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Mike Fox

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Mike Fox last won the day on February 19

Mike Fox had the most liked content!

About Mike Fox

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    Snaddler Twitcher

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    Feisty Fox

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  1. Mike Fox

    Upgrading from Warrior 165

    You have a few items on your wish list that seem contradictory, and might need prioritising. For example, if fuel economy is a priority, then diesel springs to mind, but if you have diesel, you might not have the speed and acceleration you want for water skiing, but will be fine for towing donuts, and gives peace of mind offshore. If you have diesel, you can't readily change to a more powerful engine as you can with outboard. If you have an outboard, you'll need petrol which might prove trickier to source in some locations. Sun-bathing space implies some compromise towards a "family boat" instead of purely angling, and they typically come with creature comforts such as sleeping accommodation, a galley, and a toilet, which constrains angling space in a smaller hull, and if you go larger, fuel economy suffers. Offshore capability to the Channel Islands implies RCD category B, which you won't find in vessels smaller than 23-24 feet, which implies higher berthing and fuel costs, and you can forget towing. For a walkaround hull for angling with some leisure and offshore capabilities, the Jeanneau Cap Camaret range might suit some of your needs, but they don't have livebait wells, and can be exposed offshore. For serious trips offshore when the weather can break down, a decent protected cabin is worth its weight in Fiish Black Minnows. The Bayliner Trophy models will give you this. Fixed livebait wells can be found on the Arvor range of pilothouse boats, which has many models between about 19 and 28 feet, and are optimised more towards angling than weekending, but can be used for both. If you decide to tilt the compromise more towards "family use with reasonable angling capability", then you will find a wider range of vessels open to you, with many club members opting for Beneteau/Jeanneau pilothouses or similar, but you will probably lose the dedicated livebait well, and walkaround capability. Budget, as ever is key. Every time you set a budget, you'll find that for "just" an extra £5K-£10K new possible boats come into scope. Some choices need compromise, and all compromises can be made to work, to a greater or lesser extent
  2. Mike Fox

    Stern gland easy to repack yourself ?

    Hi Ben, a few photos will help, and information on which type of stern gland it is. My comments below assume an inboard diesel and straight shaft. If it's a traditional stern gland with greased flat string and a separate grease "gun" then it's straightforward but messy. If the stern gland is dripping a tiny bit of water now, you can nip it up afloat until it just stops, then re-pack the grease "gun". If the gland has no adjustment left and is dripping quite a bit of water, it will need re-packing. If you're lucky, it's just a matter of slackening off everything ashore, fishing out the old packing with an appropiate hooked tool, and replacing it. Always cut the flat string on the diagonal to reduce ridges, and insert it slowly whilst winding it on the shaft. Make a diagonal cut for the last bit too, so it lies neatly, and compresses uniformly (but not too tightly) as you tighten everything up, and you can then apply as much grease as you can before re-packing the "gun" as it easiest ashore. If you have the black rubber Volvo shaft seal (or equivalent) these need a tube of grease with a metal nozzle that you insert between the two stern-facing flaps/seals on the gearbox end, and you squeeze the grease out (like toothpaste) as you rotate the shaft. These shaft seals last about 7 years, and eventually wear slightly asymmetrically causing a leak that grease won't stop. To replace them, you need to remove the shaft from the gearbox (which might be difficult without proper pullers) and slide it aft, dismantle and remove the old seal, and carefully install the new one, using the insert tool provided to make the two rubber flaps point aft as you insert the shaft. If you have rope cutters installed on your prop, these might have to be loosened or removed to drop the shaft. Oh, and keep the fitting tool in your spares box onboard, I once had a seal "invert" on launching and needed the tool to push it into the correct position. Hope this helps, Mike
  3. Mike Fox

    Diesel Bug - long time on shore

    I've been using biocide on Feisty's diesel since I bought her 4 years ago, and the light "marmite" bug in my first year filters hasn't been seen since. I actually pop a bit more in than recommended, because I typically add 100-120 litres per tank before adding the fuel, and measuring small quantities is fiddly, so I simply add more. It doesn't seem to cause a problem
  4. Mike Fox

    Birthday greetings Charlie & Coddy

    Best wishes both! Roll on the end of the need for ockdown!
  5. Mike Fox

    Passing the time

    Martin, just remember that the English language doesn't have a word that expresses the true urgency of the Spanish word "Manana"...
  6. Mike Fox

    Propeller antifoul

    After over 30 years of leaving boats in all summer, I've given up on antifouling props. The speed of rotation washes out all toxins and "goodness" and you just get left with a matrix of paint that remains well-attached. The weed, slime, barnacles and bristle-weed absolutely loved it. I scrape, sand back, polish with wet and dry, and the burnished bronze has a fresh layer of toxic copper on the surface that keeps the worst of the wildlife at bay for another year.
  7. Mike Fox

    Recommend me a PLB

    Also consider if it's waterproof and can float (even if it needs a "jacket"), and can be readily attached to a lifejacket in a pouch or similar. Some are designed for mountaineers who are unlikely to be stuck in seawater miles offshore, hoping for a lifeboat to find them.
  8. Mike Fox

    Baby Ray ID please

    Hi Steve, You might like to check cookoo ray as a possibility... I'm away currently, and cant help more at this time. Mike
  9. Mike Fox

    Fish ID help please

    The spot on the dorsal fin is characteristic of the grey gurnard. Mick is right. Mike PS Beautiful pic!
  10. Mike Fox

    Evening sole trip.

