Category Archives: Fishing Rods

A fishing rod is probably the most distinct part of an anglers apparatus, often being a vital link to netting or loosing the fish of a lifetime. Here at Fishtec we offer the latest in fly, coarse, match and sea fishing rods. Read on below for fishing rod news and how to choose the correct one for you.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 2015

Hythe ranges cod Chris Snow 2lb codling Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 2015

The early spring sunshine brings lots of false dawns at this time of year with spring seemingly about to arrive daily, especially around the south of the Country. But extremely low temperatures, snow melt water and icy winds lay in wait to dampen enthusiasm for many shore anglers and the only true pointer to springs arrival are the extending daylight hours.

Lots of anglers may believe that temperature plays the biggest part in the arrival of spring and the start of the improvements in fishing it brings, but it’s the daylight hours that count the most. Look on the land to see why – sunshine hours are steady, regularly improving each day, tangible proof to life that spring is coming. The light does raise ground temperature, but it’s the extending length of each day that sets nature on its spring journey! On the shore the sunny side of the groyne sees the sand and mud warm in readiness for the crabs to moult, whilst shallow water calms and clears allowing the water temperature to increase.

It’s a great time of year with the change in the fishing tangible – The pin whiting so long a winter pest, start to thin out with small pouting amongst the arrivals. They are good news for the match anglers and bass food so don’t knock them! In recent years it’s a time for the rays to show along with returning dogfish and whilst the rays may be spasmodic in terms of which species and location they, especially the thornback, have become a major spring species in many southern regions.

This year with the codling fairly prolific throughout the winter, they too will show in spring and this year should be the first proper spring codling run for several years. Too small to spawn they did not leave to the deeper water at the end of the winter and will linger and fatten around many coasts to take advantage of the peeling crabs before then heading to deep water and an all fish diet.

Other spring species include the plaice and they too have enjoyed an upsurge in local populations in some regions – said to be because of a plaice quota reduction on the commercials. Whatever, it’s nice to see these very slow growing flatties making a comeback, although in the early weeks of spring fresh from spawning they really are lean and not worth eating so return if you can.

Clarkies undulate 525x348 Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 2015

Chris Clark of Lymington with a big undulate ray – was it late winter or early spring?

 

Time to get the sea fishing rods out if you haven’t already – I’m particularly looking forward to the extended evenings, which make a late afternoon beach or pier session once again worthwhile. Night fishing is great in the winter, but daylight fishing is so much more enjoyable!

The debate about bass preservation rumbles on with EU proposals to raise the bass minimum size limit much talked about and generally supported by anglers. Whatever the limit set it will never be high enough and the commercial lobby will oppose it and angling has a fight on its hand if the commercials think they can have a legal limit lower than anglers! Catch limits are also essential and I as I have said before would also like to see a bass upper size limit. The Angling Trust is doing its best to fight the sea angler’s corner and all power to them – you can help by joining them as a member, a small price to pay for a voice!

On the tackle front the year brings, amongst a few new developments in the TF Range, a new fixed spool reel. I had to switch to fixed spool reels because of a ruined shoulder caused by years of dogfish and weed hauling and must say lightening down in general has helped make much of my shore fishing prove far more fun when the going gets tough. I have tried braid line, 10lb mono, 4oz leads, lighter rigs, tapered leaders and all in all I must say it’s been an experience. But one major factor was that I got fussier about reel performance and found some of the cheaper fixed spool models less effective than I required. And so we are introducing a new lighter model with a more sophisticated line lay for increased performance both in terms of casting and feel – I hope you enjoy it.

tfgear reel1 Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 2015

New TF Gear Sea Fishing Reel

Finally, have you noticed that suddenly mono line quality has improved dramatically with the arrival of more lines containing co polymers? A tougher outer shell, higher knock resistance and overall improved strength are now something you can take for granted and I urge anglers who think they are using the best line to look again, because some of the new kids on the block are awesome and they are in the Fishtec catalogue!

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

Progress – Fly Fishing in the high country

FullSizeRender 525x395 Progress   Fly Fishing in the high country

Beginning with winter solstice, the journey to spring in my part of the world is measured in pitifully small increments of advancement in temperature and daylight. While the improvements can seem barely noticeable through December and January, hope begins to appear with the arrival of February when average daily highs hover around the freezing mark and more than an hour of fishing light has begun since the shortest day of the year.

