Top Tip Tuesday: Old Biddies and Posh Butter

OLD BIDDIES. Easter will neither be ‘very late’ nor ‘very early’ this year. So that’s one less interminable conversation you can have with each other.

FOOL YOUR friends into thinking you use expensive butter by simply using cheap margarine and ripping holes in the bread.

OLD PEOPLE. Next time you start a conversation with the words ‘Of course, it goes without saying…’ you can then simply shut up, because whatever you were about to say obviously goes without saying.

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Cooking up some brecky on my new Ghillie Kettle

Ghillie Kettle review

I can think of dozens of times in the past when I would have been extremely grateful for having a Ghillie Kettle with me. To brew up a nice cup of tea, to cook something up for supper, or just to warm me up while I was stuck out in cold weather camping.  Now that I have one (kindly sent to me for this review), I will be taking it out on many an adventure to come.

The Explorer (full kit included)
This kettle boils approximately 3.5 Mugs of water in minutes and classed as a middle range kettle.
Lightweight 0.8 kg – made of Aluminium .
Holds up to 1.0 ltrs of water
Height: 28 cm / 11 inches
Width: 18.5 cm / 7.3 inches (at its widest point)

For this post, I have set the Ghillie Kettle up in my back garden. My two sons also wanted to help with the collection of sticks for the fire, and they were intrigued as to what I was going to do with it.

Setting up the sticks for the fire in the bottom

So it took us about 5 minutes to collect some wood for the fire, we made out best attempts to collect dead dry sticks (to avoid a mass of smoke). My eldest son built the fire in the bottom section of the Ghillie Kettle using a scrap of newspaper as kindling. We got it lit, and I put the top section of the Ghillie on top. This resulted in the fire going out really quickly – the newspaper burnt out quick without the wood catching. I tried once more and left the top section off this time, allowing good air circulation to the fire as it caught – success.

I then filled the Ghillie with water (just take the whistle stopper off and then fill 2/3 rds full) – and then I replaced the whistle stopper and put the top section on top of the bottom section. The fire was crackling away nicely and started to burn quickly, and flames were soon licking the top of the funnel – I can see why these are also known as volcano kettles.

Ghillie Kettle making a cup of tea

The water took around 3 minutes to boil, the whistle is very audible. I let it boil for a minute to see how loud it would go, and I could easily hear it from 100 yards away. By the time I had brewed my cup of tea, I put the top back on the Ghillie to allow the wood to burn down to embers. – I was careful to leave water inside the kettle so that it didn’t boil dry (as this may cause damage according to the instructions). The Ghillie Kettle kicks out some good heat and I could see that this was going to make a welcome addition to my winter fishing excursions.

Once the sticks had burnt down to a nice stack of hot glowing embers, I removed the top section and placed my grill on top of the fire. The round grill (available as part of the the cooking kit) is in two semi-circle halves that sit nicely together inside the rim of the bottom section.

Sausages cooking on Ghillie Kettle

The sausages cooked nicely (not too quick) – and there was plenty of heat coking from the fire well after they had finished (I should have put some bacon on there too) – my sons polished off the sausages whilst I enjoyed my cup of tea.

I am really impressed with the quality construction of my Ghillie, all parts are made to last. I was also really impressed by how easy it was to use and also how quickly it heated the water (quicker than my electric kettle at home). The cooking kit (comprising of a saucepan, frying pan, grill and pan grip) really allows you make the best of the Ghillie Kettle – I have already begun to plan some Bear Grylls style meals while I am out and about in the wild.

Visit the Ghillie Kettle website

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Top Tip Tuesday: NHS Waiting times, Train Delays and Saving Electric

HOSPITAL patients. Arrive for your appointment two hours after the assigned arrival time. That way, you will only have to wait an hour for your doctor to see you.

SAVE ELECTRICITY by shortening the cables to all your household electric appliances.

MAKE DELAYED train journeys fly for everyone by tutting and sighing as much as you can down the closest person’s earhole.

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Top Tip Tuesday: Long lasting shoes, City Link and Sainsburys

SHOES LAST twice as long if only worn every other day.

