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.


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 »

“Gruntline” – Review

July 25, 2013


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 »

Method Feeders are not just for small fish!

August 14, 2012

As I posted in my last article, I’ve been having fun this summer targeting other species than carp. Or to put it another way fishing for whatever comes along. This has been specimen fishing but doesn’t seek to exclude fish other than carp. And as you’ll see along the way I’ve caught my share of nice carp too.

I’m fortunate that the lakes hold some cracking fish of many sorts, tench, bream, crucians & rudd as well as our favourite quarry.

In the last few months I’ve found a really excellent and most deadly technique: the Method feeder! The ones I’ve been using are the new(’ish) Drennan Method feeders.

These Method feeders are really an item originally designed with the match angler in mind. They have proved very successful on commercial carp fisheries.
If they have been so effective here, it is certainly because they offer a tight cluster of bait right by your hook bait and do a great job of concealing the hooklink. More often than not I use a small pop up, which once it breaks free from the ground bait wafts in a tantalizing manner just next to the feeder. So far this year, for most species in my lakes it has proved deadly. Read the rest of this entry »

Weather forecast for Reims | Local | France

February 11, 2012

I found this site on the net which gives a pretty accurate weather forecast for our region.

Weather forecast for Reims | Local | France.



Hammock Carping

May 24, 2011

For years now I have been seeking ways to cut down on the gear I take fishing, I remember well when I was a boy I’d be able to get all the gear for an overnighter on my bicycle. But just look at all the clobber we laden ourselves down with now.

I made some progress when I had my camper van as I only needed my rod bag, tackle bag and mats to get out on the bank. But swapping my camper for a 4×4 has meant I’m back to brolly and bedchair.

That is until this week…..I’ve just got myself a “hammock and tarp” to use in the summer months in place of my brolly and bedchair. Shaun Harrison first showed me this system and I must say I found it really cool. Most of us hate carrying a heavy bivvy and bedchair to a swim. Not only are these very weighty items, a Nash Titan with all the bits weighs over 15kg, and even a light bedchair is going to be 10-15kg extra. So you have a combined weight of over 30kg just to bivvy up. Read the rest of this entry »

Carp Fishing « EDC » Kit

December 14, 2010

Most of us that are into carp fishing are also into most other things ’outdoors’, hunting, camping, hiking etc. With all these activities its important to be well equipped, and in carping there is no shortage of gadgets.
Recently I’ve been looking at some of the ‘Bushcraft’ videos on Youtube by a guy called Dave Canterbury and his Pathfinder School site .He’s also doing a survival show on Discovery Channel called ‘Dual Survival’.  His Youtube site is full of good info that also has a utility for carping and camping out in general. One of the items I particularly liked was his ‘EDC’ or “Every day Carry” kit. (I guess this is a US military acronym.) It basically consists of a mountaineering ‘Carabiner’ with a selection of useful gadgets hanging from it that can be clipped onto ones belt or tackle bag. All the items are quickly and readily available at a seconds notice.

Anyway I figured this would be a really good idea for us carpers to have such a selection of kit. As I already had a large carabiner, I decided to add a few items to it to make my own EDC. This is just my own preference but naturally one can add any tools one finds useful… Read the rest of this entry »

Why Do Carp Jump?

November 10, 2010

A question I hear asked regularly by non anglers and novices is :
« Why Do Carp Jump ? »
Now we have all been impressed by the spectacular splashes that a leaping carp can make, especially when a fish over 30lb comes clean out of the water. It is an impressive spectacle and one that gets every carp angler’s heart racing… You know they are there and you’re in with a chance to catch one.

But what makes the fish behave in this fashion?

There are several answers to this question but the principle reason is physiological. Carp, as most fishes have a swim bladder. The swim bladder is linked to their oesophagus and is used to control their depth in the water. By increasing or decreasing the volume of gas in the swim bladder the fish can either move up or sink down in the water. By leaping or swilling on the surface a carp can force air into its swim bladder through its oesophagus, thus allowing the fish to adjust its level in the water. Read the rest of this entry »

Best time of the year to go to France

October 27, 2010

This is a question I get asked frequently and really depends on a number of factors, so there is no single answer that is applicable to all fishing situations.

Weather : I think the number one factor on the likely catch rates of any venue is the weather. As carp are cold blooded creatures they will naturally slow down and feed only sporadically in the colder water. As we’ve seen with winter fishing you can catch fish, but don’t expect to have much action.
The weather and more particularly the sun and its warming effect on the surface layers, can see the fish moving even early in the year. Once the Winter is over the increase in water temperature really is the key to regular feeding and hence more consistent captures. It is worth then getting on Metcheck and keeping a close eye on the weather conditions. Each year is different and often the length and severity of winters is on a cyclical basis.
The same holds true for all the seasons, as once the water gets too hot the fish often go into basking mode and can be see cruising in the upper layers and evidently not the slightest bit interested in feeding. This can often be the case in July and August where many areas of France can see prolonged periods where the temperatures are well into the 30’s.
At the end of the year it’s the same story in reverse. The rapidity with which winter onsets will have a knock on effect to fish feeding. In 2009 we had remarkably mild conditions in November and the fishing remained excellent until winter set in in early December. Read the rest of this entry »

Crushing the Barb

October 15, 2010

I saw a post by Henry Gilbey on his fishing blog about crushing barbs while sea fishing for bass. Now I know that he is using trebles and we don’t in carp angling, but the question of crushed barbs is an interesting one.
I remember when we did the Remy video that they insisted we use barbless hooks only. I have previously written about “Barbed vs Barbless”, so I won’t go over that again. But are crushed barbs not a better way to go than either barbed or barbless. Barbed vs Barbles
I have been doing this for a long as I can remember, for the simple reason that, while I didn’t want to use a barbed hook, I couldn’t find the barbless version of the model I like…ie. Drennan Continental Boilie hook. So for years I’ve been crushing the barbs on these hooks.
I think it was Tim Paisley who wrote about the advantages of a crushed barb, as it leaves a small bump on the hook, that helps avoids the movement and sewing machine effect that can happen with a barbless hook. It remains however far easier to remove, and more importantly give the fish a chance to shed the hook if it breaks you off or gets snagged. The penetration is better than a barbed hook but it does stay in better than a pure barbless. Read the rest of this entry »

Maps,Navigation and GPS

September 27, 2010

Not really a fishing topic this, but one about something that I find useful when travelling to a new venue.

I’ve already written on a couple of occasions about GPS units and how much I like them as navigational aids in France. In fact I’ve used the Tomtom One now for a number of years and would be lost without it. Most of the units on the market are of the street navigator type, which are perfect for getting from A to B and finding ones way around a city, but they give very little  or no information about the type of terrain one is on and many don’t have any info at all on lakes, tracks to lakes etc. For this an Ordinance Survey topographical map is the best tool.

Now topographical GPS devices do exit also, aimed at hikers and offroaders they are like an electronic geo-referenced Ordinance Survey map. They give you your exact position and allow you to install very detailed maps of your chosen area. But, and this is a big BUT, they are extremely dear for the best ones. The Garmin Dakota 20 or Twonav Aventura are in the 400-600€ bracket and that is without the 25:000 scale  maps that cost over 100€ each. This for me was a real deal breaker…I just can’t afford that amount on a gadget.
However recently I have found a great plugin on a French GPS site that allows you to turn your Tomtom into a great off road/fishing tool. The plugin is called “ttmaps”. Read the rest of this entry »