Having now spent an entire season using this rod on my local Welsh rivers and somehow managing to land a fair few trout and grayling on it, I now feel qualified enough to give a proper review on this rod… not one based on a five minute session using the casting pool out in front of the office!
This particular model has been designed for modern nymphing techniques, primarily with a French leader, an indicator or a heavy bugging set up. The action is perfect… parabolic enough to flick a French leader with microscopic nymphs right across the river, but still able to pitch out a team of heavy 4mm tungsten beaded jigs or czech nymphs at short range into a heavy flow.
It also excels at playing fish as it flexes from tip to butt under load, so you have no worries about hook pulls in fast water or breaking off on light tippets. It’s a really fun fishing rod to use, you do get a great fight off almost anything half decent due to the soft playing action. However the power is there when you really need it , I managed to land a cracking wild brownie of 3.5 lb in a really heavy flow without breaking into too much of a sweat!
Although it’s a nymphing rod I’ve also used it with a 3 weight line casting dries at long range on big flats. It’s a very accurate caster for a 10’ footer and capable of producing some really sweet tight loops. When you are up to your armpits in the drink that extra length does really help, allowing me to keep the back cast high off the water and above the surrounding nettles.
What amazes me is the performance for the price. The ultimate river rod in my opinion was always the Sage SLT, a crisp, accurate casting rod which is light in the hand and performs with excellence. The Streamtec doesn’t have the hefty price tag of the SLT, but upon comparison in fishing situations there is hardly a difference other than it’s weight! The finish is great and well thought out, the matte non-flash blank and understated wood effect reel seat giving it a classy feel. The cork handle is also top notch for a rod in this price bracket… its only £109.99 !
This rod was so good I also invested in the 7’6 #3/4 model. This has also been a real peach of a rod. It’s the perfect toy for tiny brooks and mountain streams, being really soft, but still extremely responsive. It’s been fantastic fun tussling with 8 inch browns which do punch well above their weight on this little gem.
There are some competitor’s rods on the market for more than twice the price; in my eyes they are no better both in terms of finish and performance… all I can say is get one (or two!) of these for much less than the same money. They are an essential purchase for the modern river angler, along with the new Super-Dri fly lines!
View the Airflo Streamtec Fly Rod range from Fishtec
Much water has rushed beneath my personal bridge these past few months: I turned a certain age for a start; then I upped my Essex sticks and started afresh less than two hundred yards from a river blessed with barbel and chav’s – not to mention the odd migrant and some hefty pike. The icing on this idyllic cake is employment within a well-organized jungle of fishing gear – TF Gear to be precise – and my new role has kindly compelled me to re-think my lot as an angler: it’s brought me up to date. Fishing is a field in which I might be described as conservative – not averse to change but reluctant to dump the learning of decades. I still enjoy watching a bobbin and deciding for myself when the hook should go in, but some species and methods don’t lend themselves to such niceties and I ain’t arguing – long may those Whiskered Ones continue to wallop the carbon!
What’s changed is my will to experiment with new coarse fishing tackle, while they’re still new – not two years down the line when everyone’s had their fill of fish and the novelty’s worn off. I do, however, have some catching-up to do so, this season, I’ll be swapping the PVA bags for in-line mesh-sticks: better for casting, better for baiting-up – and you can use the dispenser to splint a broken finger if necessary! I shall stock-pile my sticks before fishing to keep the faff-factor to a minimum; I’ll deliver them more comfortably too, thanks to my nice new Nan-Tec Classic 2lb barbel rods. These beauties have full cork handles and dependable, well made screw-fittings…I wonder if I’ll christen them with a double?
