Summer Catch Competition – The Results!

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fishtec summer catch competition first prize

The votes are in, and have been counted. With hundreds of votes cast, we’re very happy to announce our winners.

First prize of a £100 Fishtec voucher goes to Luke Thomas

luke-thomas-wild-brown-trout-ebbw

Luke Thomas with wild brown trout from the lower stretches of the Ebbw River, caught on a dark olive dry fly pattern.

We also have three runners-up in the coarse, fly and sea categories.

Coarse

Our coarse fishing runner-up, winning a £30 Fishtec voucher, is Scott Brown:

scott-brown-35lb3-mirror

Scott Brown with a 35lb 3oz mirror from Nuddock wood lakes

Sea

Our runner-up in the sea fishing category is Simon Unwin, who also takes home a £30 Fishtec voucher:

simon-unwin-ray-3-species

Simon Unwin with three species of ray in a session from a North Wales mark

Fly

And last but not least, with another £30 Fishtec voucher, our fly fishing runner up is Ian Davies:

ian-davies-15lb-river-towie-salmon

Ian Davies with 15lb River Towy salmon caught at Llywch Gwyn beat on the Abercothi estate.

Congratulations to all of our winners. That’s it for our competition this summer. We hope you’ve had some great fishing – and keep taking those pictures, next time it could be you up here!  Until the next competition, tight lines!

10 Carp Fishing Sunset Shots

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Dave Lane - Sunset fishing.

Dave Lane – Sunset fishing.

We recently posted up a sunset image image taken by Dave Lane from the banks of a carp lake (see image above). It proved so popular that we soon had lots of our facebook page followers posting their own awe inspiring fishing sunset shots. The images were so good we decided to pick out our top 10 from the Fishtec Coarse facebook page and share them here. Enjoy….

John Radford -Sunset shot.

John Radford -Sunset shot.

Jay Jack-Daniel Allen Archipelago Lakes... France... heaven..

Jay Jack-Daniel Allen – Archipelago Lakes, France. Heaven…

Graham Moore Chequertree fishery, Bethersden Kent.

Graham Moore Chequertree fishery, Bethersden Kent.

Barry Blenkey - lovely lake shot.

Barry Blenkey – lovely lake shot.

Armo Armzee - superb 'rods at the ready' shot

Armo Armzee – superb ‘rods at the ready’ pic.

Stuart Waters - rods all set at dusk

Stuart Waters – rods all set at dusk.

Stephen Godwin Horcott Lakes

Stephen Godwin – Horcott Lakes.

Dan Hayward - What an amazing sunset!

Dan Hayward – What an amazing sunset!

Trevor Edwards

Trevor Edwards.

Tony Jennings - Monks lake Steeplehurst

Tony Jennings – Monks lake Steeplehurst.

 

Summer Catch Competition Shortlist

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Fishtec Summer Catch Competition - Top prize blog

Voting has now closed, and the winners will be announced in the coming days.

The winner will receive £100 in Fishtec vouchers, and there are three runner-up prizes of £30 vouchers for the best in the sea, fly and coarse categories.

1 – Andy ‘Tetly’ Collicott

andy-tetly-collicott-53lb15-st-ives-colin

Andy ‘Tetly’ Collicott with ‘Colin’ from St Ives lakes shallow pit. Lake record of 53lb 15oz. caught with a single tiger nut on a 360 rig fished under ads, baited with lots of particles and Mainline Hybrid.

2 – Chad Critchley

chad-critchley-16lb16-barbel

Chad Critchley with his second barbel after targeting a double. One ounce shy of 17lb.

3 – Christopher Hughes

chris-hughes-18lb-welsh-pike

Christopher Hughes with his 18lb Welsh reservoir pike.

4 – Craig Woodrow

craig-woody-woodrow-9lb-pollack

Craig Woodrow with his 9lb pollack caught off rocks on Tory Island – a small island in Donegal, Ireland.

5 – Dale Lander

dale-lander-2lb1-roach

Dale Lander with a 2lb1oz roach from the River Severn at Bewdley.

6 – Daniel Stigg Graham

dan-stigg-graham-rainbow-unac-river-bosnia-herzegovina

Daniel Stigg Graham with a rainbow caught on the Unac river in Bosnia Herzegovina. Put up a hell of a scrap on a 5 weight in a fast-flowing river!

