Every now and again the British shore throws up something out of the ordinary. Just earlier this week we learned that Lego pieces are still being washed ashore some 17 years after being lost at sea. But now, something a little more fishing related has occurred – The capture of the biggest fish ever caught on Britain’s shores – A whopping 208lb Skate!
The 88 inch Skate which weighed 208lbs was brought to shore by 26 year old Daniel Bennett from Whitby whilst he was fishing off the Isle of Skye, beating the current record (another skate) by over 40lbs. These anglers must have been using some seriously powerful sea fishing tackle to haul such catches from the shore!
Mr Bennett, who works in a fishing supplies shop said: ‘ My partner is not really that interested, but she’s proud of me nonetheless. I think people outside the angling world find it harder to see how much of a feat this is’.
‘West Scotland is known for skate fishing but not Skye. We were the first to catch one there for at least 30 or 40 years. There was another chap in our group who caught one and it was about 120lb. We thought we’d never find one any bigger – then we did an hour later.’
The magnificent fish which measured 88.25 inches long and 66.75 inches wide has now been confirmed by the British Record Fish Commitee as the largest fish caught on it’s current list. Although the fish was not weighed at the scene, as the anglers didn’t have any scales, the weighed was worked out bu The Shark Trust, a UK conservation charity, based on the measurements of the fish.
Some feat for a 26 year old angler!
What a difficult week! Anglers have found it nigh on impossible to even tempt the rainbows in the increased water temperature, with Sally-Ann Iles being one of the few to find modest success. Sal took one on a midge tip line and a size 14 mini cat off the main island, with a very slow retrieve and lost another that snapped her line. Dean Griffiths took one on a black buzzer and a floating line, Ken Bowring took two and Mike James took one on a daddy long legs.
I am mildly cheered by reports that conditions are equally difficult in most other fisheries. Those who go fishing just to get away from it all will have a good time. Tea, bonhomie and ice cream available at the lodge. If your day will be ruined if you don’t even get a knock, then stay home and do the garden or all the other DIY jobs you’ve been promising to do on your days off!
TAPP Open day free fly fishing coaching
There has been considerable interest in the open day being organised by Torfaen Angling Participation Project at Cwm Hedd on August 2nd. Free fly fishing coaching for anglers of all ages and abilities will be available on an informal basis. To register your interest please contact Bob Mayers on firstname.lastname@example.org so that he can ensure that a sufficient number of coaches are available.
Poppy fish: British Legion Competition 16th November 2014. We can all look forward to good fishing weather for the November competition: Â£30 entry fee plus sponsorship. Over a third of the places have already been taken, so early entry is advised. Cash prizes totalling Â£215.00. Entry forms available at Cwm Hedd lodge or download at http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/wales/events
Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 7 am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm (ring if you definitely want to come but can’t make it by 6). Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours.
New to fly fishing? Not sure what equipment you need to buy? Or how to get started? This guide is for you.
Here we cover the very basics of fly fishing. We don’t pretend this is all you need to know to capture a record fish – but it is just enough to get you fly fishing. The rest takes a lifetime of practise – enjoy!
Get a rod licence
Next time you nip out for a paper, pick up a rod licence too. You need one to fish any inland waterway in the UK – anywhere but the sea. You can get one from your local Post Office.
Here are the current rod licence prices:
|Rod licence type||Non-Migratory Trout & Coarse||Salmon & Sea Trout|
|Junior concession (U16)||£5||£5|
|Children under 12||Free||Free|
Choosing a rod
Next up you need a fly fishing rod. Here your choice depends to a large extent on where you’re hoping to fish, what species you’re most interested in catching, and whether or not you’re likely to be travelling with your fishing rod.
Fly rod selection is a tough subject, so check out our guide to choosing the right fly fishing rod for more tips and advice.
Prices for a new fly rod range from around the £50 mark to £300 and upwards, but to get you started, you won’t go too far wrong with one of these little beauties – an Airflo elite fly fishing kit – a four piece rod, reel and quality fly line in a cordura tube, starting from just £129.99.
Here’s what the guys here at Fishtec thought of it when it was launched:
Which fly reel?
Die cast or machine cut? Large arbor? Click drag or disc drag? When it comes to choosing the right fly reel for you, the most important question is, what type of fish are you trying to catch?
For smaller fish like trout, a good and inexpensive choice is this Airflo Sniper Fly Reel – incredible value for money and even better – it comes with a free fly line.
If it’s larger freshwater species or saltwater varieties you intend to target, you’ll be looking for something heavier duty and with a great drag system, like the Airflo Xceed, as recommended by Trout and Salmon Magazine as one of their top reels of 2014.
For more information on reel selection, read our fly reel buying guide.
