Ironsides Blog

My blog is very eclectic and blog articles include angling, what's been on the television and basically anything else that comes to mind

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Penn

Penn

I live on the south-west coast of England in a small town called Brixham.  I been confined to a wheelchair 1986 after breaking my neck in a swimming pool accident.  Computers are my saviour and I spend most days doing one thing or another on my PC.  Other interests I have include angling and amateur radio.  I also run a website and forum dedicated to looking after and caring for the Oscar fish cichlid

Posted by on in Angling
I'm quite excited about a new set of I have purchased recently. They are manufactured by Preston Innovations and come in various different sizes and styles. The ones I have purchased are the insert dura wag adjustable loading model. If you know anything about freshwater float then you will be aware that some floats come with the weight already built into the base. The majority of the ones I have ever used require some extra shot just to bring them down to the correct depth. However, these new ones by Preston Innovations are fully weighted straight out of the packet. This means that you can simply clip them on the line and they are set up absolutely perfectly in the water. However, some people want to put some extra weight down the line, whether this be some bulk shot to take the bait down quickly, or various shot spread evenly to ensure the bait falls uniformly through the water. These floats have been designed so that you can take small increments of weight off the float in order to you to add your own weight. You simply unscrew the base and slip one of the weights off which come in the form of a small metal ring.

The reason I absolutely love these floats is because you don't use locking shot to attach them to your line. The problem I've always had with using your bog standard shot is getting them to stay on the line properly. I do a lot of margin fishing and nine times out of 10 the carp will take you through all the snags in the margin which normally results in all the shot being either moved, or ripped off completely.

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Posted by on in Angling
If you are in the UK then you may be interested in a new fishing program that starts this evening on ITV. It's called Fishing Impossible and follows three anglers travelling around the world attempting to catch fish that are considered very difficult to catch.

In this week's episode they have travelled to Canada.

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Posted by on in Angling
I came across these a few months ago and I absolutely love them. I do a lot of method feeder fishing nowadays and really like using match mini boilies around eight or 10 mm in size. These 4 inch hair rigs incorporate a special bayonet which you simply push into the Boilie. So there's no messing around with hairs and fiddly little stops.
Check these out, they are really good
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Posted by on in Catch Report

The weather wasn't particularly good today, however that often favours carp fishing as it brings them onto the feed. Today wasn't an exception and the carp were quite interested in food.

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I was looking into buying one of those Water Wolf underwater cameras that you can attach your rig to film the fish whilst they take your bait. I did a quick search on the Internet and came across what I assumed was probably a slightly cheaper version of the camera. After all, Go Pro produce various cameras that differ in price. The first one I bought only cost me £90, the most recent one was nearly £300.

What I didn't realise at the time was I was actually buying just the base that the camera fits on. However, I believe the advert was very misleading as the camera was included in the photo.

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A couple of years ago I bought four quadruple gold coins from an online bullion dealer called Bullion By Post. The coins cost approximately £4300 at the time. The recent vote that saw us opting out of the European Union had a massive effect on gold prices. Going by today's gold prices, my coins are now worth just over £5300. I contacted Bullion by Post to find out what they would give me for the coins and they offered me just over £4600. If you were to buy the same four at today's gold price from them then the cost would be £5500. So basically if I sell my coins they are going to make nearly £900.

I've never invested in gold before and I don't think I'm going to do it again. Okay, if I sell today I could profit by just over £300, at least I'm getting my money back with a tiny bit of profit. I think I will try my luck with high street jewellers who buy gold, maybe they'll give me more money for my coins.

The point I am trying to make is that if you are thinking about buying gold then think very carefully about buying from these very well-known online bullion companies. Although they do promise to buyback any gold bought from them, my experience is that the offer will be well below the up-to-date gold prices. I think that you would probably get a better offer from a small jewellers on the high Street,.
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If like me you don't have any hand or finger movements then you will completely understand how frustrating it can be when you want to do something that actually involves holding something firmly. My childhood hobby is angling and I've been doing it since I was about nine years old. After my accident in 1986 I completely dismissed ever going fishing again and literally gave all my angling equipment away.

