Posts Tagged ‘fishing rods’
The problem of an increasing number of seals taking fish around the coast of the UK was highlighted for me by the dramatic fishing demise of Dover Harbour. With commercial fishing of any kind banned inside the harbour for decades the harbour was always a natural sanctuary for a number of common sea species including bass, pollack, flounder, plaice and even pouting in summer and cod, dabs and whiting in winter. But all that has changed in recent years with the arrival of several large seals inside the harbour only dogfish can be caught consistently, which tells me that seals are not that keen on the doggies. Just up the coast from Dover harbour the River Stour estuary has a similar problem, but even worse the Canterbury coarse angling club report that seals are plundering bream, chub and pike stocks well up the river past Sandwich. They have secured photographic evidence, which they have passed to the Environment Agency for action. Seal cull? – No way. So politically incorrect it looks like we are stuck with them!
Another trip abroad to Italy this month was to fish the Magrini Championships in Sardinia. A third on the first day raised my hopes, but a blanks, along with six other GB anglers I might add, ended my chances. It seems the slow start to spring and summer even effected the Mediterranean angling with the Sardinian anglers complaining of a lack of fish. I must to admit to a liking for fishing ultra light for sea fish because most of the semi tropical species like those found in the Med pull for their size although in the case of Sardinia five hours for two undersized (15cm) weavers has tested my patience. Magrini winner was Irish angler J P Molloy who put in a consistent performance to become only the second Home Nation angler to win the event (joey Arch was the other). Only problem was winning five trophies and an armful of prizes ranging from Sea fishing rods to reels, meant a huge excess baggage charge on his return home. Never mind JP well worth the extra cost because few Home nations anglers can claim such a great win on their CVs.
Tight lines, Alan Yates
Well I have been a bit lacking on the blog writing front recently and for that I apologies. I have recently moved house and been kept busy putting together cabinets and hanging shelves, erecting sheds and all the other paraphernalia that goes with the wonders of a re-location. I’m just glad that moving swims is so much easier!
My carp fishing has changed a lot in the last few weeks, as has the weather, and with spring finally sprung I moved on to the North Met pit in the Lee Valley.
I had heard a lot about the lake in the past but never actually set eyes on the place, although Google Earth is a wonderful tool for a bit of armchair exploration; it’s just a shame you can’t see the fish jumping on there.
It’s an interesting venue, being comprised of two separate lakes that are joined by a pipe that the fish freely swim through and plenty of islands, bays and channels make for a really varied and exciting layout.
My first trip coincided with a bit of early warm weather and, amazingly, I found some of the biggest fish in the lake all lazing in a snaggy half sunken bush at the bottom of a tiny bay, more like a finger of water really. Bearing in mind that the lake is around sixty acres I was surprised, and excited, to find a concentration of eight or nine fish in such close proximity, particularly as there was nobody fishing for them.
It didn’t take much figuring out as to where I was going to start my little campaign and I soon had two carp fishing rods set up in the nearest available swim and cast out in perfect positions to intercept any fish that left the snag and travelled back up the finger.
The important thing about snag fishing is to make sure you have taken the safest option possible and that anything you might hook is going to end up on the bank and not wrapped around an old sunken tree root. To this ends I had carefully scoured the water with my Polaroids and made sure my fishing line was clear of obstructions and, with everything set, I sat up close to the rods to wait.
To be honest I wasn’t actually expecting any action until the evening when the fish might decide to move out and I was just wondering if I may have set the traps too early when one of them went off.
I had only been fishing for an hour and already I was into my first carp on a new water.
Because of the nature of the swim I didn’t let him gain any line and it was a bit of a hit and hold tactic I employed really. I could feel him twisting and turning in an attempt to gain some ground and then, with a wave of his tail, he rolled over on the surface and knew he was heading for the net.
He wasn’t the biggest fish I’d ever caught, in fact he was probably the smallest of the whole bunch I’d seen in the snag, an out-runner that was not considered big or old enough to sit in the main snag with the big girls, but he was very welcomed all the same.
It’s always good to get that first fish and to get one so quickly was a real bonus, although the swim did die a bit of a death after this and the rest of the gang melted away throughout my first night without stopping for supper as they passed me by.