A fishing day for me is anytime I am not fighting ice encrusted guides or the risk of frostbitten fingers. And while winter conditions remain a constant throughout the month, a reduction of subzero nights and a northerly migrating sun bring a progressive increase to the number of hours I am willing to spend pursuing trout on the Henry’s Fork when winter’s worst lies in the rearview mirror.

Looking for coffee Progress   Fly Fishing in the high country

 

Although the arrival of February brings a fairly significant increase in opportunity for casting to rising midge feeders, most who fish above the 5,000 foot level will spend more time probing the depths of deeper runs and pools for the larger residents who will remain disinterested in the exertion of surface feeding until emerging insects are larger and the water warms to above 40ᵒ F.

Whether fishing nymphs or streamers; deep and slow are the bywords for fishing water only a few degrees above freezing. And unlike juvenile trout which will occupy the shallow edges, adults are prone to the comfort and security of depth in their selection of winter habitat. With metabolism slowed by cold temperature, big trout do not seem to require a high volume of food nor are they often willing to expend energy or fat stores in pursuit of fast moving prey or food drifting outside a distinct comfort zone.

Feb. hook up 525x350 Progress   Fly Fishing in the high country

In cold water, mature trout seem inclined to hug the stream bottom where the water is generally warmer and most food sources are concentrated. Upward or lateral movement of more than a foot or two is the exception rather than the rule for winterized fish which feed opportunistically on organisms drifting close by rather than chasing down a meal.

Aside from midge larvae, which are about the only aquatic insects to be truly active in mid-winter, trout will not generally see a consistent food image during times when cold water dormancy limits the activity and availability of aquatic organisms. Therefore, acute selective feeding behavior associated with trout isolating their attention on a single insect species or other source of nutrition is seldom a problem through most of the winter months.

Since the opportunity to feed during this period is usually based on a random selection of nymphs, larvae, and other fish, I do not usually concern myself with precise imitation when selecting a fly pattern. A typical nymphing rig might include a heavy, black or brown stonefly pattern in size 6 or 8 and a smaller Pheasant Tail or Hare’s Ear nymph in size 14 or 16. The flies are tied to move naturally with the current by utilizing thin rubber legs or soft, flexible materials like marabou and Partridge hackle.

My winter streamers in size 6 and 8 are relatively small in comparison to what I would normally tie on in other seasons, but they seem to work just fine and represent much less work when fishing with chilled hands and a lighter fly rod. And like the nymphs, I want my streamers to display action without excessive manipulation with the rod or line. At times, I will also fish a nymph and streamer in tandem.

A 9 foot 6 weight rod allows me to switch back and forth between nymphs, streamers, and dries with relative ease, which is particularly helpful when changing rods can mean a considerable hike through knee deep snow.

My line is a double taper floater, which allows me to manage the drift with mending techniques that keep the fly moving slowly and close to the bottom. And I try to maintain a dead drift whether fishing nymphs or streamers when temperatures are at their lowest.

elite lichen 525x286 Progress   Fly Fishing in the high country

A 10 to 12 foot leader allows the fly to sink quickly to the proper depth, and I will add a small split shot or two in deeper or quicker currents. In the interest of controlling fly drift and detecting the always subtle take, I try to limit my cast to 30 feet or less.

In the high country, the rewards of winter fishing are not always defined by the size or number of the catch, especially on those welcome days in February when calm winds and a climbing sun can mask the reality that true spring weather can lay two or more months into the future. And at times like this when progress finally becomes noticeable, simply being outdoors and fishing can be reward enough.

6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Ever considered having a harpoon tattooed across your chest? No? As an avid angler, perhaps you should consider it.

Traditional tattoos are imbued with deep meanings and as an enthusiastic hefter of a fishing rod and reel – the inking of a harpoon on your skin indicates you’re a member of the fishing fleet!

Read on to discover the significance of seafarers’ tats – nautical ink for salty sea dogs!

1. Hold fast

Hold Fast 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Thor
A very literal tattoo for some!

Never mind knuckles of “Love” and “Hate” – for sailors on the main, there was little time for bare knuckle boxing; far more important was to keep a firm hold of the rigging. Back in the golden age of sail there were no safety lines, no deck lights and no life jackets. One slip while working aloft  and you either thudded into the deck, leaving a nasty mess for your shipmates to clean up, or you plopped into the brine and sank to the “Odd Place” – Davey Jones’ locker.

