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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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

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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Posted by on in Angling
If you like using boilies for bait then there's one little piece of equipment I would highly recommend. It's called theC and as the name suggests it's used to mince our baits with just a few twists of your wrist. If boilies are a favoured bait then you will probably be used to chucking out loads of boilies around your hook bait. A Boilie in its finished form has a fairly tough outer layer. However, once you break through the outer layer you are then releasing all those enticing smells that the carp love. Using the to literally break apart the boilies will ensure that all those lovely flavours seep into the water. I think it's worth mentioning that the Korda crusher will mint stop just about anything you want to use for bait, meats, pellets, you name it.
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Posted by on in Angling
If like me you don't make your own rigs then you can't go wrong with these ready-made rigs. Whoever makes them can't be making much out of them, by the time you for the hooks, the braid and the spikes and then put however long it takes into making them, there must be a few pence left over for your profit. And then they provide them with free postage, you really can't get anything cheaper anywhere else in my opinion.
You can buy on eBay for a really reasonable price, have done before and I really love using them. The bait spike is simplicity in itself and it means that you can use it with large or small boilies, you don't have to worry about how long the hair is.


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Posted by on in For Sale
For Sale - Quickie GPV Manual Wheelchair
I'm selling this wheelchair because my existing cushion is too big for it. I've had the wheelchair for about four years now, however I've used it for about two days in all that time. So I can guarantee that the wheelchair looks as good as new with no scratches or signs of wear.
This is a manual wheelchair that has a solid footplate and solid tyres. This means that you will never get a puncture. It has plastic clothes guards so your trousers won't get dirty or wet when you are pushing outside.
Don't be under the misapprehension that this is a sports lightweight wheelchair. Burrows is definitely not as heavy as your old NHS wheelchairs, it's not really made for sport. However, it's a nice wheelchair that will suit every day needs.
The wheelchair has brakes and also push handles say that if you need to be pushed anywhere somebody can use the handles at the back.
The dimensions of the seating are as follows: 
Width: 43 cm 
Depth: 47 cm 
Backrest height: 44 cm 
Height of chair (floor to push handles): 94 cm
I am asking for £600, I may consider sensible offers
Please ring (01803) 882769 and ask for Penn
I would advise looking at the wheelchair before buying it. However, I can send the wheelchair without being viewed first, but I would have to add extra on for shipping fees
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Posted by on in Angling
Hemp seed is an absolutely brilliant loose feed bait for carp, they absolutely love it. I always imagine carp looking upon hemp as small snails that they love crunching up. I've been using the for many years now. It comes in tins or larger plastic containers. Hemp works great straight out of the tin, however by adding a few little extra ingredients you can make it work even better. You can buy a which carp absolutely love. Alternatively if you don't want all the hassle of mixing it yourself, you can buy already prepared in packets. Whichever you use, I promise you that the carp will be mooching around in your swim not long after you put some in.
If you're fishing at distance then the only reliable way of getting hemp out to where your hook bait is is to use a spod, I wouldn't bother trying to use a catapult with hemp, it will just spray everywhere and you're just waste it. You could use a PVA bag, just make sure you choose one that doesn't dissolve too quickly, also you probably won't be able to use a very wet mixture if you're using a PVA system.
You can also mix lots of other goodies with hemp. I particularly like a mixture of hemp sweetcorn and various sized pellets. Remember you want to keep the carp in your swim so give them a reason to stay.
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Posted by on in Angling
Maggots are fabulous as a bait for fish. I started off using maggots nearly 40 years ago, but back then I was catching small roach and perch. However, even though maggots are quite small, they are still a very good carp bait.
If you are a match angler then you will be used to hooking one single maggot onto a very small hook. However when you are fishing for slightly bigger carp then we tend to use more than one maggot on the hook. I prefer the no-nonsense approach of hooking maggots, take a size 12 or 10 hook and cram as many maggots onto it as you possibly can. In the more techy age of carp fishing people are now using hair rigs more and more when using maggots as a hook bait. One may ask how the hell you put maggots on a hair rig? People started off by using a small piece of wire that they threaded the maggots onto and then added that to the hair. Korda have actually come up with a purpose made that you incorporate into our rig. Then it's just a case of threading the maggots onto the clip and you have your maggots perfectly mounted on a hair rig. I've seen people use dead maggots as hook bait, what they do is they thread them onto the hook, in a similar way you would a worm.
I don't tend to use maggots as hook bait much myself, I prefer to use them as loose feed. The problem with lots of commercial waters is they contain lots and lots of small silver fish which also love maggots. The only slight problem I found of using live maggots is they wiggle. You know what happens if you put some maggots on the ground, that gone in no time at all. The same thing happens if you chuck maggots into the water, if there's any silt or pebbles then the maggots will just crawl into the little crevices, or under the salt. If I using maggots as a loose feed that I want the fish to be able to find them properly. So the easiest way to assure this happens is to use dead maggots.
Killing maggots isn't quite as complicated or gruesome as one may imagine. The easiest way to kill them is to actually deprive them of oxygen. Get yourself one of those freezer bags, the ones that are a sealable. Put your maggots in to the bag and then squeeze all the air out and seal the bag firmly. Eventually the maggots will stop wriggling. There is a chance maggots will come back to life once you take them out of the bag. Some people freeze the maggots which will kill them outright.
Now when you sprinkle maggots into your swim they will stay there for the fish to find, instead of disappearing. A lot of people like to use red maggots as the colour red seems to attract fish. If you can't buy red maggots then the easiest thing to do is use a and colour the maggots yourself. Another way in which you can add attractant to your maggots which makes them even more appealing to the carp is to add chopped worm. Any garden worm is good, but if you can get hold of big juicy lob worm than that's what I would probably go for. You can use a knife to chop the worms up, alternatively some fishing manufacturers make special that have several blades incorporated that make it easy to chop the worms up into segments.
Maggots are particularly good in the colder months of the year. A lot of people stop fishing in the colder months so the carp are not getting their normal fill of pellets, boilies, bread etc. The carp then resort to looking for natural foods which they will root around in the soil. I believe that maggots are probably the next best thing to larvae and other little critters that they may come across.
Catapulting maggots is quite difficult, as you though they will probably only go so far. There are several products on the market that enable you to basically buying the maggots and make them stick together. One such product is called and is basically a white 
powder that you sprinkle onto dry maggots. After a few minutes you will find that you can gently squeeze the maggots into a ball which can then be thrown a fair distance.
If you have your own method of using maggots for carp then please leave a comment below
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Posted by on in YouTube Videos

