Beginners guide to float fishing – waggler floats

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bream caught on waggler

A nice small water bream to a very simple waggler rig.

The sight of a dipping float is something that sums up the excitement of coarse fishing. Learn to fish the waggler, and you’ll have a method that will work on countless waters for all manner of species, and bring you that excitement wherever you fish.

Fishing For Dummies and Canal Fishing author Dominic Garnett provides an easy-to-follow guide to waggler float fishing.

What is a waggler?

There are various types of float used in coarse fishing, but the waggler is perhaps the most popular these days. They’re easy to set up, and allow for a stable, relatively tangle-free presentation that works with all kinds of baits on all kinds of fisheries. So what exactly is a waggler?

In simple terms, wagglers are floats that are attached by the bottom end only. This makes them easy to rig, because you can simply pinch them in place on your main line with split shot. This type of float also gives good stability, with the angler able to sink the line into the water, beating surface tow and debris.

Which waggler to choose?

types of waggler

There’s a wide selection of wagglers

Walk into any tackle shop and you’ll see various waggler floats to cater for different fishing scenarios. It’s well worth buying a variety of wagglers to suit various uses. You might be fishing right at your feet one session and casting well out into a stiff wind the next, with each scenario requiring quite a different float. There are several kinds of waggler to look out for:

canal wagglers

Canal and mini wagglers

A: Canal & Mini Wagglers are for fishing sensitively, usually at close range. They are often tapered and have a fairly fine tip. These are great for fishing on natural stillwaters and canals, where species such as roach, skimmers and crucians can be shy biting. Short versions like those shown also make sense for shallow water, where you don’t want a long or heavy float crashing down each cast.

insert wagglers

Insert wagglers

B: Insert Wagglers: Come in many sizes, but have a noticeably finer tip section or “insert”. This aids sensitivity for spotting gentle bites, although larger models can still be cast quite a distance.

Straight wagglers

Straight wagglers

C: Straight Wagglers: As the name sounds, these floats are straight, and have a thicker tip than insert models. These are sensible floats to use when you need extra stability; for example, when wind or tow will pull a skinny tip under and give false bites. The longer, larger floats can handle blustery conditions and be cast a fair distance. Some also have little “bodies” or thicker sections to offer even more casting weight and stability.

loaded and pellet wagglers

Loaded and pellet wagglers

D: Loaded and Pellet Wagglers: Some wagglers are weighted or “loaded” at the bottom, or come in much chunkier dimensions to allow longer casts made. These are excellent for aiming at distant features such as islands, and are often used for carp with slow sinking baits.

Typical Waggler Fishing Tackle

pellett waggler

Image source: UK Match Angler
A pellett waggler, hard at work!

The best rods for waggler fishing are float or match rods, although you will also get away with a light spinning rod for fishing close to the bank. However, ideally a float rod will be 12 or 13 feet long and suited to use with lines of 4-8lb breaking strain.

Many quite powerful “Carp match” or “power match” rods exist these days, and are ideal for commercial fisheries stocked with hard-fighting carp. Lighter rods that are ideal for natural venues and species such as roach and rudd are less commonly available, but a lighter rod is a lovely tool to use on canals and rivers.

It’s best to combine the rod with a small to mid sized reel, loaded with quality line (avoid cheap mono at all costs!). 5-6lbs main line would be typical where species such as carp and tench are the staple, or 3-4 lbs strength for silver fish and bream, where the odd bonus might show up.

Last but not least, it is always worth using a hook length (a foot or so of finer, more sensitive line to which the hook is tied). Not only will this give you better presentation (fish are less able to detect thinner line), but means that should you snag up, you will only lose a hook, not your whole rig. You can tie these yourself, but they also come ready-tied for convenience.

Tackle and typical waggler rigs

fishing tackle


Setting up a waggler rig isn’t rocket science, but the way you do this can be crucial to success. While not essential, it’s very helpful to use a float adaptor. This is a little silicone sleeve which accepts any waggler float.

The adaptor allows you to change your float at a moment’s notice without starting all over again. For example, you might decide to switch to a larger float to combat wind, or to make longer casts.

First, attach your waggler by trapping it onto your main reel line with split shot. Most floats will tell you how many shot are required by the numbers and letters written on the side (for example “3BB” or “5AA”).

A good general rule is to trap the float in place with at least two thirds of the required shot. This is because having most of the weight in one place helps with casting; lots of shot scattered down the line tend to cause tangles.

Attach your shot snugly to the line, but avoid squeezing them on so tightly that they’re fixed. You should be able to move them along the line to adjust the depth.

waggler on line

A balanced waggler outfit, ready for action


With your float secured in place, you will also need to attach some shot down the line, to help sink the bait and indicate bites. A few smaller weights (typically sizes 4, 6 and 8) will be much better for this than one or two larger samples. If you want the bait to get down quickly, try a little “bulk” of shot clustered together a foot to eighteen inches from the hook.

If you want a slower sinking bait, for example when you can see fish such as rudd or roach swimming higher in the water, try spacing the shot out evenly (see drawn illustration below).

Last but not least, you’ll also notice that we always set up with a final, small shot just 2-3 inches from the hook (usually a size 8,9 or 10 shot). It might be the least visible, but this little shot (often called the “tell tale shot”) is so, so important.

Why, exactly? Because when a fish takes the bait, this little shot also moves and gives you an early indication that you have a bite; without it, you will spot bites late, leading to more missed and deep-hooked fish.

waggler rigs plumbing depth

Try a “bulk” of shot to get down quickly; or space evenly for a slower fall of the bait.

Basic Waggler fishing skills

Many new and inexperienced anglers just want to cast their float as far as possible. However, the best advice on most popular day ticket lakes would be to start much closer in, because there will often be many more fish right by the bank and close to marginal features.

Sometimes you might fish off the bottom when fish are cruising in midwater, or even fish “overdepth” with a little line on the bottom if it is too windy to keep the bait still. Most of the time, however, it is best to start with the bait just about touching the bottom. This ensures that any bites you get will quickly be transmitted to the float tip.

Plumbing the depths

Sussing out the depth of your chosen spot is a vital skill. Too many anglers either don’t bother, rush the job, or get it wrong. Do take your time, because there is a huge difference between having the depth spot on and “about right.”

The easiest way to test the depth with a waggler is to carefully pinch a larger shot, such as an AA, onto the final inch of line right next to the hook before casting out and observing what happens. If the float plunges down and out of sight, you are set too shallow and should move the float away from the hook.

If the opposite happens,and the float sits up too high or even lies flat, you have too much line between float and hook and must narrow the gap. Adjust this length carefully, until just the very tip of the float shows and you have the right depth.

Be warned though, you must give a little slack line when testing the depth. This avoids creating a diagonal angle between hook and float and getting an inaccurate reading.

You’ll find it much easier to get the exact depth closer in – and it’s also worth spending a few minutes trying different spots around your swim and seeing how the depth changes. This can give you some handy answers to important questions. How deep is the water right by the bank? How deep is it two or three rod lengths out? Does the depth drop away suddenly or gradually? Answer these kinds of questions, and you will be able to catch more fish!

Where to begin

A good starting point for your waggler fishing session is often to try just down the “shelf”, where the margin drops away into slightly deeper water, often between one and two rod lengths out. In warm weather, fish like carp might come right under your feet; in the winter, you may fare better by fishing deeper water.

Once you’re happy with where you want to fish, it’s time to add some bait. Start with a small handful of samples, but be prepared to keep adding a small amount to this at regular intervals.

Spotting Bites and Striking

action on the waggler

The author plays a good fish on the waggler; in this case a tench, hooked in deep water with a long bodied float

Bites can vary a lot between different fish species. The classic movement will be the float just pulling straight under – for fish like carp and tench it’s best to ignore the tiny movements, and wait for this to happen before striking.

Other bites can be cagier, however, with the float “taking a walk” but not submerging. Sometimes the float can even lift slightly. Experience and practise will tell you when to strike, but with shy-biting fish like roach and skimmers, you might have to hit these indications early!

Above all, pay close attention to that float, observing how it settles as the bait and shot fall through the water. If the float stops or behaves suspiciously, this can quite often be a fish taking “on the drop” as the bait falls. Strike!

Waggler Fishing Tips

waggler caught tench

A margin caught tench, caught on the waggler

    • One of the best tips for all float fishing is to hold the rod at all times. Don’t be lazy and put the rod down in a rest! Much of the time you will have missed the fish by the time you pick the rod up. Instead, be ready to strike with a nice positive lift.
    • As with the casting and feeding, the strike takes practice. It should be decisive but not violent – find a happy medium! Strike too softly and you won’t set the hook Strike brutally and you’ll “bump” fish off, or risk breaking the line on a big one.
    • One of the most common mistakes when fishing the waggler is to have too much float showing above the water. If you give the fish too much tip to pull under, many of them will simply get suspicious and drop the bait. Aim to have just the brightly coloured tip showing – or just the final 2-3mm if conditions are calm.
    • For most waggler fishing, a floating reel line is sensible. However, in windy conditions, you can also sink the line to avoid tow. Do this by dipping the rod tip under the water and giving a couple of pulls after casting out.
    • As with most types of general float fishing, you will usually catch a lot more by loose feeding. Try doing this “little and often” by throwing or catapulting in just a few samples of bait every three or so minutes. If you keep casting to the exact same spot and keep your feed accurate, this will help concentrate the fish.
    • Try Stotz rather than dust shot for your smaller weights. They tend to stay on the line much better than tiny traditional shot in sizes 8,9 and 10.
    • Don’t just sit there when you waggler fish. Quite often the fish will bite just as the float settles, because they have spotted the bait sinking to the bottom. Try recasting to get extra bites – or search different areas of your swim. For example, if you’re catching a lot of fish in your main feed area, you might find that the fish start to back off or go a little further out.

Further Info:

You can find more of Dominic’s fishing tips, tales and photography at

His book “Fishing For Dummies” is excellent for beginners and those returning to the sport, while Canal Fishing: A Practical Guide provides the lowdown on a wide range of methods, species and locations across the UK.


All images courtesy of Dominic Garnett unless otherwise stated

UK Upwing Flies – Match the Hatch Guide

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Fishtec fly fishing upwings header
Our illustrative guides are designed to help you ‘match the hatch’ and catch more trout and grayling on British rivers.

This upwing fly chart will help you identify the most common Ephemeroptera species on UK rivers, and recommend a tried and tested imitation – as used by the Fishtec team.

All recommended fly patterns are based on the new range of Caledonia single flies, available from Fishtec here.

Remember to check out our other river fly fishing guides, including sedges and terrestrials.

Fly fishing infographic upwing flies uk

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Image credits and references
Header background. Rocksweeper. Source: Shutterstock
Baetis rhodani. Cull, Tom. Source: Flickr
Rhithrogena germanica. Bartz, Richard. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Ecdyonurus torrentis. Lewis, Gareth. Source: Gareth Lewis Fly Fishing
Heptagenia Sulphurea. Source: Trout Purgatory
Ephemera danica. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
Baetis niger. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
Baetis fuscatus. Mogliotti, Andrea. Source: Euro Fly Angler
Caenis macrura. Storey, Malcolm. Source: Encyclopedia Of Life
Serratella ignita. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
Baetis vermus. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
All imitation fly images. Source: Fishtec

UK Sedge Flies – Match the Hatch Guide

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Fishtec fly fishing sedges header
Our illustrative guides are designed to help you ‘match the hatch’ and catch more game fish on our rivers.

This fly fishing chart will help you identify the most common UK sedge and caddis flies, then recommend a tried and tested artificial imitation.

All recommended fly patterns are based on the new range of Caledonia single flies, available from Fishtec here.

Remember to check out our upwing fly chart, and the terrestrial and other insects guide too.

uk sedge and caddis fly fishing infographic

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Image credits and references
Header background. Rocksweeper. Source: Shutterstock
Brachycentrus subnubilus. Mogliotti, Andrea. Source: Euro Fly Angler
Limnephilus lunatus. Mogliotti, Andrea. Source: Euro Fly Angler
Sericostoma personatum. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
Goera pilosa. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
Athripsodes cinereus. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
Hydropsyche siltalai. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
Anabolia nervosa. Mogliotti, Andrea. Source: Euro Fly Angler
All imitation fly images. Source: Fishtec

UK Terrestrial and Other Insects – Match the Hatch Guide

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Fishtec fly fishing terrestrials header
Our illustrative guides are designed to help you ‘match the hatch’ and catch more game fish on British rivers.

When trout are rising to insects blown onto the water, or the fish are taking something small or unusual, our terrestrial & other insects chart will be able to help you identify a suitable fly to use.

All recommended fly patterns are based on the new range of Caledonia single flies, available from Fishtec here.

In case you missed them, check out our upwing fly and sedge chart for the complete collection of our UK river fly guides.

Fishtec uk terrestrial fly fishing infographic

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Simply copy and paste the code below:

Image credits and references
Header background. Rocksweeper. Source: Shutterstock
Chironomiidae sp. Mogliotti, Andrea. Source: Euro Fly Angler
Dinocras cephalotes. Lupton, Ben. Source: Flickr
Sialis. Mogliotti, Andrea. Source: Euro Fly Angler
Bibio Johannis. Sersen, Jozef. Source: Biolib
Bibio marci. Mogliotti, Andrea. Source: Euro Fly Angler
Tipula sp. Mogliotti, Andrea. Source: Euro Fly Angler
Myrmica rubra. Xpixel. Source: Shutterstock
Bibio Pomonae. Styko. Source: Wikimedia Commons
All imitation fly images. Source: Fishtec

Airflo Sightfree G4 Fluorocarbon Tippet

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Small stillwater specialist Stuart Smitham looks at the new G4 fluorocarbon from Airflo.

I’m always skeptical about new fishing tackle. Having tried several brands of leader tippet in past and been let down, via a breakage mid leader. I started asking questions with a certain manufacturer and was told, it could be bad knotting. With no knot in the area of the break and no further answers or explanations on why this happened. I formed my own conclusions and was on the hunt for a better performer.

That was when I found Airflo’s G3 and from that point onward, I loved how this tippet worked it’s magic on me. It boosted my confidence levels when I was on the water, making me perform as better angler. Your leader is your invisible link to your fly and the fish. Why spend 100’s of pounds on great gear, then go out and buy cheap tippet??

Just over two years ago, I was asked to try what is now G4 Fluorocarbon. Airflo like to thoroughly field test their products to ensure they will never let you down. I was given a big spool for a bit of feedback, just to see how G4 fares against some of those big Ellerdine Lakes fish that Ed & Jayne Upton are famous for stocking at the fishery.

An 11lb Ellerdine trout taken with the help of G4 Fluorocarbon

An 11lb Ellerdine trout taken with the help of G4 Fluorocarbon

I like having strength in my chosen tippet and this new material has bags of it. It is also thinner in diameter than G3 for it’s given strength, and is much more supple but not overly limp. Abrasion resistance is superb, and good at enough to handle the shock hits and drives that a big fast fish can produce. Especially on those Ellerdine upwind feeders, that cruise just below the surface.  These fish hit your fly hard and continue going on track and at pace.

I like fishing with confidence and G4 has improved my performance, because I can fish worry free. Especially when you get to those nail biting stages in a scrap, when a trout shows it’s true tenacity, by shaking it’s head to free the hook hold. Or when you’ve just cast out and straightened your leader, then get one of those truly violent hits, that rips the line from your fingers.  If you can stay in contact after one of those takes, then you have a tippet worth it’s weight in gold.

I construct my leaders in most cases with two droppers, or on a windy day with just one.  I always use a three turn water knot for these and G4 knots very well.  Especially when your closing the knot tight. I nearly always wet the tippet before drawing closed and my knots look small, which is important for those close up feeders.

Because G4 is more supple that G3, it turns over well and sinks with ease through the water surface. Through the odd bad cast, I discovered that G4 copes well with my inevitable casting knot too, but err on the side of safety when you have the chance of a “Fish of a lifetime” right out in front. Check your leader every few casts for wind knots and you’ll fish more confidently.

Looking at the spools on this new tippet. They all feature the same build components. Colour coded spool labels, and the spools lock together too. An elastic spool tender prevents your line from uncoiling in your bag or rig. Plus there’s a nifty little viewing port on the spool front, so you can see just how much is left.

The new Airflo tippet material has interlocking spools and colour coded elastic tenders.

The new Airflo tippet material has interlocking spools and colour coded elastic tenders.

With more choices of tippet on offer in the new range, from Saltwater, G5 Premium, Tactical and of course good old G3. The Sightfree range of tippets is a ‘go to’ tippet system that offers lots of scope for the all round angler.

For more information on buying the new Sightfree range, go to or

Fly Line Review – Airflo Super-Dri Xceed One Year On

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Many fishing tackle reviews are made with the product fresh out of the packet – not a real ‘test’ at all in my book. So, In this review I am taking a look at a fly line that I first spooled up exactly one year ago – The Airflo super-dri Xceed.

Fishing with the Super Dri Exceed fly line

Fishing with the Super Dri Exceed fly line.

When I first selected the line, I had river fishing in mind. With it’s shorter compact head, the specification looked perfect for ‘quick loading’ casting situations, i.e in a stream channel with confined back-casting space, or under a tight tree-lined canopy.

Knowing the head was short and compact, and slightly over-weighted on the AFTM scale, I opted for a 3 weight, to use on my 7’6 #3/4 and 10′ #3/4 Streamtec rods. I found I was correct in my choice – a 3 weight loaded both of these rods perfectly, and in the case of the softer 7’6 rod extremely well at shorter range.

The Super Dri Exceed taper

The Super Dri Exceed taper.

When spooling up the line I noticed just how smooth and slick it felt when compared to the older Airflo ridge impact lines. The neat welded loop was also a nice touch, as were the loading zones in olive.

Super dri Exceed - check the neat welded loops.

Super Dri Exceed – check the neat welded loops.

Once on on the water I found the line floated nice and high, even right at the tip – again a big step up from the last generation. The presentation was delicate and controlled, and the line landed gently even with my worst casts. Skittish river trout certainly obliged. Roll casting under thick cover was also effortless. The ‘pumpkin’ colour was just perfect too – ideal for picking out your line in a dark tree lined tunnel, or in the evening, but not so flashy as to be a fish spooking risk.

The line had an initial baptism on the Wye and Usk foundations wild streams – more than 30 sessions in fact through the trout season. Wild is just the right description for these small rivers. Your fly line can and WILL get caught and snagged up in rocks, tree limbs, brambles etc. Plus it will also get stood on – almost inevitable in such cramped, overgrown venues – all part of the challenge!

An overgrown, snaggy wild stream. the ultimate fly line grinder.

An overgrown, snaggy wild stream – a true fly line grinder.

Unlike many other fly lines however Airflo are much tougher than the average. Once having worn out a Cortland 444’s coating in just under 6 weeks, and wader studding a Scientific Anglers GPX in half, not to mention ruining a Lee Wulf triangle taper in a rose bush, I have often cursed an expensive line purchase for not being man enough for the job. I have now probably used enough lines from the various manufactures to know that Airflo make the toughest out there.

The Super Dri Xceed proved to be almost indestructible despite being thoroughly punished over the last 12 months. To be honest I don’t really look after my lines, and have never cleaned this one but it is still just like the day I got it out of the packaging, despite literally going through a few hedges backwards. Flotation is still just as good as day one – the polyurethane formula with Teflon impregnated coating keeps the dirt off. Unlike PVC the line never leaches out it’s lubrication, or will crack.

This line has basically been in continuous use for a full year – rocky wild streams, big freestone rivers, tiny undergrowth choked brooks, upland hill lakes for wild browns, winter grayling fishing and even rock strewn torrents in the tropics, it’s truly been through the grinder and back.

This spring I am currently using the Xceed extensively on the larger Welsh rivers with my 10 foot 3/4 weight for dry fly fishing. For a 3 weight it is surprising just how well the taper cuts through a gusty head wind – 20 yard plus casts are fairly easy to achieve, and turnover of my favoured 18 foot leader is just spot on.

Taff trout on super dri Xceed line

Big river trout on super dri Xceed line.

In conclusion, I am more than happy with this line and am confident it will just keep on going and going. If you are looking for an extremely durable line, that offers decent value for money (£39.99) when compared to the competition, plus great performance then I don’t think you can beat this one if you are a hardcore river angler.

I will update this review in 12 months time!

If it’s broke……….fix it!

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When I got back into fishing, I was very lucky to have some knowledgeable people around me to give me a steer in the right direction.  The great fishing community on social media has only helped me to improve.

Helpfull advice will get you more fish on the bank.

Helpful advice from fellow anglers will get you more fish on the bank.

Early on, I was keen to learn and what worked best for me was asking questions.  Tactics; flies; rod setup; were all frequently asked to any and all fellow fishermen. In the main, I received positive and helpful responses.  There was however a few who were not interested in helping, the very same people of shun any advice you offer up.  One example was of a man who was catching at a local Stillwater when I nor nobody else was.  He went as far a removing his fly from his cast when having a lunch break so nobody could see what was being used! But as I said, this was the minority.

I’m now at a stage where I’m confident enough in my abilities and knowledge that I can offer some advice when asked.  It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I tell someone to try a tactic or use a certain fly and it pays off.

A rare still and warm day at Garnffrwd fishery

A rare still and warm day at Garnffrwd fishery.

I recently took a trip to my favorite small water fishery, Garnffrwd.  I managed to get there on a gorgeous day, which is unusual for me.  No rain, temperatures up and the sun was out and warm (the warmth of the sun was not realized until I got home and my partner laughed at my ‘panda eyes’ – always use a hat and sun cream guys!!!)

The fishery looked gorgeous as ever and I was the only person there.  It was early morning and the fish were already turning in the surface feeding on buzzers.  Having already set up my one rod with my Airflo Super-Dri line, G3 fluorocarbon and an Olive Damsel, I gave it a swim. After a short time, and many follows I hooked up into a decent rainbow which quickly graced my Airflo Streamtec Trout net.  Without much further action I took a walk around the lake and had a chat to a couple of other anglers who had arrived.  Jamie, the fishery owner, also came by for a chat and he advised that black flies fished in or just below the surface film were working best.  Lures were just not doing the business and a lighter setup with smaller flies was the way forward.

With Jamie’s advice fresh in my head (after all, its his fishery and will be Managing the Welsh bank team so surely only a fool wouldn’t take that advice?)   I tied on a Black suspender buzzer and cast out.  I quickly lifted into another good fish, which turned out to be the best of the day – just short of 4lbs.  Another fished soon followed before I moved around to the Dam.

The suspender buzzer working it's magic

The suspender buzzer working it’s magic.

So why ‘If it’s broke……….fix it!’  Well, having caught a few fish I could see across from me that the two chaps I was talking with were furiously stripping lures without any luck at all.  One was getting rather frustrated – “it worked the last time we were here” I heard in quip angrily to his mate.  Having taken another couple fish on the dam, I moved round to the island on the pegs next to the man I’ll call ‘Angry’.  This time after casting out an Olive suspender buzzer a few times, a good spirited Rainbow took my fly.  It fought well and left the water a couple of times right by where ‘Angry’ was fishing – I think it did that on purpose.  Soon after it succumbed and graced my Airflo Streamtec Trout net.

With lunch time upon me and my stomach making its feeling perfectly clear, I headed for a break.   As I walked past Angry I asked ‘how you getting on’.  ‘Rubbish’ he replied.  I offered one of my flies to him and he appeared grateful, I offered the same gratitude to his friend.  Watching as I sat for some food, ‘Angry’ was still pulling lures.  His mate had taken my and Jamie’s advice and had stripped down his setup and was casting out my buzzer.

I finished the day with 9 Rainbows (all safely returned to grace another anglers’ net), mainly on the buzzer but a couple late in the day I took on a small Black Hawthorn fly.  Back at my car tackling down, the two fellow anglers followed shortly after.  One was chuffed he had taken 2 fish on my buzzer, something that gave me immense satisfaction.  ‘Angry’ had nothing.  I asked what tactics he used and he said he puled lures all day.  I could have been wrong but I got the sense he wasn’t willing to take advice from someone much younger, that or he was just plain stubborn?

It’s a way of fishing where I have learnt the most, if I’m not catching, I try something different.  Going as far as completely changing my rod setup.  By doing this I have caught fish on days that looked lost and learnt how best to fish my local rivers.  I was often surprised with what the fish are willing to take during them slow days we all have.

Take my advice, or don’t – but if it’s broke, fix it.  You’ll often be surprised but the results.

Garnffrwd is a truly cracking fishery, I didn’t manage any Browns or Tigers on this trip but surely that’s just a reason to go back soon??  If you haven’t been, make the effort to go, you wont be disappointed – Garnffrwd Trout Fishery

Tight Lines and Wet Hands


A nice Garn rainbow going back

A nice Garn rainbow going back.

World’s Weirdest Fish

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Image source: shutterstock
Who needs to stay underwater?

Who’s up for some freaky fish with superpowers? Here we bring you fish that fly, walk, skip and even climb trees. You’d need pretty impressive fishing gear to catch any of these creatures –  not that you’d want to – they’d be far more fun to watch.

1. Batfish

red lipped batfish

Image source: Wikipedia
Red-lipped batfish. Superpower: walking

Holy mackerel, Batfish! Like the Caped Crusader, the red-lipped batfish has highly developed pecs (pectoral fins, that is). Unlike Batman, it uses them to walk. And it doesn’t live in a Batcave either, instead spending its time wandering the seabed off the Galapagos.

In fact, can we really be sure the batfish is a force for good after all? On closer inspection, the bright red lips also make the batfish resemble the Joker, which begs the question: Whose side it is on?

2. Icarfish

flying fish

Image source: Theron Trowbridge / Flickr (cropped from original square image)
Flying fish. Superpower: flying

Like Ironman, Superman, or even Wonder Woman in her invisible plane, there are 64 species of fish whose superpower is flight.

But there’s one superfish to beat them all. “Icarfish” is a specific individual flying fish, named by a Japanese television crew who caught it on camera in 2008.

Icarfish spent 45 seconds flying through the air, a world record-breaking flight for a fish. A supper fish as well as a superfish, the flying fish is also the national dish of Barbados.

3. The Blob


Image source: James Joel / Flickr
Blobfish. Superpower: Floating (and being super-ugly)

Here’s a creature to frighten the seahorses. It’s easy to see why the blobfish was named the world’s ugliest animal in 2013.

Adopted as the mascot for the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, the blobfish has the unusual (and frankly rather unimpressive) superpower of floating rather than swimming.

With no muscles, and jelly-like flesh, this fishy Mr Blobby survives by waiting for anything edible to float by. No wonder it looks miserable.

4. Fishzilla

fishzilla snakehead fish

Image source: Larry Oien / Flickr
Snakehead fish. Superpowers: walking, climbing, looking furious

It’s rarely more than 30 inches long, but the snakehead fish, commonly called ‘Fishzilla’, is a fearsome beast. Able to breath air, it can walk on land in search of prey – including birds, snakes and rodents – which it devours whole with its razor-sharp teeth.

Originally from South East Asia, Fishzilla has more recently invaded American and Australian waters. One way to defeat this monstrous creature is with Thai or Vietnamese cuisine: it’s delicious cooked with lime and chilli.

5. Spiderfish

Blind cave fish. Superpower: scaling steep rock faces.

Spiderfish, Spiderfish, does… whatever a Spiderfish does. Recently discovered in Thailand, the blind  cave fish scales vast, vertical rock faces behind waterfalls.

Even more impressive is the fact that, as its name suggests, this eye-less superfish performs its climbing feat without being able to see. Awesome skills.

6. Swamp Thing


Image source: shutterstock
Mudskipper. Superpowers: walking, jumping.

It swims, it runs… If only the mudskipper could cycle it would make the perfect triathlete. Spending 90% of its time on land in estuaries, swamps and marshes, the amphibious mudskipper absorbs oxygen through its skin – keeping itself moist by rolling in mud.

The mudskipper’s other superpower? It also jumps really high. It may not leap tall buildings in a single bound – but two feet is a colossal jump for a little fish.

7. The Incredible Killifish

mangrove killifish

Image source: wikimedia commons
Mangrove killifish. Superpowers: climbing, extreme aggression

You wouldn’t like the mangrove killifish when it’s angry. Extremely aggressive and territorial, it fights to protect its puddles in coastal mangrove forests.

When the puddles dry up, the killifish climbs the trees. In fact, it spends several months of the year living out of the water, hidden away inside rotten branches and trunks.

How? By temporarily altering its biological makeup to breathe air. How’s that for superhero skills?

8. Doctor Octopus

tree octopus

Image source:
Pacific Northwest tree octopus. Superpower: climbing trees.

The world’s weirdest fish out of water isn’t a fish at all but a cephalopod. The Pacific Northwest tree octopus has Doc Ock’s uncanny climbing ability. Able to survive on land and in water, it lives in the Olympic National Forest in the USA and its main predator is the Sasquatch.

Hang on – do you smell something fishy? You’re right, the Pacific Northwest tree octopus is an internet hoax created in 1998 by Lyle Zapato. But it had a lot of people going for a while.

What fishy superpowers have you come across? Share your superfish stories on our Facebook page.

Llanelli Angling Association

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llanelli club

Situated in the beautiful ‘Swiss valley’ Llanelli AA was founded in 1902 and the club water has been the upper Lliedi Reservoir ever since.

David Gordon (Hon sec)
Use online form
Telephone number:
01554 776001
Day ticket available:
Season permit available:
South West Wales
Social Media:
Yes, Facebook page.

For a break from the usual ‘stockie pond’ fishing this is one of the best fisheries we have found in the area and well worth a visit. The established reservoir is regularly stocked and the fish quickly turn their attention to natural food sources and grow on rapidly, as shown in the picture below.

A quaility rainbow from the Upper Lliw reservoir

A quality rainbow from the Upper Lliedi reservoir.


No flies on them: 19 top fly fishing Twitter accounts

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Follow @FishtecTackle on Twitter!

Want to find the best anglers who are just as into fly fishing as you? Twitter is the place to go, with all the latest updates from the folk who love imitating fly hatches, fishing for wild fish in wild places, and spending hours at the vice.

We’ve put together a list of 18 of the best accounts to inspire and entertain you. Like what you see? Hit that follow button!

Pete Tyjas

Pete Tyjas loves fly fishing in and around Dartmoor in Devon. He has a long association with Devon School of fly fishing and says that he never tires of “seeing the beauty of a wild brown trout”. He’s keen to spread the word about the joys of fly fishing; as this photo of a lesson on casting before they hit the river shows:

Pete really knows how to inspire the people he’s teaching, and loves to “see spark ignite” with a fly fishing beginner! Pete also runs the awesome Eat Sleep Fish E-zine @ESFezine  – one of our favourite online fly fishing reads!

Nick Hart

Nick’s been lucky enough to turn his passion for angling into a career, as the owner of Nick Hart fly fishing. He posts about gear, fishing politics and camera-shy catches!

In the last few days he’s taken out a first time fly fisher, Rob, and has shown off the results of their day’s labour on the lake.

Dave Wiltshire

Fancy some tips from an AAPGAI fly fishing instructor based in the Chew Valley? Look no further than Dave Wiltshire. He gives regular updates from his fly fishing trips, keeping his followers up to date on the hatch times of LDO’s and March Browns on the rivers.

On a recent trip to the Avon, Dave tweeted to say he was surprised to get several decent flurries of olives in spite of the cold weather and rain. He also shows off the importance of pre-hatch coffee in such conditions too!

Charles Jardine

Charles is an avid supporter of Fishing 4 Schools and says: “If there is one single thing that has both re-energised this fifty-something and given life for me and my fishing a boost; it has been this initiative”.

Always keen to encourage youngsters in the art of fly fishing, he recently spent time teaching trout fishing to the England youth football team

On another kind of art, Charles loves to paint too (like his artist angler father, Alex, who once designed fishing stamps). He’s raising money for Fishing 4 Schools by selling copies of his intricately painted grayling portrait:

Alex Jardine

Continuing the Jardine family angling tradition, Angling Trust ambassador (and son of Charles), Alex Jardine regularly posts pics of his fishing days, whether or not he manages to avoid a blank.

 Alex also recently tweeted about showing off the new Guideline rods, and has been sharing his experiences of the first few days of the new Trout season, which, for him was ushered in with an unwelcome blanket of frost on 31st March.

David Johnson

Fly fishing film-maker David Johnson’s Twitter feed is a great source of info about updates on what’s hatching and when. He fishes in and around the Peak District and Yorkshire. This video of him landing a grayling last Autumn is just one of a series of videos David shares

He also proudly shows off the nice wild brownie he caught earlier this month on a trip to Yorkshire:

Neil Keep

Neil Keep’s aim with fly fishing is simple. He just wants to spread the word to the masses about how great it is. He’s an expert teacher who fly fishes in and around Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire.

He takes a highly balanced view of the sport and is honest enough to tell his followers when it doesn’t quite go according to plan. On his recent trip to the river with compadres Jams and Dom, they only got a few fish on nymphs – a tough day on the river. Luckily it’s not all bad news though as this catch of 20 wild brownies recently demonstrates!

Hywel Morgan

World champion caster Hywel Morgan recently took a three day trip to Camp Villmarks where he spent time demoing fly fishing techniques to the crowds there. He couldn’t resist tweeting about one of the best fish tanks he’s ever seen.

As we all know, fly fishing runs strong in Hywel’s family, and is continuing down the generations- as demonstrated in this tweet showing the lovely brownie his daughter Tanya caught with a size 18 dry fly. He also shares a great video from fly fishing buddy Matt Pate on how to tie an egg fly (with some great out-takes at the end!)

