Enter The Fishtec Fishing Photography Competition

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Many anglers spend time on the bank taking photographs while they’re waiting for action. We want to see your pictures! Landscapes, birds, insects or other animals – or even brilliant shots of your mates while they’re waiting with you.

We love catch photography, but this isn’t a ‘grip and grin’ competition; we’re interested in what you snap before you land your catch!

Submit your best pictures taken from the waterside to be in with a chance of winning a TF Gear Hardcore all-rounder bag – the ideal bag for holding your camera gear as well as your fishing tackle! The picture with the best rating by February 8th will win.

tfg hc allrounder

The TFG HC Allrounder bag – ideal for tackle and cameras!

To enter the competition, please use the upload form here:

If you prefer to email your submission, please send your photograph to fishtecblog@gmail.com

All photos will be moderated, and you’ll get an email when your picture is live in the voting gallery. We’ll announce the winner on Wednesday 10th February.

You can see all the entries in the competition gallery

Remember, the competition closes on 8th February 2016!

Terms and conditions

By entering into this competition, all entrants agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

In the event that any entrant does not, or is unable to, comply with and meet these Terms and Conditions and the competition information, Fishtec shall be entitled at its sole discretion to disqualify such entrant, without any further liability to such entrant.

To enter this competition you must be: (a) a UK resident; and (b) 18 years old or over at the time of entry.

This competition is free to enter and no purchase is necessary.

Fishtec reserves the right to cancel or amend the contest or the terms at any time without prior notice. Any changes will be posted on blog.fishtec.co.uk.

Entry requirements
1. Submitted images should be no larger than 5mb in file size.

2. Submitted images should be no larger than 1,000 x 1,000 pixels.

3. Do not submit any photographs that are obscene, vulgar, pornographic, hateful, threatening, racist, sexist, discriminatory, or which otherwise violate any local or international laws.

4. Entrants must be 18 or over to enter.

5. You must be the copyright owner of any works submitted and you also confirm you have the necessary permission from people who may appear in the photo.

Copyright
6. The photographer must be the sole author and owner of the copyright of photos entered in to the competition. Fishtec respects photographers rights and does not claim copyright for images you submit to this competition, you will retain full copyright in each entry. Whenever your image is published by Fishtec you will be credited. Failure to publish a credit due to error or oversight shall not be deemed a breach of this condition.

Image Usage
7. By entering this competition you agree that any winning image or shortlisted images you submit may be used by Fishtec for purposes related to the Classic Catch Competition.

8. You hereby grant Fishtec a non-exclusive, irrevocable licence in each entry for the uses described in 7. above for 1 year following the date of announcement of the winner, thereafter the image may be used for archival purposes by Fishtec.

9. You acknowledge your responsibility for protecting your entry against image misuse by third parties, by for example, but not limited to, the insertion of a watermark, retaining exif data. Fishtec can assume no responsibility and are not liable for any image misuse.

10. Should any image uses beyond those needed for the competition arise we will endeavour to contact you.

Judging
11. Images will be voted on by the public. The image with the higheset votes by the closing date, will be the winner. Only the winner will receive a prize unless otherwise stated, the shortlisted entries will gain free exposure on blog.fishtec.com.

12. Once voting has closed the winners will be notified within 30 days.

13. The judges decision is final and they do not enter in to communication relating to entries.

Voting
14. Only one vote per person per image is permitted.

15. Any votes registered after the voting close time, which will be stated online, will not be included in final count.

16. Fishtec reserves the right to disqualify votes or entries, or suspend voting if it has reasonable grounds to suspect that fraudulent voting has occurred, or if it considers there has been any attempt to unfairly influence the voting. Fishtec has the right to substitute an alternative selection method at its absolute discretion.

17. If, for any reason, the online voting system fails, the vote may be suspended or a contingency plan may be actioned.

18. Fishtec reserves the right to change, cancel or suspend this event at any time.

19. Fishtec does accept any responsibility whatsoever for any technical failure or malfunction or any other problem with any on-line system, server, provider or otherwise which may result in any vote being lost or not properly registered or recorded.

20. In the event of a large amount of entries (as determined by the judges), a shortlist will be produced, to include highest voted entries and (in the event of multiple entries from a single person) the best (as determined by the judges) of an individual’s entries.

Prizes
21. The prize for this competition is a TFG HC Allrounder bag as shown at the page here

22. No alternative products, credit or cash equivalents will be offered.

23. Prize details will be sent to the winner via email within 30 days of the winner being announced.

Winter Grayling Fishing – Chris Ogborne’s Top Ten Tips.

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As part of his occasional series of seasonal blogs, Chris Ogborne takes a look at winter Grayling fishing with some great tips on how to get the best out of this fascinating branch of the sport.

Winter Wye grayling

Grayling can provide sport of the very highest calibre against all the odds of winter weather.

It wasn’t so very long ago that Grayling were regarded as little more than a pest on some British chalk streams, but in the last twenty years they have thoroughly established themselves as a truly great sporting fish in their own right. They are stunningly beautiful, genuinely wild, and they belong in our rivers. Above all they present the thinking angler with a unique challenge, never more so than in the cold months of January and February when they can provide sport of the very highest calibre against all the odds of winter weather.

Far from being confined to the fabled streams of Wiltshire and Hampshire, Grayling can be found pretty much right across the UK. We even have them down here in Cornwall where they are slowly becoming a part of the river fishing scene. Whilst they thrive in good numbers in clear water, they are also surprisingly tolerant of varying water conditions and this, coupled with the natural cunning of the species, means that they are generally flourishing.

I’ve been lucky enough to fish for Grayling all over the world and some of my most memorable catches are inevitably linked to World Championships. I’ve caught specimens in Norway, Swedish Lapland, in rivers large and small but probably some of the classic moments in the memory are linked to the river Dee in North Wales. One particularly notable fish was a 51cm beauty, made all the more special because I fished the beat immediately after a member of the Polish team, and we all know how good THEY are on Grayling!

