Picking out the next big thing from the world of sunglasses is becoming a bit of a habit for Fortis Eyewear. And whilst the collaboration between this eye specialist brand and our favourite clothing company, Navitas didn’t happen in 2014, we can exclusive reveal right now that Fortis has another epic product to add to its already overflowing CV: Switch Lenses.
In recent times, the guys have received an increasing number of requests for interchangeable lenses, which are all well and good until you lose one vital piece which then makes them redundant. So instead of just bringing out a pair of interchangeables, the Fortis team thought they could go one better and develop a pair of light responsive photochromic lenses, available soon in their most practical model, the Wraps.
Using their Switch technology, the lenses can darken substantially in response to UV light thanks to containing light sensitive molecules that change shape and colour when ultraviolet rays strike them. The lenses start at a filter Category 2 light amber that will then “switch” to a filter Category 3 dark brown dependent on exposure to sunlight. Through a course of a session, whether that be at low light at dawn, stalking in the midday sun or sitting watching them fizz at dusk, your Fortis Wraps with Switch technology will be the perfect shades for all conditions.
Switch Lenses are expected to be on-sale from early spring 2015, priced around £34.99. fortiseyewear.co.uk
Rod support systems
Since 2011, when John Walker reinvented the Cygnet brand, their signature black buzzer bars and sticks have spread at a volcanic rate in the popularity stakes for three reasons: (1) they looks damn nice; (2) they’re well made (3) they’re exceptionally well priced. Needless to say, we love their recently launched 20/20 collection, but what we love even more right now is their new Butt Grabbers rests. Available in both small (for abbreviated handles) and large sizes (for cork and full duplon), they again come with the wife-approved price tag of just £7.99 for three (at last, a company selling them in three’s and not two’s so they can take another note from your wallet) or individually priced at £2.99. cygnettackle.co.uk
The story of JAG Products is short but no less amazing for its lack of years. It began in 2009 with a line of buzzer bars and banksticks, all milled from the finest aluminium available. The southern brand though, unlike its contemporaries, wasn’t content with producing run-of-the-mill sticks and bars. No, instead they made theirs with a solid carbon inner and a revolutionary no-loss thumbscrew. Their beautiful work didn’t go unnoticed; instead, it went stratospheric with the likes of Jason Hayward, Oz Holness and Jimmy Armstrong rocking their rod support systems.
Now whilst their JAG Black collection isn’t exactly new, what is within the range is their new High Tippers which allow you to fish your rods tips up high – perfect for heavily-weeded venues, over marginal vegetation or fast-flowing rivers. jagproducts.co.uk
Carp food in 2015
Let’s start with the obvious: the Rod Hutchinson brand is back! And the driving power behind it this time is mightily impressive. Leading the ship is Pete Chandler – the man who created Dynamite Baits, with product development in the hands of ex. Fox/ACE director, Max Cottis, so credential-wise, it’s got success written all over it. Not only is Rod Hutchinson known for its great products,, but it’s renowned for making stellar bait – it’s how Hutchy made his name. The first drop is their Gourmet Boilie collection – a range of eight boiled foods which all have 30-plus-years of experience rolled into each one and come at a wallet-friendly price of £9.99 a kilo.
Home-rollers, listen up. Rod Hutchinson is also launching a Powder Additives range (head to rodhutchinson.co.uk for the full listing), along with hand-selected particle which are both coloured and flavoured to total perfection.
Solar have a number of big launches coming out this winter and into spring next year, none more so than their new Chilli Club range. Formulated, tested and perfected by Martin Locke and the Solar team throughout 2014, the Chilli Club builds on what is arguably the most successful big-carp bait of all time: the original Club Mix recipe. Still utilising the awesome Squid and Octopus Koi Rearer, the Chilli Club benefits from the addition of chillies, cayenne pepper, Scottish Salmon meal and a massively boosted attractor profile.
2015 sees a complete overhaul of Nashbait. Gone is the large range of boiled foods and hi-attract pop-ups and in its replacement is a very limited line of boilies and one – yes, just one, hi-viz hookbait.