Another thing I’ll be using for the first time this season is a feeder mould – something I’ve always passed off as unnecessary because, well…it is! You really don’t need one to fish effectively, but how much simpler and neater it is to push out a nice firm cake containing your hook-bait? It’s got to be done, eh? And anti-tangle rubbers! I’ll never present an untidy rig again, I promise. For the sake of a near-weightless piece of rubber we can all now streamline our rigs – be they light or heavy – and fish with that bit more confidence. It’s the semi-rigid nature of the anti-tangle sleeves that I like; it converts the rubber into a very effective miniature boom that prevents squabbles between end-tackle components (and there’s another good argument for in-line stick-fishing…)
I’ll be using my own very successful tench bait in the early weeks of the season, but for barbus…will it be as effective? An old pal took at least two doubles on it from the Hampshire Avon and I was with him for the first capture made from the Sandy Balls stretch in mid-November. Talk about the madness of anglers! Mick would pick me up in Chelmsford, Essex at around 2pm and we’d arrive in the New Forest shortly before dark; by the time we’d settled in and got a fishing rod out it was pitch black down there in the wooded gorge and after just six or seven hours of serious fishing in total darkness we’d pack up and make our way back to Essex, arriving home at 04.30 – 05.00hrs. I still think that was crazy, but then mild insanity was fairly normal within the angling fraternity at that time.
So, the capture of two barbel on my concoction proved nothing about its efficacy as a river-bait and Mick doesn’t live close enough to a decent river where he might test it out – but the signs are good. For tench it’s a superb bait so let’s hope their whiskered cousins have similar tastes.
So…June 16th will see the smartest, best-equipped dude in the West sitting in his Dave Lane Hardcore chair and tending to his Nan-Tec Classics. Bait will be my precious creation – plus a nice, firmly packed mesh-stick to draw them in..
As I write this snowed under my uni work, nothing is more desirable than summer evenings fishing the local rivers of South Wales. Good weather and free time allowed quite a few of these pleasant short trips last season. However despite the wistful tone, one such trip does not provoke such fond memories. Anyone who fishes or has fished the rivers of South Wales can empathise with anglers who have to overcome the myriad of obstacles that hinder the approach to the river. During one session on my local River Taff, a stumble down a steep embankment resulted in a small but unwelcome tear near the knee of my chest waders. Despite this, the urge to fish persisted. After around one hour of fishing however a slip, on what seemed to be a section of AstroTurf in the river resulted in yet another comedic fall and the dreaded “snap” that anglers immediately recognise as the sound of a broken fly rod.
The next day saw the rather mournful drive to Fishtec’s Brecon outlet and the search for a new fishing rod. After contemplating the choices that were available, I eventually settled on the purchase of an Airflo Streamtec Nantec 10ft AFTM 4/5 rod. The low price of Airflo’s Streamtec range seemed to provide a neat “quick fix” solution to the absence of a 10ft rod in my river armoury. Being a self-confessed “tackle tart” I can admit to being somewhat sceptical at the capabilities of the Streamtec at such a low price (£109.99); how wrong I was. At this price, the Streamtec Nantec is an absolute steal, compared to other fly rods of the same specification from the likes of Greys, Guideline, G Loomis and Hanak, which while requiring substantially more investment that the Streamtec, yet in my experience, offer minimal advantages in performance.
For the river angler, the Streamtec offers superb versatility being equally adept to handling various European nymphing techniques, the popular New Zealand-style method and presenting dry flies. It is often the case that during a session on the river, I will carry two rods each set up differently in order to minimise time alternating methods. As a result the 10ft Streamtec has primarily been used as a nymphing rod, particularly “French nymphing”. For this, the Streamtec has excelled, as it has in other methods such as light weight nymphs in the “Spanish style” and for using heavier bugs and nymphs in the Czech fashion targeting grayling hugging the bottom; as has recently been the case through the winter and the rather adverse weather conditions. When playing trout and grayling the Streamtec offers a fine hook hold and is capable of managing even the most savage of takes of a trout in fast runs and the slow monotonous lunges of a grayling in the deeper runs of the river.
The Nano technology that Airflo incorporates into their range of fly fishing rods allows the weight of the rod to be kept at a minimum, while not compromising strength. This weight reduction certainly helps alleviate the strains of fishing at a full arm’s length in order keep control over the indicator.
