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!
Cwm Hedd fly fishing lakes
Bassaleg Newport NP10 8RW; 5 minutes from J 28 M4
Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 6am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm. Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours.
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!
Bassaleg Newport NP10 8RW
5 minutes from J 28 M4
Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 7am -9.15 pm: last admission 6pm.
Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours, although I may be out on the lake, so please ring my mobile if no reply at the lodge.
Entering the second full year of fishing the Airflo Elite Trout line, I had come to believe there was little more to discover with regard to conditions that would challenge the performance of this remarkable new taper. That idea changed rather abruptly when fishing one of my favorite stretches of the Henry’s Fork that opened about a week ago.
Low water typifies the condition of the river just prior to release of water for irrigation purposes from Island Park Reservoir. This year, however, I found the level to be ankle deep rather than knee deep on the shallow side of a broad flat where big rainbows leave the security of depth to feed precariously over an open gravel bottom.
With currents not yet corrupted by aquatic vegetation, the surface was mirror smooth and the difficulty was not one of managing a complicated drift but rather to avoid spooking the fish with a coarse delivery of the fly. The mixture of midges, small mayfly spinners, and a few spent caddis was sparse in number, and the trout showed no favoritism as they cruised the placid flow. This opportunistic feeding pattern placed stronger emphasis on precise accuracy rather than finding an exact imitation that the trout would find acceptable.
By preference, I would have chosen to present the little caddis I had selected from a downstream position. Working from behind the fish usually provides a better opportunity to shorten the required casting distance, but there are times when this approach is not practical. On this late spring morning, an upstream stalk would place a low angled sun at my back creating warning line shadow that even the 20 foot leader could not cancel.
Any approach from upstream would certainly be detected by a wary trout long before I could get into reasonable casting range. Even working in from the side would necessitate 40 feet of fly line and the full length of the long leader to avoid spooking an alert surface feeder, but this is the route I chose to begin the engagement.
Inching my way to a position 60 feet from a sizeable pair of impressive heads was a ten minute test of patience and discipline, but this effort paid off. A test cast deliberately placed well away from the trout’s position told me the distance needed and how current would influence the drift of the fly. Knowing that everything would have to be perfect with regard to both angler and tackle, I powered the 4 weight toward the nearest rise with a reach cast right, and waited.
A good drift of more than 6” went untouched as the next rise appeared several feet upstream and slightly beyond the first. With no bottom cover to provide protection from overhead danger, it was clear that the trout would not relax into a fixed position, and there would be no pattern to the feeding activity. Fortunately, both fish seemed reluctant to leave a 15 foot feeding perimeter, which made it a game of successfully guessing where the nervous trout might next appear and getting the fly to that location as quickly as possible.
Perhaps 20 minutes and more than a dozen fruitless attempts had passed before everything finally came together and I tightened against the weight of a well-conditioned 20 inch hen. In little more than 12 inches of water, the fight was one of enragement rather than power as the shiny surface was shredded by the panicked trout. Successfully retraining the prize from charging into deeper water on the far side was no small accomplishment with a 6X tippet, and she slipped into my net after a spirited 5 minute battle.
As calm returned to the scene, I didn’t have long to wait before the companion fish reappeared a little upstream and slightly closer to my side of the river. Only about a dozen careful steps were required to bring myself into position to begin round 2.
The game remained the same on the second fish with carefully placed casts that again began to accumulate as the feeding window began to close. With noon approaching and the sun in a higher position, I was able to spot what appeared to be the twin of the earlier fish as she finned only inches beneath the surface. It had been several minutes since I had seen a rise but the cast was true and the dry fly disappeared on the first pass.
A power run directly across stream and a tall leap gave quick freedom to another splendid Henry’s Fork rainbow, but there was no sense of disappointment as I retrieved the line and 50 feet of backing.
Because I live on the river, I would return on the following day and there will be many more at this early point in the year. I am a lucky man.
How is Cwm Hedd fishing?
The roller coaster weather in the last few week has made it all the fun of the fair for anglers, who have rummaged through fly boxes and more obscure places in the quest to find flies to tempt the fickle rainbows. The soaring temperatures on the weekend mainly brought out the sun cream and hats (plus a mellow rendition of Summertime drifted across the lake at one point), but on Friday it was a damsel, cat, black buzzer, a bloodworm, an orange lure and a bucket load of experience that brought top anglers of the week Ken Bowring and Roger Martyn 19 rainbows between them: Ken on an intermediate line and Roger alternating an intermediate with a floating fly line.
