12 Top Tips For Successful Barbel Fishing

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Barbel are one of the strongest, powerful freshwater fish you will ever encounter. Such is the thrill of hooking a barbel, once you catch one you will never look back!

Barbel are now thriving in many UK rivers, so it’s no wonder barbel fishing is becoming more and more popular. Here the Fishtec team have put together their top barbel fishing tips – follow these 12 great fish catching tips and you won’t go wrong when barbel angling!

Barbel fishing is becoming ever more popular.

Barbel fishing is becoming ever more popular.

Tip 1. Bait up 2 to 3 swims before starting fishing. This gives the barbel time to settle and gives you options to move if you need to rest your first choice swim.

Feeding halibut pellets into a nice looking swim.

Feeding halibut pellets into a nice looking swim before starting.

Tip 2. Be prepared to walk. The first and most accessible swims you come across may have been hammered, so be prepared to find unfished water. The legwork involved often pays off!

Tip 3. Never forget ‘old fashioned’ baits like sweetcorn and luncheon meat when barbel have been hammered on pellets. Another tactic for heavily fished barbel is to use just a single 8mm pellet.

Tip 4. Don’t forget the Polaroid sunglasses, these are essential for spotting barbel. Remember you won’t catch them if there not there. Spend more time looking for fish, and less time sitting waiting!

Tip 5. Barbel love weedbeds. These areas are always worth paying a bit more attention too. Here the barbel can take cover and forage for crustaceans and insects.

Look for weedbeds - the barbel will be nearby.

Look for weedbeds – the barbel will be nearby.

Tip 6. Make sure you use a feeder or lead that’s heavy enough to stay put in the flow and not move when its emptied or the PVA bag has dissolved. If it moves it will be fishing on a different line to the loose feed.

Tip 7. Use a long fluorocarbon hook link. Barbel can associate a feeder with danger, so In ultra low clear water use fluorocarbon hook lengths of up to 6ft in the day time, pinned down with tungsten putty in to prevent barbel from spooking.

Tip 8. Don’t leave your rod out too long! Recast every 15 – 20 minutes. Halibut pellets break down within 20 minutes and will leach all of their flavour. Re-baiting and then refilling your feeder frequently is a good tip for best results.

Tip 9. Use different size pellets in your feeder or PVA bag free offerings. Different sized pellets will break down at different times and keep the barbel grubbing around for longer in your swim.

Tip 10. Use a quick change link – so you can vary your lead weight depending on the strength of the flow; fish as light as you can without the flow moving your feeder or lead.

Tip 11. Barbel like to feed in low light. The more pressured the water, more likely they are to follow this pattern. Make an effort to fish early morning or late evening into the darkness if you are struggling to catch.

The best fishing for barbel is often at night.

The best fishing for barbel is often at night.

Tip 12. Rest your fish. Once you have caught a barbel always make sure you rest the fish in the landing net prior to release. Barbel give their all in the fight, so make sure your catch is fully revived before you release.

Always rest your barbel in the net before release.

Always rest your barbel in the net before release.

Line Angles – Carp Fishing tips from Dave Lane

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In his latest tips blog post, Dave Lane shares his years of carp fishing wisdom – How often do you consider line angles and concealment? It could make all the difference to your carp catches!

I think that line awareness is the single most alarming thing to carp, it has far more effect than rigs, leads, bait or any other aspect of our angling that we give carp credit for detecting.

I do not actually believe that a carp can even see a rig as it gets up close, its eyes are in the wrong place to start with and, from what I have seen in observation, most bait items are inspected by feel in the mouth. I think this is why a good rig, or one perfectly suited to the way carp are testing baits, will outscore other presentations. It’s just a case of being able to prick the fish, to get that initial hook hold, before they can eject the rig.

Line angles are something different, this is an early warning system that all is not as it should be. It doesn’t always mean that the carp will not feed, they just do so with the natural caution of an animal that knows it is being hunted, playing the percentages is how I like to think of it.

A free meal is on offer, they know something is dangerous and they feed carefully and methodically to avoid being hooked and, every now and again, they get it wrong.

Sometimes fish seem terrified of lines, particularly when they are in a spot where they seem to have not been expecting them to be.

