I’ve been using the Thermo-Tex Gilet for around 7 months now. It’s remarkably lightweight when you take into account its tremendous thermal abilities. It’s extremely comfortable to wear too and allows plenty of freedom of movement, which to me is a real plus point. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve got a straight jacket on, even if you do need one!
On several evenings when I’ve been wearing this gilet from fishtec, I haven’t felt the need to pile on the usual extra layers of clothing. The gilet is superbly warm, which for some reason surprised me. I guess mainly because it feels so lightweight but that definitely belies its impressive thermal abilities. Certainly an item im glad to have in my coarse fishing gear right now.
It’s well made and I like the fleece hand warmer pockets, they keep your hands much warmer when that cold winds blowing. They also allow room for those odd bits and pieces anglers like to tuck away into every nook and cranny. There is also a side pocket next to the zip which is very useful for a mobile phone.
Overall I’m very impressed with this fishing jacket and to coin a phrase, feel that it does exactly what it says on the tin. It will be coming with me on all of my summer and winter sessions in future. It’s ideal on those summer evenings and mornings when you just need something a little extra over a shirt and in the winter it makes an excellent and very important under layer for when it gets really cold.
The TF Gear Thermo-Tex Gilet is available for just £29.99.
The popular Mustad rucksack has undergone a total facelift, making it one of the best in the sea fishing market.
First thing you notice is the absence of zips. They have been totally removed, so no more seized, saltwater-encrusted zips to worry about.
The whole item is saltwater-proof with a 35-litre main compartment, giving easily enough room to carry kit and spare clothing. Strong buckles as well as tough Velcro pocket fastenings keep everything secured. Carry-straps are extremely comfortable, and adjustable too so you get the best possible position to load the rucksack with your sea fishing gear.
As well as the new look, extra features include a reflective logo, quiver-grip that prevents a rod holdall sliding off your shoulder, emergency whistle and a hi-viz rain cover tucked into the base.
This is a well thought out, brilliantly designed rucksack that is fantastic for all sea angling applications.
Sea Angler Score Sheet:
Value for money: Brand new design without a price increase.
Practicality: It is very practical with lots of brilliant features.
Would we but it? Absolutely yes.
Sea Angler issue 498.
“Clever hi-viz rain cover is tucked into the base for added protection.”
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!
Review by Total Sea Fishing Magazine of the TF Gear BlueStrike 8ft 15g to 40g Lure Rod
The fast-taper, responsive blank on this 8ft light spinning rod is designed for working plugs and soft-plastic lures with its soft tip and progressive action.
The blue blank on the TF Gear Bluestrike is finished off with single-leg SiC guides to reduce weight and the chance of flat spots, with the rings being suitable for both braid and mono.
There is an Aluminium reel seat ahead of the innovative extended butt. With the butt retracted, these sea fishing rods can be cast single-handed. With the Butt extended, both hands can be used to punch out further.
Total Sea Fishing Magazines Comment :- A light spinning rod, handy for those tight situations with its retractable butt.
See what our resident Sea Fishing expert thinks…
Genuine customer reviews on any fishing products are the best way to get a ‘true feel’ or insight for a product without the reviewers thoughts being clouded by affiliation to a company. With the new Airflo Super-Dri fly lines we thought it would be best for anglers to get the full lowdown straight from the horses mouth.
Lindsay Cargill purchased a WF5F Super-Dri Xceed from the Fishtec online shop and was kind enough to write a review from an anglers perspective with no link or affiliation to the company.
Here’s what Lindsay had to say about our new floating lines…
The line has a slick but decidedly dry feel to and is very supple. Loops are present on both the head and running line are well formed and thin welded unlike those on other manufactures lines. The line has a ‘hauling zone’ section and this is light olive green colour and is designed to be harder wearing from the stress given by the eyes, ground and hinging.
Putting the line on a Orvis Hydros III spool that previously held a Rio Gold line I discovered I had to remove about a third of my backing line to accommodate the Xceed – not a problem but surprising, possibly due to being slightly heavier and the few added yards extra.