CITY LINK Couriers. maintain good relations with your customers by assuring them that their next urgent package sent from Leeds to York doesn’t end up in France.

SAINSBURY’S directors. Attract more people into your stores by not getting Jamie Oliver to do your adverts, and using the money to make your beans and stuff a bit cheaper.

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Guest Post: Kayak Fishing Advice Top 5 – Cornish Shore & Kayak Fisherman

Kayak Fishing in Cornwall

Kayak fishing is a fantastic and exiting sport that is rapidly growing in popularity.  The facility to be able to get out to sea not only improves your catch rate but also adds another dimension to your fishing.  Viewing our beautiful Cornish coastline from sea to land is a pleasure.

For those of you just taking up this fantastic sport I have compiled my top five pieces of advice based on my own experiences and I hope you find them useful for your own kayak fishing.


Safety is paramount and I could not possibly have it anywhere else but number one.  The sea is a big powerful beast that must be treated with respect.  Before any trip always, check and double-check the weather forecast.  Use more than one source and I can recommend the following:

Magic Seaweed – Gives wind and swell forecasts
Met Office – Inshore Waters Forecast
XC Weather – Average Wind Speeds and Gusts
Big Salty – Wind and Wave Forecast

You can never be 100% sure of the state of the sea until you arrive at launch site and there is no substitute for experience knowing the right conditions for the areas you fish.

Always fish in conditions that you are comfortable with (your comfort zone) and if you start to feel uncomfortable come in there is always another day.  Fishing from a kayak is different to playing on a kayak.

If you intend to fish on your own, make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.

Have some sort of communication with you ideally a Handheld VHF radio or at worst a mobile phone in a dry bag.  It is important to have some way of contacting the emergency services in a distress situation.  If you do not have a VHF radio, a mobile phone can be registered with the 112 emergency services, which will get you through quicker than 999 (see video).  Another very good alternative is a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), which when activated in a distress situation, transmits your ID and GPS coordinates to the rescue services making it easier for them to find you.

In general, take safety seriously and have as much safety equipment on board as possible.  My video Kayak Fishing Set Up has a section on safety equipment.


The right clothing can be linked with safety for example wearing a PFD (personal floatation device).  A PFD provides a great deal of buoyancy should you find yourself in the water.  However, apart from safety the right clothing can make the difference between a miserable trip and a comfortable trip.  Staying as dry as possible is so important.  Getting wet and cold can rapidly shorten a trip.

If you can afford it, purchase a dry suit.  Dry suits can be worn all year round it just a matter of what you wear underneath.  In the colder months, the layering system comes into effect.  In the warmer months (if we ever get them), reduce what you wear under the suit.  If you cannot afford a dry suit maybe dry pants and a cag is an alternative.  The main thing is to stay dry and have some protection against the cold should you end up in the water.


Anchor Trolley and Anchor
Now I have done the boring bit I can talk about things that will aid your fishing.

Rather than always drift fishing an anchor system enables you to vary the types of fishing you do.  Both drift fishing and fishing at anchor are productive ways of fishing however, sometimes it is great to be able to drop anchor and spend a relaxing day sitting back, with bait on the bottom waiting for a bite.

The following videos explain a bit more about anchor trolleys and anchoring a kayak at sea:
Kayak Fishing Set Up
Anchoring a Kayak at Sea
Kayak Fishing at Anchor – How to Deal with Wind over Tide


Drift Chute
For drift fishing, I cannot recommend highly enough purchasing a drift chute.  Apart from the fact a drift chute will slow down the drift, it will enable you to position the kayak keeping the bow or the stern into the wind using the anchor trolley.  Without a drift chute, the kayak can drift too quickly and as soon as you stop paddling and start drifting, the kayak will turn sideways to the wind and swell, which can make it uncomfortable to fish.

The following show how to use a drift chute when drift fishing:
Using a Drift Chute when Drift Fishing from a Kayak
Drift Fishing with Bait


Fish Finder and GPS
A fish finder and a GPS with marine charts will greatly enhance your fishing experience.  Although you do not need a fish finder to catch fish, it is great to be able to know the depth of the water, the structure of the seabed, whether it is sandy, muddy, weedy, rocky etc.  Apart from that, fish finders do show fish that are suspended off the bottom and when lure fishing, you can drop your lure right in amongst the fish as a good fish finder will show the lure going down and working amongst fish.