Above all, Grayling are fickle. Some days you can ignore leader diameter, presentation, fly choice and everything else as well – they can be almost suicidal! Yet on other days they are the most demanding , fussy, spooky and downright frustrating fish that swim!   I guess that’s what makes them such a challenge!

So here are my top ten tips on how to catch them in winter, based on thirty years and several continents of experience. I hope you find them useful!

*************************************************************************************************

Fly choice – the top consideration: Hatches are mostly sparse at this time of year and whilst the fish are generally quick to react to them it will often pay to exaggerate, rather than try to match the hatch. Grayling are tolerant of this and will often respond to a fly that bears little or no resemblance to anything in the river, let alone anything hatching.

Suspended nymph: Probably my favourite winter method. Use a viable dry fly both as an indicator and almost as a control float, varying the depth you fish by the length of leader down to the suspended nymph. This is particularly effective in fast riffles and the dry fly acts as a strike indicator, shaving off a good deal of reaction time.

Try Dry!  Winter fishing is emphatically NOT all about nymphing! Grayling will rise to even the sparsest hatch and are notorious for coming up to investigate something as unlikely as a falling snowflake!  So whilst the first line of attach is normally nymph, especially in very cold conditions, don’t be afraid to try dry fly. It’s even worth prospecting with a general suggestive dry when nothing is showing on the surface as the fish can, and often will, respond.

Leader choice: don’t be tempted to go too fine in winter. Deep holes can hold some very large Grayling and water conditions at this time of year normally have a degree of colour, so fine leaders just aren’t necessary. 5X fluorocarbon is plenty for dry fly, but I generally settle on 4X for nymphs, unless the fish are being really fussy.

Weighted nymph: You simply cannot consider going out in colder weather without some heavy nymphs in the box, and often you’ll need some VERY heavy ones. Remember that in faster water you’ll need some weight just to get the fly to a fishable depth, whilst in the really deep pools you’ll need a lot of lead in the underbody. When you’re searching out the deeps, a slim tightly-tied fly will get down far quicker that a fluffy pattern with the same weight in it – the air gets trapped in the fibre of the fly and adds too much buoyancy.

Deeper pools:  Deep pools mean big fish. If you’re specimen hunting then this is the place to look. Grayling operate a ‘pecking order’ in most swims, with the bigger fish at the front where they can monopolise the best of the feeding. In deeper water this isn’t so obvious, although you’ll often have the luxury of being able to peer into the depths to assess your fishing options.

Changing conditions: Be ready to respond to the slightest change in conditions as the fish can and will react to them. We anglers might feel that near zero temperatures and horizontal rain are impossible, but the Grayling don’t seem to mind at all! I’ve been out when hail and sleet were lashing the water, and STILL saw fish rising in the midst of it all!

Catch one, catch another! Grayling like to live in shoals so chances are that if you catch one in a spot you’re likely to catch another.  Unlike trout, where you’d tend to move on to the next spot, it’s better to fish through the shoal. Unless you’ve really spooked them you’ve got a good chance of one or even several more.

Grayling like to live in shoals - catch one, catch another!

Grayling like to live in shoals – catch one, catch another!

Short casting: You don’t have to be supremely confident in the art of Czech nymph or Polish style to enjoy short casting. The truth is that Grayling are surprisingly tolerant of anglers and you can, on occasions, catch them literally under your feet.  The most important part of this cast (indeed any nymphing cast) is the end part, where the fly is given that attractive trajectory as you lift the rod for the next cast.  Always try to imagine the fly lifting enticingly from near the stream bed – that’s the moment when the takes will come. To make your short line nymphing even easier Airflo have recently released a special line – The SLN Euro nymph. It’s a ‘Must have’ for this technique!

Go barbless: Yes, PLEASE go barbless! In over twenty years of fishing at International level I reckon I can count the number of fish lost due to barbless hooks on the fingers of one hand. However, if you’re barbless it WILL make the release process so much quicker and easier. Grayling have an ‘under slung’ mouth and like to take a nymph just as it swims upwards at the end of a drift, all of which means that most will be well hooked.

Grayling fishing tackle check list:

  • Breathable waders.
  • Thermal underwear suit.
  • Wading boots with felt soles and studs.
  • Warm head and neck wear.
  • Slower action fly rod e.g Airflo Streamtec nano 10 #3/4
  • Fly reel to balance rod.
  • Line suitable for short line nymphing – e.g French leader, SLN Euro, or shooting head running line.
  • Standard fly line on spare spool for dry fly/duo.
  • Selection of nymphs tied with various tungsten bead heads & leaded under-body.
  • Strong enough tippet material for winter flows and snags.
  • Hook sharpener.
  • Set of strike indicators. e.g Air-lok
  • Split shot.
  • Waterproof phone case.

As luck would have it river levels are finally looking fishable thanks to the recent cold snap – so get out there and enjoy while you can!

Tightlines
Chris Ogborne

Winter 2016

Saving The Best For Last – Rene’ Harrop January, 2016

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Rene’ Harrop is a respected American fly fishing guide, author and fishing tackle consultant for Airflo. Read his monthly contribution to the Fishtec blog here!

At high elevation, a change of seasons can be abrupt, and is never predictable. This applies especially to winter when frigid temperatures and heavy snow can bring an end to fall overnight.

Winter on the Fork.

Winter on the Fork.

For this reason, I fish with urgency through all of November knowing that each day on the water could be the last of the year. An extension that runs into December is a rarity where single digit temperatures can be the average low and open water can be tough to find.
It is during these cold months, however, that opportunity for big browns is at its peak, and I become a single minded angler for much of that period.

Late Season Brown.

Late Season Brown.

