Monthly Archives: December 2013

Circle Hooks for Pike/Bass

Pike not bass

Not a Bass, but a nice lower double river Pike

I went fishing with Mike Ladle back in October. The plan was to fish the evening and early the following morning for bass along some of Mikes favorite Dorset marks. Best laid plans gone astray …. a strong onshore wind the previous evening had washed all the maggot laden weed away, and it it would seem the bass had gone with it. After a ‘dead’ evenings fishing, Mike thought it best to have a crack at the pike in the local river. Always keen to fish for whatever, in the company of someone who really knows his stuff, (see his 18lb+ Pike in our late November blog) an early start resulted in me christening my new ( to me ) Daiwa Luvias 2500. I was using the Varivas Circle hooks that Mike has been extolling the virtues of, for Bass and Pike, and as he predicted, it was neatly hooked in the scissors. Very impressive, I just waited for the fish to move off and then tightened, fish on!
Great scrap on bass gear, she was all over the river and ended up landing her over 100yds downstream. A great bit of fishing with a really nice guy, and like they say, you never stop learning. Dave

When To Call It.

The weather is of massive importance to us sea anglers, it’s influence on our playground, be it the coastline or the open sea, is crucial to our chances of what we may or may not catch. Much has been written about how different weather conditions may encourage or discourage our quarry to feed, but how seriously do we as anglers consider our own personal safety when the weather takes a turn for the worse?

Rock fishing

Anglers Beware

Jansen Teakle has a few general pointers to help you make the most of tricky conditions…
Just because there is a strong wind blowing does not automatically mean that the sea in the immediate vicinity is going to be rough. The first thing to do when you acquaint yourself with a new mark (fishing location) is with the use of a map, decide on which compass point the coast is facing. This information is invaluable and will, with experience, tell you just how the area will be affected by any given wind. For example, a mark facing the north will offer protection from a southerly wind and the sea here will become flattened, meaning that even in moderate winds you will be able to fish. On the flip side of this, a raging northerly wind will be blowing straight into the mark and more often than not cause the sea to roughen up, perhaps to a dangerous state if the wind is particularly strong for a prolonged length of time.
Much of the Devon and Cornwall coast faces the Atlantic Ocean and as such this is one of the first areas to take a battering when storms sweep in off of the sea. It is worth remembering that the effects of an ensuing storm will be felt some days ahead of the storm arriving. Simply put, this is because of the weather out at sea causing swells that will develop long before the storm hits the shore. There can be little or no wind when you are fishing, but long travelling rollers that have journeyed in across hundreds of miles and are often referred to as a ‘ground swell’ or ‘ground sea’ can be potentially deadly. This is of greater importance than the actual wind speed and direction and should be the primary deciding factor on whether you choose to give it ago, or come back another day.
Prolonged rainfall following a lengthy dry period can make many cliffs unstable. Rain water seeps into the earth and rock, forcing it apart and making it susceptible to breaking down. Equally, rain water that then freezes and expands will have the same effect. Stay away from these areas during heavy rain and sudden cold spells as this is the most likely time for a landslide/cliff fall to occur.
All of the above is basic stuff, but it is easy to get caught out. Familiarise yourself with the many weather forecasts both on the web and television. They are not always right, but you will be able to build up a reasonably accurate picture of what is happening out there and experience will, over time, enable you to hone this. If you are ever in any doubt, go with your instincts and come back another day when conditions are safer. It is little fun trying to fish when you are constantly wave watching or concerned that the cliff directly behind you is threatening to collapse. Above all else, always make sure someone knows where you are and give them a time when you are likely to return home – mobile phones are next to useless when stuck out on the end of some rock promontory below a towering cliff.


Red Ice, F1 and Powerflex Line

Ultima Red Ice

Red Ice by Ultima Available Again

We are please to say that we have just received supplies of Red Ice and F1 mainline, plus Powerflex Shockleader from the restructured UltimaUK. These popular lines have been unavailable for some months while Ultima moved and sorted out their new facilities.Veals Mail Order now have them back in stock and ready for you to buy. Check them out under Lines then Nylon on our website.