Other top anglers of the week were Colin Cox and Dave Eckett, Colin taking two and releasing 5 on a bloodworm and Dave taking one and releasing 5, also on a bloodworm; Paul West and Lee Ashcroft each took one and released four, Paul on a gold buzzer and floating line, Lee on a hare’s ear, diawl bach and a tadpole on a mini tip fly line. Paul Elsworthy and Alan Powell each took one and released three and one respectively on a bloodworm and mini montana, each angler on a floating line. John Belcher took 3 over two visits and released one on a spider and floating line, then a cat and intermediate line. Keith Cox took one and released one on an intermediate line and a black and green tadpole. Early morning or evening fishing is advisable, or a bit of both with a long siesta at the lodge in between!
£200 tag fish still for the taking
Still evading capture is the wily £200 tag fish, the £1 entry is going to make one angler very happy any time soon. Still, while the tag fish is still out there the donation that will be going to Velindre Cancer Centre is growing and is now over £100
Poppy fish: British Legion Competition 16th November 2014. £30 entry fee plus sponsorship. Nearly a quarter of the places have already been taken, so early entry is very important if you don’t want to miss out. Cash prizes totalling £215.00. Entry forms available at Cwm Hedd lodge or download at http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/wales/events
Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm, last admission 2pm; Extended hours for bank holiday weekend: Fri/Sat/Sun, plus bank holiday Monday 26th May 7am -9.15 pm: last admission 5pm
I’m considering being open Thursday evening this week (in the words of Joan Armatrading ‘I’m open to persuasion’): ring me on Thursday afternoon to check, or let me know beforehand if you definitely want to fish that evening.
If early anglers have left by the last admission times then the gates will be closed, so don’t be late or it will make you very grumpy when you can’t fish!
Tel 07813 143 034 or lodge during fly fishing opening hours: 01633 896854
Or visit the website : http://www.cwmhedd.co.uk/
In the geeky world of robotics, there’s something seriously fishy going on.
From soft bodied remote controlled fish to bionic muscles made from fishing line, fish and fishing are inspiring some truly astounding developments in science and technology.
It’s a case of fish and chips – but not as we know it.
1. Fly line muscles
Who would have thought the humble fishing line could be transformed into robotic muscles with superhuman strength? Well, that’s just what scientists at the University of Texas have achieved.
The muscles are made by twisting bundles of monofilament fibres and metal coated sewing thread to resemble a highly wound rubber band. When heat is applied either by chemical reaction or electrical current, the bundle contracts with incredible power.
In fact the ‘muscles’ are 100 times more powerful than the same weight of human muscle. To put that in perspective, it’s the same amount of force as that generated by a jet engine.
Applications for the muscles are myriad and include powering prosthetic limbs, opening and closing greenhouse windows, and even textiles that react to body temperature to allow more air to circulate the body. Not bad for a fly line!
2. Robot fish
We know that fish are a great design – brains at the front, soft body behind. It’s great for swimming and the tail is super flexible – ideal for escaping predators. Now researchers have designed and built a robot fish that swims just like the real thing. The ‘head’ contains the electrics and the ‘tail’ is made from soft silicon.
Gas released from inbuilt canisters through tubes in the tail, enables it to flex in exactly the same way as a real fish. The robot is controlled by wi fi signals transmitted through the water, and just in case it’s mistaken for a tasty snack by a hungry predator, the robot is programmed to perform the same escape manoeuvre as as a real fish in the same time. And how fast is that? 100 milliseconds. Amazing.
3. Pollution hunting
Robot fish are much more than just clever toys, they’re helping scientists protect real fish and other marine life. Pollution monitoring in ports is time consuming and expensive. Divers have to collect samples manually, then send them to a lab for analysis. Often by the time results are ready it’s too late, contaminants have already spread.
But two years ago, all that changed. Scientists working on project, SHOAL, designed a free swimming fish robot that could collect and analyse information, beaming the results to scientists on shore in real time.
By mimicking the way real fish swim, the robots are more efficient and compared to propeller driven underwater vehicles, they’re more manoeuverable and far less likely to get trapped by weed and other underwater debris.
4. Jellyfish shredder
Thanks to rising sea temperatures and overfishing, jellyfish populations worldwide are booming. Jellyfish swarms outcompete other marine creatures for food, break fishing nets and clog nuclear reactor coolant intakes – not to mention the harm their stings can cause humans.
But now Korean scientists have come up with an answer to the problem, new self propelled robots that hunt in packs. The smart devices communicate with each other to corral jelly swarms, then pulverise them using sharp bladed propellers.
And boy can they shred some jelly. Each machine can liquify nearly a tonne of marine stingers every hour. Now that’s got to sting!
These days, it is the rare individual who does not bring a lasting ambition to cast a long line when he first picks up a fly rod. As a tool designed specifically for this purpose, a weight forward line is generally the first choice of a beginner, and many will never try anything different.