In 2015, weather and water conditions on the Henry’s Fork were far from ideal for bringing enthusiasm to the big streamers I fish almost exclusively in late fall. Low water and bright days made daytime fishing a near futile proposition for wary browns that will never tolerate obvious angler presence. With only a handful of respectable fish to show for nearly a dozen days on the water, it might have been tempting to turn my attention to a different game, but I didn’t.

Best Brown of 2015.

Best Brown of 2015.

On a day when weather conditions finally served my intent, sunset fell on the best brown trout of the year, and also the end of another season. A 10 day stretch of unusually cold weather followed by ongoing snow storms that include wind as a complication has put an end to most outdoor activity. And perhaps it is fitting that the best fish came on the last day.

End of the year.

End of the year.

Happy 2016 from the Henry’s Fork!  Rene’ Harrop.

 

3 Cracking Carp Fishing Holiday Destinations

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mirror carp

Image source: shutterstock
Take your holidays where the great fishing is!

If you were to jet off with your fishing tackle in tow, where would you head for the ultimate carp fishing holiday?

When we put the question to you, we were expecting you to plump for exotic foreign shores. But according to our Big Fishing survey, you don’t want to travel that far. In fact your top three carp fishing destinations are all in Europe. So where are your dream carp fishing hotspots?

1. The River Ebro, Spain

river ebro

Image source: shutterstock
Spain’s beautiful River Ebro

Although best known for it’s giant catfish, the Ebro River in Spain is also a favourite carp fishing holiday destination. Think 300 days of sunshine each year, shoals of massive virgin common carp and a current carp record that stands at 78 lbs. Why wouldn’t you want to fish the Ebro?

With carp so plentiful, you’re in with a good chance of multiple catches – and because many of these fish have never before been caught – the fight alone is worth cost of the flight to Spain.

Expect carp averaging between 20 and 30lbs but prepare for a 40, 50 or 60lb plus beauty. And in the unlikely event you get tired of reeling in carp, you’re also likely to come across catfish, zander, perch, black bass, barbel and rudd too.

Where to head

At over 577 miles long, the Ebro is the second longest river in the Iberian peninsula, and it offers a multitude of carp fishing opportunities. You could take a road trip or base yourself in one of the market towns that dot the river banks. The small town of Flix is a popular choice for anglers as is the historic town of Caspe, known for its top quality carp and catfish angling.

carping ebro

Image source: sportsquestholidays
Great carping on the Ebro!

Why not take advantage of the expertise offered by one of the many guided fishing operators working in the area? With over a decade in business under their belt, Catfish Capers know a thing or two about fishing for carp and catfish on the Ebro. Based in Caspe they specialise in providing dream fishing holidays for anyone from beginners right through to seasoned pros.

2. DreamLakes, France

dreamlakes

Image source: fishigquestions.co.uk
The peaceful tree-lined surroundings of DreamLakes

Set in the countryside of France’s Champagne region, DreamLakes is your second choice carp fishing destination. A complex of five mature and peaceful fishing lakes, the resort is within easy reach of the channel ports. Located just outside the town of Orconte, south of Calais, it’ll only take you about four hours to drive from the ferry or Eurostar terminal to the lakes. Cue a road trip to experience some of the best specimen carp on the continent.

The lakes total 40 acres and are home to numerous large carp, including common carp, mirror carp and grass carp. Well stocked with 30 and 40lb carp, as well as bigger fish nearer the 50lb and even 60lb mark, it’s surely the proximity to the UK and the quality of fish that makes DreamLakes so popular with or readers.

Where to head

Each lake offers something different. DreamLake 1 is all about specimen carp fishing with regular catches weighing well into the 50lb range. But there are bigger fish there too, if you’ve got the skill and patience to outwit the really big carp that live there. The DreamLakes record for common carp caught in DreamLake 1 stands at 70lb 20z.

dreamlakes common carp

47lb common carp from DreamLakes

Alternatively, DreamLake 4, which opened in 2000 was originally stocked with over 200 carp and more have been added since, making it a great beginner lake. More experienced anglers will love it too and many have broken their personal best fishing this lake.

DreamLakes is the brian child of British angler, Zenon Bojko, who runs the complex with his family. There are two holiday options from which to choose: the package holiday or a self-drive package. The package holiday includes transport for you and your kit and the self-drive package has the option to pre-book fishing tackle.

Make the journey to France a worthwhile one by taking advantage of the on-site bailiffs’ experience, as well as reading up on the top tips and tactics for each of the lakes before you go.

3. Anglers Paradise, England

carping at anglers paradise

Image source: masterblanker
There’s something in the water at Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise in Devon takes third spot on the podium which just goes to show that you don’t have to travel far to experience top quality carp fishing.

More than 30 lakes make up Anglers Paradise, 12 of which are exclusive to residents staying on site. These 12 lakes house carp nearing 40lb, as well as golden orfe, tench and wels catfish. Why not try your luck at the Specimen Carp Lake? It contains just 33 carp, eight of which weigh in the 30lb region. Interested? To whet your appetite further, just take a look at what other anglers have been catching at Anglers Paradise recently.

With so many lakes to choose from you’ll find something to suit all angling abilities. There’s a beginners’ lake stocked with over 1,000 carp mostly between 4 and 8 lbs. The fish here tend to be more obliging making the lake ideal for newbies or those of you who like the challenge of using lighter gear. Or you could choose to fish the Main Carp Lake. It’s the ‘Jewel in the Estate’, a beautifully matured 4 acre lake, ideally suited to those of you who’re are willing to be patient for the bigger fish or who like to fish at night

mirror carp anglers paradise

Image source: thepassionatepiscator
A mirror carp caught on the Mystery Lake at Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise is one of the largest angling resorts in Europe, with anglers travelling from all over the world to enjoy the carp fishing available there. It’s an ideal place to bring non-angling guests too as they are well catered leaving you to spend the day fishing!

Alternatively, if this winter’s rain and flooding has you dreaming of giant exotic fish species in sunny climes, Gillhams Fishing Resorts in Thailand was a close contender in fourth place. See you there!

