In the market for some new tackle? You’re in luck!
We asked our pros for their absolute must-have, favourite fishing tackle, so you can make sure your next purchase is pro approved!
Without further ado, here are their favourite bits of kit.
Image source: Kletr The pros’ favourite tackle to net one of these.
“TF Gear Centre pin, smooth, fast and the ideal trotting reel for my grayling fishing.” Nathan Walter
“DL Carp rods, produced with the intent of making one of the best, mid range carp rods on the market. I’ve helped make it too, so it has proper use and testing. Great rod.” Dane Lane
“A decent mud anchor – this is essential when I’m targeting specimen pike on the UK’s large reservoirs. Keeping the boat stable in high winds means a better presentation, and ultimately more pike!” Leighton Ryan
Image source: Annette Shaff The pros’ recommendations, from waders to fly lines.
“Simms waders. For comfort and durability they are the best on the market.” Terry Bromwell
“Airflo Super Stik fly rod, the best mid range fly rod there is.” Dean Kibble
“Forty Plus fly line from Fishtec, a market leader and game changer in the fishing industry for sure!” Gareth Jones
We get asked quite regularly about the various types of fishing tackle luggage we sell. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the key differences in the various products. Perhaps the most commonly asked question is what are the differences between a quiver, holdall, a sleeve and a carryall? Take a read to find out more!
Korum 3 rod quivers
A quiver is an open ended item of luggage. Therefore they can accommodate any length of rod – the sections stick out of the top. Most quivers are around 3 to 4 foot long. The way these work are the fishing rods are clipped into place onto the outside of the quiver. The rods are exposed and can be either kept made up or unmade. There is a central pocket inside most quivers, and usually side pockets to accommodate shelters, bank sticks, pods and so on. Quivers are very lightweight so are ideal for carrying long distances – for example when river roving or if its a long walk to your chosen swim. They are also great if you carry made up rods and want to set up quickly. The down side is they offer very little protection for your rod and reels in transit.
An open 6 rod capacity TF Gear hardcore holdall
A holdall is an item of luggage that carries complete made up rods, fully enclosed and zipped up inside padded internal compartments. These often take between 3 – 6 rods, as well as extra tackle items such as banksticks and landing nets. Most holdalls are 6 foot long to accommodate 2 section carp rods, although in some cases they can be shorter, i.e for the TF Gear compact fishing rod range. They provide outstanding protection for your fishing tackle due to their padded and robust nature, and are perfect to leave your tackle in storage long term. The downside is they are heavy and cumbersome to move around.
A single Korum rod sleeve
Sleeves are basically an extremely slimmed down version of a rod holdall – designed to take just one rod with a reel fitted. They make a inexpensive way to purchase protection for rods, and come in handy for short sessions with less fishing tackle than normal. Some manufactures combine quivers with sleeves, to make a modular system such as the TF Gear hardcore quiver and sleeves.
A typical fishing carryall bag
Carryalls are your traditional fishing bags. They tend to be square or oblong in shape, with sizes varying from a quick day session size to accommodating everything for a full week – and the kitchen sink to boot! Many of them combine other features, so you can use them as a bivvy table, or have removable drop in cool bags and reel storage pouches.
Spring time is just round the corner, finally its starting to warm up and small stillwater fly fishing will be coming into its own! There will be no sign of troublesome summer time weed, the water will be well oxygenated and fresh fish will have been stocked. However this is still no walk in the park! Read on to find out how to kick off your early season stillwater trout fishing campaign.
An early start on a small stillwater fishery
1. Don’t reach for sinking lines first – For the early spring in most years people opt for sinking lines and deeply fished lures. Try a floater first with a co-polymer leader and fish the upper layers nice and slowly. By doing this, the leader and flies will not hit the deck or fall too quickly through the water column, giving fish more time to see the flies. You can then search the lower layers if your unproductive. One of my favourite set ups is an unweighted black or olive woolly bugger on the point, with a buzzer on the dropper. The heavily palmered fly means you can retrieve nice and slow without hitting bottom, and catch fish on the buzzer. When you strip in to recast you often prompt a take on the point fly – giving you the best of both methods!
2. Get to the fishery early – Set your alarm clock, and beat the crowds! Small stillwaters have a confined area, so pretty soon the fish get used to seeing flies of all description whizzing past, and wise up after a few hours. The earlier you get there, the more chance you have of connecting with some fresh fish that have not seen another anglers flies.