Floundering around in the kayak

At this time of year, it can be frustrating just trying to find a venue to fish, so spare a thought for us kayak fishermen who are very weather limited. If it rains, then many of the rivers will be in flood… if its windy, then most of the open sea venues will be off-limits to us. Sometimes though, with a bit of thought, sheltered locations can be found… flounder marks can sometimes be ideal, and with the fish in prime winter condition, and kayaks being able to access areas nbot available to shore and boat owners, you can get access to some great sport.

Every year in Poole Harbour, a hardy (some might say crazy) bunch of kayak fishermen meet up for an annual flounder kayak fishing competition. Sometimes the conditions can be bad, and tarditionally, I have never managed to do very well. But I always enjoy the event.

This year, the weather gods were kind to us, and as we arrived at the shores of Poole harbour, the conditions were ideal.

A steady stream of familiar faces arrived, and the beach started to fill with fishing kayaks.

The event was also intended to raise money for a kayak fishing based charity called Heroes On the Water (HOW), which is a great cause.

Soon it was time for the off, and a flotilla of assorted plastic kayaks raced to get to their chosen spots. Given my previous track record, I just pitched up in a likely looking spot !

I cast out the ragworm baited traces a short distance. There was a reaosnable tidal flow, and the tips of the Conoflex Jedi QT kayak rods bent nicely.

I was using a small Shimano Calcutta 400 baitcasting reel loaded with 10lb clear mono line.

I was using two dfifferent traces on the rods. One was a simple 3 foot running ledger made from 12lb flourocarbon, then other was a variation on the wishbon rig, with lots of bright beads and sequins.

I didn’t have to wait long for bites. The left hand rod started to nod, and a nice flounder was soon on its way in. The crabs can sometimes be present in plague proportions at this venue, but for some reason today, thankfully, they were not too much of a problem.

The tide eased, and so did the bites. Then after a couple of hours, the flounder started to bite again. Somehow I also managed to catch a shoe (as my friend David later said to me “You managed a sole and a flounder ?!”).

Then a much better fish which was over 2lbs.

All of the fish were kept alive in a mesh sack which I kept in the water by the side of the kayak (the fish were to be measured at the end of the competition prior to release).

All in all, a great little session, and somehow, I managed to scrape third place.

I made a short video of the day – I hope you enjoy it. With a little thought, there is usually some good sport to be had most of the year in the UK…

Video – Kayak Fishing for Flounder


A Trip to Look Back On

One Crazy Half Hour In June

I fish on my own more often than not. It’s not that I’m misanthropic; its more because I tend to follow the weather and then make a mad dash for the shore from my Midlands base only when I’m sure it’s right. To make the most of the day, I usually start pretty early, which also puts a lot of people off.

And so it was that I set off at 3am one morning last June to fish the rock marks of North Wales for Pollack and maybe a Tope. Unusually for me I had arranged to meet up with someone; John Mason (photographer and author of “Shore Fishing: A Guide to Cardigan Bay”).

The start wasn’t promising. The forecasted calm and sunny day didn’t look like it was going to materialise and instead we were greeted with mist and murk. No matter, we’d come this far so we soldiered on down to the mark. The rock was slippery and initial forays into these mysterious waters weren’t too promising either. We’d hoped to find Mackerel in abundance, but they were conspicuous by their absence. Perhaps the recent blows had dispersed them and all we could find were the occasional smallish (3/4 – 1lb) Pollack close in to feathers and SP’s.

Little by little though, the Sun did its job and the mist was finally burnt off to reveal the promised sunny day; and with the Sun came the fish. First up were a couple of Mackerel on my Teklon 832 lure rod. And then we both started to find them; sporadic, but there. These were quickly converted in Tope baits and slung out to my favoured spot. We both carried on picking up the small Pollack as well.