The alignment spots that the Streamtec has on each of its sections are a particular feature that is worth drawing attention to. This is a seemingly small and for some perhaps an insignificant addition, yet any change that helps minimise time spent tackling up in favour of even the smallest increase of time on the water is one to be appreciated. Since its purchase the rod has survived the stress of many river sessions. Not only has it remained a rather attractive piece of kit despite the treks through brambles and woodland encountered on the approach to many rivers in the area, but the cork handle and the finish of the blank have survived quite a few more Charlie Chaplin like falls in and out of the water.
The one feature that does seem missing however is the lack of a fighting butt. This is a feature that I usually look for in many of the rods over 9ft that I use on both rivers and lakes in order to make the use of a rod, and playing a fish more comfortable.
That said however, there is very little to dislike about the 10ft Streamtec. At £109.99 it can be considered a bargain for what it offers and a significant advantage over many other rods of the same type. Most importantly is the fact that the Streamtec is capable of handling the vast majority of situations that a river angler is likely to encounter throughout the year.
With Airflo offering three other lengths and line ratings of the Streamtec Nantec, there will certainly be more additions to my collection of river rods ready for the opening the trout season while my 10ft 4/5 Streamtec Nantec remains my preferred choice of rod for my river fishing.
See the range of Airflo Streamtec Nantec Rods here
I’m just back from a fortnight in Gambia fishing the West African Beach Championships organised by Bernard Westgarth and his wife Barbara. I finished fourth with a last day draw finishing my hopes of winning, although my son, Richard took the Championship’s first place with three zone wins and a third which would have been virtually impossible to beat anyway. Second place went to Nick Westgarth, another youngster with a consistent performance included an end peg on the final day, which he used to perfection. Third was Sheerness pensioner and great friend, Roger Weeks who landed a 9lb butterfish on the last day to also win that days biggest fish prize.
During the trip I landed a number of big fish with a 13lb cassava and a 15lb sand shark amongst my best, not in the matches though, whilst Richard topped the 20lb mark in the match with a 23lb captain fish and then added a near thirty sand shark from a freelance mark close to the border of Senegal. Some say the fishing is not as good in Gambia as it once was, which may be true to an extent, but going on what I saw there are plenty of speedy giants to catch, especial at this time of year (April).
What was particularly pleasing for me was to see Richard catch his best two fish using a 15ft Force Eight beachcaster. He was a fan of the old Fox Matrix I designed way back, but I persuaded him to try the TF Gear version and it was a hit straight away, especially in terms of the distances he achieved with it. Like everywhere around the world long range is the get out of jail card when the going is tough, especially in match fishing conditions with those vital extra yards the bonus that so often win. One of the great things about a hot country like Gambia is that casting distances are dramatically increased by the hot air and the warmer oil in your reels – The skies the limit and there is nothing more pleasing to a shore angler than to see the lead and bait vanish over the distant surf line.
For details of Gambian fishing contact Bernard Westgarth at: www.fishthegambia.com E Mail: Bernard@fishthegambia.com
After from the Gambia the foreign currency is now directed at Portugal where I have the World Club champs at Granola in a matter of days. I am fishing for the Dover Sea Angling team and hopes are high despite two pensioners being in our team. After that there is the small matter of the Magrini Championships in Sardinia – Italians know how to put on an angling event and its hard to really get into the fishing because the organisation, HQ, food, banter and wine is so enjoyable. The three hour weigh in after midnight is a feature most fear if they blank because it’s read out load!
In both events I will use the TFGear Delta All Rounder with fixed spools and light mono line. Species are small with small hooks required and a delicate hook length (5lb), which has to be protected by a softer actioned rod. I also use a very light continental quiver tip because most of the fishing is at medium range. Yes the advert is true the Delta is my favourite sea rod, but I would add that I don’t use just one fishing rod all the time. The Delta is for match and snatching, the Force 8 for long range and doggie hauling and that apart there is spinning, LRF, mullet and boat fishing which all require a different action, length and rating.
Between the two Continental matches I have a DVD to make at my home venues in Kent for Sea Angler Magazine and TF Gear. It’s an instructional video – all you need to know about sea angling from the shore. Something of a challenge in an hour, but I am sure we can manage with the help of Sea Angler, feature writer Paul Fenech.