A GPS with marine charts will enable the creation of waypoints to your fishing marks making it much easier to return to those marks with accuracy rather than playing a guessing game.  Rough ground marks, wrecks, pools, gullies, and any mark that may attract fish can be logged as waypoints.  New marks you stumble across on the fish finder whilst paddling can also be logged for future fishing.

Apart from fishing, a GPS is a great safety device to have onboard.  Should the Cornish fog role in quickly and unexpectedly, you can navigate back to your launch site with ease.  In addition, if you do need to call the emergency services, you can give them your GPS coordinates.  A fish finder and a GPS is thoroughly recommended and a lot of fun.

Those are my top five pieces of advice and I hope you find then useful.  Stay safe and have fun but please do not catch all of the fish, leave some for me!


Cornish Shore and Kayak Fisherman

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Fishing – Rig Bits Box from Gemini Tackle

I’m really please with the Rig Bits Box that has just arrived from Gemini Tackle. It’s a well needed top-up for all of the essentials in my tackle box. Last year I stupidly tripped over my fishing tackle box (whilst hooking into a fish) and sent it flying down a river bank. I didn’t lose everything, but a lot of the small bits ended up in the long grass – and the fish got away too.

The Rig Bits Box from Gemini Tackle is filled with essential rig making components, priced at £22.99 you save £6 by buying the box instead of the components separately. I am all for saving money, considering how much tackle I lose at the bottom of the sea! - All of the components are really well made, and the rig bits box fits nicely into my main fishing box – perfect. I will definitely be buying my rig bits from Gemini in future.

fishing rig parts by Gemini Tackle

40 x Genie Rig Clips
An excellent quick and easy lead link incorporating a bait clip that places the bait close to the weight.

40 x Genie Link Clips
An exceptionally quick and easy link clip for attaching the rig to the shock leader or your sinker to the rig. Our most popular clip, used on all of our Ready Rigs and a favourite with anglers!

10 x Genie Swivel and Link Clips
Another variation is the standard Genie Link Clip with an 80lb main line swivel fixed into the eye.

20 x Genie Snood Clips
These clips have been designed to be used on the snood, in order to make the snood removable and replaceable. The idea being that when a rig has snoods that are detachable, instead of using a different rig when only a minor adjustment is needed, the angler can simply remove (unclip) the snood from the rig body and attach (clip) another in it’s place to suit the situation (i.e. larger/smaller hooks or a pennel). Also using and storing these rigs is far easier, without having to untangle hook lengths (snoods) from the main body of the rig.

50 x Mainline Swivels
80lb Mainline Swivel.

50 x Snood Swivels
45lb Snood Swivels. ideal for attaching your snoods/hook lengths to your main rig body.

5 x Splash Down Solo Bait Clips
2009 saw the launch of the revolutionary Splash Down Sinkers, a sinker system that would allow anglers to not only clip, but lock their baited hook directly behind the sinker until impact with water. The Splash Down Sinkers proved to be an instant hit, and to this end it became apparent that the next step would be to offer this revolutionary hook release system in the form of a lead link. ‘So Welcome Gemini’s New, Precision Engineered, Fail Safe, Universal, Secure Bait Clip. Enjoy!

5 x Genie Breakers
When the sea bed is strewn with rocks, debris (and lost tackle!) and there is a good chance that your sinker will not be able to release, so you could lose your sinker, rig and possibly one heck of a catch! The Solution is to include a weak point in your rig, and if the sinker gets stuck you control where the line will snap, so you only loose the sinker and not the rig! The Genie Breaker has been designed to meet these needs, with safety foremost (the last thing you want is for the sinker to release whilst casting!) and dependably releasing everytime. The stainless steel hinged body holds the weight securely in place by means of the trigger button, which then releases the swinging arm on impact with the sea. Then the sinker and rig are joined only by the weaker line (the weak link).

Visit the Gemini Tackle website

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Estuary Fishing for Bass in Cornwall

Cornwall sea bass caught in Camel Estuary

No dedicated bass fisher will tell you exactly where he goes for his best fishing. If he did (he is insane), and next time he had a spare few hours to throw out some line, he would find the place full of other fisherman.