One day I sat up a tree at Burghfield and watched as a group of fish came in contact with my lines, the result was instant and dramatic and, within seconds, there were no more carp to be seen anywhere.

I have been out in a boat at Wraysbury and actually watched two stockies feeding right up to, but not over, my line as it sat slightly proud of the bottom. They had decimated the bait on one side of the spot and completely left the bait on the other, unwilling to cross the line to achieve yet more free food.

It often amazes me how excited anglers get when they start receiving line bites, as if this is an indication of an imminent take.

To my mind a line bite is either yet another spooked carp or a fair sign that you are simply fishing too far out or badly presented between the rig and the rod tip.

I always try to keep all my line hard on the lake bed but, unfortunately, this is not always possible.

When you are fishing large lakes in adverse weather conditions for example, any slack line just gets dragged out into a big arc and, pretty soon, it rises up into the water anyway.

Fishing near to snags or in a situation whereby you cannot afford to give the carp an inch, this also calls for a tight line and, the worst of the lot, weed. It doesn’t matter how well you think you have sunk your line when fishing over weed, it will either already be on the top of it or, if it isn’t, it will be soon. Even the tiniest filaments of floating weed will accumulate and lift your line towards the surface and, quite often, the angle of line between the edge of the weed and the spot you are fishing is horrendous.

There are things that help, heavy lead core leaders, pinching blobs of putty a meter or so behind the rig, pole fishing leads on the line, flying back leads, they all go some way to alleviating the problem.

Myself I am a great fan of the captive back leads, I use them often to keep a tight line pinned down from the moment I set up the rod, once it’s down there and pinned it is harder, but not impossible, for the weed to lift it back up.

Pinning down the line with captive back leads.

Pinning down the line with captive back leads.

Lines pinned down and ready for action!

Lines pinned down and ready for action!

Attacking a swim from an unusual angle can be a brilliant way of disguising the fact that you are fishing that spot, particularly on pressured waters where the carp are actually checking it out before feeding, sometimes a different angle can also ensure a lower line lay, if you are casting over weed from the main swim but up against it from an alternative plot is a good example.

Gravel bars and plateaus work in the same way as weed, it is far better to actually drape your line over the bar on some occasions than have it exiting the bar halfway down and streaking through the water mid depth.

Fishing the close side of a bar will allow you to sink the line better so, if you want to fish the bottom of the bar at the back, why not cast from a swim on the far bank and have all your line in deep water leading up to the feature.

It’s not always possible on busy waters to actually fish from the wrong swim though, but the more thought you can out into concealing a line, the better your results are likely to be.

Returning a big mirror caught at range with the line totally concealed near the rig.

Returning a big mirror caught at range with the line totally concealed near the rig.

 

New TF Gear Carp Fishing Tackle Videos – with Dave Lane

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Earlier this year Dave Lane met up with Marc Coulson, editor of Total Carp Magazine on the banks of the renowned Quarry fishery in Essex. Together the guys shot a full length DVD on targeting big carp, and reviewed a load of TF Gear carp fishing tackle.

In this blog post you can watch 11 awesome carp fishing tackle product videos from the Total Carp Magazine DVD. In these videos Laney and Marc review and explain each and every innovative feature of these products. Trust us, these videos are well worth watching if you are looking for new carp fishing gear!

Watch the YouTube videos in the windows below, or click through to the Fishtec TV YouTube channel.

TF Gear Hardcore Packaway Unhooking Mat – A quality pop-up carp fishing mat that is easy to transport and just the right size for large carp.

TF Gear Hardcore Trail Boots – Waterproof, tough and good looking these Hardcore trail boots are the ideal footwear for a dedicated carp angler.

TF Gear Banshee clothing – Dave Lane talks about the outstanding waterproof and breathable banshee carp fishing clothing by TF Gear.

TF Gear Hardcore Desert Boots – Rugged carp fishing boots from TF Gear. Ideal for trekking through awkward terrain to the water’s edge. Fishing footwear built to last.

TF Gear Flat Out Superking Pillow – A good nights sleep is essential for carp fishing. Here TF Gear have designed a pillow specifically for carp anglers that integrates with your sleeping set up seamlessly.