A few years later in the 1990s I became aware of a charity called Remap. What they do is use the skills of engineers, mostly retired gentleman who have time on their hands, but most importantly have both the skills and the tools in order to make special adaptions for disabled people.

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Posted by on in TV Gossip
I've really been enjoying this new series which sees people reunited with animals that they may have rescued, or brought up from very young and then released into the wild. In some cases they come back to decades later and the animals have still recognised them and greeted them with great affection. It reminds me of a fascinating story about an elephant and a man.

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University .

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I've lived in Torbay for the best part of 35 years, but I've never visited the Model Village in Torquay before. Last week my family came down to see me. My sister Bex wanted to take her five-year-old son Alex there, so we all decided to go along. The Model Village is located in Babbacombe Torquay and is very easy to find. Just drive along Torquay seafront, at the clock tower turn left and follow the road all the way up to Babbacombe and you will eventually come to the model Village.

I was aware that there may be limitations for wheelchair users because of how steep some of the paths are. However, I was taken aback just how steep the paths really are, they are much steeper than I ever anticipated. The slope starts right where you pay at the kiosk, then it just gets steeper and steeper. I have the benefit of a tilt function on my chair so I was able to tilt my chair back which meant I wasn't pitching forward. However, if you haven't got this function then it is going to be extremely scary travelling down the slope. I think it may also be dangerous gravity will pull the top half of your body forward which could result in the back of the chair lifting when you brake. The path is quite narrow, however people are very understanding and there's more than enough room for you to pass each other. Once you get down to the bottom the area levels of and it's a much more comfortable ride.

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I thought I would do a little update on the Paignton Pier amusement arcade. My family and I would often enjoy an hour or two playing the tipping point machines on the pier. I'm sure you know the ones I'm talking about, there are two shelves with money on them, the money is then pushed onto the second shelf and hopefully some falls over the lip. Anyway, a couple of years I noticed that hardly any money was coming out, in fact whereas before a £s worth of 2p pieces would last quite a long time, the money was now going in just a few minutes with hardly anything coming out. Under close inspection I noticed that metal bars had been attached to the front tray and lots of coins wedged in and pointing upwards slightly. Basically it makes it look like lots of coins were hanging over the edge ready to fall. In fact these coins will never fall and as far as I'm concerned it was just a ploy to con people into using the machine. So basically they've created a third shelf which now points up.

We decided to visit again this week to see if things had changed. Unfortunately it looks as though everything is exactly the same. On a few of the machines there was a bundle of tokens with a £5 note attached. The £5 note was dangling over the edge of the tray which makes it look as though it could fall at any minute. We put about a £ of 2p pieces in, however the £5 notes didn't budge one little bit. It's quite obvious that it's been either fixed in place, or they've managed to secure it so that it will never fall no matter how much money you will put in.

Every machine is the same, even the tipping point machines in the  arcades at the very beginning of the pier, they are all doctored in order to fool people into playing them. Whether any laws are being broken I don't know, I'm not sure whether it's illegal modify these machines so they don't pay out much, but I am absolutely certain it's completely immoral to modify a machine and make it look as though money is going to come out.
Tagged in: Paignton pier
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My God didn't they make some crap music videos in the 1980s :-) :-)

If you think the official video is bad enough then check out their appearance on top of the Pops, truly painful to watch.

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Posted by on in Angling
There's a brand-new fishing program starting this evening on ITV4 called Monster Carp. If you are a fan of Thinking Tackle, Fishing Gurus or The go to sleep) couple of those pork scratching things is that they like Big Fish off then this will surely be right up your swim.

Ali Hamdi will be the presenter and I believe he's going to have various guests accompanying him while he travels around the world fishing for large carp. All the other programs he fronts are absolutely brilliant and teach you lots of tricks on how to catch carp. I'm sure this new program will be just as entertaining.

Suffice to say my recorder is already set for 8 PM this evening on ITV4
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Not that I'm ever going to be put in the scenario, I've got more fishing rods and reels and I would care to admit. However, if you are given the choice to use just one rod and reel for the rest of your life, what would it be?