Here at home it looks like the winter has finally ending with some blossom on the cherries and the first peeler crabs likely to appear as I write. Spring codling, thornback rays and plaice are amongst the species turning up on the Kent shores, although most anglers will now be looking towards the smoothhounds arriving. Their presence on a host of summer venues really do make the summer the best time to fish for big fish nowadays. Forget about winter cod that are almost impossible to catch from the shore and head for a smoothhound venue in June. They are now all around the British Isles. Here are a few to try. The Lincs. Coast is a smoothhound boom area with Chapel St Leonards and Ingoldmells amongst the many hot spots. Into Suffolk and Orford Ness is the venue to head for there, whilst on the Kent coast there is Sheppey, Reculver, Sandown and the Dover piers. In Hants the Solent is smoothhound central with Selsey, Pagham, Bracklesham red hot. Into Dorset there is Chesil beach, whilst the Bristol Channel on both the England and Welsh side boasts a host of venue from Minehead to Barry. Over the Irish Sea check out Rosslare Point and Courtown in Wexford. Next on the Welsh side is Anglesey, whilst the species are now commonly found in Lancs (Gynn Wall). and Cumbria and they are staring to show north of the Solway too. Good luck and remember not to leave your rod unattended and to loosen the drag!
You can catch me on Facebook from time to time – I am afraid I am a bit of a wind up merchant and like to see if I can get a “bite” with my posts. Indeed if you need to contact me for a question or something important its best to e mail me direct on: email@example.com rather than use Facebook because I only check it when the mood takes me, whilst I work all the time on the computer.
As being part of the Airflo team I have the pleasure of being privy to new products before they are introduced to the general fishing public. One in particular that caught my eye was the introduction of the new range of Airflo Switch Fly Rods. I have had the pleasure of using many switch rods in the past for various fishing situations and was keen to see what the Airtec’s had to offer.
There’s been a lot of buzz in the past couple of years about switch rods – lightweight double-handed rods in the 10 to 12 foot range that are designed for both two-handed spey casting and single hand overhead casting. Traditionally these rods have been designed for fishing rivers for Salmon, steelhead and sea trout, of late, their ability has been rendered and switch rods have been set-up on smallwaters all around the UK.
Mainly, Im a river fisherman, but growing up in south Wales I’ve been lucky enough to fish many hill lakes and reservoirs where these switch rods would came in handy. When the first batch of Airflo Airtec Switch rods came into stock, I could not wait to get my hands on the 11′ 3″ 6# switch.
I had plans of teaming the rod with an Airflo Speydicator #6, to give that extra bit of distance on a river that averages 20 yards in width. You’d normally struggle to hit some of the spots using a traditional single handed rod because of the lack of back cast. With some knowledge on double handed rods I felt fairly competent with my roll casting, so pulled off some line and gave it a whirl. After just 30 minutes of casting and getting used to the rod and line combination, I was having some incredible fun and was lucky enough to hook into a decent trout from one of my favorite pools.
Having used it for a full day on the river and thoroughly enjoying my time with it, I decided to take it with me on my next lake trip. Many of the lakes I fish have a difficult back cast and often anglers will sacrifice distance because they struggle to get the best back cast. I decided to team up my 11’ 3” #6 Airflo Airtec Switch rod with one of my 7# Airflo 40+ fly line. Me and a colleague Ceri Thomas took a trip to one of our local reservoirs and when I pulled out the switch rod, he was skeptical to say the least.
I stripped out my 40+ and with a single false cast to get the 35ft head out I powered out more or less the whole fly line! Ceri’s skeptism changed slightly into awe. I knew from previous experience with these rods that they can really power out a line, and partnered with the 40+ you’ll be casting to distances only ever dreamed of. I handed Ceri the rod and he used it for the rest of the session. Not only does it handle the overhead cast well but also the switch style butt, you can create easy roll cast’s with maximum distance.
Even though the switch rods were created mainly for salmon, steelhead and sea trout I have used this across the board for most fly-fishing situations and am very impressed with how it handles. I’ve got some highland lake fishing planned for late spring, so will get another review on the site when I get chance.
In my opinion the next few years we will see an increase in the amount of anglers that will be using the switch rods. This rod does not only appeal to the river fisherman but to the whole fly fishing world as it offers diversity in it’s casting ability. I must say that these fishing rods take a lot of getting used to, if you do happen to purchase one and you’re struggling to get to grips with it, I’d recommend getting some casting tuition from a local instructor, im sure you’ll reap the rewards!
Switch Rods have been growing more and more in popularity over the last few years, but why? Anglers are always looking for ways to make their limited days on the water easier and more enjoyable, this is where switch rods come in handy. Versatility and ease of use are the key features when it comes to switch rods, whether single hand overhead casting or double handed spey is the order of the day these fishing rods effortlessly hit the mark.
The extra length provide superior control over the fly line whilst also offering a buffer when using lighter lines. Employing the existing pedigree of the Airtec rods, Airflo’s range of 11′ 3″ Switch rods are lightweight, offer great performance and allow you to try out this great new technique without breaking the bank.
Some of you may think using a switch rod for anything other than light salmon or sea trout fishing may be obsered, but if you’re effortlessly throwing 30 yards of fly line with just one false cast, you may think twice! It’s for this very reason that switch fly rods are becoming more and more popular with anglers teaming their lightweight switch rods up with Airflo 40+ fly lines whilst fishing at their local small-water or reservoir.
Ideally used from the bank, a switch rod and shooting head combination can extremely rewarding in the sense of gaining distance. The low line weights and sensitive tips give brilliant control over your line when casting and retrieving, and also when playing fish.
The extended butt section and lengthened rod handle gives a well positioned casting style whether you’re looking to do some traditional spey casting, simple roll casts or overhead casting.
The Airflo Airtec Switch Rods are 11 foot 3 inch long with three different line weights, 6,7 and 8#. Ideal trout, sea trout and light salmon outfits. To get started, Airflo are also offering a FREE Forty Plus Fly Line with every Switch Rod! Price: £159.99 – See more here
We’ve heard over the last day or so that the Daiwa NewEra Fly Rod range have rolled off the production line, from their home in Scotland, and are now on their way to shops all around the UK. As Daiwa’s game angling consultant, Hywel Morgan had his keen eye for fly rod technology and design cast over the length development and production of these rods, testing them on every available fishing day. Right where they should be tested …on the water! Hywel promises these rods are worth the wait!
What’s so special about the Daiwa NewEra fly fishing rod range? Daiwa have integrated X45 Carbon to the construction of their blanks, A three layer laminated construction which give you precision, power and performance. The three layers the rod is constructed from help counteract crushing, bending and twisting, helping you deliver your fly exactly where you want it as easily as possible.
The Daiwa NewEra Trout Rod range consists of 8 separate models from a 9′ 5# river rod through to a 11’3″ 7/8# top of the water rod. This impressive range of rods feature everything an angler could look for with dedicated river, small-water, bank and boat fishing rods.
The Daiwa range starts with the 9ft 5 weight – the ideal river fishing rod. Featuring a light and extremely sensitive tip, this fly rod can throw dries at range, fish wet flies down and across and make the most of short range nymphing when trout or grayling are close to the bottom and heavy flies are needed to get down.
All your small still water boxes will be ticked with the 9ft 6 weight NewEra, the perfect rod for stalking with light tippet, fishing dries around reeds or throwing the occasional lure on a sinking line.
For the bank angler there are three rods in the range that may take your fancy, the 9ft 6inch 6 weight, a dry fly or light nymph anglers dream. The 9ft 6inch 7 weight which is the go to bank rod in the range. Then comes the 9ft 6inch 8 weight, great for throwing heavy sinking lines, shooting heads or the occasional trip salmon fishing.
The boat range feature three highly favourable rods, the 10ft 7weight which again is the go to boat fishing rod, 10ft 8 weight when you need that extra bit of power for casting large flies or heavy sinking lines all day long and the 11ft 3inch 7/8 weight which not only doubles up as a great switch rod, but is ideal for top of the water fishing for brown trout too.
