Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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Review: Free Spirit Hi’S Special BW Barbel rods

May 14, 2014

Just thought I’d do a brief review of the Free Spirit Hi’S BW Barbel rods. I’ve had these now since the end of January and fortunately with the mild Winter and Spring we’ve had, I’ve had ample opportunity to put them through their paces.

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Hi’S Special BW rods ready for action

I gave my first impressions of the rods in my previous post so I won’t bore you with that aspect again. See: Hi’S Special BW:First Impressions

I was though too impatient to wait for the rivers to abate as so I first tried them out on a small gravel pit near where I live, which was a pity, as I’d have liked to have had a barbel as my first fish on them. Instead though, it had to be a small carp.

They initially seemed quite stiff compared to the Fox Warrior S rods I had used the previous season, but this made them nice and crisp for casting and when I got the feel for them I was able to drop my method feeder on the same spot each cast. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Self-take Photography Revisited

March 20, 2014

Last year I started to take my self-take photography seriously. After landing a 46lb Common at night and not being able to do adequate photos I decided to right things.

My first piece of equipment was the SRB Griturn air release. (See my previous blog post). The item was shown to me by Shaun Harrison and had loads of advantages over simple self timer shots. It worked well and let me take shots once the fish was calm and I was ready. No more dashing round and desperately trying to pose while the fish wriggled and flipped, and putting slimy fingers on an expensive SLR.

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The Hanhel Giga T Pro 2…

But as good as the shots were that the system allowed me to get, it was somewhat flawed on a number of levels. Firstly it worked mechanically, an air release pushing a pin that would focus and trip the shutter when you stepped on the ball. On most modern SLR’s the shutter button is angled for ergonomy, and made of shiny plastic.This means that the pin can slip and not trip the shutter. Shaun’s idea of putting some velcro in the button went some way to solving this, but the very fact that the pin was not pressing directly down on the shutter made it very fiddly to set up and on more than one occasion it refused to fire.

It was very frustrating to set it all up pose with the fish but not be able to get a shot. When this happened I hadn’t much option but to release the fish (for its own well being) and forget a trophy shot.

I then read a piece by Elie Godsi on the Quest Baits blog about an electronic option made by Hanhel. Read the rest of this entry ?

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New Shoes for my Fishing Wagon

February 11, 2014

I wrote a piece on my Croix Blanche Lakes blog about the best fishing vehicles a few years back. One of my top vehicles in the post was a 4×4. Now I’ve had a few in the past and I’ve always been very pleased with their ‘Go anywhere’ aspect.. So when I need a new car, (my campervan was just not practical for running a fishery) I naturally opted for an off roader.. It tows well, will go anywhere I need it too and can carry all my fishing gear and the family when needed to.
Here’s what I wrote: 

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 4X4 :
For a long time a long wheel base 4×4 was my favourite all time fishing car, a go anywhere, unstoppable beast. I’ve had a couple of these and my favourite Nissan Patrol was brilliant. With a full length roof rack, I had enough space for tons of tackle. The rear luggage space was equally vast, and I had up to 7 seats if necessary or 5 comfortably. It never got stuck, even when I sunk the rear axel in the mud over night. Good tyres and four wheel drive were absolutely superb. It was the car I used to pull all those Transits out of the mud… Frontera’s, Discovery’s and Shoguns (Pajero’s in Europe) are common place in England and are great carp angling cars. Just recently Shaun Harrison pulled my MB Vito camper out of the wet grass in his Disco. My latest Terrano has been very good around the lakes in soft mud and sand as well as a solid car in the snow. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Free Spirit Hi-‘S’ Specialist 12′ Big Water rods – First impressions.

February 5, 2014

Ifs_logo just received a pair of Free Spirit Hi-‘S’ Specialist 12′ Big Water barbel rods in the post this week. As always I’m excited about new fishing rods; despite the fact I’ve probably about 40 odd rods in my garage. I’m particularly pleased to get these rods, as I spend most of my fishing time these days on the rivers after barbel & chub.  Although Free Spirit has primarily been associated with carp rods they have also been producing Barbel and Specialist rods for many years now.
These have not been promoted heavily in the past due to bottlenecks in their production capacity – the priority has generally been given to keeping up with the demand for the carp rod ranges. But the do a wide variety of rods including these specialist tools. Here is the catalogue description:

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Utilising our ultra high modulus (40t) Low Resin Carbon the Hi-‘S’ Specialist range are incredibly slim and light for their given power. Designed to cope with the demanding needs of the modern specialist angler these rods can be held all day if necessary. The material used helps ‘transmit’ more feeling through the blank and the addition of our Clone seat, made of the same material as the rod, further aids this sensation. These rods are also finished with our ‘Perdurable’ blank technology. Read the rest of this entry ?

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ESP: Two-Tone Coated Braid

September 30, 2013

esptwotoneI’ve been looking to use combi-links for my barbel fishing, and while I’ve messed around tying up braid and nylon with some success, it is a fiddly and time consuming rig to tie. I’ve  therefore been looking around for a coated braid, a material I’d used for many years for carp. But most of the carp ones are very thick for their breaking strain even if you drop to 15lb and none seem to be supplied under that breaking strain. I’ve some 15lb Snakebite in my carp tackle box, but this is way thicker than the 15lb sink Link I’ve been using this year. The Sink Link by ESP has been very good, but is still subject to frequent tangles, especially when you need to give the feeder a bit of a thump.
Enter the ESP Two Tone Striptease in 12lb & 15lb BS, and seems to exactly what I’ve been looking for. Read the rest of this entry ?

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“Gruntline” Review

July 25, 2013

Gruntline

A few months ago a friend sent me a couple of examples of a new product he’d been testing in Germany called Gruntline.large_68215_TCT_Gruntline

What is a Gruntline?

Well, put simply, it’s a platted, elasticated cord with plastic snap hooks at each extremity so it can be hooked to things and to itself.
It is about 120cm in length but can stretch to over 200cm. The instructions say it can hold up to 9kg & it certainly looks very substantial.

Now as an angler; hammock camper and occasional hiker, I make a lot of use of cordage of some description. In most cases it consists of a length of 550 paracord.

I guess at some point we have all strung up a length of cord between two trees to hang, bait, clothes etc to keep them off the ground, due to wet conditions or bugs or rats.
So an article that allows you to do this quickly with no knots seemed like a good idea. On my fist outing it rained quite hard during the night so I had an opportunity to test the “Gruntline” the first night. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Self Take Photography

May 20, 2013

Self-take Photography

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As anglers we always want a shot of our best fish. However if like me you have to fish alone most of the time, then the taking of a decent “Trophy shot” can be quite awkward.
Whichever camera you use, a compact or a DSLR, you’ll need a tripod. It needs to be light, and small as you really aren’t going to be demanding much of it except to hold your camera about two feet from the ground while you pose with your prize. Read the rest of this entry ?