Gear and Tackle

 

A quick breakdown of the gear I use most for sea fishing, photography, birding and fell walking – in fact almost everything we take when we go away for any length of time. I’ve recently been asked to review some sea fishing tackle from Fishtec so I’ll be posting a few articles on new gear as it arrives and hopefully updating some of our more outdated stuff.

Sea Fishing

Just the main tackle in this bit. Waterproofs, boxes, etc. are of course needed but not really interesting enough to put into a list.

Shore fishing

Me: I’ve a pair of ‘continental’ style Tubertini Boomerang rods of 14’5″ long matched with Shimano Ultegra XSB 10000′s. Rated to cast anything from 3 to 7oz although I’d stick to 6oz or less, preferably 4oz. I used to have a pair of Century Tip Tornado’s for use with small 6500 size multiplier reels but this new setup is far, far easier to manage.

Wendy: Ziplex 3500 rung for fixed spool matched with a Shimano Ultegra XSA 10000. 13′ long and rated to cast up to 5oz, fantastic bite detection. A fantastic match rod, Wendy uses it almost to the exclusion of anything else.

For both these outfits I use Berkeley Whiplash Braid in 0.1mm (30lb) where as Wendy uses Berkeley Nanofil in 0.17mm (approx 20lb) as she does’t like pure braid. If we’re fishing somewhere that need more abrasion resistant line we use  Sufix Tritanium line in 0.35mm diameter (which is approx. 19lb) in yellow / gold so you can see it – we got ours from Gerry’s in Morecambe but you can mail order it from lots of places. For shock leader and ‘cushioning’ of the braid we use Varivas tapered leaders from Veals.

Beach fishing – light or close in or heavy float fishing.

We both have an 11’6″ Shakespeare Odessa Bass rod, rated to cast 2 – 4oz, which we use for all our close in work, beach fishing where you don’t need to cast a heavy lead or even heavy float fishing. These, coupled with an Okuma 50 Eclipz fixed spool reel loaded with 12lb line are what we use for Bass fishing amongst the rocks with a big fat peeler crab,as the tide floods up the Menai Straights.

Lure Fishing / Float Fishing

We both have a 10 foot Daiwa Whisker Spin, spinning rod made in Scotland for catching large Salmon so we’ve no worries about the rod being able to cope with anything we catch. We use these for all sorts of things; very light fishing down the sides of the rocks for Wrasse with just a small lead, a hook and a crab as bait, float fishing for almost anything or casting lures and spinners to try and snare Pollock or Bass. We’ve got these matched with Penn Affinity 4000 spinning reels that we got from Anglesey Tackle Centre.

Fly Fishing – Saltwater

We’ve recently taken up both salt and fresh water fly fishing. It’s taken us a while to get the hang of it but we’ve now got some gear that we’re both happy with.

We both have identical gear in the form of 9 foot 8 weight Ron Thompson V12 Fly rods coupled with a Stillwater AFTM 8 weight large arbor reel (we’ll probably replace the reels soon to the same as our fresh water ones – see below)

Fresh Water Fishing

Fly Fishing – Fresh Water

There are lots of weights and lengths of fly rods available for the fresh water fly fisherman but we eventually opted to spend a bit of cash and got a couple of Greys X-Flite 9 foot 6 weight rods with the Greys GRXi reels (these only weigh an astonishing 3oz). These will give us the ability to fish most types of venues, from small rivers to large reservoirs so hopefully we won’t have to get any more for a while unless we decide to specialise – which is unlikely.

The line we currently use on these is either Greys Platinum Floating or Intermediate (in clear) or Airflo 40+ Floating..

All our fly fishing tackle has been purchased from Ted Carter Fishing Tackle in Preston where the staff have been very helpful and prices competitive.

Photography

Canon Powershot A640: Compact style camera that I take everywhere we go, up until recently my main camera. Although it’s now 3 years old it still performs very well and with manual override on some of the settings is a great substitute for a full blown SLR. Fits easily in a rucksack or my fishing tackle box and is a lot less expensive to bash about a bit than my newest camera.

Canon EOS 450D: I’m getting back into photography and after doing a bit of research this seems to be the best mid-range SLR that fits my needs. Capable of shooting in RAW it has the potential to generate truly astounding images.

As I’m only just getting back into photography I’ve currently only got a couple of Canons ‘kit’ lenses a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS. These lenses should cover all I need for now. Each lens has a Hoya skylight filter permanently attached to the front as it’s cheaper to scratch a £10 filter than a £150 lens.

As well as the two zooms I have the standard Canon 50mm f1.8 lens for when the light level is low or when I just need that little bit of extra sharpness that a prime (non-zoom) lens can give.

I’ve also got a Hoya polarising filter which helps to cut down reflections from the sea, deepen / enhance sea and sky and cut down light entering the camera if needed plus an extra card just in case 200 images isn’t enough.

Tripod – I don’t use the tripod much as they’re always such a pain to carry anywhere but I’ve got a Slik Sprint Pro II which doesn’t weight much, is made of aluminium, so is strong, and came with a carrying case. I’ll probably use it more during winter for landscapes when the light level is low and hand holding the camera isn’t an option.

Birding

We have a pair of binoculars each, mine are a battered 10×40 pair of Aico ones that are now ancient but still functional where as Wendy has a pair of Minolta 10×25 pocket ones which are much lighter and easier to stash in a pocket out of the way.

Opticron GS665 field scope with the 16 – 48x eyepiece, a tripod and an adaptor for clamping it to the shelf in a hide when watching birds at a reserve. We bought this from In Focus at Martin Mere where they have a shop set up in a hide where you can try out all there scope and binoculars.

A thing I am going to look into is digiscoping, where you use the scope as a camera lens, a lot more practical now digital photography has dramatically improved. I’ve giving it a go with the little Powershot A640 but now I’ve got the EOS 450D I’m going to look into methods of connecting the SLR to the scope.

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