I knew that the Met would only be a short interlude for me during the spring as I had a water lined up for the beginning of the tradition season but I intended to try my hardest to get a few more over the coming weeks. Plenty of walking and staying very mobile was the plan and I was really looking forward to putting it into action, everything depended on the weather though and the water temperature needed to rise considerably before the fish would leave the cover of snags, reed-beds and the like and start using the lake properly, hopefully it would happen sooner rather than later.
Don’t forget to take a look at my Carp Fishing Video Diary!
I have been experimenting with lures and after reading Mike Ladles latest offering in Sea Angler magazine have decided to adopt his tactics, “Little and large” which seems logical. It involves add ons, a mini lure behind the main lure, or in a dropper in front. He also talks of using a small rubber ball to aid casting distance – I have used a clear bubble float with some effect, but a clear rubber ball is heavier and he says casts like a bullet. I will report later on how I got one. In the meantime Mike’s piece is in issue 492 of the magazine. You must use a soft, forgiving fishing rod to get the best out of this method, my preferred rod for this type of fishing is the TF Gear Bluestrike lure rod, use the weights which match your lure system.
Major on the shore sea fishing scene for me this month is the start of another Sea Angler Clubman season. Clubs all around the British Isles enter the results of their monthly evening competitions and the event includes tackle prizes from Penn for the best teams and individuals. The competition has proved very successful in recent years and because it is at grass roots, all club anglers can get involved. Points are awarded from 1st to 5th in each match with a minimum of ten competitors to qualify. If you are a club angler, give it a look. E Mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to top Isle of Wight sea angler, Russ Catling. He landed a new island record undulate ray of 18lb 1oz recently on a chunk of cuttlefish whilst fishing under the Islands eroding cliffs late at night. But Russ didn’t kill the fish to claim the record, he released it alive. What about a new catch and release British record category…
An unsuccessful trip with the Dover Sea Angling Association Team to fish the World Club Championships at Grandola in Portugal set me back on my heels a tad. Its not often I fish a match and do so badly – in fact despite a section win for two team members all five of the team suffered at least one bad day and over the four day match we only managed to finish 14th. Now considering there were 18 teams that’s pretty horrendous and I offer no excuses except to say that maybe we concentrated on casting distance too much and used too heavy hook snood line. Winners were Spain who fished for garfish in the edge and that proved the most consistent method, although more spectacular was the results of long casting in terms of individual anglers and catches of mullet, mackerel and trigger fish.
The good thing is that the team learned a lot and expressed the thought that they should have done what Wales did, they finished fifth, and practised for the week previous to the Championships. Best performance of the event in my opinion was from Belgium who took the bronze medal behind Portugal’s silver. Belgium fish fairly light and small at home, but they did adapt to the finesse required fishing the Portuguese Atlantic beaches. Eye opening is just how fine in terms of line you can go when using a fixed spool and continental style beachcaster, I coarse fish a lot and am used to carping with light lines, but I used 0.20mm mainline and 0.18mm snood line and others went finer than that. For me it was a glimpse into the future of UK beachcasting and already at home we can see the beginning of the fishing light revolution in LRF and fishing Continental beach style. OK the main drive towards fishing with light line, small hooks and soft fishing rods in the UK is the decline of the fish stocks, BUT it allows anglers to enjoy the sport and the small species the commercials have left us! In Portugal catching mackerel on light gear is a skill and it should be the same here with the species given more regard. Forget the feathering hoards and mackerel madness, one mackerel at a time at long range on pop ups and size 6 hooks on 0.14mm line is a terrific way to match fish and I can’t wait for someone, or an innovative club to run a mackerel, bait only with no jigging match, from a UK beach in summer.
Talking about line diameter- the only way to be sure about a line is by measuring its diameter – My measurements reveal that lots of the so called stronger lines are simply thicker!!
Now I am off to Sardinia for the Magrina Championships, which is a major Italian event. The same light line tactics apply and I am trained up so to speak and expect to do better. But match fishing is a continuous learning curve even for an old hand like me and its full of shocking surprises, especially for those that think they know it all!