That Summer starred a 21-year-old Ray Winstone and was released in 1979. The film follows Steve Brodie, a teenager just out of youth hostel. Disillusioned with his life in London he decides to head to Torquay to try and win a swimming race.
The majority of the film was made on location in and around Torquay Devon. Film locations include Torquay seafront, the old arcades, the Pickwick pub, the Imperial hotel and various outside locations which locals will definitely recognise whilst watching the film.
Locals to Torbay should spot various continuity errors including Angie supposedly running to work at the Imperial hotel, but actually running towards Paignton instead. One of my favourite continuity errors is when Steve is getting ready to go down to the beach for a swim. He's getting dressed in the morning whilst looking out the window at a lovely view of Torquay Harbour. What most people didn't know is you couldn't see Torquay Harbour from the Pickwick.
Even if you don't really care for the film itself the soundtrack is absolutely fabulous.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the film as much as I have over the last 26 years since I first saw it in 1987.
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It was announced on the news today that Polish surgeons think they may have successfully found a cure for paralysis, otherwise known as spinal cord injury. In 2014 they reversed a paralysed man's paralysis using cells from his nose. The cells were then used to repair his severed spinal cord injury which had been completely severed with a knife. The Polish man can now ride a tricycle, although his paralysis is by no means completely cured, he has regained feeling, movement and has even got back some sexual function.
The same doctors are now looking for two people who have suffered the same complete spinal cord injury. I believe the reasoning behind them looking for somebody whose spinal cord is completely severed is that anyone who has a partial break of the spinal cord can sometimes regain back movement. Even somebody with an incomplete break can gain movement back years after the accident. I for one have never quite trusted claims that paralysed people who have been confined to a wheelchair for years have suddenly started walking again after treatment. Call me sceptical, but it's black and white for me, if the spinal cord is completely severed then I'm afraid it would take a proper miracle in order for you to walk properly again. So it's a great idea that they are looking for two people whose spinal cord is completely severed. If these people do see an improvement in their condition and it will certainly get my attention because you will be able to put it down to the treatment alone.
By all accounts it's going to take about a year before they find two suitable candidates. They are looking for people between the ages of 16 and 65. The two candidates will have to commit themselves to a three-year stay at the clinic in Poland. They will also have to undertake hours of physiotherapy every single day, before and after the treatment. 
If I was 20 years younger than I think I would probably put my name forward. However the thought of moving away to another country for three years is very scary. I have got so much going on in my own life I don't think I would want to leave all that behind for that long. Anybody who does seriously think about putting their name forward should take a few things into account.
If you have carers looking after you what is going to happen to them? 
Will social services in the UK pay their wages whilst they are looking after you in Poland? 
Can they take three years out of their lives to move to Poland with you? 
If not, who's going to look after you? 
Also remember that you may be putting people out of work. That said, I don't think anyone would resent you if it meant a possible cure for your spinal cord injury.
Then you will have to consider what will happen to your home in the UK. If you live in rented accommodation, I doubt very much whether housing would still cover the rental costs. If you live in your own house then who is going to look after it and pay all the bills? 
For the people who they do choose, it will be a very exciting but probably very scary time. I can only imagine what it would be like waiting for that movement of the finger to start, suddenly feeling like you want to go to the toilet, getting that first sign of feeling back in your legs.
Whoever is chosen to take part in this treatment should think themselves very lucky. I really hope that the treatment works and the person comes back after three years with a lot more movement and feeling than they left with.


