Fishtec lead the pack when it comes to fly lines development. Our expert developers and testers give the best possible feedback which helps create and build fly lines that will give you the edge in every feeding scenario.
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.
Fancy your chances of winning a £2,000 cash prize? Enter the 2015 Airflo World Bank Masters!
The Airflo Bank Masters is now in it’s fourth consecutive year with the prize find growing year on year. With the first prize being £2000 (excluding other prizes), it’s easy to understand why this competition is still such a success!
With over 25 heats across the UK at recognised fisheries and still waters, and the opportunity to enter more than one heat to increase your chances of qualifying, why not enter the Airflo Bank Masters and try your hand at the fantastic cash and fly fishing tackle prizes?
Entry Fee: £29 – Which includes a free goody bag for your first entry only, then any additional entries are charged at £22 with no addition goody bag.
*Your free goody bag includes, an Airflo fly line and a pack of Iain Barr flies! (Worth well over £50 RRP)
The water temperature is a chilly four degrees, so with optimum water temperature for catching being 6-12 degrees there’s no surprise that the fish are not very active. To Rob Collier’s delight an 8lb brown trout put in an appearance though, caught and returned by Rob on the far bank on a damsel and intermediate. Rob released another, while son Tom also took and released one. During the week, Keith Higgins also caught and released a brown that he thought was around 3-3 and a half pounds, which is great news as that must be another resident rather than a stock fish. Keith also took a rainbow and returned two on a damsel and an Airflo intermediate Fly Lines.
Paul Elsworthy, Graham Davies, Rob Mien, Ken Pascoe, Vernon Williams, Matthew Russell Barrie Powell all took fish this week, with Vernon on a little black buzzer and a floating line, Ken on a black daddy and sink tip, Rob on a Dawsons olive, floating line and Graham on a damsel and intermediate. Matthew Russell took one and returned six on a sunburst blob and a floating line.
I was very pleased to see Jason Williams and Max Williams at Cwm Hedd this week and their good humour brightened up a dull and damp day. Jason has a cumbersome cast on his leg, so we found a chair for him and despite his frustrations at having to sit down for most of the time, his impressive casting and angling skills were a joy to watch. Jason took one and released six on damsels and buzzers and a floating line, even though he had to put up with me taking photographs and yacking to him. As Earnest Hemingway apparently said in the days before electronic communication took over the world: Somebody just back of you while you are fishing is as bad as someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl. Max took one and released two, on a diawl bach, damsel and buzzer, and a floating line.
Take advantage of the Cheer up ticket at Cwm Hedd
Anglers have already taken advantage of the January ‘cheer-up ticket’, so find a friend who’s been thinking of coming along and you can bag a bargain. New to Cwm Hedd this week, Jo Thomas from Blackwood came back for a second visit this week with his two brothers Sean and Matthew, and had his own five hour ticket for £8.75, as did Tim Wellman from Bristol who brought friend Mark Miles, so happy days! A keen salmon angler Jo is very happy to have found us to take his mind off the interminable wait for the salmon season to begin. All took fish on a range of flies – humungous and olive cat the choice of Jo, Sean and Matthew, while it was snakes for Tim and Mark. To remind you of the offer in case you had a nana nap when you read the report last week: if you have fished at Cwm Hedd since October 2014, bring a new angler along and get your ticket on the day for half price (either a 5 hour or day ticket). The angler you bring to experience the delights of Cwm Hedd must not have fished here before and must be paying at least a £15 concession or £17.50 five hour ticket.
Cwm Hedd regular Luke Thomas took first place in the Welsh International Bank trials held at Garnffrwd on Sunday. Luke is through to the finals on the 15th February. We’re all very proud of you Luke – must be all that practice at Cwm Hedd!
Brian Haynes from Pontypool was startled and ecstatic to find he had hooked the tag fish last Thursday. Although the pot was quite modest at £32, Brian was over the moon as he also won a day ticket voucher, saying that he never wins anything! Well done Brian.