I predominantly fish dry fly on the Aberdeenshire Don, typically from ‘under the rod’ to 50 feet. Casting the line on my 9ft 5# Helios Tip Flex the line loads the rod effectively at close range, an extremely important point consideration for my fishing, but good distance was easily achieved when needed though it was important not to force it on the forward cast. Within the first few casts I could see that the line, including the tip, appeared to be above the water surface almost as if it was repelling water! As a result of this high float feature, pick up even at range was smooth and instantaneous – the Super-Dri Xceed certainly does what it says ‘on the tin’ in this respect. Line memory is non-existent which im very, very impressed about.
The different colour of the head from the hauling zone helps judge distance and facilitate control of line during casting. I was happy with the line in relation to my casting ability and requirements and the Pumpkin colour is nicely visible on the water. Over the course of the summer of 2013 I have had the opportunity to use the Xceed in windy conditions and its performance (on the Helios) has given me an early season outfit for Spring 2014 when conditions on the Don are often far from favourable.
Looking after the fly line
I like to look after my lines, though I do fish them hard, and one of the things I love about the Super-Dri is that they are low maintenance – simply soak the line in some warm water with a sprinkling of washing up liquid, rinse and wipe dry, job done! The ‘treatment’ to make this line float as well as it does is built into the line, so no more liquid preparations – It just floats.
Other manufacturers produce very good ‘one size heavier’ lines to load faster action rods so what set’s the Xceed apart ? For me, it floats like no line I have everseen – I would have to be constantly using Mucilin on my other lines to get this level of floatability! Line pick-up and hook setting are definitely improved with this line. The taper also seems less ‘aggressive’ and more useful for when I need finesse with dries. The robustness and low maintenance of this line has also been impressive. At full price this line sits shoulder to shoulder with established lines by other manufacturers and certainly has the features to contend with any line – in my opinion. At the introductory price it is an absolute no brainer and clear winner.
Over the years I think you will all agree that Airflo with the progression in line technology, now offer some of the best fly lines on the market. One of the lines that I have recently had the pleasure of using was the Ridge Clear Slow Intermediate.
Truth is told one of the reasons I bought this fishing line was the fact that I don’t actually own any clear fly lines, but also I have seen and heard some very good reviews by the general fishing public and some fishing forum posts.
First impression of the line was actually how clear the fly line was. There has been numerous attempts from other fly line manufacturers to make a “clear” line, but once they come from production they turn cloudy and not clear at all. However, this line was CRYSTAL CLEAR and already I could see the benefit of using such lines, so I took it outside to the casting pool and just lay about 5 feet of the line on the water.
I was very excited to try out this new fly lines so on my first trip, with it in my arsenal, the conditions were not the best but I tried the line all the same. Being that the line is one of the Ridge Series the casting was, as you would expect flawless and run through the guides of the rod perfectly. The performance whilst the line was aerialised is perfect and I felt completely in control, at both sort and big distances.
It wasn’t long before I was hooked up to my first fish and with a nice clean hook up and easy contact this line made the experience more personal. As I was having so much fun using this line I decided to use it all day and if I’m honest it was one of the most enjoyable days fishing I’ve had in a long time.>
If you are looking for a nice line for light buzzer work and in the top 6 inches of water when stealth and precision is needed then I would suggest the Ridge Clear Slow Intermediate.
See more infromation here from Tim Rajeff:
What do carp anglers looks for in a rod pod System? It’s a piece of fishing tackle which needs to be sturdy and lightweight and stick to almost any banking or terrain…
The TF Gear Micro Pod is a new ‘pod’ system designed by the in-house anglers and designers at Fishtec. Specifically designed to anchor your fishing rods to the most awkward terrain and give you the portability and weightlessness needed for those sessions where you’re on your feet more than in your bivvy!
When I took the TF Gear Micro Pod out of the packaging the first thing that instantly impressed me was the quality of the carry bag its supplied in. A lot of anglers don’t pay much attention to details like this but when the zips break or split two weeks later and everything starts to fall out they’re not so impressed and blame the manufacturer. The bag is really compact so it’s great for anglers who like to travel light or for those who don’t tend to use a rod pod much so it can be easily stored in the boot of the car, just like I usually do.
