Every Wednesday sees a new blog by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focussing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing, including latest tackle. There will be something for everyone - whether you are into pleasure fishing, carp fishing, match fishing, specialist fishing or anything else.
This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by Ben Hervey-Murray, sub editor and controller of our Where To Fish This Weekend section.
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GREAT CATCHES, RIGHT HOOKS & MOUNTAINS OF GEAR!
THIS week’s issue, for me, is defined by two fish that have made their captors very happy men indeed.
First, Al Rawling’s record-breaking 431st 20 lb-plus pike (which beats the previous best total for 20-pounders in a lifetime held by Neville Fickling) and then the amazing mirror / koi cross on the cover, held by a Dutch angler who looks like he’s not quite sure what someone put in his tea that day.
One is from a wild Irish lough, the other bred and stocked into a French fishery. They both represent quite different approaches to our glorious sport and this variety is what I love about my job at the Mail.
When that e-mail pops up or the page opens on screen, you just don’t know what it is going to be. Hearty congratulations from all at the mag to both Al and the Dutch angler.
Hook, line and…sharpener?
Our Product News section this week features a trio of new specimen hook launches from three of the big specialist tackle companies; Gardner, Korda and Korum. New coatings, patterns and wire gauges all add to what is very crowded market place but the Korda Kontinental pattern looks particularly useful.
But if you’re sitting there thinking ‘More hooks? I only need one type’ or ‘I’ve used the same hooks for years, why change?’ then let me be the first to tell you that not all hooks are equal, far from it in fact.
If you don’t believe me, get hold of a jeweller’s eyeglass (or just use binoculars in reverse for the same magnifying effect) and grab a good selection of hooks from your tackle box in roughly the same size, say eight or six.
Hold them up to a bright, light surface (a shaded, low watt lamp is perfect) and move the hook until the focus through the lense is sharp. Now look at the point.
If you’re holding anything apart from about half-a-dozen hook patterns (E-S-P’s Stiff Rigger Mk.II, Atomic Tackle’s Chodda and Nash Fang Twisters are three of the best) that are genuinely sharp, you’ll be able to see a blunt point with a finish akin to the rounded end of your finger.
Some are worse than others but almost all have a dull point that could easily be improved. I use a kit from specialist tool manufacturers JAG and it’s spot on for all sizes of hook, but you’ll notice the most difference when using larger sizes and heavier wire models.
If you’re still unsure about what a difference this can make, give it a go and you’ll see what ‘needle point’ really means! It might be the missing piece in your angling armoury.
Anyway, what would you rather be fishing with: a sharp hook, or a very sharp hook?
I read with interest Steve Collett’s recent blog detailing Dynamite Baits star Sammie Perkins’ international competition preparation and the dedication and financial outlay required.
You’ve got to admire anyone who displays this level of commitment and hope that they get their reward, just as many have done this summer at London 2012.
‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ is a good adage and one that’s so true, especially when you look at the effort put in by consistent top performers like England International Sammie and her male colleagues like Scotthorne, Nudd and Raison.
The hours they put in making sure everything will be perfect on the day has ensured their place at the very top of our sport – they leave nothing to chance and have every possible option covered. We could all learn from this approach.
By contrast, I’ll be taking part in a slightly different type of match in a few weeks time. Not four, five or six hours…or 20, 30, 50 or 70 people… this is the heavyweight 320-entry World Carp Classic on Lake Bolsena in Italy, which lasts an energy-sapping six days and five nights. That’s 144 hours of solid fishing – no breaks or nights off.
Held on a 20 km-wide extinct volcano that, over thousands of years, has become a stunning beach-lined lake, the targets will be huge common carp that run to 70 lb. The average size is about 30 lb and they look like you could water-ski behind them, such is their muscular shape and paddle-like tail shape.
So, by way of contrast to Steve’s list of match kit, here are a few items that are currently waiting to be shipped to Italy in a couple of weeks:
- About 110 kg of bait – mostly Nash Monster Squid and Scopex Squid in 20 mm sizes.
- Over 15 kg of custom-coated leads up to 10 oz, specially finished to match the dark, sandy lakebed. Leads this heavy are essential when fishing at extreme range and boating baits out.
- Three huge Mitchell Avocast 8000 big pit-style reels, holding a total of nearly a mile of 25 lb Nash NXT Bullet braid main line. Several Shimano big pit reels as back ups are also packed.
- Eight rods between 3.75 lb test-curve and 2.5 lb, plus spod and marker rods. Braid and mono main lines require different rods plus some are suited to boat work, and others distance casting and margin tactics.
- Roughly 25 different hook link materials and leaders, from spliced and bonded 12 ft, 50 lb leadcore leaders for snaggy swims to the near-invincible Kryston Ton-up (85 lb) for the really nasty stuff. Kevlar-coated link materials – such as Atomic Tackle’s Jell-E-Wyre Barebak – are indispensable for big fish on rocky waters.
- A case of Red Bull.
I’m one half of Team Easy2Hook (GB) with Paul Smith of Global Tackle and we have a sister team from the US too, and I’ll end this blog with a shot of my talented colleague from the American team – Larysa Switlyk.
So, anyone know how I can get my hands on a US visa…?
I’ve been invited by the Angling Trust to fish a charity pairs match on the rejuvinated River Wandle in South London in a few weeks. It’s a great story – the river was horribly polluted a few years ago and the match marks the fifth anniversary of it’s comeback. We’re pairing up with local kids and Thames Water have donated prizes plus it’ll be screened on Sky Sports Tight Lines. Good work all round, Angling Trust and Thames Water.
My mate Sarah Collins being made CEO of hard-working angling charity Get Hooked On Fishing and catching a PB bream (pictured, left) the other week. Well done Sarah, we look forward to hearing great things from GHoF in the coming months.
Easy one this week: The Guardian’s disgraceful piece of ‘journalism’ entitled ‘Anglers versus cormorants? I’m all for the birds’ With journalists spouting fact-free rubbish like this, we need the people lobbying for our sport at the top of their game in the coming months. And if you think that Ms Hanson’s piece is, as we do, hugely irresponsible, feel free to politely let them know: firstname.lastname@example.org
AND FINALLY… LATEST PROMO VID!
Just the one promo video sent to AM this week – watch it below. We also have lots more videos in our new TV player (top right on this page).
How to put up the latest Nash Titan AS bivvy
THE NEXT ANGLER’S MAIL BLOG WILL APPEAR ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22.
MONDAY: Carp crews on rotation – Korda, Fox, Nash and ACE.
TUESDAY: Steve Collett, Mail contributor and ultimate all-rounder.
WEDNESDAY: Angler’s Mail HQ – yes, us!
THURSDAY: Specialists from Pike Anglers Club, Korum and Pallatrax, on rotation
FRIDAY: Carl & Alex, Angler’s Mail juniors and video diary makers.
SATURDAY: The Angling Trust – guys at the governing body.
SUNDAY: Colin Mitchell, veteran coarse angler and top journalist