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Thursday, 23 June 2022

How to tie The Craft Foam Biscuit FAB by Steve Cullen

Today we are checking out Steve Cullen's version of a FAB. The Craft Foam Biscuit is similar in appearance to a FAB, however Steve excludes a lot of the material that makes a FAB buoyant. The reason for this exclusion is to allow you to fish it a little deeper during the warmer days of the Summer. This pattern is fantastic as you can tie in the Frtiz in a variety of colours and in a range of different size hooks!

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Craft Foam Biscuit FAB, with the guidance of Steve Cullen.




Materials Used:

Thursday, 16 June 2022

How to tie the Popper Mayfly by Steve Cullen

Today we are having a look at the Popper Mayfly tied by Steve Cullen. The Popper Mayfly as Steve talks about in the video is a unique fly that does well on flat glides and does an excellent job of mimicking a crippled Mayfly. He also mentions in the video that twitching this fly is also a great way to trigger a strike. Some unique features added by Steve are the Triggers he ties into the body using Pheasant Tail, making this stand out from the crowd.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Popper Mayfly, with the guidance of Steve Cullen.




Materials Used:
Hackle: CDC Feather

Thursday, 9 June 2022

How to tie the Damsel Diawl Bach by Steve Cullen

The Damsel Diawl Bach is a killer little pattern. Mostly used between the months of May and July, these little nymphs will catch anywhere that has a Damsel hatch going on! Steve also mentions that the best way to fish these flies is to tie them onto floating line and cast out, allowing it to slowly sink in the water, slowly stripping back. Steve also mentions that he uses a Kingfisher blue Tail, which would normally be an Olive Green Tail, this adds a little more flash to the pattern, making it even more appealing. A solid little fly for the likes of the Brown and Rainbow trout on rivers, still waters and reservoirs.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Damsel Diawl Bach, with the guidance of Steve Cullen.




Materials Used:

An Introduction to Coarse Angling

After scrolling through various photos on social media platforms and watching many videos, you've probably caught the itch for Coarse fishing. The trouble is, where do you start? What's the easiest ways to target fish and what do you need exactly? All these videos and photos you've liked feature loads of gear and equipment! A bit overwhelming, but it's actually quite straight forward, so here's some tips to get yourself started!

One of the easiest and most effective ways to target fish on match ponds through the summer months is with a method feeder set up. The following items are all that you require to get set up and provided you can continually hit the same area with your feeder you'll eventually build up a small bed of bait to keep the fish feeding on your spot, consistency is key with this method!



The Rod

The Daiwa Ninja Feeder Rods - These rods are built for performance and reliability, the attention to detail is second to none. Each model of the Ninja feeder range is built to Daiwa's exacting standards. With unrivalled performance, these rods are excellent value for money and will serve you well.


The Reel

The Daiwa Ninja Match & Feeder Reel - Continuing with the Daiwa brand, the Ninja Match & Feeder Reels are the perfect companion for the Ninja Feeder Rod. Built to an incredible standard and come featuring some of the latest tech, these value for money reels will exceed all expectations!


The Setup

To get set up, run your main line through your in-line method feeder and tie off to a quick change bead on the other side, then attach a ready made rig as detailed below - add your soaked pellet to the method feeder and a hookbait to your rig and you're ready to fish. After casting ensure you sink your line and stay tight to your feeder, as this will help with bite detection.








  • 2mm pellet
    • Tip: expander pellets are used for method feeder fishing, fill a tub full of 2mm pellet and let them soak for 2 minutes, when your time is up drain off your pellets and allow them a few minutes to sit, before moulding them round your method feeder and lastly gently placing your hookbait into the feeder too - then you're ready to fish! 




  • Hookbaits (There's no wrong answer to Hookbaits, everyone has their favourite)


The only other items you'll need are a net, an unhooking mat, as well as a chair to sit on and some rod rests to put your rod in. If you're fishing the method feeder be sure to stay near your rod as takes will generally be very aggressive! 