Which of these lakes have you visited? We’d love to hear your carp fishing holiday recommendations.

A Season On The Wye And Usk Foundation Wild Streams

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Fishtec HQ has the good fortune to be in the vicinity of some of the best small river fishing in Wales, if not the UK. Based in Brecon, mid Wales, we’re very close to the bountiful fishing offered by the Wye and Usk foundation. Ceri Thomas, our online marketing manager, naturally had to sample the wild stream fishing right on our doorstep. Read on to see how his 2015 season went!

Since its inception the Wye & Usk people have opened up some wonderful small stream fishing. Originally this was under the passport voucher scheme, where you had to block purchase your tickets and post the appropriate number into a voucher box on the water’s edge.

The old voucher system could be a bit of a pain – the vouchers were a nuisance to fill in, and they often got wet or ripped up. You’d often find you’d run out of vouchers, or have unused ones at the year’s end. Even finding the voucher box was a little bit of a chore, sometimes.

Fishing a wild stream in spring

Fishing a wild stream in spring.

For the 2015 season this fishing became available at a fixed price season ticket under the new ”wild streams” system, simplifying things enormously, and making accessing the streams so much easier and hassle free!

Each beat can be pre-paid and exclusively reserved online from as little as £10, or you can purchase an annual pass for the whole scheme at just £80 (for a single angler) or £120 to cover two rods – very handy if you fish with a buddy.

Over 65 wild stream beats are available.

Over 65 wild stream beats are available.

At the last count there were over 65 wild stream beats available – a huge variety of challenging wild trout and grayling fishing. As a ‘go anywhere’ season ticket, it’s incredible value for such a large catchment area of both England and Wales.

River Tarell at Fishtec

Early spring on a wild stream.

Once you have purchased your pass, two laminated cards are posted to you. One to keep in your wallet, the other to display on your car dashboard. You are also emailed a password to use on their website – simply log on to discover which beats are free to fish for the day, download the beat map, and enjoy!

A wild stream 2 rod season pass

A wild stream 2 rod season pass.

I work in the Fishtec office, just outside Brecon, which means I’m in the dead centre of the Wye and Usk passport stream region. These smaller streams are often ideal for a few hours fishing, and this fits in perfectly with my usual habit of fishing one or two evenings a week directly after work through most of the season.

To start off with, I sampled the river Tarell that runs right next to the Fishtec warehouse. It’s a small river, which flows off the Brecon Beacons into the Usk. The Tarell has a nice variety of deep rocky pools and pocket water, which make this a very fishy beat, although wading has to be done with care. Fish spotting with polarized sunglasses on lunch breaks revealed a healthy head of fish. However, due to the very low flows we had this spring and summer, getting near these spooky fish was problematic!

The river Tarell just yards away from Fishtec

The river Tarell just yards away from the Fishtec HQ

A few of us in the Fishtec office/warehouse did try our luck over a few early spring lunch breaks to land a fish – the lunchtime challenge – and we were successful in this, though no monsters came to hand. The typical size is shown in the image below. There are however larger fish to over a pound to be found in this mountain river. The high number of salmon parr in each pool and heavy spring time fly hatches were a very encouraging sight on this stretch.

A fish caught at lunch time on a dry fly!

A fish caught at lunch time on a dry fly!

The Llynfi dulais stream, which flows into the Wye, was only 10 minutes away from Fishtec at Talgarth. Lowland in character, this brook is another hidden gem, full of nice little meanders, in-stream cover and deep undercut banks. Some unseasonably warm April evenings allowed us to wet a line after work, with plenty of moderately sized wild browns coming to hand in the 8 to 11 inch size range.

Fishtec's Simon Howells on the llynfi dulais

Fishtec’s Simon Howells on the llynfi dulais.

Perfection in miniature - a wild llynfi trout

Perfection in miniature – a wild llynfi trout.

This stream does however hold fish well over a pound, which come out of hiding during mayfly time, and at dusk during the summer months. A mayfly spinner pattern fished into dark can be lethal from late May into June. Sadly this year the water level on the llynfi was the lowest I had ever seen it, despite some rain it never seemed to come up and flush through like other streams in the area. Often the best time to target a wild stream is after a good spate – the day after is usually the prime time to hit the water. Very handy if the bigger rivers are still in flood!

A llynfi dulais trout taken on a mayfly pattern at dusk

A llynfi dulais trout taken on a mayfly pattern at dusk.

Nearby, in the remote upper Usk valley, there are several beautiful upland rivers that feed into the headwaters of the Usk. The Senni and Crai rivers flow in some of the most peaceful valleys in Wales, seemingly miles from civilisation.

A surprisingly deep pool on the Senni

A surprisingly deep pool on the Senni.

A stunning Crai brown trout

A stunning Crai brown trout.

These rivers can hold surprisingly large trout, which always become more evident as the season progresses. When things warm up they either come out of hiding in the very deepest holes, or make their way up from downstream. In the early season these waters were still very cold and fishing was tough. So, for best results, wait until the leaves appear on the trees.

A wild fish from an Usk tributary.

A wild fish from an Usk tributary.

Another interesting Usk tributary I visited was the Gwyrne, near Crickhowell. Going up into this isolated valley is like entering the land time forgot. The stream itself shows much promise with dark shadows lurking in some very deep pools. Even though only a few small fish came to the fly on my visit, I have earmarked this beat for a return next season.

The delightful river Edw

The delightful river Edw.

In the upper Wye valley, the river Edw comes through one of the most quaint valleys I have ever fished. Rocky and literally stuffed full of fish and insect life, this wild stream is up there with the best of them for pure sport. If you do want to sample true wild stream fishing I recommend this one – and you have four beats of varying character to choose from!

A typical river Eddw brown trout.

A typical river Edw brown trout.

