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Fireside, waterside and fishing with carrots

Fireside, waterside and fishing with carrots

With Christmas around the corner, Ron Cousins rounds up the major new developments in the fishing tackle world, giving us plenty of ideas for angling presents – anglers’ wives and husbands and children, read on…

This is the time of year when fireside fishing – talking and reading about the sport and the developments in fishing tackle that have taken place during the year – often replaces actually braving the elements at the waterside; and with Christmas in the air it is a great opportunity to discover those new ‘must have’ items that would be welcome gifts under the Christmas tree.


The year has seen some major developments that are sure to make going fishing more enjoyable and result in more fish being caught. A new fishing rod is always on an angler’s wish list; but how about one made from carrots? Scottish scientists Dr David Hepworth and Dr Eric Whale have created this new material, named Curran, at their Cellucomp company in Fife. Nano fibres found in carrots are extracted and combined with hi-tech resins enabling tough, durable components to be moulded into whatever shape, degree of stiffness, strength and lightness are required. Fly and spinning rods are already on sale, the blanks a distinctive orange colour and consisting of 80% carrot with carbon fibre making up the remainder.

Hardy of Alnwick, probably the world’s best known fishing tackle maker, has taken rod building to another level with Sintrix; a silica nano matrix said to be 60% stronger and 30% lighter than carbon fibre fishing rods. The new resin supports and bolsters the carbon fibres, surrounding each one with nano spheres, giving the rod a higher resistance to bending and loading and making it almost impossible to break while fishing. The company already has a wide range of sea, coarse and game fishing rods available in the new material.

The other big news on the fishing rod front comes from American manufacturer Colt Rod Company, who is producing hexagonal carbon fibre rods instead of the usual tubular construction. The idea is to make the carbon fibre within the rod unidirectional to increase lifting power and make it stronger all around.


Insect protection

If insects drive you mad when fishing, American outdoor clothing specialists Simms have the answer with the No Fly Zone fishing shirts. Working with Burlington Laboratories, the company has developed a process that binds permethrin – an odourless, water-based, biodegradable compound – direct to clothing to protect against insects and insect borne diseases.

Every angler is on the lookout for something to help outwit their quarry, so two scientific approaches to improving catches have created a lot of interest. The Cagi Sonic Attractor has been invented by a former NASA physicist and is designed to attract pike, zander, perch and trout to lures, spinners or plug baits. It consists of tiny vibrating blades that are placed on the line in front of the lure and then produce very specific sound frequencies to attract fish. 


An even more hi-tech fish attractor aimed at sea fishing has come on the market from Norway. The Esca is a small electronic device powered by seawater, so no batteries are needed, and can be combined with all lures and baits. It mimics the natural luminescence used by sea animals, such as the angler fish, to catch prey. The device replicates the wavelength, intensity and frequency of light emanating from fish and plankton and creates an electro-magnetic field that imitates a natural aquatic phenomenon and triggers the hunting instinct in fish.

American lures for predator fishing have long dominated the market; but French manufacturer Delalande Pêche is reversing that trend and now export their pike, perch and zander catching creations to the USA. The year’s most successful lures have been ‘Buster Shad’, ‘Fury Shad’ and the groundbreaking ‘Strawberry Acid’ range of flavoured lures, and all would be welcome in any angler’s Christmas stocking.

The thought of picking up live worms and maggots to use on the hook puts some people off; so Wiltshire firm Anchor Tackle has harnessed the latest plastics technology to produce exact replicas that fool the fish. The company also produces artificial bread, luncheon meat, sweetcorn and various seed baits, which come in handy selection boxes.

Santa's List

dec-10-xmas-fishing0006Top on my list to Santa is the latest product from British angling innovator Mel Wilde. His Octoplus Fishing Stool folds flat enough to carry long distances on the shoulder strap, will hold all the essential fishing tackle and opens up with adjustable legs to provide a really comfortable seat for a long day’s fishing, no matter what the lake or river bank may be like.

And how about a good fishing read for the long winter nights? Shropshire based Medlar Press has reprinted some of the all-time angling classics. These include ‘The Compleat Angler’, books about fishing in the 19th century by J W Martin – known worldwide as ‘The Trent Otter’– and even the cartoon series that made many a lad an angler half a century ago: ‘Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing’ by Bernard Venables.

Xmas Fishing

But it’s not all fireside fishing at this time of year. Even if rain or snow is falling and the temperature is low, there are plenty of opportunities to test new tackle and catch fish throughout Poitou-Charentes. This is the best time of year for pike and zander as they are at their fighting fit peak, ready for spawning in the spring; walking the riverbanks with a spinning rod to fish for them keeps you warm on the coldest day.

The 17-acre lure fishing lake at Pescalis near Moncoutant in Deux-Sèvres offers some of the best fishing because the No-Kill rules mean that there is always a good head of fish; unlike some public domain waters, where the pike and zander’s culinary qualities results in most fish caught being taken away. Anglers fishing the large Deux-Sèvres lakes La Touche-Poupard and Le Cebron can retain no more than six zander a day, so they are well worth a visit for the stocks of these hard-fighting fish, which are further protected by a close season running from 1st February to 1st June.

dec-10-xmas-fishing0001The River Boutonne around St Jean d’Angély in Charente Maritime is at its best in winter, when the weed has died away; spinning or dead bait fishing will find the pike and, if the river is carrying extra water, give the Plan d’Eau near the centre of the town a try. Still in Department 17, La Lande lake in Saujon has a deserved reputation for pike fishing in the colder weather.

The lake at Parc Loisirs de Fregeneuil in Angoulême is always well fished for pike in winter as is the town’s Plan d’Eau de la Grande Prairie at Saint-Yrieix, where you can also expect to catch zander. Finding fish can be a problem on the River Charente, but you don’t have to look far when winter rain sends the level up because under these conditions all kinds of fish pack into the shelter of the cuttings leading to the locks, providing a natural larder for the predators and a great opportunity for the fisherman.

Nature can really be on the angler’s side at this time of year; so even if the mercury is dropping and the fireside is calling, always remember that a cosy corner is much more welcoming after having spent a few hours at the waterside.


Address book


Hardy of Alnwick:

The Colt Rod Company:

Simms Fishing and Clothing:

Cagi Sonic Attractors:

Esca Global:  or for video demonstration

Delalande Pêche:

Anchor Tackle:

Mel Wilde Octoplus Products: +44 (0)1942 243443,

The Medlar Press:

Pescalis: +33 (0)5 49 72 00 01,


Originally published in Living Poitou=Charentes magazine.

Photos by Caroline Cousins