John decided to give the mini species a bit of a workout and did a bit of drop-shotting. I switched to soft plastics and kept an eye on the “Tope” rod. I had just mentioned that I hadn’t seen any Corkwing Wrasse at this mark when he promptly pulled one out! And then another. As he turned to show me the second one I hooked into something much bigger on my Teklon 832. After staving off the initial dive, I managed to bring it in to the foot of the rocks. It then dived powerfully and started stripping line off my Shimano Rarenium 4000 reel (loaded with 30lb Power Pro. After a few more dives and a few hairy moments with braid coming perilously close to barnacle covered rock, I eventually clambered back up the rocks with this:

Pollack from the shore on Teklon 832 rod

Kevin Doughty with his PB shore Pollack

At just over 6lb (6lb and ¾ of an ounce to be precise) it was a new shore caught PB for me.
With the photo-shoot over I looked across to see my “Tope” rod tip nodding away. “Rattling bite or something more”, I wondered? I rushed over to it and could line flying off the soft-set drag of my Abu 7000HS mag reel, with no immediate sign of stopping. No doubting what it was I called over to John, who promptly reeled in the other rods and grabbed his camera. I lifted the rod, tightened up the drag a little and struck. Fish on! It took some more line but I managed to turn it and gain quite a bit back. It didn’t like that and promptly took it back off me. I was clear this would take a bit of time so I settled onto a comfortable perch, and let it pull, again and again.
John would know better than me as I lost track of time but I guess after around 10-15 minutes we finally got a glimpse of the quarry:
A great big female Tope.

Shore Tope on Varivas 25lb mainline

Big Shore Tope on Varivas Line

Finally she was beat and I got the shock-leader knot onto the reel. We looked around for a place to land it but it was clear that the combination of the state of tide and the swell meant that it would be nigh on impossible at this mark on this day to bring it up onto the rocks without doing it serious harm. And neither of us wanted that. I dropped down into a gully and grabbed the lead (pulley rig). Damn! I’d have liked the big Photo of me holding this magnificent creature aloft, but not at the expense of injury to it. And so off it went, with an 8/0 circle hook in its scissors and a few feet of 200lb Varivas mono (hook length).
We both had a good look at the fish. John has caught plenty of Tope in his time and reckoned it was a good 45lber. I’m happy with that.

I clipped in another rig, baited up and re-cast. Almost straight away I had another “run”. This one didn’t feel as big, but it dropped the bait and left me with half a mackerel that looked like it had been attacked with razor blades. That really was one crazy half hour

Kevin Doughty

Skyroad from Major Craft

Major Craft Skyroad Lure Rod

Skyroad Rods from MasterCraft

Recently given the accolade of Henry Gilbey’s ‘Rod of the Year’ the Skyroad from MajorCraft is without doubt a cracking lure rod. Almost as light as a feather these really are a super rod, but this brings its own problems for us retailers as supply from Japan is always a problem. As importers of the superb Varivas tackle we know all about extended Japanese delivery dates and the Skyroads are no exception. We are fortunate that we have managed to secure a number of the delivery, due to arrive, early January. We are taking pre-orders ( we do not charge you until the goods are ready to dispatch ) by phone at present so if your interested give a ring 01275 89 2000, we are open again on Friday 27th December.  or go to Home, then Lure Rods and look for Major Craft.


KVD Pliers

Thought you might be interested in the latest review by Ian ‘Dizzyfish’ Harris, Kayak enthusiast and impartial evaluator of tackle. Here he looks at the Kevin Van Dam pliers we have on special offer. Worth checking out the ‘dizzyfish’ website for other reviews and some great fishing footage …. huge common skate and big bass amongst other exciting footage.

Special Offer Kevin Van Dam pliers

KVD Pliers

Award for Veals Mail Order


All of us here at Veals Mail Order would like to thank all the Total Sea Angler readers for voting us ‘Best Mail Order’ yet again in 2013. This makes a combined total of 10 times we have been voted ‘Best Mail Oder’ by readers of Total Sea Fishing and Sea Angler. We always strive to give you the best selection, price and service we can, so its really appreciated when you take the trouble to vote for us.
Thanks again to all of you, from all of us here at Veals Mail Order

Total Sea Fishing Tackle Award Certificate.

Total Sea Fishing Best Mail Order Award 2013

AFAW Match Mk2, Tournament Match, Tournament Grand Prix,

Just arrived our stock of new AnyFish AnyWhere Beachcasters. We have the Match Mark2, Tournament Match and Tournament Grand Prix in stock.
These rods are in very short supply, in fact we did not get our full order as some have been lost in transit. If you are looking for a top quality beachcaster these certainly fit the bill. Check out the video we did with Jules from AnyFish explaining the how when and where of the new range.

AnyFish AnyWhere Match Mark2, Tournament Match, Tournament Grand Prix

AFAW New Tournament and Match Rods