7 – Dean Kibble

dean-kibble-fly-caught-pike

Dean Kibble’s 32lb fly caught pike. Landed with 10ft Airflo Nantec comp special, Switch pro reel and a Di 7 forty plus G3 fluoro with a cat booby.

8 – Ian Davies

ian-davies-15lb-river-towie-salmon

Ian Davies with 15lb River Towy salmon caught at Llywch Gwyn beat on the Abercothi estate.

9 – Jake Belgium

jake-belgium-chew-brownie

Jake Belgium: “The best Chew brownie I’ve had to date”

10 – Jason Whatley

jason-whatley

Jason Whatley: “Totally drowned, but it doesn’t matter when they are as perfect as this! “

11 Joshua Thomas

joshua-thomas-88lb-sturgeon

Joshua Tomas with an 88lb sturgeon. 79 inch length, 37inch girth – absolute beast!

12 – Luke Thomas

luke-thomas-wild-brown-trout-ebbw

Luke Thomas with wild brown trout from the lower stretches of the Ebbw River, caught on a dark olive dry fly pattern.

13 – Matthew Randall

matthew-randall-34lb5-catfish

Matthew Randall’s catfish. New PB at 34lb 5oz: “Happy days!”

14 – MJ Bird

mj-bird-3lb-plus-roach

MJ Bird with a specimen roach, estimated at 3lb plus

15 – Nathan King

nathan-king-8lb-bass

Nathan King’s 8lb bass, “caught at Magazine Lane Southampton in August 2016 using my rod and reel bought from Fishtec”

16 – Neil Pope

neil-pope-11lb2-bream

Neil Pope’s 11lb 2oz Cheshire mere bream

17 – Paul Hunter

paul-hunter-germany

Paul Hunter with: “Rainbow trout caught in Germany on my Grey’s fly rod I got from Fishtec.”

18 – Scott Brown

scott-brown-35lb3-mirror

Scott Brown with a 35lb 3oz mirror from Nuddock wood lakes

19 – Simon Unwin

simon-unwin-ray-3-species

Simon Unwin with three species of ray in a session from a North Wales mark

Now, head to the top of the page vote for your favourites – you can vote for up to three different pictures. Remember to share this on Facebook, and get your friends to vote as well!

Closing date for votes: 10am Tuesday 30th August 2016.

Take your kids to the bank – fishing with children

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young boy catching fish

Image source: Shutterstock
Hats off to all those junior anglers out there!

When did you learn to fish? We say no one’s too young to enjoy the riverbank in one way or other. Fishing gets kids out in the fresh air. They learn about nature. And they spend quality time with you and the rest of the family. What’s not to love about that?

So with that in mind – as if you needed further encouragement – we’ve put together a celebration of the next generation of anglers!

Getting started

grandparent fishing with small child

Image source: Shutterstock
Getting kids on the river is the first step in teaching them to fish!

Dan Bryant on the Total Fishing blog understands kids and fishing very well:

“If you take a kid fishing, he can enjoy it for the day, but if you teach a kid to fish, he can enjoy it for a lifetime”

Teaching children to fish can be the start of a life-long love for them, and the creation of some great memories for you. Plus, as Dan’s happy to report, it gets them away from television and video games, and can be extremely beneficial for their self-esteem.

Not to mention the fact that, if you take a kid fishing, as Dan says, you just might find “that you enjoy teaching them as much as you enjoy fishing yourself.” And there you were, thinking that fishing couldn’t get any better.

young boys fishing

Image source: Crooked Lines
Luke and Zach (5 and 7) learning to fish.

Dominic Garnett, of the popular Crooked Lines blog, was one angler who absolutely loved teaching his friends’ kids to fish. His earliest memory is of a fishing trip, so he’s happy to pass along the favour to the next generation.

He’s noticed that lots of people talk as if it’s a battle to get kids fishing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As far as he’s concerned:

“You just have to get them out on the bank. I have yet to meet a boy or girl who didn’t ask loads of questions or didn’t want to inspect, hold or release their first fish.”

If in doubt, take Dominic’s advice and just start kids out with the simplicity of a pole on a small lake for “a light and largely tangle-proof way to have some fun.”

family fishing

Image source: Tide Lines
Letting the kids watch you is a great way to catch their interest.

Or there’s always Martin’s approach. Writing in his blog, Tide Lines, he explains that he encouraged the kids to watch as he reeled in his catch.

