Casting out at night - Owain Morgan

Owain Morgan is a Angler from South Wales and loves his fishing. Every moment he can fit between work and being with his family, he's pretty much out on the coast - where he finds the time to sleep and be so cheery we'll never know!

As a passionate sea angler there are a few items outside of actual fishing equipment (like rods, reels, and terminal tackle) that are absolutely essential. These are a good set of studded boots/waders, appropriate clothing and most importantly a good reliable headlamp. This is particularly important going into the winter months when a large proportion of us, especially those that have a 9 to 5 job, will be fishing primarily during the hours of darkness. 

The way in which sea anglers use a headlamp is rather unique in comparison to other activities and hobbies that regularly use them, and this is what makes it so difficult to make one that is spot on. We could be looking out at range to land a fish from a cliff that is 30 meters above the water in sea mist and rain that calls for a long range light, then looking at our tips a few meters away that calls for a mid-range light, before looking down into our laps to unhook a fish, make a bait or tie some knots that calls for much lower flood light, all this in a matter of minutes. This means sea anglers need a versatile headlamp that offers those functions. We are also very hard on our kit because of the nature of the beast that is shore fishing. For me to even consider a headlamp it must have the aforementioned capabilities.

I recently got my hands on the new HP25R v2.0 from MyFenix. This is the sequel to the popular HP25R of yesteryear, and boy was I impressed. There are a few main things that I look for in a head torch for my application of sea angling. Light output, battery life and comfort.

First up is light output. Fenix always clearly shows this information on their packaging and marketing so you can find this out easily on the back of any box or from the website or resellers. From reading this info I knew I was in for a treat. The max output of 1600 lumens is super impressive and, for its first outing, the mark I was fishing on did call for a good rangy beam. As darkness began to fall, I flicked on the headlamp to its low mode (150 lumens), right off the bat I was impressed.

I was around 20 meters up from the water on a rocky mark and this level of light was already clearly illuminating the area I was most interested in, which was where my gear was and where the fish were going to pop out of the water below. With 24 hours run time on this level I was already on to a winner. Having read the runtime on the box I had decided to settle on 400 lumens as my primary light source, knowing I had 8 hours to play with. Even at this level, with 1200 lumens left in the bank, it's like a lightsaber cutting through the night sky with seemingly endless range!

Being a new toy, I of course couldn't help but go up and down the modes lighting up every cliff face within about 200 meters just for the fun of it. This torch really has got the guts to throw a beam very far (290 meters). I find myself using the high and turbo modes when checking my lines and how they are hitting the water, landing fish and just whenever I really feel I need that bit of extra light. When it comes to sitting back watching those tips the nicely focused beam means even the eco mode of 50 lumens clearly shows any bites, but with a 5000mha battery you'd be silly not to use 150 lumens or 400 lumens for this. I truly was impressed with the light output and beam intensity from the second I flicked it on. It has the perfect balance of beam focus, distance and light spill. As sea anglers we need a good focused beam to concentrate on the important things like mentioned above but enough spill to see your surroundings without having to look directly at it is essential, without "wasting" too many of the lumens on the things that aren’t so important. The HP25R v2.0 seems to have this dialled.

I use all the modes available on this headlamp in my general fishing including the flood modes. In my opinion the flood is perfect for around the box activities such as tackling and baiting up. It also comes in handy when clambering over rocks, especially used in conjunction with a beam. This allows you to see where your feet and hands are going, but you can also look to the distance to keep yourself on track. For me, the white flood is an invaluable addition to the Fenix headlamps, and I use it all the time. This lamp also includes a red flood for those covert clear beaches when spooking the fish is a real possibility.

Secondly let's talk about the battery life. With the 5000mAh battery nestled against the back of your head, in an impressively compact holder, you won't be surprised to hear that the battery life on this is sublime. Used properly this lamp will outlast any night session. With the majority of the average shore session being between 4 and 6 hours there is absolutely no need to worry about the battery running out. Even if you forget to charge it over multiple sessions, the way Fenix lights intelligently step-down the brightness you'll never be caught short even if it's just enough to get yourself off the mark and back to the car safely.

Last on my list is comfort. As I mentioned above this headlamp does come with a sizeable battery, but due to the ergonomically moulded holder that curves with the back of your head it fits really comfortably and you will barely know it’s there. The front has the same curve, and it really does fit nice and snuggly. The large button size makes them easy to use and access. Considering the power packed into this thing, it's very compact and comfortable.

If I had to point out one flaw it would be the fact that you have to shuffle through the red flood modes before you can return to lower white flood modes. It's a minor detail but I would have preferred perhaps a rapid double tap capability to access red flood so I can ignore it until I need it. 

Couple all of the above with the fantastic lifetime warranty, 5 years free repair, impact resistance and waterproofing (IP66 in this case) that comes as standard with Fenix products, and you've got yourself a fantastic piece of kit! Locking functions and safety aspects are just awesome bonuses. Having been using this for just shy of one month now, it's already racked up some serious hours on my head, it looks pretty sharp too. My favourite head lamp to date.

Owain was given his HP25R v2.0 by MyFenix - his words and thoughts are his own