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This is an extremely useful website that will give you up-to-date on current petrol and diesel prices. All you need to do is put in your town or postcode and it will list the nearest petrol stations to your home and tell you the lowest and highest price for diesel and petrol.
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PGW Engineering Torbay - Custom Motorcycle Exhaust
I have recently created a website for local businessman Peter Weller who runs PGW Engineering in Paignton. PGW Engineering specialise in custom and classic motorcycle exhaust systems. They can also carry out repairs as well as fabrications which includes bespoke exhaust systems for various classic bikes and cafe racers. They also make custom seats side panels and mudguards.
Why not drop in on their website and see what they have to offer.
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Posted by on in YouTube Videos
Other than amateur radio my other passion is angling. I love nothing more than spending a nice warm summer's day on the lakeside catching carp. More than often there are other anglers fishing on the lake as well. Occasionally you may inadvertently cast over somebody, or hook up their gear without realising it. Anglers are very polite and I have never once received any verbal abuse from another angler whilst out fishing.
I have been a ham radio operator for 21 years now so I would consider myself to be fairly experienced. However, even experienced people make mistakes occasionally, we are not all perfect. Those of you who know me well have no doubt seem many of my YouTube videos that I make of me operating on amateur radio. 99.9% of people who have commented on my videos have been respectful and courteous. But then you have that very small minority of people who think it's perfectly okay to basically leave abusive messages. The Internet is a great place, but it has its dark side unfortunately it's given some of these people and easy way attack other people for no reason whatsoever. If you ever take the time to look through posts that are made by these people then nine times out of 10 you will notice that they are not doing so using their real name, they almost always hide behind a username. Also you will often find that the ones doing it on YouTube have never made and posted videos to YouTube themselves. People who leave abusive messages on other people's webpages, Facebook, YouTube have gained the name "Troll". Don't get me wrong, I've often got into heated arguments with people in the past online, however it gets to the point where I'm going to tell somebody to FCUK OFF then I will do so with the knowledge that I am not trying to hide behind an obscure username hoping that nobody will ever find out who I am.
So that brings me onto Mr Larry Keene, a.k.a. W5LW K. He goes by LarryK1978 on YouTube and yesterday decided that he would leave me an unpleasant comment on one of my videos. So exactly who is W5WK? Well according to his QRZ page, whose first licensed in 2007 and currently holds a technician license. Probably doesn't mean an awful lot to most people, well I can tell you that's the equivalent of somebody holding a provisional driving licence. Whereas I am able to operate on the full amateur radio spectrum using our country's maximum power limit, this individual is very much limited to small sections of the band and is basically prohibited from going anywhere near the HF frequencies. 
Tell you what Larry, when you've had a little bit more experience on the amateur radio bands then maybe I'll take you seriously. Just remember that it's not clever or tough to be rude to people whilst you hide behind a username thinking that nobody will ever know who you are, it took me all of a minute to find out what your callsign is.
Tagged in: G0VQY
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I simply cannot believe how crazy some of these motorcyclists are. I'm not saying they all deserves to have a serious accident, but there way these lunatics drive their bikes, surely they are not surprised when it all goes pear-shaped? Thank God I live in the UK where the majority of drivers take care on the roads. You can see by the videos I have been posting people in foreign coutries don't seem to take much care when driving on the roads.


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These videos should make you think twice about looking properly at junctions to make sure motorcycles aren't coming

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