Martin had 10 minutes to catch them a fish, but managed to do it in five. By showing them how, he taught them where food comes from and got to show off some serious skills. And by the looks of it the little boy has now got dreams of landing a fish of his own. His interest is definitely piqued!

Landing a Catch

young boy with pb carp

Image source: Fishtec Facebook
Just look at the size of that carp!

Once kids have got the hang of holding a rod or pole, there’s no telling the kind of amazing catches that their angling future holds. Tim Stanley’s little boy managed to land his very first carp in October 2015, as he told us on our Facebook page. But not only that – it was a whopping 10lb 6oz!

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: there’s nothing better than the feeling of landing a spectacular catch. Now Tim’s little boy knows that feeling. Is there anything better for a father to pass on to his son?

young angler, massive pike

Image source: Facebook
Based on his catches so far, young angler Daniel is sure to have a fish-filled future!

Now that’s the face of a kid who loves to fish. And so he should! Daniel and his dad Matt fish together frequently. In fact, Daniel smashed his dad’s PB earlier this year when he caught his own PB 28lb 10oz pike on Hampshire’s River Test, as well capturing the Chew Valley lake monster in the image above. Looks like this is one angler with a bright future!

young angler with common carp

Image source: Seven Lakes Angling
A keen young lad with his 5½ lb Common

Just think of the kind of fish Joshua (pictured above) has gone on to catch. He caught this 5½lb Common back in 2013 when he was only 8 years old!

For kids who are showing a real interest in angling like Joshua, junior competitions are a great way to help them hone their skills. They’ll also meet loads of other children who share their interests.

A lifetime’s journey

children with their fishing catch

Image source: Environment Agency blog
Paul Lidgett’s kids loved learning to fish – they’re already planning their next trip

Even if it’s just a hobby you want to help them develop, then that’s great, too. At the end of the day, this is something you can share for a lifetime, like blogger Sam Edmonds knows. He started fishing with his dad as a kid, and has never stopped. They still regularly go on trips together, and spend loads of time on the rivers.

Paul Lidgett, Fisheries Advisor at the Environment Agency, is just at the beginning of his angling journey with his children. Having taught them in Scotland, on the same loch-side pier he learned on as a child 40 years ago, they’ve already mastered the basics:

“Casting a line, playing a fish and releasing it unharmed – and they are already pestering me about this year’s fishing trips!”

He says: “If your children are anything like mine, they’ll love it and want to spend the summer by the water’s edge.” His top tip? Remember your rod license. It’s just £5 for children, and under 12s go free. So there’s no reason not to charge ahead and give fishing with your kids a go!

Are you going to teach your kids to fish, or have you done it already? Why not do as Tim Stanley did and post pictures of your kids’ incredible catches and trips to the riverbank on our Facebook page?

Stillwater Therapy By Rene’ Harrop

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There is a calming element to everyday spent fishing and I believe I have survived to advanced age because I fish a lot. In recent years, however, many rivers in the western United States have fallen upon harder times.

Therapy

Therapy.

Drought, climate change, and a host of other disorders both natural and man caused have altered conditions necessary for trout and the aquatic organisms by which they are sustained on some of the world’s most renowned fly fishing streams.

For this reason I am fishing even the Henry’s Fork with a sense of concern that subtracts from the state of well-being I am accustomed to.

Start of a good day

Start of a good day.

Most of the still waters I frequent are not exclusively self-sustaining fisheries. Therefore, I do not experience the same anxieties on Hebgen, Sheridan, or Henry’s Lake as on moving waters that depend upon the fragility of wild trout in maintaining their viability.

The mental state I crave at this time of year is most reliably found in the quiet of early morning on still water. Whether casting to cruising surface feeders or probing the depths with sunken imitations my mind does not go to a dark place where negativity can invade my consciousness.  And in this manner optimism that has recently begun to wane becomes recharged and I am able to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Anticipation

Anticipation…

As fly fishers, we will always be compelled to defend the water we love, and in my case it is the Henry’s Fork. Battles here are currently being waged in defense of water quality, stable flows and other factors that influence the river’s ability to sustain a healthy fishery. And with the help of those who care, I believe these battles can be won.

Because I must be there, I will fish the river tomorrow, and the next day as well. By Monday, however, I will be seeking the soothing therapy of stillwater where my mind will again be temporarily relieved from a very pressing objective.

