Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing’
There’s plenty of article on ‘how to catch more fish’ and ‘top 5 fishing tips’ out there on the internet, but what about the simple tips to look after your fly line? These three great tips will give you an extra advantage when out on the bank.
What weight is my fly line?
First of all, let’s look at how we can determine what weight fly line you have on your fly fishing reel. We’ve all been there, wondering “Is it a 6 weight? It looks like a 7…”, this quick and simple tip allows you to easily identify what weight lines are on your reels. All you need is a waterproof pen.
Welded loops on fly lines
If you’re anything like us you hate the plastic sleeve which comes in a packet of braided loops. It’s big, clunky and get’s stuck in the rod guides. What you’ll find with this sleeve is your fly line can crack due to hinging which in time, forces you to replace the whole loop. The below method of welding loops, or lines which have factory manufactured loops pro-long the life of your fly line.
Whipping on a braided loop
If you don’t have the facilities to weld your own loops, try whipping an Airflo braided loop to your line. By using thread you can create an almost seamless joint to your fly line. The smooth joint lets your fly line be retrieved with no bumping or clunking through the guides and stops hinging and cracking near the tip of the line. As Hywel says, it’s the best way for fitting a loop to sinking lines, and it’s is also a great way of marking fly lines at specific lengths to fish the ‘hang’ more effectively!
I started off my Sea trout season on the Tywi mainly fishing the middle of the river this year for the whole of the season. This year the season started off with very cold conditions and the river was clear and up a few inches, it pretty much stayed that way from April 1st, until the first week of June.
I like to start night fishing as soon as the season start’s if conditions allow, it can be very cold at night at the beginning of the season, so I always take plenty of clothing and a warm hat. This is usually enough to keep you warm early season to put a couple of hours in. If it get’s to the point where your finger’s are getting numb, it’s time to head home.
I had my first outing at night in the first week of the season, it was a very cold evening and windy, so decided to fish an hour in to dark. My fly fishing tackle for most of my sea trout fishing consists of a 10ft 7/8 airlite rod, an airlite reel with a selection of 40 plus fly lines. This trip I decided to fish with a 40+ fast intermediate. I decided with the windy condition’s to fish with a single 2 inch aluminium tube with a fairly short leader of around 4ft or so.
I like to fish a fairly square cast at night a lot of the time, with a very slow figure of eight retrieve and just let the flies swing around with the current and slowly retrieve when it’s come around 2/3rds of the way. I tend to mix it up a bit with faster retrieves and casting angles, but I find the slower the better, especially earlier in the season.
So first run through I got about 1/3rd of the way down the pool and cast square to the far bank and just letting the fly swing. As the line started to swing, a good solid take and a good fish on. This fish fought very hard and used every inch of the pool before I slipped the net under it. A cracking 10.5lb Sewin in prime condition and a cracking start to the season. I finished the run through the pool and then called it a night as it had got very cold.
With it being so cold and windy at night, for most of the time I fished the same setup up until the middle of June, with either a 2 inch aluminium tube, 1.5 inch aluminium, or a 35mm 1.8 Gray’s needle tube. I like to use the needle tubes if I want to fish the fly a bit deeper, as they are a good weight and very slim.
It had been worth the early season effort at night and by the first week of june, I had landed six Sea trout over 10lb and quite a few between 4lb and 8lb, and a few lost.
The day’s started to warm up in June and there was no rain for a long time, the river levels dropped below summer level the lowest I had seen it for some time. To say the fishing was difficult in June and July would be an understatement. One of the biggest problems for weeks was the mist at night. Very warm in the day, but with the clear skies at night the mist would be on the water as soon as the sun started to set and there would be a big temperature drop, which is never ideal for fishing at night.
There were fish in the system, but very hard to tempt, and zero new fish coming through, with the low water condition’s. I had some success fishing a slow intermediate 40+ with surface lure, small half inch plastic tubes, tied on Scandinavian tube liner and small singles, with fish up to 14.5lb by the end of July.
The fishing picked up a lot in August and September and there were good numbers of fish being caught. I had a session one night where in between landing a couple of Sea trout, I had two flatties on a 1.5 inch tube, which was a bit of a surprise to me. It seemed this season that everything was 4 to 6 week’s behind what it would normally be.