The Location

Many Lochs are full of coarse species, but if you don't feel like heading to a loch, there are various Commercial Coarse Fisheries that you can visit! Below we have listed a couple of ideal Fisheries that you should consider visiting:


You can also join the SFCA. The SFCA is the Scottish Governing Body for the sport of Coarse Angling. It was established in the early 1970’s and is committed to the protection of coarse fish stocks in Scotland. They cover a wide range of waters, including the Lowland Canals.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

How to tie a Royal Cruncher by Steve Cullen

It is argued that the Cruncher is one of the most productive nymph patterns of all time. It is such a great imitator of nymphs for Rainbow and Brown Trout. They share some similarity to Spiders with the hot spot behind the hackles but that's where the similarity ends. The best time to fish this pattern is when a buzzer hatch is on. Ideally fished on the top dropper of a leader where the hackles create a better disturbance on the water. If paired with a Buzzer or Diawl Bach, you'll see some great results!

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Royal Cruncher, with the guidance of Steve Cullen.




Materials Used:
Body Thread: GloBrite Red
Hackle: Hen Fibre

Thursday, 26 May 2022

How to tie a Super Simple Sedge Pupa by Steve Cullen

Today we are having a look at Steve Cullen's Super Simple Sedge Pupa fly. This is an easy pattern to tie and doesn't require a great deal of Materials to create. As Steve mentions in his video, this pattern is deal of size 10 hooks but can also be tied on smaller size 14/16 hooks for the Grannom. They work very well when targeting both Stillwater and River Trout. Patterns like this are generally regarded as Searching patterns, but this one holds it's own.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Super Simple Sedge Pupa, with the guidance of Steve Cullen.




Materials Used:

Thursday, 12 May 2022

How to tie a Hill Loch Muddler by Davie McPhail

The original Muddler flies designed by Don Grapen have spawned 100s of variants that all share the clipped deer hair head and they catch fish all around the world. The head is tied with natural deer hair and then clipped into shape. The deer hair is hollow and the trapped air makes it buoyant. As Davie explains in his video, this Hill Loch Muddler is designed to be pulled through the waves and is usually fished as the top dropper in a team of flies.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Hill Loch Muddler, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 5 May 2022

How to tie a Detached Bodied Balloon Caddis (Grannom) by Davie McPhail

Davie is tying a version of the Balloon Caddis, a pattern developed by Roman Moser, it's a buoyant very productive pattern ideal for fast water and riffles or anywhere there's a Sedge hatch. If you ever had a chance to watch Caddis as they float downstream they shiver or skip across the surface film you'll know that the Trout can switch on to them and will aggressively take one on the drift or tweaked through the surface.

The Grannom is a small Sedge (or Caddis) that commonly hatches in April, This small sedge is seen as the start of the Dry Fly season in some parts of the world, as the Grannom is generally the first fly the trout "look up" for!

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Detached Bodied Balloon Caddis (Grannom), with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Friday, 29 April 2022

Staff Picks - Best Value For Money Buys


We all like getting the most out of our fishing budget, our staff are anglers and they're always keeping an eye out instore for the best value for money buys. 

This month the Glasgow Front Shop Team have selected a bunch of things that have caught their eye.


Any fly angler knows you always need to be well-armed with flies for every situation. Bushcrafters and preppers say that if you've only got one then you've really got none and if you're fishing somewhere that's overgrown or snaggy then you know you're going to need more than one of that killer pattern to keep you fishing and more importantly catching. 

Flies By The Dozen

Some of us will buy a few different dozen packs between us and take 3/4/6 of each pattern to fill up our boxes or the whole dozen if it's a pattern we're going to be using all season.

Starting at £4.99 for a dozen flies and 100s of patterns to pick from these are just a bargain!


GREYS PRODIGY KLIP-ON UNHOOKING MAT: L click here


For specimen anglers, particularly Pike and Carp fishermen an unhooking mat is an essential bit of kit, this Greys Prodigy Mat is less than half price and well worth having in your gear for a session behind the alarms. 

The best thing about this is the Klip-On system, the mat folds and rolls away for easy carriage and clips onto your rucksack or carryall so you've no excuse for not having a mat handy when you're out on the bank. 



BERKLEY SICK LURES click here

Over recent seasons the range and quality of soft plastics in the UK have expanded greatly, a walk along the lure sections in our shop will illustrate that. 

One of our Sick Selection Displays


We carry more loose lures than pretty much any shop in the country and Berkley's SICK range comes highly recommended by our predator anglers. Superb quality for the price and a range of styles and colours to target whatever you're fishing for. 