Like anyone else, I appreciate the ease in which a weight forward taper can be applied in situations where a long, straight line cast is the foremost objective. This especially applies to still water fishing where a floating line is not subject to the same factors found on moving water.
With a lifelong fondness for fishing dry flies on the predominantly larger rivers of the Rocky Mountain west, my preference lies in a much different line configuration when compared to the popular weight forward taper.
On moving water, inducing a natural presentation of an artificial is often almost equally dependent upon casting and mending. With maximum control both in the air and on the water as requirements more important than easily attained distance, my choice is a double taper floating line.
Even on big waters, I try to wade within 30 feet of a feeding trout. At this range and anything less, the performance of a weight forward and double taper line are essentially equal. It is beyond this distance that I begin to struggle with line control when fishing a weight forward taper.
Unlike a weight forward, there is no hinge point with a double taper because the weight of the line is distributed throughout its length rather than being concentrated in the first 30 feet. With consistent flex and contact with the rod tip, a double taper permits superior line control while also making it easier to regulate the velocity of fly delivery. And while there are exceptions, shooting slack line into the cast is not something I generally apply when presenting a dry fly. Additionally, I find it difficult if not impossible to make certain casts that rely on controlled line speed or consistent response to the rod tip when fishing a weight forward beyond 30 feet. Curve casting, aerial mending, and a long reach cast are much more easily accomplished with a double taper.
Precise mending techniques are vital to managing the drift once the fly is on the water. With the thinner running line in the guides, it is virtually impossible to reposition the heavier front portion of a weight forward taper as a means of overcoming problematic currents that can disrupt a natural drift by causing the fly to drag.
Refined nymphing methods involving submerged flies in moving water can require precise casting and deft mending techniques that are quite similar to fishing a floating imitation. Whether maintaining a natural drift or inducing controlled action to the fly, it is not unusual to experience some difficulty when fishing beyond 30 feet with a weight forward line. For the same reasons that apply to dry fly fishing, I generally prefer a double taper when presenting a subsurface pattern to a big, nymphing trout in moving water.
In keeping with the example of old time steel-headers prior to the popularity of two handed fly casting, I rely on a double taper floating line for spring and fall streamer fishing for trout when the water is low and often quite cold.
Swimming the fly mostly with the current or on a slow, pulsating swing often involves long, looping mends that may require some serious roll casting to execute correctly. And while a long cast on big water may require significantly more effort, I find 60-70 feet to be a reasonable distance for a 6 or 7 wt. double taper. Again, as in other situations discussed herein, I value line control above ease in gaining distance for low water streamer fishing where presenting the fly means considerably more than simply stripping it quickly through the water.
I have many highly accomplished friends and acquaintances who will stick with a weight forward line for virtually all of their trout fishing, and many will disagree with my comments and personal opinion regarding a double taper. This I accept without argument because fly tackle performance is an entirely individual matter, and I would never try to convince anyone that my way is best.
In general, I believe a double taper to be a specialized line best suited for refined presentation of dry flies on moving water. But failing to understand its versatility is a common oversight by many who might benefit by simply giving it a try.
The Bung is a very controversial method of fly fishing, but, who am I to judge what anglers use to catch fish? In my eyes it’s a method used to catch fish. It’s also a method I use on small-waters and occasionally the river when conditions dictate.
This method is basically a float which suspends a fly beneath, giving the angler immediate indication when a fish has then their fly. It’s a superb method on small-waters where fish are heavily pressured. Suspending a fly top, mid or bottom of the water column to intercept fish is an ingenious idea – especially when it’s fished properly – and accounts for many of the larger fish which are captured on small-waters.
A typical bung would be an indicator made out of foam, polystyrene or yarn, just like these fulling mill fish pimps. All these materials have great floating properties to suspend un-weighted or weighted flies. Another alternative would be Airflo Float-Do, a floating ‘dough’ like material which can be easily moved along the leader section to alter the depths.
As you can see from the illustration above, there is a fairly steep angle between your fly line and fly, if a fish takes that fly, there is a lot of slack between the fly line, so a decent strike is needed to set the hook firmly. When using the bung you will see some anglers strike and not register a pull or feel the fish at all. This is due to the depth of the fly and the angle between the fly line.
One little tip I can give is use one of the new Airflo Super-Dri fly lines. The advantages of using one of these new floating lines from Airflo is the ability to lift so much more line off the water, this is due to the revolutionary Super-Dri coating. It repels water and sits extremely high on the surface, allowing less tension when lifting the line off the water than all other fly lines. This, in turn, allows for better hook up rates when compared to standard floating lines, from any manufacturer.