At last some smoothhound and bass showing in my region, the crabs are peeling and perhaps now we can get back to thoughts of summer – The lure rod is in the car for those opportunistic night tides when the sea is calm, single mackerel on a spinner or plug are fun, but a schoolie bass is better! I have a few rock marks I can creep around when the conditions are still and clear and the light is low enough just to see. Its grab the TF Gear bum bag and hit that short “deadly” window at dawn or dusk that is most likely to produce a take!
Having now spent an entire season using this rod on my local Welsh rivers and somehow managing to land a fair few trout and grayling on it, I now feel qualified enough to give a proper review on this rod… not one based on a five minute session using the casting pool out in front of the office!
This particular model has been designed for modern nymphing techniques, primarily with a French leader, an indicator or a heavy bugging set up. The action is perfect… parabolic enough to flick a French leader with microscopic nymphs right across the river, but still able to pitch out a team of heavy 4mm tungsten beaded jigs or czech nymphs at short range into a heavy flow.
It also excels at playing fish as it flexes from tip to butt under load, so you have no worries about hook pulls in fast water or breaking off on light tippets. It’s a really fun fishing rod to use, you do get a great fight off almost anything half decent due to the soft playing action. However the power is there when you really need it , I managed to land a cracking wild brownie of 3.5 lb in a really heavy flow without breaking into too much of a sweat!
Although it’s a nymphing rod I’ve also used it with a 3 weight line casting dries at long range on big flats. It’s a very accurate caster for a 10’ footer and capable of producing some really sweet tight loops. When you are up to your armpits in the drink that extra length does really help, allowing me to keep the back cast high off the water and above the surrounding nettles.
What amazes me is the performance for the price. The ultimate river rod in my opinion was always the Sage SLT, a crisp, accurate casting rod which is light in the hand and performs with excellence. The Streamtec doesn’t have the hefty price tag of the SLT, but upon comparison in fishing situations there is hardly a difference other than it’s weight! The finish is great and well thought out, the matte non-flash blank and understated wood effect reel seat giving it a classy feel. The cork handle is also top notch for a rod in this price bracket… its only £109.99 !
This rod was so good I also invested in the 7’6 #3/4 model. This has also been a real peach of a rod. It’s the perfect toy for tiny brooks and mountain streams, being really soft, but still extremely responsive. It’s been fantastic fun tussling with 8 inch browns which do punch well above their weight on this little gem.
There are some competitor’s rods on the market for more than twice the price; in my eyes they are no better both in terms of finish and performance… all I can say is get one (or two!) of these for much less than the same money. They are an essential purchase for the modern river angler, along with the new Super-Dri fly lines!
View the Airflo Streamtec Fly Rod range from Fishtec
Much water has rushed beneath my personal bridge these past few months: I turned a certain age for a start; then I upped my Essex sticks and started afresh less than two hundred yards from a river blessed with barbel and chav’s – not to mention the odd migrant and some hefty pike. The icing on this idyllic cake is employment within a well-organized jungle of fishing gear – TF Gear to be precise – and my new role has kindly compelled me to re-think my lot as an angler: it’s brought me up to date. Fishing is a field in which I might be described as conservative – not averse to change but reluctant to dump the learning of decades. I still enjoy watching a bobbin and deciding for myself when the hook should go in, but some species and methods don’t lend themselves to such niceties and I ain’t arguing – long may those Whiskered Ones continue to wallop the carbon!
What’s changed is my will to experiment with new coarse fishing tackle, while they’re still new – not two years down the line when everyone’s had their fill of fish and the novelty’s worn off. I do, however, have some catching-up to do so, this season, I’ll be swapping the PVA bags for in-line mesh-sticks: better for casting, better for baiting-up – and you can use the dispenser to splint a broken finger if necessary! I shall stock-pile my sticks before fishing to keep the faff-factor to a minimum; I’ll deliver them more comfortably too, thanks to my nice new Nan-Tec Classic 2lb barbel rods. These beauties have full cork handles and dependable, well made screw-fittings…I wonder if I’ll christen them with a double?
