It's been a while since I picked up a copy of Total Coarse Fishing, so when the Editor, Kevin Wilmot, asked me if I'd like to see the latest edition, I jumped at the chance. Kevin joined David Hall Publishing at the tail end of last year, having served the publishing industry for many years, so it would be interesting to see what the 'new look' magazine was like.
The tag-line of the magazine sums it up well; HOW TO... WHERE TO... WHAT WITH...
Whereas many magazines consist of a mixture of angling stories and instruction, Total Coarse Fishing tends to concentrate on the instructional side of things and is particularly geared to those wishing to improve their own angling methods, or learn new ones. That said, there are still a number of 'on the bank' style articles that enable the reader to get to know the author.
To take a look at the September, 2009 issue of Total Coarse Fishing, I suppose the best place to start would be the front cover and contents page...
The inclusion of the word 'FREE' is always a draw to anglers. I think I bought every fishing magazine there was as a kid if it had a free gift on the cover! This month's free gift is a 100m spool of 4lb Ultima Power Plus monofilament. I can't actually comment on the line itself, as my free copy of the magazine didn't include the free gift, but Ultima line is generally good quality and I dare say the cost of the spool practically covers the cost of the magazine alone! Inside the magazine, not only is there a double page dedicated to showing you how to get the best from the line, but there's also a 'Buy One, Get One Free' offer if you want get any more 100m or 300m spools. It's a genuine offer, too, as you just need to take the voucher into your local stockist – no extortionate 'Postage & Packaging' costs involved!
The cover also promises tips on chub fishing, float fishing for carp, feeder fishing, using a spod, making paste and creating pike traces. On top of that, there's mention of a 'how 'to' guide to tying a palomar knot and competition prizes totalling £4,000.
The 'Contents' page reads as follows:
The Right Time For Chub
Part one of a new series with river expert Pete Reading
Premier Fishery Spotlight
The lowdown on British Waterways' Blythe Waters
£2,025 worth of Shakespeare tackle
Bob Nudd reveals how to catch bream and tench on drains
Q & A
Your coarse fishing questions answered by our panel of experts
Tips From The Top
Your one-stop guide to catching carp from the surface
Side Bets And Skulduggery
A different way to use worms on the feeder for bream
£1,047 worth of Shimano rod-and-reel combos
The Inside Line
Mick Brown masters a rising Trent in style
Ten pages of unmissable advice for every angler
Doorway To Heaven
How changes in fishing trends have opened doors on The Thames
Your Free Line
How to make the most of this month's gift
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!
Heatwave conditions are no barrier to Rob Wootton
More than £1,000 worth of Grub Juice goodies
David Hall Goes Fishing With...
...river maestro Dave Harrell
Wagglers For Carp
How to catch carp shallow on float tackle
Eleven pages of tackle on test
Take Out A Subscription...
...and we'll send you your choice of Dynamite Baits' products
Catch a fish and win a badge
What's coming up in your favourite fishing magazine
Seeing In The Dawn
More musings from the pen of angling writer John Bailey
Phew! I'm worn out just typing that lot!
I think Total Coarse Fishing has a good mix of articles these days. It certainly isn't carp, carp and more carp. Actually, it's far from it. The articles are well presented and the accompanying photographs clear. It's an instructional magazine and the instructions are written in a clear, concise manner. Even the more anecdotal articles usually have highlighted tips that are extracted from the article and expanded upon.
If you haven't tried Total Coarse Fishing for a while, why not take a look next time you're in a newsagents? You don't have to be a beginner to learn and even the most experienced of anglers should be able to pick up a tip or two. The magazine costs £3.05 (bit of a strange price, but I dare say they have their reasons!), which doesn't buy you much these days, so I think it's pretty good value for money. If you're convinced you want a regular copy of Total Coarse Fishing, take a look at www.tcfmagazine.com and see what subscription offers are available. At the time of writing, you could claim a choice of Dynamite Baits packs up to a value of £30.41, so the magazine won't cost you much at all!