These days, it is the rare individual who does not bring a lasting ambition to cast a long line when he first picks up a fly rod. As a tool designed specifically for this purpose, a weight forward line is generally the first choice of a beginner, and many will never try anything different.
Like anyone else, I appreciate the ease in which a weight forward taper can be applied in situations where a long, straight line cast is the foremost objective. This especially applies to still water fishing where a floating line is not subject to the same factors found on moving water.
With a lifelong fondness for fishing dry flies on the predominantly larger rivers of the Rocky Mountain west, my preference lies in a much different line configuration when compared to the popular weight forward taper.
On moving water, inducing a natural presentation of an artificial is often almost equally dependent upon casting and mending. With maximum control both in the air and on the water as requirements more important than easily attained distance, my choice is a double taper floating line.
Even on big waters, I try to wade within 30 feet of a feeding trout. At this range and anything less, the performance of a weight forward and double taper line are essentially equal. It is beyond this distance that I begin to struggle with line control when fishing a weight forward taper.
Unlike a weight forward, there is no hinge point with a double taper because the weight of the line is distributed throughout its length rather than being concentrated in the first 30 feet. With consistent flex and contact with the rod tip, a double taper permits superior line control while also making it easier to regulate the velocity of fly delivery. And while there are exceptions, shooting slack line into the cast is not something I generally apply when presenting a dry fly. Additionally, I find it difficult if not impossible to make certain casts that rely on controlled line speed or consistent response to the rod tip when fishing a weight forward beyond 30 feet. Curve casting, aerial mending, and a long reach cast are much more easily accomplished with a double taper.
Precise mending techniques are vital to managing the drift once the fly is on the water. With the thinner running line in the guides, it is virtually impossible to reposition the heavier front portion of a weight forward taper as a means of overcoming problematic currents that can disrupt a natural drift by causing the fly to drag.
Refined nymphing methods involving submerged flies in moving water can require precise casting and deft mending techniques that are quite similar to fishing a floating imitation. Whether maintaining a natural drift or inducing controlled action to the fly, it is not unusual to experience some difficulty when fishing beyond 30 feet with a weight forward line. For the same reasons that apply to dry fly fishing, I generally prefer a double taper when presenting a subsurface pattern to a big, nymphing trout in moving water.
In keeping with the example of old time steel-headers prior to the popularity of two handed fly casting, I rely on a double taper floating line for spring and fall streamer fishing for trout when the water is low and often quite cold.
Swimming the fly mostly with the current or on a slow, pulsating swing often involves long, looping mends that may require some serious roll casting to execute correctly. And while a long cast on big water may require significantly more effort, I find 60-70 feet to be a reasonable distance for a 6 or 7 wt. double taper. Again, as in other situations discussed herein, I value line control above ease in gaining distance for low water streamer fishing where presenting the fly means considerably more than simply stripping it quickly through the water.
I have many highly accomplished friends and acquaintances who will stick with a weight forward line for virtually all of their trout fishing, and many will disagree with my comments and personal opinion regarding a double taper. This I accept without argument because fly tackle performance is an entirely individual matter, and I would never try to convince anyone that my way is best.
In general, I believe a double taper to be a specialized line best suited for refined presentation of dry flies on moving water. But failing to understand its versatility is a common oversight by many who might benefit by simply giving it a try.
Fancy your chances of winning a £2,000 cash prize? Enter the
2014 Airflo World Bank Masters!
The Airflo Bank Masters is now in it’s third year running, and with a first prize fund of £2000, it’s easy to understand why this comp is such a success!
With over 25 heats across the UK at recognised fisheries and still waters, and the opportunity to enter more than one heat to increase your chances of qualifying, why not enter the Airflo Bank Masters and try your hand at the fantastic cash and fly fishing tackle prizes?
The entry fee is just £27, with a free goody bag for your first entry, then any additional entries are charged at £23 with no addition goody bag.
Your free goody bag includes, an Airflo fly line and a pack of Iain Barr flies! (Worth over £50 RRP)
Where can you fish? Check out : Airflo Bank Master Championship Heats
The Final will be fished on the 13th of April 2014 at Elinor Trout Fishery
*Download your entry form here:
Airflo World Bank Masters Open Championships – Entry Form 2014
Have you ever come across something whilst out fishing that was too close for comfort?
Even though documentaries are very informative, they can sometimes put the heebeegeebees into anglers! TV programs such as David Attenborough’s Life of Mammals and River Monsters can give us anglers a great insight into whats really out there or beneath the surface but here are a few ‘fishermens tails’ which you couldn’t tame with your fishing rod!