The choice is quite simple for me, it would be my Avon quiver and my Shimano Aero GTM 4000.

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My vote is we leave now, let's get our own country back so we can make our own decisions. That is just one reason for my option to leave Europe.
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Posted by on in Angling

In the UK it is illegal to fish and a lot of rivers and lakes without first of all having a valid fishing rod licence. Some fisheries to have their own fishing rod licence that covers people using their lakes and ponds. But always find out first before going fishing there because it's your responsibility to make sure you have an up-to-date and valid rod licence. Fines for fishing without a rod licence can be as high as £2500. However it's probably shame that is much worse because I've seen the names of people who have been prosecuted for not having a rod licence printed in some of the angling magazines and papers.

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Let me start off by saying that I am no means an expert when it comes to mobile phones and the Internet, in fact I've only just bitten the bullet and got myself a mobile last year. I've never been a great fan of mobile phones, I did have one when they first came out but never really used it. There have been a couple of instances recently when I've been out in my van and something has gone wrong. It hadn't been the fact that my mother or friend was with me with a mobile phone I would have been in a right old pickle.

I recently installed a brand-new stereo system in my van which has Bluetooth. It also has the capability to talk to a mobile phone, in particular these systems were made to work with iPhones and iPods. Therefore I purchased an iPhone 6c which is one of these all singing and dancing smart phones. Because I'm a little bit of a skinflint I really didn't want to start having to pay a monthly fee, therefore I opted for a pay-as-you-go card. That was my first mistake, I soon found out there is absolutely no point in trying to use a smart phone if you are paying as you go. When mobile phones first came out, all you paid for was phone calls and text messages. Smartphones are a completely different ballgame because they are not just a telephone and text messaging system, they basically have the same capabilities as your home computer. Smartphones update themselves automatically, whether that be downloading apps or using roaming features. Updates and roaming features require the phone to go online, therefore you will be charged for this. Having all the features will eat through 20 quid in no time at all. This happened to me twice when I first got my phone, I put £20 on and within a couple of weeks there was nothing left. I couldn't understand what was going on until I went back to Currys and they told me. One of the guys turned the roaming feature off but I found that money was still disappearing off the phone even though I hadn't made any calls. I'm not entirely sure whether it was because I wasn't using the £20 within the month, or whether there was still something switched on within the phone. So after the third time £20 disappeared off the phone I decided that enough was enough and I would be better off either getting a very basic phone, or going onto a contract which would involve paying a monthly fee. After careful consideration I decided that it would probably benefit me to pay monthly and ensure I always have credit on my phone in case of an emergency.

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I try not to let things beat me. I've been disabled for almost 30 years now, in fact I will be celebrating 30 years on May 18, 2016.
 
One of the first things I taught myself to do after becoming disabled was to open my own banana. It's really rather easy as you will see by the video below.
 
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Posted by on in Angling
Two baits that really go together when margin fishing are and . Carp absolutely love hempseed, I reckon that they look upon them as little snails that they enjoy crunching.
 
Tiger nuts are brilliant because carp absolutely love them. They are also very robust. Roach and Rudd can't eat them and tench have problems with them as well. You can buy raw tiger nuts from the health food shop. However, unless they are prepared properly they can be dangerous to carp. So my advice would be to buy ready prepared tiger nuts that are completely safe for carp. A lot of anglers like to boil their own hempseed up, again you can get ready prepared hempseed that has been prepared properly and is completely ready to go straight from the tin.
 
Some anglers like to critically balance, or pop-up the tiger nuts by adding a small piece of cork to the tiger nuts. I saw an article with one angler who like to use a couple of tiger nuts, one of which had a piece of cork inserted which then lifted the nuts just above the hook which is laying flat.
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Posted by on in Angling
If you are in the position where you are hooking fish but they seem to be dropping off then there could be a simple reason for this, your hook is not sharp enough. Think about it logically, most people use knives on a regular basis, whether that be in the kitchen or part of your job. A knife isn't any good if it is blunt so most people will have a knife sharpener that they will use on a regular basis. A hook isn't really any different, it won't stay sharp for ever, after a few fish it will start to blunt and off and eventually it will be absolutely useless.
 