Last in the Daiwa Range is the selection of salmon fishing rods, a range of 5 rods starting with a 11ft 3inch 7/8weight switch rod all the way up to 15ft 11wt.
Cat Cubie, Scottish television weather presenter currently working for BBC Scotland opens the official Salmon fishing Season at Dunkeld, Scotland January 15th.
Along side guest presenting and writing for a number of different broadcasters, ‘Cubie’ hosts her own show on Real Radio and writes a weekly column in the Evening Express. As an experienced event host and compere, Cat accepted the invitation to cast the first fly rod on the Tay this season. The symbolic opening ceremony is the start of the Salmon Fishing Season on the Tay where hundreds of anglers meet in anticipation of the first Salmon of the year .
When Cat’s not behind the camera or microphone she loves to play in the Scottish Highlands – Skiing and walking along some of the most beautiful scenic paths and ridges. The Scottish Weather woman also enjoys heading to warmer climes to scuba dive or trying her hand at more unusual hobbies like circus skills and fly fishing, among other outdoor activities.
Reports all around the river are showing that opening day on the Tay was worth braving the cold. A number of fish were caught on a range of fishing methods; being so early in the season anglers who fished lures and spinners seen best results.
Below is a perfect example of a 21lb Tay Springer, caught by Gordon Nicoll.
Get this…after years thumbing through fishing mags and brochures dedicated to exotic fishing locations, I eventually tracked down the mahseer-fishing package I both wanted and could (just about) afford. I could have gone for longer than the 11 days I booked had I not had to spend a small fortune on new equipment vital to a comfortable stay in India. As it happened, a fair bit of what I bought turned out to be unnecessary as it all came as part of the package (I wish someone had told me!)
Although it was an eleven day package, travel at each end of that period reduced the actual fishing time to five days so the fishing was pretty intense. Nonetheless, despite hour upon hour of patient rod-top watching – interspersed with the occasional spinning session – I managed to catch next to nothing – and certainly no mahseer: very frustrating, as you might imagine. I’d spent a small fortune on the whole ‘holiday’, yet when I returned to GB our found the gnomes around my back garden pool had bagged-up in my absence! Just look at this shot – the little sod doesn’t even have a proper fishing rod and reel, just a stick, and his fish-handling skills need looking at too.
Every sport has its rules and conventions. Fly fishing is no different.
A time honoured tradition of etiquette on the river bank ensures that neither you, nor your fly rod get in anyone’s way. The laws of fair play must be adhered to, so just how should you behave while out wetting your line?
Read on for the fly fishing rules of the road.
Respect those who were there first
If someone got to your favourite fishing spot first, that’s because you should have got up earlier. Leave them to it. Go and fish somewhere else. Avoid the temptation to stand there waiting. It’s no fun trying to fish knowing someone else is hovering in the background willing you to move on.
If there are several of you fishing in the near vicinity, it is good etiquette to remove your line from the water. That way you’re giving them maximum room to play their fish and there’s no chance of your line snagging theirs.
Go with the flow
Take note of the direction in which your fellow fly fishermen are casting. It’s polite to fish in the same direction. Cast across other people’s lines and you won’t win any friends.
If you take your dog with you to the river. Ensure that it’s kept on a lead so it doesn’t run around irritating others. If you have a yappy dog, leave it at home so it won’t spook the fish.
Stiff upper lip
Just as us Brits don’t cry when we don’t catch, we don’t whoop when we do. Even if you just played the finest fish of your life. Net it quietly and mutter only the most modest, self deprecating comments when congratulated by your fellow river users. Remember too that most of us head out to the river bank for some peace and solitude. Help maintain the sense of quiet by keeping chatter to the minimum, and your voice low.
Rules are rules
Check for local rules and regulations that cover the stretch of river bank you intend to fish. The way things are done may vary slightly from region to region.
Be prepared to assist your fellow anglers. You’re all there for the same reason – to enjoy yourselves. Help others to have a good day and you’ll win the esteem of all.