We’ve all heard some sort of big cat story, the beast of Bodmin Moore is one that particularly sticks in my mind, but the black panther is an elusive and feared creature and is occasionally spotted whilst anglers wander the river banks.
James Anderson said “A large cat, size of German shepherd, black, long thin tail, it just stood and watched me as I walked past it just 10 yards away towards my favourite pool. It was safe to say I didn’t hang around long!”
Fallen trees are always a hazard – Motorists, public and fisherman can severely effected by fallen trees. Here are two fallen tree/angling related accidents, one with a lucky escape, the other, unfortunately not so lucky.
Stephen Gale said “About 4 weeks ago me and my friend Tim were fishing the river for grayling and he wanted to try some fast shallow water. I didn’t fancy that bit of water for some reason. Good job we went to a deeper stretch as a big tree up rooted in the water 50 yards behind us. The tree went with a right bang and we were so glad we went further up stream. I am still a bit nervous of windy days on the river“
Anthony Evans said “At 2am one morning I made out the shape of another angler on the bank, we said “Hello” and he asked me what the wading was like where I was out in the river. I told him it was level gravel. He shared with me that he no longer waded… not since his brother had been taken by a fallen tree and drowned! I left the river shortly after“
As friendly and adorable as they look, we all know the problems they cause on fish stocks. But when one jumps from the bank in the middle of the night, right behind where you’re peacefully swinging your flies for sea trout, they can certainly scare the living daylights out of you!
Alex Jones said “I was fishing the river wear at dusk in September and heard an almighty splash. After a little confusion and nothing in site I put it down to the eroding bank falling in or possibly a salmon leaping from the water. So I waded back in and heard breathing in front of me but couldn’t see as the light had almost gone then saw a huge otter snarling in front of me I ran out of the water and back to the car, scary buggers“
Probably the scariest of them all, a wooden, bow front landing net.
Peter hendrix said “Walking back to the car last summer when it was nearly dark I absolutely **** myself when I heard something creeping up behind me. It was my landing net which had come off the magnetic clip and was dragging across the floor!“
The worst thing is when you are out in the dark and the creeps suddenly get into your head – no matter what you do they wont go away. What you should try and tell yourself is that most animals are more afraid of you, than you are of them and that you are probably safer in the middle of a river than most city centers at kicking out time.
I mean, there’s not too many axe murderers stalking the rivers at night looking for victims – Right?
Did you get some book tokens for Christmas, or are you looking for a gift for a fishing obsessed loved one? Or perhaps you want a good read for the long dark evenings? You’ve come to the right place.
Here are some of our favourite fishing reads – some you are still in print, others you’ll need to buy second hand, but they’re all great reads.
1. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The classic fable by Ernest Hemingway is the story of an old man, a young boy and a big fish. It was the story for which the author won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Man against nature – the beauty and sadness of the hunt – the inevitability and honour of defeat. Big themes explored in Hemingway’s sparse style, Santiago, the old man of the sea battles the Marlin. Read it.
2. A river runs through it – Norman Maclean
Well known as a movie starring Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer and fly fishing rods, the book is published both as a novella and as a collection of three semi autobiographical tales. Beautifully written, the story is set in the backwoods of Montana and tells of the divergent fortunes of fly fishing brothers, Norman and Paul. Told from the point of view of Norman, the tale mainly recounts the events of the summer of 1937 as the brothers embark on one last fishing trip together.
3. The River Why – David James Duncan
When 20 year old Gus Orviston rebels against his fishing obsessed parents, he strikes out alone into the wilderness to do nothing but eat, fish and sleep. But before long, Gus becomes uncomfortably aware of the environmental degradation of the river brought about by man. So begins a journey of self discovery that’s both funny and sensitive. Unforgettable characters and a beautiful fishergirl; a book that lingers in the imagination.
4. The Compleat Angler – Izaac Walton
Originally published in 1653, this work by Izaac Walton is an hommage to angling that will appeal to fishing fanatics and lay people alike. A mixture of verse and prose, the book is a timeless evocation of the beauty of nature and man’s enjoyment of it through the noble art of fishing. For those in contemplative mood, the Compleat Angler is a must.
5. Fish, fishing and the meaning of life – Jeremy Paxman
Described by Keith Elliot of the Independent on Sunday as, “probably the definitive anthology of angling writing”, this book is a great choice. When Paxman isn’t grilling slippery politicians, he’s never happier than when he’s out fishing. And his love of the riverbank comes through in the razor sharp wit and humour with which he introduces his favourite writings. Some you’ll recognise, others you won’t. A journalist well worth his salt, Paxman presents some gems here.