Fly line and leader
Now for your first fly line. For beginners we recommend a floating line because you’ll be able to use it for fishing both dry flies on the surface, and wet flies just under the water. The weight of your line or AFTM rating should match the rod you fish with, so make sure you look for the information written just above the handle of your rod.
Taper is an important factor to consider as it affects the distance you can cast, and the presentation of the fly. Then there’s the backing – usually braided, it’s the line you tie your specialist fly line to.
With so many factors to consider, what you really need is a guide to fly lines and backing. Luckily we prepared one earlier…and just in case you need a quick recap, check out this brief guide from Fishtec’s Tim Rajeff:
Will it be a Greenwell’s Glory, a Woodcock and Yellow, or a Red Palmer? The choice of fly patterns is endless.
Some fly fishermen fish just one pattern in different sizes, others have an armoury of tufted hooks at their disposal. The best advice here is to ask around to find out what works in your local water – and be prepared to experiment.
A top tip is to take more than you think you’ll need. You can expect to lose a few – especially to begin with.
Fly fishing clothing
A set of neoprene chest waders, a Harris tweed jacket and hat with a feather in it – that’s all you need to keep you warm and dry isn’t it? Well, sort of.
Fly fishing clothing needs to do three things: wick moisture away from your skin; hold warm, dry air close to your body; and keep the elements out. Layers are the answer, the more you have, the more clothes you can take off as it gets warmer, or put on as the temperature drops.
Here’s a guide to carp fishing clothing – don’t worry – it works just as well for fly fishermen. Layer up and get out there!
Putting it all together
We could try to show you how to cast – but diagrams, video tutorials and written instructions won’t get you very far. To learn to cast, you need lessons from an expert, and you’re in luck because here at Fishtec, we have our very own directory of fly fishing instructors.
The good news is, you can pick up the basics in a day. But then you’ll need to perfect your technique which will take you…a lifetime! What are you waiting for?
Well here it is – The Amazing capture of the 55lb Common Carp by our TF Gear consultant Dave Lane!
Many of you would have already seen the capture on Facebook and our various social networks, but such a fish is worth seeing more than once, don’t you think?
Dave mentioned to us that this magnificent fish was caught using the new TF Gear N-Tec Carp rod. On this particular range of carp rods we’ve been working closely with Dave to produce a responsive and accurate – A true casting tool. The N-Tec rods are high-modulous carbon and feature high quality components all round. Paired with the N-tec, Dave use the TF Gear PitBull Big Pit Free spool reel - An outstanding ‘big carp’ tackle combination.
Here’s a few pictures of the 55lb Burghfiled Common.
Ever wanted to create your own fishing reel? Well here’s your chance with the DCR from Daiwa!
Daiwa have taken the plunge and offered it’s customers the opportunity to take control and create their own, personalised fishing reel!
The concept is simple. Take the body of the classic Daiwa Basia reel (RRP £599) and choose your preferred components, colour or style along the way. Daiwa have set up a user friendly 12 step configuration process, allowing you to choose from a selection of genuine, Japanese made parts to customise your version of this classic carp fishing reel.
How do I get one?
Simply head over to the Daiwa Website, and select whether you want to build your own fishing reel, or carp rod! Once you’ve completed the 12 steps, you can choose your favourite Daiwa Stockist who are appointed DCR dealers, and place your order through them. No fuss, no hassle.
Here’s one we’ve quickly put together…
Those practitioners who follow the traditional description of fly fishing understand that insects lie at the core of their sport.
While mayflies are not necessarily the most dominant attractors of trout in terms of numbers, they are easily the most recognizable. With their tall wings and almost magical tendency to appear suddenly on the water, these tall winged insects have come to symbolize what hatches are largely about both on the Henry’s Fork and worldwide.
Although mayflies occur in a variety of sizes, the average would probably not exceed size 16, and many are considerably smaller. There are times, however, when those on the upper end of the scale cause us to temporarily forget 6X leaders and tippets and squinting to follow a tiny imitation as it drifts on the surface at distances of 30 feet and beyond.
Drake is a term of European origin generally applied to a mayfly larger than size 14, and they are considered royalty by fly fishers wherever they exist.
On the Henry’s Fork, the early summer emergence of Green Drakes is an event targeted by many who will only visit the river at this time of year. Known primarily for something less than hospitable treatment of intruders, Henry’s Fork trout display uncharacteristic charity when Green Drakes begin to dominate their menu beginning in mid-June and usually lasting through early July.
At a solid size 10, Green Drakes can have the ability to sometimes erase the futility of an imperfect cast, minor drag, or an imitation that might otherwise be subject to ridicule.