Another thing I’ll be using for the first time this season is a feeder mould – something I’ve always passed off as unnecessary because, well…it is! You really don’t need one to fish effectively, but how much simpler and neater it is to push out a nice firm cake containing your hook-bait? It’s got to be done, eh? And anti-tangle rubbers! I’ll never present an untidy rig again, I promise. For the sake of a near-weightless piece of rubber we can all now streamline our rigs – be they light or heavy – and fish with that bit more confidence. It’s the semi-rigid nature of the anti-tangle sleeves that I like; it converts the rubber into a very effective miniature boom that prevents squabbles between end-tackle components (and there’s another good argument for in-line stick-fishing…)
I’ll be using my own very successful tench bait in the early weeks of the season, but for barbus…will it be as effective? An old pal took at least two doubles on it from the Hampshire Avon and I was with him for the first capture made from the Sandy Balls stretch in mid-November. Talk about the madness of anglers! Mick would pick me up in Chelmsford, Essex at around 2pm and we’d arrive in the New Forest shortly before dark; by the time we’d settled in and got a fishing rod out it was pitch black down there in the wooded gorge and after just six or seven hours of serious fishing in total darkness we’d pack up and make our way back to Essex, arriving home at 04.30 – 05.00hrs. I still think that was crazy, but then mild insanity was fairly normal within the angling fraternity at that time.
So, the capture of two barbel on my concoction proved nothing about its efficacy as a river-bait and Mick doesn’t live close enough to a decent river where he might test it out – but the signs are good. For tench it’s a superb bait so let’s hope their whiskered cousins have similar tastes.
So…June 16th will see the smartest, best-equipped dude in the West sitting in his Dave Lane Hardcore chair and tending to his Nan-Tec Classics. Bait will be my precious creation – plus a nice, firmly packed mesh-stick to draw them in..
As being part of the Airflo team I have the pleasure of being privy to new products before they are introduced to the general fishing public. One in particular that caught my eye was the introduction of the new range of Airflo Switch Fly Rods. I have had the pleasure of using many switch rods in the past for various fishing situations and was keen to see what the Airtec’s had to offer.
There’s been a lot of buzz in the past couple of years about switch rods – lightweight double-handed rods in the 10 to 12 foot range that are designed for both two-handed spey casting and single hand overhead casting. Traditionally these rods have been designed for fishing rivers for Salmon, steelhead and sea trout, of late, their ability has been rendered and switch rods have been set-up on smallwaters all around the UK.
Mainly, Im a river fisherman, but growing up in south Wales I’ve been lucky enough to fish many hill lakes and reservoirs where these switch rods would came in handy. When the first batch of Airflo Airtec Switch rods came into stock, I could not wait to get my hands on the 11′ 3″ 6# switch.
I had plans of teaming the rod with an Airflo Speydicator #6, to give that extra bit of distance on a river that averages 20 yards in width. You’d normally struggle to hit some of the spots using a traditional single handed rod because of the lack of back cast. With some knowledge on double handed rods I felt fairly competent with my roll casting, so pulled off some line and gave it a whirl. After just 30 minutes of casting and getting used to the rod and line combination, I was having some incredible fun and was lucky enough to hook into a decent trout from one of my favorite pools.
Having used it for a full day on the river and thoroughly enjoying my time with it, I decided to take it with me on my next lake trip. Many of the lakes I fish have a difficult back cast and often anglers will sacrifice distance because they struggle to get the best back cast. I decided to team up my 11’ 3” #6 Airflo Airtec Switch rod with one of my 7# Airflo 40+ fly line. Me and a colleague Ceri Thomas took a trip to one of our local reservoirs and when I pulled out the switch rod, he was skeptical to say the least.
I stripped out my 40+ and with a single false cast to get the 35ft head out I powered out more or less the whole fly line! Ceri’s skeptism changed slightly into awe. I knew from previous experience with these rods that they can really power out a line, and partnered with the 40+ you’ll be casting to distances only ever dreamed of. I handed Ceri the rod and he used it for the rest of the session. Not only does it handle the overhead cast well but also the switch style butt, you can create easy roll cast’s with maximum distance.
Even though the switch rods were created mainly for salmon, steelhead and sea trout I have used this across the board for most fly-fishing situations and am very impressed with how it handles. I’ve got some highland lake fishing planned for late spring, so will get another review on the site when I get chance.
In my opinion the next few years we will see an increase in the amount of anglers that will be using the switch rods. This rod does not only appeal to the river fisherman but to the whole fly fishing world as it offers diversity in it’s casting ability. I must say that these fishing rods take a lot of getting used to, if you do happen to purchase one and you’re struggling to get to grips with it, I’d recommend getting some casting tuition from a local instructor, im sure you’ll reap the rewards!
A busy month of competitions at a time of year I really enjoy shore fishing – Its scratchy with bites at a premium and to do well you need to scale down both your tackle and your angling ego. Lots of anglers fish through March still in their November cod goggles, but the bigger fish are no longer around in a majority of regions and its time for the dabs, flounders and those damn rockling.
OK the match anglers actually enjoy this time of year, as I said, I do especially when it’s calm and cold. Most beaches slow to walking pace in terms of bites in the frostiest weather and it’s a case of dropping the hook size, the bait size, the line size and fishing closer in. The low tide gutter often being the only hot spot on the beach. It’s a time when the casting ego has to be put in its place, although keep it handy because the first rays of spring are no far off.
My latest competition was the Ten Worm Challenge – A sea fishing competition with a difference with competitors allowed to use just ten lugworms as bait – Nothing else! The event received lots of publicity despite which the entry was small, I suspect novelty events are not for many serious matchmen, although it is the case that event organisers are continually looking for competitions which offer more of a level playing field for all anglers in an attempt to attract more to competitions.
The Ten Worm Challenge was a rover, fish where you like and you could use ten rods with one worm if you preferred. I opted to get out my Continental sea fishing rods and use the event as a practice for the forthcoming World Clubs Champs in Portugal where I am representing Dover Sea Angling Association. Size 4 hooks, 8lb hook snoods, 16-foot quiver tip and fixed spools reel loaded with 0.24mm line.
I chose to fish at Dungeness and to cut a long story short I finished with 32 fish and half a worm left after five hours, the clear winner with the next place catching by Mark Howard fishing next to me at Dungeness landing 11 fish. My secret was to fish small baits each tied on the hook with elastic cotton – That way the bait lasted ages. I think I will claim a Guinness book of record place with the catch, but only so as to create more interest in the idea, which was the brainchild of Seabrook sea angler, Tim Raymond.
Another event that attracts a huge entry because anglers see the event as giving anyone a chance of winning is the European Championships fished at Bridlington. It also coincided with the worst of the month’s weather and just three codling were landed despite a huge entry of 2095 anglers, with the winner Karl Wiepcke, Goxhill winning the overall which included a car with a single 3lb codling he caught at Aldbrough. Big fish matches are the way to go if you want a larger entry, whilst pegged, catch and release will only attract the most dedicated match anglers.
The other event I fished recently, also a biggest fish event, was the Pollack Challenge out of Brighton, which is an annual event for me aboard Paul Dyer’s, Brighton Diver, which also carries Keith Arthur and the Sky Camera crew. With the BBC Shipping forecast giving gales it was touch and go whether the event took place, but fish we did although heading out to a wreck at thirty miles was a bit lumpy to say the least. However, the day calmed and some nice fish where landed by the 100 anglers taking part, including a 17lb 9oz specimen for Brighton Schoolboy, Connor Bonwick fishing on Terry Lee’s Brighton based Sea Breeze 3.
Keith and myself ended with three pollack a piece caught on a mix of jellies and Sidewinders with Keith’s best of 11lb and the best on our boat was third overall for Alan Milford who landed a 14lb 14oz lunker first drop. If you not tried lure fishing for pollack over a wreck it’s worth doing although the two-hour steam there and back does tax the brain.
With snow on my lawn at the time of writing this blog its difficult to get involved in the spring prospects but there already seems to be plenty of plaice around in the English Channel and it wont be long before the rays push inshore. Rumblings about smoothhound on Facebook seem a bit premature when Britain shivers in its worst spring weather for years. But all can change overnight, hopefully and it’s the hounds that most are looking forward to. Last year it was noticeable that the species has moved into the North Sea big time with Skegness region on the Lincs coast one of the best hound venues, Selsey and the Solent kept their end up as did South Wales and even Kent got in on the act at Sandown. But first the crabs need to peel, fingers crossed for some warm sunshine.
