We all know that bite detection increases significantly with the non-stretch properties of the various braids on the market. But the freshwater anglers are specialists when it comes to hooking into big carp. Almost to a man they have their reels spooled up with braid, and such is the huge market in carp fishing, that technology has met the demands of the most discerning freshwater angler. Now you can cover all sea fishing eventualities with the range of Braid from the stable of Richard Gardner Tackle in Surrey. I have used their GR500s for a long time now, and the general wearability is superb. What I do like about it is it seems a tad thicker than the wind blown braids that tangle in a flash, so I actually get more fishing time than frustration with “tangle time”.GR500s is also 20% heavier than water and is guaranteed to sink under its own weight, and with a diameter of 0.33mm to 15lbs and 0.44mm for 22lbs, and the round profile makes it snug down in knots well. I just use a standard tucked blood knot to hooks and an Albright special knot for joining the braid to mono backing. On the 200 metre spool I actually use it as “topping” over nylon, putting 100 yards(330 feet) onto each reel)thereby getting two fills from one spool. I rarely fish over 200 feet around the UK, so still have 130 feet spare. In times of economic strife it makes sense to buy only what you need.

                      If you want an upgrade on line strength Richard Gardner markets the highly successful KINETIC braided mainline. Again it has the round profile, a smooth tight weave and near zero stretch for maximum bite indication. It is made from 100% Dyneema, giving high knot strength, is UV resistant and has high abrasion resistance. The 250 metre 30lb spool is 0.34mm and the 50lb Kinetic is just 0.38mm diameter. Both in green, you may find them more pleasant to use as they have been designed for the specialist market.

                     GR500s sells at just £20 per 200 metre spool, which at a tenner to top a reel is good value. The Kinetic comes in 15/20/30/40/50lb bs and sells at £27-99 per 250 metres. Available from all Gardner stockists or contact Richard Direct on


GARDNER – Hard wear leaders. “SLINKY & SURESHOCK”

If you are after any of the toothy critters like Ling, Cod or big Bull Huss, or even the bone-crunching jaw power of big congers, you’ll want to know about the new range of leaders from Gardner Tackle.

They currently market two types, supplied on what is known as a wrist spool. Designed for sliding on your wrist if you are adding them as a wind-on leader for your reel, they come as “SURESHOCK”, an abrasion resistant leader, and shock resistant to sudden lunges from big fish. Colours are clear, neon yellow, and neon red in 50/60 and 80lb test on 150 metre spools, while 100 and 130lb test is on a 100 yard spool. These are priced at just £6-99 per spool. Even if you use a long 2-metre trace in the 80lb strain you are going to get a staggering 75 traces out of the one spool, and that works out at just 9 pence a trace. Value for money or what? I can use it for tying up the runner beans at that price!!

And for the visual predator hunters that want something softer, they market the “Slinky” in similar spools. This was brought out in response to anglers that wanted better presentation and easier knot tying for snoods etc.Slinky comes on a 100 metre wrist spool, in strains of 40/50/60/80 and 100lb test, with prices ranging from £4-99 to £7-50,in clear only. Just pick the strains you use and you are ready for action.

For stock try your nearest Gardner Tackle stockist, or try


Garmin 620

The Garmin GPS Map620 is a unit that may just draw the attention of the mobile small boater. Someone who likes to move around the country, searching out new spots, but needs the confidence of knowing exactly where they are. The Garmin MapGPS620 is a full featured marine chartplotter that pulls double duty with an automotive mode that is ready to go as soon as you touch shore. It comes as standard with a high sensitivity GPS receiver, and brilliant, high resolution touch screen display. The LCD screen is 800 x 480, in colour. It has Interface with NMEA 0183, and voice recognition, so you can really give it a piece of your mind when you fail to catch any fish!