TF Gear Flat Out Sleeping Bags – A premium carp fishing bag made for comfort and ease of access, this bag is the essential choice of Dave Lane and many other hardcore carp anglers.

TF Gear DL Black Edition Spod Reel – Finally a spodding reel man enough for the job!! Purpose built for spodding, this hardcore spod reel has been built to Dave Lanes demanding specifications.

TF Gear DL Black Edition Speedrunner Reel – The finest carp fishing reel for your money – smooth, powerful, and capable of casting huge distances this baitrunner reel does it all.

TF Gear DL black edition carp rods – The new DL black edition carp fishing rods offer a new benchmark in looks, casting performance and fish playing ability.

TF Gear DL Black edition net – A 42” carp landing net designed by Dave Lane. Quality and performance at a decent price!

TF Gear Chillout sleeping bag – Sleep in comfort with the Chillout sleeping bag! Designed for hardcore carp anglers, this bag is the pinnacle of bivvy comfort.

Fishing in the Hills – Tackle & Tactics for Wild Brown Trout

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As an alternative to your usual stocked fishery why not get away from it all?
Here Ceri Thomas talks us through the fishing tackle and techniques for wild brown trout from natural lakes.

Llyn Hir & Egnant - typical upland natural lakes.

Llyn Hir & Llyn Egnant in Mid Wales – typical upland natural lakes.

The highland areas of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the North of England are full of natural lakes and upland reservoirs that offer fantastic sport in beautiful, isolated surroundings. Many are available to fish for a very small fee, and are well worth the leg work needed to reach them, if breathtaking scenery and getting away from the crowds are your thing.

Don’t expect big fish, but do expect beautiful wild fish in surroundings that match the awe inspiring views.

A typical high lake brownie - from the Teifi pools.

A typical high lake brownie – from the Teifi pools, Mid Wales.

Tackling them however is a completely different story to your conventional stocked lowland fisheries.

Why? Brown trout behave in a totally different way to stocked rainbows, so understanding this is the key to catching them.

In a lake brown trout will occupy a small territory, and will usually stick too it. They do not cruise around the lake in shoals like the pelagic rainbow trout. Brownies typically lurk just above the bottom and not far out from the bank, most often on the drop off into deeper water or near structure such as a weed-beds, or breaks in the shoreline. Large rocks, inlets, corners of bays will all potentially hold fish. There, they lay in ambush; when food comes into their cone of vision they move vertically to intercept, making a lightning quick ‘snatch and grab’ assault to the surface.

So, the crux of it is unlike rainbows they will not come to you…. You must go and look for the fish.

Walk and Cast

You must cover a lot of water when fishing upland lakes – it’s a numbers game – the more fish see your fly, the more you catch. No brainer. But it needs to be done right.

I like to pick a bank with the wind blowing over my left shoulder simply for ease of casting. Stealth is important – approach the bank with care; quietly and keeping a low profile. Don’t wade out right away, stay on the bank and cast out just a few yards of fly line to begin with.
It’s amazing how many fish I have caught like this, without the need to get your boots wet!

Should wading be necessary keep a low profile when entering the water, and try not to dislodge rocks or crunch the bottom substrate loudly with your wading boots.

Walk and cast fishing on a mountain lake.

Walk and cast fishing on a mountain lake.

Once your initial short line casts are made, work out a bit more fly line and fan cast the area – make a cast straight out, at 45 degrees and then tight ALONG the bank. When your cast hits the water let the flies settle for 10 seconds or so – expecting a hit on the drop. Then start your retrieve. I like a jerky figure of eight interspersed by short pulls. Always make sure you lift and hang the flies for a few seconds right at the end – again expect a take at this point in the retrieve. Side step 2 meter’s downwind and repeat the process.

Never make more than 3/4 casts in one spot unless you see a persistently rising fish – Most of the time if there is a receptive fish that has seen your flies it will attack, as long as it isn’t spooked. So move on rapidly if nothing happens. By moving down a bank you can cover a lot of water very quickly. In this way I often fish around the circumference of an entire lake in a session, and so maximise my chances.

I seldom cast more than around 15 yards – there is simply no need – these fish are where the food is, and that is usually in the margins. Struggling to cast further with back-cast restricting steep and rocky banks behind you will only hinder your casting and presentation. Good turnover is vital – it is far better to achieve perfect turnover every cast than struggle for an extra few yards.