Staying with the changing format of competitions this one just had to happen and is possibly the way more events are going to go in the future. The Gerry’s Fishing Open in the Morecambe Bay area on the 7th of September, fishing 10am until 4pm involves all anglers owning a Camera with time date function and removable SD card. Your catch is snapped with the days bag label and returned. Check in from 9am Gerry’s Fishing or contact Sam or Chris 01524 422146. Email – email@example.com or facebook event – http://www.facebook.com/events/607757792585921/
Another catch and release event worth a look is the Rutherfords Conoflex 2 day open. On the 29th and 30th of June fishing two zones at Copthorne Hotel and British Airways Business Park on the river Tyne. All fish to count but there is a maximum hook size of 4. Entry is £30 for the two days, to book or for more info ring Andy Rutherford on 0191 5654183
We’ve heard over the last day or so that the Daiwa NewEra Fly Rod range have rolled off the production line, from their home in Scotland, and are now on their way to shops all around the UK. As Daiwa’s game angling consultant, Hywel Morgan had his keen eye for fly rod technology and design cast over the length development and production of these rods, testing them on every available fishing day. Right where they should be tested …on the water! Hywel promises these rods are worth the wait!
What’s so special about the Daiwa NewEra fly fishing rod range? Daiwa have integrated X45 Carbon to the construction of their blanks, A three layer laminated construction which give you precision, power and performance. The three layers the rod is constructed from help counteract crushing, bending and twisting, helping you deliver your fly exactly where you want it as easily as possible.
The Daiwa NewEra Trout Rod range consists of 8 separate models from a 9′ 5# river rod through to a 11’3″ 7/8# top of the water rod. This impressive range of rods feature everything an angler could look for with dedicated river, small-water, bank and boat fishing rods.
The Daiwa range starts with the 9ft 5 weight – the ideal river fishing rod. Featuring a light and extremely sensitive tip, this fly rod can throw dries at range, fish wet flies down and across and make the most of short range nymphing when trout or grayling are close to the bottom and heavy flies are needed to get down.
All your small still water boxes will be ticked with the 9ft 6 weight NewEra, the perfect rod for stalking with light tippet, fishing dries around reeds or throwing the occasional lure on a sinking line.
For the bank angler there are three rods in the range that may take your fancy, the 9ft 6inch 6 weight, a dry fly or light nymph anglers dream. The 9ft 6inch 7 weight which is the go to bank rod in the range. Then comes the 9ft 6inch 8 weight, great for throwing heavy sinking lines, shooting heads or the occasional trip salmon fishing.
The boat range feature three highly favourable rods, the 10ft 7weight which again is the go to boat fishing rod, 10ft 8 weight when you need that extra bit of power for casting large flies or heavy sinking lines all day long and the 11ft 3inch 7/8 weight which not only doubles up as a great switch rod, but is ideal for top of the water fishing for brown trout too.
Last in the Daiwa Range is the selection of salmon fishing rods, a range of 5 rods starting with a 11ft 3inch 7/8weight switch rod all the way up to 15ft 11wt.
Get this…after years thumbing through fishing mags and brochures dedicated to exotic fishing locations, I eventually tracked down the mahseer-fishing package I both wanted and could (just about) afford. I could have gone for longer than the 11 days I booked had I not had to spend a small fortune on new equipment vital to a comfortable stay in India. As it happened, a fair bit of what I bought turned out to be unnecessary as it all came as part of the package (I wish someone had told me!)
Although it was an eleven day package, travel at each end of that period reduced the actual fishing time to five days so the fishing was pretty intense. Nonetheless, despite hour upon hour of patient rod-top watching – interspersed with the occasional spinning session – I managed to catch next to nothing – and certainly no mahseer: very frustrating, as you might imagine. I’d spent a small fortune on the whole ‘holiday’, yet when I returned to GB our found the gnomes around my back garden pool had bagged-up in my absence! Just look at this shot – the little sod doesn’t even have a proper fishing rod and reel, just a stick, and his fish-handling skills need looking at too.