On my recent trip to Garnffrwd Trout Fishery it became apparent to me how good the Distance Pro from the Super-Dri family actually was. It’s a line I’ve been playing around with for a while, but it hasn’t really set itself apart from any other Super-Dri line I have used. Not until this trip anyway. For those of you who have been to Garnffrwd you may know of the ‘weed patch’ out on the far right of the lake – A submerged patch of weed, which sits just 3ft below the surface – just out of reach of most decent casters. This line has a 45ft head, and an extremely supple running line, which lets the line be cast an impressively long way.
Casting big distances with a bung is not only tough because of it’s mass, but it hinders hook up rates at distance because of the amount of line needed to lift from the surface to actually hook the fish. The Super-Dri coating eliminated this problem and hooking into fish at range becomes child’s play. The ability to throw such long distances and fish basically ‘un-fished’ water can change your day drastically, fishing over the top of this island I was lucky enough to hook and land a double figure rainbow trout on a bloodworm pattern! Check out the video footage below:
There’s plenty of article on ‘how to catch more fish’ and ‘top 5 fishing tips’ out there on the internet, but what about the simple tips to look after your fly line? These three great tips will give you an extra advantage when out on the bank.
What weight is my fly line?
First of all, let’s look at how we can determine what weight fly line you have on your fly fishing reel. We’ve all been there, wondering “Is it a 6 weight? It looks like a 7…”, this quick and simple tip allows you to easily identify what weight lines are on your reels. All you need is a waterproof pen.
Welded loops on fly lines
If you’re anything like us you hate the plastic sleeve which comes in a packet of braided loops. It’s big, clunky and get’s stuck in the rod guides. What you’ll find with this sleeve is your fly line can crack due to hinging which in time, forces you to replace the whole loop. The below method of welding loops, or lines which have factory manufactured loops pro-long the life of your fly line.
Whipping on a braided loop
If you don’t have the facilities to weld your own loops, try whipping an Airflo braided loop to your line. By using thread you can create an almost seamless joint to your fly line. The smooth joint lets your fly line be retrieved with no bumping or clunking through the guides and stops hinging and cracking near the tip of the line. As Hywel says, it’s the best way for fitting a loop to sinking lines, and it’s is also a great way of marking fly lines at specific lengths to fish the ‘hang’ more effectively!
The Super-Dri Lake Pro has been designed for the serious lake angler, utilising Airflo’s standard DELTA taper, the line casts effortlessly, turns over extremely well and shoots to the distance will little effort. The most serious casters will benefit immensely for the taper design of this line, a medium to long front taper lets for great stability through the cast, keeping your line speed high with extremely tight loops. The Super-dri Lake pro also lends itself to the lesser casts, giving the novice angler a great, easy casting line, a great addition to our fly fishing tackle.
Complete with Airflo’s patented ridge design and legendary PU coatings, you can expect these Airflo Super-Dri range to last longer than any other line you have and to perform as well as any fly line you will cast.
What are the key benefits of Super-Dri?
- High riding – Superb float-ability.v
- Zone Technology – Low compression hauling zone
- Ultra supple coating for improved handling
- Micro loops both ends
Learn more about the Super-dri Lake Pro fly line here
With many Super-Dri fly lines back in stock, anglers all around the country are spooling up their fly fishing reels and trying out these new floating lines. Lindsay Cargill has put both the Xceed and the Elite through their paces. See here for Lindsay’s previous Xceed fly line review.
Lindsay recently purchased a WF5 Super-Dri Elite from the range, here’s what he has to say about our go to trout line.
Out of the box I loved the colour of this line, a pale Olive – easy to see on the water but still had that element of stealth. The ‘hauling zone’ is a yellow colour with the running line back to Olive, all very visible and I find it useful for knowing where the head is in relation to the rod tip as well as for judging distance. Like the Xceed, thin welded loops provide practicality without bulk. The line has no noticeable memory that I can detect.
Unusually for me my first outing with this line saw me fishing upstream nymphs instead of my usual dry fly due to unfavourable conditions. The line cast beautifully on my Helios 2 905 Tip Flex and the weighted nymphs turned over with ease. The high floatability of the line at the tip meant I could see takes and lift straight in to fish lying in 3 to 4 feet of water. However, fishing a single dry fly, my preferred method, this line is the best line I have used, enabling me to get consistently tight loops and good line control in the air and mending on the water. You can lay back, push it and it responds. I absolutely love it.
This will be my ‘go to’ line in 2014 and I can envisage me fishing with it 90% of the time in either a #4 and #5 depending on conditions. At the introductory price I paid it was cheaper than some so called budget ‘good value’ lines which in my experience don’t even come close to matching the Airflo Elite in either quality or features, not to mention floatability. Don’t believe the hype ? That’s your choice, but also your loss!