artificial lite.

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beach bum.

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I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking. If this form will not work for you, please e-mail me at editor@ericweight.co.uk

beach bum.

artificial lite.



I'm getting withdrawal symptoms here. Cash is short and getting back to the coast has been hindered in every conceivable way by the festivities. Another week and they will all be over and I can get back to the mundanity of doing what I want to do rather than what I am duty bound to.

The upside has been the arrival of a some Christmas cash to spend as I see fit without the guilt attached to spending the housekeeping on squid and frozen lug. It was a straight choice between flounder rods and waterproofs, but given that I shan't be flounder fishing for a while it was more of a choice between wants and needs. As ever I settled on needs.

I spent hours poring over internet adds for smocks, bibs and braces, made my choice and was all set to press the button that drains my bank account, when I decided on a quick look at what others were recommending on the forums. Not what I was just about to order, that's for sure. Crap, teabags, waste of money, torn, leaking and rubbish seemed to be the theme.

Well that was a kick in the shopping tackle, I had stuff that did all that already. I was back to square one and sat back with a cup of coffee to do what I should have in the first place, ignore the ads, and apply fundamental logic to the problem. Why do I need this gear anyway? Two reasons actually. Apart from the glaringly obvious one of keeping dry I need to be a bit more mud-proof.

My venues of choice at the moment are predominantly muddy and it’s slick, slimy and smelly mud at that. I need to be able to clean it off with a hose pipe if I have to. That issue is one of convenience and it doesn’t stop me going or enjoying myself once I am there. And as for that obvious waterproof quality, well what I have already is moderately good in that respect. It’s army surplus goretex down below and a cheap rainproof coat above. The problem comes with persistent rain really. Heavy showers with drying winds in between are relatively easily dealt with by any half decent gear, its just that incessant stuff which can be very fine or very heavy, it all seeps through in the end at the knees, elbows and the shoulders.

Further reading has convinced me that the problems associated with waterproof clothing are practically insoluble. Waterproofing abilities are measured in HH which I believe stands for hydrostatic head. It is a measurement of the height of a water column pressing onto it that the material can resist before leaking. In practice that is a combination of quantity of water and the pressure its weight applies. The higher the column, the heavier it is and the more pressure it applies to the material and the more effective it has to be in resisting it to remain impervious to water.

That is all well and good, go for the highest HH figure you can and you have cracked it except that you haven’t. First off it is possible to have stuff that is totally waterproof. It exists and is readily and cheaply available. Unfortunately it makes you sweat or at least doesn’t allow sweat to escape. Wear this stuff, walk to the end of the road and you will be soaking wet inside the coat. That then cools and you are not only wet but freezing cold as well. This stuff is fine for static fishing if you put it on or do it up once you have arrived. It is little use if you have to walk a mile to the beach and climb down a cliff. Great for boats as well, but if you have to walk anywhere, not so clever.

What you need is breathable stuff. The more you spend here the better it is, by and large, but we are not all Baron Rothschilds and pretending that all we have to decide is whether to spend lavishly and wisely or cheaply and foolishly is in the preserve of those who have a choice. If you are scratching your way through life, it isn’t a choice at all.

Let me tell you now that I spend a lot of time outdoors and I have fished and photographed with some people for whom quality is the watchword and who have been in a position to buy the best, and I have heard them all moaning about the lack of waterproofing qualities that their expensive gear possesses. The problem is not finding a breathable material that can keep the wet out in laboratory test conditions, it is finding one that can still keep it out when it is sat on, stretched tight over knees and elbows, is dirty, moved about in and is cut about and sewn back together to make clothes. It is clever but has limited effectiveness in the field. Expensive may be better, but not quite as wet is still wet in my book.

It seems to me that those relentlessly, insidiously wet days are not terribly common, just very annoying when they arrive, so in the end, I spent the money on a shelter. It can stay in the car when the weather is predicted to be dry. If a shower turns up, most ‘waterproof’ clothing will get you through ok. If I can’t avoid a foul day, I can watch it blow by from the comfort of my little retreat, just popping out to land the occasional monster ray.

I may yet buy one of those much maligned waterproof suits if only for ease of cleaning or solely for muddy estuary use, but the dream of boldly standing tall and proud, daring the elements to do their worst must remain just that, a dream.

I’ll tell you something else. It is a sure sign that I am suffering from cabin fever when I start talking about buying tackle. Back to my tide tables and making room in the garage for a secondhand bait freezer.


artificial lite