And talking of hi-viz hookers, our pals at Pursuit Baits have just launched a new dedicated hookbait range which focuses on three key factors: attraction, leakage and nutrition. The collection, which is named ‘Launch’, is currently made up of 10 and 16mm pop-ups and each tub contains equal amounts of two colours: dulled down yellow and orange (a personal favourite colour tone of CARPologist Nigel Sharp) and there’s a dedicated liquid attractor too. Result from the two-year development program has been exceptional to say the least. “GIMME”: £9.99 (which includes delivery); pursuitbaits.co.uk
Unlike most rod and reel manufacturers, Daiwa isn’t just hell-bent on making your reels lighter (and your wallet), but now they’re doing it to your rods too if the new Basia AGS Carp Rods are anything to go by.
AGS stands for Air Guide System which in English means carbon guides and that equals serious lightness which takes the feel and performance of the original Basia carp rod to a stratospheric level. These carbon guides not only reduce the weight but they offer up much better tip recovery on long casts.
The rest of the rod is just as impressive. The blanks are even thinner; they’ve used a ultra high-grade carbon core which is armoured in X45 so they’re even stronger than before; they’re finished in a stunning silk matt low-glare paintwork; fitted with a Fuji DPS reel seat; have a black metal butt cap and profiled, NS shrink tube handle – all of which is cut, rolled, baked and then finished by the finest of female Scottish hands.
The Basia AGS rods are available in two lengths, 12 and 13ft and in the following test curves: 3lb, 3.25lb and 3.75lb.
What’s that? You want to know the price? Deep breathe… They start at £680.00 a piece and top-out at £750.00. Dear Santa…
Remember this name: Gravity X. It’s SONIK’s new top-end rod which utilises a new generation of carbon fibre, resulting in a thinner, lighter and more responsive blank. We got to have a feel of a sample during our tour of the North for recent trade shows and we have to say, it really is exceptional. A full review/report will be appearing in the next edition of CARPology.
This brand has taken budget rods by the balls and hauled them up to a level of high style and performance with such consummate ease, it’s hard not to marvel open-mouthed when you have a cast/play with one. We’re of course talking about their award-winning Outkast rods and the 2015 versions have been upgraded with many new features and finishes. “GIMME”: £79.99
At the other end of the scale, Rod Hutchinson’s new line of rods, Dream Maker Limited Edition, are set to give your wallet the mother of all bashings… All handmade, available in five coloured carbons: Dream Maker, Natural Grey, English Green, Ocean Blue and Royal Red and in a range of test curves, all for the measly sum of – gulp – £799.09 per rod…
ESP has always had an impeccable reputation for producing outstanding luggage. Heck, we’ve had our ESP Cool Bags for over ten years now and they’re still going strong. But this, the new Quiver & Sleeve isn’t just faultlessly made, but it’s exceptionally functional too.
Made from hardwearing fabrics and designed to be lightweight and functional whilst offering plenty of protection to the rods, this system (available in 3, 4 and 5 Rod models) is the first one we’ve ever trialled where it’s just as comfortable to carry, as it is to place it onto the barrow.
The quiver features a pocket for the rod butts which covers the handle all the way up to the reel and Velcro/webbing straps to attach the rod at the upper end. At the base of the rod butt pocket is a small webbing loop designed to make picking the quiver up easier when loading a vehicle etc. The central compartment is easily accessed with the aid of a three-quarter length chunky zip making it easier to accommodate bulkier shelters and nets etc, whilst on the reverse are two bankstick pockets.
The top sleeve simply goes over the quiver providing extra protection to the rods, lines and guides and has a zip on one side making it easy to place the sleeve over the rods and a webbing/Velcro strap secures the sleeve to prevent any twist.
For even more protection, ESP has designed the Reel Pouch. The pouches are made from the same hardwearing material as the quivers and sleeves with the addition of a slick nylon lining. They simply secure around the reel using a drawstring and feature integrated snap-lock buckles so multiple pouches can be clipped together.
And if you’re thinking that all sound marvellous, wait until you hear the prices: 3 Rod, £25.95; 4 Rod, £27.95; 5 Rod, £29.95; and the Reel Pouches retail for £6.95 each! How’s that for exceptional value for money? esp-carpgear.co.uk
And on to reels...