River Edw 12 incher - taken on a 7'6 3/4 weight rod.

River Edw 12 incher – taken on a 7’6 3/4 weight rod.

Moving onto the Welsh border country I was able to discover the joys of fishing the upper Monnow tributaries. The Dore, Honddu, Dulais and many more beautiful streams await you in this region. Some like the Dore hold very healthy populations of grayling, allowing this river to stay open beyond September 30th.

The river Dore - deep pools and lots of fish habitat.

The river Dore – deep pools and lots of fish habitat.

A minuture jewel of a trout from the Dore.

A miniature jewel of a trout from the Dore.

The Dore really is a delightful English border brook with some very surprisingly deep pools, some of which hold decent shoals of grayling. It’s cramped under the tree canopy, so be prepared to swear a lot when you inevitably hook a few branches – but get the cast in just the right spot and you will be rewarded!

Very low water on the river Honddu.

Very low water on the river Honddu.

The nearby river Honddu is just over the border in Wales, but has a totally different feel in a steeper sided, shaded valley. It holds an incredible density of wild trout, including some whoppers well over two pounds, which I managed to hook (and lose!) on this lilliputian stream.

Fish from 9 to 12 inches are quite plentiful here, as on all the neighbouring streams. I spooked far more than I caught, but over several visits I was rewarded with some first class late summer dry fly fishing, despite desperately low water levels. In spring, once we have fly hatches and a good flow of water, these beats will be my number one priority for a visit!

A healthy Honddu trout - taken on a dry adams

A healthy Honddu trout – taken on a dry adams.

Pursuing the grayling in November on the Dore.

Pursuing the grayling in November on the Dore.

Unfortunately 2015 ended with a total washout. Frustratingly, I wasn’t able to continue fishing for grayling on the Irfon and Ithon beats as planned. These, plus the Arrow, Lugg and Forest of Dean beats will all be on my shortlist for a visit next season.

The fishing on offer is so extensive that you really need to spend a few years getting to know them all – but if you are in need of a helping hand, take a read of each beats online catch reports, or email the guys at the Wye & Usk.

After a season what did I learn?

  • Leave your long fly rod at home. A 7’6 foot 3/4 weight is ideal, although in some places a 6 footer would have been better!
  • Be prepared to snag up on lots of undergrowth. If you are not getting the odd snag up, then you are probably not casting to the right places. When hooking a tree for the 10th time, try and stay calm. Just breathe deeply and accept that it’s all part of the fun!
  • Wait until at least May before trying the highest upland rivers.
  • Visit each beat more than once. When you know all of the nooks and crannies where the fish lie, the return visit is often much more productive!
  • Cover lots of water – these fish spook easily, so don’t dwell too long in one spot. The first cast or two usually gets a take, provided the fish are there.
  • Move with stealth – a careless footfall in low water will ruin your chances.
  • Try and work through the beat twice through in one session if possible- on the second run just fish the best spots.

For more small stream tips, click here: http://blog.fishtec.co.uk/top-5-tips-for-small-stream-fly-fishing-success

Use a short fly rod

For more information on fishing the wild streams, visit the Wye & Usk foundation’s excellent website.

Tightlines for 2016!

Half of all anglers pull a sickie to go fishing

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gone fishing

On the edge of truth…

Have you ever phoned in sick to go fishing? If you have, you’re not alone. A staggering 50% of the anglers we surveyed admitted to bunking off work to go fishing. Read on to discover how fellow fishermen dodge their work duties in favour of a day on the riverbank, and find out what you can do to achieve the perfect work / angling balance.

Blame it on the weather

fishing in rain

Image source: shutterstock
Come rain, come shine, come rain again!

When workmen down tools, it’s often the unpredictable British weather that gets the blame. But for some respondents to our Big Fishing survey, inclement work weather presents the ideal opportunity to wet a line. Bricky, Bryan tells us:

“If it’s wet, it’s a perfect excuse to go fishing. Heavy rain means it’s pointless trying to do any building, so usually it means water in the river!”

Downpours may stop roofer, Matt from working but they don’t stop him fishing:

“I can usually get away with finding the time to go fishing by blaming the weather. I wouldn’t work on a roof in bad weather but bad weather has never stopped me from fishing.”

Injury

fish hook in finger

Image source: flickr
Just put a plaster on it.

If you’ve spent all night in A&E, fair enough. But if you’re thinking of feigning injury, take heed of one of our survey participant’s tale of misfortune before you put on that imaginary limp:

“I try not to make excuses too much ever since I told a client that I had done my back in. What I didn’t bank on was that they walked their dog around the lake where I was fishing just as I lifted a 38 for the camera.”

Oops! If you are going to call in a sickie, make sure you stay out of sight!

Dodgy excuses

sabotage

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If your equipment doesn’t work, neither can you!

Self-employed plasterer Charlie admits to sabotaging his equipment in order to provide an excuse to go fishing!

“I said my mixer had broken down and had ordered a part which, strangely, would not arrive for five days. I just unplugged the spark plug cable. The fishing trip was great!”

Meanwhile, gas engineer Tony uses this sneaky excuse to head for the riverbank:

“If I fancy going fishing I will tell my customers that I have an emergency call out. That way they don’t feel that I’m letting them down and I will arrange to do the job on the next day.”

The best careers for anglers

morning fishing

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Can you schedule a morning fishing trip into your work day?

You’re not ill or injured and you don’t like dodging work with lame excuses? You can still fit plenty of angling into your work schedule – you just need to find the right job!

Take web developer Simon who tells us how he makes his job work for him: “I have a couple of clients who I do websites for in exchange for fishing. It’s perfect.”

Martin who also took part in the survey reckons that in order to be assured of getting enough fishing in, working for yourself is the way to go: “I became self-employed for just that reason.”

But beware mixing business and pleasure as it creates new dilemmas. Angling photographer, Henry Gilbey continually finds himself torn between taking the pictures and doing the fishing. He says it’s a “dilemma that regularly breaks my head”.