The Flies

The old adage ”small and black” does hold true. Classic wet flies such as Black pennell, Zulu, Bibio, Connemara black, Black & peacock spider, Kate Mclaren, Red tag and so on all work well, I tend to use them in size 12 and 14. More modern Black cormorants, crunchers and diawl bachs in the same sizes also work well.

A victim of a 'red tag' wet fly.

A victim of a ‘red tag’ wet fly.

A little known fact is ”big and black” can also work a treat – something like a black tadpole or woolly bugger on a size 10 hook, with a total length of about 1.5 inches. For some reason a fly like this can trigger very aggressive takes; perhaps the fish take them for leeches which can be found in highland waters. Who knows, but they certainly trigger a reaction especially on rough overcast days and in the evenings.

A black woolley bugger fished on the point can be deadly.

A black woolly bugger fished on the point can be deadly.

I like to fish a team of flies to cover my bases – using traditional wet flies on the droppers, and a larger black lure on the point. The theory is the big fly draws fish up from deep or entices a follow, and then the fish goes on to take the dropper if it finds the point fly too much of a mouthful.

Dry flies

Don’t forget dries. More than 50% of upland trout’s diet comes from terrestrial insects during the season.  If you are lucky enough to come across a fall of ants, bibio heather flies, coch-y-bonddu beetle, daddy long legs or sedges then they will be the first line of attack.  You cannot go wrong with a team of black hoppers, bibio hoppers, black bob’s bits, black CDC shipmans and the like. Remember dries can be very effective at any time, even when just a few fish are moving. Wild fish are always looking up for a meal!

Dry flies can be very productive in the right conditions.

Dry flies can be very productive in the right conditions.

Target areas with wind behind you, and cast to the ripple edge where terrestrials tend to blow onto the water. Also look for points with little slack areas out of the wind – food will be blown into these wind traps and the fish will be not far behind. Cover the water with your team of dries – cast, let them sit there for just a minute, then step down the bank and repeat. Takes tend to be pretty instant, so no need to linger in one area if nothing happens.

The tackle:

A mid-tip action fly rod of between 9 to 10 foot in a 6 weight is the ideal weapon – a 6 weight still has the punch to cast into the teeth of the wind if you need it, and the power to turnover a team of flies in a stiff breeze. A 7 or 5 weight can of course be used, but a 7 is overkill for small fish and impedes delicate presentation, and a 5 can be really limiting in the often strong winds. I like to use the Airflo Streamtec 10′ #5/6, it’s the perfect rod for this sort of fishing, with just the right forgiving action.

Fly line: Only a floater is required! The Airflo range of floaters such as the Xceed and Elite are ideal. They have a low stretch core so help connect with the lightening fast takes you will encounter from wild lake trout.

Leader material: These fish are not overly leader shy. I use 6lb G3 fluorocarbon to aid good turnover, and for keeping droppers tangle free in the wind. As a leader butt to further aid turnover I use a 5 foot intermediate Airflo polyleader, to make a total leader length of 18 – 20 foot.

Places to fish

Practically anywhere in Scotland – the highlands and Islands especially are full of loch’s and Lochans holding abundant wild trout. Plenty of useful ”Where to fish” info can be found online, including the excellent where to fish in Scotland.

In Wales Snowdonia and the expanse of the Cambrian mountains in Mid-Wales are spotted with numerous Llyn’s (Welsh for lake). Many of these can be booked with the Wye and Usk foundation.

In England the Lake district, Pennines, Yorkshire dales and Peak district are all great areas for upland fishing, with plenty of tarns and corrie lakes to be found in the high fells.

Upland lakes are truly magical places to fish.

Upland lakes are truly magical places to fish.

The Warren at Hay – Fishing on the River Wye

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The River Wye at the Warren Hay-on-Wye is a mixed fishery holding trout, grayling and salmon, as well as barbel, chub and pike.

Jeff Morgan with 10lb 10oz barbel from the Warren.

Jeff Morgan with 10lb 10oz barbel from the Warren.

Whilst not strictly an angling club, the River Wye at Hay can be fished for just £10 a day or £60 for full year, making it incredible value for money for fishing of this caliber.

Website: http://www.haywarren.org.uk/fish.html
Contact:
Jeff Morgan
Email: N/A
Telephone number:
01497 820 491 (Golesworthy’s, ticket vendor)
Day ticket available:
Yes
Season permit available:
Yes
Region:
South East Wales.
Social Media:
Yes, Facebook group for members. Twitter: https://twitter.com/haywarrenangler

Hay and Warren fishing map

Hay and Warren fishing map.

The stunning River Wye at Hay.

The stunning River Wye at the Warren.

Baiting up – Carp Fishing tips from Dave Lane

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As part of a series of blog posts TF Gear tackle consultant Dave Lane shares his huge experience of carp fishing, staring with some great tips on baiting up! Read on to discover baiting up – the Laney way!

When it comes to baiting up a swim, I think a lot of anglers tend to get too tied up with trying to get every item of bait to land on the exact same spot in the lake, leaving the rest of the swim devoid of attraction for the carp.

Admittedly, I am quite fanatical about the exact spot my hook-bait lands on but I am not quite so obsessive about the free-bait.

Firing out boilies, or indeed spombing them out is something that is always going to lead to stray bait but a lot of the time I am quite happy with this and, as long as the general area is hit, I know I am increasing the amount of attraction in the swim and the bait that falls in areas where it will not get eaten is not detracting anything from the effectiveness of the main spot.

If my hook-bait is on, what I consider to be, the very best spot in the swim then I know that it will get eaten fairly quickly and I do not need every single ounce of bait to be piled up on top of it.

A decent spread of bait will allow more carp to feed at the same time and create a larger area that they can home in on, bringing even more fish to the party.

A nice Burghfield mirror caught from a swim baited with a large spread of boilies

A nice Burghfield mirror caught from a swim baited with a large spread of boilies.

I think that this is where baitboat anglers miss out a lot of the time, presenting just one little pile of bait is, to my mind, fishing for one bite at a time and not really creating much of a feeding response.

If you were baiting in the margins you wouldn’t dream of sticking a kilo of mixed bait on one little tiny spot and dumping your rig right in the middle of it, as you can see straight away that you are defeating the object of the trap by lowering the percentage chances of the hook-bait even getting picked up.

Striving for perfection when casting and baiting is obviously a good thing and I try my hardest to hit the same spot every single time with the spomb but I know that I won’t, I accept this and, should I be having a particularly accurate day, when everything is landing in the same hole, then I will actually add or lessen the clip mark on the reel or aim slightly right or left to increase the spread of bait. Usually though I don’t need to as I am just not that consistent.

Different lake beds demand different approaches of course, if you are fishing on features then you may need that level of accuracy but, as I have said, if you do not think that they fish are feeding in the deeper water around the feature then the odd wayward spomb is not going to pull the fish away from your spot in the slightest, I just count the ones that hit the mark.

I regularly hear anglers cursing out loud every time a spomb sails off target in the wind or a single pouch of boilies doesn’t quite hit the marker float but getting stressed when it is not going quite right is a bit of a recipe for disaster.

I know it can be hard to keep your cool sometimes when it all feels like it is going wrong but the more you get wound up, the worse you actually fish.

We just get stressed and blame our tools instead of taking a deep breath and a cup of tea and then starting again, calmly and patiently.

9 Father’s Day Fishing Gift Ideas!

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June the 19th marks father’s day in the UK! Why not treat your angling obsessed dad to a fishing related gift? To make things easier, we have put together 9 of our top father’s day gift suggestions for you – all available on a next day delivery from Fishtec!

1. Head Torch – Every angler needs a head torch! It’s something fishermen are guaranteed to lose on a regualr basis. The TF Gear Night spark is a quality bit of kit – waterproof, with a very bright 100 lumen light and batteries last ages. Price £19.99

The Night spark head torch from TF Gear

The Night spark head torch from TF Gear.

2. Polaroid Sunglasses – Another essential for any type of angler. Whether you are stalking carp, walking the chalk stream looking for trout, or barbel spotting on a big river polaroid glasses cut through the surface glare and allow you to literally see beneath the surface glare. These neat interchangeable glasses from Airflo are actually 3 glasses in one – a different coloured lense is supplied for each light condition. Price £29.99

The Airflo Interchangeable sunglasses - three glasses in one.

The Airflo Interchangeable sunglasses – three glasses in one.

3. Water proof phone case – For some dad’s, getting them onto a ‘smart phone’ took long enough in the first place… why change from a Nokia 3310???  Make sure they don’t ruin their new fangled iPhone in the drink with one of these awesome overboard phone cases. Price £18.99

Overboard phone cases

Water proof overboard phone cases.

4. Online Gift Voucher – Ran out of time or cannot make a decision on a gift? Fishtec online gift vouchers are the ideal gift for father’s day. Easy to buy and use, you can select the amount, the date the recipient will receive their voucher, and even include a Father’s day message. Price – you decide! From £10 up.

Fishtec Gift vouchers

Fishtec Gift vouchers.

5. Ridge Monkey toaster – Dad’s love having a munch whilst waiting for a bite. These nifty toasters are the best thing to hit the bank since sliced bread…. and that goes really well into one of these with a load of cheese and BBQ sauce! Price £16.99 (standard size) £24.99 XL size.

ridge monkey toasters

Ridge monkey toasters.

6. Dr Slick deluxe gift set – A lovely little gift set with two very important things for any fisherman – forceps and a razor sharp set of line nippers. Also supplied with a retractable zinger and a fly box, this is the ideal gift for dads who like to fish for trout and salmon especially. Price £35

Dr Slick deluxe gift set

Dr Slick deluxe gift set.

7. New wellington boots – Wellies are an essential part of any fisherman’s tackle. We bet your dad’s are well past it, and smelly to boot, so why not get him a new pair? These ultra comfortable boots from Hardwear feature flexible neoprene, and are very warm and stylish. Price £34.99 (rrp £49.99)

Hardwear neoprene wellingtons

Hardwear neoprene wellingtons – incredible comfort!

8. Tackle box – For putting your bit’s and pieces in, you simply cannot beat the Lok box from TF Gear! A basic box but very well built and will not break the bank.  Price £14.99

TF Gear Lok-box - a great tackle box that will not break the bank!

TF Gear Lok-box – a great tackle box that will not break the bank!

9. FishSpy underwater camera – This is for the tech-savvy dad that already has it all – fishfinder, electric engine, own boat, garage bulging with gear and is crazy about carp! This bit of kit will enable you to see what you’re missing quite literally; with it’s live and recorded underwater footage. Simply cast it out and transmit to your phone. Price £199.99 (rrp £249.99).

Underwater camera

Image Source: http://www.fishspy.com/
For anglers who love their tech.

 

Return to Slow Water By Rene’ Harrop

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The land I call home is a fly fishing paradise. With diversity nearly beyond description, the lakes, rivers, and smaller waters of Yellowstone country provide a wide variety of options capable of satisfying any trout angler, and I enjoy them all.

But like all who pursue trout with a fly fishing rod, one personal preference rises above all else to dominate my attention.

Home Again

Home Again.

It is not because I am now old that the slower portions of the Henry’s Fork have become so attractive – it has always been this way. This is not to imply that a current that gently tugs at my waders is not more suitable to aging legs than the forceful flow of fast moving water over a coarse stream bottom, nor is it because the fishing is easier.

While far from being physically taxing, there is a mental intensity that comes with selecting exactly the right fly pattern and executing the perfect cast that is needed when engaging big, wild rainbows that reject any semblance of imperfection.

I fish these clear, slow moving currents knowing that my best is sometimes not good enough and that my mistakes will often outnumber those of my opponents. It is because of this that any success comes with a sense of accomplishment and validation unique to this type of fishing.

Slow Water Rainbow

Slow Water Rainbow.

All expectation must be tempered with a sense of humility when one plays by rules that do not permit disrespect for the rarity of great trout that survive mainly on small aquatic organisms.

I do not need a trout badly enough from these special waters to resort to a streamer, large attractor, or any other means intended to short circuit its resistance to flawed presentation or incorrect fly selection during a hatch.

Intensity

Intensity!

There are plenty of other situations where such methods are perfectly acceptable, but they do not include the Harriman Ranch or waters of similar characteristics of the Henry’s Fork.

The Harriman or Railroad Ranch is one of only a few stretches of the Henry’s Fork that is subject to a seasonal closure.  June is the time when I will again wade the slow currents of this historic and pristine section that I have loved since early youth. And there is no other place like it on earth.

End of a good day

End of a good day.

 

 

Wychwood RS – Fly Rod Review

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In this tackle test we take a look at the all-new Wychwood RS fly fishing rods – now available from Fishtec!

Recently, whilst walking through the Fishtec tackle warehouse a cool looking rod tube caught my eye… on closer inspection, this brand new addition to our rod storage racking revealed itself to be the Wychwood RS fly rods, that had (at the time of writing) literally just arrived into stock.

I always like to try out any new fly rod that comes into the Fishtec tackle store, so I decided to grab one off the shelf and give it a go there and then! This mini-review is based on my initial impressions of a Wychwood RS fly rod, with a test session on the casting pool outside the Fishtec shop.

The Wychwood RS fly rod range.

The Wychwood RS fly rod range.

The range:

The RS are a totally new range of rods from Wychwood Game Angling and compete in the very crowded ‘mid price’ sector – with prices ranging from £169.99 to £199.99.

Firstly, I took a quick look at the models available in order to pick one out to test. The RS range appears to be geared for the stillwater anglers, with 6 models available, with rods made to cover very small stocked fisheries right through to vast reservoirs – from a lightweight 9′ #5 to a heavyweight 10′ #8 boat weapon, there is a trout rod here for pretty much any UK stillwater situation.

As a regular visitor to large upland stillwaters holding wild trout and grown on rainbows, I am always on the look out for a dedicated 9’6 #6, my favourite configuration for bank fishing on such venues. Conveniently Wychwood have included this fairly rare configuration in their range, so I grabbed hold of an Airflo Super-dri G-shock floater in a 6 weight and headed out to the Fishtec casting pool for a quick cast or three in the sunshine!

First impressions:

The tube is very impressive – and is what basically caught my eye as I walked past it! Seemingly made of carbon fiber, it’s very lightweight and looks strong. It’s certainly a lot nicer than tubes of similar rods around this price point.

A particulary nice rod case is included with the rod.

A particularly nice rod case is included with the rod.

Even the tube cap is nice and classy.

Even the tube cap is nice and classy.

Upon taking the rod out of the nice case I found it had a toned down matt carbon finish, with neat whippings and fittings throughout. I prefer a finish like this, as there is less chance of spooking a fish through line flash. In my eyes it also looks better cosmetically. The black aluminum reel winch and carbon effect spacer in particular were impressive, and quality wise certainly on a parr with rods of a much higher specification.

A nice touch on the rod butt.

A nice touch on the rod butt.

The slim 4 section blank was fitted together with ease due to the aligner dots on each piece – and, unlike some other brands I have come across they actually aligned perfectly, rather than being dotted on at random in the rod factory by a person with defective eyesight!

Reel fittings were first class.

Reel fittings were first class.

Standard black anodised snakes and two unusal stripping rings mark this out from the other rods in this price bracket.

Standard black anodised snakes and two unusual stripping rings mark this out from the other rods in this price bracket.

The first preliminary wobble of the rod revealed it was quite stiff – oh no, not another poker I thought! However, the first cast alleviated the worry – the rod was indeed a fast action, but line loading was easy, and the blank loaded in a nice progressive way. I would use the term ‘medium fast’ to describe the action.

A tried a variety of casts – single haul, double haul, side and roll casting, and found the rod was lightweight, responsive and capable of serious distance casts without troubling it too much. Loops were crisp and easy to control, with no wobble or fuss from the blank at all.

Roll casting on the Fishtec casting pool

Roll casting on the Fishtec casting pool.

This model had a half wells handle that I found transmitted a nice feel through to the hand – often fly rod handles are way too thick and really hamper the feel of your casting, and therefore the enjoyment of your fishing. The quality of the cork was also excellent, with little if any filler evident.

The 9’6 #6 weighs in at just 3.45 oz, making it lighter than most competitor rods of the same spec – In fact for comparison purposes the whole range comes in at slightly lighter than the equivalent model of Greys GR70; these are properly light rods!

