Well it was off to the Carp Society Winter Show at Sandown over the weekend, and very enjoyable it was too.
Plenty of top manufacturers were showing off their products, with tackle out now, plus gear that will be available in the early part of next year.
Here's some of the new stuff that caught my eye.
In the Nash area I found the Groundhog brolly, with its new fibre glass rib system giving it great rigidity and once the centre pole is removed and the central hub pressed back, plenty of head room. Nash wanted a lot of the rear of the brolly touching the ground to get lots of pegging points to make it very stable on the bank. A serious bit of kit.
Over at the Rig Marole stand they were displaying their Hydrolink Micro. A scaled down version of Hydrolink, this is a fine braided hooklink with a fine fluoro carbon inner. It's semi supple and lends itself for use with bottom baits. There was also some new hooks, the Hunchbax, a fully tied chod rig set-up and anti-tangle sleeves now added to their range.
There was plenty of interest at the Taska stand as these guys keep coming up with some great products. I had to laugh when one of the young lads asked me if I ever have trouble with crayfish eating my rig putty… err, I fish in the Lea Valley, they're everywhere, and they eat everything! But being serious again he then showed me the new Taska Chod beads that are impregnated with tungsten, so sit nicely on the bottom and won't warrant the attention of the clawed fiends!
There were anti-tangle sleeves and general rig beads in the range, and I also noticed they had a new collection of luggage that looks like it covers a lot of uses.
If you're doing more than an overnighter and need a proper bivvy the Trakker team have a top product with the Cayman Pro Bivvy. It's a two rib system, so is quick to erect, and it's made from their highly rated Aquatexx fabric. There was loads of room inside, no problem getting your bedchair and all your kit in there.
They also had their RLX Flat-6 Bed on show, which has been designed to fold up with a thick winter sleeping bag inside. It has six fully adjustable legs and is very light to carry.
On the Gardner tackle stand they were telling me that their Trick Link hooklink was selling well. This low memory mono hooklink comes in a camo grey/green that blends in well with most underwater situations, has great knot strength, and has that balance between rigidity and a little flexibility making it perfect for booms and stiff links.
Had to keep my hands in my pockets or I would have bought tons of bits here!
Also got the chance to have a chat with well known carper Julian Cundiff. And what a friendly guy he was. We'd been chatting on Twitter recently, more about music than fishing, but then we are a couple of old 'rockers'!
Had a flick through his new book, and it looks great, I'll be doing a full review on the site soon, so keep an eye out.
Always like to give a shout to Stoney & Friends doing the business for a great cause. In fact they've got a super raffle in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support, with one years free fishing at Ricketts Mere carp fishery in Essex up for grabs. Tickets are £5 each, and can be bought at the Five Lakes Carp Show in Maldon on 15/16th March 2014, or if you aren't going, or can't wait contact Gary or Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org
All in all a good show with plenty to look at... so did you guys go, what did you think, and what products did you find?
For more tackle info on the companies mentioned, here's some handy links: