10 Top Fly Fishing Tips for River Trout

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Welsh river pro Steffan Jones shares his 10 top fly fishing tips for the river – read his expert advice and your catch rates will rocket!

Why do a handful of anglers seem to have all the luck? Why do they always have luck both in terms of numbers and also the size of fish? There is an element of luck, of course, but the simple answer is that it is not luck at all; it is rivercraft and experience that secures both.
Steffan Jones witha Welsh river troutIt is no surprise that 10% of anglers catch 90% of the fish. They understand that 90% of fish live in 10% of water. However, and moreover, they understand what needs to be done to effectively target and tempt these fish. They essentially think like a fish and achieving this watercraft is undoubtedly the underlying reason for success. You need to master a few other elements too, which all add to the jigsaw of success. Casting ability, a basic understanding of entomology etc. all play a role and help you become the finished puzzle.

Time on the water is what will enable you to master most of these elements, and there are very few shortcuts to make on this – not a bad thing, right? However, here are a few key points that will certainly get you casting in the right direction.

1.Time of day; simply put – don’t be hungry when the trout are hungry! You often see people heading off the river between 1-3pm early season when any hatch to speak of is likely to happen. You also then see people coming off the river at around 7pm in the summer, when the main action has probably not even begun yet – certainly in dry fly terms anyway. Be on the water when the fly life is most abundant; the trout may well be dormant before and after these times, awaiting and feeding hard when the banquet arrives.

Time of Day - Fish late and you will be rewarded!

Time of Day – Fish late and you will be rewarded!

2. Leader length; fish a long a leader as possible. They become a lot easier to handle with practice and will definitely give you both a better presentation and a stealthier approach. If it’s windy then you may need to reduce the length, but on a typical day with light or no wind look at presenting at least a 12ft leader, with 15ft plus being preferable. Use a tapered leader to aid turnover and then add tippet rings (1.5-2mm ones) thereafter to add additional lengths as needed. You can reduce this length when fishing the evening rise / spinner fall, when the fish become less wary.

3. Approach and stealth; start close! Fish the water in front of you before wading into it. Shallow water can hold very big fish but also the last thing you want to do is wade clumsily and send lots of smaller fish scurrying across the river to warn the bigger fish. Approach low and approach slowly. Try to avoid sending ripples across the pools – this is sometimes impossible to avoid and you may need to let the fish settle once they receive this alarm signalling your presence.

Fish close - cast before you wade!

Fish close – cast before you wade!

4. Read the current; easier said than done, but try and work out what will happen to your leader before you cast rather than after you cast. Work out where the fish should be if there’s nothing showing and work out feeding lanes. With some practice this becomes relatively obvious. Also, being able to dead drift nymphs is a fine art, but well worth mastering. After reading the current, definite feeding lines or seams can be identified; food items need to be presented and trundled through such water as a natural would present itself.

5. Casting ability; you do not need to be a world champion, but you do need to be able to control your line well under short distances and especially being able to cope and work with longer leaders. Learn useful little tricks like reach mending, which can be invaluable. Don’t be shy about practicing on dry land, even putting little markers out to improve accuracy. Consistently landing a golf ball on the green comes with practice not luck, the same applies with casting ability and presenting perfectly to a rising trout.

Work on your casting ability - practise!

Work on your casting ability – practice!

6. Learn some basic entomology; you don’t need to get too geeky, but a modicum of knowledge goes a long way. The trout can get really transfixed with one food source over another and being able to identify a. what food source this is and b. how to represent it with an artificial can often be the difference between success and failure. There are some great books around for this along with online resources: bukkayoga.co.uk and the Fishtec blog match the hatch charts. I will often collect some of the insects from a given day to better represent them next time; precise imitations are not needed, but a good indication of overall size and appearance is vital. By doing this for a couple of seasons you come to understand feeding patterns at different stages of the season and rarely get caught out as a result.

What fly - Learn some entomology

What fly? Learn some entomology.

7. Watch the fish and rise form; watching the feeding habits of an individual fish will tell you a lot. The regularity of the rise, if they are on emergers/duns/spinners, if they are taking one food source yet totally ignoring another. A lot better to make the right presentation with the right fly, rather than just search all day with an Adams Irresistible. At times it is irresistible, but quite often is also very resistible! Watch too what direction the fish is feeding; it may favour food coming one side rather than the other, or may be darting into the current when a food item travels down, rather than holding station in such water.

8. Respect your quarry; you have worked hard to catch a specific and specimen fish. You may have been watching him for weeks. You finally get him to take and get your just reward. Do not let this be just your reward, share the fish to allow a fellow angler to experience a similar reward and elation. Do not take the fish up onto the bank and onto dry land. The fish is probably exhausted from the fight, so try and keep it in the net and in the water whenever possible. If you are going to release the fish then you want to give that fish the best chance of surviving. Lift it for a photo, not a problem. However, support the fish and never squeeze it – this can cause irreparable damage to the internal organs – whilst it may swim ok looking fine, that may be shortlived…

Try to keep the fish in the net and in the water.

Try to keep the fish in the net and in the water.

9. Weight; always carry nymphs in different densities. Even the same size but in different weights; more often than not when it comes to nymphs the depth is the key factor rather than the actual pattern. For example, carry the same nymph in a normal copper bead, but then in 2mm, 3mm, 4mm and even 5mm tungsten! Different water demands different weights, never be lazy with this fact as it can mean the difference between catching and blanking.

Always carry nymphs in different densities.

Always carry nymphs in different densities.

10. Paraphernalia; don’t laden yourself with accessories, but some bits are vital and should never be left at home. In my jacket I would always have; floatant, mucilin, sinkant/mud (more for taking the shine off the leader than actually sinking it), amadou for drying flies out, leader material in 0.10-0.18mm, forceps and snips, then some spare leaders and tippet rings. Leader holders can also be of great use, and I would always advocate the circular ones to avoid leader kinks: TF Gear sea rig winders are ideal.

Steffan Jones is a professional fly fishing fishing guide with over 20 years of experience. For information on guided trips with Steffan visit Angling Worldwide or email Steffan@anglingworldwide.com

Summer Catch Competition

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Fishtec Summer Catch Competition BlogWant £££s worth of Fishtec vouchers to spend on new fishing tackle? What are you waiting for? Send us your catch photos now!

To celebrate National Fishing Month we will be running the competition from Friday 22nd July – Friday 29th August. The closing date for entries is Monday 15th July.

The best photos will be exhibited in our finalists gallery, those with the most votes will win.


There are 4 Fishtec voucher prizes, for 4 lucky winners!

Prizes will be awarded for the most popular photos, as follows:
Fishtec Summer Catch Competition - Top prize blogTOP PRIZE: £100 Fishtec voucher – awarded to the photo with the most overall votes.

Fishtec Summer Catch Competition - Best in category blogBEST IN CATEGORY: £30 Fishtec voucher – will be awarded to the photo with the most votes in each of the three following categories:
• Fly fishing
• Coarse/Carp
• Sea fishing

How To Enter

Email your favourite catch photo to: fishtecblog@gmail.com

Please include:
• Email address – so we can notify the winner.
• Your name – first name and surname
• Description – details of your catch e.g. species, weight, location, tackle used
• Image – find and upload using the button below. Max 5Mb file size.


Closing date for entries: 10am Monday 15th August

If you’re using Android to upload your picture, you’ll likely see a screen like this:

android upload form

Tap on the ‘Documents’ link to get to your pictures

Not sure which photo to send us? Read our Top Tips for Snapping your Catch for some expert advice.

What Next?

From your entries, we’ll post a shortlisted gallery of star quality photographs on our blog.

Readers, friends and family can then vote for their favourite summer catch photo.

The photo with the most votes wins the top prize of a £100 Fishtec voucher.

The ‘best in category’ coarse, fly and sea fishing photo with the most votes (excluding overall winner) will be awarded a £30 Fishtec voucher each.

Tight lines and happy snapping!

Terms and conditions

By entering into this competition, all entrants agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

In the event that any entrant does not, or is unable to, comply with and meet these Terms and Conditions and the competition information, Fishtec shall be entitled at its sole discretion to disqualify such entrant, without any further liability to such entrant.

To enter this competition you must be: (a) a UK resident; and (b) 18 years old or over at the time of entry.

This competition is free to enter and no purchase is necessary.

Fishtec reserves the right to cancel or amend the contest or the terms at any time without prior notice. Any changes will be posted on blog.fishtec.co.uk.

Entry requirements
1. Submitted photos should be no larger than 5mb in file size.
2. Entrants must be 18 or over to enter.
3. You must be the copyright owner of any photo submitted.
4. You must have the necessary permission from people who appear in the photo submitted.
5. Do not submit any photographs that are obscene, vulgar, pornographic, hateful, threatening, racist, sexist, discriminatory, or which otherwise violate any local or international laws.

6. The photographer must be the sole author and owner of the copyright of photos entered in to the competition. Fishtec respects photographer rights and does not claim copyright for images you submit to this competition, you will retain full copyright in each entry. Whenever your image is published by Fishtec you will be credited. Failure to publish a credit due to error or oversight shall not be deemed a breach of this condition.

Image Usage
7. By entering this competition you agree that any winning image or shortlisted images you submit may be used by Fishtec for purposes related to the Catch Competition.
8. You hereby grant Fishtec a non-exclusive, irrevocable licence in each entry for the uses described in 7. above for 1 year following the date of announcement of the winner, thereafter the image may be used for archival purposes by Fishtec.
9. You acknowledge your responsibility for protecting your entry against image misuse by third parties, by for example, but not limited to, the insertion of a watermark, retaining exif data. Fishtec can assume no responsibility and are not liable for any image misuse.
10. Should any image uses beyond those needed for the competition arise we will endeavour to contact you.

11. Our panel of judges will assess all entries and then select images for a shortlist. The shortlisted images will be voted on by the public. The image with the most votes by the closing date, will be the overall winner. Three runners up will be selected by choosing the fly, sea and coarse fishing photo with the most votes (excluding overall winner).
12. Once voting has closed the winners will be notified within 30 days.
13. The judges decision is final and they do not enter into communication relating to entries.

14. Only one vote per person is permitted.
15. Any votes registered after the voting close time, which will be stated online, will not be included in final count.
16. Fishtec reserves the right to disqualify votes or entries, or suspend voting if it has reasonable grounds to suspect that fraudulent voting has occurred, or if it considers there has been any attempt to unfairly influence the voting. Fishtec has the right to substitute an alternative selection method at its absolute discretion.
17. If, for any reason, the online voting system fails, the vote may be suspended or a contingency plan may be actioned.
18. Fishtec reserves the right to change, cancel or suspend this event at any time.
19. Fishtec does accept any responsibility whatsoever for any technical failure or malfunction or any other problem with any on-line system, server, provider or otherwise which may result in any vote being lost or not properly registered or recorded.

20. After the catch competition closes, the winner and runners up will be awarded the following prizes:
• £100 Fishtec voucher – Overall winner
• £30 Fishtec voucher – Fly fishing runner up
• £30 Fishtec voucher – Coarse fishing runner up
• £30 Fishtec voucher – Sea fishing runner up
21. No alternative products, credit or cash equivalents will be offered.
22. Prize details will be sent to the winner via email within 30 days of the winner being announced.

If you have any queries relating to our terms and conditions please contact: c.thomas@bvg-airflo.co.uk

The Secret Diaries of Dave Lane

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It’s what we’ve all been waiting for! The fishing has been on fire at the St Ives shallow lake over the past month, but as a tactical move Laney had to keep things quiet –  and boy did it pay off!!

What you are about to see is a 4 part series of ‘secret’ carp fishing blogs, leading up to the capture of Colin, the 52lb 12oz St Ives lakes mega carp.

Watch part one here:

Watch part two here:

Are you a tackle tart? Take the quiz to find out!

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dog with heavy fishing barrow

Image source: Fishtec Coarse facebook page
All the gear and… (dog not included)

Are you a tackle tart? Or, do your mates think you are?

Our quiz will reveal your carping personality – take the test!

rods ready

How long do you spend setting up your gear?

DCR Reels

How would you describe your gear?

Not the way to look after your waders!

How often do you clean your tackle?

carp mad tattoo (Image source: pinterest)

Do you have any carping tattoos?

microcat bait boat

How do you get bait out into the swim?

stick bivvy

The tackle shop has two bivvies on display. They look identical apart from the Trakker logo on the one that's £100 more. Which one do you go for?

fish social media

How do you share your catch pictures?

all the gear

How much do you estimate your entire carp gear collection is worth?

National Fishing Month 2016 is almost here!

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national fishing month logo

Image source: National Fishing Month
The dates of the 2016 National Fishing Month are 22nd July-29th August.

It’s that time of year again! National Fishing Month is almost upon us. Time to celebrate our favourite sport and spread the angling love to our friends and family with some top notch events.

Last year’s NFM was a cracker with over 14,000 new people introduced to angling through hundreds of taster sessions, family days, and competitions. This year’s National Fishing Month is set to be another hit. Here are some of our top picks for events taking place around the country.


1. 15th Annual Charity Angling Competition – Northumberland

rods set up by the water

Image source: Danny’s Angling Blog
Charity Angling Competition: Friday 29th July, 2016 (8am-3pm)

Now in its 15th year, the Annual Charity Angling Competition is an opportunity for children and adults alike to showcase their angling skills. And, in addition to the chance to win competition prizes on the day, all entrants will automatically be entered into a prize draw for a “Golden Ticket” (a Northumbrian Water seven-day fishing permit) as well. Add to that the chance to enjoy the picturesque surrounds and great trout fishing of the Fontburn Reservoir and this is sure to be a great day out.

2) Prince Albert Angling Society Junior Open Competition – Cheshire

three boys fishing

Image source: BigStock
Junior Open Competition: Saturday 13th August, 2016 (11am-4pm)

If you’ve got junior anglers under the age of 16 in the family, then head over to Cheshire in August for another great competition. The Prince Albert Angling Society Junior Open Competition is free to enter, and offers prizes and the obvious bragging rights that come with them! Plus, there will be licensed Angling Trust coaches on hand to help during the day.


3. Fish n Frolics – Warwickshire

rainy fishing trip

Image source: Fish n Frolics
Fish ‘n’ Frolics: Saturday 29th-Monday 31st July, 2016 (daily, 8am-11pm)

Over at the Shipston Sport Club in Warwickshire this July, Fish n Frolics will be serving up three days of fishing-orientated fun, with angling contests and tutorials on the River Stour. And if that wasn’t enough, there will be a festival atmosphere, live music, stalls, and plenty of food and drink.

4. YOUFISH Sportivate – Nottinghamshire

riverside carping

Image source: Paul on Coarse Fishing
YOUFISH Sportivate: Monday 8th August, 2016 (9am-3pm)

If you’ve got young coarse anglers in your family, then YOUFISH Sportivate in Nottingham is the event for you. YOUFISH is aimed at getting more young anglers out on the water; in this case, the Richmond Canal. You’ll want to book their spaces in advance though, as it’ll fill up quickly. But all tackle and bait will be provided on the day, and experienced Angling Trust-licensed coaches will be ready and waiting to help hone your kids’ skills.


5) Sea Casting for Beginners and Improvers – Devon

west cork bass fishing

Image source: West Cork Bass Fishing
Sea Casting: Tuesday 16th August, 2016 (6.30-8.30pm)

Think you’re a dab hand on the riverbank, but you’re not sure how to find your feet when it comes to Sea Casting? This event, held on Goodrington Beach, is a great place to start. As the name suggests, Sea Casting for Beginners and Improvers is aimed at newbies and those looking to perfect their technique, both adults and kids alike. During the evening, the coaches will talk you through the basic methods of fishing from the shore. And there’s a good pub nearby to retire to after your session – as long as you’re over 18, of course.

6) Family Fishing Day and BBQ – Kent

Harrietsham lake

Image source: Cranbrook Angling Club
Family Fishing Day and BBQ: Sunday 21st August, 2016 (9am-4pm)

Cranbrook Angling Club’s family fishing day in August is set to be one of the best events in Kent this summer. Not only will you get the chance to pick the brains and admire the form of professional fishing coaches, but there’s a five-acre lake to enjoy and the club will be laying out all the tackle and bait you’ll need for a spot of angling. And there’s a free BBQ. Great fishing and great food; what more could you ask for?


7. CFPAS Angling Family Open Day – Cambridgeshire

girl with fish

Image source: CFPAS
CFPAS Angling Family Open Day: Sunday 24th July, 2016 (10am-4pm)

Another unmissable event for the whole family, the CFPAS LTD Angling Family Open Day will be offering taster sessions for carp, waggler, and pole fishing around the lake at Milton Country Park in July. And the Park Rangers will even be on hand during the day, offering three pond dipping sessions. The park itself is spread across 95 picturesque acres, with plenty of paths and children’s play areas to enjoy. So don’t forget to bring a picnic with you on the day.

8. Angling in Essex Family Day – Essex


family fishing

Image source: shutterstock
Angling in Essex Family Day: Saturday 23rd July, 2016 (9.30am-4pm)

As blogger Sam Edmonds will tell you, nothing beats fishing with your family:

“Fishing has been a part of my life since the day I was born. I suppose it comes as no surprise when you have a Dad that’s fishing crazy. We fish together literally all of the time and have had some fantastic times.”

Whether or not you’re “fishing crazy” like Sam’s dad, if you’re based in or around Basildon and fancy a family fishing future of your own, then head to the Angling in Essex Family Day. There will be demonstrations and lessons for rig tying and other skills, as well as free angling coaching. And even a cafe nearby if the weather turns during the day.


9. Intro to coarse fishing and fly casting – Anglesey

fly fishing angler

Image source: Fly Fishing Wales
Intro to Coarse Fishing and Fly Casting: Saturday 23rd July, 2016 (10am-4pm)

Taking place in the beautiful surrounds of Breakwater Country Park in Holyhead, this day-long introductory event in July aims to give newcomers a solid grounding in coarse fishing and fly casting. Angling Cymru will be providing coaching throughout the day and, as an added bonus, reduced membership to the local angling club will be offered to people who attend and catch the angling bug!

10. South Cerney Taster Day – Gloucestershire

a fine catch at south cerney

Image source: South Cerney Angling Club
South Cerney Taster Days: Saturdays 8th and 22nd August, 2016 (10am-6pm)

There are two South Cerney Taster Days to enjoy this August. Just rock up on the day and get your free, one-on-one lesson, then stick around to learn about the fish and wildlife you’ll be encountering with your new favourite hobby. If the free dates somehow don’t make it into your diary, just book one of their affordable lessons that take place year-round. These sessions can be tailored to your level, whether you’re a beginner or you’ve got a bit of experience in your waders.

There’s some great stuff to look forward to in this year’s National Fishing Month. And if free food, fishing coaching, and fun events for the whole family aren’t enough, there are some great offers surrounding the festival as well. Pick up your free one-day rod licence in issues of Angler’s Mail magazine now!
So which events are you going to? Did you make it to any event’s last year? Share your photos with us on Facebook.

Meet The Footballers That Fish

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Well, the Euro’s are over, and the ball kicking season has yet to begin… So what do footballer’s actually do in their down time? The answer is fish. And when they retire, they just carry on fishing…  In this blog we take a look at some well known footy stars who simply love bending a rod.

David Beckham – This picture surfaced on Beck’s Instagram recently. Already known for dabbling in sea and coarse fishing, It seems Beckham has turned his attention to the noble art of fly fishing – Icelandic Salmon in fact! Sporting a nice pair of Simms G3 Guide waders, clearly the man appreciates quality fishing tackle. Not sure about the gloves though…


Cristiano Ronaldo – Loved by Portugal and Real Madrid fans. Loathed by literally everyone else. It seems Cris’ enjoys his down time on a boat in search of big game, as his tweet reveals! Hailing from Madeira, well known as the sport fish capital of the world, it’s no wonder Ronaldo likes to target hard fighting game species such as marlin, wahoo and giant bluefin tuna when on his home turf. With prices starting from £1000 a day, deep sea sport fishing is very much a rich man’s game; chump change for Ron though…

Image posted on twitter by Cristiano Ronaldo: Love to fish. Have you ever tried it?

Robin Van Persie – Another deep sea rod dangler, Van Persie is known to tangle with sharks on a regular basis, plus sword and sailfish of epic proportions. Looking at these pics, the Dutchman sure knows how to reel them in. A deep sea fishing duel with Ronaldo? We would pay to see that one!

John Terry – Loves to get his hands dirty – by touching carp. The former England captain enjoys fishing so much he built a heavily stocked lake in the grounds of his mansion. The massive lake was carefully custom designed by John to be the perfect back yard fishery – every anglers dream!

David Seaman – He might have flapped at “that” Ronaldinho free kick, but generally, Seaman’s safe hands mean he will probably never drop a fish, no matter how much it wriggles. From fly to coarse fishing Dave has been doing it for years and clearly loves the sport. A legend in the goal mouth and the river mouth. Top angler!

Gazza – World cup and Toon Legend Paul Gascoigne clearly loves his fishing, especially with the fly rod. For Gazza fishing is a way you can heal yourself, and the world. Remember the infamous Raoul Moat stand off? Gazza turned up with a few tinnies, some chicken, a fly fishing rod and a ‘dressing goon’. He still fishes in it today.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Swedish super star Ibrahimovic may consider himself the son of God, and refer to himself in the third person – a lot. He might say: ”Zlatan catches bigger fish than anyone, Zlatan will catch fish anywhere, even a puddle” etc. etc.  But looking at this Facebook picture, he actually does! From the looks of it Zlatan has all the gear – and the idea. A decent boat, well organised fishing kit, and the correct ‘grin and grip’ photo technique with this pike. He obviously knows what he is doing on the lake. A move to to Manchester United should be a great chance for him to up his fishing catches – the Lake District Isn’t that far away, and it’s literally teeming with pike.

zlatan Pike

Lee Bowyer – The legendary trouble making ex Leeds, West Ham and Newcastle midfielder has a serious passion for carp angling. So much so, that he now runs his own carp lake in the tranquil French countryside. Best place for him to be fair; should keep him out of trouble with the boys in blue. If you do visit the venue, whatever you do, don’t catch a bigger fish than him!


Vinnnie Jones – On the theme of football hard nuts, none come bigger than ex Wimbledon headcase Vinnie Jones. A lifelong hardcore angler, Vinnie has been as far afield as Outer Mongolia in search of the mighty Taimen. Closer to home, Scottish salmon and coarse fishing on Hampshire’s bucolic chalk streams float his boat. Fishing.. it’s been emotional.

Neil Ruddock – Footie hard-man no.3. (Think we have a pattern emerging here.) Neil ‘The Razor’ Ruddock is an angler to the core. From big carp to sea side ray’s alike, The Razor can catch almost anything with fins. A recent competitor on ‘The Big Fish off’ show with Korda and ITV, this man is a proper fishing machine.

Sergio Aguero – From the Patagonian wilds of Argentina, Aguero reportedly enjoys his fishing, after taking it up during an injury break. His homeland has some of the best sea trout fishing in the world, but while he is on UK soil, a trip to Blackpool beach is apparently enough to satisfy his fishing urges. Unfortunately we could not actually find a picture of him fishing, but the Photoshop job below should give you an idea…

10 Summer Salmon Fishing Tips

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As we move into the height of summer it’s important to change your Salmon fishing tactics to adapt to the conditions.

In this blog post our resident Salmon expert Tim Hughes has put together his top ten summer Salmon fishing tips – simple, but very effective tactics that will help you keep on catching salmon through the summer months.

1. Fish very early mornings and late into the evening when the temperature is lowest and the sun weakest, fishing at these times will increase your chances of a fish. There are also far less anglers about at these times, so competition for prime spots will be much reduced.

6 am on the river and not a soul in sight.

6 am on the river and not a soul in sight.

2. Now is the time to fine down your kit, lighter salmon fishing rods, switch rods and even single handers will now be your best option. The lower the flow, the lighter the setup.

3. A floating line teamed up with some sinking Airflo salmon poly-leaders will be more than enough if you do need to get the fly down into the current.

4. Smaller, more sparsely dressed flies and plastic tubes now take over from large heavy tubes and flies you have been fishing in the colder spring months.

smaller, sparsely dresssed flies work best for Salmon in Summer

Smaller, sparsely dressed flies work best for Salmon in summer.

5. Pay more attention to shallow, fast water and runs which will be highly oxygenated and should hold more fish in warmer weather.

6. Be mobile and search out new water if your regular taking spots have now slowed down.

7. Take note of where you see fish moving as these could be fish producing spots, a good covering cast can produce a quick result.

Casting to a showing Salmon can bring results.

Casting to a showing Salmon can bring results.

8. Try a riffled surface fly in the evening to wake them up, you may not hook them but it will let you know if there are any fish around as you provoke interest and even a take.

9. Keep a close eye on the weather, rain and a rise in river levels will provide new opportunities, especially as the river fines off again.

A rise in river levels will provide new opportunities

A rise in river levels will provide new opportunities.

10. When you’ve finally caught your prize please remember salmon stocks are not what they used to be, it’s more rewarding to watch a salmon swim away than see one lifeless on a slab. Catch & Release is the future of our sport but make sure the fish is rested and strong enough before releasing .

Fly Fishing Floatants Explained

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Choosing the right fly fishing floatant can be confusing- each has a different property and best way to use them. In this blog post we take a look at the various fly fishing floatants available. Float your flies right and catch more fish!

Fly fishing Floatant's and dry flies

Fly fishing Floatant and dry flies.

What are floatants?

Fly fishing floatant’s are designed to keep your dry flies, leader and sometimes fly line high floating and buoyant. Chemically a lot of fly fishing floatants are essentially the same thing – silicone with petroleum jelly and a few other additives. However not all are equal, and some need to used in different ways; so you can easily end up buying the wrong one! To make things easier, we have reviewed the entire range of fly fishing floatants available from the Fishtec tackle shop.


Starting with a world wide favourite, Gink has been an anglers choice since the 1960’s.

Gherkes Gink

Gherkes Gink.

Probably the most popular formula, and is our best selling floatant by a mile. It works well and keeps flies floating high. Gink is a gel that you have to warm up in cold weather between your fingers, or in hot weather can liquefy leading you to making a mess out of your flies, fingers and vest. Rarely do we have a ‘perfect’ temperature for Gink in the UK, and to be honest this makes it a bit of a pain to get out of the bottle especially when there isn’t much left in there. If you apply too much It can leave a little oil slick around the fly which could potentially spook fish. This slick usually goes after a cast or two.


Airflo’s float jelly is an alternative to Gink. The formula is pretty much the same, but with a few extra ‘secret’ additives.
Airflo float jellyThe ‘flip up’ application nozzle is much easier to use, allowing you to apply a smaller more controlled amount of the floatant to your finger tip. It feels smoother and a little thicker than Gink. The ‘oil slick’ residue it leaves around the fly was noticeably less than Gink in our tests. Float Jelly viscosity does suffer from temperature influences, but due to the nozzle design it is far harder to squeeze out too much by mistake.


Mucilin has been around for decades. It’s a fairly thick silicone paste. It isn’t the greatest for tiny dry flies with delicate fibers, and leaves quite a greasy slick if you apply too much.

mucilin green floatant

Mucilin green floatant.

Mucilin Green works better on bigger attractor dries like daddies, hoppers and sedge’s. The positives are it’s dirt cheap, your flies will float very well, and because it is so thick it works great for keeping your fly line tip high floating as a line dressing should the need arise. The simple tub design means you can never squeeze out unwanted surplus by accident and make a mess.


Watershed is actually a liquid designed to be used on flies at least 24 hours prior to fishing.

Watershed fly floatant

Watershed fly floatant.

Don’t make the mistake of buying watershed and then applying whilst on the water – you will leave a vast slick around the fly and it will not float well at all! Pre-treated flies (once dried out well) will float like corks. Worth keeping a bottle on your fly-tying desk and applying on new flies fresh from the vice.


This is a silicon based liquid spray. Like watershed you use it to treat your flies before use. Spray on and allow the flies to dry out fully before hitting the water. This stuff is very effective, and the manual application spray pump is efficient and environmentally friendly.

Airflo repel spray

Airflo repel spray.


This stuff has been around for years and it certainly works very well. It will dry out quickly once applied, even on the bank.

Leeda dry fly spray

Leeda dry fly spray.

Follow what it says on the tin – one spray and your fly will float. A downside is unlike gels you cannot easily apply to specific areas of the fly, for example emerger wings. It is also easy to over-do the spraying, and get it on your leader accidentally as well. The fact it’s in an aerosol tin means you have no way of telling how much you have left.


This stuff is pure liquid silicone oil. Drop you fly in the chamber and immerse. Can be a bit awkward on the bank, and your fly will be flooded with the stuff so false cast or blow most of it off afterwards or you get a huge slick. Positives are it’s cheap, and works well, even more so as a pre-fishing treatment – dunk and dry your flies in advance..

Mucilin silicone oil

Mucilin silicone oil.


The Mucilin red formula is really best suited for fly lines and leaders, rather than flies. It’s extremely sticky, tacky formula is only really any good for very large patterns, like wake lures for sea trout, bombers or big deer hair sedge’s. Great if your floating fly line is sinking though!

Red mucilin

Red mucilin


Restore is a desiccant treatment, it is used to suck up the moisture from a waterlogged fly. Very useful if you have only one fly that works left that keeps on getting hammered! Simply dip and shake the fly in the powder, and all the moisture suck will be sucked out. It uses a mixture of silica crystals and with Teflon additives to repel water.

Airflo restore

Airflo restore.

Carp On The Fly

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Kieron Jenkins of Fulling Mill talks about his summertime passion for catching carp on the fly rod – an adrenaline filled diversion when trout fishing is at it’s worst!  Read on to discover the tackle, tips and tactics Kieron employs for carp fly fishing.

At this time of year it tends to be too hot for traditional fly fishing. Trout often go deep and sulk in the hot weather, but carp on the other hand provide immense sport on the fly! Fly fishing for carp is a sport that has only recently taken off here in the UK and is becoming many anglers favoured quarry.

Most anglers who fly fish for carp in the UK encourage them to eat from the surface, but carp can also be caught on lures and bloodworms when the conditions dictate. Personally, I enjoy the surface action.

Fly fishing for carp in the UK is really taking off!

Fly fishing for carp in the UK is really taking off!

Getting started – What to feed?

Keep it simple – carp absolutely love dog biscuits. Mixers are perfect, they’re fairly large and float well. Most carp lakes are inundated with silver fish that are attracted to smaller baits, so I tend to use mixers to discourage them from attacking the bait – which unfortunately, doesn’t always work! The lovely, meaty smell of the biscuits will drag carp from all over the lake, so it’s worth spending the time to bait up, feeding small but constant amounts of bait into your swim before starting to fish. Be careful not to overfeed, carp will gorge and lose interest quickly – feed little and often. A catapult will come in handy too.

What fishing tackle do I need?

Small carp can fight, but a big one is something else. The power of even a fish 5lb + is immense, be sure to use tackle to cope with fast surges and big runs. I prefer to use a 10ft 8# Airflo Airlite Competition Special, a fly rod that was designed for playing fish hard and to cast heavy sinking lines. The 8# gives you enough back bone to hold the fish hard to stop them running into the snags, as well as great casting performance over long distances.

The power of carp is immense - a great fight on a fly rod!

The power of carp is immense – a great fight on a fly rod!

This year I’ve been using the Airflo Switch Pro Fly Reel, it has an extremely hard drag system that has stopped almost everything I’ve hooked on my local carp water. Carp often take long, hard runs towards cover, so your backing is regularly out of the rod rings! Ensure to use a fly reel that is up to the job.

As far as fly lines go, I was always under the impression that I could use just about anything and get away with it, but since the introduction of the Super-Dri range from Airflo It’s certainly helped me catch more carp on the fly, let alone trout! The higher floating properties of the Super-Dri Lake Pro fly line ensures a quicker lift off, especially at distance, allowing you to set the hook quicker before the carp has time to spit the fly out. They’re notorious for ‘mouthing’ the fly and letting go, so if you can connect quicker, why not? The non-stretch core of these lines allow you to put more pressure on the fish too, hopefully getting them quickly away from snags.

At the business end I like to use a 5ft length of fluorocarbon, attached to a Salmon/Steelhead floating polyleader. The polyleader allows good turn over with chunky flies – a splashy landing can sometimes deter carp that are high in the water. The trout version is too light, I’ve lost many large carp because the polyleader as broken, but the 24lb breaking strain Salmon/Steelhead version is ideal. A simple loop to loop connection is all that is needed to join your tippet.

If the fishing is fast and furious I prefer 10lb Fulling Mill Fluorocarbon, the leader sinks quickly and is extremely strong, allowing you to really clamp up without breakages and pull carp back through some serious snags! Other times carp can be quite fussy, especially in flat calm conditions. Then I prefer to use a lighter breaking strain – the new Airflo Sightfree G4 Fluorocarbon in 8.8lb is superb. Personally I wouldn’t go any lighter than this, but you may find you have to if you don’t get any takes.

As for flies, a dog biscuit imitation is a must. The Close Copy Dog Biscuit, Bonio Carp Fly and the Bread Crust pattern from Fulling Mill are all you will ever need. A fly that closely represents the size and colour of the real thing will always be preferred, so choose your fly wisely.

A dog biscuit imitation fly pattern is a must!

A dog biscuit imitation fly pattern is a must!

Carp on the surface

Once the carp are up and feeding all that’s left to do is to hook one, and land it of course. What I tend to do is sit patiently and spot a fish that is cruising. Carp will sit/swim high in the water if there are numerous biscuits on offer, if you can track a fish and accurately present a fly a few feet in front of it, more than likely it will eat it.

The hardest part about fly fishing for carp is hooking the damn things! They’re cunning creatures and learn very quickly. Carp will often come to the fly a ‘test’ it out, sitting a few inches under the fly, sucking it from the surface. If your line is tight or your leader is floating, the biscuit won’t move and the carp will flee onto the next one. This is where fluorocarbon comes in handy as it’s relatively heavy and sinks. The sunk leader will let the fly get ‘sucked’ into the fish’s mouth.

Once you’ve hooked one, hold on tight and clamp up that drag. More often than not they will head for cover to free the hook. A correctly set drag will save the break offs and give enough stopping power to tire the fish before getting to those roots.

Carp on the fly success!

Carp on the fly success for Kieron!

Finding a carp water can be difficult, many venues don’t mention the fact that they allow fly fishing on their website or facebook pages, so it’s definitely worth a call to your local carp fishing water to ask before turning up…

A quick re-cap to carp on the fly:

  1. Use appropriate fly fishing tackle, there’s nothing worse than being under-gunned.
  2. Cast accurately to feeding carp and try to avoid spooking them.
  3. Play carp firmly and use your kit to its full advantage. Hold them tight and get them to the net quickly.
  4. A selection of carp flies is essential. Change the colours to suit.
  5. Always check with the fishery owner that they are happy for you to fly fish.
  6. You will need an unhooking mat and a decent sized landing net with soft mesh to comply with most carp fisheries rules. Be sure to check this before heading out.
A selection of carp flies is essential.

A selection of carp flies is essential.

Season of the Drakes by Rene Harrop

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Barring limitations of weather, I will fish in any season. I do not always seek easy fishing, big trout, or comfortable temperatures but late June and early July can provide all three. This is because it is summer and the time for the big mayflies known as Drakes.

Brown Drake Time.

Brown Drake Time.

At a minimum of size 12, Green, Brown, and Gray Drakes grace the first fifty miles of the Henry’s Fork, and nearly any angler who happens to be there during this period will generally find uncommon success.

With few exceptions, most aquatic insects that inhabit this legendary river are at least three sizes smaller, and this limits a trout’s enthusiasm for a single floating target.

There is no mistaking the assertive and sometimes violent rise of a heavy trout to any one of the drake species. And it is probably for this reason that I share the excitement exhibited by anyone else who is fortunate enough to be on the water when they are hatching.

Morning Drake Action.

Morning Drake Action.

With differing habitat requirements and preferred activity periods, drake action will take place in various types of water, from fast current to slow moving glides. While Green Drakes will generally emerge in late morning, Brown Drakes are mostly an evening hatch that can extend into darkness. Gray Drakes are not quite as predictable and can be found emerging at nearly any point in the day.

The spinners from all three drakes prefer the calm of the morning or evening for returning to the water to deposit eggs. Trout response to both duns and spinners is roughly equal.

Morning Drake Action.

Morning Drake Action.

It should come as no surprise that the Henry’s Fork is never busier than during Drake time. But the charitable treatment instantly disappears when these special hatches come to an end and the trout return to their more typical insolence. But it is wonderful while it lasts.

Thank You.

Thank You.