Long term Review – Trakker Pioneer Ultralight

Normally when I review products it is when I have had them for a short while and I have used them long enough to formulate an opinion on them, this review is different in that I have had the item in question for 2 years now and I have used it heavily hence I feel that it is now long overdue for a comment here. Continue reading “Long term Review – Trakker Pioneer Ultralight”

Out zander fishing with www.fishingamsterdam.com

As you can see from the post Winter Wonderland it is cold, damn cold at the moment. This has led to me being housebound for 2 months unable to get out as the lakes have been frozen. Due to this I have been going up the walls suffering from fishing related “cabin fever” so much so that my wife ordered me to go fishing at the 1st opportunity. As I had been out with Juul from FishingAmsterdam.com before it seemed the logical choice if I wanted a 1/2 decent chance of catching a zander to book with Juul.

The date was set and I was full of anticipation, at 07:40 sharp I arrived at the pre agreed meeting spot to be presented  with a cup of hot coffee and a croissant, not a bad start and it bode well for the day. Juul discussed the options as to the quarry and as zander were on the menu ( figuratively) we decided to start on them and then around lunch time swap over to pike as the day brightened up a little.

We arrived in the Ijselmeere before 08:30 and after a short journey began to fish for zander using the vertical jigging technique ( some of my UK readers my be unfamiliar with this technique so look back here for an article) and rubber stick baits. Alas the day did not start out all that productive with only a few missed takes. Zander at any time of the year are finicky biters but in the winter they practically just nudge the bait. You end up striking at the slightest vibration in case it is a zander just inspecting the bait.

One of the things I really like about Juul is that generally he will also fish as well ( depending on the number of guests) which means that if he is not getting takes then you know that the area is devoid of fish. This is quite a confidence boost as with zander it is easy to start to think that you are doing something wrong… some times there are  just no hungry fish in the area. Anyway a brief move to another hot spot saw us again jigging away waiting for a hungry fish, and before long there was the telltale gentle pluck on the lure, and I was in.

People often say that zander don’t put up much of a fight and sometimes they are right, however not today each zander put up quite a scrap and they continually dived and dived for the bottom but each were eventually beaten by the net.
Continue reading “Out zander fishing with www.fishingamsterdam.com”

Review – PB Braid Pliers

I bought the above cutters on the recommendation of a mate who owns a tackle shop in Holland. He was madly enthusing about them to a customer standing in front of me and in the demonstration he picked up a section of 4lb braid ( thinner than cotton) and was happily snipping off 1 and 2 mm sections. After seeing this I decided that I had to have a pair and I have to say they are just that good. If you want a pair scissors that will cut almost anything ( including the shank of a hook apparently – though I have never tried) and then go back to cutting fine braid, these are for you. Normally when a really successful product appears on the market other tackle manufacturers are quick to leap on the band waggon and product their own version. Strangely PB products are still the only manufacturer that supplies this kind of cutter.

Verdict – buy them I have had them for 1 season and they are still as sharp as when I bought them. They can go from snipping wire traces to snipping fine braid and never miss a beat. Buy a set for each tacklebox they are that good.

Review – CCmoore Meteor

A wise man once said, “bait is unimportant compared to watercraft, any bait if palatable will be eaten *if* the carp can find it”. These words have been the foundation of my carp fishing, however that is not to say that quality bait does not matter, it does matter and matter a great deal. My philosophy behind bait choice is that the bait must possess one of two qualities,
Continue reading “Review – CCmoore Meteor”

My 1st Shark !

Ok well not really my 1st as I have caught dogfish off of the Kent coast and a small sand shark off of the coast of South Africa but this was the 1st one for quite a while.

As you know I am in SF at the moment, and whilst I was over here I thought it rude not to try out some of the fishing that the bay offers.  A brief skirt around the bay ( well around pier 39) led to the website of San Francisco Boat Rentals run by Captain Tony.  An early morning start led me to the boat at 9am sharp ready for a days shark fishing.  As I arrived I could see that the tide was really high, amazingly high. As we went out into the bay and started fishing I could see that the water was moving at an amazing rate, indeed a poor sailing boat was having some issues making any headway into the current even with its spinnaker out.