The Clearview range offers something for everyone, proper value for money from the Competition Boxes and Jumbo Storafly for your boat bag down to the Armour Slim Silicone Boxes that are ideal for slipping into your waistcoat. 
Click here to see the whole range

3 for 2 on these double-sided boxes

 
The Double-Sided Waterproof Clearview Boxes are the pick of the bunch in terms of bang for your buck though, from £5 each they're also on a 3 for 2 deal so you can mix and match sizes and styles to suit. Different coloured latches make them easy to identify at a glance and obviously they're clear so you can see the patterns before you flip them open saving you hassle on the water.




If you travel light when you're fishing and like to have everything close to hand this compact vest is the perfect balance between the comfort and accessibility of a Fly Vest and a the capacity of a full Chest Pack. 

Compact Vest With Plenty of Storage

For less than £30 you get a quality bit of gear with

  • Two main chest pockets for bigger items
  • Four slim pockets for polyleaders and tippet material.
  • Heavy-duty outer for attaching tools and zingers plus two small D-rings
  • D-ring for your net on the back
  • Plus a convenient removable fly patch that can be worn on either side.



Abu have just celebrated their 100 year anniversary, they've been producing proven fish catching lures since the very beginning. There's a range of multi packs and selections available but these 3 packs are super effective inexpensive lures that just work!

.

There's not really any fish you'd target with lures that can't be caught on a Toby, a Droppen or a Stinger and you simply have to have some in your box.



These rods were cracking for the money at full price, they're now available for under £50

.

With four and six piece versions, these are superb to keep tucked in the car or stowed in your suitcase for heading away. The range is available in the most popular AFTMs and you can combo it up with a rod/reel.line for under £100 to get you fishing straight away.



Very much a while stocks last one! If you're looking for a quality rod to fish lures from the bank, the rocks or into the surf then these are absolutely cracking.


These super distinctive high performance rods are fantastic value for money, fast actioned responsive and perfectly balanced.





We've recently expanded the range of these so there's a bit of something for everyone from 2000-7000 sizes. If you need a sturdy budget reel it's between these Mitchell MX1 and the best selling Shimano FX ranges for your best bet.


Manager Specials 

Every month we've got a fresh list of Manager's Specials, check them out HERE.

Unit 1 The Point Retail Park,
29 Saracen Street, Glasgow,
G22 5HT



Keep an eye on our Glasgow Store's Facebook, Twiiter and Instagram for new deals, products and fishing chat. If you're in the area pop in and pick the guys' brains about any fishing discipline. 


Thursday, 28 April 2022

How to Tie a Hot Orange Leggy Hedgehog by Davie McPhail

Today, we are checking out Davie McPhail's take on the Sedgehog. The Hedgehog is a super versatile fly, as it can be tied as a Dry or Wet. The pattern that Davie is tying up is a Dry and as he explains in his video, is an incredibly popular fly for those seeking out Brown Trout. There's not much you would want to change about this fly besides the colours. So get this fly tied in various colour variations, in a few different sizes and get out fishing! 

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Hot Orange Leggy Hedgehog, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 21 April 2022

How to Tie a Small Olive Pheasant Tail Nymph with Davie McPhail

Today we are having a look at the Small Olive Pheasant Tail Nymph tied by Davie McPhail. The original Pheasant Tail Nymph (PTN) was created by Frank Sawyer, an English River Keeper who devised the PTN for use on the chalk streams of Southern England.

He designed this nymph to imitate several species of the Baetis family, generally referred to as the 'olives'; it quickly became world-famous. Frank Sawyer tied the Pheasant Tail Nymph using just pheasant tail fibres and copper wire, the fly has undergone as many variations as there are fly-tiers. Many of these variations involve the addition of tying threads, peacock herl, dubbed thoraxes and many bead-head pheasant tail patterns are used all over the world.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Small Olive Pheasant Tail Nymph, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Under-Body: Extra Small Wire
Tail, Body and Thorax Cover: Pheasant Tail Bleached and Dyed Light Olive from Veniards.

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Fishing Report - Harelaw Fishery

A quick report from David and a couple of our Glasgow Angling Centre staff's recent trip to Harelaw Fishery and Coffee Shop.

View of the loch from the Harelaw Coffee Shop.

First Look

It was my first trip to Harelaw this week along with a couple of my colleagues, Euan and Stephen who is a regular on the fishery. Set on moorland in the hills above Neilston it's a beautiful bit of water, with a handy coffee shop to grab a drink, a meal or a snack while you're getting set up.