We say, come on Henry, what a lovely problem to have!

Fit more angling into your work schedule

car full of fishing tackle

Image source: Bath Angling
Ready for fishing anywhere!

Have rod, will travel. Keen angler Steve, who responded to our survey uses his initiative to fit some angling in around his work:

“Quite often I research areas where I have business meetings planned to see if there is somewhere to fish. I always carry tackle in the car!”

Remember our respondent with the ‘bad back’? These days he uses a better technique for maximising his angling opportunities – effective time management:

“What I try to do is start early and finish late Monday to Thursday, which frees me up for Friday and Saturday.”

What’s your excuse for skipping work to go fishing? We’d love to know – and don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss!

Fishtec’s Top 8 Carp Fishing Facebook Pages

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Facebook has grown massively in importance for the fishing world the past year or two. Pure ease of access means it’s now easier than ever to keep up with the latest fish catches, carp fishing tackle advances and expert tips. To help you narrow it down, we have short listed 8 carp fishing Facebook pages that are well worth a like, or a follow! In no particular order:

Carpology
Carpolgy are at the forefront of modern carping. Appealing to the ultra modern Carp angler, on the bank with phone/tablet in hand, Carpology magazine keeps on serving up the very best articles on new and inventive cutting edge tactics, tackle tests, expert tips and progressive technology, from all of the ‘big’ names in the carp circuit on a consistent basis.
This page is well worth following- you will learn a lot of extremely useful stuff here!

Euro-Aqua lake
Euro-Aqua is a carp fishery in Hungary with the biggest carp in the world – FACT! Controversially, it’s been argued that these over sized, heavily fed carp somehow don’t count! But if it’s pure carp porn you want, this page is well worth a like – be prepared to be blown away on a regular basis by carp of 100lb plus. Dreaming of next years carp fishing week starts here….

Free Spirit Fishing

Free Spirit fishing make the finest carp fishing rods you will ever find. Quality is the watchword at Free Spirit, ensuring they have a fantastic reputation amongst dedicated carp and specimen anglers world wide.

Spearheaded by mad keen carper Pete Castle, the Free spirit Facebook page is a wonderful resource for carp anglers who appreciate the finer things in life. Here you can follow the Free spirit fishing team on their travels across Europe and beyond, putting their outstanding rods to the test. Along with lots of very useful product info, this page is also a great place to find and watch many of their fantastic carp fishing videos; including ‘The race’ – a carp fishing competition which took place across the Alps, on one of the most prolific big fish venues in Italy, Parco del Brenta.

The Carp Society
Based at one of our staff favourite carp fishing venues, The Horseshoe lake, Lechlade; the carp society was founded in 1981 to help promote and develop carp angling, which was in it’s infancy at that time. Fast forward 34 years, and you can keep in touch with the society good work and regular fish catches and reports from the Horseshoe on their great facebook page.

Total carp magazine

Whether it’s your first carp or your next carp Total Carp will help you catch it! In our book TC mag is still the best progressive carp publication out there. On this awesome page you will find lots of carpy features, product reviews, video clips and special offers, and what to expect in future issues.

Korda

Headed up by Danny Fairbrass and many other big name carp anglers, Korda produce ‘thinking tackle for carp anglers’, and it’s true – genuine innovation is always at the heart of Korda fishing products. This page is the perfect place to learn about rigs, and various other korda related news, developments and fish catches. If you love laying the traps, making rigs and learning new tactics then this page it is definitely worth a follow!

Mainline baits
We all have a personal list of top carp baits, but lets face it, the choice nowadays is so bewildering it could be almost anything. You can however bet your bottom dollar that a mainline bait will be one of them! The mainline facebook page has well over 100,000 likes for good reason – their bait catches carp! Visit the page to keep up with all the latest catches, new products, presentation tips and what bait is consistently bringing fish to the bank according to the season.

Girl Power carp
Now for something completely different – Girl Pooower carp! Chicks that fish, for carp! Not quite the same level as the infamous ‘babes calandar’ this French based page is far more classy. Featuring genuine ‘girl next door’ women anglers, with carp of all shapes and sizes, this page puts to bed the myth that Women don’t fish for carp. It’s well worth a like or two!

Your top three sea fishing holiday destinations

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Norway fishing

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1000 years of cod fisheries at Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Norway is your ultimate sea fishing destination, Florida is second and Iceland third. Those are the results of our big fishing survey. What surprised us most was that two of your top three fantasy sea fishing holidays involve trekking to the Arctic circle.

So what is it about fishing in chilly climes that had you voting decisively in favour of the frozen North? And what does Florida have going for it that other places don’t? Let’s take a look.

Norway

Midnight Sun - Buldersanden, Troms

Image source: wikimedia.org
By the light of the Midnight Sun – Buldersanden, Troms

Norway’s Lofoten Islands are the Holy Grail of sea fishing angling. They’re the venue for the cod fishing World Championships held in the middle of spawning season, each March. Think millions of Arctic cod migrating from the Barents Sea – what’s not to like?

And if gigantic cod aren’t enough to lure you to the frozen wilderness, the seas off Norway also teem with haddock, halibut, coalfish and wolffish, all of which can grow to huge proportions.

And of course the scenery is spectacular. Barren rocky wastes in the far North give way to lush fjordlands further South. It’s a unique landscape full of sheltered bays, perfect for boat fishing because there’s usually somewhere to go whatever the weather.

Plan your visit between mid-May and the end of July, you can fish by the light of the Midnight Sun. During winter trips, you’ll not only avoid the crowds but you’re also likely catch a glimpse of the spectacular Aurora Borealis.

lotofen islands fishing boats

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Heading out to bag a Championship-winner, Lofoten Islands

There are just so many great sea fishing destinations to be found in Norway. The Skagerrak coast in the South can’t be beaten for short drive times from mainland Europe. There’s even a sea bass festival held each August on the island of Tromøya. Other frequently-fished areas across the country include Fjordkysten (Fjord Coast), Trøndelag, Finnmark and Troms.