    Moral of the story, only go out fishing when the sky is interesting if planning a jigsaw!
  11. Mike Fox

    Fish of the Month - 2019

    Hi Stuie, I've compared the pictures of Chris's fish with online guides and Peter Henderson's "Identification Guide", both at the time and today, and have a few observations that might assist. As you know, I studied and worked as a marine biologist for a time, though didn't specialise in rays and skates. - A fish's scientific identification is based on it's structure, not necessarily it's skin patterns or colour. which can vary with age and size; - Chris is a highly experienced angler, who has probably caught hundreds of blonde ray and quickly realised the fish was NOT a blonde ray, as it's patterns and colour might have initially suggested to most observers; - He took clear, detailed pictures and submitted them for identification from a reputable team of marine biologists, before returning the fish alive; - Based upon pictorial evidence alone, the marine biologists were "pretty sure" that it was a small-eyed ray (regretfully the short Press Release made this sound definitive); - For absolute proof, marine biologists would need the body, as would the British Rod Caught Records Committee, but Chris returned the fish alive. - The criteria to specifically identify a small-eyed ray look at the body structure of the fish and include ratio of eye spacing to eye-to-spiracle gap being at least double (passed), thorns extending from the tail half-way up the body (passed), white line on wing margin (passed), wing margin angle of around 90° (passed), short tail length relative to body length (passed); - The marine biologists also clarified that the "typical" white bands being missing are within the normal range of variation for this species. - Based on the burden of proof normally accepted by the Club, this identification is as good as we can expect without killing the fish. I guess there's two clear ways of moving forward with the media, either drop it and move on, or re-releasing the press release with clarification of how the identification was arrived at. Mike PS I think it was a fabulous fish, and commend Chris for returning it, and the diligent approach he followed. PPS Even if it beat me into second place in Fish of the Month for December
  12. Mike Fox

    A few whiting for the pot

    Whiting for the pot was Greg's idea too, when he dropped me a line yesterday. I jumped at the chance! We made the 8.30 bridge this morning, then pushed out to the Spoil Grounds off Old Harry. Greg dropped the hook in a favoured spot, and we had a steady supply of fish from the off. The first on board was a blonde ray to tangled lines. Greg claimed only one hook was in the fish, and it was his, and who was I to argue....much. The spot produced a couple of decent whiting each, a succession of pout, and a solitary strap conger of 5-10lb to Greg. A move to the tail end of the Dolphin Sands produced more whiting, which were a mix of good keepers and smaller fish. A, few more strap conger appeared (and a couple of better ones lost), a single doggie, a small turbot, and a feisty undulate ray to me, that went 15lb 9oz (lowest steady weight). Conditions weren't bad. A light breeze, a southerly swell and light cloud, and a thoroughly enjoyable day out, back on the 4.30 bridge. Thanks again Greg!
  13. Mike Fox

    New rod and reel recommendations.

    Many fixed spool reels in your price bracket have two typical problems, in my experience. The first is the roller bearing on the bale arm, which is best lubricated as soon as you've bought it, especially if you plan to use braid with the stronger tides and deeper waters round here. The second is the drag; you want something that can be tightened to give many pounds of smooth drag under heavy load, in case you connect with a conger, big ray, or the elusive cod, and the better bearings you have, the better the reel in simple terms. If you rinse the reel well with fresh water after each trip, it will give you a couple of years of use, else you can expect major corrosion issues after just one summer. For a rod, I'd go for something with rod rings compatible with braid. Personally I like a 2-piece rod of 8' with sections of 4' each, for easy transport in the boot of the car and storage. Something 6-12lb class would be fun with bream, plaice, etc, but would probably only hold 6oz of lead maximum, so not suitable for deeper water with big tides. A 20-30lb class rod would handle any cod you're likely to find around here, and have enough backbone for the odd lunking conger or hefty ray, with the downside of not being as much fun for the smaller species. They can handle over a pound of lead comfortably, and if you really wanted to push it, maybe up to 2lb for short periods, but believe me, it's no fun retrieving pouting or doggies with big tides in deep water. Many anglers use a 12-20lb class rod, but I find they lack backbone for bigger fish and tides, and tend to be less fun with the smaller species like bream, so I don't use mine very often. Any rod is also worth rinsing in fresh water after every trip, especially the fishy grips, the reel seat and the ring eyes. The rod might outlast the reel by many years, but my personal preference would be to spend a bit more than half of your budget on the reel, to get the best drag you can find. This might limit the rods available to you. Mike PS The braid, say 300m of 30lb, could set you back £30, so hopefully this is on top!
  14. Mike Fox

    Club Cod Comp November 17th.

    Good luck those that take part ! Mike
  15. Mike Fox

    WIBAC 2019

    For those who might be interested in one of the larger competitions in Club Waters, this write-up might give food for thought. The overall results and positions are accessible from an embedded link. https://www.planetseafishing.com/welsh-success-weymouth-wibac/