackle junkies find ourselves drawn to Bristol because our tackle-addled brains call us there like homing beacons. So well done to the organisers, you deserve so much credit.

Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you any more to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.

Sounds to me like this angler was seriously lucky to get out of this alive

I know little about this angler related incident from that storm we had the other day save for what I have read online, but it sounds to me like the person concerned is seriously lucky to be alive. I don’t know Porth and it’s not for me to pass judgement upon whether what sounds like a couple of anglers should have been fishing where they were during that storm, but that aside you have to once again take your hat off to the relevant emergency services for getting this guy out of the water before he died.

 This is NOT the angler who went in! It’s my photo of a day with the RNLI from the summer…….

This is NOT the angler who went in! It’s my photo of a day with the RNLI from the summer…….

This is what I know happened via an article I was alerted to online: “A man who went angling on the Cornwall coast during the stormiest weekend of the year so far had to be rescued by helicopter when he was washed off the rocks. The RNLI and Coastguard were called at 6pm on Sunday after a man was washed into the sea while fishing from rocks at Porth. The man's partner called 999 and asked for the coastguard and a helicopter was launched. Coastguards say the man followed 'float to live' advice and floated on his back rather than struggling against the current. A Newquay Coastguard spokesman said: "Just after 6pm on Sunday evening our team along with Newquay RNLI lifeboats, RNLI Lifeguards Newquay and Rescue924 were alerted to an angler having been washed off of rocks at Porth. "The angler followed the advice given to anyone who inadvertently enters the water, #FloatToLive getting on his back and not struggling. "The helicopter was quickly on scene and plucked him from the sea. He was extremely lucky, he followed advice #FloatToLive and his partner raised the alert immediately by dialing 999 and asking for HMCoastguard. "We wish him a speedy recovery."

 How hard is it to wear a modern lifejacket for shore based fishing like this?

How hard is it to wear a modern lifejacket for shore based fishing like this?

The angler who ended up in the water was not wearing a lifejacket, and with what I now know and have come to realise it would be of course be easy to sit here and pass judgement on that fact, but in reality I would bet that most anglers out there who are rock fishing especially are not wearing lifejackets. Why? For any number of reasons, with ignorance and simply not knowing being at the top of the list I would bet, plus the simple fact that as anglers we are predominantly a bunch of blokes who for some daft reason reckon we are invincible - and you can take me as an example here. I didn’t know about lifejackets, I didn’t want to know about them, then when it was suggested to me that they could be useful I purposefully ignored them, until as has been documented on here I came around to how they are quite simply a no-brainer for a lot of the saltwater fishing we might do.

I have put that RNLI Float to Live video on here as it’s so worth a watch, but above all I would implore you please to think about the fishing you do and how you could so easily wear a lifejacket and do a few small things to maximise your chances of having a heap of fun whilst fishing and then going safely home at the end of it. I am sure that in due course I will learn more about what went on with this incident from the other day, but initially it sounds to me like a lot of luck was involved to have this particular angler live to fish another day. What would have happened if the “man’s partner” wasn’t around to call the emergency services? “The helicopter was quickly on scene and plucked him from the sea”. As the article says, you can but with the angler concerned a speedy recovery and hope that this incident might get a few more anglers thinking about their own safety…………….

Vision Ikon Guiding Stockingfoot waist waders review - around £200 (and I now believe a whole heap safer than chest waders if you end up in the drink)

Let’s get the easy bit out of the way - the regular Vision Ikon chest waders remain my benchmark as regards a combination of value for money together with how well they perform for a good length of time (review here), and to be honest I am seeing the same thing with these (shorter) Vision Ikon waist waders. They just work. They are well cut, the neoprene stocking feet feel just as good as on the chest waders, the material is the same, indeed the more I wear chest waders for my lure fishing, the more I am finding them a complete no-brainer with how they wear like an easy-to-wear pair of looser fitting, lightweight trousers that of course keep you nice and dry if you need to get in the water etc.

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In the box is an elasticated pair of braces that clip onto these waist waders and adjust as required, but to be perfectly honest I found them a little on the short side and they held the waders a bit too high and tight around the proverbials for my liking. After a few goes with the waders I unclipped the braces and just threaded a waterproof fabric type belt (loads of them on Amazon) through the belt loops and tightened these waist waders up like I would a pair of jeans - and this turns out to be a really important point, but more on that a bit later.