If you do your homework and book through a reputable organisation like Sportquest Holidays, you should find that most charter skippers can provide you with equipment and protective clothing, whatever your destination.

sheltered seas

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Gorgeous scenery and sheltered seas await in Norway

Tips for sea fishing in Norway

  • Don’t skimp on warm clothing.
  • If you’re not willing to endure freezing temperatures cheerfully, you’re in the wrong place.
  • No special permits are required for deep sea fishing.

Florida

Key Largo

Image source: pixabay
Sunset and silhouetted boats, Key Largo

Forget Disney, it’s the Florida Keys that made second place in our Big Fishing survey. Over 16% of you said if money were no object you’d head for this tropical archipelago of sand-topped reefs that stretches over 100 miles from the tip of mainland Florida towards Cuba.

Think shark, marlin, barracuda, amberjack, cobia, mahi-mahi, grouper, sailfish, snapper, swordfish, tarpon, tuna and mackerel to name but a few of the species you can expect to get stuck into.

Sea fishing in Florida is best in the southern half of the state, from Tampa onwards. As for the Keys, wherever you choose to take your dream sea fishing holiday, you’re bound to find a professional sport fishing outfit to help you make the most of your time there.

Trophy shot from Key West

Image source: wikimedia.org
Trophy shots galore await off the coast of Key West

Tips for sea fishing in Florida

  • If you plan to retain any of your daily catch, you’d do well to bone up on Florida’s extensive fishing regulations, as they differ from species to species.
  • When packing for your trip, remember that the sun will be reflected off the waves at the same time as beating down on your head. Stay hydrated and protected.

Iceland

Fishing Iceland's open waters

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Fishing in Iceland’s open waters

10% of our readers would make Iceland their first port of call for their fantasy sea fishing adventure. And it’s easy to see why: The abundance of specimen cod, haddock, wolffish, monkfish, Atlantic halibut, mackerel and pollack mean that a slow day’s fishing in Icelandic waters is likely to be anything but.

The Westfjords are the place to be. Every year, drawn by some of the North Atlantic’s largest fish stocks, more than 1500 enthusiasts make the trek to the villages of Flateyri and Sudureyri to try their luck.

When it comes to sea fishing, Icelanders know their stuff; fishing brings in nearly half of Iceland’s export revenue. And with volcanoes, hot springs, glaciers and rich Norse heritage, Iceland is a destination for those with a touch of seafaring romance at heart. And thanks to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, it’s not quite as cold as you might expect either.

You can charter a boat from almost any coastal town or village in Iceland, but most of the population resides in the capital, Reykjavik. It’s a coastal city, so if you want the option of some nightlife and creature comforts at the end of the day’s fishing, you could do worse than making Reykjavik your base.

nightmarish yet delicious, wolffish

Image source: wikimedia.org
The nightmarish, yet delicious, wolffish

Tips for sea fishing in Iceland

  • If cod is what you’re after, then winter is the time to fish for it. Be aware though, that this close to the Arctic Circle, winter days are extremely short – the shortest being around four hours. You may want to pack some vitamin D supplements.
  • To drive a chartered boat in Iceland, you must hold a Skipper’s Certificate.
  • The waters around Iceland are popular for whale watching. When you’re not busy hauling in your catch, keep an eye out for these breathtaking creatures as they surface for air and food.
open sea fishing

Image source: shutterstock
No better feeling

So these are your top three picks for fantasy sea fishing destinations, but with salt water covering two thirds of the planet’s surface, the possibilities are as broad as the ocean is deep.

Reel to Reel: Fishing on Film through the ages

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old film camera

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Reel to reel – vintage fishing clips

How much has fishing changed over the years? We thought we’d find out.

Check out our collection of charming vintage fishing film clips and see how they compare to the videos from today’s cutting edge of angling. We think you’ll be amazed by just how far fishing has come – and how much it’s stayed exactly the same.

Competition time

Flat caps at the ready! Back in the 1960s angling contests were no less hotly contested than they are today but just look at the acres of tweed on display…

A decade later and the Brits were competing in Denmark. Check out the snazzy plastic sun visors these British anglers wore while competing in the Woodbine challenge. Locals were apparently “bemused” by their interest in coarse fish in preference to salmon and trout.

Fast forward to the 2015 World Angling Champs and what’s most striking is the professionalisation of the sport. The fishing, however is just the same as it always was.

Deep sea fishing thrills

Jump on board a trawler and chug your way out to sea for a 1960s cod fishing adventure, Icelandic style.

Now take a look at the next video, courtesy of the good folks at Sportquest holidays. The venue is the same, but check out how much quicker it is to get to the fishing grounds!

A rod’s a rod

Simple yet effective, in the 1930s rods were crafted by men working in harmony with their machines – not to mention plenty of good old fashioned elbow grease.

76 years later and the materials have changed but making a quality rod remains a skilled job with a strong craft element.

Child’s play

Worthing’s the venue for this charming summer holiday clip from the1930s. As the commentator says, the kids here are only too delighted to “swap hated books for baited hooks”.

Now it’s all about keeping the kids off the streets – here’s a novel approach – an indoor fishing venue.

They say you no longer even have to step outside your bedroom to experience the thrill of fishing. The latest gaming technology means fishing games that are just like the real thing – apparently.

But then again, maybe not. Just check this little boy’s reaction to catching his first fish. Some things never change!

Chris Ogborne’s Top Tips for Small Stillwater’s in Winter

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A small stillwater in winter.

A small stillwater in winter.

Now that winter has officially arrived – even if global warming means that temperatures sometimes feel more like September – it’s the time of year when a lot of anglers think about a well earned break from our sport. A lot, but not all. Those of us who simply cannot bear to be parted from the game for more than a few days at a time are looking at winter fishing and the options, particularly on small STILLWATERS, are many.