The new bridge is in place, but not quite ready for action, unless as hubs Chris put it you have “the leap of a gazelle”. It’s rather beautiful as well as being the means of transporting you to fishing heaven on the island. Thanks to Chris and son Tom for designing and constructing the bridge, with only a few tiffs on the way – the alpha male and the young buck resolved a few disagreements without descent into locking of horns. Martin Turner and David Burns helped to get the bridge onto the water and in situ.
Events and competitions –
Please help to promote the Welsh International Coaching Day at Cwm Hedd, on Saturday 21st February. As you know I only send out one e-mail a week, but his week I hope you will not mind me sending an extra e-mail about the forthcoming coaching event on 21st February, and that you will be kind enough to help promote the event by forwarding the event e-mail to as many friends and colleagues as possible as well as liking and sharing event posts and news on facebook and twitter. The event is a golden opportunity to learn from Wales’ top internationals so spread the word!
The fundraising event is being organised by Lisa Povey and Renee Carlsson, member of the Wales ladies fly fishing team and is for anglers of all abilities from complete beginners through to experienced anglers. Book a session with one of Wales’ international anglers: the cost will be £15 per hour for adults and £10 per hour for under 18s, with all proceeds going towards team funding.
There will also be fly tying in the lodge and instruction for beginners on how to set up a rod, tie a fly on, and advice on choosing rods and reels (no charge for activities in the lodge). Booking forms are available at the lodge and on the event facebook page, or contact Lisa Povey via e-mail: email@example.com
Iain Barr Bank Masters – sponsored by Airflo
I am very pleased to confirm that a heat for the above will take place at Cwm Hedd on 22nd March 2015. Visit http://www.iainbarrflyfishing.co.uk/ for details on how to enter this prestigious event. In addition to the competition entry fee the Cwm Hedd ticket for the day will be £22.50 payable in advance, with a minimum of fifteen paid entries and fishing tickets required by 15th March. I will of course be including a free bacon sandwich, bread pud/cakes/tea coffee etc and mopping your brow if required during the day. I am relaxing the rules on fish to be released for the day, so it will be take the first fish and release up to 15, with the format as regards moving platforms and scoring etc available soon . We’ll be putting all this on the Cwm Hedd website and facebook in the next day or so.
Gwyn Williams Memorial competition
The date for the memorial competition will be Saturday May 16th. Entry will be £20 plus sponsorship: release up to ten fish and take any one: the four anglers with the heaviest fish will win a day ticket each. If anyone would like to sponsor further prize/prizes then please let me know, but as those of you who saw last week’s e-mail will know, the aim is for this to be an informal comp with the emphasis on having a good day with friends. I have already had several anglers who want to put their names down, so will make a provisional list, but to be sure of a place get your entry and payment in when I’ve sorted the entry form and sponsor forms. Bacon sandwich etc included on the day: if the weather’s good there will also be a barbecue (will have to enlist hubs for this as I’m useless on this front).
I have today been catapulted further into the mad whirl of social media in the form of Twitter: https://twitter.com/CwmHeddLakes, so feel free to tweet away folks using #cwmheddlakes.
Tel: 01633 896854 (lodge during opening hours); 07813 143 034 (any time/day before 6pm) My best wishes to all of you, especially if you are not well or feeling sad. Look forward to seeing you all soon.
Bruce Chard is renown for being one of the most sought after fly fishing guides in the Florida Keys… and to help us mere-mortal anglers, he’s teamed up with Airflo to design a fly line for tropical angling – A fly line that will help you deliver a fly to the target quickly and accurately with minimal fuss.
The new Airflo Bruce Chard Tropical Punch fly line has been designed with Bruce and the experts at Airflo, using the latest materials technology in the fly line industry, this Topical fly line from Airflo really packs a punch.
The secret to this fly line is its compact front taper and extend rear taper. For the average fisherman who only gets a few weeks a year to chase a grand slam; wind, big flies, and knocking knees can get in the way of their goal. The Chard line uses the latest super-Dri technology, ultra quiet ridge technology, and low stretch power core to get your fly to the fish, stick it – and stay stuck.
Available in WF 8 – 12
Head colour: Sky Blue
Running Line Colour: Pale Yellow
Most anglers have their favourite platforms or would like an opportunity to fish the current ‘hotspots’ and it’s difficult to know the best way to reach a compromise, especially when some platforms are fishing particularly well. For the next few weeks, to be fair and courteous to all please move off a platform after you have taken/released four fish and return only if no one else wants to fish that particular platform, and we’ll see how that works.
No bags/tackle to be left on platforms
Continuing the theme of courtesy, if you leave a platform eg to come up to the lodge for a cup of tea, please do not leave any items on or around the platform. There is plenty of room between platforms to leave tackle if you don’t wish to bring it up to the lodge during a break, but remember that all items are left at your own risk.
All bags/tackle boxes will be checked on every visit as I have realised recently that not to check everyone’s makes it difficult to check anyone’s, and I am sure you appreciate the dilemma. Please also remember not to return to the car park at any time without calling at the lodge first, so that I can frisk you en route! Calling at the lodge is also very important as I need to be sure that everyone is accounted for.
How’s it fishing this week?
Firstly, I must have had a senior moment last week as I forgot to include Mike James’s catch in last week’s report: Mike took four cracking rainbows home for various family members. One fish was taken on a humungus and intermediate line and three on a small black daddy , floating line.
The east wind persisted until Sunday, when it couldn’t quite make its mind up, switching between east and west, interspersed with periods of flat calm on a very warm and bright day which saw many anglers leaving with empty nets. Those few who caught had to work very hard, with the late afternoon brining success to Luke Thomas, who took one and released three on a bloodworm and a floating line. John Turner on his first visit this season took one on a goldhead damsel with a floating line, while Alastair Denness took one on a black buzzer and a floating line, estimating that the fish were about three feet down. Christian Jones on his second visit this week took a superb rainbow weighing 5lb 10oz, another Troutmasters entry, taken on a white nomad and a floating line, releasing another on a pink blob.
Exmoor Stock delivery
While Sunday was extremely difficult the previous days had been mixed in terms of fish taken and returned. After a slowish day on Wednesday with the lake quite calm and only the occasional light east wind, about half took fish. The delivery of 50 cracking rainbows (from 2.25 – 3lbs) from Exmoor Fisheries livened up proceedings with the majority of anglers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday taking and returning fish.
Over two visits Ken Bowring took 2 and released 19 on a bloodworm and a cats whisker and a red legged daddy, on a full floating line as well as an intermediate line, entering a 5lb 12oz rainbow for Troutmasters. Also over two visits Roger Martyn took two and released 11 on a bloodworm, a black gnat and a cats whisker. Ted Lyons took four on a bloodworm and intermediate while Craig Bowles took one and released four on a mini-cat, with a diawl bach on a dropper and intermediate line, three rainbows in front of the lodge and two on the far bank.
Gareth West also entered Troutmasters with a 4lb 6oz rainbow taken on a black and green fritz and a floating line. Mike Porteous took one on a cat and intermediate, Colin Cox, Terry Griffiths and Roger Andrews each took one on a bloodworm, floating line; Keith Higgins took one and released one on a damsel and intermediate off the main island platform; Dave Eckett took one on a cats whisker floating line; Dave Smith took one and release 1 on a damsel and a cats whisker, sink-tip line; Garry Collins took one on a daddy and a floating line.
Tony Hemming took one and released one on a diawl bach floating line; John Hefferman took three on an orange goldhead floating line; Garry Wharton took one and released 5 on a yellowhead damsel and three on a jungle cock diawl bach; Russell Barry took one and release two on a green nomad and a diawl bach; Mike Mckeown took two in the main bay and released one on a tadpole.
Plenty of fish were moving on Saturday, which turned out to be a lovely mild and quite sunny day especially late in the afternoon. The east wind blowing towards the lodge is not the best direction for good fishing at Cwm Hedd, but it pushed the food and the fish to the front of the lake where those confident enough to fish into the wind had considerable success. A range of flies and fly lines were used including a few new to me, such as the zobble and zulu, employed by John Belcher and Wales international Sally Ann Iles. Sal took two and released two on the zobble, fishing off the man island as well as behind it. John took one when he fished the zobble dry, while his pheasant tail zulu brought him another.
Regular Rob Collier and son Tom had a great few hours: Rob took one and released 3 on a cats whisker and a black fritz intermediate line, while Tom took one and released eight on a mini cat, and a black montana with a floating line. Most were brought to the bank on the main island, but Rob also took two of his in the bay where he stream enter the lake.
Paul Elsworthy took one and released two on a cats whisker ghost-tip line, while friend Alan Powell took one and released three on a green cats whisker and a midge tip line.Huw Davies and Chris Jones found the near bank in front of the lodge and the far side of the island productive, with Huw taking one and releasing four on a hopper with a floating line and a damsel and intermediate line. On his first visit, Christian Jones (from Aberdare) took one and released three on a pink blob and a floating line.
Competitions and events
Boxing Day comp: £20 (NB pre entry required – enter at the lodge)
8am- 4pm, arrive any time before 11am.Entry includes bacon roll, tea/coffee/cake. Release up to ten fish and take one out of the ten. The four anglers with the heaviest fish will each win a Cwm Hedd day ticket (one prize per entry).
Coaching event – Wales Teams fundraiser
The event is for anglers of all abilities from complete beginners through to experienced anglers. Book a session with one of Wales international anglers: adults £15 per hour, juniors £10 per hour, with all proceeds going towards funding various Welsh angling teams who really need our support. There will also be fly tying in the lodge and instruction for beginners on how to set up a rod, tie a fly on etc (no charge for activities in the lodge).
Cwm Hedd vouchers
Cwm Hedd day ticket vouchers are available for purchase from the lodge
Tel: 01633 896854 (lodge during opening hours); 07813 143 034 (any time/day before 6pm)
Kelly’s deep affection for fly fishing began at age 13, started guiding at 16, and currently owns/operates the legendary Galloup’s Slide Inn on the banks of the Madison river. Author of multiple books, host of several TV and DVD productions, and with over 50 streamer patterns in commercial production worldwide, Kelly has spent much of his career helping others become more productive on the water.
Kelly’s unique (and productive) method of targeting aggressive, carnivorous trout changed the way many of us fish for these bronze beasts. Over the course of his career Kelly has refined tactics and gear to improve his chances of bringing these burly toads to hand. One thing’s for sure: nothing beats experience. To be successful, you’ve got to have the right gear. Whelp, you’re in luck…
Here’s what Kelly has to say:
“The decision for me to move to Airflo was a simple one. My fishing is NOT casual. It’s an intense hunt got the biggest bad-ass predator that swims, and I want the very best product and technology in everything I use. Simply put, that’s why Airflo delivers.
The performance and durability of these fly lines are superior to any other manufactures in the industry. That’s what i demand from the products I fish; especially the products i put my name on.
When you use one of these line you’ll know it will perform the way I intended, and rigorously tested by people who fish… not by a guy in a lab coat“ KG.
Airflo were pleased to announce that Kelly is an active part of their Pro Staff team with his unrivaled experience and knowledge on catching large fish, Kelly’s the guy to help ‘flo develop a new range of fly lines for the river angler.
KG nymph/indicator fly line
From Day one, KG wanted a good Nymph and Indicator line, a line that needs to be able to form efficient loops that can straighten out heavy flies and large indicators. The new Kelly Galloup Nymph/Indicator fly line has a larger tip diameter and a more aggressive front taper to handle even the heaviest junk.
Even with a good cast, many struggle mending the line and controlling the drift. But, Airflo’s Super Dri technology has allowed us to develop a fly line with an extending rear taper, which allows us as anglers to lift more line from moving water to help mend better than any line we have ever made.
With the original low stretch power core you will be able to stick fish at distance and with our ridged surface, the line wont slip out of your hand while doing so.
A fly line designed to cast anything in your fly box. The taper specification is described as ‘Powerful Taper that casts the other half of the chicken!’ which implies, the aggressive taper helps turn over heavy and wind resistant flies at any distance. Not sure you can cast it… then you’ve found your fly line.
A sinking line that’s designed to get your flies int he zone, and keep them there whilst aggressively stripping. This lines smooth transition from full sink to intermediate running line keeps you in direct contact when working the fly.
Overall another outstanding week for fishing at Cwm Hedd, with the mild weather but cool water temperature conducive to some excellent fishing, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday where conditions were near perfect. With all anglers required to take the first rainbow, the Exmoor fisheries stock is turning over rapidly and the excellent condition of the hard fighting rainbows is maintained, as can be seen from the numerous images posted on facebook in the last few weeks. Another hundred rainbows are on order for this week.
For nearly a decade I have enjoyed a position on the Airflo Pro Staff. Through that period I have gained tremendous respect and appreciation for the unsurpassed array of specialty fly lines that go far beyond anything I could have imagined before joining this esteemed group of remarkably talented anglers.
Like most in the sport, I enjoy many types of fly fishing. In my experience, the value of individual fly lines designed to specifically accommodate the widely diverse requirements of trout fishing’s many facets cannot be overstated, and I take full advantage of any line intended for an exclusive purpose.
As a trout fisherman living on the Henry’s Fork, however, my assigned duty has been to assist in the development of a line designated especially for refined presentation of dry flies and mostly small nymphs to large, selective, and wary trout. To this end, I am pleased and proud to have been a part in the arrival of the Airflo Super Dri Elite Trout Line. With all the requirements of the demanding Henry’s Fork covered, this line has gained the approval of some of the world’s most discriminating practitioners, and the number is growing daily.
While accomplishing the objective of creating what I consider to be a specialized line for precise presentation of mostly smaller flies on challenging water, what also has emerged is a quality of performance that may be even more important.
Trout Caught During Salmon Fly Hatch
Efficient testing of the Elite meant applying the new line in a variety of conditions and seasonal demands that by necessity could not be limited to my favorite type of fishing.
Fishing big dry flies and heavy nymphs from a drift boat on fast, bumpy water during a Salmon Fly hatch is vastly different than a delicate cast on slow, clear currents. Exchanging a 4 weight Elite for a 6 weight was all that was needed to comfortably handle the burly business of a different game.
I used the same 6 weight Elite for fishing my favorite still waters like Henry’s and Hebgen Lake when a floating line became appropriate, and the results were remarkably satisfying.
In late fall when cold weather testing became necessary, the 6 weight Elite was again put into action while fishing streamers in low water for big brown trout on the lower Henry’s Fork. Again, performance was far better than adequate and I never felt limited when fishing this line.
Rene Harrop 3 Weight Airflo Super Dri Elite
I found a 3 weight Elite to be perfect for the Fire Hole and other smaller waters in the Yellowstone region including several spring creeks.
Other examples could be easily used to demonstrate the amazing versatility of the Airflo Elite. It is difficult to imagine an angler who would not appreciate what is truly an all-around trout line.
Using the Super Dri Elite on Still-water improves accuracy
With the weather still against the angler throughout the height of the day, it seems the fish have dropped deeper and a full sinking line is proving most useful. Getting your flies down and below the direct sunlight is key when fishing through the day and the fish are probably holding three or four feet down in the sunlight. The best fishing time has been in the early morning and late evening, so for this week Cwm Hedd will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6am – 9.45+pm. You might find me asleep in the lodge, especially by Sunday.