No wonder sailors had the words “Hold” and “Fast” tattooed to their knuckles – it was an ever present reminder to cling on tight!

2. Compass rose

Compass 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Lady Dragonfly CC
Never get lost again.

Such were the rigours of life at sea that many an able seaman perished by cannon ball, man-overboard, tropical miasma, gruesome discipline, falling spars, swinging blocks…the list of ways to die was long. No wonder sailors are such a superstitious bunch.

Chief among the concerns of seafaring men was getting back home. The inking of a compass rose on your skin was for luck in finding the way to your loved ones. And the nautical star? That represents the pole star – with one of those tattooed on your body, you need never be lost.

3. Swallow

Swallows 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Tony Atler
One swallow = 5000 miles of sea travel.

One way to tell a seafarer who’d proved worth his salt was to see how many nautical miles he’d covered. But in the days before logbooks and RYA qualifications, sailors made a tally of distances logged directly on their skin.

Swallows, famed for their long distance migrations, were proof positive of distance travelled. Each bird flying across a man’s skin represented 5000 miles of passage making. A flock of birds made you a true salt.

4. Ship

Ship1 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Sarah-Rose
Made it through Cape Horn? Better get a ship tat stat.

Anglers are a competitive bunch. Let’s face it, if you’d caught a monster carp like Two Tone (RIP) chances are you might think about inking your achievement on a shoulder or arm – a permanent reminder of a day never to forget.

The same goes for the seafarers of yesteryear. There are certain experiences that make a man a man, and in the days of sailing ships, the toughest challenge of all was facing the “grey beards”, the terrifying, tumultuous waves of Cape Horn. And if you made it through that narrow, shallow bottleneck where the monstrous swells of the Southern Ocean squeeze between the Tip of South America and Antarctica – you’d want to celebrate your survival. A tattoo of a full rigged ship will do it!

5. Turtle

Turtle 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Tony Atler
A cute tattoo with horrid connotations.

“Hazing” was the name given to the ritualised humiliation of sailors who had not crossed the Equator. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be remembered with a shudder. You could be stripped, beaten, painted, dunked overboard – and all under the very noses of the officers who were supposed to maintain discipline aboard a man o’ war.

Your crime? You’d crossed the equator and entered Neptune’s realm. Once the torments were over – you were declared a “shell back”, and were permitted to have inked on your body the symbol of a true seaman – a turtle.

6. Anchor

Anchor 6 Seafaring tattoos & their meanings

Image source: Ettore Bechis
An anchor to keep you grounded.

Life on the open ocean was harsh and always dangerous, and sailors were away from home for months and often years at a time. It was a life of hardship, mishap and boredom – interspersed with moments of high drama, and terrible danger. Sailors were a breed apart, but like most men separated from friends and family – they dreamed of home.

No wonder that floating far from hearth and home, and separated from kith and kin, seafarers yearned for the stability of dry land, and familiar faces. They needed something to keep them grounded – an anchor tattoo with the names of their loved ones inscribed beneath. Mum!

7 Surprising carp facts

How well do you know your carp?

Here are some fun carp facts to help you become a font of carp wisdom.

1. Carp originate from the Black, Aral and Caspian Seas

Carp origin map 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: CIA
The carp is now endangered in their native waters.

The common carp has its origins in the Black, Aral and Caspian Sea basins. From there the species spread east into Siberia and China, and west into the Danube. The Romans were the first Europeans to farm carp, a practice that probably developed earlier and separately in China and Japan. The later spread of the fish throughout Europe, Asia and America is purely a product of human activity.

In the US, the Asian carp is a menace, devastating native fish populations, in Japan, the Koi carp is revered as an ornamental fish. Here in the UK, we love our carp and always put them back, travel to Eastern Europe and you’ll find them on the menu. Carp are plentiful everywhere, except their native waters, where they are now endangered.

2. They arrived in Britain in the 15th century

Treatsye of fysshynge wyth an angle 474x395 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Budden Brooks
“He is an evil fish to take.”

It wasn’t the Romans who brought carp to Britain. In fact, the fish hasn’t been here nearly as long as some might think. The first reference to the fish appears in the, “Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle.” There carp is described as:

“He is an evil fish to take. For he is so strongly armoured in the mouth that no light tackle may hold him.”