6. A summer on the Test – John Waller Hills
Quite possibly the greatest book about chalk stream fishing ever written, John Walter Hill’s 1921 work evokes the timeless beauty of the English countryside. A perfect fireside read for long winter nights, let the author transport you to a bygone era – days of cane and willow – that will have you dreaming of summers past and of course the coming spring.
7. Trout Bum – John Gierach
For some, fishing is a weekend escape, to others it’s a way of life. Here, renowned American angling writer, John Gierach shares tales of his trout fishing wanderings. His laid-back style and the simplicity of his narrative produces prose that seeps into you like water on parched ground. Definitely worth a read.
8. Fishing’s Strangest Days – Tom Quinn
From the macabre to the ridiculous, Tom Quinn’s selection of bizarre fishing tales contains some of the strangest true angling stories ever told. There’s bait made from the flesh of hanged criminals, and two Americans who persuaded the police to help them resolve a dispute over whether or not it was possible to cast a fly from the roof of the Savoy hotel into the Thames. An entertaining book into which to dip.
9. 101 Golden Rules of Fishing - Rob Beattie
These Golden Rules are rather more like suggestions but in case there’s any doubt, the author in his introduction says, “I understand that people want to catch fish, but for me that’s only one reason for going fishing – and not necessarily the most important.” An angler with decades of experience, Rob Beattie offers a delightful mix of practical tips and riverbank philosophy.
10. Fly fishing by JR Hartley – Michael Russell
Anyone old enough to remember the TV advert for the Yellow Pages will know JR Hartley was a fictional character looking for a copy of his own book, Fly Fishing by JR Hartley. But Michael Russell’s work is more than a gimmick designed to cash in on a name made famous by television. A collection of warm hearted recollections from the author’s boyhood spent in Yorkshire during the 1930s, the anecdotes are about the boy growing up and a growing love of fly fishing.
For the second time in just a few months, another giant sea creature has been found on the coast of California. This time a Giant squid measuring over 150 feet from head to tip of the tentacle has been washed ashore on the beach of the west-coast of the United States.
Judging by reports, experts in ‘radioactive gigantism’ believe these enlarged animals are coming from the waters near the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in the Futaba District of Japan. Just three years ago the Nuclear Power Plant suffered badly from the Tsunami triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake back in 2011. The plant released an estimated 10-30% of radioactive material of that recorded at the Chernobyl disaster 1986 – the second (first – Chernobyl) to be recorded a level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. An unknown number of sea creatures suffered genetic mutations that triggered uncontrolled growth – or “radioactive gigantism” due to the incident.
The problem is, say officials in Santa Monica, CA, “These giant sea creatures seem to be drifting towards the US from Japan” They intend to remove the beast in pieces to Scripps Research Institute so they can study it in detail.
This may well be a hoax, but could you imagine a 30ft long eel swimming up your local river, or maybe a giant mackerel following your 20lb cod hooked on your favourite fishing tackle from the bottom of the ocean? This is the possibility of radioactive gigantism!
More genetically modified fish:
Oarfish have been reported to grow up to 15 meters in length, but the longest recorded and verified is 9 meters long. Rare fish such as these are almost impossible to catch as they can dive up to more than 3,000 feet (914 meters) in depth.
Could you imagine hooking into something like this on your carp fishing rod? A giant Goldfish? After a ten minute battle, this thirty pound goldie was returned to fight another day. But with the lack of corroborating evidence, there have been many claims that the photo is nothing more than a clever hoax.
Another classic case of fish mutation would be Blinky the Three-Eyed Fish (or Blinky) – a three-eyed orange fish species, found in the ponds and lakes outside Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. The Nuclear Power Plant caused the mutations.
All the above look real enough, there is some suspicion to them all, but who are we to cast judgement. What do you think?
Recent news has revealed the discovery of a new fish species — arapaima leptosoma — which is native to the Amazon in Brazil.
The fish is the first entirely new species of the huge arapaima family discovered since 1847, for which only a single species was believed to have existed for the last 166 years.
Arapaimas can grow up to 3 metres long and weigh as much as 200 kilos, so the new species didn’t exactly slip through the net. It only highlights the focus and dedication required to raise fish conservation efforts. The new discovery prompted us to wonder what else is out there in the big blue. Here’s some unlikely efforts we dreamed up (feel free to contribute your own ideas).
Hoover fish (humus nimia satietas)
Two of the biggest threats to sea life are overfishing and pollution, so imagine a huge bottom feeder that digested massive amounts of rubbish and pollution clogging up our seas and rivers.
