Your Top 3 Fantasy Fly Fishing Destinations

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whatamango bay

The stunning Whatamango Bay in New Zealand

New Zealand is far and away your dream fly fishing destination. That’s what the results of our big fishing survey tell us. Canada is next and Alaska is the third most popular choice. When we asked for your ‘money-no-object’ top fly fishing destination, we were staggered by the response; nearly a thousand of you took the time to answer and the results were unequivocal.

But why do so many of you want to fly long haul in search of fly fishing adventures? Let’s find out.

New Zealand

Bringing a New Zealand bow' to hand. Image:

Bringing a New Zealand bow’ to hand. Image:

Almost a quarter of those of you who responded to the survey said your ideal destination is New Zealand, even though it’s about as far away as you can get from the UK. This means the travelling alone sucks three or four days from your holiday. It must have something special going for it…

First of all, the New Zealand summer coincides with our British winter. Just as the salmon and trout seasons here draw to a close, the rivers on the far side of the world open. For anyone who wants to fish year round, New Zealand is the perfect choice.

New Zealand offers world class trout fishing. Image:

New Zealand offers world class trout fishing. Image:

And the fishing is stupendous. There is arguably nowhere else in the world that offers such a quality and variety of rivers, lakes and streams – and all within relatively easy reach of each other.

The welcome is warm, as Kiwis are famed for their hospitality. Accommodation and food are reasonably priced, too. Heck, they even drive on the same side of the road as us.

A New Zealand spring creek brown. Image:

A New Zealand spring creek brown. Image:

Where to go

There’s good fishing all around New Zealand. But the South Island is where the fun really starts. Get ready for some wonderful wild brown trout and salmon, all the way from sunny Nelson to the wilds of the Southern Alps. Fish the meandering rivers of the Canterbury plains before heading south to Queenstown and Gore, the “brown trout capital of the world”.

Stalking South Island Browns. Image:

Stalking South Island Browns. Image:

To make the most of your adventure, use an experienced destination outfitter. Aardvark McLeod, for example, offer tailor-made fly fishing adventures all over the world. They’ll source the best accommodation, and their stable of experienced guides will make sure your trip lives up to your dreams.

This outstanding video by Jakub Kanok pretty much sums up the appeal of fly fishing New Zealand:

Gone West & Manic Tackle Project present: Set & Release from GW,Jakub Kanok on Vimeo.


Fly Fishing near Vancouver island, Canada. Image:

Fly Fishing near Vancouver island, Canada. Image:

Canada’s wilderness is quite staggeringly vast. Getting to your fishing destination can involve flying in a float plane across hundreds of miles of pristine boreal forest, before touching down in a lake fed by glacial waters so clear and so clean you can drink them. Imagine fly fishing for native rainbow, steelhead and chinook – and more – fishing that’s better than any you’ve ever experienced.

A huge Canadian salmon. Image:

A huge Canadian chinook salmon. Image:

We’re talking tall trees, awesome glaciers, bald eagles, grizzly bears and rivers like you’ll find nowhere else on earth. No wonder over 16 percent of you would choose to go west for a once in a lifetime fly fishing holiday.

Where to go

There are hundreds of incredible angling destinations across Canada. If we were forced to choose the best, British Columbia would be a strong contender. The fishing season runs from February to October and of course, the Rocky Mountains are just spectacular. But there’s also Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario, Quebec…

A catch from British Columbia. Image:

A catch from British Columbia. Image:

Log cabin accommodation ranges from backwoods basic to the last word in luxury. Again, to really reap the rewards of crossing the Atlantic in search of fishing heaven, you really need the services of a guide. They’ll help you find the best spots, and share their years of knowledge so you can get more from your fishing. Somebody like Curtis Smith of Coastal Wilderness adventures will ensure your trip is as productive as possible.

Check out his awesome steelhead fishing video on the Campbell river:


serenity lake alaska

Imagine fishing Serenity Lake in Alaska…

If rather less of you dream of wetting a line in Alaska, that’s probably only due to the remoteness of the location, and the perceived difficulty and expense involved in getting there. But make no mistake, though just under 10 percent of you favour making the trip to the frozen north, those who do are in for some spectacular (and abundant) fly fishing.

Alaska offers the opportunity to experience untamed wilderness in search of wild rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and Steelhead. But wonderful though these species are, the US’s 49th state is really all about salmon!

A Bristol bay salmon. Image: AardvarkMcLeod Facebook.

A Bristol bay salmon. Image: AardvarkMcLeod Facebook.

King, Silver, Sockeye, Pink and Chum – you’ll find no less than five species of this splendid game fish in the rivers of Alaska. So make sure you time your visit to coincide with the spectacular salmon runs.

Where to go

Pushed to choose, we might head for the Kenai River in South-Central Alaska. Early runs in June average 16,000 fish, but the late runs are truly incredible. Upwards of 40,000 fish surge upstream, some weighing in at near 100lbs. As one Alaskan fishing and lodging outfit puts it: “May through September, something is always jumping in the Kenai.” Now that’s fly fishing at its best!

If you’re intending to fish in Alaska, the services of an experienced guide will prevent you ending up as bear food.

Did your top choice make it into the top three? The UK was in fifth position – perhaps for those people, it’s a case of ‘East, West, home’s best’!

Plan, Secure, Personalise And Protect: Prevent Tackle Theft

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fishing tackle

Part of a treasured collection of tackle

Your fishing tackle is probably among your most prized and valued possessions. The last thing you want is for it to disappear into the hands of thieves. But, our recent big fishing survey told us that nearly a third of you have had tackle stolen.

So how do you prevent tackle theft? We’ve put together ten tips for you that’ll help you keep your gear safe and sound.


1. Do your research

Before you plan a fishing trip, research the area you are going to visit. It should be relatively easy to find out online if there has been a spate of fishing tackle thefts in the area. If this is the case, you can either decide to visit another location, or take additional precautions, like those mentioned below, to protect your equipment.


2. Don’t leave fishing tackle in your car

Although it might seem like a good idea to pack up your gear the night before your trip, leaving tackle in the car is an open invitation to would-be thieves. Don’t give them that temptation. Keep your kit safely stored away until you need it. Just a few months ago, thousands of pounds worth of tackle was stolen from cars in Cornwall.

3. Consider your storage options carefully


How securely locked down is your fishing tackle?

Don’t store your expensive fishing tackle in poorly secured sheds or garages. The Carp Forum talks about several incidents where which thieves broke into garden sheds to steal expensive angling equipment. If you must store your kit outside of the house, use sturdy locks and securely fasten windows. Where possible, keep your tackle in a spare bedroom or cupboard within the house itself. It’s much harder for thieves to access your home than garages or sheds.

4. Don’t advertise your angling abilities

Whimsical, fun or amusing car stickers proclaiming the joys of fishing might seem like a harmless idea. However, these are potential signposts for thieves. Don’t give them any indication of your hobby and what you might have in the car, and your kit is more likely to stay safe.


5. Personalise your kit

Many pieces of fishing equipment are mass produced items that thieves can easily sell on. The simplest solution is to engrave tackle with details like your name, telephone number or email address.

You can also purchase special marking solutions such as newSelectaDNA and Smart Water. Invisible to the naked eye, these solutions show up when held under a UV light. Amanda Caton of the British Security Industry Association says that newSelectaDNA is ‘easy to apply and virtually impossible to remove’. You can register marked tackle, so in the event of any theft, it’s identifiable if recovered. Adding a sticker or sign warning potential thieves of your precautions can also help to deter them.


6. Consider adding deterrents

beware of the dog

Beware of the dog – even if you don’t have a dog!

Deterrents don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Something as simple as a ‘beware of the dog’ sign can be enough to put off the would-be thief (you don’t actually have to own a dog!). Phillip Villareal of the Consumerist says that you can suggest ‘you’ve got a trespasser-munching canine if you strategically place a dish that others can see‘.

Other deterrents can include motion-activated security lights, and alarms – you could even get a barking dog alarm! Again, even if you don’t have these items, you can fool potential burglars with a well placed sign or sticker advertising how seriously you take security.

7. Don’t boast

Tempted to let all your mates know how swanky your tackle is? It’s better to keep quiet about your expensive gear, especially in public. Loudly going into detail about that fine collection is as good as placing an advertisement for potentially light-fingered types.

8. Fish with vigilance

Never assume that your fishing tackle is safe. Keep your kit close by, where you can see it at all times. You should ensure you are watchful of the surrounding area, and report any suspicious activity to the police or fishery managers.

9. Fish in pairs

fishing in pairs

Fishing in company is social and secure!

If you fish alone, you are more vulnerable to theft. By going to your favourite angling spot with a friend, or group, your valuables will be much safer. This is especially important if you take a short break. Take it in turns to keep an attentive eye on all the gear.

10. Don’t fuel the demand for fishing tackle theft

shopping for fishing tackle

Always shop in the right places

When purchasing fishing equipment, always buy from reputable sources. Free sales sites and social media are often used by fishing tackle thieves to cash in on their activities. After the theft of thousands of pounds of fishing equipment in Meldreth, the South Cambridgeshire Police commented of the use of these channels by thieves: ‘If you are buying anything from ebay or similar websites, make sure that it is a trusted source. If the price seems too good to be true, the item could well be stolen’. If we don’t buy from them, they won’t have the same incentive to steal. Anglers need to stand together on this!

And finally…

It’s also important to get your equipment insured. Don’t assume that your car or home insurance will cover fishing tackle. There are specific policies aimed at anglers, so that if the worst does happen, you won’t be out of pocket.

Being hyper aware of the problem is the best defence. Most theft is carried out on an opportunistic basis: don’t give thieves the chance to cash in on your valuable kit!

Fantastic Blogs For Fly Fishing Addicts

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colourful flies

Beautifully tied, and ready for the water.

That’s it for trout in 2015. Can you hear your fly tying vice calling? Yes, winter is approaching, and with it the prospect of short crisp days in search of Grayling. But here’s something for those dark evenings when the rain is lashing down and, well, you can’t spend all your time tying flies, can you?

We’ve scoured the Internet for some of the best fly fishing blogs around. Winter reading to keep you motivated – enjoy.

Urban Flyfisher


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Kinda wished I had brought my tape measure…

Have you ever had an Internet row with someone determined to be outraged, despite not having a clue what they’re talking about? When Alistair, the man behind what is possibly UK’s longest lasting fly-fishing blog, was confronted with the ire of one such ‘Moaning Minnie’, he posted the exchange on his blog.

It makes for entertaining reading, but there’s a serious point too. Alistair and his friends fly fish the Kelvin, but they’re also volunteers who work to maintain and improve the river. The message here is clear – don’t complain unless you’re prepared to roll your sleeves up and chip in.

Urban flyfisher is a great blog, full of anecdotes from the urban river bank. Alistair is a father of three who manages to squeeze his fly fishing into some short, sweet sessions. And yes, there are some big trout to be had from the Kelvin – check out the blog to see the proof.

Yorkshire Fly fishing

yorkshire fly fishing

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A room with a view during Bob’s latest solo trip to Gairloch

‘Fly fishing in God’s Own County – and a rambling blog.’ As you’d expect from a brace of Yorkshiremen, this blog delivers exactly what it says on the tin. During the site and blog’s ten plus years, creators, Bob and Stu, have created a top notch resource for anyone interested in fly fishing in Yorkshire.

You’ll find detailed info on some of the county’s best fisheries and some really excellent accounts of fly fishing adventures, complete with some stunning landscape photography.

Take Bob’s recent excursion north of the border. A dodgy erection (check out Bob’s tent), a nasty fall, dehydration and a plague of midges make for a compelling story of his ‘Return to Gairloch’. But did he catch any trout? We’ll leave you to find out for yourself!

North Country Angler

north country angler

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Hope the grayling have an appetite for ‘fruit salad’!

The novelty of autumn’s ‘glorious stillness’ didn’t last long for Matt Eastham, AKA the North Country Angler. It took him all of about a week to feel “cooped up in the house as the rain beats against the conservatory roof.” If that’s you too, at least, as Matt says, there’s the prospect of Grayling to look forward to once winter arrives.

In the meantime, do take the time to have a read of Matt’s excellent blog. You’ll find in-depth analysis of two innovative new lines from Sunray: the World Championship Nymph which had him grinning from ear to ear, and the Jeremy Lucas Presentation Line, which Matt reports is “a great option when you expect to be facing a variety of different scenarios in one day”.

And if the dark evenings and the lousy weather do get to you, take a look at Matt’s report of some superb dry fly fishing on the Eden. Some great photographs of some fine catches will soon put you right.

Taff Diaries

taff diaries

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One of the many ‘little buggers’, aka graylings, caught by Terry this autumn.

Terry Bromwell has the Grayling bug, and no wonder after such a successful day on the Taff recently. He picked off his quarry in numbers by: “Working downriver very slowly pitching the nymphs upstream and letting the leader go past.” Check out his excellent post – there are some great snaps to whet your appetite!

If anyone knows the Taff, it’s Terry. His knowledge of the river dates right back to when he was five or six years old and “worming [his] way down the runs catching some superb trout.” That’s a lot of experience for you to tap into.

Take his post about a day’s fly fishing back in May. What do you do when presented with a hatch of Iron Blue Duns of “biblical proportions”? Go bigger, Terry says – in fact the standout fly of the day was the Large Brook Dun emerger – now there’s a thought…

Becks and Brown Trout

brown trout

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Local beck brown trout with beautiful markings

Here are just two of the many comments left by people who read Brooks and Becks: “Please keep blogging I really enjoy reading all about your fishing trips” and “You talk a lot of sense. Please do keep up the good work.”

We think you’ll agree. Take his post about the EA’s recent work to improve Foston Beck. There’s a really excellent level of detail and some great photos detailing the re-routing of the stream away from a silted up channel, into a new stream bed with a viable gradient. Fascinating stuff.

Though work sometimes gets in the way, there are still plenty of stories about the writer’s fly fishing adventures in North Yorkshire. His recent trip to the Leven was a cracker that saw him net a lovely Grayling. How big? You’ll get no spoilers from us!

The Unfamous Fly

unfamous fly

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Kenny out fishing with his son on Father’s Day (his son took the picture!)

Here’s a self-effacing blog that deserves to be a lot more famous than its name suggests. Blogger, Kenny Halley has created a gem you’re sure to enjoy. We really loved his blow by blow account of his recent adventure, bugging for Tigers. It was a cracking fish, and what a fight. It went under the bridge, back out, into the weeds, back under the bridge – it’s a miracle Kenny’s line wasn’t broken!

A plain speaking man, Kenny tells it like it is, which is always refreshing. So if you’re thinking of doing a spot of fly fishing in and around central Scotland, this is a great site to check out.

And the man’s a dab hand with a camera too. In fact, if you’re already suffering from a dose of the late autumn blues, we highly recommend his film of summer fun at Pendreich – Fishing Under A Blood Red Sky. Oh, for those summer evenings!

The River Beat

river beat

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Fly fishing for trout in Twin Falls, Idaho

How would you fancy “three months of stalking large trout in gin clear water, fantasy landscapes and living in a tent.”? We’re guessing you wouldn’t mind, though for some an upgrade to a hotel would complete the fantasy.

But for this intrepid blogger, the dream is reality. We haven’t heard from him since he touched down in New Zealand’s South Island, but our guess is he’s already reeling in some monster trout. Watch this space for the reports…

The River Beat’s writer is nothing if not well travelled. Born in Swaziland, he’s fly fished all over the world. His favourite saying is one of John Gierach’s: “But at the moment I didn’t know where I’d go or when I’d get there: a feeling that makes me happier than almost anything else.” You’ll love this blog.

Urban Trout

urban trout

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An urban legend or is there really wild brown trout in the Bristol Frome?

Feel too conspicuous in tweed and overdressed in high tech fishing clothing? Urban fly fishers will love the news, views and gear on offer at Urban Trout. How about a pair of wading boots that look like Converse Allstars? You’ll fit right into the city environment like a true guerilla fly fisher.

But Urban Trout is about a lot more than cool fly fishing clobber. A portion of sales goes to helping maintain and improve urban waterways and the news feed gives ample voice to all the work volunteers are putting in to make city fly fishing viable.

Just checkout the enormous heap of rubbish and junk pulled from waterways in the Manchester area. What a way to mark World Rivers Day 2015? The blog authors write. Anyone lost a bike?

Salmon fishing Ireland 2015

salmon fishing ireland

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A superb spot on the river Lee to finish off the salmon season

From hero to zero in under a minute – watch Paul Hanley’s video of the moment he caught – and lost a big salmon. It would have made a fine conclusion to the 2015 season but, alas, it was not to be. Everyone loves a blogger with a good sense of humour, which is why we’re sure you’ll enjoy this blog.

But there’s a lot more to Paul’s site than a missed fish. Thinking of investing in some new fly fishing clothing? There’s a whole section dedicated to giving you the low down on the gear Paul has used and abused – top tip – he loves the Airflo back support belt he purchased from Fishtec!

And how about this for a novel way to retrieve a stuck salmon spinner? All you need is a length of bramble, a pen knife or scissors and the ability to get level with, or upstream, of your snagged line. Intrigued? It’s a lesson Paul learned from his Grandfather – the old ways are the best!

The Unemployable Fly fisher

torridon brown trout

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Happiness is a wild Torridon brownie…

“Have fly rod, will travel”, says the Unemployable fly fisher. And he does – from the River Don in Aberdeenshire to Loch Assynt in far flung Sutherland and beyond. An adventurous soul, he’s an analytical and entertaining writer too.

As the winter draws in, the unemployable fly fisher takes a look at the tendency to spend time online, looking at endless videos of the perfect cast, or the perfect choice of fly. But while the plethora of information out there can help you hone your technique, it can also make you doubt yourself.

Too much advice can make you feel inadequate, our blogger writes. His advice? “Learn what you can from others, but don’t let their knowledge and opinions weigh on you or belittle your self confidence! There is no magic fly! No silver bullit!” Wise advice from a talented blogger!

In Pursuit of Spotties

pheasant tail nymph

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A white bead pheasant tail nymph, favoured by the grayling (the trout prefer pink)

“This is not the end,” blogger, Ben Lupton writes. It turns out he didn’t realise the trout season wasn’t over until the 30th October. Having previously thought it finished a month earlier, the good news could mean only one thing: a late season fly fishing trip to deepest East Anglia with friend, Tom.

Both using 8’4’’ rods, they took turns to fish almost identical flies, an Adams klinkhamer and copper beadhead pheasant tail nymph. We won’t spoil the story by telling you how many trout they caught between them, except to say Tom tends to lose count after five…

Ben’s blog is an excellent winter read, and it’s packed with photos that add to the narrative. This really is fly fishing blogging at its best.

Hillend Dabbler

hillend dabbler

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A postcard-worthy snap of Allan revisiting a remote loch in the Scottish Highlands

It was Prince Philip who introduced blogger Allan to the joys of fly fishing. Well sort of. The self styled, “Dabbler of Hillend” fell in love with the sport while preparing for his Duke of Edinburgh award when he was a boy. Since then, his enthusiasm for hill walking, fly fishing and fly tying has only grown.

Have you ever fancied getting your hands on a float tube? Allan’s recently got one. Find out how he got on when he tried it out at Loch Lilly, near Airdrie. His thoughts: “Perhaps I spent too much time moving around and maybe should have concentrated my efforts in some areas a little longer.” Tempting though, with all that manoeuvrability!

The next day though, Alan was back on his feet, leaving “armchair fishing” for another day while he and a friend hiked to a lochan west of Rannoch Moor. You’ll love his tale of his day’s fishing in the remote Scottish Highlands. Excellent blog.

Single Barbed

single barbed

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Phew, a nice addition to the tennis balls, Frisbee and shopping carts found in this lake!

“The only crime in fishing worse than being caught with live earthworms in your vest by your pals, is telling a fishing story poorly.” Wise words from blogger in search of an active verb to describe his recent fly fishing adventure. Did he hook, fight, play or dally with a 10lb bass? We’ll leave it to you to find out.

This is a US based fly fishing blog with a sense of humour whose writer, one K Barton, takes a quizzical look at his sport of choice. Not one to take himself too seriously, he reckons the only thing dumber than fish are anglers.

Fair enough, but there’s some great content here. For example, did you know in the USA “only four percent of the licensed anglers purchase a fishing license every year (10 out of 10 years)” check out K’s TOP GUN, THE BEST OF THE BEST to find out from where he gets his facts. Interesting stuff.

Small Stream Brown Trout Fishing

Death’s-head Hawk-moth

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This fascinating Death’s-head Hawk-moth image is one of many stunning photos on Richard’s blog
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Some incredible photos of large moths and larvae make this fly fishing blog a must. We’re talking elephants here! But don’t worry, there’s a great deal of excellent angling content too.

What’s the point of catch returns? blog author, Richard asks. Talking about his local club’s half mile beat that yielded a suspiciously bountiful 500 fish, he wonders how many are just the same trout being caught over and over again.

And how about this for a fishing adventure well worth checking out? A 5lb 8oz chub and a 4lb 12oz wild brown trout both in the same session. How did he do it? His top tip – take your time studying the water. Wise words indeed.

Ron’s Fishing

rons fishing

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Fine times on the Nant Moel reservoir

If you’re thinking of starting to tie your own flies, Kieron Jenkins’ fly tying videos are a great start. His fly tying videos are not only mesmerising, they’re a great guide to how to tie such beauties as the holographic cormorant and the yellow dancer.

Kieron’s built up a fine collection of flies, and his galleries of dries, jigs, lures and nymphs is a feast for the eyes. They’re also sure to entice the fish to the hook!
Ron’s Fishing isn’t all about the vice, though. He’s got some solid advice for winter trout anglers. Fish deep when the water’s cold, as often your quarry will be looking for warmer climes deeper in the swim. They want to be away from the chill as much as you do!

Brown Trout Fever – Rene Harrop

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For a fly fisherman living at high elevation, mood is generally dictated by distinct seasons. The pleasant days of early fall seem created for still water, and I am constantly distracted by what might be happening at Henry’s Lake.

As the days begin to cool and precipitation arrives more frequently, Baetis hatches and rising trout will occupy my mind well into October. But when the days are shortened by a south sliding sun and temperature dips nightly to below freezing, my passion for streamer fishing and big browns can border on obsession.

Morning in the canyon.

Morning in the canyon.

Made gentle by the lower flows of autumn, the lower Henry’s Fork becomes as accessible to the wading angler as at any point in the year, and brown trout activity becomes ignited by the spawning urge.

On any day of reasonable weather, I will be found somewhere above or below Ashton Reservoir where brown trout will migrate toward prime spawning water much like steelhead.

With a history of producing browns approaching 30 lbs, I fish an oversize streamer on a sturdy 7 weight fly fishing rod in constant anticipation of something larger than I have ever encountered near my home in Idaho.

Madame Brown Trout.

Madame Brown Trout.

As is nearly always the case when the objective is the biggest fish in the river, the action is seldom fast. Though there are times when I come up empty, I expect to tangle with at least one brown of 24 inches or better on any given day.

My favorite water type is a long run of moderate depth and current speed. A floating line allows a systematic probing of likely holding water with a variety of presentation techniques, which vary from dead drift to a rapid retrieve of the streamer. Generally, however, the best results are derived from a pulsing motion administered mainly with the rod tip and aided by a series of mends that will keep the fly swimming throughout the drift. And there is no setting the hook with this type of fishing – the fish is just on.

A brown trout that fell victim to a big streamer.

A brown trout that fell victim to a big streamer.

While I am sometimes joined by wife Bonnie, son Shayne or another family member, I often find myself alone on water that is usually deserted at this time of year. As shadows engulf the canyon at day’s end and the line begins to ice in the guides, I think of a winter that can arrive at any time. But it is the fever for brown trout that keeps me internally warmed and looking forward to just one more day.

Rene’ Harrop

November 2015

13 Brilliant Blogs From British Pikers

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Catch of the day

The pike season’s well under way, and doubtless you’re spending all your free time at the water with your flies, lures and baits to see how much you can improve your personal best by. If you’re rained out though, you might want to take a few tips from some other pikers.

We’ve found 13 of the best, so sit back, relax and read your fellow pikers’ tales and tips. Which is your favourite?

Andrew Black Fishing

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31lbs of angling satisfaction

“If you want to catch big pike, you have to fish for them”. Anglers’ Mail writer, Andrew Black’s pretty clear on that point, and for him that means being single minded and really working for those fish. Being first on the water, and travelling long distances are both very familiar for him.

Andrew’s pike season tends to start fairly early, in September. He has found, however, that the warmer waters mean that the fish are quite lively when feeding. They can engulf baits, which means your handling and unhooking methods need to be spot on for fish welfare. Check out his other observations, and don’t expect all your lures back in one piece!

Fishing later in the season can be unpredictable. Arriving at Chew in October felt like a bit of a chore to Andrew, but landing a 31lb pike at the end of the day just proves that you have to be there when the fish turn on, whether you feel like it or not!

An anglers dangling log

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A fine catch from the waterside

Once you’ve got your gear and have had a bit of instruction, you’re ready to go and fish on your own. But what kind of water is best? Jason Skilton’s quick guide to what the different kinds of waters have to offer pike anglers. Smaller waters (under 50 acres) and rivers are a good place to start, but the true monsters are to be found in the 100 acre-plus lakes and reservoirs.

Fishing is a way of life, rather than a hobby for Jason. His blow by blow accounts of battles with these predators are a great read, and the fact that he’s netting pike that he already knows from previous catches will raise a smile.

An active member of the Pike Angling Club, Jason spends a lot of time writing and debating burning angling issues. But, like any angler, he knows the importance of getting the “Fix”. Even with a quick two hour excursion, he can still inspire you with his catch of pike, perch and chub!

Danny’s Angling blog

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Pike-fishing crazy!

After years spent fishing for dace and chub, blogger, Danny had many run ins with the predatorial pike, so rather than let it spoil his angling, he put together a pike rod and started fishing for them instead!

If you’re looking for ways to increase your deadbait’s effectiveness, Danny’s got a good tip: pike oil injected into deadbait will disperse in the water and exploit the fish’s sense of smell, attracting them to your line. Oil’s now a must have in his armoury!

You can’t question Danny’s commitment to the sport. A pre-dawn run-in with the Police when he was digging out a peg in the dark worked out fine in the end, but his comment about burying a body might not have gone down too well!

Crooked Lines

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Dominic Garnett – author, angler

Even when he’s laid up with man-flu, “Tangles with Pike” author, Dominic Garnett, is still thinking about fishing, and his reviews of “The One That Got Away” and “Fallon’s Angler” will give you some good ideas of which fishing book to pick up next.

Dominic’s happier when he’s fishing, though. His love of being in the water shines through in his ‘Wading into trouble’ post. He guarantees you’ll find seldom-touched waters if you get a pair of waders, find the rough bits, and “get used to the feeling of cold water up to your bollocks”.

Even though Dominic’s not a bailiff, he still cares about the fish. He managed to send one angler packing from a steep bank on the Somerset levels, after he turned up with no net or landing mat. As Dominic says: “until all of us start challenging such poor practise the result will be dead and damaged fish”

Predator People

Your guide to the Norfolk Broads

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Your guide to the Norfolk Broads

Norfolk fishing guide Allan Griffiths takes his clients out on the Broads all year round. He’ll often send them home with a new PB, after having caught some of the monster Norfolk pike, with plenty of high doubles and twenties to be had.

It’s not always a simple day on the water, however. Read Allan’s spooky tale of a Christmas past, where he dreamt he was a lowly serf, employed to take his master’s guests hunting and fishing. His story of a 55lb pike and a ghostly girl will send a shiver up your spine.

Allan’s nightmares aren’t just in his sleep, and it’s more than the pike that sometimes frustrate him. How would you feel if you were out fishing and an otter turned out to be your biggest competitor, dragging a 5lb fish onto the bank right in front of you?

North East Piker

yorkshire pike

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Fine fishing on Yorkshire waters

Outfished by a kingfisher on the opposite bank, Yorkshire angler, Darren Roberts switched from dead to live bait, and within half an hour, he had 14lb 6 of pike in his net! The kingfisher probably had the better outing though, because that was Darren’s only notable catch that day.

Darren’s another angler who’s aggrieved by nature’s fishing competitors. In his ‘Otter Devastation’ post, he shows a series of pictures of bream and a pike double that have suffered the jaws of the fisherman’s foe.

A dab hand in the DIY department, Darren also makes some of his own tackle. Moulded leads, dowel floats and bleach bottle drifters are all part of his repertoire – check them out and see if you can make some yourself!

Ordinary Angler

predator fishing

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A satisfying predator catch!

After slashing his thumb to bits unhooking a young pike, angler, Ian Firkins thought he’d had his share of accidents for the day. He hadn’t finished with disaster though, as he also stepped on his glasses, and lost more blood to an incident with another pike’s gill rakers!

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Ian’s accident prone. After a pike tried to nab a roach from the line as it was being lifted from the water, Ian managed to net a couple of decent perch. The pike took its turn in the net, but got its revenge, sinking its teeth into Ian’s hand. He still had a numb thumb at the end of the day – let’s hope there’s no permanent damage.

Ian’s no stranger to the early mornings, sometimes leaving at 5:30am to get to the River Soar. It doesn’t always result in mega catches, but he does get some interesting fishing in. Read how leapfrogging his rods gave him a couple of good catches, but also a frustrating pike unhooking itself on the margins

Pike Anglers club

pac member

Image source:
PAC member Phil Wakeford with a fine specimen

Whether you’re a record-breaking expert, or an absolute novice, you’re welcome at the PAC. Uniting pike anglers across the UK, the club holds an annual Convention, as well as organising several events offering privileged access to top venues including the Lake of Menteith and Boddington reservoir.

Whether you’re a member or not though, there’s plenty on the site for you. PAC offers helpful advice on handling pike which is invaluable to the newer pike angler. Always have your unhooking and weighing equipment ready and to hand – it’s better to save time when you’ve netted your catch than to mess around and risk stressing the fish more than necessary.

If you want to write about your pike fishing adventures, PAC welcomes submissions for Pikelines, their quarterly magazine. Whether you want to write about a memorable catch or days fishing, submit photographs, or write a more technical piece, new authors and photographers are given every encouragement and assistance. Write on!

Pike Blog

brian roberts

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Pike blog – it’s not written by the pike!

Another early-rising piker, Brian Roberts’ recent 4am journey’s start to the Test Valley resulted in a fine day’s fishing. The pike there don’t top a double, but they put up a good fight on a light lure set up. 8 jacks gave Brian 221/2lb to add to his Predator Challenge.

An accomplished cartoonist, Brian’s series ‘Jack’s Pike’ makes regular appearances on his blog. Follow the capers of Jack, his friend Bob, and Jack’s long-suffering wife Tracy as Jack takes on everything the river can challenge him with!

Speaking of rivers’ challenges, beware the temptation to find another swim if your current one’s quiet! Brian was only away exploring for two minutes before his friend had to hit a 16lb 12 pike on his rig rather than risk it being deep-hooked. His friend, Paulos, said he felt guilty – but do we believe him?

Pike Angler

andy webster

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Andy Webster and a sunny 16lb 4 pike

Piker, Andy Webster has firmly established himself as a pike authority. Not content with having a wealth of articles in his ‘Ask Pike Angler‘ section, where he offers advice to those who write in, he’s also compiled a huge ‘getting started’ archive for newcomers to the sport.

Not sure which deadbait to use? Andy’s got you covered, with clear descriptions of a range of sea and coarse deadbaits. Whether you want to experiment with whole baits or just sections of fish, you’ll find all the info you need here.

There’s more than just advice in this comprehensive blog. Andy also keeps you up to date with Pike Angling Club meetings around the country with his events page. If you’re not up for the travel though, his Pike Forum has over a thousand members for you to get to know and chat about piking with!

Sam Edmonds Fishing Blog

sam edmonds

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Sam with his PB 30lb 2 pike

20-year-old Sam Edmonds has been fishing almost since birth. He’s got a fishing crazy dad, and they spend a lot of time out on the water together. An all-rounder, Sam’s also the 2010 Youth National Flyfishing Champion, and won Gold in the Youth International in 2012.

Youth is no problem for Sam. He’s a consultant for Pure Fishing’s lure brands, and he’s now competing as an adult as part of the Team England Lure Squad.

Set to become one of the UKs fishing celebrities, Sam’s been featured in Sky Sport’s Tightlines podcast more than once. In the meantime, there are still plenty of fish to catch. Sam and the team didn’t do too brilliantly in the Lure Fishing World Championships this year, but undaunted, he’s back out on the Thames hunting more pike!

The Pike Pool

pete foster and pike

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Pike Pool’s Pete Foster, proud with his catch

Written and compiled by members of the popular pikers’ forum, The Pikers Pit, the Pike Pool has a wealth of piking stories. Read about the tenacious John Currie’s early adventures of urban fishing as a child, before settling in Norfolk and becoming involved in piking and water conservation there.

On the other side of the country, Fish Management student, James Sarkar pikes the Severn for the fit, lean fish there. He’s even out in the freezing cold, but it seems it’s all worth it – he took his first twenty in the snow!

More recently, Jason Skilton netted a Chew Valley record pike at 44lb 6! Few anglers get to see such a magnificent beast even once in their lives, let alone twice. So, imagine his astonishment when, during a trip to Heron’s Green Bay with a friend, Kristian a few months later, Kristian managed a 40+! You can’t get much better than that!


mcfluffchucker flies

Image source: McFluffchucker
Fly tying the McFluffchucker way

Dave Lindsay’s starter pike fly kit guide is about the most comprehensive you’ll find. With rods, reels and lines all covered, you’ll have no problem getting started with his recommendations.

Going deeper into the world of angling gear, Dave ties bright and beautiful pike flies, such as the flaming dizzbuster rattlehead, the ghost and the slim jim. He even makes videos of his fly tying for you to watch and learn from.

Not all of his time is spent tying at the vice, though. Dave also writes about his times fishing the lochs of Scotland, and his passion for fish welfare is second to none. Handling your catch in the right way is important, but preparing your fly rig correctly is also vital.

Which Angling Conservation Groups Would You Join?

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Image source: Fishtec Blog Our waters are worth looking after.

Image source: Fishtec Blog
Our waters are worth looking after.

Fishing conservation goes beyond buying a rod license. Yet 56% of anglers don’t support any kind of conservation group, according to a recent Fishtec survey.

Anglers tend to care about the environment than most people, but there’s always more to do. To help you get involved, we’ve shortlisted some of the best UK fishing conservation groups and highlighted some of the great work they do.

If you’re not sure what else to add to your Christmas list, add membership to one of these groups. It’s the ideal way to give your support.

Wild Trout Trust

fish pass

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The WTT team install a fish pass on the River Hamble

Did you know the British Brown trout is more genetically diverse than the whole human race put together? Check out the Wild Trout Trust website for all everything you ever wanted to know about one of our favourite fish.

Fancy getting your hands wet (and dirty) in the name of conservation? If so the Wild Trout Trust is for you. A grassroots organisation dedicated to looking after the nation’s wild trout, here you’ll also find a wealth of opportunities to get stuck in.

And there are plenty of resources for anyone who just wants to gen up on UK river ecosystems. The Wild Trout Trust isn’t an angling organisation – but as you’d expect, many of its members are avid anglers. Tempted to join this enthusiastic community of river guardians? We don’t blame you.

Salmon and Trout Conservation UK

salmon run

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Salmon running the Hampshire Avon – numbers still need to rise

Would it surprise you to learn that less than a quarter of rivers in England and Wales meet the Government’s own “good ecological status”? It’s because of the degradation of river environments that salmon runs are down by as much as 80% over the past 20 years.

If you think it’s time to do something to reverse the damage to our rivers, Salmon and Trout Conservation UK offers a chance to learn more, and lend a helping hand. There’s a blog too, which offers fascinating insights into the work of the charity – if you thought black box recorders were only for the aviation industry, think again.

First formed in 1903, the S&TC UK campaigns for sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. As a conservation minded angler, make sure you check out their section on how you can do your bit.

The Canal and River Trust

canal fishing

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Canal fishing remains possible because of the CRT’s dedicated work

“We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.” As an angler you’re sure to appreciate the work of the Canal and River Trust.

They’re the charity that cares for 2000 miles of rivers and canals across the country.
And because they also look after the vast network of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs, they’re always looking for people willing to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.

Of course you can always show your appreciation for the charity’s work by becoming a friend of the Trust. In return, you’ll receive discounts at Trust museums and attractions, a free magazine, book of “CoolCanals” walks and a pin badge and car sticker!

Shark Trust

Basking shark

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Basking shark are regular visitors to UK waters

Often demonised for their sharp toothed savagery, if you’ve ever wondered who is standing up for this vital apex predator, wonder no more. The Shark Trust has been helping to save the shark through science, education, influence and action since 1997.

If you’re a sea angler or just someone who loves to visit the coast, you can help the Shark Trust by joining in the ‘great eggcase hunt’. It’s a data gathering exercise to establish the distribution and abundance of egg cases from shark, ray and skates

The info will help scientists work out the best places to campaign for protected nurseries. So what are you waiting for? Check out the Shark Trust’s projects page for more details and get hunting.

Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society


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An 11 – six bass, released without being landed

UK Bass is all about anglers looking out for the interests of the fish they love to catch. Members adhere to a rigorous code of conduct, sticking to the society’s 48cm size limit for fish caught for the table and recommending a maximum take of two fish per day and only ten a year.

Even if you’re not thinking of joining, it’s worth thinking about adopting the same policy. Bass stocks really are under pressure so it’s up to all anglers to do their bit. If you’d like to get involved, UK Bass supports the SOS Save Our Sea bass campaign.

Members get a quarterly magazine, but anyone visiting the site has access to a wealth of information about bass. This is a must for sea anglers.

Marine Conservation Society

mcsuk beach clean

Image source: Lauren Davis,
MCSUK members on the Great British Beach Clean

“Our seas are under immense pressure: too many fish are being taken out, too much rubbish is being thrown in and too little is being done to protect our precious marine wildlife and vital fish stocks.”

Agree? You’ll be interested in the work of the Marine Conservation Society. Check out their beach clean map to find an event near you, or if wildlife spotting is your thing, there’s a ‘report your sightings’ page that tells you what to spot and where to record it.

And if you want to make sure the fish you eat is sustainable, make sure you check out the Fish Online section for the lowdown on the fish on the end of your fork.

Angling Trust

gravel riffle angling trust

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Angling Trust members creating a gravel riffle to aid spawning habitat

The national governing body for all angling, the Angling Trust fights against pollution, over-fishing, over-abstraction, poaching and many other other threats to angling.

And the Trust battles to keep fisheries open too. If you’ve noticed new signs on the harbour wall or town pier, by the banks of a town centre river or canal – banning fishing, it’s good to know someone is standing up for anglers’ rights.

Competitive angler? Check out the competition news page for results and write ups from comps across the country.

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

parr tagging

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Tagging parr in Frome

Good land management and healthy rivers go hand in hand, which is why the work of the Game and Wildlife Trust matters to us as anglers.

Affiliated to the Atlantic Salmon Trust, GWCT believe passionately that those who enjoy shooting and fishing have a valuable part to play in conserving the countryside for future generations.

The Trust employs over 100 scientists and staff and currently run over 60 research projects often in collaboration with universities. All that work costs money, much of which comes from members’ subscriptions. If you’d like to join you’re sure to be warmly received and the Trust is always on the lookout for volunteers.

Blue Ventures

octopus fisherman

Image source: copyright Garth Cripps/ Blue Ventures
Not the average river catch…

The octopus fishermen of Madagascar owe the resurgence of their vital, life sustaining fishery to a small charity dedicated to helping coastal communities in the tropics manage their marine resources with conservation in mind.

When charity workers persuaded one village to temporarily close a section of reef for fishing, octopus stocks bounced right back. Now the practise has gone viral with communities up and down the coast copying the strategy to great effect.

With marine conservation a hot topic here in the UK, the work of this group is very relevant to those of us who fish in cooler climes too. Big change can indeed grow from small changes. As the guys at Blue Ventures say: “taking less from our ocean can give us much much more.

The Rivers Trust

 river angling

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River angling – what better way to spend a day?

With river trusts popping up all over the country, the Rivers Trust is an umbrella body which offers the opportunity for affiliates to share information and resources. As an Angler, you’ll be interested in the work of the organisation because of its role in developing ideas, best practices and policy guidance.

You’ll find a host of resources here including this excellent animated guide to the water cycle – great for educating your kids. And there’s a newsletter you can sign up to receive – great for keeping up to date with the Trust’s work around the country.

The Rivers Trust has a reputation as a body of doers who like to get their feet wet, and no wonder because anglers are among the core members of many rivers trusts around Britain. If you’d like to know more, make sure you checkout the projects page to see all the projects with which the Trust is currently involved.

The Grayling Society

grayling fishing

Image source:
Idyllic grayling fishing

Here’s a great opportunity to deepen your knowledge of one of our most beautiful wild game fish. The Grayling Society has been working since 1977 to keep like minded anglers informed about grayling conservation and fishing.

Becoming a member is a great way to forge links with fellow grayling enthusiasts both here and around the world.

And if you’d like to learn more about catching the ‘lady of the stream’, there’s an informative angling page, complete with video on how to catch the beautiful grayling.

The Riverfly Partnership


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The mayfly – a common sight on our rivers

They’re often called the “canary of the river”, and with good cause too. River flies and invertebrates are at the heart of the river ecosystem. A vital link in the aquatic food chain, with no flies, there would be no fly fishing.

So thank goodness there’s an organisation committed to looking after the interests of this often neglected aspect of river conservation.

How would you like to contribute to keeping our waterways teeming with healthy insect life? The Riverfly Partnership provides one-day workshops to fishing clubs and other groups to help you monitor and report on the biological quality of your local rivers.

Countryside Alliance


Image source: Countryside Alliance
A fishing lesson from the Countryside Alliance

If you live in a rural area or even if you don’t you’ll be surprised just how much work the group does campaigning for better policing, planning, affordable housing, fuel and digital communications for the countryside.

Far from being a one issue organisation, the Countryside Alliance is all about traditional values, thriving rural communities, and economies and sustainable countryside management. With over 100,000 members the Alliance represents the interests of a broad swathe of countryside lovers.

And as an angler, you’ll appreciate the work of the Alliance’s Foundation, which gives young people the chance to try their hand at fishing through its Fishing for Schools programme. The Countryside Alliance is a great organisation well worth a look.

Wye Salmon Association

learning to fish

Image source: Wye Salmon Association
Learning to fish on the Wye

Until the early 1990s, the annual rod catch of salmon in the Wye would regularly hit the 7000 mark. By 2010, that figure had plummeted to just 450 fish. but now the Wye Salmon Association is fighting back.

There’s not much they can do about global warming or sea survival, but they can influence what happens in the Wye valley. The Association campaigns tirelessly to return the river to its former glory.

The website’s news page makes for interesting reading – a true snapshot of the myriad issues that river conservationists face. From hatchery and stocking debates to poaching, it’s a real eye opener and relevant to anglers everywhere.

National Anguilla Club

chris mason eel

Image source: National Aguilla Club
NAC member Chris Mason with a fine catch!

And now for something completely different! How about trying your hand at eel angling? The National Anguilla Club was formed in 1962 and is one of the Nation’s oldest single specimen associations.

Back in the 60s there were 95% more eels than there are now, and while the Anguilla Club has always been interested in the study of this extraordinary and intriguing creature, these days the club is very much a conservation group.

But that doesn’t mean they no longer fish for our slippery friends, just that they always practise catch and release. A fantastic resource for anyone interested in the life of one of the most enigmatic inhabitants of our rivers and streams.

The Barbel Society


Image source: Barbel Society
Avon barbel double and rod of choice

Angers are often conservationists too, and the fishermen of the Barbel Society surely number among the most passionate advocates of sustainable fisheries. The founding members of the organisation realised way back in the early 1990s that widening participation in the sport had to go hand in hand with effective management strategies to limit the pressure on the aquatic environment and fish stocks.

This website reflects the wide ranging interests of barbel anglers. You can read back issues of Barbel Fisher magazine, catch up with Society news through the e-newsletter and hone your barbelling knowledge and skills

There’s even an informative barbel handling video so you can make sure your prize catch returns to the water unharmed to grow even bigger. A great resource.

Wade Through The Debate – Felt vs Rubber

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wading boots underwater

these boots are made for wading…

Should you give your felt wading boots the boot? Damp felt soles can harbour invasive species of flora and fauna that destroy native river ecosystems. And as anglers tramp from swim to swim, they can spread damaging plant and animal life far and wide.

In fact, the issue is so serious that in New Zealand and some US states, felt soled wading boots are banned outright. In the UK, the Stop the Spread campaign highlights the dangers posed by non-native species. They say: “We are seeing fisheries in rivers and lakes being destroyed.” So should you take the next step and bin felt in favour of rubber?

The Environmental Issue

So, a few sneaky species make their way into our waterways. Is it really such a big deal? Yes it is – without natural controls to keep them in check, non-native flora and fauna spread disease and outcompete our native species for space and food.

Take the aptly named killer shrimp. A highly aggressive predator, it’s one of the most damaging invasive species in Western Europe and can spread at an estimated 124 km downstream each year. How? It’s facilitated by human activities, like angling and watersports.

In a study conducted by scientists in New Zealand, researchers tested the survival rate of the invasive algae Didymosphenia geminata on a variety of different materials. They discovered felt soles harbour the cells “much more successfully” than all the other materials they tested, including rubber.

The Stop the Spread campaign advises anglers to Check, Clean and Dry their kit. But the researchers in New Zealand discovered that because dense felt is so hard to dry thoroughly, it kept algae alive for at least 36 hours, with the potential to sustain the invaders for weeks.

But if felt is so damaging to the environment, is rubber a viable alternative for anglers?


felt and rubber sole wading boots

Image source: Kenny Clarke
both types have been extensively tested

Facing an outright ban on felt soled waders, anglers in the US were forced to make the switch to rubber. So let’s find out how they got on.
Alaskan blogger Tom Chandler carried out a year-long test on rubber and studded rubber boots. His conclusion?

“Studded rubber soles offer a practical, all-around substitute for felt and studded felt.”
The clear winner for him was The Orvis Studded Rubber Ecotrax Soles, thanks to their “aggressive, four-bladed stud design.”

But not everyone agrees that rubber can match felt for grip on slippery surfaces. Take US based outdoor writer and photographer, Zach Matthews, who writes that despite efforts by manufacturers:

“no rubber boot made to date can match (or frankly even come close to matching) felt soles for traction. Consequently, slips and falls with rubber soled boots are absolutely more common than they would be if everyone used felt.”

Which is why if you do go for a pair of rubber boots, wading studs become an important consideration

Hey, stud

As Steve Zakur, who writes for US angling mag, Hatch Magazine says: “like all rubber soles some sort of grip augmentation is recommended.” Though of course the noise of your cleats grinding against submerged rocks might spook the fish.

You can either add studs yourself or buy pre-studded boots. But a word of caution if you decide to take the DIY route – it’s all too easy to put a stud in the wrong place and find you’ve gone right through the sole!

A final word

fisherman's boots

Image Source: shinyredtype/ Flickr
best boots for the bank?

There are of course many other ways non-native algae and other invasive creatures can spread from one waterway to another, and anglers’ felt soled wading boots are only a small part of the problem. But if you do decide to make the transition to rubber – always buy the best boots you can. As Bankrunner, a member of the fishing forum, writes:

“Get mid to high end quality boots if you are going to spend time on the river.”

And while he admits his fancy boots haven’t helped him catch more fish, at least, he says: “my feet were comfortable.”

An important consideration, indeed!

Autumn Salmon – Ups and Downs

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The game fishing season is pretty much over for the vast majority of us, unless you are lucky enough happen to live in the south West of England. Game fishing expert, instructor and fishing tackle consultant Chris Ogborne explores the ups and downs of autumnal salmon fishing in his latest blog post.

Late season fishing in Cornwall

Late season fishing in Cornwall

As many friends and clients keep reminding me, I’m a very lucky man! Not just because I live in Cornwall, one of the loveliest counties in England, but also because I have top quality fishing available to me in pretty much every month of the year.

Sea fishing is almost year-round, brown trout on rivers and moorland lakes enjoys a long season, and our salmon fishing doesn’t end until a week before Christmas. My home River Camel closes on 15th December so in the next few weeks I’m going to be enjoying some late sport in glorious surroundings and amongst the stunning autumn colours.

Of course there are compromises to be made at this time of year. You need to accept that conditions are not the same as high summer so you need to adjust your thinking and make some sensible provisions. Here are the key tips in enjoying autumnal sport:

Clothing: as always, the key to staying comfortable is layers. I’ll be using my Airtex jacket but varying the under-layers to suit conditions. The trick is to stay warm and dry but also to avoid bulk, which impairs movement   Remember that a comfortable angler is always a more effective angler.

Clothing is the key - the Airtex jacket in action.

Clothing is the key – the Airtex jacket in action.

Be prepared:  I like to travel light when I can, but at this time of year you need to have a flask of something warm with you. My Airflo FlyDri ruck sack is a brilliant companion as it easily swallows lunch, flasks, and gear, as well as the vital extra clothing layers

Hooks:  I’m increasingly using single hooks on spinners and baits as this has many advantages. It makes it easier to release the occasional ( and inevitable) brown trout, but it’s also easier to avoid the leaves and debris that can dog autumn fishing. Single hooks are a lot kinder on the fish than trebles and it turns the catch and release process into a doddle.

A single hook meant this late season salmon went back quickly and easily

A single hook meant this late season salmon went back quickly and easily

Timing: much has been written over the years about Salmon taking times and the consensus is that there is simply no golden rule! Salmon are fickle fish in so many ways and can take a bait at any time of day but for me there’s a clear preference for mid morning in autumn   If there’s fresh water in the river I like to make sure I’m on the water between 10am and midday. It’s proved effective on too many occasions to ignore!

Fly or spin?

Fly or spin?

Fly or Spin? The eternal quandary and there’s no fixed advice. My river Camel is smaller than most and there are only a few places where fly is practical, or even possible For that reason I generally use spin as the default choice, with the bonus that it allows me to fish so much more water. On larger rivers you may have the luxury of more space so enjoy the fly when you can.

Watch the weather - a storm is brewing!

Watch the weather – a storm is brewing!

Watch the weather! For autumn fishing, weather holds the key. Fish languishing out in the estuary mouth will eagerly run in even a little fresh water, but the up- side of an autumn storm is that it will almost certainly bring some fish into the system. The river Camel is often like a cross between a spate and a free stone and the fish run long and fast. We’ve caught sea-liced fish 20 miles from the sea and given the restricted life of these parasites in fresh water this confirms that the salmon can and will run the whole river in very quick time.

Know when to stop! I love my fishing as much as anyone, but usually come mid afternoon I’ve had enough and I reckon the fish have too! Unlike summer fishing when I’ll happily fish into the gloom, at this time of year I’m generally heading home by 4pm for the early bath. Of course there could be an element of catch 22 in this advice, but I rarely hear tales from fellow anglers about success after this time.

Above all, enjoy the sport at this amazing time of year. This autumn is giving us some truly spectacular colours and surely there is no finer place to be when the sun is shining!

Tightlines, Chris Ogborne

Dangerous Fishing Videos

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calm fishing day

A day’s fishing starts calmly enough…

Fishing can be a dangerous and terrifying sport. It might not seem that way when you’re sat by the bank of a gentle river, sipping coffee from your heated flask. But while you’re quietly waiting for a nibble, spare a thought for anglers across the globe who regularly battle the elements and some truly terrifying denizens of the water.

We’ve trawled the Internet and found six videos which show just how dangerous fishing can be. Next time you’re out by (or in) the water, remember what some anglers have to go through in pursuit of their hobby.

It’s angry, it’s got teeth, and it’s flying right at you

Some might argue that the best place for a furious, razor-toothed barracuda is on the other end of a very long line. The 40lb fish Kevin Faver has hooked has other ideas, however.

Introducing the magical disappearing tuna

Leandro probably started packing a harpoon into his kayak after videoing this particular sea fishing trip. There’s a bite on his line and he’s seconds from pulling it aboard. He’s not the only one eyeing the prize, however, and anything can happen in a few seconds. Stay with this one; at 5:20 there’s another incident that surprises Leandro!

When the ocean tries to catch you

Rock fishing is officially one of Australia’s most dangerous sports. That’s impressive, considering the number of risky things you can do Down Under. This video perfectly illustrates just how extreme conditions can be. Would you risk it for a big catch?

Swimming for your life

If you had a carp on your line and it pulled you into the water, you’d be a little red-faced. If it was a great white shark, you’d be swimming for your life. Kayaker Ben Chancey isn’t deterred by his brush with this furious killer, however. Watch as he hops back into his kayak like nothing’s happened.


How strong is your stomach? You need to be pretty hardcore if you’re going to watch this video. Tim Wells is about to gut a piranha which he thinks is long-dead. Start from the beginning if you want to see a close-up of piranha teeth, or skip to 3.30 and listen out for the crunch to see exactly what those gnashers can do.

Remember: this clip is not for the fainthearted.

Spanish mackerel obliterated by shark

You have to hand it to these anglers – they don’t let anything faze them. They continue fishing despite multiple sharks circling their boat. The sharks aren’t going to let an easy meal get away, either.

Cover the kids’ ears if they’re close by while you watch this one…

Got a fisherman’s tale to tell?

Angling isn’t always the relaxing sport it’s made out to be. We’ve seen crazy weather and a lot of close encounters with big hungry fish. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the places a hook can get stuck.

Have you had a close call while out fishing? Head over to the Fishtec Facebook page and share your story with us.

The Salmon Fishing Fantasy Grand Slam

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A Pacific salmon. Photo: Curtis Smith

A Pacific salmon. Photo: Curtis Smith

The IGFA’s Grand Slam Club honors the impressive task of an angler catching a collection of different game fish species in a single day. Grand slams require an incredible combination of both luck and skill to achieve, sometimes even more than landing a record sized fish. Club members receive a custom, hand signed certificate, and are permanently listed online and in IGFA’s World Record Game Fishes book.

To qualify for the very exclusive IGFA Grand Slam Clubs, you have to catch three species in one day for a Grand Slam, four different species for a Super Grand Slam, and five different species for a Fantasy Slam.

UK angler Stephen Edmondson achieved what is possibly the most difficult of them all on his latest adventure – a salmon fantasy grand slam!

Stephen dropped us this email after he returned from his fishing trip:

”I have recently returned from British Columbia where I was fly fishing for salmon. One day I had the good fortune to hook and land all 5 species of salmon including a near 40 lb Chinook! This is officially known as a ‘Fantasy Slam ‘ recognised by the IGFA. The outfit I was using was an Airflo 13’ #8/9 7 piece Journeyman rod with an Airflo Skagit fly line and 15lb tippet. I thought this might be of interest to yourselves because the rod endured several more hefty Kings as well as numerous Chums over the week!”

Check out Stephen’s fantasy Slam:

1. Chinook Salmon

1. Chinook (king) Salmon

2. Coho Salmon

2. Coho Salmon

3. Pink salmon

3. Pink salmon

4. Chum Salmon

4. Chum Salmon

5. Sockeye salmon

5. Sockeye salmon

We offer our congratulations to Stephen for his entry to the IGFA salmon fantasy slam club. This is one outstanding achievement, especially as fly fishing tackle was used. As we understand it a salmon grand slam is an extremely rare occurrence. According to online reports and the IGFA website there are just two other anglers listed in the club.