To be honest, it’s possible to catch Bass pretty much anywhere in Cornwall at certain times of year, you can practically scoop them up in your hands (maybe a slight exaggeration), but them certain special spots that produce all year round, try and keep them to yourself!

The estuaries fish best in hot summer weather. Blazing sunshine is good, the warm sand over which the water floods will raise the water temperature significantly, and the school Bass seem to revel in this warm water. Look for the main channels into which bass will run on the flood, and start fishing at low tide as soon as the water begins to run in. As the flood tide gathers speed, it becomes more like river fishing, across and downstream, which of course on the flooding tide is actually up the estuary, with the current keeping a tight line. Bass will congregate around any features, such as beds of weed or patches of rock, and along the steeper ledges of significant sand bars. Beware of the fast-rising water, and keep retreating steadily all the time, taking particular note of channels filling behind you.

The fish will be heading up the estuary at a fair pace, and depending on the local geography it may pay to move well up as the tide fills. The narrow channels of low tide are replaced by huge areas of shallow water over which the feeding fish spread rapidly, and it is quite common, (also very frustrating!), to ‘lose’ the fish as the water continues to rise. Other fish which may also take a small lure include Flounder, small Whiting, and possibly Mackerel or Pollack. Be particularly aware of catching a very small, silvery, big-mouthed fish with a prominent black spike on the dorsal fin. This is a Weever fish, our paths have crossed many time before and a sting is agonising.

I often spend a lot of time walking and scoping out potential new swims (with a few new spots in mind for this summer). A few of my favourite Estuarine Bass spots around Cornwall include the mouth of the Gannel Estuary in Newquay, the Camel Estuary (out of Rock) and the Fal Estuary. That’s as precise as I’m going to be on the location for now, happy angling!

View Larger Map

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Top Tip Tuesday: Stained Teeth, Old Underpants and Space Cats

WORRIED that your teeth will be stained after a heavy night drinking red wine? Simply drink a bottle of white wine before going to bed to remove the stains.

DON’T THROW away old underpants. With the leg holes sewn up and filled with earth, they make smashing hanging baskets for trailing plants.

SMARTIES tubes pushed over cats’ legs make for a futuristic ‘space cat’. For a really space age look, cover the tubes in tin foil as well as your pet’s tail. This also works with small dogs and the middles out of kitchen rolls.

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Review: Fatyak Kaafu sit-on kayak, for Fun, Fitness and Fishing

Fatyak Kaafu kayak with paddle and seat

Fatyak Kayaks very kindly sent me one of their 1 seater Kaafu kayaks to feature on the blog, and so this is the beginning of an amazing new hobby for me. As a keen explorer and fisherman with access to hundreds of miles of Cornish coastline, I intend on kitting the kayak up for both fishing and fun in Cornwall over the coming weeks.

Top Quality Build and Design
The Kaafu is Fatyak’s 1 seater sit-on kayak. Manufactured in the UK to a very high standard of production, you can see the quality of the 1 piece moulded structure as soon as you take it out of the bag. There are no seams or joints, meaning that there is much lower risk of leakage, even when the kayak is being put through it’s paces.

The cockpit area is well designed, with loads of leg room and staggered foot braces to suit kayakers both large and small. The recommended maximum load is 130kg, and so there is ample capacity for myself and all of my fishing gear!

The hull has 6 x scuppers, with sharp chines and a raised middle spine that helps with the tracking of the kayak. The scupper holes are sizeable enough to use to use one for installing a fish finder transducer (very handy). The bow has an upwards curve which helps riding waves which will be a huge benefit for me when launching off of surf beaches.

One of my biggest concerns (before seeing the Kaafu) was transportation. But the Kaafu has 4 x moulded handles (front, back, and on each side). It only weighs 20kg too, and the side handles are really well positioned for perfect balance when carrying the kayak on your own. Lifting it onto a car roof rack by myself is going to be no problem either.