Now you could change your hook or rig every two or three fish, however this could start getting expensive. So the easiest way to keep a hook sharp as to have in your tackle box. There are loads available, some of them are quite expensive, others are cheap, choose a decent sharpener and you should always be able to keep your hooks nice and sharp and hopefully not lose too many fish.
 
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Posted by on in Angling
One of my absolute pet hates when I'm fishing is when I see people mishandling carp, whether that be by mistake or because they just can't be bothered to treat the fish with respect. I know that the non-fisher folk will argue that if you respect and love the carp then why do you haul it out with a hook in its mouth? I've got to be honest, I don't really have a valid answer to that question, they are quite right really, I don't suppose it's very nice for a fish to firstly have a hook in its mouth, then to be hauled out of the water and plonked on the bank. I don't suppose us humans would like it very much if we were suddenly dragged into the lake by the mouth. However, we are fishermen and that's just part of the hobby that isn't so nice and we hope that the fish doesn't suffer too much.
 
Serious carp anglers will take as much care as possible to make sure that the carp doesn't suffer any more than it needs to you once it's in the net. If you are not going to weigh or photograph your fish then if it's possible unhooked the fish while it's still in the landing net and release it immediately by turning the net inside out and letting the fish swim out by itself. If you need to take the fish out of the water then you must be in possession of a . Most carp fisheries have strict rules which nearly always includes using an unhooking mat if you are going to remove the fish from the water. If you are fishing for fairly small carp then you can place the carp back in the landing net to return it to the water. Alternatively, you can get unhooking mats that also act as a sling. Basically this means you can place the carp on the mat to protect their whilst unhooking, then wrap it up safely and place in the water for release, then is absolutely no chance you will drop it on the bank. These type of unhooking mats also enable you to weigh the fish safely.
 
If you want to weigh the fish then get yourself a good quality pair of . Before you remove the fish from the water then make sure the scales are zeroed and ready to go. There's nothing more frustrating than seeing people take the fish out of the water, leave the poor fish flapping around on the unhooking mat while they mess around setting their scales up. You can leave the fish in the landing net whilst you weigh it if you want, that's probably the easiest and safest way to weigh small to medium-size carp. I normally remove the handle and weigh the fish whilst it still in the landing net. You can either zero the scales with the net hanging off them, or you can simply weigh the net and then deduct its weight off the final reading. A word of warning, if the fish is too heavy and you weigh it in the landing net, you may buckle the frame of the net. That's why it's a good idea to have a for larger fish. 
 
Carp can live for a very long time. They are also very expensive to replace so it makes sense to do your best to look after the carp that you catch. You can now get that is used to treat wounds and lesions that carp often pick up. It's also a good idea to put a little bit of medication in the area that the hook penetrated. Hopefully by treating the fish like this it will avoid picking up any infections in the wounds. You'll find that carp can injure themselves during spawning time, so in the spring and early summer I would strongly advise carp anglers to keep a bottle of in their tackle box just in case you do catch a carp that needs treatment.
 
One of my biggest gripes is anglers who use keep nets for no apparent reason. I've seen it so many times, anglers who have fished for 10 hours and have 30 or 40 carp all cooped up in the keep net. Then all they do is tip them back into the water. I might understand a little more if they at least took a photograph of them, but just to keep them all crammed in the keep net during summertime when it's warm to them just tip them all back into the water makes no sense to me at all.
 
I don't think it's asking too much for anglers to take a little bit of care when they catch a carp. Put it back carefully, don't throw it back in, that's not going to do the carp any good whatsoever. By all means take it out of the water, take a photograph, weigh the fish, but just be aware that you are dealing with a very precious creature that is basically there for your enjoyment. If we do our absolute best to look after these incredible fish then they will continue to help us enjoy our hobby for many years to come.
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