As with any pair of breathable waders, I accept that if i slip over on sharp rocks or catch them on a barbed wire fence that I will most likely tear them, but a few home repairs are pretty easy to do if needs be. As for how breathable these Vision Ikon waist waders are, well it’s always the same for me - if I end up walking and scrabbling around in warmer weather especially then I will end up with some sweat on the inside, but to me that’s an unavoidable fact of wearing waders and I wear clothing underneath my waders that helps to minimise this. I still can’t find better under-wader wear than the Under Armour Cold and Heat Gear compression leggings and tops, and whilst I wasn’t exactly designed to compress, damn it’s comfortable gear to wear, and it’s been that way for me for many years now.

I wear an XL pair of the outstanding Vision Ikon chest waders and I am pleased to report that Vision have continued their excellent sizing and it’s a simple XL that fits me perfectly in their Ikon waist waders. I still can’t believe that it has taken me so long to come around to waist waders for what is turning out to be more and more of my saltwater lure fishing, but that feeling of walking around in what feels like an ultra-comfortable pair of loose fitting lightweight trousers can’t really be beaten if you ask me. For sure I don’t find chest waders remotely hard to wear, but cutting out that top bit of material for the waist waders does feel that bit better again.

 Here's my mate Nick in a pair of waist waders back in 2012 which at the time I thought were a bit pointless because I knew essentially nothing about how chest waders would behave when you end up in the water - never, ever say never in fishing!

Here's my mate Nick in a pair of waist waders back in 2012 which at the time I thought were a bit pointless because I knew essentially nothing about how chest waders would behave when you end up in the water - never, ever say never in fishing!

Okay, so if you are standing close to the water and it’s splashing around then you aren’t quite as well protected from a few splashes as with a pair of higher-wearing chest waders, but with how often many of us are wearing some kind of waterproof jacket or smock plus the need to man the hell up a bit, I don’t see this as a problem, and especially not when combined with all the good stuff that I think waist waders are giving me. I still find a regular need for chest waders - and obviously for deeper wading - but if you are careful then it’s surprising how many gullies you can successfully wade for example in a pair of waist waders. If you really stop and think about it, how often do you really need to wade beyond waist deep anyway?

Anyway, that’s the easy stuff out of the way - I can’t find a single thing that niggles me about these Vision Ikon waist waders except perhaps that I’d like to see what is a pair of waist waders that of course have less material on them than a pair of chest waders sold for a bit less because of this. I am guessing though that waist waders don’t sell as well as chest waders and therefore they are more expensive to make when volume is taken into consideration, but please bear in mind that this is pure speculation on my behalf. These are an outstanding pair of (waist) waders that I am using more and more, but then with how good the Vision Ikon chest waders are I kinda thought these waist waders might be the same.

So now we come to next part of this review - the real reason why I got hold of a pair of waist waders to try out for my fishing, and what I found out last week when we did some more safety related filming with the RNLI up on the north coast of Cornwall. For sure I wanted to see if waist as opposed to chest waders might be a little easier to wear for some of my lure fishing, but my primary reason for wanting to try them was because of how my chest waders filling up with water and not being able to clamber out of the RNLI training pool back in February shocked the living daylights out of me. How would waist waders behave?

So if you end up in the drink and you can get out fairly quickly I am not about to claim that your chest waders are going to prevent you doing so, but if for whatever reason you get washed in and you end up spending more time in the water then there is every chance that your chest waders are going to fill up with water (and without a lifejacket in choppy or rougher water especially I would suggest you most likely aren’t going to be able to spend much time waiting for rescue or trying to get out because you are going to drown). This will not sink you, but again, without a lifejacket you are going to be struggling horribly to keep your airways clear because of how those waders are “floating” you - and if you are able to self-rescue or grab a throw-line that your mate has chucked out to you, then trying to clamber out in full waders is going to depend on a number of things, including how much water you have in them, how cold and tired you are, how physically fit and strong you are, how the rocks are shaped for clambering or climbing out, and so on.

As I have said before, I am perfectly happy (but also alarmed that I knew so little about this) to admit that before February and our time at the RNLI testing tank that I had no idea how potentially dangerous chest waders could be when the shit hits the fan and you could be fighting for your life. By a process of elimination and talking to other anglers I came up with the idea of trying out a pair of waist waders, and last week was the first time I got to go in the water with them on.

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Please read that blog post from last week to get an idea of the conditions we faced, for we weren’t in any real trouble when actually in the water and the guys wearing chest waders were able to get out of the water. Whilst it’s only a still photograph, I hope that you can see how Mark above is struggling with his movement in a pair of chest waders that have filled up a fair bit with what ends up being a scarily heavy amount of saltwater.

So I went into the water twice - once without a lifejacket, and once with. Both times I was wearing this pair of Vision Ikon waist waders (and really hoping that I didn’t tear them on the rocks when I was trying to get out of the water!) and I wore them exactly as I would for my fishing and I didn’t empty any water out between takes as such. I basically do them up with that fabric belt about as tight as I would a pair of jeans, and no, just in case you were wondering, I don’t wear my jeans around the base of my arse with my boxers showing! I wear them good and regular and not like I’m trying to be all gangsta-street-looking like a tit-with regular people wanting to pull them the hell up…………….

Anyway, so first time around I jumped in without a lifejacket, orientated myself, and swam towards the rocks where the film crew were and scrambled out - all fine, but in reality how realistic would this be if the conditions had been properly rough and dangerous and cold? I then walked back say fifty yards or so, put my lifejacket on, and jumped in again. The auto-inflate Crewsaver Crewfit 180Pro inflated reassuringly quickly and without fuss (review to come) and I am floating in the water about as comfortable as can be. The crew chuck me a handheld radio then a PLB and then a mobile phone to simulate working them when in the water, and then after that Nathaniel chucked me a throw-line, I grabbed it, and then he pulled me into the rocks and I clambered out. 

I reckon I was floating around with my lifejacket and waist waders on for at least ten minutes, plus I had jumped in and got out that first time around, and I was really pleased to find that when I clambered out for the second time that I had very little water in those Vision Ikon waist waders. I reckon the water reached to just below my knees and I was able to do my interview to camera and then walk say fifty yards to where my camera gear was and move around to take some photos of Cronin going in with the floatation suit on. 

So for the time being that’s more than enough proof for me that if the shit hits the fan I want to be wearing a pair of waist waders. I could move around easier in the water, floating around with a lifejacket on felt so reassuring, and far less water getting into the actual waders didn’t half make it so much easier getting out. Even if more water did end up getting in, wearing a pair of waist waders means that they can only fill up to my waist level anyway, and for trying to clamber out when you are potentially tired, cold and bloody terrified, well I’ll take water potentially up to my waist over water say up to the top of my stomach in a pair of chest waders any day of the week.
 

We did some RNLI fishing safety related filming on the north Cornwall coast this week - fascinating difference between swell and those “rough” conditions we had in their training pool

At 8am on Wednesday morning, a bunch of us met at the Padstow lifeboat station and then we headed just down the coast to Porthcothan where the aim was to do a load more shore fishing safety related filming work. Bearing in mind that I had headed out fishing the morning before on the north coast and walked away because it was verging on too dangerous where I was to be there on my own, I was interested to see how things were going to pan out - and especially because I was one of the anglers who was going to be going in the water………….

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I am not going to try and cover everything from Wednesday in this one blog post, indeed when I was driving home in the evening I was obviously going through how the day went in my head and trying to work out the one thing that stood out the most to me. I can think of a lot of stuff I want to talk to you about - and I will in due course - but it was actually a shore angler called Cronin who went into the sea towards the end of the day in a floatation suit and what this showed that really stood out to me. Mark and I had told him to expect all sorts of problems after how horrible it was for Mark when he did the same thing but in the RNLI pool earlier in the year, as per the video below.

 A lack of chop on the water simply wasn't continually forcing water into Cronin's airways as what was happening to Mark in the video above

A lack of chop on the water simply wasn't continually forcing water into Cronin's airways as what was happening to Mark in the video above

But to be honest Cronin was okay when he was wearing the floatation suit, and on my drive home I was thinking about why Mark was in all kinds of trouble in the RNLI pool whereas here was Cronin out on the open coast and he looked pretty comfortable. Then I got to thinking about the rest of us anglers who went into the sea on Wednesday (with and without lifejackets on, and with a big thanks to Marc, Mark, Jamie and Nathaniel for coming along and helping out) and we weren’t really in much trouble when we were actually in the water - note as well that three of the guys are serious surfers and are extremely proficient and confident in the water.

 Marc is a surfer, he is extremely fit, and he is very confident in the water, but without a lifejacket and in a short space of time he was getting a lot of water washing around and no doubt into his airways

Marc is a surfer, he is extremely fit, and he is very confident in the water, but without a lifejacket and in a short space of time he was getting a lot of water washing around and no doubt into his airways

So what were the conditions like on Wednesday? Well there was a big swell rolling in on the north coast of Cornwall, but if you know Porthcothan and how there’s a bit of protection as you take the coast path south then this is where we were hoping to find some shelter - with the backup of the not very realistic looking Padstow lifeboat slip if needed. Setting up for filming and getting a load of establishing shots and interviews always takes a lot of time, but regardless of that we simply couldn’t go in the water around the HW because the swells surging in would have caused us all kinds of issues trying to get back out onto the rocks. I know we are trying to show what happens if it all goes wrong, but we’ve got the RNLI and a bunch of RNLI lifeguards there making the decision on what is as safe as can be for us - and for a few hours on Weds morning there wasn’t a single person who wanted to “fall” in and then try and get out of that surging water!

 I haven't asked Marc how much easier it was getting washed around at the base of the rocks and trying to get out whilst wearing a lifejacket, but to an observer it was easy to see how much more in control he was, and how little water was washing around his face and airways

I haven't asked Marc how much easier it was getting washed around at the base of the rocks and trying to get out whilst wearing a lifejacket, but to an observer it was easy to see how much more in control he was, and how little water was washing around his face and airways

Which of course throws up a big issue with what we are trying to do - how do you go about showing an angler getting washed in and churned around in a properly raging sea (as it often is when we are out fishing) and then getting them out safely? We are working with the RNLI and they are obviously not going to let anything go wrong and I don’t know of any sane angler who would volunteer to go in the water when it’s raging anyway, so I guess that it shows how much more we should be trying to avoid ending up in the water, and of course wearing a (so damn easy to wear) lifejacket AND having a means of calling for help if you are fishing on your own. If you can’t call for help or at least alert a passerby then help ain’t coming. You so badly don’t want something to go badly wrong in hectic conditions especially, and we can’t show this anyway, but we are trying our best to at least give some ideas on how to give yourself the best chance of surviving if the proverbial does hit the fan.

 As we found out back in February at the RNLI tank, you don't just sink like a stone in a pair of chest waders! But as Mark found out once again, when they start filling up with water it's a lot, lot harder hauling yourself up and out of the water - and bear in mind that our "exits" as such on Wednesday were not tough

As we found out back in February at the RNLI tank, you don't just sink like a stone in a pair of chest waders! But as Mark found out once again, when they start filling up with water it's a lot, lot harder hauling yourself up and out of the water - and bear in mind that our "exits" as such on Wednesday were not tough

So as that tide dropped we were all able to fall/jump into the sea and successfully get out, with and without lifejackets, and to be honest the only real difficulty was a bit of surge from a bit of swell that was still getting into where we were - and that to me is the one thing that really, really stands out from Wednesday. For sure there were some serious waves crashing into the more exposed parts of the north Cornwall coastline, but this was purely a decent swell rolling in - once you were in the (relatively sheltered) water you are going up and down with the swell and it was a bit awkward getting out in some places (I got a hurty on my hand!), but what none of us experienced on Wednesday that the four of us all experienced at the RNLI pool back in February was consistently choppy conditions. This is how I described it: “let me tell you how bloody horrible it is when you are in the water and now you’ve got water breaking into your face and in no time at all you start spluttering and gagging and spitting and you can’t get enough air in your lungs before getting water in your face again and then as safe as you are in the tank you’re already getting tired trying to stop water getting in your face and down your throat and in no time at all you’re not thinking straight and you want the hell out of there and I went for one of the ropes at the side of the pool because it was so bloody horrible - and that’s in a controlled talk and the water wasn’t even very cold. I dread to think how bloody horrendous and scary and panic-inducing it is in real life when you get washed clean off the rocks into cold, raging water.”

 I know I keep saying it these days, but it's true - wearing a lifejacket when you are fishing more hectic and or fast current conditions especially is a complete no-brainer, and especially with how inexpensive and unobtrusive they are to wear these days

I know I keep saying it these days, but it's true - wearing a lifejacket when you are fishing more hectic and or fast current conditions especially is a complete no-brainer, and especially with how inexpensive and unobtrusive they are to wear these days

So we had a bit of swell that was lifting us up and down out on the open coast on Wednesday - and there simply is no getting away from how much easier it is to float in the right position (head out of the water and the right way up) when you have got a lifejacket on, indeed at one point I was bobbing around for at least ten minutes without any bother at all - but at no point other than a bit of surge when we were clambering out did any of us experience anything like those “rough conditions” what were of course artificially created in the RNLI pool, and which to me were scarily realistic. I don’t know about you, but I often fish choppy/rough conditions when if I ended up in the water then I would be facing exactly the sort of issues that the wave machine created, and it’s an unavoidable fact that without a lifejacket you are most likely going to be in very serious trouble very quickly. If you can’t keep your airways clear then it’s no good, end of.

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 That's a 275N lifejacket with the floatation suit

That's a 275N lifejacket with the floatation suit

And I guess that the RNLI pool and its perfectly horrible wave machine showed how dangerous a floatation suit without a lifejacket can be, whereas in non-choppy conditions as we had on Wednesday, Cronin was able to keep himself upright and pretty comfortable. But would I personally be trying to judge conditions and whether I should wear a floatation suit or not? Not a bloody chance, or at least not without a lifejacket, and I wonder if you knew that it is recommended you wear a minimum 275N lifejacket with a floatation suit primarily because of the greater buoyancy required to turn you over the right way if you aren’t able to do so yourself.