Fishing until dark is still the ideal time to get the best sport, the last hour of the day is proving fruitful as caenis and buzzers start to return to the water, bringing the fish to the surface once the sun drops below the trees. Try a shipman’s buzzer tweaked across the surface to get most takes.
Top anglers this week were regulars Roger Michael and Keith Cox, who each took one; Roger released a further 6 on a black shipman’s buzzer, while Keith released another four on a cat and a black and green tadpole. It was great to see Vern Thomas, Matthew Passmore and Clive Sedgebeer from the Fly Fishing in Wales group, who took five fish between them, with Vern taking two and releasing another 3. Clive used a buzzer and a floating line; Matthew found success with an orange blob and an Airflo Sixth Sense Di 3, landing two of his three fish haul within just a few casts once he’d dropped deeper. Vern took his first fish on a cat then 2 on an orange blob, again on a sinking line, as well as taking a detour up a tree to retrieve a fly he was rewarded by finding someone else’s fly too, abandoned by someone less intrepid!
Regular John Belcher continues his run of success, taking 3 again this week on a light brown buzzer, a blue shrimp and a stonefly on a floating line, demonstrating the necessity to persevere and try out various flies and tactics.
A big thanks to those who have helped to pull out weed lately (see picture above) and keep the majority of the lake fishable, although work on the shallow side of the lake (wading area side) is ongoing. Blue dye (Dyofix) is being added to the water on Wednesday evening to interrupt photosynthesis and suppress the weed without causing any harm at all. For more information on this see http://www.dyofix.co.uk/dyofix-how-does-it-work.html By Friday when the lake has acquired a blue tint we can all pretend we’re on holiday in the Med instead of a few miles from Newport. Plenty of room for sun loungers.
The £200 tag fish prize is still evading anglers – £1 entry. The rainbow has a distinctive blue dye mark on its underside, so don’t forget to check!
The mix of rain and sun over the week has helped to keep the water temperature down, but the sunny days when they arrive inevitably make fishing conditions more challenging. Cwm Hedd is fully stocked, and anglers report seeing plenty of fish moving. Those out to catch fish rather than contemplate the view need to give careful thought to the best fishing time of day and the weather.
The late evening opening til 9.15pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays paid off for John Belcher on Sunday, when John took 3 and returned 4 on a small pale brown buzzer and a floating line tweaked now and again. John took two on two consecutive casts earlier in the evening taking another one and releasing four as the sun went down and the fish rose all over the lake. Steve Hemmings, on a fast glass intermediate, was one of the anglers who braved the mid- week rain reporting plenty of offers, taking his two fish (4 and a half pound total weight) on a small olive damsel and a white cat’s whisker with an indigo flash. New visitor to Cwm Hedd, Matthew Evans, also took his three fish on a white cat’s whisker and an intermediate fly line, while a diawl bach delivered a smashing 3 and a half pound rainbow to regular Roger Martyn.
Throughout the week conditions have been more than testing with high, bright sunshine sending the fish into deeper water. Kieron Jenkins took advantage one evening to launch his float tube and fish into the deeper water at the centre of the lake, landing two resident rainbow trout – one caught on camera – which were feeding hard on caenis (yes, the fisherman’s curse!). Kieron’s float tube video and blog can be seen here:
Kieron’s tip when targeting caenis feeders is to try and attract the attention to your flies, there can literally be hundreds of caenis on the surface and without any temptation the fish will happily ignore your offerings and keep feeding hard! Kieron used a shuttle cock buzzers with a pearl butt which he gently tweaked in front of rising fish to cause an aggravated reaction.
The £200 tag fish prize is still up for grabs – £1 entry. The rainbow has a distinctive blue dye mark on its underside, so angler need to remember to check before releasing any fish!