Hopefully, condition’s will be kinder for the 2014 season. It was a season for big Sea tout thoug with two of my friend’s and myself catching our personal best’s of 15lb4oz, 16lb8oz and 18lb 2oz. And although very tough at times, I won’t be forgetting this season in a hurry and looking forward to the next already.
The Super-Dri Lake Pro has been designed for the serious lake angler, utilising Airflo’s standard DELTA taper, the line casts effortlessly, turns over extremely well and shoots to the distance will little effort. The most serious casters will benefit immensely for the taper design of this line, a medium to long front taper lets for great stability through the cast, keeping your line speed high with extremely tight loops. The Super-dri Lake pro also lends itself to the lesser casts, giving the novice angler a great, easy casting line, a great addition to our fly fishing tackle.
Complete with Airflo’s patented ridge design and legendary PU coatings, you can expect these Airflo Super-Dri range to last longer than any other line you have and to perform as well as any fly line you will cast.
What are the key benefits of Super-Dri?
- High riding – Superb float-ability.v
- Zone Technology – Low compression hauling zone
- Ultra supple coating for improved handling
- Micro loops both ends
Learn more about the Super-dri Lake Pro fly line here
September saw me heading to Slovakia for the European Championships with team England who were sponsored a pair of superb COSTA polarised glasses each.
It was 5 river venues with wild Grayling and wild Brown and Rainbow Trout. Some beats on two of the venues had stocked browns introduced due to lower numbers of wild fish. The 3 venues were the River Poprad, River Vah and River Bella. We fished in the beautiful surroundings of the Liptovsky region where wild bears roam!! One section of the Bella had bear alerts so we had to be cautious!
I have fished in the World and European teams now for 15 years and have to say that this region of Slovakia has the most prolific fishing I have ever come across. The River Vah in practice would produce anything from 20 – 50 fish in a 3hr practice session in the right conditions. The Poprad would produce 60-80 grayling an hour at least!! On the first day of practice we fished the Poprad, a small river only approx 10 yards wide at best. We fished for 3.5 hrs and had over 900 fish to the hand for the squad of 7! I fished single dry fly, changing every 10 fish and took 40 in under an hour. I watched as the others caught half as much again if not double on nymphs. I switched to nymphs and the catch rate soared astronomically. Small nymphs on a 16 – 18 and 2.5mm beads seemed best in the small often skinny river. A hint of colour, orange, red or pink certainly helped the catch rates.
The Vah is more of the typical river. Fast runs, deep holes, slow glides and long slow pools. We spent many days on this river in practice as 3 of the 5 sessions were on this river. Upper, Middle and Lower Vah sections.
7 days back to back fishing took it’s toll and the team had earned a much needed rest. team Jacuzzi’s and Saunas and killer pool sessions on the table offered the perfect tonic of rest and play. Not too much rest I hasten to say as the manager had us all tying flies for almost 14hrs that day, not that the team needed prompting. I roomed with Andrew Scott who was tying flies at 0530 every morning without fail! Good job I get up early for London every morning and am used to it!
The competition was upon us and the team were confident. A day of heavy rain and snow in the mountains before the competition days put some depth to the river and the dreaded colour. Despite this, we were ready!
As with all pegged events you have good and bad beats.This was one for me to forget! I drew 5 of the lowest scoring pegs in the competition with the best position being an 8th by the overall winners, a Chech republic angler. He had 22 from my beat on the lower Vah and I followed with 16 despite their techniques I call ‘hoovering the beat!’. I caught just 4 in the main flow of the river where he had obviously fished. On returning a fish to the controller I stumbled across a 2 foot or so deeper channel in some very shallow fast water. I managed to get 12 fish from this small bit of water that had obviously been missed as the 12 fish came in about 15 minutes.
I had a fast rip of water on the Bella and managed 13 with fellow angers around me fairing with 7-11. The top end beats all produced 30-40+ fish!
Day 1 saw England lying 6th well within striking distance. Andrew Scott got off to a flyer with a 1st and 2nd in his first two sessions netting 89 fish in the process!
Day 2 saw me get the one I had been waiting for, the Poprad. I avoided the lower beats again which had taken 50-70 fish in the first two sessions and drew the last peg on the stretch. It looked good but had only produced 8,3 and 11 fish so far. I took 11 matching the best to date.