 Nathaniel is a surfer, an angler, and also an RNLI lifeguard. He is extremely competent and confident in the water, but now imagine you have been washed in like this in say December and you are on your own and you aren't wearing a lifejacket and you are fighting for your life and you are struggling to keep your airways clear and/or get out of the water. It doesn't bear thinking about. 

Nathaniel is a surfer, an angler, and also an RNLI lifeguard. He is extremely competent and confident in the water, but now imagine you have been washed in like this in say December and you are on your own and you aren't wearing a lifejacket and you are fighting for your life and you are struggling to keep your airways clear and/or get out of the water. It doesn't bear thinking about. 

Anyway, there will be plenty more to come. Thanks as ever to the awesome RNLI, the film crew (short films to come in due course), and those kind anglers who gave up their time to come along and help out. On Wednesday it was the first time I got to go into the sea with a pair of waist waders on as opposed to chest waders. I don’t want to go into what I found out now, but very briefly let me say that I was rather pleased that some of my theories on waist versus chest waders if you end up in the water proved to be true………………..
 

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Will a floatation suit save your life if you end up in the water? Another video from our RNLI testing day……….

With what I know now and if I had my way then floatation suits would not be allowed to be called floatation suits, indeed I believe that what we know as floatation suits are more commonly called immersion suits outside of our fishing world. I bet loads of you here who come with a bait fishing background have bought floatation suits in the past both to help keep us warm in the winter and also because the very word “floatation” gives us a (false) sense of confidence that if we end up in what will often be a colder winter sea that we will float and survive. I am one of those people, indeed I can distinctly remember my first ever floatation suit which I got on a bit of a deal because it was one size too small and every time I knelt down to bait up it would catch me around the neck and I’d have to hurry up or I started feeling dizzy! Sorry, I digress………….

This is a very short video from that RNLI day we did earlier in the year. When we were up there my RNLI contact asked my mate Mark if he would mind putting a floatation/immersion suit on and jumping in the tank. Note that Mark is an ex-surfer and he is very comfortable around water, but whilst the video here is short and to the point, watching how he ended up struggling so badly to keep his head out of the water and his airways clear wasn’t pleasant. As much as I loved our RNLI training tank day, I don’t mind admitting that I am glad it wasn’t me in that floatation suit.

As with wearing chest waders in choppy water especially, it’s not that you are suddenly going to sink like a stone. No, once again it’s how you float that is so bloody dangerous here, indeed standing next to my RNLI guy as he talked me through every single thing that was happened to Mark right after he jumped into the tank with the floatation suit was on was fascinating albeit in a slightly macabre way as we watched him very quickly start to struggle.

As it says at the end of the video: “Floatation suits should be worn with a lifejacket”, but how many of you know that? I certainly didn’t, and for the life of me I can’t recall a fishing tackle company saying to me that I should we wearing a lifejacket together with the floatation suit when I bought various ones over the years. For sure they can help keep you warm in the winter, but please, please do not for one second trust in a floatation suit to save your life if you aren’t wearing a lifejacket as well. 

I know this video is short, but watch closely at how Mark’s body is lying in the water and how his mid-section is very much below the surface and that extra weight is forcing him to try and keep his head up and his airways clear of water. Now imagine this is you in the middle of a winter’s night in rough cod fishing conditions with a strong run of current. I haven’t worn a floatation suit for many years now, but I am angry at myself for being so trusting in their very name and not having done proper research into them, and I am angry that we are sold these suits under what to me are along the lines of false pretences. Where are the big headlines on the floatation suit adverts that tell us to wear a lifejacket with them?

The second video from our day with the RNLI - waders and trying to climb out

Whilst I have a whack load more to learn about how breathable chest and indeed waist waders behave if you end up in the drink, I am kind of embarrassed at how little I knew about these items of clothing that for me are arguably as important to me as my lure rod and reel and how things go down if the worst was to happen………….

Go and ask fifty anglers what happens if you end up in a choppy to rough sea in pair of breathable chest waders and either you can get away from the rocks with your lifejacket on and await rescue, or else you end up spending a bit of time in the water and for whatever reason need to have a go at self-rescuing or you are clinging onto a throw-rope that your mate has got out to you and now you need to try and clamber up the rocks - and I bet you get fifty different answers based predominantly on what we have heard rather than what we actually know.

So I have a far better idea of what happens now, but not for one second did I head for that RNLI day at their training tank in Poole thinking that it would be the getting out in waders thing that banged home almost as hard as the obvious one which was that wearing a lifejacket quite simply gives you a much better chance at surviving when something goes badly wrong. 