There is some debate as to when the manuscript of the Treatyse was first written – the text is late 1400s, but the introduction is almost certainly a copy of a 12th century manuscript – but the fact that Chaucer makes no mention of the fish in his 14th century works makes it likely that carp came onto the menu sometime in the 15th century.

3. Carp are part of the minnow family

4605430143 35e765e642 z 525x282 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Lisa Williams
Who’d have thought the mighty carp was related to a minnow!

Carp can grow to monstrous proportions, but the fish we love to catch is actually, a minnow. The biggest carp ever caught (Guinness book of records) was a 94 lb common carp hooked by Martin Locke at Lac de Curton, France on 11th January 2010. He nicknamed the fish, Lockey’s Lump.

The reason why carp grow so big may be an evolutionary one. Carp don’t have a true stomach, instead, their intestine digests food as it travels its length. As a result, carp are constantly foraging for food. Eating a lot promotes growth, and growing quickly helps young fish avoid becoming prey. The result: a quick growing fish that eats a lot – potentially 30 –  40% of its body weight a day.

4. Carp caviar is popular in Europe and the US

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Europe and the US can’t get enough carp caviar.
Source: Seabamirum

Carp was originally introduced to America in the 19th century as a cheap food source.  Overfishing of native species from rivers and lakes, as well as the appetites of European settlers encouraged the US department of fisheries to begin a concerted campaign to breed carp in 1877.

To begin with, carp were prized for the table, but over time, as they escaped into North American river systems, the fish became an invasive menace, out eating its native rivals and destroying fragile ecosystems. Carp are now hated, but nevertheless, like in Europe the US market for carp caviar is booming – proof that if you can’t beat it – you may as well eat it!

5. It’s tricky to know their gender (unless it’s mating season)

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“Hey Carl!”, “It’s Carly!”
Source: Phil’s 1stPix

Sexing your catch isn’t easy, especially outside of the mating season, but there are some clues about whether your prize specimen is a boy or a girl. First off, males tend (though not always) to be a little slimmer than females, and their genital opening is concave and less noticeable than that of the female, which is larger and may even protrude slightly.

During mating season, it’s a whole lot easier to tell male from female. Females’ abdomens swell with eggs and their genital enlarges to resemble a small fleshy tube. Males, meanwhile develop “tubercles”, small bony lumps around the head and gills, and they lose their mucus coating, becoming rough to the touch.

6. Carp are considered a good omen

Kwan yin carp 7 Surprising carp facts

Image source: Yunnan Adventure
A statue of Kwan-yin overlooking a natural water fish lake.

Some love nothing better than to set off for the pond, carp fishing rods in hand, others wouldn’t dream of catching their favorite koi. But whether you’re a European who loves to catch carp, or an Asian who rears them to look at, what we share is our love of carp and an ancient belief in the good fortune they bring.

The Christian tradition of eating fish on a Friday originates in the pagan mythology of the Norse and Germanic peoples of Europe. The day’s name comes from Freyja or perhaps Frigg, both goddesses, and possibly originally the same deity. Freyja was the goddess of fertility – and her symbol is the fish.

Travel east to China and you’ll find carp associated with the “Great Mother”, Kwan-yin. Associated with, among other things, rebirth and fertility, Kwan-yin is often depicted in the form of a fish.

7. Koi carp can fetch over a million dollars

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Koi carp can fetch insane prices.
Source: sophietica

Japanese Koi carp are among the most expensive fish on the planet. A symbol of prosperity and status, it’s impossible to say exactly how much the most expensive fish are sold for since negotiations usually happen in private.

It’s thought that at the peak of the Koi “boom” in 1980s Japan, the most highly prized specimens could fetch as much as $1,000,000 – or around $2,800,000 in today’s money. The buyers were rich corporations who displayed their “catch” in ornamental tanks in office atria.

Shark Whisperers

People who want to catch big game fish use big game fishing rods, sharp hooks and wire leader, right?

Not if you happen to be one of a select group of so called, ‘shark whisperers’; people who love to rub noses with sharp fanged predators.

Why do they do it? We thought we’d look into it.

Great White Hitcher

With a name like Ocean Ramsey, it’s no surprise to discover that the girl enjoys snorkelling, but she takes ‘swimming with the fishes’ to whole new depths. The Hawaiian often dives to photograph sharks, but while for most of us the prospect of coming nose to fin with the scariest shark of all would fill us with fear, she describes the experience of meeting a great white like this:

“It’s difficult to express the incredible joy and breathtaking emotion experienced locking eyes with a Great White.”

