Well the Big One lived up to it's name.
Housed in two massive adjoining marquees where over 200 exhibitors were showing everything from bait to boats, and waters to whisky, plus just about every other bit of tackle you could think of in between.
And considering the distance I had to walk from my car to the entrance this event was well attended!
I turned up on the Saturday morning and was straight into taking a few pictures of the runner-up in our recent contest to win VIP tickets for the show. A quick introduction to Rebecca, and her very happy partner Andy (it seems he's the angler out of the two), and we grab angling celebrity Des Taylor who congratulates them, then has his photo taken with them.
Next I'm weaving through the growing crowd towards the Stoney and Friends stand to deliver some old carp magazines that have been kindly donated by a mutual friend, and these will be auctioned off later to help this very worthy cause.
After a nice chat with Allan and his colleagues I'm heading back to the show's reception to see if the organisers have tracked down our contest winner yet, as we need him to be recorded for prosperity as well, and it seems they have. We're all on for a photo-call mid afternoon.
That's great, so now I finally have a bit of time to properly look round the show and see what new gear is out there.
And there's certainly plenty to see with nearly all the major tackle firms here plus a host of star names, like Bob Nudd, Adam Penning, Alan Blair, and of course dear old Des as just some that I noticed. There were also some great show deals going on with lots of tackle being put out at a special show price, not that that helped the Sensas boys who I heard had completely sold out of their groundbait by mid afternoon, and this was only the first day!
So I found some interesting new bits as usual, as you'll see below, before I was heading back to the Daiwa stand to meet our top prize winner Sebastian with his partner Elaine. It seems it was the girls who were actually responsible for helping both the lads, with Rebecca emailing in their answer and Elaine telling Sebastian to send in an entry.
Just goes to prove it's always worth having a go guys!
On a more practical level there was plenty of seating available after grabbing a bite to eat at the many food outlets nearby or even a quick pint, then again you might just want to take the weight off your feet. Toilet facilities were fine, and the general layout of the stands was good for moving around… and was I the only one to get the irony of having the RSPB stand only feet away from the Angling Trust's?
All in all a great show.
Having a mate who now works for Solar is handy, especially when he passes me on to one of his colleagues who is all clued up and wonderfully enthusiastic.
So we got straight into the two new boilie recipes on display, or 'Dragons' as Solar calls them, of Meat, Liver, X (MLX), and Chocolate, Nut, and Caramel (CNC), that by all accounts are doing pretty well. But the big thing is their price, as Solar are selling them online for £5 a kilo!
Cutting out the sponsored anglers, the fancy packaging, and selling direct online allows them to sell at this amazingly low price. It's certainly woken up their competitors and with hearty endorsements from their own online angling community it's a very interesting concept.
I hope to do a more in depth report on this soon.
If like me you seem to be carrying more gear than you have back in your house, every time you go carping, how about this fully kitted out Power Porter from Prestige Engineering?
Electrically driven, with variable fingertip controls to match your walking speed, wide front wheel to help with stability and grip on muddy banks, let alone the huge luggage capacity, makes it a hefty workhorse. It can be easily dismantled for storage.
There was a great show offer on at the time but in real life they're in the £600+ area. Ouch!
These new QM1 ready tied rigs look pretty handy. The hooks range in size from 10 to 16 with line strengths to match. There's a 15" set-up for feeder and combi rigs, and 4" versions for method and pellet feeder rigs.
And just to make your choice even harder there's a bayonet, bait band and speed stop option as well! All feature Guru's well known QM1 hook, as the name suggests.
Last but not least I spotted these on the Dinsmore stand.
From a household name in fishing tackle these Shot and Styx come in a variety of styles to cover many of our fishing needs. For the carp angler a range of shot to critically balance their bait, and also produced in five popular boilie colours to blend in and become invisible to the fish.
Then there's the new Grippa-Styx which give great hold on lines under tension. With a special coating that is very line friendly these Styx give perfect grip, and with an extra wide slot they can attach to wider diameter lines.
So that's it show wise for another year and I hope I've found a few interesting items that might help your fishing guys, and as always I'll put links below to the manufacturers so you can get specific product info if you need it.
For Solar Tackle go to www.solartackle.co.uk
For Prestige Engineering go to www.carp-porter.com
For Guru Tackle go to www.tackleguru.com
For Dinsmores go to www.dinsmores.co.uk