Slipping over in your waders and finding your feet again in shallow water while your mates piss themselves laughing at you is completely different to spending a bit of time in deeper water where you might need to try and clamber up some rocks to get yourself out. When I jumped into that RNLI tank I was wearing a pair of Hodgman breathable chest waders with a wading belt, plus another belt which holds my HPA chest pack in which I carry my lures at my side. Everything was done up fairly tight and exactly as it would be for my fishing - you don’t sink like a stone in your waders, but I can guarantee you that if you end up spending a bit of time in choppy water especially then your waders will fill up with water.

 Come on, be honest, how many of check the depth with our lure rods?!

Come on, be honest, how many of check the depth with our lure rods?!

And don’t let anybody tell you that they won’t. If you are in and out pretty quickly then there may well be only a little bit of water in your waders, but spend more time in the water (which I would argue is more likely to happen with where so many of us fish) and they will start to properly fill up. I hear some anglers saying that a wading belt will stop water getting in, but it won’t - sure, I reckon it slows things down, but it’s not an airtight seal around your waist and you can’t wear the bloody thing too tight anyway otherwise you can’t breathe properly!

I can only give you my findings so far here, but if you are wearing a lifejacket which has obviously inflated then after spending a decent length of time in that tank so that my waders filled up properly then I was floating fine with my airways out of the water. Sure, life would probably be somewhat easier without a pair of waders on, and without a lifejacket and how waders aren’t exactly helping you I would suggest that in choppy water you will be in serious trouble - but with that lifejacket it’s doable.

But what shocked the hell out of me was when one of the RNLI people asked me to now try and climb out of the tank via some cargo style hard netting thing. Granted, it’s not rocks, but it matters not - nope, what really shocked me was how much extra weight those waders now full of water are, and how it’s as good as impossible to clamber out as you can see in the video. Bear in mind that I’ve spent a bit of time in the tank filling up, I wasn’t wearing a lifejacket that time around so I was tiring from trying to keep my airways clear of that horrible choppy water - and I simply didn’t have the strength to climb out. I needed some help to get myself over to the steps and just about clamber out like that. And when did you ever find some steps to get out of the ocean?

 When waist waders won't do!

When waist waders won't do!

I have no idea how much water was actually in my waders, but it was over my wading belt level inside, and if one litre of water weighs one kilogram then I dread to think how much extra weight I was adding to my (not lightweight!) self when trying to clamber out. I now have an HPA dive knife strapped to the belt on my lure bag which I would try and use to cut open my chest waders if the need ever arose, because for a certain amount of my shore based lure fishing I find breathable chest waders to be incredibly useful. I am now trying out a couple of different pairs of breathable waist waders and for a number of situations they are incredibly useful and at some point I hope to be able to test these things out in the tank. My feeling is that they will be somewhat easier to clamber out with, but I can’t prove that yet. You all have a good weekend and I hope this video gets you thinking about things.
 

Crewsaver Crewfit 165N Sport lifejacket review - well under £100 with the auto inflate option

If shore based anglers are going to wear a lifejacket for some of their fishing - and I include me here - then it’s got to be as light as possible, very comfortable, and not remotely annoying when it’s in place. The other day I reviewed the rather excellent Spinlock Deckvest Lite lifejacket (check here), and I was wearing that exact lifejacket for my fishing the other day on the north coast of Cornwall when the conditions were on the lively side - if you secure it to you correctly (it’s vital that you clip the crotch strap into place), then you simply don’t know you are wearing it.

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Which of course begs the question why not? Why not wear a simple auto-inflate lifejacket when you’re out fishing if they can be that easy to wear and they could well save your life is something goes wrong? So I’ve got another lifejacket here that I have worn a fair bit and it’s another of those remarkably comfortable and easy to wear ones that I reckon suits us anglers down to the ground - this one is the Crewsaver Crewfit 165N Sport, and like the Spinlock Deckvest Lite this Crewsaver lifejacket is so lightweight and comfortable that after a few minutes of fishing you simply don’t know you have it on.

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As I have said before on here, I am late to the game with lifejackets and as such I am on a sort of accelerated learning course with trying to get myself up to speed with how they work, what our options are, and also what it might be worth avoiding. I have a very interesting document here from the RNLI which they have said I can quote from - and I will in due course - because from extensive testing they firmly believe that for a lifejacket to work as it’s meant to when you hit the water, you really should have a crotch strap in place that then stops the rapidly inflating lifejacket blowing up and over your head which could in turn stop the thing keeping you afloat. If you are looking for a lifejacket for your fishing then please avoid buying any that don’t come with a crotch strap. 