Hmmm, if you say so, Ocean. As it happens, there is method to Ocean Ramsey’s madness. Just like Sara Benes, she is passionate about spreading awareness of the destruction of this vital component of the marine ecosystem. All the same, we think you’ll agree, this footage of Ocean catching a lift with a Great White, is frankly terrifying!

Hooked on Sharks

Would you willingly put your entire arm into a shark’s mouth? We wouldn’t either but here’s another ‘shark whisperer’ who not only would, but has actually done just that! Cristina Zenato is a shark woman of some renown, and here she is delving into the jaws of well…jaws, to remove a hook buried there. Despite a wriggle of irritation, the shark lets Cristina pull the hook free without even attempting to bite her.

Think there’s something a little fishy about this? Well you might just be right because the Italian-born diver is not quite the risk taker she appears to be.

Zenato first rubs the shark’s snout lulling it into a trance like state by over-stimulating the “ampullae of Lorenzini”, jelly filled pores – electroreceptors – the fish uses to detect its prey. Only when lulled does the diver actually put her hand into the shark’s mouth, and even then, we must point out, she’s wearing an armoured wetsuit. Sensible lady.

14-year-old Shark Whisperer

bigstock Two Caribbean Reef Sharks 49788356 Shark Whisperers

Image source: Shane Gross
Sara Brenes has set up a charity to protect sharks in the wild.

Sara Brenes was just 14 years old when she first dived with sharks. And she so fell in love with them, she said she felt, “like they were my babies, like puppies almost.” It’s an interesting take on what is after all an apex predator with teeth designed for shredding flesh, but nevertheless, with the help of her family, Sara was inspired to set up, Shark Whisperer, a charity that helps spread awareness of the plight of sharks in the wild.

Regardless of whether it’s wise to trust a shark not to turn you from a ‘whisperer’ into ‘lunch’, Miss Brenes does have a valid point. Sharks are persecuted the world over and they’re being killed in frightening numbers, mainly for their fins which fetch big bucks in Asian markets where they’re the prized ingredient in shark fin soup.

Barbel success, with the new Fishing Rod!

Cliff Barbel Barbel success, with the new Fishing Rod!

At the beginning of this year I wrote of my enthusiasm for the TF Gear Classic Nan-Tec Barbel rods I’d bought for the coming season, would I “…christen them with a double?” I asked. Well, as it happened, I was unable to get out in June and July as much as I’d have liked but early August saw me doing regular after-work sessions on my local stretch of river. As a rule I use the finer, very sensitive top section for my barbel fishing despite the disconcerting bend it adopts on hurling 4oz of bait-packed feeder to the far bank; but I’ve taken to using the standard tops which are sufficiently tactile to show me when a fish is interested.

And so it was a couple of Mondays ago. Fishing alongside His Wyeness, Geoffrey Maynard of Hay, and sharing a recently acquired Korum Rod River Tripod, my unblinking attention to my rod-tip was rewarded by two or three slow pulls; there was nothing rhythmic about them so I discarded any suspicion that my rig had merely rolled in the current or had picked up a twig or something. My right talon poised for action, I watched the rod-tip bow a fourth time and on this occasion it went over just a fraction further and stayed there! The classic barbel fishing rod was swept back with some enthusiasm, (I assure you!) taking on a pleasing bend just past the perpendicular. At this stage the fish might have been of any size but only a few seconds passed before I was able to state – and I did – that “This is a good fish, Geoff – a big one”

His Wyeness – it must be said – was a little nonchalant and reluctant to look up from his PVA activities. “Tell me if you need the net” he said; his head down in concentration, apparently uninterested in my increasingly lively barbel-battle.

“Well…I’m pretty sure this is a double” I replied as the fish yanked-down the rod and tore ten yards of 8lb mono off the Shimano, but Geoff had seen too many five and six pound ‘doubles’ to stir his complacency.

“Ok…give us a moment”

Normally I would net the fish myself but the bank at this point necessitated the assistance of an extra pair of hands. Not before time, His Wyeness stood and took in the scene: 2lb test curve barbel fishing rod arced and repeatedly stabbing at the water, Shimano issuing short, staccato bursts of complaint, great patches of flattened water and one very excited angler…the penny dropped and he was soon in serious mode, net poised for the job.