The perfect habitat for Green Drakes is clean gravel, which often features rippled water that can help to mask a flawed presentation. It can be a different story on slow, shallow currents where insect numbers may be lower but trout resistance can be more typical of what anglers have come to expect on the Henry’s Fork. With this in mind, it is a good policy to carry an assortment of emerger, dun, and spinner patterns at Green Drake time. A dark nymph in the appropriate size is also effective for those who don’t mind fishing a subsurface imitation.
As the name implies, Green Drakes are a deep, almost jade green with bright yellow bands along the abdomen and legs. Wings on the spinner are transparent with distinct, dark veins while the dun and emerger wings are a dark smokey gray.
Be on the water early for a chance at a spinner fall, and expect emergence from late morning until mid-afternoon. Cool, overcast weather can delay the hatch into late afternoon or early evening.
Less known but even slightly larger than their green cousins, are Brown Drakes. With an emergence period that often begins slightly later but occasionally extending deeper into July, Brown Drakes exhibit distinct differences with respect to their appearance and behavior.
Unlike the compact, rather burly profile of Green Drakes, Brown Drakes show a more slender abdomen, and the mottled wings appear more upright. The best imitations emphasize the tannish yellow underbody of the natural, although the duns and spinners look darker when viewed from above.
Normal time for Brown Drake emergence is at dusk and can extend into darkness on a warm evening. Cooler weather can push the hatch time to mid-morning and sometimes early afternoon.
A Brown Drake spinner fall will often overlap with emergence, which dictates close observation to determine which stage is being targeted by individual trout. Emergers and nymphs can also be the target, and the situation can be quite complex when all stages become simultaneously available.
Brown Drakes thrive in slower currents flowing over a silted or fine gravel bottom. Their distribution on the Henry’s Fork is limited mainly to the upper reaches with Harriman East generally considered the lower boundary. The strongest hatches seem to appear in areas of heavy aquatic vegetation, which makes the stretch from Bonefish Flat through Millionaire’s especially productive.
Gray Drakes are slightly smaller than the green or brown varieties but at size 12 are still capable of attracting the largest trout to the surface. Like Green Drakes, they are distributed through the first 50 miles of the Henry’s Fork, which includes the area near St. Anthony.
Gray Drakes find comfort in slower currents where they emerge at the edge of the river. Because emergence can be sporadic and spread over several hours, Gray Drake duns seldom appear in concentrated numbers, which differs from the other two drakes of the Henry’s Fork. A Gray Drake spinner fall can be a different story, however, with periodic mating flights that can put numbers of naturals on the water that are close to overwhelming.
On the lower Henry’s Fork where the population seems strongest, Gray Drake spinners can blanket the water in numbers that cause an imitation to be lost amid a horde of naturals. Fortunately, a Gray Drake spinner fall is typically a more restrained affair with the number of naturals at a level that can be managed with determination and sound fishing techniques.
Morning and late afternoon are good times to fish a gray body dun along the bank while either wading or floating.
A big Rusty Spinner is a reliable choice during a Gray Drake spinner fall that can arrive at dusk or earlier on a cool day.
Gray Drakes are primarily a June and early July hatch at lower elevation but I have fished them into early September above 6,000 feet.
Although drakes provide a relatively small window of opportunity to fish big flies on a stout tippet, some of the largest trout of the year are landed during their respective visits. Large mayflies attract large trout wherever they exist worldwide and as kings of the order, drakes are special.
Drying your boilies – whether you’re on the bank or at home – has never been easier with this boilie air dry bag.
The TF Gear boilie air dry bag gives your bait complete circulation to dry out. With its easy dry mesh construction this ingenious piece of fishing tackle can be handle-hung or stood on its base to get the very best ventilation. Once your boilies have dried off, the large or standard TF Gear boilie air dry bag will continue to keep them fresh, firm and always in peak condition.
View the TF Gear Boilie Air Dry bag here
The Blazer sunglasses from our range of Polarised sunglasses are without a doubt our preferred frames for all-round conditions, the smoke lens is beneficial in brighter conditions, letting a low amount of light through to your eye, cutting out more glare whilst the amber lenses are perfect for dull days or fishing beneath canopy, allowing more light to your eyes.
Polarised sunglasses are an essential piece of carp fishing clothing, as Dave Lane mentions in the video, “Never go fishing without a set of Polarised Glasses”.
The TF Gear Blazer Sunglasses feature superb optical quality at unbelievable prices.
Now here’s a product many of you have been waiting for, the Juggernaut Under barrow Bag – A great space saving item!
Designed to add even more carrying capacity to your Juggernaut barrow, the Under Barrow bag from our fishing barrow range provides huge storage under the main section of your barrow and maximises storage space plus adds perfect balance when traveling over uneven terrain.