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You don’t need to spend a heap of money on a lifejacket, but again I can’t help but come back to how much the best chance at survival is worth for if and when something goes badly wrong. I went looking around for the prices on this Crewsaver Crewfit 165N Sport lifejacket and I can find it online for around £70, and as per above you can see that there are various manual and automatic options available. This is a seriously comfortable lifejacket that provides 165N of buoyancy which is in fact above the recommended 150N. What’s not to like? OK, so overall the more expensive Spinlock Deckvest Lite is a tiny bit easier to secure around you with how the straps tighten up, but at best the difference is marginal. Both lifejackets have obviously been properly thought out as serious items of safety gear which are also very easy to put on and very comfortable to wear.

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And because this rather excellent Crewsaver lifejacket is not very expensive at all, to me it throws up a few options that perhaps answer a few questions I have been asked recently - the auto or manual inflate thing. Whilst it makes most sense that your lifejacket does auto-inflate if you end up in the water very unexpectedly (washed off a rock etc.), I can think of a few estuaries I might fish for example where I can end up over waist high in the water for hours on end, and sometimes that current is absolutely snorting past me. How about wading out into a big surf on your own? I would prefer the option of a manual inflate lifejacket here, for as much as these auto-inflate mechanisms aren’t meant to go off in the rain or if we get splashed by a bit of sea water, if I wade too deep or stumble or get hit in the face by a wave then I don’t want it going off. 

But if I make a mistake and get taken by the current and can’t get back on my feet (and I know what I am like and how I can’t help myself), then I can simply pull the toggle and the lifejacket will now inflate (a manual lifejacket still has a gas canister which inflates it, just that you need to pull the toggle for it to happen). Please note as well that an auto-inflate lifejacket does have an inflation toggle as well in case for whatever reason the auto-inflate mechanism didn’t work - more to come on this, but it’s up to us the lifejacket buyers to get them serviced, and especially when used around saltwater and the potential for metal components to rust. And yes, as I learn about this I will get the details up here, but I believe the RNLI will teach you how to do it yourself if you go along and ask them. I will be doing this and reporting back.

With say the Spinlock Deckvest Lite you can buy a “Manual Conversion Kit” for not very much money and essentially now have two lifejackets in one because you now have two inflate options. But with how cheap this Crewsaver Crewfit 165N Sport can be found for, to me you could actually buy two versions if you felt the need for the two inflate options. Go for an auto-inflate and a manual and you’re sorted for a bunch of different fishing situations. I now keep one of those waterproof blue Ikea bags in the back of my epic Berlingo with my lifejackets in, but make sure to hang your lifejacket up to properly dry out if it’s sopping wet from the rain etc.

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I can’t really tell you much more than this about this rather excellent Crewsaver Crewfit 165N Sport lifejacket, save for like a good lifejacket there are various add ons that you can buy. More to come as I learn more about the add ons that do in fact make a difference if you end up in the water and with how the RNLI might rescue you if things do go badly wrong, so don’t for one second dismiss a light that turns on via contact with the water (do you fish at night?) and spray hood options. 
 

I wonder how much of my lure fishing I could do in a pair of breathable waist waders, and there is a serious reason for trying this

As much as that day we did with the RNLI at their training tank in Poole was principally about wearing auto-inflate lifejackets and finding out how invaluable they can be if something goes wrong, because the four of us were jumping into the tank in the sort of fishing clothing we would wear when we are actually fishing, waders had to come into it. So whilst I can’t get away from how an easy to wear modern lifejacket could one day save my life (which of course is common bloody sense if you really stop and think about it), I am unable to ignore the various questions that wearing waders raised……………

So to those of you here who routinely wear breathable chest waders for your saltwater shore based lure fishing - how much do you know about how our waders behave firstly if you end up in the water, and perhaps more importantly as I found out in the RNLI tank, what about if you need to try and say scramble up some rocks when you’ve been in the water for a while? I got a hell of a shock if that’s any help, and as a result I feel duty-bound to try and find a solution.

 Do we really need chest high waders to fish a mark like this, and what happens if you end up in water like this in a pair of chest waders?

Do we really need chest high waders to fish a mark like this, and what happens if you end up in water like this in a pair of chest waders?

There’s a whole lot to this subject that I will keep coming back to over time, but very basically I need to find an alternative to breathable chest waders for those places I fish where if I ended up in the drink I might need to try and haul myself up and out of the sea. There is the argument as well that for a lot of these types of locations I am not actually wading much if at all and as such I don’t  need a full on pair of chest waders. I wear them because I like what they offer me and I haven’t found anything I prefer wearing - but I can’t get away from some potential issues which have come to light. 

But what are these issues? It’s when you might end up in deeper water and you could have to try and climb up and out if something goes wrong. Whilst wearing a wading belt is important, it’s still not going to actually stop water getting into your waders, and if you end up spending a bit of time in the water and then you get the chance to try and scramble out, do you have any idea how much that water now in your waders weighs? It’s pretty bloody scary, and because you’re now a bit tired and stressed and potentially cold and disorientated, if my brief experiences of the RNLI tank and a full pair of chest waders are anything to go by then I would suggest there’s every chance you won’t be able to clamber out because of that insane amount of extra (water) weight.

 Even when we're wading for our lure fishing, are we often out as deep as we tend to think we might be?

Even when we're wading for our lure fishing, are we often out as deep as we tend to think we might be?

So let’s say that with what I have discovered, I feel comfortable using my breathable chest waders for a certain percentage of my lure fishing (shallow beaches, estuaries, shallow reefs etc.) - what are my options for the other locations? If I stop and think about how much I actually need to wade above say my lower thighs against how potentially dangerous these things are if they fill up with water and you need to try and climb out of the water, well I need to find an alternative for when I don’t actually need what chest waders can give me.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and whilst there surely have to be various wetsuit based options (as per many of those Japanese lure fishing videos for example), I don’t like the idea of potentially having to fish with wet feet for hours on end. And no, I am not interested in wet wading either in the UK or Ireland for about 99.99% of the year. I could quite easily go and buy say a ¾ length 3mm wetsuit and wear a pair of neoprene socks and my wading boots, but let’s say I’m fishing a long day or night over in Ireland and I wade out to my knees early on and my feet get wet - call me a wimp, but I simply don’t want wet feet for the next ten hours or so. But as far as I can tell something wetsuit based would of course take away the issue of filling up with water as per the chest waders, so I am trying to explore these options.

I was talking to a friend other day and he said why not try a pair of breathable waist waders. If you go looking you can actually find a few makes of breathable waist waders, and whilst to be honest I have dismissed them in the past because I am so used to chest high waders, with what I have learnt recently I am now really interested in how they could work for me - and of course how not being able to get so much water inside might well give me the ability to clamber out of a scary situation if needs be. 

 The Vision Ikon waist waders

The Vision Ikon waist waders

Please, please note that I don’t know if this is fact, but if by wearing a pair of lightweight, breathable waist waders I can’t now fill up with water beyond my waistline then that’s a hell of a lot less weight to be potentially unable to drag up and out of the water if needs be. I am going to try a pair of the Vision Ikon waist waders out because the Vision Ikon chest waders do so well for me, and safety concerns aside for the moment, I bet you I could actually do a hell of a lot of my lure fishing in a pair of waist and not chest waders. I would imagine that for walking longer distances they would also be a bit more comfortable, and as long as my waterproof jacket comes down over them then I should be just as well protected from rain and spray as with a pair of chest waders. More to come……..

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Oh, and until I can find a viable solution that I know categorically will work with me rather than against me in an emergency situation, I have decided to strap a rescue knife to the belt on which my HPA Chest Pack lure bag sits. I hope I never need to use this HPA rescue knife, but my thinking is that if I end up in the drink and my chest or indeed waist waders are full up with water and I’ve got a chance to try and clamber up and out of the sea then I could try cutting my waders open to let a load of water out. 

And if you think that this is me doing some unnecessary scaremongering, then please try this - put your chest waders on, turn on your garden hose, and fill yourself up with water to your waist. Now try walking around and stepping up onto a chair a few times - not easy, but doable. Now fill yourself up to say the top of your tummy and try the same walking around and stepping up onto your chair. If you actually do this then you will understand completely where I am coming from with this blog post. So many of us wear waders yet we haven’t got a frigging clue what can happen if we end up in the drink in them……….
 

Here’s the first short film from our fishing safety related day with the RNLI

Well here it is, the first short film to come from that amazing day we spent with the RNLI at their testing tank in Poole. There is so much more to talk about with regards to the whole fishing safety thing, but I wanted to let you see this short film and then in due course I will kinda take it apart a bit and talk about a few specifics that have come out via this video.

Over time there will be a bunch more short films coming out from that day with the RNLI, but the aim here was to give an overall picture of that day and obviously start trying to get the message home how an auto-inflate lifejacket could well end up saving your life. I will leave this video with you, and please, please leave comments below and give me your initial thoughts and opinions and let’s go from there. I am doing a fishing safety related talk for the BASS AGM on Sunday, so I hope to see some of you there. My apologies in advance to those of you who sat through my fishing photography talk at the BASS AGM last year, but it wasn’t my idea to have me back!

And of course it would be remiss of me not to mention that I am obviously hoping that Ireland stumble rather badly on their quest for the Grand Slam tomorrow, but on the other hand with how well Ireland are playing and how badly England are contesting the breakdown especially, I sense a hard to watch couple of hours coming up……………..

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