Built in 1844, Harelaw covers 102 acres and includes over 3 miles of superb wading banks, 4 dam walls, and three islands. It's a pretty shallow water, averaging depth of 5-9 feet and a maximum dept of 13ft. This means there are fish to be found all over the fishery and it fishes really well with floating lines or midge tips through most of the season. Catch reports in the last couple of days show a boat returning 30 fish with all of them coming to small CDC dry flies.

We started with a cold light breeze and bright clear skies, ideal for setting up a nice drift but keeping the fish down a little. Euan and I started with a blob and buzzer using a fast retrieve to try and stimulate some quick takes. After a couple of drifts the tactic picked up fish that were willing to chase, both of us had Trout bow waving and bumping our flies although nothing stuck. With the fish on the feed and looking to chase we swapped over to pulling patterns. I picked out a White Bunny Leech and Euan went for a Pink Snake.

Blanks Off


Straight away the fish were back on the fast retrieved patterns, I had a take then Euan hooked and lost one before we both got fish to the net.
The pressure's off once both the rods in the boat have a fish so then it was a bit of friendly competition and a chance to beat Stephen on his own water. 


Euan had two on in quick succession, I landed one then hooked and lost a couple but then I lost the Bunny Leech too. I had a hunt around the lure flybox, tried a few standard marabou patterns but they weren't what the fish were after so after a fruitless drift I borrowed a pink snake off Euan to get back amongst them landing one and losing one before the weather closed in. 



Stormy Skies

With the weather closing in Stephen headed back to shore, the wind was high and it was baltic with  heavy rain coming down. We stuck it out though, using the drogue to keep us at a decent speed and hoping to get a couple of drifts and try to make sure we'd beat the local.


With the final scores at 4:3:2, the fairweather fisherman had to admit defeat although he's promised even the scores on our next trip. I'm looking forward to getting back out on Harelaw, with the warmer weather and evening sessions I can't wait to get up there when they're on the dries and we can test out the cafe too.

How to tie a Bunny Leech by Davie McPhail

It's almost Easter so let's check out the Bunny Leech!

Davie is tying a Bunny Leech Tube fly, the Bunny Leech is diverse pattern tied in different styles it can be used for targeting Trout, Pike, Salmon, Sea Trout or even Steelhead if you're in the States. It is essentially, a general purpose streamer that works well fished slowly with it's undulating materials or stripped back at speed. Leeches and their derivative patterns like snakes are superb, early and late season patterns that will attract Trout where other Trout flies have failed while a beefier version will catch Pike year-round. Get some of these tied up in different colour variations and sizes and get casting! Happy Easter!

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Bunny Leech, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Tube: 1inch 1/4 Plastic Tube Thread: Uni-8/0 White Tail: Crystal Flash Body: Texas Magnum Strip Chartreuse Wing: Dyed Dark Green Cock Cape Legs: Perfect Rubber Legs Fluorescent Orange
Eyes: Fluorescent Adhesive Eyes

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish and Glue, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 7 April 2022

How to tie a CDC Yellow May Pararchute Fly by Davie McPhail

Today we are checking out a fly that Davie did incredibly well with last year, the CDC Yellow May Parachute Fly. The Mayfly is great Summer fly, but can be used throughout the season. The life of a Mayfly can be minutes to an hour long and in Scotland, the hatch is around June. The male Mayfly seeks out females to mate as quickly as possible, before falling dead onto the surface of the water. During this time, Trout aggressively feed on spent Mayflys.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the CDC Yellow May Parachute Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry Black Nickel size 16 or 14 Thread: Uni-8/0 Yellow Tail: Cree Cock Hackle Fibres dyed Golden Yellow Body: Golden/Pale Yellow CDC Feather Wing: 2 CDC Feathers dyed Golden Yellow Hackle: Cree Cock Hackle dyed Golden Yellow

