Well that's my first show of the season done.
I was at the Carp Society's Winter Show at Sandown, and very enjoyable it was too. It always seems to be well attended, and have a good buzz about the place. There's always plenty of top names exhibiting, with stands this year taken by Korda, Greys, Gardner, Trakker, Nash, Fox, to name just a few.
The venue itself is great, with good floor space for the stands, a restaurant at one end serving hot food and drinks, sandwiches, etc, or if you want more than a cuppa, there's a bar there as well. Head up stairs and you'll find the presentation area, where there was a full programme of talks from some of the top names including people like Matt Hayes, who I caught a bit of on Sunday, the second day of the weekend show.
There's always lots to see, and I love a rummage around on the stands selling all the little bits and pieces like hooks, swivels, leads, beads, PVA, hooklinks, as well as seeing what the big boys are showing off.
I had a chat with a handful of the major tackle firms to see what their favourite bits of kit were, and what caught my eye.
My chums at Gardner were very pleased with the latest ATT alarms. They've moved the latching light from the front of the casing to under the roller itself. It still gives perfect indication of a run, but now illuminates the roller allowing you to see just what your quarry is doing. They're due out mid-January, and retail at around £75.
On the Korda stand a very nifty boilie cutter was being put through its paces. Made up of a plastic tube with a blade across the bottom end, you drop half a dozen baits in the top, force them down with the plunger, and your neatly halved boilies drop out the bottom. All very simple, but a good time saver, and of course, you can pop the halves in again if you want even smaller bits.
Coming in 3 sizes, the 16 and 20mm cost £9.99, and the 25mm goes £11.99.
Meanwhile the boys at Fox were displaying their latest Flatliner bedchair range, and did they feel comfortable or what! As the name suggests, they give you a perfectly flat sleeping surface with a 50mm foam mattress.
The FX Flatliner bedchair retails at £299.99, with the Kingsize going £359.99, not cheap, but if you're doing your time, and want the comfort, they are top products.
Over on the Greys stand I spied some tasty looking rods. The Aircurve rods are still being field tested, but its hoped they'll be available around March/April time.
There's 4 rods to choose from, three 12ft versions, plus a 13ft, 3.5lb TC, that's supposed to be a serious tool for those really long chucks!
They all come with a choice of handles, and they'll whack your pocket for about £299.
Then out in their own little anteroom, the Nash boys were showing a selection of their bivvy's, bedchairs, luggage, and the Siren S5 alarm. It's the smaller version of the RS1, and has all the bells and whistles you'd want, but at an affordable price, £24.99.
So there's a few interesting products, and of course, there was hundreds more, and I spent a few hours wandering about having a good nose at many of them. But it was nice to end the outing with a visit to the Stoney and Friends stand.
For those who don't know him, Alan Stone, and his team, work tirelessly raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support, and I chucked a few quid in the bucket, and had a nice chat with the guys. And on that point, if you fancy giving a donation to this great cause, check out www.stoneyandfriends.co.uk for details. Or if you want to give something now just text CARP99 followed by a space and then type the amount you'd like to donate ie: CARP99 £1, then send to 70070.