Splendid!

Splendid!

Fifteen Fantastic Fishing Gifs

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That quick snippet of life, the animated gif is a great way of capturing a unique moment and this collection is guaranteed to leave you chuckling. So grab a drink, sit back and prepare to be amused as we share some of our fishy favourites.

Shocking encounters

Creepy crawly catch

what's coming from this fish's mouth?

Image source: funnyjunk.com

James Green of drowning worms, where this also appears, is still trying to identify the star of this gruesome gif:

“Can anyone help us identify this horrible creepy crawly, which almost makes this angler jump out of his skin?”

If you know the identity of this alien invader, let us know!

Cap stealing carp

angler loses hat to flying carp

Image source: World Fishing Network

Suncream? Check. Flask? Check. This guy knows that preparation is key to enjoying a day on the river. Unfortunately, nothing can prepare you for having your sunhat sabotaged by an Asian jumping carp! Impressive flying for a fish!

Fancy a swim?

angler gets washed off harbour wall by wave

Image source: wideopenspaces

This avid angler can wave farewell to his fishing rod (and his dignity)! Is he brave or foolish? You decide!

Fish hook horror

fisherman stabbing himself with fish hooks to demonstrate removal

Image source: newsFlow24

The wise angler never forgets that fishhooks are very sharp. Virginia Kruta at ijr.com agrees:

“The tiniest of distractions — or an errant cast of the rod — could leave one lodged in your skin. “

But if you do find yourself in this predicament, the experts at Total Fisherman advise you to push the hook in until the barb exits the skin, cut the barb off or flatten it and then back the hook out the way it came in.

You can view the whole process on YouTube, but beware, this video is not for the faint-hearted fisherman!

Tipping point

two anglers and a tipping bench. one angler falls and gets wet

Image source: Giphy

The moral of this fishing fail? Select your seat with care! This unlucky angler’s pal is completely oblivious to his friend’s predicament until he hears the splash!

Alternative angling

3D fishing

fish caught with 3d printed fishing reel

Image source: 3Dprint.com

Wondering why Casey Johnson’s fishing kit caught our eye? Incredibly, the whole caboodle was created by a 3d printer!  Casey used AutoCAD to design his three piece rod and fishing reel.

“The whole thing went from an idea to actually catching fish in one day, which is pretty neat.”

Helicopter Hero

man catches fish from helicopter

Image source: Salt strong

This is what we call angling with attitude! The gif shows New Zealand’s extreme angler Matt Watson jumping from a helicopter to catch a marlin. Matt was a big game fisherman before he discovered his talent for daring stunts, which have also included catching marlin from a surfboard and a jet ski. We wouldn’t recommend this as a hobby!

Cool hand fluke

dude-catching-a-large-bass-fish-with-bare-hands1

Image source: Drowning worms

You have to hand it to this guy. Using just his bare hands and presumably a tasty treat, he manages to catch a bass and bring it up out of the water. We’d love to know his secret.

Angling Aussie style

Hunting Fish with a Boomerang

This poor fish was knocked on the noggin by a boomerang! What was this Aussie-style angler thinking? His aim’s pretty impressive but this is one boomerang that won’t be coming back!

Spear fishing scare

goliath grouper steals catch

Image source: drowning worms

This spear fisherman doesn’t stand a chance of keeping his catch when a hungry Goliath grouper appears. If you’re wondering about the name, these fearless fish can weigh up to 800 pounds and grow up to three metres long!

Awesome animal anglers

Salmon snack stop

bear catches leaping salmon

Image source: Giphy

Every summer brown bears take the opportunity to hunt for salmon migrating up the rivers of north America and Russia. This gif captures the bear’s speedy reflexes as he snags the fish with the front of his mouth before carrying it to shore.

Sheep shove

sheep butting angler

Image source: cheezburger

It’s behind ewe! A sheep’s the last thing you’d expect to see on a riverbank while you’re fishing.This one obviously couldn’t resist temptation! We love the way the sheep carefully gets into position before taking a run up.

Speedy sea lion

sea lion steals anglers catch

Image source: Drowning worms

The speedy sea lion in this gif is clearly a canny angler with an appetite! We couldn’t help chuckling at the look of amused disbelief on the angler’s face as he realises his dorado has disappeared!

Underwater attack

kingfisher catches fish underwater shot

Image source: drowning worms

James Green of drowning worms often fancies being fish for a day. But not on this occasion, as the fish in question falls victim to an aerial attack.

“Although I’d love to be able to breath underwater (imagine!), there are certain times that I’m glad I’m not a fish. And this is definitely one of them…”

Panicking pooch

fisherman falls, dog trapped in net

Image source: Giphy

This unsuspecting pooch falls victim to a clumsy angler and ends up in a net. Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to bring the dog on a fishing trip?

Feathered fishing

kingfisher dives into water

Image source: tumblr

This creator of this gorgeous gif captures the grace and speed of the Kingfisher as it dives towards its catch. A majestic moment that deserves to be animated! If you want to see further steps, you can catch them at on tumblr, where the whole sequence is broken down into four amazing segments.

Which gifs are keeping you amused this summer? Head over to our Facebook page and share your favourites!

The Llanilar Airflo Classic – The Results!!

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The Llanilar Airflo Classic fly fishing competition took place on Sunday 7th August on Llyn Brenig. Conditions began well, but by 1pm the competitors were faced with very gusty winds and bright sunshine, extremely difficult conditions to say the least!!

At the jetty on Llyn Brenig

At the jetty on Llyn Brenig.

The Winner

Kevin McCabe took the no.1 spot, with a staggering 17 fish. We would like to congratulate Kevin on this amazing result, which given the conditions was a truly astonishing haul.

Kevin is pictured here with the Llanilar Airflo Classic trophy, together with an Airflo rocket Rod, Airflo switch pro reel & fly line prizes. Kevin we salute you!

The Llanilar Airflo Classic winner - Kevin Mcabe.

The Llanilar Airflo Classic winner – Kevin Mcabe.

2nd spot was taken by Gareth ‘Gazza’ Dixon with 11 fish, with his brother Aled coming in at 3rd position. A great performance from both.

Here are the full results:

Llanilar AIRFLO Classic 2016 Page 1

Llanilar Airflo Classic 2016 results Page 1

Llanilar Airflo Classic 2016 results Page 2

Llanilar Airflo Classic 2016 results Page 2

We would like to thank all who attended the competition. A more detailed match report and specifics of next year’s event to follow!

Best Summer Barbel Rigs and Baits

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Beautiful Wye barbel

Beautiful Wye barbel. Image Ceri Thomas

Summer offers the barbel angler a wonderful opportunity to catch their chosen quarry.

Consistent water levels and clarity, bright conditions, and steady water temperature all contribute to an environment which makes barbel willing to feed and easier to locate.

The Barbel Society’s Dan Whitelock takes us through the most effective methods, rigs and baits for a summer barbel session.

As mentioned in our beginners guide to barbel fishing, the biggest factor is location. Look for steady gravel runs, streamer weed beds, overhanging cover and depressions in the riverbed. If you were good in the closed season and did your homework, you’ll know where these areas are. Find these features and you’re much closer to getting those barbel to your unhooking mat.

Remember to wear your polaroids, keep off the skyline, and avoid stomping around on the bank. Be discreet – that way you’ll avoid spooking the fish before you get a chance to see them, and minimise your chances of a blank day.

Static or mobile?

A Wye barbel caught using the mobile approach

A Wye barbel caught using the mobile approach. Image: Ceri Thomas

 There are two main ways to approach summer barbel fishing. Firstly, the mobile approach on small, clear rivers with minimum baiting. Or, the static approach (‘bait & wait”) where you build a swim up over several hours and let the fish gain confidence in feeding over your baited spot. The latter is a popular method on larger rivers such as the Trent or Lower Severn, though it will also work on smaller rivers such as the Great Ouse, Lea, Teme and Loddon.

One rig to rule them all

simple barbel rig

Keep it simple and you’ll catch!

There’s one basic rig you can use for both of these methods. The key factor is simplicity. There is no need to overcomplicate your rigs and end tackle. Barbel are confident feeders and lack any hint of intelligence, so there are no trick tactics needed to hook them.

My go-to rig is a simple running rig compromising of my mainline running through a run ring, stopped by a bead, which is tied onto a quick change swivel. I thread a tail rubber onto my hooklength to lock it in place. So when I have a fish resting in the net, or I wish to change my hooklength I simply have to slide the rubber down, unclip the hooklength, pop the new one on and slide the rubber back over the clip.

quick change barbel setup

Quick change setup.

Fishing smaller rivers

For fishing on smaller rivers, use a long hooklength – at least two feet. This keeps the bait as far from the mainline and lead as possible, to avoid line bites and enhance the presentation. That said, it also pays to use a couple of pieces of plasticine up the line as a backlead, to keep the line away from fish as they move around your swim.

If you’re lucky enough to watch barbel feeding, you will see that they work their way over the baited area, sucking in morsels of food and abruptly turning downstream to the tail of the swim again. It’s this turning that gives us the classic barbel bite that we all love and I believe that the longer hooklength, light lead and slack mainline enhances the presentation, and gives the barbel the confidence to pick up the bait without feeling any resistance.

This rig is best suited to fishing with larger baits such as boilies, pellets and meat on smaller venues. Start off by choosing a section of river about two to three hundred yards long, with roughly 50 yards between each swim.

The swim

A barbel swim is simply the place you choose to put your bait. Start at the downstream end, and using a baitdropper, deposit no more than a dozen samples of your chosen hookbait into the swim. It’s best to do this in all four or five swims then return to the first one.

A Summertime barbel swim on the Wye

A Summertime barbel swim on the Wye. Image: Ceri Thomas

Swing the rig gently into position, with a small PVA mesh bag of freebies clipped on to the lead. It’s best to clip it to the lead, as when the PVA melts in flowing water, most of the bait is washed far beyond the hookbait if it’s clipped to the hook. By releasing the bait where the lead is, it drifts down and lands around your hookbait: right in the path of the barbel!

Fish each swim for about an hour before moving on to the next one. Before leaving the swim, drop in another dozen freebies in case you choose to return later. Barbel can travel quite a long way and by having five small swims baited up you’ll greatly enhance your chances of catching.

You can even try a variation on this method, fishing even more swims for a shorter amount of time, say, twenty to thirty minutes.

Staying still?

The variation to the running rig works best when you are staying in one swim and building up the feed with particle baits such as hemp, maggots, caster and corn. The rig is almost identical to the mobile approach, but uses a much shorter hooklength – it only needs to be about 4-6” long –  and a large, heavy swimfeeder. This gives a bolt effect which is required when fishing with small particle baits on the hair such as casters. Barbel tend to ‘’hoover’’ up lots of these in one go so we need a bit of resistance to be felt to encourage that abrupt turn when they pick up the bait.

This approach requires both patience and confidence but will give you a much greater chance of a bite.

Baiting up for static fishing

The best bait for this method is a hemp and caster combination, or maggots. Either way, you’ll need about a gallon of bait. With the hemp and caster combination I like to use about three pints of caster for a gallon of hemp. Start off by depositing a good couple of pints of bait in your swim using your baitdropper.

Leave this alone for about an hour for the fish to gain confidence. It’s best to select a swim where you can gently swing a dropper out with minimum disturbance to avoid spooking the feeding fish. However, it’s amazing to see just how quickly feeding fish will return to a swim following the splash of a dropper.

The swim will need topping up with a couple of pints per hour for a good three or four hours, if you can do this over five or six hours then even better. It may sound hard to fathom, spending six hours by the river and not casting a baited hook, but it’s essential to build up that confidence in the feeding fish so that when you do cast your rig out, the bites will come very quickly.

The most effective presentation of the hookbait is to use two neutral buoyancy rubber casters glued to a fine hair. This avoids the problems of smaller fish destroying the hookbait and hooking themselves. The feeder is loaded with the loosefeed, and cast into the same spot.

It’s vital that the dropper and feeder land in the same place every time. You can make sure you manage this if you sit in the same position each time, and use the reflection of a tree, telegraph pole or weed as a marker.

Mobile barbel baiting

simple barbel baits

Barbel baits are a simple matter.

A favourite bait for the mobile method is boilies, fished either whole in smaller sizes, or broken in half and fished back to back to offer something a bit different.

Any decent boilie from a reputable company will catch barbel. The fishmeal base mixes with a meaty/spicy/fishy flavour are the most successful. Halibut Pellets are a superb summer bait too, in the small quantities described, and will draw fish to your swim quickly. If bites are hard to come by, and you know that you have fish in the swim, try supergluing two small pellets back to back on the hair with a smaller hook.

For after dark fishing, try wrapping boilies in a matching paste and leave in the swim for a good hour, or fish a generous lump of flavoured luncheon meat over a bed of hemp and small pellets. Beware though, if your river has problems with signal crayfish your lump of meat won’t last long!

Go fish!

barbel swim

Keep low, keep under any cover you can find – they’re under your feet!

So that’s about it, you can’t get any more simple. Use this rig and these baits to catch barbel all over the country throughout the summer months. The tackle you need is all covered in the beginner’s guide.

There’s never any need to over-analyse your rigs, worry if your bait is working or if you’re wearing the wrong colour hat! Barbel are an incredibly obliging fish once you find them: all they’re designed to do is eat, avoid danger and make little barbel. Keep that in mind and your barbel fishing will rapidly become more successful.

Remember, though, that success isn’t always measured in the biggest or most fish. Enjoy the time on a riverbank in the summer as it’s one of the most magical places you can spend a few hours. Don’t take it too seriously and remember to smell the flowers along the way.

A hard fighting summer barbel

A hard fighting summer barbel. Image: Ceri Thomas

Always consider that in the summer the fish fight hard and can take a while to recover from the battle, so make sure you follow the Barbel Society Handling Code, and ensure fish are fully rested before release. If you release an unrested fish, they may struggle later in the day when they’re moving against the flow of the river.

Tight lines, and happy fishing!

All images © Dan Whitelock unless otherwise stated

Beat The Heat – 5 Tips for Summer Stillwater Trout Fishing

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At the height of summer stillwater trout fishing can be at it’s hardest. There are however ways you can beat the heat and catch stillwater trout in even the worst conditions.

Read our 5 Summer trout fishing tips to find out how you can beat the heat!

1. Fish mornings and evenings
– Make an effort to concentrate your fishing when air temperatures are cooler. Avoid the middle of the day. If you can, get there at dawn – fish will often be in the margins feeding hard, only to vanish when the sun is up. Same goes in the evening – as it gets dark, fish will wake up and usually feed heavily for a short spell at dusk.

Evening on the Barrows tank

Evening on the Barrows tank – Image: Bristol Water Fisheries Facebook

2. Fish in the rain – Nobody likes getting wet. Fact. But if it rains on a summer day make the effort to hit the fishery with your waterproof fishing jacket! Wet weather, overcast skies and wind are our friends in mid summer. Get out in the rain – it will be worth it!

3. Fish deep – If you do have to fish in the day time, make sure you bring a selection of sinking fly lines. Locate the deepest areas of the lake, for example a dam wall or bank with a steep gradient indicating a drop off into deep water. The Sixth Sense range of sinking fly lines from Airflo are indispensable at this time of year – especially the Di5 and Di7 models.

The Airflo Sixth Sense Di7 fly line.

The Airflo Sixth Sense Di7 fly line.

4. Find Oxygen rich areas – Trout are always more active and congregate in areas rich in oxygen. On reservoirs and fisheries look out for boils and aerators. Other areas to target include inlets with water flowing in, or where water is being visibly pumped into the lake. Target these places and the trout will be nearby.

Look for oxygen rich areas - like these boils.

Look for oxygen rich areas – like these boils.

5. Keep looking – Even on a hot day a few trout will be on the feed, somewhere. Don’t waste time casting fruitlessly if nothing is happening, spend it either walking round the venue fish spotting, or gently motoring round the reservoir until you see signs of life. When you do find fish approach with stealth. An example of this is around the vast weedbeds on Rutland water – invariably a few grown on trout will always be on the prowl in such places in summer. Hard fishing but when you get one it could be a slab.

Go looking for fish - and you might get a result! Image: Rob Waddington

Go looking for fish – and you might get a result! Image: Rob Waddington

Summer Angling: How to deal with insect pests

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mosquito biting flesh

Image source: shutterstock
Mosquitos are just one of the creatures that make anglers’ lives uncomfortable…

Summer angling is a joy, but spending time on or near the water puts you in the firing line as far as insect pests are concerned. But while you can’t avoid them, you can prepare to take them on. Here’s our guide to protecting yourself from the insect onslaught.

Insect repellents

insect repellents

Image source: scoutingmagazine.org 
The choice is endless

The old saying goes that ‘prevention is better than the cure’, and anyone who’s ever been bitten by a horsefly will know just how true that is.

There are countless insect repellents on the market, but what you have to decide is whether to go down the chemical or natural route, or some combination of the two.

DEET

As far as the petrochemical industry’s offering goes, DEET is a highly effective bug repellent. Developed by the Americans following their experience of jungle warfare during WW2, it’s great for warding off mozzies. But DEET is also a neurotoxin, and some health professionals have raised safety concerns over its use.

Over 200 million people use DEET each year and if you’re fishing in Malaria infested regions it’s pretty much essential kit, but to be on the safe side, only apply it to exposed skin and never to cuts or scratches.

Nature’s way

For those of you who’d rather not lather yourselves in N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, mother nature provides some really excellent alternatives in the form of essential oils.

As a rule of thumb, take a sniff of an oil –  if it stinks it’ll probably help ward off insects. Examples include citronella, tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender oils. Simply chose one you can tolerate the smell of, or for even more of an insect impact, go for a combination.

Because essential oils are potent, they can burn the skin so never apply before first diluting with another liquid like distilled witch hazel or distilled water. Natural remedies store, G. Baldwin and Co. who’ve been trading since 1844, recommend a recipe containing no less than five different oils – surely enough to send mosquitos packing.

The commercial alternative

While we were researching the best bug deterrents, our antennae detected a buzz from Mark at North West Carp Blog, who writes:

“Having fished for such a long time now I’ve got to the stage where I’ve tried so many insect repellents I’ve actually lost count, the reason for me trying so many is that midges seem to like me….a lot!, and I suffer quite badly in the height of summer”

Mark swears by Avon Skin So Soft dry which he says is “so good as an insect repellent they actually dish it out to the armed forces”. Perhaps it’s the citronella it contains that does the trick. We love Avon Skin so Soft at the Fishtec HQ as well; it has proved it’s worth against Brecon Beacons hill midges many times over, which are a horrible pest in the summer evenings on local reservoirs.

Whatever repellent you use, do remember to wash your hands after applying it, or perhaps better still, apply it using latex gloves that you can remove before handling your fishing tackle. You don’t want to attach any unhelpful smells to your bait or fly.

Insects make a beeline for you?

swarms of mosquitos

Image source: shutterstock
Swarms of mosquitos – are they heading for your swim?

It could be that to mosquitos, you simply taste great – according to research, your attractiveness to the flying pests is 85% down to your genes – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to put them off.

The best way to avoid mosquitos is to hold your breath. Crazy as it might seem, the bugs home in on the CO2 you exhale, sniffing you out from an impressive if slightly depressing 50 metres away.

But if asphyxiating on the river bank isn’t for you, try that old favourite, Marmite. High in Thiamin, you may love or loath the sticky, yeasty goo but Mosquitos detest the smell of it. And don’t worry, there’s no smearing involved – you just need to eat it.

Avoidance

midge swarm

Image source: Sam Bradshaw
Many midges make anglers angry

If you think a few mosquitos are a pain in the proverbial, spare a thought for our angling brethren north of the border. During the early summer, plagues of midges stalk the highlands, swarming around hapless fly fishermen and turning their pleasure into a torment. Our best advice is make use of the Scottish midge forecast and steer well clear.

If you’re one of those anglers who’s happy to put their best foot forward whatever insect plagues infest the swim, then it pays to invest in some protective clothing like a mosquito head net and perhaps even invest in some insect repellent impregnated fishing clothing.

In particular, ticks are best avoided because although mostly harmless, they can sometimes carry Lyme disease, a very unpleasant infection that can prove tricky to treat if not quickly diagnosed.

Your best bet is not to wade through long grass wearing shorts and to tuck your trousers into your socks or wear your waders. A good fishing chair will also help by keeping your nether regions clear of the ground.

I’ve already been bitten

insect bites on neck

Image source: shutterstock
Buggers that bite

No bug spray or cream is 100% effective. But if you do get bitten, there’s no need to stand or sit there scratching.  Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion direct to the affected area and if you suffer a mild allergic reaction, antihistamines should do the trick but it’s always best to check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking anything.

Natural remedies like aloe vera, calendula organic cider apple vinegar and can also be effective at relieving the pain and itching of insect bites.

Insect pests are an unfortunate fact of summer fishing, but that won’t stop us grabbing our tackle boxes and heading to the nearest quiet spot next weekend. Have you had any close encounters with the UK’s biting insects? Know of any good remedies to keep the bugs at bay? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!