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 31 March 2022

How to Tie a Small Olive Quilled Muddler by Davie McPhail

Today we are having a look at the Small Olive Quilled Muddler tied by Davie McPhail. The original Muddler was designed by Don Grapen in 1937. Since then, his fly has inspired a large number of variations that all feature the signature, clipped deer hair head. The Muddler is a surface fly, stripped quickly across the top of the water creating a wake. Davie's pattern if fished more like a Wet Fly fished in the or just below the surface of the water. This is a brilliant pattern that can be used throughout the season, but is best used when Pond or Lake Olives are hatching.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Small Olive Quilled Muddler, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight or All-Purpose Medium size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Olive Dun Tail: Olive Cock Hackle Fibres Body: Dyed Olive Peacock Quill Wing: Bronze or Grey Mallard Head and Collar: Dyed Olive Roe Deer Hair

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 24 March 2022

How to Tie a Spring Olive Comparadun by Davie McPhail

The Olive Comparadun is a great early season Trout Fly. Originally attributed to Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi who introduced the Comparadun style of dry in the early 70's this dry fly features a very simple and durable design as it only requires 3 different materials to create. The materials used, however, allow the fly to float effortlessly on the water. With hair wings splayed on top of the hook and an outrigger tail it offers stability and floation as well as a similar footprint to that of a Mayfly, but with a few differences, such as the 180 degrees spanned wing which gives it an easy-to-see profile, allowing any hungry Trout to spot it and go for a strike.


All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Spring Olive Comparadun Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Thread: Uni-8/0 Yellow Tail: Coq de Leon Fibres Body: Dyed Yellow Peacock Quill Wing: Roe Or Comparadun Deer Hair Thorax: Natural Grey CDC Dubbing

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Monday, 21 March 2022

Staff Picks For Stillwaters - Tackle Choices for the Start of the Trout Season



The sun has made an appearance, time to get out on the banks and chase Trout! We've asked the Edinburgh Staff to pick out what's on their pick list for starting strongly on the fisheries and lochs this year.

Rio Midge Tip Fly Lines

Midge Tip Taper

Lines like this can make all the difference, Rio's Midge Tip (in all weights) is an absolutely fantastic line for buzzer/nymph fishing and probably the line that's caught me most of my fish on stillwaters over the last five years. When the fish are just under the surface with tell tale head tail rises and your floating line  just doesn't seem to do the trick, a Midge Tip is the answer.


Daiwa Silvercreek Fly Rods



Performance on a budget from a trusted brand, we'd pick these out as an excellent purchase for anyone looking to get into stillwater trout fishing without breaking the bank, these rods are made to a high standard and despite the low price point they cast beautifully.


Greys Fin Cassette Reel

Greys sleek FIN Cassette Reel

Every stillwater angler needs a cassette reel, it's a massive money  and space saver when compared to buying multiple spare spools for a normal reel. Competition anglers can have dozens and as just about every stillwater angler has at least three lines, it's a no-brainer! There are lots of cassette reels available but the new FIN from Greys stands out as a sleek modern take on the design.


Daiwa Game Bib & Brace

No such thing as bad weather only bad clothing choices, another one from Scottish/Japanese company Daiwa. If you're fishing in the UK you'll want to keep warm and dry while waiting for summer to make an appearance. A good Bib & Brace is absolutely essential, matched with a good waterproof and you can endure stormy days on the bank or resist waves coming over the gunnels and a few of us reckon the Daiwa Game range as a proper set of fishing waterproofs.

Simms Guide Vest

Any Fly Fisher needs a Fly Vest, we all carry a multitude of handy gadgets on our waistcoats. Sling packs are handy but you really need to keep some things close to hand. Simms Guide Vest with its 26 pockets can hold a ton of tackle with room to spare. If we have to pick one off the peg for ourselves it's this and the Simms Freestone but the capacity on the Guide Vest pushes it over the edge.


Check out our Edinburgh Store's Facebook Page and if you're in the area pop in and pick the guys' brains about any fishing discipline. 

Edinburgh Angling Centre

Unit E Granton Retail Park,
65 West Harbour Road,
Edinburgh EH5 1PW



Friday, 18 March 2022

Sea Angling Classic - Catch & Release Best Practise

 As part of the Sea Angling Classic Roadshow, they're travelling the country exhibiting prizes and promoting the ethos of a sustainable, environmentally conscious and forward-thinking event.

 

Catch & Release Best Practice

In the March edition of Saltwater Boat Angling, David Mitchell wrote about the new scientific report concerning the post-release mortality (PRM) of bass. You can read the full report online.