Main Features and Spec
Size – Length = 3020mm, Width = 770mm, Height = 300mm
Weight = 20kgs, Capacity = 130kgs
2 x Dry Storage Hatches
2 x Paddle Parks
1 x Drain Plug
Deck Loop Fittings
Staggered Foot Braces
Moulded in Carry Handles
Rear Storage Area

Onboard Storage
The standard model of the Kaafu comes with 2 x dry storage hatches (with rubber covers) – perfect for keeping your mobile phone and car keys. The dry hatch directly in front of the seat could also be useful for keeping bait or lures when I am fishing. There is also a large open storage area behind the seat with bungee cord straps for holding cargo, perfect to hold my fishing equipment, an anchor, and also a fold-up crab pot.

Fatyak Kayak storage hatch with waterproof rubber lid

Kayak rear storage area with bungee cord fastening

Fatyak Kaafu kitted out for fishing
Fatyak actually sell fishing kayaks that are already kitted out with rod holders, anchor trolley systems and a mounting block for fish finders and GPS (picture below). I fully intend on using my Fatyak Kaafu kayak for sea fishing as soon as possible, and this project is likely going to evolve in a complete fishing re-fit throughout the coming weeks. Additional accessories are available from the Fatyak website.

Fatyak fishing kayak - kitted out for sea fishing

As an optional extra, I decided to have the flush mounted rod holders (factory fitted) to my standard model Kafuu. There are two flush mount rod holders (positioned on each side behind the seat) which have a rubber cap to stop any water leaking in when not in use. They point upwards and toward the rear of the kayak, so will be ideal for rod storage when paddling, and also for trolling or drift fishing for Sea Bass.

I will likely have one of the Ram rod holders fitted on the centre console, which is very handy as it sits just in front of the seat and would be perfect for a baited rod fished on the bottom. I will also be fishing lures on a second rod which will stay in my hand.

Kayak inset rod holder

kayak centre console with an area to mount fish finder and another fishing rod holder

I will definitely be installing a fish finder to the kayak. You don’t necessarily need a fish finder to catch fish, but it’s such a useful tool for surveying the bottom, and the water depth / temperature. The Kaafu has a small area in front of the centre console that is perfect for fixing a mounting bracket. This will be a DIY job, so I will make sure that I use stainless steel bolts, and I will seal my drilled holes with a good quality marine silicone. (I will be writing more in-depth about DIY modifications to my kayak very soon).

I haven’t stopped grinning since I took delivery of this kayak. Overall, the quality and design are top notch and you will find it very hard to find something just as well designed in this price range from anybody else. I would like to thank Fatyak for sending the kayak for review, and I will be writing more in-depth articles on using the Kaafu for sea fishing very soon – I can’t wait to get going!

Visit Fatyak
Visit Fatyak

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Giveaway: Win a Caledonia Tweed Handbag by Hoggs of Fife

Caledonia Tweed Handbag

WIN a Caledonia Tweed Handbag by Hoggs of Fife worth £39.95
Following my recent review for a Caledonia Tweed Waistcoat by Hoggs of Fife, I am delighted to be collaborating with Fife Country again to give away this Caledonia Tweed Handbag.

Hoggs of Fife Caledonia Tweed Handbag is made from the same superfine, woolrich tweed as the rest of the Caledonia range. With a soft, textured feel this handbag is perfect for any occasion, whether it is a day out in the country, out and about in town or a weekend break.

Practical, yet elegant, the Caledonia handbag features an overcheck of heather and claret, faux leather trim, a top zip for extra security, a contrasting poly cotton lining, zipped internal pocket and mobile phone pocket.  - Size approx.: H9″ x L13″ x W5″ - Enter using Rafflecopter Below!

Caledonia Tweed Handbag by Hoggs of Fife

Tweed handbag for town and country

How To Enter:

  1. Just leave a blog comment below, naming your absolute favourite item of clothing by Fife Country. (Quick Tip! – browse the Fife Country website for inspiration – CLICK HERE TO VISIT).
  2. Using the Rafflecopter App below, register your entry.
  3. Follow us + Get more bonus entries (and more chances to win)
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UK Entrants Only, winner will be picked at random and contacted for delivery address after competition has ended, if winner does not respond after 7 days a new winner will be drawn. No cash alternatives.

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