Paul Procter

Paul Procter  is a Masters level AAPGAI instructor. He’s based in Cumbria, where he frequently has to battle the weather to snare specimen sized river trout on dry flies. Paul also gets some great shots of river insect life:

Check out the great snap of his first Large Brook Dun of 2016. Paul’s careful to let everyone know that they can be easily confused with March Browns, though they tend to be fewer in number during the course of the season.

Gareth Lewis

Gareth’s just shared the great news that he’s going to be demonstrating at Rheghed at the Fly Fest Lecture theatre in October this year: He’s an International Fly Tyer and has represented Wales in a number of national events including the prestigious British Fly Fair International.

He’s also posted images of his first fish of the season caught on dry flies. Good work for the end of March, in not-so-favourable conditions.

Lee Evans

Lee’s Twitter feed tells his followers about a recent, absorbing day on the Usk in which he got the fish to take with a selection of grannom and MB patterns:

Lee reckons he’s not much of a blogger, but take a look at his  site, Down By The River, which features a stunning pictorial account of his Summer trip to Dry fly fish on the Lower Middle Usk. You can judge for yourself!

Luke Thomas

Proud Welshman, Luke Thomas is passionate about fly fishing in and around Cardiff. For some great close-up shots of Garn Browns, Luke’s your man. On one of his most recent trips to Garnffrwd, he managed to catch 40 in one session:

Luke also passes on his ideas on the perfect use of rubber, like this mix of Pinkys, Olive Apps and Bloodworm.

John Tyzack

John Tyzack’s a professional fly fishing guide and AAPGAI instructor and England International Flyfisher, so he’s a go-to guy for sound advice and expert tips. Recently, he’s been telling his pike fly fishing followers to always take good-sized nets out with them, even if they’re not expecting to get anything, because you just never know what you’ll catch:

In another tweet, he shows off a little video from a recent trip to New Zealand, when he releases his awesome catch back into the water.

Glen Pointon

Ever thought about trying Urban fly fishing? Glen Pointon takes the idea of fishing where you live to the extreme, showing that you can fly fish pretty much anywhere the fancy takes you.

He’s recently had some of his town based fly fishing photography featured on Urban Trout and they’re really stunning images. Urban Trout reckon that Glen’s ability to catch ‘horses’ (big river trout!) from notoriously Dirty Places like the upper Trent is legendary.

He’s a bit of a tying room geek too, as this recent post shows:

Stuart Smitham

A passionate stillwater specialist, Stuart’s a proud Welshman who now lives and works in Shropshire. Recently, he’s been showing off the quality Brown Trout showing at his beloved Ellerdine lakes:

He’s also keen to share the interesting facts and photos other anglers on social media have written about – for example, his tweet highlighting an image Steffan Jones added to Facebook about great characteristics buzzers have

Lewis Rumble

Over at his blog Stokiebasher, Lewis Rumble shares great posts from his fly fishing trips, like last year’s spring trip to Chew Valley Lake which he says yielded “50 fish, including a stonking perch well in excess of 2lb – probably closer to 3 and a brownie on the nymphs was a nice surprise too.”

Young Lewis is firmly on track to become one of the UK’s best competitive anglers, having earned himself several international caps along the way. As his twitter catch images often show, he gets into his fair share of slabs on a regular basis:


Matt Eastham

Lancashire based fly fisher Matt Eastham’s got a great laid back style in terms of fishing and tweeting. His blog North Country Angler is great if you want useful gen on what he reckons were the top flies of 2015.

When he’s got time to spare, he shows off his neat fly tying work ahead of his fishing trips:

Matt also shares his humorous tactics for fishing a beat when Paul Procter’s been around!

Unemployable Fisher

The Unemployable Fisher is sure about one thing, he’s very excited for the start of the fly fishing season. Check out this beautiful view, snapped while chasing Silver on on a favourite beat:

He also shares what he gets up to when the early season weather lets him down – hitting the vice! His blog is a good read too. Check out his  recent post about how a challenge to fish three famous Scottish Salmon Rivers in three days yielded great results -and some interesting weather issues too!

Theo Pike

Theo Pike is passionate about looking after his local river, the Wandle. Part of the Wandle Trust HitSquad, he and other volunteers have won a prize for their re-wilding project. These before and after shots make it clear why they won:

Angling writer Theo’s also part of the vanguard about non-native invasive species, having written the ‘Pocket guide to Balsam Bashing’. Featuring 40 species, and full of practical advice and what to look out for in British waterways, Theo’s working to ensure these NNIS’s don’t take over and destroy our rivers and lakes.

Get involved!

If all these tweeters have inspired you to find other likeminded fly fishers on Twitter, it’s always worth looking out for some of the many hashtags that are used regularly like #flyfishing #flyfish and even #urbanflyfishing.

Now you’ve seen our top picks of the best fly fishing tweeters out there, you can follow them and join in the conversation. Take a look at our list of the best . Don’t forget to add us, too!