The report concluded that an impressive ninety-five percent of bass released by recreational sea anglers are likely to survive. This report is good news and is probably the reason why, in the short term, we have been allowed to continue to catch bass on a catch-and-release basis. You may recall that there was a move to ban us completely from targeting bass. The report may even pave the way to a reintroduction of a bag limit in the near future.




Poole skipper, Steve Porter, gives us some tips on how best to treat fish you are
planning to return to the water.

 

 

Handling your catch

It can be great to get a photo of that special catch, but to do so can sometimes seal the fate of the fish. The most common mistake anglers make is to lay a fish on the deck. The deck can be very hot, especially in the summer. Try walking on it barefooted. It is often too hot even for us. If a fish must be placed on the deck, then ensure it is cooled first with running water and then continue to hose the catch, and the deck, while the fish is being handled. On Trueblue most fish are retained in the net, which rests on the gunnel, so fish rarely come into contact with any part of the boat. Many fish are simply T-bared off at the side of the boat, so they never even leave the water. Good practices unless you want a photo, or to record the weight of your catch.

Weighing your catch

How often do you see anglers hooking a fish in the gills or a ray in the mouth with the hook of the weighing scales? The problem is, these parts of a fish were never designed to take the weight of its body. Weighing a fish, particularly a large one, in this way, will cause serious damage to it. A good practice is to have a net bag for larger fish, or even a plastic carrier bag for smaller fish, which supports the weight of the fish as it is being weighed.

Unhooking your catch

This has to be the single biggest area where anglers can improve the chances of survival for a released fish. Most anglers can deal with fish that are lip hooked.  Careful handling and a quick release with minimum contact will almost always ensure they survive. But, what about those deep-hooked fish? Some anglers, however well-meaning, dig and poke deep into a fish’s mouth, some even resorting to a so-called twizzle stick to remove the fish. The fish plops into the sea, shows a bit of movement as it fades from sight and an angler’s conscience is clear, ‘It’ll be alright,’ I hear many of them say.

The thing is, it probably won’t be all right. Twizzle sticks, although a very effective and quick way of removing a hook, do it by ripping the hook from the fish, almost always severing a gill-raker in the process. No fish is going to survive this. Digging deep into a fish’s mouth with fingers or forceps, trying to get leverage by bending the head of the fish to one side, is also not going to aid survival.

Unhooking plaice and flatfish

Unhooking a deep-hooked fish can be surprisingly easy using the right technique and, if done carefully, will give any fish the best chances of survival. The following photos show the technique we have learned on Trueblue. In this case, it shows the removal of a hook deep inside a plaice, but the technique works for most other species too.

 

  1. Holding the fish firmly but gently insert a pair of forceps into the gill, but on top of the gill rakers
  2. Gently push the forceps right through and out of the mouth. At this point, you are not looking for the hook.
  3. Once the forceps are through, take hold of the line.
  4.  Gently pull the line back through the fish and out of the gill cover. The hook will usually turn easily. If it doesn’t turn easily, then do not force it. It simply means that the hook is on the other side of the mouth, or in the case of flatfish, in the underside. Pull the line back out of the mouth and repeat the process of pulling it back through from the underside or other side. In this picture, you can see the shank of the turned hook.
  5. A gentle push in the direction of the hook shank usually allows the hook to pass freely out of the fish’s mouth.
  6. With the bend of the hook now out of the mouth, gently pull it clear.
  7. The end result is a healthy-looking plaice ready for release and not a drop of blood. For any fish, big or small, always consider going in through the gill to remove a hook. A fish has three holes in its head. In the case of a deep-hooked fish, the mouth is often the furthest of these from the hook. Why then make things hard for you and the fish by limiting your unhooking attempts to the mouth.

 

The above is just a taste of what we can do to help ensure a high survival rate of fish. Other measures include hook choice. Circle hooks that nearly always ensure fish are lip hooked are many anglers’ first choice. They are, of course, harder to deal with on those rare deep-hooking scenarios.

 

We don’t know what the future holds for us anglers, but we know it is likely to be more restrictive. That’s not a bad thing if it is managed correctly, but when the time comes, we anglers just need to be given a fair share of the spoils. I believe that demonstrating good practices now will serve us well for whatever the future might bring.

 

The Sea Angling Classic Roadshow will be in Scotland on 24th/25th March
Glasgow Angling Centre 24/03/2022 15:00 – 20:00
Edinburgh Angling Centre 25/03/2022 14:00 – 17:00

 

 

 

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