Before long, a bulging, glistening net was placed on the grass and parted to reveal what was clearly the best fish of the season from this stretch. On the scales the needle settled at just 2oz short of 12lb – a fine fish indeed.

 

12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Tying the knot? Will that be a blood knot, a stopper knot or are you simply getting ‘hitched’?

We know how much you love your fishing, but when you’ve fallen for someone, hook line and sinker, just how far do you go to make their special day that bit more memorable?

A fishing themed wedding? Here are some happy couples for whom the special day wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of a fishing rod, reel and line!

1. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Flickr
It’s offishal!

2. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Wedding Bee
Hooked on one another!

3. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Kunelius
Anyone for catch of the day?

4. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Sweet Violet Bride
These two were meant for each other.

6. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Green Wedding Shoes
A very fishy affair!

7. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Today’s Bride
Top marks for the cake topper!

8. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Pinterest
He hooked a good’n.

9. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Team Bekki
“Come on, you’ll love it really!”

10. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Blommade
Gone fishin’.

11. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Fowlefoto
“We really should get back to the guests…”

12. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Procopio Blog
She’s got her something blue sorted!

13. Fishing wedding 12 Fun fishing themed weddings

Image source: Rutheh
He fell for her hook, line and sinker!



Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

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.

IMG 6586 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

IMG 6598 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

IMG 6599 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

Film review: Kiss the water

A “strange little film”, a “gemlike documentary”, and “hypnotic” – just some of the words used by reviewers of “Kiss the water”, the extraordinary film from American director Eric Steel.

Released last year, the documentary charts the extraordinary life and times of the legendary fly tier, Megan Boyd who died in 2001 at the age of 86.

Reflective interviews from the people who knew her, footage of the stunning Sutherland scenery, and impressionistic animation mingle to create a lyrical masterpiece that flows as cool and mysterious as the river Brora itself.

Enigma

Megan Boyd Film review: Kiss the water

Image source: Heather MacLeod
Megan Boyd tying flies with her dog, Patch.

Loner, eccentric and master of the art of the fly, Megan Boyd was an enigmatic character who lived a life of almost monastic frugality and simplicity. Born in England in 1918, she was just a child when her father took a job as a gamekeeper on a private estate, and brought her to the wild hills and rivers of Sutherland in the Scottish highlands.

Another gamekeeper, Bob Trussler taught Megan to tie flies by getting her to disassemble and reassemble his own creations on smaller and smaller hooks, until she had mastered the patterns. She never looked back.

At the age of 20, Megan moved to a tiny cottage perched on a hillside above the village of Kintradwell. In a tiny tin roofed studio, she spent the next 50 years tying flies for fly fishermen on both sides of the Atlantic. In time her creations became recognised as some of the best flies ever tied, famed for their uncanny knack for catching salmon.

Royal connections

Prince Charles Fishing Film review: Kiss the water

Image source: Doar Pescuit
Prince Charles was a big fan of Megan’s craftsmanship.

Among her customers was Prince Charles who became a lifelong friend – though when aides turned up at her cottage asking her to whip a couple of masterpieces together for their master, Megan refused, saying she was just off to a local dance. When awarded the British Empire Medal, she informed the Queen that she couldn’t attend to receive the honour because she had nobody to look after her dog that day.

Just like the salmon caught by fly fishermen using her flies, Megan is hard to fathom. And just as the life of the king of the rivers is shrouded in mystery, Megan Boyd remains a complex and esoteric figure.

She could have been famous but she shunned the limelight, she tied flies that were legendary, but she herself never fished. In fact, Megan Boyd claimed she could never have brought herself to use her flies and fly fishing rod to actually catch a salmon. And though her life story is woven through the film, Megan herself appears only fleetingly, towards the end.

A woman of unusual dress and curious ways, reading between the lines you begin to glimpse a strange life that defies definition, instead pouring like water through the fingers of those who attempt to tell her story. Mysterious, enchanting and luminous, Kiss the water is like one of Megan Boyd’s flies: beautiful yet mysterious.