It only went down hill as more poor beats followed and it didn’t fair too great for fellow team members. Andrew Scott drew another good beat and got a superb 2nd position but his luck run out with two average pegs which knocked him off a certain individual medal. He finished a very respectable individual 12th position. The team slipped to 11th.
The Czechs came out team winners with Spain taking the top individual. The Czechs fished small nymphs, often within a few feet of the margins to take the gold.
The rivers are starting to cool now and the grayling shoal so now is the time to contemplate some river fishing. It may be cooler but always carry some dries with you as even in the coldest of days fish will rise to any hatch that occurs during the warmest part of the day.
See Iain Barr fly sets available from Fishtec
Well, the end of the general trout season is here and over the last few weeks I have been doing a spot of fishing for salmon on the Tywi. There was a rise in water over the weekend of the 5th and 6th of October so a good opportunity to try for a salmon, and try out my new Airtec swtch fly rod.
I have been using this rod paired with an Airflo V-lite 7/9 reel, a fast intermediate line and a 5ft polyleader. I have to say the setup is balanced and fishes very well, casting wise it’s better than I expected, not having used a Switch rod before. Mostly fishing doubles and needle tubes, the fly line helps carry these heavy flies a long way.
On the Saturday, I managed a day on Golden Grove and on my first run through, hooked into a small Sewin which was returned safely around the 1.5lb mark. I was halfway down the pool on my second run through when the line just stopped dead, lifted, and the line forced it’s way up river. After heading upstream the fish came clean out of the water almost somersaulting resulting in a thrown hook. A clean looking salmon around 8/9lbs in weight. No more salmon hooked that day but did land a few small Sewin.
Sunday’s fishing started well with a couple of small sewin on size 10 doubles, in just a couple of hours. After fishing just quarter of the way through a pool after lunch my line tightened up and everything went solid. As soon as I lifted the rod, I knew immediately that it was a really good fish. After a few solid head shakes and hard thumps on the line, the fish turned and took off down river and was stopping for nothing, my fly fishing rod was doubled over and not even the hardest settings I dare to go on the V-Lite was stopping this fish. There was room to go down river after it, but it was going around the bend and heading towards an underwater snag. Then, the dreaded feeling of the hook pulling out, and a deep sinking feeling, I was gutted. It was a great tussle though and not the first, or last time a salmon will do that to me.
The night before the last day of the season saw some torrential rain falling in the Tywi valley, the river was likely to rise, hopefully not too much but the water at Golden Grove was perfectly fishable even with the water pushing with an extra half a foot of water. I fished the same setup, but without a polyleader, a size 9 Salar Double on the point and a size 10 double on the dropper. There was some colour in the water so the larger flies would hopefully help visibility.
Fishing the same pool as I had lost that fish in the previous week, the line once again tightened as I proceeded around half the ways down the pool. A slight lift of the rod was all that was needed and the fish was on. Fourtounatly for me, the fish didn’t head for sea and stayed well behaved lounging around the pool. A good, strong fish but up a great fight before I managed to get it in the net. A salmon of around 10/11lb which was released and went back strong. I hooked into another fish briefly later in the day and saw quite a few Sewin going through but that was it for me.
A cracking way to end the season and i’m looking forward to the 2014 season already to try some of the new fly fishing tackle from Fishtec, along with giving the switch rod a real good go.
Perfecting the art of fly fishing takes years of practice, patience and determination. For those of us with years of experience, it’s easy to forget that we were beginners ourselves many moons ago.
Fly fishing skills were once passed down from one generation to the next. Now, this knowledge is freely available online.
Totalling 27 minutes and 8 seconds, the six videos below make a great introduction to fly fishing. From setting up fly reels to tying a simple fly, here is our crash course in fly fishing.
Choosing the right equipment
Start your foray into fly fishing by kitting yourself out with the right tackle.
How to set up a fly reel
This might be a long video, but it is very thorough. You can’t catch any fish without first setting up your reel.
How to cast a fly rod
The next step is learning how to cast your fly rod.
How to tie a simple ‘Bloodworm’ fly
Fly tying is a craft that many fly fishermen enjoy. The joy of landing a fish is even greater when you’ve made the fly yourself.