To summarise the day, I had a really good time and would recommend Tony’s charter services to anyone, whilst the fishing was slow I am certain that this was due to the amazingly high tide and the conditions that it produced as with that much current the fish were probably not feeding all that well.  Anyway only 1 fish was caught ( loads of crabs though) to yours truly and it was a tiny, fin perfect spiny dogfish. After a brief photo op, the shark was gently returned to the water whereupon it swam off strongly.  Sadly itg didnt bing friends and it was the last and only action of the day. If the weather / tide changes over the next few days I might try again…. however there are vineyards to be visited 🙂

spiny dog fish

Check out the Golden Gate Bridge behind me, catching a shark ( even one so small) in these sorroundings is a memory I will treasure forever.

Review – Fox Horizon SFD rods

Well some of you may know that I was unhappy with my rods, don’t get me wrong they were fine rods but 2 3/4 lb tc middle / tip action rods were not actually cutting it where I was fishing. I have lightweight rods in my stalking kit so I decided that to go with my new Fox 12k reels ( well not so new now) what better than a set of Fox rods. I had the advantage of a “try before you buy” when I met up with Mark for a quick session earlier in the year and I was very impressed. So armed with this knowledge I bought myself a 3 some of rods off of the Internet.

When the rods arrived it was like Xmas and I couldn’t wait to get on the bank with them, I popped out to Bosbaan for a quick session in August. Well I was noting but impressed. As you can not loose feed in the lake I tend to fish with largish PVA bags or sticks. This used to present an issue to my previous rods as they lacked the backbone to really punch out a 3 Oz lead and bag. Not so with the Fox rods, they load up nice and slow and release all that power exactly where you want them. Some of the casts in the lake are 85-90 yards and with a big bag it is a difficult cast. Sure, anyone can punch a single hook bait out to 150 yards but add a bag and you really sort out the pack. Continue reading “Review – Fox Horizon SFD rods”

Fox Coretex Review

Over the years I have been through the whole range of material to make hook links from. When I started carping on the distant past we used mono and then quickly progressed to black Dacron which as I was fishing a clay pit must have really stood out against the bottom. Strange that in the 20 odd years since I started carp fishing that we have effectively gone back to mono with the surge in the usage of flurocarbon ( for which I myself am guilty). Anyway recently after having issues with other hook link materials from another manufacturer a friend suggested that I try cortex. I dutifully bought a spool from my local tackle shop and had a play.


As you can see it comes on a rather handy spool that is comprised of 2 plastic halves. This has the effect of sandwiching the cortex as it comes off the spool making over runs a thing of the past. On the rear of the spool ( not shown above)  there is a cut out that allows you to see how much of the product remains on the spool, handy to check before a foray to  the tackle shop. Continue reading “Fox Coretex Review”

Fox Stratos FS 12000e Review

Well after my lovely wife bought me 3 Fox Stratos FS1200e’s  I had to just get out there and use them. This review is a little late in coming as I have been busy using them.


The Reels, well 1st thing you notice is that they are super smooth. There is no sense of wobble when you reel in fast with them that is common with other big pit reels. the clutch is smooth as silk and the bait runner is as positive as you could ever wish for. When I was debating what to ask for as a present I was considering the magnesium versions but after seeing Ian “Chilly” Chilcott cranking in a big conger with the graphite versions my mind was made up. Regarding the clutch, a lot of people back wind, I am not one of them and believe that the clutch is there for a reason. In France this year the clutches were tried out to their limits with carp to 39lbs being landed and several times the clutch saved me when a fish made an unexpected turn. On previous reels I had been used to a “grabby” clutch and so had the clutch set far far lighter then I normally would, not so with these reels, it is set dead on as I have that much confidence in it.

The Stratos 12000FSe’s are not only silky smooth but thanks to their graphite bodies they are super light as well. For any of you that doubt the long term durability of graphite in reels I draw you attention to a set of old graphite bait runners which are 18 years young and still going strong and are used today for lure fishing. Casting is a dream with large coils of line looping up the rod with every cast and there is a little rubber “wiper” between the rotor arm and the spool that stops any line causing a nasty tangle should it ever get loose. One thing you have to get used to if you have been a shimano person is that on the fox reels the baitrunner lever “goes the wrong way” ie it is against the reel body when disengaged and popped out when engaged. This seems non logical at 1st but then you realise that it is better to have the lever out of the way when playing fish !

Over all I love these reels, out of the box they will add a huge amount to your normal cast allowing you to explore areas of the lake that were impossible before. The build quality is second to none and they are available at a price that must make other reel manufacturers wince.

Rating : Good solid buy.