3. Cast to moving fish – It amazes me that more anglers don’t cover topping fish on small stillwaters! Always make the effort to pick your fly line up and cast to a moving fish. Try to work out which way it’s heading and drop your flies in its path. Its also extremely satisfying when that fish turns and nails your offering!
Indicators and flies all ready to fish
4. Use a blob under an indicator – when blobs first hit the scene, the in method was to rip them back in at break neck speed on fast sinking Di lines, and hang the fly for a few moments before lifting off. This can be a devastating tactic on a small stillwater, but the fish soon get used to it. Fished under a bung such as an Airlock strike indicator they are absolutely lethal. I think its about the way they behave in the water column when static, they drift slowly just like trout pellets do. The bright colours simply make the trout take notice of them.
5. Use a forty plus line – With increased angling pressure the fish can eventually move out of casting range, and seemingly all group up in the middle. This is very frustrating if like most 25 to 30 yards is your maximum range . Give your self the edge with an Airflo forty plus extreme fly line. These lines will give you that extra distance you need and of course make you look like a casting hero in front of other anglers! I would not be without a selection of these fly lines on a small water, they are easy to use and you should see at least another 5 – 10 yards on your added on to your normal range.
A Double figure rainbow caught tight along the lake margin
6.Cast along the edge – Of course the trout wont always be right out in the middle, they will also look to follow the most defined feature of the lake, the margin! Watching the margins can often pay dividends for an early fish. These margin cruisers will take a fly fished close in. So take care to cast parallel to the bank, and stand a few steps back from the edge – especially when you arrive at a new swim. You often hear of beginners and youngsters landing the largest trout stocked in the lake, these are anglers that cant cast far. Those big trout were hugging the margin on a patrol route.
7. Mix up retrieves – Try to vary your retrieve to keep the fish interested, use a jerky figure of eight, fast strip, twitchy two foot pulls with a long pause, a steady very slow crawl or even a rapid rolly polly, and don’t forget to hang the flies for a few seconds before lifting off. The more you mix it up, the less bored the trout will be and you will eventually trigger a strike.
I am pretty certain we have all invested in a nice expensive new pair of fishing waders,only to find that after a relatively short period the waders start leaking like a sieve! Which is quite frustrating to say the least when you are up to your chest in icy cold river water. Read on to find out how to avoid such a wader calamity, and also how to extend your chest waders life.
Not the way to look after your waders!
1 . Get the correct size
Make sure you try your waders on in the fishing tackle shop, or call or email them with your exact sizes if doing mail order before purchasing. If waders are too tight they will strain at the seams, especially in the feet and the groin areas and eventually leak prematurely. Too baggy and the stocking feet may rub in the boots and wear out, and you may have inner leg abrasion when fabric rubs against each other when walking.
2. Avoid harmful objects
It sounds obvious but many people think waders are just indestructible! Sitting on rough or thorny ground, ploughing through beds of thistles and brambles. Impaling the fly into your leg, standing on them on stony ground while getting dressed and of course barbed wire! All of these things do no good for your wader. To avoid such damage just think twice and use some forward planning when walking the banks and deciding your entry into the water.
3. Proper care and storage
Always store the waders by hanging them in a ventilated location so the inside of the wader dries out. If the inside of the wader is not completely dried, mildew will form which in the case of breathable waders will damage the breathable wader membrane and cause seam tape to peel and eventually water to seep through. Don’t leave wet waders inside the stuff sack or car boot for extended periods of time. Boot foot waders do no like being hung by the braces, it can ruin the braces and stretch the seams between boot and fabric due to prolonged pressure.
A Simms wader finally retired after 8 years hard use
What can I do if the waders are leaking ?
Well if its too late for them you could always contact a wader repair specialist, like Diver Dave’s wader repairs up in the Scottish highlands. This man really knows how to fix a pair of waders at a very reasonable price. Or you could do a self repair – some wader companies like Simms manufacture their product from Gore-Tex, which means you can repair them with the help of rubbing alcohol. One member of the Fishtec team kept his waders alive for eight years using their method. Check out this video on how its done!