- Easily attached and secured to barrow frame
- Adds huge carrying capacity
- Heavy-duty construction
The Under Barrow bag is fully endorsed by Dave Lane!
Are you new to carp fishing? Thinking of taking up the sport? Or perhaps someone you know wants the low down on how to get started.
Here we’ve put together a guide to carp fishing for beginners.
Just the very basics to get you started – be warned – you’ll soon be hooked!
You’re after carp – one of the most exciting, challenging and maddening fish it’s possible to catch on rod and line. Common, mirror or grass carp to name but three varieties is a wide family of freshwater fish indigenous to Europe and Asia. During the middle ages, they were introduced to Britain and farmed by monks for their tasty flesh.
Inevitably, some escaped into rivers, ponds and lakes, where they thrived. Thanks to their power, strength and wily ways, carp were long considered almost uncatchable. With modern carp fishing tackle and baits, you could be in with a chance – but you’ve got to get it right…
First things first. if you want to fish without the fear of being tapped on the shoulder by one of the guys from the Environment Agency, make sure you’re the proud owner of an up to date rod licence. You need one to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish – including carp, smelt and eel with a rod and line in England (except the River Tweed), Wales or the Border Esk region of Scotland.
To get a licence, simply pop along to your local post office and pay over the counter. You don’t need to wait for the licence to come through, just keep the receipt to hand in case you’re asked. A full licence costs £27 at the time of writing, however, if you’re just giving carp fishing a try, a one day licence costs just £3.75.
Choosing a water
We all want to catch a big fish, but the truth is, the bigger the fish grows, the wiser it gets. Some of the specimen lakes offer beasts well over twenty years old. In fact the oldest ever recorded carp was ‘Raspberry’, denizen of Redmire Pools in Herefordshire who it’s thought lived to the ripe old age of 67. Old, wise fish are hard to fool and as a beginner, who wants to spend the day on the bank without so much as a bite?
Newbies are better off heading for somewhere that stocks a larger number of smaller fish, say around the 5 – 10 lb range. Catching bigger carp takes knowledge and experience, but put in the hours and you’ll be on your way to being a match for the big’un.
It is true that a bad workman always blames his tools, but if you’re new to carp fishing, the last thing you want is to spend good money on the wrong rod and reel. Do check out our Youtube channel for some expert advice on buying the right equipment.
1. Choosing a rod
2. Choosing a reel
3. Choosing clothing
Never underestimate the vagaries of the British weather – many a good day’s fishing is ruined by insufficient or inappropriate inner and outer wear. But that miserable soul, perched on the bank, sweltering or shivering needn’t be you. Here’s a short video guide to what to wear to the swim – you’ll look like a pro!
The right rig
The intricacies of what fishing tackle to buy and use is a vast subject, and not one we believe should overly concern the novice carp fisherman or woman. Instead, we recommend you start out with a good allround line like, TF Gear GS Carp Line. A leader like this TF Gear Nantec Mono will see you right. Hook wise, you’re looking at the Nash Fang X – add a boilie and boilie stop, a piece of braid and a lead and you’re in business. One of the simplest rigs of all is the ‘hair rig’ – here’s how to tie it:
You’re kitted up, you’ve assembled your rig, now all you need to do is launch that tackle into the water and wait for the fish to come biting. Right? Well – partially. Where you put that bait is key, and there’s no better way to find the sweet spot of your local water than by asking around. The staff of the lakeside bait shop, other anglers – ask for a little advice and listen to what’s said. Then make your own mind up. You’ll learn watercraft by osmosis – but be patient because the ways of the water aren’t discovered overnight.
Now for a guide to casting – you’re nearly there!
We saved the second best bit for near the end. Set your bait alarm, and head to your bivvy for a brew. Not sure which bivvy is best? Take a look at this:
The best bit
You bite alarm goes off! What do you do next? Our top tip – take a deep breath, calm that sudden burst of adrenaline. You might have hooked a fish, but you haven’t yet brought it to the bank. The drag on your reel should be set so if the fish lunges or runs, it will take line rather than tear the hook from its lip. Now keep the rod tip low, and play your fish. Think gentle pressure because wrenching the rod, or winding like a madman won’t help the hook stay set, and it’ll stress the fish too. Instead bring your catch to the bank at a steady pace, and net it as quickly (and as gently) as you can.
Unhook your fish while it’s in the net, and carefully place it on a handling mat. To pick up the monster for a snap, place one hand under its tail, and the other under its fin closest to the mat. Lift keeping the fish close to your body – but don’t stand with the fish unless it’s in the net – they’re mighty slippery, and you don’t want to drop it. Now to put the fish back where it belongs. Place the carp in the water holding it gently by the tail until it’s ready to swim away. Now wipe the proud tear from your eye – you’re a carp angler!