Daiwa’s new superlight, Basiair Z45QD, costs £999.00. Can three reels costing more than a second-hand Fiesta ever be worth it? (Err, yes)…
Gulp. Is this real? CARPology has just got its first feel of Daiwa’s almost-£1,000-big-pit reel, and to say we’re a bit nervous is an understatement. Like you, we’re used to £300 models, not ones that cost more than our monthly mortgage repayment.
With this, the Basiair Z45QD, Daiwa have once again written themselves into the record books for having the lightest carp reel on Earth. They’ve (somehow) managed to shave even more weight off the original Basiair, with this model now weighing a Cheryl Cole 15.5ozs. On top of the weight, they’ve taken the inner gubbins to a new height too with the addition of Mag Sealed technology. This now means the ‘Z’ will resist the intrusion of water-borne debris into the rotor and reel mechanism. In addition to improved rotation stability, the remarkable winding smoothness will be maintained for an even longer period.
So can a reel really be worth your left kidney? Obviously if money’s no object (if you win the lottery, promise us you’ll buy three), then of course it is… But seeing as we’ve not won the lottery, who’s after a kidney?
The Black Collection
The UK’s relationship with anything black has gone from strength to strength in recent years. We spent so long married to greens and browns that an affair felt inevitable. Then JAG launched their ‘Black’ collection; Trakker painted all their poles black and what began as a casual fling has turned into a full-blown orgy with the release of Daiwa’s 2015 Tournament S 5000 Black collection. The Tournie was already massive with cult anglers, but thanks to our wee Scottish pals giving it a black paint job, it sent Facebooks’ angling fraternities feeds into meltdown when we leaked this image. Other than that, there’s not much more to say. It’s gorgeous and it’ll be on-sale from February next year, priced at £360.00.
Penn, like Daiwa (see above), clearly know the route to all carp anglers’ hearts. The new Affinity 8000 LTD not only comes completely drenched in black paint, but they’ve equipped it with two foldable handles: one wooden (pictured, and yes, we can assure you it’s as stunning in the fresh as it is in print) and one rubber knob.
They’ve also built it with a slow oscillation for perfect line lay, given it a quick drag adjustment system, used a carbon matrix drag material for smooth drag settings, added in a spare spool and made the main shaft from titanium so it’s super strong but light. That’s a hell of a lot, right? Right. Now here comes the price… Just £149.99! Incredible, eh!
Navitas is a bit like Gaz Fareham: irritatingly good at everything! But don’t think for one moment that we’re complaining, because this outrageous talent means we all benefit from it. Whilst there’s a wardrobe full of new releases set for 2015, the two key collections we love are the Black Capsule and a lightweight summer range. The Black Capsule features a technical rain jacket, headwear, hoodie and a detailed gilet, whilst the summer collection is going to be angling’s first lightweight range: light, airy joggers and thinner hoodies when bulky alternatives are just too much. Tune in next month for a detailed look at the Black Capsule collection.
Most of us are guilty of waiting until the half-price January sales before making our annual winter suit purchase. But by that time, a huge chunk of the season has gone and you’ve halved the time you’ll actually wear what you’ve splashed your hard-earned on. So think smarter, spend sooner (like, now) and get yourself into a cosy suit like this new one from Nash: the Scope All In One Suit. It’s basically like wearing a 5-season sleeping bag thanks to being based on the original Force 10 suit Nash Tackle introduced back in the 80’s. Available in Small to XXXL and will retail for £89.99.
Whether you’re roughing it in sub-zero temperatures on bank or just popping into the service station on the M6 for a pasty, keeping your core warm is vital and the way you do that is by layering. And the first layer has to be Avid’s new-for-2015 Thermal 2 Piece Undersuit (£34.99). It works so well thanks to the soft micro-fleece fabric which retains heat whilst wicking away moisture. To stay super snug (and look good doing it), you can do no better than donning their new Insulated Jacket (£44.99), and to really embrace the cold, finish off the outfit with one of their new Knitted Bobble Hats (£9.99).