March the 3rd was the fishing opening day on the Welsh rivers for trout. Unfortunately for Fishtec employees this was during the week, so for us the fly fishing season could not start until the weekend!
The fly fishing gear was eagerly dusted off and we hit the local river Usk for a few hours. Marketing director Tim Hughes chose a river Usk beat near Brecon, and landed 9 nice wild trout, all on deeply fished nymphs tied on jig hooks. Check out his cool video using a GoPro here-
10 miles further upstream near Sennybridge, Ceri Thomas battled a brutal head on wind which made casting and line control extremely difficult, but still managed to land a nicely marked 15 inch brown trout on a deeply fished nymph, presented under an airlock strike indicator.
River Usk brown trout
The conditions were still very cold and blustery, with few flies hatching in the upstream reaches to bring the fish near the surface. As the conditions warm up the fly hatches the river Usk is famed for will kick into life – and should provide some world class dry fly sport.
River Usk in early spring
For those looking to book an early season river fishing trip in Wales we recommend the Wye and Usk foundations booking office. Their superb online system makes selecting and then paying for your chosen stretch extremely easy, with up to date river level information and anglers reports readily on hand.
Looking for a new rod to kick start your spring campaign? Look no further than the TF gear compact range of coarse fishing rods, ideal for those starting out in the sport and the seasoned veteran alike.
What are the compact rods you ask? Well the concept is these coarse fishing rods are shorter in length than the traditional fishing rods on the market. This confers many advantages to the fisherman.
Easy maneuvering – in tightly spaced commercial fishery swims, or on the river bank when you have to clamber through heavy bank side foliage.
Greatly reduced weight – These fishing rods are also significantly lighter in the hand making your fishing more pleasurable.
Easy transportation – these rods are guaranteed to fit in your car!
Better casting accuracy – with less leverage to deal with and a quicker recovery time accurate casting becomes much easier.
Improved control when playing a fish – its much easier to put the pressure on a decent fish and change angle of play quickly with a shorter rod.
Reduced cost – shorter length equals less carbon used. This cost saving has been passed on, so higher quality blanks and components are used in manufacture. You get a better quality product for less money.
Fish playing fun – feel everything, and put the thrill back into a fight! While at the same time there is enough power to quickly tame large specimen fish.
TF Gear produce a compact rod for every fishing scenario you will ever encounter. There are two ranges – The original compact rods, which and have a classic brown ground matt carbon finish, and feature smooth mid-tip progressive actions. These rods are great value, but no compromise has been made on quality or finish. Secondly the lighter weight and higher modulus carbon nantec range, which feature slimmer blanks and a slightly faster action. In addition most of the nantec rods come with a free TF gear Airlite reel, making them an incredibly competitive package.
The TF gear compact allrounders must be the best seller best in the range. These highly versatile rods offer you numerous options, you can go from a 8 to 10 foot length with a two foot extension piece. They are also supplied with 3 x push in feeder quiver tips and an avon top, allowing you to fish multiple methods – float, feeder, touch ledgering, surface fishing or even spinning.
The TF Gear Compact commercial float and feeder rods are available in either 8 foot or 10 foot configurations. The feeder rods come complete with 3 push in quivers. They are ideal for small fishery work, from roach and rudd to tench and bream, these rods handle them all. The 8 footers in particular are ideal for really crowded swims, and also make superb rods for youngsters to easily use.
TF Gear Compact carp rods are 10 foot in length with a 2.5 test curve. These fantastic rods are not just ideal for carp, they can be used for barbel, large specimen tench, chub or even pike and zander fishing using a float and deadbait presentation.
Alex Bones, expert carp and match angler talk us through the nantec compact carp rod.
The clock is ticking down towards the UK fly fishing season opening days on many of the UK’s large reservoir fisheries. We are talking of famous and popular venues such as Rutland water, Grafham, Blagdon, Chew valley , Eyebrook, Stocks, Draycote and many more.
Thousands of fine rainbow trout are being stocked in readiness, and the fully finned overwintered residents are bound to be hungry and ready to rip that fly line out of your hands! (Check out their facebook pages for more information on stocking)
A rare calm opening day on Rutland water
We tend to have a mental image of a balmy spring day as the perfect season opener, with the trout gently sipping buzzers off the top in mild and calm conditions… The reality however is almost always very different in mid March – its often way too wet, windy and cold for top water fly fishing to be successful. The trout will have a much slower metabolism due the very cold water temperatures, and will invariably be inactive and deep down in the water column or hugging the bottom.
Thankfully to make things much easier for us, the team at Airflo have come up with the ultimate early season fly lines, the Sixth Sense range! They are perfect for those dour cold windy days – when you really need that deep and slow presentation, or for fishing a booby static.
Gareth Jones, Airflo Sales Director describes the uses and benefits of the whole Airflo sixth sense range:
For us the Airflo Sixth Sense Di7 in particular is the ”must have” early season line
If you are a bank angler early season can be even more of a challenge than on the boat. Airflo’s answer to this is the 40 plus range of fly lines. Airflo have successfully updated the old fashioned ”shooting head” tradition. Long gone are the days of hearing that annoying rattle of the crude lumpy join going through your guides, and the frustrating hours spent unpicking your curly mono running line. With the latest generation of forty plus lines, Airflo have seamlessly integrated the head and running line into a smooth tapered join, with a continuous non stretch core for superb take detection. The result is much easier casting execution combined with superb longevity.
Here’s Gareth explaining more about the forty plus fly lines:
For early season bank fishing we’d recommend the Airflo Forty Plus Di 5 & Di 7.
Dave Lane is one of the top UK specimen carp anglers, In this video he shares some fascinating insights into the world of zig fishing for Carp! Watch on to discover how Dave puts his own twist on this devastating method, which will help give you the edge when the fishing gets tough during the winter months.
Subscribe to our YouTube playlist to receive up to date notifications of new Dave Lane carp fishing videos.
The Glasgow Angling Centre is host to yet another open weekend, just in time to celebrate the new fishing season. This year the brilliant 3 day event is being held over the 5-6-7th March – With some of the biggest names in the sport on hand to offer advice on all aspects of fishing, from fishing tackle to technique.
Open Weekend Opening Times
Friday 6th – Open 8am – 6pm
Saturday 7th – Open 8am – 6pm
Sunday 8th – Open 9am – 5.00pm
Colin Thomas and Kieron Jenkins will be on hand at the Airflo tackle selection at the GAC open weekend, they’ll ensure you’ll get the best service and knowledge of any Airflo product stocked at the Fishing Megastore.
What to expect over the 3 days
Loads of help and advice to help you become a better angler
Meet the biggest names in fishing, including: Stevie Munn, Paul Proctor, Billy Buckley, Mike Thrussell, Hywel Morgan, Paul Young and many more.
Huge discounts on all the biggest brands: Airflo, Hardy, Greys, Daiwa, Savage Gear, Simms, Patagonia and Shakespeare to name just a few.
Fly tying demos, fishing advice, presentations and loads more
Casting Competition with fantastic prizes on offer
Learn and improve your Lure fishing with our exclusive lure tank
Learn all about outboard engines, motors and related services, courtesy of Clyde Outboard Services
On-site Food & Refreshments
Clean customer Toilets
Casting Pool to try before you buy on fly rods and to see demos of new and exciting rods for 2015
You won’t want to miss it!
The Open Weekend has such a unique atmosphere. People from far and wide flock to the 30,000 square foot fishing superstore to rub shoulders with the biggest names in fishing. However it also gives anglers the opportunity to share experiences, meet new faces and to express their passion for the great outdoors and love for the sport.
If you’re in the south Wales area and are looking for some fly fishing tuition, call along to Cwm Hedd Lakes on 21st February where a selection of top Welsh International anglers will be on hand for casting tuition, fly tying demonstrations and fly fishing talk.
All proceeds of the event will go towards raising funds for the 2015 Welsh Ladies International team. The Welsh Salmon and Trout Angling Association (WSTAA) is the governing body for game angling in Wales and Cwm Hedd is pleased to be supporting the WSTAA by hosting this fly fishing coaching event.
The event is ideal for anglers of all abilities – from complete beginners through to experienced anglers – who are looking to hone in a specific technique or learn the basics of fly fishing.
The cost of coaching will be £15 per hour for adults and £10 per hour for under 18s and students, with all proceeds from coaching going towards team funding.
There will also be fly tying in the lodge and instruction for beginners on how to set up a fly rod, tie a fly to your leader, and the opportunity to get advice on choosing fishing rods and reels (no charge for activities in the lodge).