How to improve your casting distance
After learning how to cast, you’ll be keen to practice and improve your technique.
How to target big fish
Now you’re ready to go after the biggest fish in the lake. Impress your friends and beat your own records by targeting a whopper!
Once you’ve mastered the basics, these fly fishing tutorials will help you to improve and perfect your fly fishing techniques.
When I first started fishing, to me, the River Irfon was just a tributary to the Wye. I never realised that it is one of the prettiest rivers you could hope to fish and full of good size fish including Grayling, Brown Trout and Chub and also sees Salmon during their spawning runs.
During my earlier days I spoke with many anglers in my local club and also when fishing still waters down south Wales I was initially surprised to hear so many anglers stating it was their favorite river to fish. Only when I really began to explore this great river I could see what all the fuss was about.
From its source at 540m on the upper slopes of Bryn Garw in the Cambrian Mountains, the Afon Irfon (Afon – Welsh for river) flows southwards past the foot of the Devil’s Staircase, along the Abergwesyn Valley through the scenic Camddwr Bleiddiad (Wolves’ Gorge) and into the Wolves Pool. It then flows past the forest of Sessile Oaks to join the Afon Gwesyn at Abergwyesn where it passes beneath the Irfon Forest and the Nant Irfon National Nature Reserve towards Llanwrtyd Wells. Then it flows eastward through Llangammarch Wells, and Garth to join the River Wye at Builth Wells. An overall length of approximately 28 miles. The source of the river is also known as the Desert of Wales and the upper reaches of the river is listed as a SSSI.
During prolonged hot weather, the Irfon does suffer and run very low in places. With the summer being as it was, the bottom reaches of the river hasn’t seen a great deal of fish but following a day or two heavy rains I decided to pay a visit to a stretch of the river my club (GPIAC) controls. This section of river is above the Caer Beris Hotel estate.
I arrived at the Anglers car park around 9:30 and tackled up. Having seen a couple of fish rise, I made the decision to start with a dry fly. Given the width of the river in places and the dense vegetation surrounding, I opted for a relatively short set up. My 4wt Streamtec, with a wf4 Super-Dri Elite, roughly 5ft of 6lb G3 to 4 ft 3lb G3 to a single Olive Klinkhammer.
Working my way up to the bend on the river, I took a couple of smaller browns however fully aware there are bigger fish lurking. With the wind biting cold and this section of the river under a lot of shade I made my way around the bend in the river where it was baked in sunshine and out of the winds path.
Without seeing anymore fish on the top, I tied on around 1ft of 3lb G3 to the bend of my hooked where I attached a size 16 PTN and fished the Duo up to the small rapids. I had another 3 fish to the net on both Klink and PTN before reaching the glide above the rapids. With my time running out, I was keen to fish a little further upstream where some overhanging trees coupled with some deep underwater channels was usually a good place to take a fish.
I stood watching as a fish was taking on the surface under trees. Not an easy cast but got it right first time, my Klink shot under the water and after a short battle, a lovely grayling rose to the surface and was quickly released. Several casts later and a couple of lost fish, my Klink shot under again, this time I was into a good fish. Having seen a glimpse it was a Grayling and with its big dorsal fin extended it took some shifting in the current and on light tackle, finally coming to the net was a ‘lady of the stream’ of over 2lb.
Heading back to car I reflected on what was a brilliant mornings fishing. Easy to see why this is such a popular river and one which is top of my list too.
With a day ticket from my local club only £10 and various beats available through W&U Foundation it is also a very easy to access water that I advise you all to come and fish.
It doesn’t seem like a minute ago when Paul Jenkins, Gareth Jones and Bob Mayers first started talking about setting up a League in South Wales to help develop anglers in the region to International level.
Well, seven years on and the league has just finished another very successful season, with 13 four man teams competing across four competitions on Chew Valley lake, sponsored by our fly fishing tackle supplier Fishtec, and PSM sportswear.
The fishing this year on Chew Valley has been phenomenal between 52 anglers over four competitions, a total number of 1542 fish caught and returned with a rod average of a staggering 7.43 per angler for the whole competition.
The numbers of anglers who have used the league as a springboard to the International scene has been specifically pleasing to see and long may it continue, with a lot of anglers gaining great experience and knowledge from some of the top anglers in the country, in what is a very friendly competition.
Some Match Stats from 2013
The league is fished catch and release, with results based on a points system, so consistency throughout the year is the key to success. When the fourth fish is recorded, the time is taken to the minute, in case of duplicate fish numbers.
Match 1 : 52 Anglers Caught 343 Fish – Rod Average 6.6
Match 1 : 52 Anglers Caught 273 Fish – Rod Average 5.25
Match 1 : 52 Anglers Caught 526 Fish – Rod Average 10.2
Match 1 : 52 Anglers Caught 400 Fish - Rod Average 7.7
Quickest 4 Fish – Nigel Evals - 20 Minutes
This years winners were team Airflo! Accumulating just 184 points between four anglers over four matches. Second, reigning champions, the Nymphomaniacs, who accumulated 303 and close on their tail, Cwmbran Drifters, with 321.
This year the Individual trophy went to the ever consistent Phil Cotton of Team Airflo with an impressive 27 points. The competition has been running for 7 years, Phil has won the individual trophy twice and finished second and two occasions. Second with 32 place points, another Team Airflo angler, Stuart Watkins, yet another former winner of the Fishtec League shield. Third saw Andrew Banner of the Cwmbran Drifters with 49 place points.
A huge thank you must go out to Bob Mayers for his organisational skills, without him none of this would happen! Full results here : http://www.llandegfedd-ffa.com/
After a week of outstanding fly fishing at Rutland Water, The Seighford Sharks were the conquerors of the AWAI. The Anglin Water Airflo International is a two day event with 22 team competing from all over the UK along with 2 overseas teams. Two days fishing at Rutland water produced a great rod average of just over 5 fish per angler, with many bag ups being recorded.
Day one saw a fleet of 66 boats leave the harbour and just 6 of those headed to the North Arm. The rest headed South towards Gibbets and Manton, with not one boat venturing to the main basin. Most anglers wouldn’t remember a match on Rutland where not one boat went to the dam wall!
The first day on Rutland water saw the first boat heading back to the harbour at just 1.30pm! Both anglers, Airflo Consultant Iain Barr and boat partner Mike Dixon catching each of their limits in just over three hours! Other boats closely followed. Fish were high in the water and keeping your flies close to the surface proved effective. Slow glasses and fast intermediate fly lines seemed the way ahead, with a selection of boobies and blobs spaced around 12 feet apart.
Results Day 1
Seighford Sharks looked to be comfortably in the lead with a total of 45 fish for 129lb 6 3/8oz – nearly 20lb ahead of second placed Blagdon Fly Fishers Cortland with 42 fish for 110lb 6¼oz. History shows that very few teams have led from the front to take victory on the final day… Only a few pounds separated 3rd placed Hanningfield on 108lb 15¼oz, 4th Welsh Hawks 106lb 11½oz and 5th Menteith Ospreys on 104lb 15 3/8oz.
Highlights Day 1
Graeme Steel, member of the Grizzle Cats, managed to land the best rainbow on day one, weighing 5lb 11oz. Tim Joyce of Hanningfield fly fishers took top bag with a staggering 26lb 13 3/8oz, along with the best brown trout of 5lb 15 7/8oz.
Number of Anglers: 132
Fish Caught: 720
Rod Average: 5.45
Total Weight of Fish: 1847lb 85/8oz
Average Weight: 2lb 9oz
Average Bag Weight: 13lb 16oz
Results Day 2
Top rod of the entire match was Mike Dixon of Seighford Sharks with 16 fish for 48lb 13 ¾oz. Team Airflo had an excellent second day coming out top with 44 fish for 109lb 11 3/8oz with Seighford Sharks in second with 38 fish for 105lb 9 1/8oz and Blagdon Fly Fishers Cortland third with 35 fish for 99lb 12 1/8oz. Conditions were far from perfect at the start of the match and tested everyone’s fly fishing clothing!
Seighford Sharks performance was well and truly phenomenal, keeping their 1st place position with a great performance on both days. Team members Craig Barr, Gary Owen, Mark Harrison, Phil Longstaff and Phil and Mike Dixon received gold medals along with the prestigious silver Salver. Team Airflo’s second day performance was enough to bring them from 11th to 3rd position, with Blagdon fly fishers holding their place in second as well.
Highlights Day 2
Wullie Simpson fishing for Menteith Ospreys landed the best Brown of day two weighting 5lb 10 1/8oz. Unfortunately for Wullie, a one brown limit led to the return of an even bigger Brown estimated at around 9lb later on in the day. Nick Long fishing for Blagdon Fly Fishers Cortland slipped the netted under the best Rainbow at 6lb 7¼oz – Nick’s fish was the best fish of the match overall.
Mark Harrison of Seighford Sharks had the best bag on Day Two with 8 fish for 26lb 9 5/8oz. Mark put in an outstanding performance, managing to net his 8th fish at 10:38! It takes a good 10/15 minutes to motor to Manton where he was fishing, he must have only been fishing for 25 minutes! Good Angling Mark.
Day 2 Statistics
Number of Anglers: 132
Fish Caught: 693
Rod Average: 5.25
Total Weight of Fish: 1791lb 2oz
Average Weight: 2lb 91/2oz
Average Bag Weight: 13lb 9oz
1. Seighford Sharks - 83 fish - 234lb 151/2oz
2. Blagdon Fly Fishers Cortland - 77 fish – 210lb 23/8oz
3. Team Airflo - 77 fish – 192lb 141/2oz
4. Fish Hawks - 75 fish – 189lb 35/8oz
5. Welsh Hawks - 72 fish – 186lb 103/4oz
6. Menteith Ospreys - 71 fish – 185lb 91/8oz
7. Hanningfield - 66 fish – 177lb 137/8oz
8. Change Flyfishers ‘A’ - 67 fish – 174lb 137/8oz
9. G.Loomis Team Belgium - 63 fish – 170lb 131/4oz
10. Harvey Angling Margam - 66 fish - 164lb 137/8oz
11. Thalassa AC - 65 fish – 163lb 7oz
12. Nymph-A-Maniacs - 63 fish – 162lb 135/8oz
13. Rio Masters - 65 fish – 162lb 17/8oz
14. The Renegades - 66 fish – 160lb 27/8oz
15. The Corrib Hoppers - 66 fish - 159lb 31/4oz
16. OTFA Kirkwall - 60 fish - 149lb 23/8oz
17. Shetland Anglers - 59 fish – 144lb 121/4oz
18. Grizzle Cats - 57 fish – 142lb 93/8oz
19. Froggies Fly Fishers - 56 fish - 142lb 87/8oz
20. Saltire Flyfishers - 51 fish – 135lb 47/8oz
21. Stock Barracudas - 45 fish – 114lb 131/8oz
22. Bewl Chingly Chompers - 43 fish – 113lb 123/8oz
With many Super-Dri fly lines back in stock, anglers all around the country are spooling up their fly fishing reels and trying out these new floating lines. Lindsay Cargill has put both the Xceed and the Elite through their paces. See here for Lindsay’s previous Xceed fly line review.
Lindsay recently purchased a WF5 Super-Dri Elite from the range, here’s what he has to say about our go to trout line.
Out of the box I loved the colour of this line, a pale Olive – easy to see on the water but still had that element of stealth. The ‘hauling zone’ is a yellow colour with the running line back to Olive, all very visible and I find it useful for knowing where the head is in relation to the rod tip as well as for judging distance. Like the Xceed, thin welded loops provide practicality without bulk. The line has no noticeable memory that I can detect.
Unusually for me my first outing with this line saw me fishing upstream nymphs instead of my usual dry fly due to unfavourable conditions. The line cast beautifully on my Helios 2 905 Tip Flex and the weighted nymphs turned over with ease. The high floatability of the line at the tip meant I could see takes and lift straight in to fish lying in 3 to 4 feet of water. However, fishing a single dry fly, my preferred method, this line is the best line I have used, enabling me to get consistently tight loops and good line control in the air and mending on the water. You can lay back, push it and it responds. I absolutely love it.
This will be my ‘go to’ line in 2014 and I can envisage me fishing with it 90% of the time in either a #4 and #5 depending on conditions. At the introductory price I paid it was cheaper than some so called budget ‘good value’ lines which in my experience don’t even come close to matching the Airflo Elite in either quality or features, not to mention floatability. Don’t believe the hype ? That’s your choice, but also your loss!