Unless conditions are truly vile, there’s very little that compares with a crisp winters day on the water. Provided you take all the reasonable precautions and use sensible clothing then winter fishing can be every bit as challenging, enjoyable and rewarding as anything we do in high summer. On occasion, it can even be more fun and you’ll always have the certainty that you’re fishing with fellow anglers who are even bit as committed – some might even say eccentric – as you are!

I also have to put a quick word in here for the owners of small STILLWATERS. They, arguably more than any other style of fishery have a real commitment in offering us anglers year-round fishing, and it follows that we should return that by supporting them through these tougher months. Last summer was hardly a vintage one and whilst for us it simply meant that we didn’t have the greatest fishing ever, for the fishery owners it translated directly into reduced revenue So an extra day or two right now WILL make a difference to them and they’ll be more than a little pleased to see us.

Support your local stillwater - get out there for a few ours in the pale winter sun.

Support your local stillwater – get out there for a few hours in the pale winter sun.

So let’s imagine for a moment that Christmas is a fading memory, that we have a free Saturday with nothing in the diary, and that the pale sunshine is tempting us out of doors. The fishery welcome mat is out and we’re heading for the water. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of the day.

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Layers: you’ve heard it before but it still amazes me that most people’s idea of fishing clothing is little more than a jacket and maybe a waistcoat. The key to staying comfortable at this (and indeed ANY) time of year is LAYERS. Airflo offer some superb lightweight layers to keep you warm and importantly to keep you flexible. Avoid layers that simply add bulk and think instead about layers that allow you freedom of movement. Thermal underwear may not be a fashion statement but they are massively valuable, as is a light outer layer such as the Airflo thermolite Jacket. Remember that a dry and comfortable angler is always a more EFFECTIVE angler.

Weatherproof: and by this I don’t just mean waterproof, I mean proof against all weathers. Conditions at this time of year change rapidly and if you’re hiking around the lake or you’re more than five minutes from the car then you’ll need to think wind and waterproof as well as warm and dry. Nothing cuts a day short like having a cold run of water down the back of your neck! My Airtex jacket kept me dry this year in the worst that an Icelandic storm could throw at me, and I stayed fishing long after others had left for the hotel.

Food items: think about what the trout might, should, and could be eating. Yes, it’s true that some aquatic insect life tends to shut down for winter but this is by no means universal. I’ve seen good midge hatches in January and February, and in lakes where Spring fed water keeps temperatures up you can be really surprised at the level of activity. There’s a strong case to match the hatch as cold weather sport is emphatically NOT all about gaudy streamers and attractors.

Look for any sort of water inflow.

Look for any sort of water inflow.

Water inflow: it goes without saying that you should always try to read the water, but the real banker in cold weather is any kind of water inflow. It might be little more than a trickle, but any kind of flow will attract fish to a greater or lesser degree. Dissolved oxygen levels are always a key factor in finding areas where fish will hold.

Water depth: this is probably the second most crucial factor to influence where you choose to fish. In cold conditions the fish will inevitably look for deeper water and the deeper it is then the more chance there is of thermoclines. Sometimes the natural lay of the land will show you how the contours work, but on man-made lakes your best bet is simply to ask the owner or manager where the deeper areas are. Look for a VARIETY of depth if at all possible, as fish will move in and out of the deeper areas at different times of day.

A fish caught off a bank side feature - a large tree stump.

A fish caught off a bankside feature – a large tree stump.

Bankside features: It might sound absurdly obvious, but I ALWAYS look for bankside features both to hide me from view AND to provide underwater structure. Yes the willow tree on the bank provides shade and helps with watercraft, but less obvious is that the same willow will have a substantial root structure beneath the water surface. This in turn will hold food items for the fish, as well as providing them with cover and a retreat.

Keep moving: Wide open spaces along the bank may make for nice easy casting, but unless you’re extremely careful with your profile then you’ll very quickly have a fish exclusion zone in front of you. Even when you’re using the bankside cover its still a good idea to keep moving and changing your spot. Unless there’s a VERY good reason, I never spend more than 20 minutes without moving.

Speed of retrieve: in very general terms, the slower the retrieve the better at this time of year. The fish tend to get lethargic in very cold water and will be less inclined to chase a fly, so give them plenty of time to make up their minds. We’ve all seen those fish that seem to follow and turn away at the last moment – the reality is that they’ve probably been following for ages and we’re simply retrieving too fast.

Line choice: This goes hand-in-hand with retrieve speed. For my money, there’s very little that cannot be achieved with either a floating line or a slow intermediate. The Airflo ‘slow glass’ intermediate is probably the default choice for winter fishing as it allows so much flexibility, yet at the same time enables you to explore most if not all of the depths.

A result of the right fly choice being made.

A result of the right fly choice being made.

Fly choice: The ‘life’ factor: with slower retrieves it follows that flies with more natural ‘life’ in them will work better. Keep the streamlined and sparse flies for summer and choose patterns with soft feather or hackles. Nymphs and attractors tied too tight will look ‘wooden’ and lifeless whilst those with soft dubbings, mobile body materials, softer hackles and even rubber legs will look SO much better.

Timing: the middle hours of the day are almost always the best. Early morning is rarely my favourite time, particularly after an overnight frost. In similar vein, the last hour of the day rarely produces good sport as the fish are thinking about heading for deeper water to cope with the long winter nights. Even a little midday sunshine can work wonders for aquatic life, as well as giving us anglers a little extra vigour with a touch of warmth on our backs!

Last but by no means least is the packed lunch! I always include not one but TWO thermos flasks in winter, one for coffee and the other for a good thick soup. After a ten minute break with what my Dad used to call a ‘good rib sticker’ soup then I’m always ready for more fishing!

Tightlines, Chris Ogborne.