Get hooked

Watch this video to find out more about ‘Kiss the water’.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

Lots of anglers around the country are experiencing the changing season – One minute the fish are around and then they are not and it does seem that mass migration of species is far more acute nowadays than it used to be. Could be its global warming that is sending the fish further north and that they are bypassing southern venues on their travels? Whatever, something like this is happening and I suppose to an extent it always did in the past. In the south it’s the summer doldrums when the sea seems devoid of fish, even the mackerel have passed by! For the shore angler another reason is the amount of sunlight each day – with clear water the fish just will not come inshore in gin and wait until darkness to venture into the shallows. That’s the time to fish for conger, bass, hounds and others and the deeper water venues you find are better.

But it’s not all doom and gloom because once we are past the longest day then the light evenings start to close back and change is underway, least of all those fish that passed us by on their way north are due to travel back south into Autumn and some great sea fishing is to come. The trick is not to miss it and of course the timing varies around the different regions. In the North it’s a case of making hay whilst the sun shines and fishing hard before the shoals depart south. In the South it’s a case of getting out as soon as the fish show; the codling start to show as early as August some years and September can be the best month with a mix of cod and bass. In all regions it is a case of ignoring those old traditions of the “Cod Season” and being ready when the fish are around.

TF Gear has a new range of beach casters and they based on models from the Continent. Both fixed spools they feature the slim line feel and lightness of the long casting sea fishing rods from France, Spain, Italy, etc. Both include low rider rings which can be used with both multiplier and fixed spool reels plus braid, mono or fluorocarbon lines. Standard with these rings is that the butt ring is reversed which gives the rod a unique appearance and more than one novice has proclaimed the ring is on upside down! But this is not the case and 100% of continental rods using low riders feature this reversed ring build.  It’s done simply so that the rings legs prevent a loop of line going over the ring during the cast – especially braid and especially using a fixed spool reel.

The new models include the Force 8 Continental which is extremely light and designed for fishing small baits for small species using light lines and leads. With braid line its balance and feel are incredible and fishing for mackerel, pollack, scad, mullet, school bass etc is a new experience for the user. A word of warning though –it’s not designed for casting a whole Calamari squid and it’s also not designed so that the tip can pull free of snags what it is designed for is a new feel the fish sea angling experience – Enjoy!

The second model is in the Delta range and is the Slik Tip and is aimed at the in between UK fishing and the Continent – It’s a step lighter than standard UK beach casting gear and at a price that won’t annoy the wallet!

One of the big plusses with these rods fitted with low rider rings is that the guides do not affect the movement and balance of the rod as much as the larger standard UK style beach caster rings. Therefore the rod slices the air better when casting and resists the wind in the rod rest better – great for bite spotting.
Other continental rods with reversed low rider guides include Yuki Colmic etc. Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

Dogfish is considered a sea angling swear word and few anglers have a good word to say about a species that seems to have taken over the world in many parts of the UK. OK for match anglers they are obliging bites when nothing else stirs, but so often they take a bait aimed at other species and are just a pain. It’s got so bad in some regions that even the match anglers are not supporting the doggie dominated events.

So what can we do to reduce dogfish numbers or make them more enjoyable to catch?  Well having recently been laid up and not fishing my freezer was empty of fish so I took four home for dinner – Had I forgot how tasty this fish could be because of the fiddly skinning and preparation? Rock salmon is now returned to the Yates menu and I shall spread the word that this wonderful species is great on a plate.

lesserdoggy Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

I have got my hands on the new TF Gear Force 8 Beach Shelter – and I seriously recommend you take a look! At last a shelter that has pouches for beach stones in the base which makes for a much easier erection, the Viagra shelter goes up in seconds and stays there is a strong wind.

If you have ever tried to erect a shelter on your own in anything above a force five, you will know how difficult it is. The new Force 8 Shelter solves that problem because you can pile stones in the pouches before you pull it up. What’s more the F8 is collapsible and folds down to half its length for carriage – great for being strapped on top of the fishing tackle box!

I am arranging an LRF Championships (Light rock fishing) at Samphire Hoe, near Dover on the 10th August.  It’s an experimental competition. You can fish with any form of LRF gear. Basically a short spinning style rod, singe look bait/lure. It’s all catch and release with fish photographed on the smart phone on the days fish measure.  Fishing in 10am until 4pm, (Book in car park from 8.30am) all are welcome and it’s a complete rover anywhere around the Hoe. Prizes for species pts, biggest and best average fish.  Contact me Alan Yates on 01303 250017 E Mail: alankyates@aol.com

Tight lines, Alan Yates