The pod itself is a really nice bit of kit, all of the legs are independently adjustable to cope with uneven banks. The main frame is also adjustable so if you’d like to have your front and rear buzz bars further away than the more compact set up, you can easily adjust the width with the use of one clip. You can also adjust the height of the buzz bars so you can have your tips high in the air ‘European style’ or more conventionally down nearer the water.
The clips are impressive too, where you’d adjust the legs the clips are easy to grasp and are strong, not like some of the brittle plastic you get on others. What I like most about the TF Gear Micro Pod is that it has quite a wide footprint, ensuring there is no way the pod can be pulled over or tipped buy the weight of your rods or a moving carp!
First time on the bank this micro pod was brilliant. I managed to set up three of my carp fishing rods comfortably into a tight swim, the first hour the alarm sounded and I hooked into a 23lb mirror right in close to a snag. It tried to pull me straight into it and the pod stayed put and never moved an inch. If I’m honest rod pods aren’t usually my thing but I really like this one. In fact since receiving it I’ve used it every time I’ve been on the bank.
All in all a fantastic compact pod system finished in TF Gears ‘Hardcore Green’ at a great price, at £49.99 you get a mean rod pod! Written by Alex Moyle.
Click here buy the Micro Pod!
“Tackle Testers Choice”
The Airtex waders, which replace the old Delta designs, come in standard chest and also zip-front versions. They do away with the secondary outer layer of material running down the leg and also have a more snug fit around the legs and the ankle with a contoured cut and articulated legs. They are made from a three-layer Finetex material that is not only waterproof but very breathable so keeps body moisture to a minimum even when you are on the move.
All the inside seams are fully taped. These chest waders have built-in stretchable gravel guards made from a very tough and abrasion-resistant fabric. The guards have a rubber grip strip on the inside edge and a metal lace hook for a secure fitting to the boot. The neoprene feet have a contoured fit so are very comfortable and again they are fully taped throughout. There are three integral belt loops to accommodate an adjustable and detachable 1.5-inch wide webbing belt with a quick release bayonet fitting.
At the top of the waders is a set of elasticated, adjustable and detachable braces with male and female buckle at the front so you can’t get them crossed over or twisted. The waders are a two-tone color with a less spooky brown from the waist down and a tan colour on the top half.
On the standard Airtex chest waders there is a large front pocket that is accessed by a water-resistant YKK zip. On the zip-fronted model there is a RIRI waterproof zip, which runs from the crotch to the top and two smaller chest pockets with zip access. The zip front waders come in sizes M-XXL while the standard waders come in these sizes plus medium and large king. The standard chest waders cost £179.99 and the zip front waders are £229.99 and these prices include a pair of the Airtex wading boots.
The Airtex Wading Boots are incredibly light – the pair of sizes 10′s I had for review weigh in at just 2lb 7oz – But they don’t compromise on build quality. An important consideration when buying wading boots is how rigid and effective the toe box is, and on these boots it’s stiff enough to withstand a good amount of water pressure. This reinforced toe section is also ideal for kicking about on the lake or river bed.
I have quite a wide foot but didn’t feel restricted in these boots and could wiggle my toes in relative comfort. The synthetic uppers are hard-wearing and quick drying and there is a protective rubberised section around the rand, toe section and heel for extra durability. There is also a definite increase in padding around the angle that not only offers good comfort but great support as well. There are four sets of metal eyelets plus two sets of quick release hooks for the laces.
The boots are available with either a felt or Vibram sole and I had the Vibram one to review. Although it is not a heavily cleated pattern it gives excellent grip over a wide range of terrains encountered on stillwaters such as mud, grass, shingle and dam walls. You could use Airflo’s wader stud kit (£9.99 for 30 studs) to increase grip for river fishing conditions.
These Airtex wading boots come in sizes 7-12 with felt sole and 8-12 in a Vibram sole. I think these are Airflo’s most comfortable waders and boots setup to date and offer excellent value.
Written by Robbie Winram.
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
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