All in all it was a nice experience to use, with plenty of feel and a noticeable reserve of power, which I could tell would be very handy for bullying a big fish into the net, or punching a line out into a strong head wind.

Long line lift off was crisp and effortless due to the reserve of power.

Long line lift off was crisp and effortless due to the reserve of power in the butt.

I tried to find bad points with the rod, but really struggled to find anything to complain about to be honest! Aside from maybe the addition of a fighting butt on a rod of this length, I really couldn’t think of anything else they could have done to improve it.

So, to conclude I would have to say it’s a great effort by Wychwood, and deservedly worth the £185 price tag – I don’t think I would be dissapointed to own or use this rod long term myself, it certainly pushed all the buttons for me and does everything you ask of it extremely well.

The Wychwood RS range of fly fishing rods are available here.

Carp Safety & Photography

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Carp safety and photography is a crucial part of carp fishing which doesn’t get written about nearly enough and should be at the top of the list of your fishing knowledge. Follow my easy steps on how to get things right!

It is very simple and easy, you just need the following carp fishing tackle items out ready and set up for when you catch a fish, not all packed away to keep them dry! They don’t cost a lot compared to other items of tackle e.g rods and reels. These essential tackle items can be easily maintained for many years before needing to be replaced.

1 – Unhooking mat
2 – Retaining sling
3 – Carp care kit
4 – Scales
5 – Camera
6 -Tripod
7 – Forceps
8 – Weighing pole
9 – Bucket

Follow these key steps on setting up your carp safety and photography equipment:

1Unhooking mat pegged out in a safe area which you should have already chosen for your photos.

2– Retaining sling out, next to the unhooking mat.

3Carp care kit.  Now, hands up – how many people own one but never use it?
Please think of the Carp.  I am sure we all would like them to look nice for as many years as possible and grow to be that big famous 40lb plus carp that everyone is after.

Carp care kit

Carp care kit – use it!

4 – Weighing Scales.  Now, I understand that you may not wish to leave these outside unattended but keep them handy, perhaps by the bivvy door or under your bedchair.

5 – Camera.  In this day and age there is no real issue with cameras.  You can spend as little as £35 on eBay for a camera with a flip round screen.  This enables you to see what you are up to and speeds up this process a lot.  I have used Cannon camera’s for years and found that the G range from G2/G6 are perfect, as you can use an infer-red remote. They have recently released the G1, which has a flip out screen, they had stopped making this feature for a number of years. There are a number of other options as they have revamped the original air pressing ball that you can have under your knee, as some people find holding fish and the infer-red remote tricky and these kits come complete with a tripod adapter kit.

I currently use a G6 for the night-time photo shot and a Panasonic DT70 ( check model), this has a time-lapse option that allows you to take as many photos as you like – every 10, 20, 30 seconds as you wish.

You also need to know the distance the camera should be away from the mat and the simplest way is a peace of cord attached to the tripod.

6 – Tripod. There are plenty of options here from the gadget that screws onto your bank stick to the original camera tripods.

7 – Forceps. Not always needed, but must be handy just in case of a firmly hooked fish.  You can ill afford to be rummaging around in your tackle bag when there is a fish on the bank.

 8 –  Weighing pole. These are a fantastic bit of kit that will help you lift the fish easier and steady the scales when reading the weight.

9Bucket. You should always have a bucket of water ready and always use the water.  It stops the fish from foaming up and makes for better photos.

Always think of the fish – would you like to be responsible for a fish’s death?  Just follow these simple steps and there will be one issue for you – banking your target fish!

Just think safety first, and remember it’s not all about the perfect photo in the morning sunshine or when your friend can get down to take the photos for you. In this day and ag with the advances in technology and some practice you should be able to do your own photos.  I have been fishing by myself for over 20 years and all my fish photos are self taken and some have ended up in the Carp magazines, even night shots.

Success!!

Success!! A self take shot.

To sack or not to sack?
I feel very strongly about the use of Carp sacks to the point that I have not owned one for over 10 years. The invention of retaining slings has made the safety of Carp so much better, however there is still no need to leave the fish in there for hours.  Please think of the fish and not yourself and respect the fish as they are living things after all.

I hope the above article has been informative and will help you keep the Carp safe and sound, plus enable you to take better photos.

Tightlines Richard.