               It is supported by SD memory cards, and the software included is Garmin worldwide Marine Basemap. The cheapest price I could find at the time of writing was with Handtec, which had a base price of £479-33.From there prices ranged to over £600, so shop around and it looks like you can save around £150 just by searching.

               Here are the navigation details-1,500 waypoints.20 tracks.10, 000 track log points, and 50 routes. The power base is Lithium-Ion batteries with a run time of 9 hours. Other accessories-protective cover, AC power adaptor, power data cable, USB cable, flushmount.

             The shift between marine and automotive mode is smooth, and can be automatically activated. And with access to fishing charts,tides,current data, marine services, coastal routes etc you should always be ahead of the game when out on the water, or looking for a launch site from land. It can also give 3d views underwater(with optional Blue chart g2 vision card).As a land based unit the 620 provides turn-by-turn directions(when fitted with optional mapping for detailed roads) You can also add POI’s(Points of Interest),and set up proximity alerts to let you know what you are approaching.

             So the 620 could be a real convenience, with marine and land use under the one price. Check the net for the best prices on this unit, you may be pleasantly surprised

GARMIN eTrex Venture HC.

For those wanting a tiny GPS for pocket sized fishing, then the Garmin eTrex Venture HC could be for you. It has a rugged, waterproof case, is USB compatible, has 24 MB of memory for optional maps, and a high sensitivity GPS receiver. Its format and size is popular with land based walkers, cyclists, ramblers etc, but it can also be a cheaper way out to keep hold of some of your newly found fishing marks. This palm-sized unit has a solid feel about it, and the waterproof, high visibility yellow case means it is not easily lost. It operates on two AA batteries (not included), and use Alkaline, NiMH, or Lithium batteries. The most basic operation you want as a fisherman is to know three things. Where home is. Where you are and where the fish are. When I talked to a few small boaters they all agreed that a lot of units are just crammed with too much stuff that they will never use, and they get bored with all the technology. This eTrex has a good stopwatch system that I played with, though it will never be used by an angler, unless he wants to see how fast he can wind a fish in .It has a rocker knob that is easily controlled by your thumb, leaving the screen clear to see what you are doing. The backlighting is better than many I have looked at, but bright sunlight, a rocking boat, and poor eyesight is always going to create a few identity problems. I found this one of the easiest to use, but remember the brighter you have the backlight on, the shorter the battery life. Always take a couple of spares. If all you want to do is store numbers easily from a new or favourite fishing mark, then this should do the job, with goodies to spare. It’s ideal on land as well, and the “enter” is a simple push of the miniature joystick.

                         On the menu you get the usual speed, moving average, overall average, elevation etc.A simple double push of a side button gives the screen maximum brightness, so you can actually see what menu options there are quite quickly. As with all units, regular usage will familiarise you quicker with all the facilities, waypoints etc. All boaters should have charts anyway, so it is easy to punch in numbers from a productive fishing spot, and then you can see where you are on the chart later. Or if you spot somewhere on the chart you can load some numbers in and go to it, depending on features the charts show,sandbanks,bars,rocks etc.It offers a proximity alarm for going to or leaving a mark, so you could use this to make sure you are not dragging anchor by setting it to “Leaving proximity”. The Waypoints page contains a list of all saved waypoints. Waypoints are stored in alphanumeric order and are identified by an assigned symbol. This unit offers something called a Geocache, which I had never heard of before. You can view a list of geocache locations created by you, or downloaded from your computer.(It comes with  USB cable).A geocache location is a waypoint with its own symbol to separate it from others. If you want to find out more about it log on to and click “Go Geocaching”.This unit weighs just 5 ½ ounces and operates from -15 to 70 degrees C,which is well outside my personal fishing temperature at either end of that scale. Satellite acquisition times are given as follows-Hot start-3 seconds, Warm start-33 seconds, Cold start-39 seconds. It is accurate to within 10 feet, which should be right on top of any fish (We hope!). The price range I found for the unit on the Internet was about £120. Check around for the best deals.