Nearly as big as a blue whale, the hoover fish would provide much needed assistance to a dirty problem.
Golden-gilled ghost carp (M. Spiritu carpere)
Very much the fish of choice for many anglers, carps can be challenging to hook and are highly prized. But we all need a holy grail in our lives and there needs to be something out there that provides a fearsome challenge for our carp fishing rod.
Say hello to the golden-gilled carp — a 60kilo carp species incredibly hard to find and a fish that provides huge fame for the fisherman that hooks it.
Mouse marlin (mus marlin)
Fast, strong and elusive, select species of marlin are considered to provide the pinnacle of offshore sport fishing. Big blue marlins put up one hell of a fight and have inspired many sport fishermen, but like lots of other species, black and blue marlins are in decline.
Threatened primarily by commercial fishing, it’d be brilliant if there were a breed of marlin renowned for its exceptionally fast breeding (and growing) rates. So fast that is has been nicknamed the mouse marlin.
Sea chicken (quis maris)
Humanity’s appetite for tuna is incredible and it’s mainstream appeal along with its meaty texture has resulted in it being nicknamed the chicken of the sea. Yet it’s a matter of time before demand outgrows supply, which is likely to result in tuna being an unaffordable luxury for poorer families.
If only there was an alternative like the tasty and abundant sea chicken (a fish incredibly similar to a chicken, but still a fish).
Pearl Catcher (margaritam aucupe)
Not to be mistaken for the commensal pearl fish, which is known to live inside clams and starfish, the pearl catcher is a speedy little fish renowned for its snatch and run routine on the mollusc community.
Unable to properly digest the pearls it steals, the pearl catcher keeps its booty in its stomach until it is caught by a lucky fisherman. Now there’s a nice thought.
Does your partner, parent or friend think all fishing rods are just the same? One of the best replies we’ve heard is, “If they were all the same, why would there be so many on the market?”
As with most hobbies, fishing has become increasingly specialised, with specific types of tackle to suit every possible fishing scenario.
Some anglers are firmly set in their choice of rod, it determines what fish they will catch, what method they will use and presumably how big their catch will be! Using a fishing rod which is specifically designed to target your intended quarry can result in a better overall user experience.
Choosing a carp fishing rod must be one of the most confusing situations for any angler whatever their level of experience. With so many brands to choose from, selecting the ideal length and test curve for your fishing can become confusing.
Watch how to choose the right rod
Dave Lane and Marc Coulson explains everything you need to know about choosing a carp fishing rod in the video below.
Understanding test curves
The test curve of a carp fishing rod usually indicates how powerful it is. The higher the test curve the more powerful the rod is. For example, a rod in the 2lb test curve bracket can cast around 100 yards, a test curve of 3lb or higher are highly specialised rods, designed for anglers casting large leads and baits well over 140 yards.
A 2.5 – 2.75lb test has a very forgiving blank, allowing fish to run and lunge under the rod tip without hook pulls, these rods also make the whole experience of playing a fish more pleasurable. The higher the test curve the more brutal they are in their fish playing abilities, expect hook pulls at close range if the fish are lightly hooked.
What length rod for carp?
Most standard length carp rods are 12′ to 13′. Generally a 12′ rod will suit most carp anglers, giving sufficient length for good casting and perfect control when playing a fish. 13ft rods are more of a specialist tool, again the longer rods help achieve greater distances but the added length can become a hindrance when fishing in tight swims and battling over hanging trees.
Cosmetic VS Performance
We all know anglers are partial to a great looking fishing rod, the term ‘tackle tart’ instantly springs to mind but experience has shown us that as nice as it is to own something pretty, it’s not always the best or most practical option when it comes to looking for a carp rod. We know not everyone can make it in store to try a rod before they buy, so make sure to check online fishing tackle reviews and magazine articles to get a feel for what’s available.
Fishing has been around for a very long time and of course in centuries past fishermen didn’t have all of today’s fantastic gear to feed their families.
Not such a big deal when they could rely on animals to assist. Here are a few of the fisherman’s best friends.
For thousands of years fishermen in China have used trained cormorants to catch fish. The fisherman ties a snare around the bottom of the bird’s boat, which stops larger fish being swallowed, but the cormorant still gets a feed as smaller fishes slip through the snare. It’s a dying art, but one that has created some stunningly beautiful images.
First developed in China and adopted by India and parts of Europe, otters were once used as a highly efficient means of catching fish. If otters were trained when they were young pups, they would become highly obedient and could be used to catch fish for well over a decade.
The otter would be kept on a long cord attached to it collar and be able to catch fish at a rapid rate. It was common in Sweden for a whole family to be supported by the fishing skills of one otter. The practice of training otters is now illegal due to poachers using them to steal salmon.
The Human Planet, BBC’s stunning nature series first highlighted the cooperation between fishermen and wild dolphins of Laguna in Brazil. The dolphins perform a role similar to a sheepdog in herding the shoals of mullet towards shallow water where the fishermen can cast their nets.
Remarkably the dolphins jump out of the water as a means of signalling to the fishermen the exact moment to cast nets and catch as many mullet as possible. The dolphins finish off any escapees.
Many of you may have heard of the Mongolian swimming mouse, which is the phrase given to a huge bundle of feathers used by fishermen to resemble a small rodent. This is due to bigger fish like the brown trout and taimen being partial to gulping down any small mammal that has the gall to swim overhead.
Taking this method to a darker extreme, fishermen have been known to attach a live squirrel to a hook and sweep it across the waterline to attract fish.
The retrieving instincts of dogs have performed a useful role for fishermen for centuries. Certain breeds like Labrador retrievers and Portuguese water dogs were once commonly used to retrieve fish from the water and assist in bringing the nets back to shore. If the water is shallow enough, dogs can also actually catch fish too as seen recently with flood waters spilling into suburban areas.
Although not a replacement for your fishing gear (as anything they catch goes down their hatch), orangutans do deserve a mention for their tool-assisted methods of catching fish.
Studies have shown that our closest living relatives watch catfish before using sticks to poke at the fish causing them to jump out of the water where they are caught by the orangutan. Unfortunately we weren’t able to interview the catfish.
The Bung is a very controversial method of fly fishing, but, who am I to judge what anglers use to catch fish? In my eyes it’s a method used to catch fish. It’s also a method I use on small-waters and occasionally the river when conditions dictate.
This method is basically a float which suspends a fly beneath, giving the angler immediate indication when a fish has then their fly. It’s a superb method on small-waters where fish are heavily pressured. Suspending a fly top, mid or bottom of the water column to intercept fish is an ingenious idea – especially when it’s fished properly – and accounts for many of the larger fish which are captured on small-waters.
A typical bung would be an indicator made out of foam, polystyrene or yarn, just like these fulling mill fish pimps. All these materials have great floating properties to suspend un-weighted or weighted flies. Another alternative would be Airflo Float-Do, a floating ‘dough’ like material which can be easily moved along the leader section to alter the depths.
As you can see from the illustration above, there is a fairly steep angle between your fly line and fly, if a fish takes that fly, there is a lot of slack between the fly line, so a decent strike is needed to set the hook firmly. When using the bung you will see some anglers strike and not register a pull or feel the fish at all. This is due to the depth of the fly and the angle between the fly line.
One little tip I can give is use one of the new Airflo Super-Dri fly lines. The advantages of using one of these new floating lines from Airflo is the ability to lift so much more line off the water, this is due to the revolutionary Super-Dri coating. It repels water and sits extremely high on the surface, allowing less tension when lifting the line off the water than all other fly lines. This, in turn, allows for better hook up rates when compared to standard floating lines, from any manufacturer.
On my recent trip to Garnffrwd Trout Fishery it became apparent to me how good the Distance Pro from the Super-Dri family actually was. It’s a line I’ve been playing around with for a while, but it hasn’t really set itself apart from any other Super-Dri line I have used. Not until this trip anyway. For those of you who have been to Garnffrwd you may know of the ‘weed patch’ out on the far right of the lake – A submerged patch of weed, which sits just 3ft below the surface – just out of reach of most decent casters. This line has a 45ft head, and an extremely supple running line, which lets the line be cast an impressively long way.
Casting big distances with a bung is not only tough because of it’s mass, but it hinders hook up rates at distance because of the amount of line needed to lift from the surface to actually hook the fish. The Super-Dri coating eliminated this problem and hooking into fish at range becomes child’s play. The ability to throw such long distances and fish basically ‘un-fished’ water can change your day drastically, fishing over the top of this island I was lucky enough to hook and land a double figure rainbow trout on a bloodworm pattern! Check out the video footage below:
What could be better than fishing your way into the new year? Follow Dave Lane in his first carp fishing video diary of 2014! In the two part diary, Dave describes (again) the advantages of moving pegs when things aren’t really going your way.
There’s some great tips in both of these carp diaries, including how to choose the correct carp setup and also how to detect if the fish are high in the water.
Check out the unbelievable underwater footage from Dave’s new GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition!