Posts Tagged ‘fly rods’
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
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!
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.
Cat Cubie, Scottish television weather presenter currently working for BBC Scotland opens the official Salmon fishing Season at Dunkeld, Scotland January 15th.
Along side guest presenting and writing for a number of different broadcasters, ‘Cubie’ hosts her own show on Real Radio and writes a weekly column in the Evening Express. As an experienced event host and compere, Cat accepted the invitation to cast the first fly rod on the Tay this season. The symbolic opening ceremony is the start of the Salmon Fishing Season on the Tay where hundreds of anglers meet in anticipation of the first Salmon of the year .
When Cat’s not behind the camera or microphone she loves to play in the Scottish Highlands – Skiing and walking along some of the most beautiful scenic paths and ridges. The Scottish Weather woman also enjoys heading to warmer climes to scuba dive or trying her hand at more unusual hobbies like circus skills and fly fishing, among other outdoor activities.
Reports all around the river are showing that opening day on the Tay was worth braving the cold. A number of fish were caught on a range of fishing methods; being so early in the season anglers who fished lures and spinners seen best results.
Below is a perfect example of a 21lb Tay Springer, caught by Gordon Nicoll.
Let me set the scene to start with. Imagine leaving the house before 7am in pitch darkness, the air filled with dense fog and a heavy frost on the ground. You plan to fish a venue that you have never fished before but have instructions from a friend so you are confident you know roughly where you are going. Arriving at your destination after a slower paced drive than normal you are greeted by two young deer prancing across the road. You park up, set your fishing tackle up and start following the directions. When you arrive near the water the water level is very high, well above the bank and in the fields, there are trees in the water, the mist is so dense you cannot make out much of anything, there is an eerie silence about the place and then it happens, the first fish of the day is spooked and all of your senses hone in, your heart gives a few thumps and your inner fish bum instinct kicks in.
Ok, I realise that is a departure from my normal writing style but that morning was magical, it was so wonderfully eerie, hopefully the following pictures will help convey that.
The first spooked fish was a smally, nothing to worry about but a great sign all the same. There were a few fish crashing about on the surface, difficult to say if they were pike or not as there’s a few other inhabitants in this particular water. One thing I can say for certain is that the water was freezing! I started off covering the water with a white and chartreuse split bunny pattern with no success. After a short time Craig joined me and we meticulously fished the bay. Nothing seemed to be doing, a few fly changes, a lot of areas covered and nothing. It took until about midday before we came across a fish when Craig hooked into a nice Jack that fell to a yellow deceiver. Here’s a short video of the fish, be sure to play it in HD.
That was Craig 1-0 up and something had to be done about that! Craig and I were working in opposite directions along the bank away from each other and not long after I had one have a couple grabs at my fly but it didn’t stick, got the adrenalin rushing again though! Presumably a Jack that missed the hook, could even have been a perch for all I know.
After covering a bit more water, I finally hooked into a spritely jack that gave a good account of itself. It was a white bunny pattern with a burnt orangey/browny/reddy marabou collar. Result! Fish on the bank and the score level at one a piece.
We decided to head back to the cars not long after this but on the way back Craig decided to try and outdo the 1-1 scoreline and upped the anti to 1.1-1. He found a piece of a pike! The full lower jaw was found in two pieces, a seriously impressive set of gnashers.
And that raps up this weekend’s fishing excitement. It was great to finally fish this water, one I’ve been looking at for a while and one that definitely warrants some time being spent on it. Hard to beat that for quality fly fishing after wild species in the winter outside the trout season! The weather is starting to get really cold though so it might soon be time to switch over to chasing Grayling instead.
My 11th Home International cap took me to my local water Grafham. This time of year, in fact all year round, Grafham is well known for its superb quality grown on fish. In recent years even more so.
A new food source has appeared in the water in the last 2 years known as the killer shrimp which tend to hug the closest of margins. These feeders were to play a major part in Englands assault on the gold medal. They come from about a sz14 hook to the largest of grub hooks on a sz 8. Their movement is eratic so a mix of figure of eight retrieves with the odd twitch is what is needed.
Team England had 3 full days practice before the match day. The lake was split into sections and each England pairing given an allotted area for each half of the day. It was important to find the areas with fish and those with no fish. On my first morning session I took 11 fish with just 1 under 3lb. Fish up to 5lb came to claret dries, Cruncher Boobies, Crunchers and the Candy Blob. The afternoon session yielded no fish which was just as important as catching the 11. The 2nd day I was allotted the middle of the lake which is where I love to be… In 5 hours I didn’t see any signs of a fish!
I have won numerous competitions on Grafham, including the Bob Church Classic twice and have drove away in a brand new RX300 Lexus after winning the Lexus European Open all through the middle of the lake. Due to the arrival of the killer shrimp, there is so much food in the margins I fear for the middle fishing for which Grafham is well known. But hey, the fish are still there, seem to be getting bigger quicker and can now be reached by the many bank anglers now returning to its shores.
Team England had 10 flies on a short list, 5 of which came from Iain Barr World Champions range. It was a mix of lures, nymphs and dries. My new top selling Candy Blob, new Cut Throat Crunchers and new Killer shrimp patterns were the top performers along with a Two Tone FAB.
Setting up my Enigma MkIII #8 fly rod, I was able to cast the full length of the fly line giving me the option to fish faster, keeping the flies near the surface, or fish slower dropping my flies through the layers finding the feeding depth of the fish. It is crucial to have a fishing rod that can cope with the sudden runs and lunges from the magnificent Grafham fish, but also to take advantage when the fish gives signs of letting up!
As a team we knew it was imperative to keep fishing fresh water as especially many of the better fish we were catching were just in a few feet of water. With boats ‘turning’ in the shallow water we looked for fresh drifts every time we drifted to the shore ensuring we hadn’t followed where a boat had just turned.
I had decided that I was heading out on a floating line, my Candy Blob on the point, Tangering Diawl Bach above it, Red Holo DB next and my new Cut Throat Cruncher on top dropper. A subtle difference from the other teams was for team England to fish 5foot of 15lb of G3 Fluorocarbon from the floating line then 7 foot of 8 or 10lb G3 to the first dropper. This allowed the flies to drop deeper if needed in the sun and more importantly kept the flies away from our fly lines which I have proved in experiments does spook the fish if pulled under by the weight of the flies.
I drew Mark Jones from Wales who fished a Di5 most of the day pulling lures. I did the absolute opposite with my blob and nymphs static on a floating line.
He drew first blood on the booby then I kicked in with a near 5lb Rainbow, best fish of the match, then 3 quick fire rapid fish upto 3.5lb. To my amazement he took me away into deep water when the clock struck 12:00
Almost 2 hours of nothing in his area of choice when I took 2 quick fish including my Grafham personal best of 7lb, Rainbow, on the static Candy Blob. I returned to D buoy dam area and anglers who had 1 or 2 when I left had 9s and 11s! I was now playing catch up.
I came in with 16 only to be pipped by Dave Hoppe of Wales for top individual spot who fished incredibly well to come in with 18 in the same area, top angling! England had record breaking margins to bring in the Gold, beating Scotland by 61lb, Wales in 3rd by over 83lb and Ireland in 4th by over 150lb.
Early September saw me competing in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Italy. We may have been high in the mountains but the temperatures at times were in the high 30′s which made it somewhat uncomfortable.
I wanted a fly rod that would do it all so opted for an Airflo Streamtec 10′ #4/5. This offered the length for deep nymphing at range and the flexibility of control of the most subtle of takes. I also used it for casting my #8 weight Di5 and other various fly lines. It was important not to use a rod which was too stiff but the #5 weight coped with the line and offered the softer tip so not to bounce the fish off when they took.
We used a good range of flies that were fine tuned by the time we reached the 3 competition days. Team England used a wide variety of patterns but it soon became apparent that the same half dozen patterns came to the forefront. Whenever fishing, especially competitions, it’s important to have a minimal selection of flies for the competition day. One of the teams hottest flies was a red thorax pheasant tail in various sizes with a tungsten bead. We used it from a sz 8 to a sz 14. The 2nd team favourite was a hares ear with a red and white collar, again with a tungsten bead. We also used this from a sz 8 to 14.
A full selection of these flies and possibly the widest variety of the very highest quality river flies will soon be available from BVG Airflo
There were 5 sessions, 4 rivers and 1 lake. 3 of the rivers were stocked which made them ‘peggy’ and the luck of the draw would play apart. A quick search with a red and black streamer or hot head lure soon let you know if you had any stocked rainbows in your beat. If not, deep nymphing would find some of the very big grayling to be had.
The lake was possible the most stunning venue I have fished and was stocked with brown trout. I fished 2 streamers 16 feet apart to take 5 fish and 2nd position. In crystal clear water it is vital to keep your flies well apart, especially two lures or streamers.
As the lake toughened due to the small area of concentration of fish England suffered 2 blanks as many of the competitors followed suite. On a blank avoidance session I hooked a fish in the dying seconds only for it to head down stream and break me off through rocks. This gave me the dreaded blank. Two other river blanks followed for Team England which saw the team drop to 10th. Going into the final day I was lying just 12 points off top spot but dropped to 50th with the blank. Italy came out on top and also took the top two individual placings.
The Welsh Youth World fly fishing team headed off to Sansepolcro, Italy on Friday 26th August to compete in the Fly Fishing World Championships along with another 11 countries. The Youth World fly fishing championships was just a small part of the Sport Fishing World Championship being held in Italy, along with 24 other disciplines and 51 countries competing. The categories ranged from Disabled Carp fishing through to long distance casting with beach casters, and every thing in between.
On the Sunday, All the teams competing in the Youth Championships, headed off to Florence for the opening ceremony. This is where everyone, or some members of all the Countries and discipline’s who were competing met up and marched. This was to give the Country a presence and play each anthem, welcoming everyone to the start of the world games.
Five sessions on 5 miles of the Tail Water Tevere were to be fished by each competitor. What made the competition more interesting, was the river was Catch and Release only, One fly, and one session dry fly only. This was going to be a test for everyone!
Throughout the competition, none of the team captains or managers were allowed to use cameras to take pictures or videos, other than Official press. As a result, there are not many pictures freely available until they are published. Below are some of the images I took whilst fishing/practising, before and after the competition.
After a four hour drive from Rome, we arrived at Sansepolcro late Friday evening, and decide to get some shut eye before we headed to the Tevere for our first practice day.
All in anticipation, we turned up at a beautiful river, an aqua blue sort of colour, but perfectly clear. The weather was hot and sunny, somewhere in the high 30′s! We tackled up at the van, and headed down towards the river. The first pool we arrived at, set us off, there were fish rising, swimming and jumping out of the water. Down along one of the creases of the run, we could see fish in access of 40cm, flashing, lifting and picking off nymphs as they drifted past. Great to see feeding fish in a new river!
The fishing was good, with all the boys taking fish, but quite bizzarly, all on the same method, the French Leader. The fish seemed to have held up in the shallow waters of the pool, just like the water above. Ankle deep.
With the water so clear, the fish could be spotted under the far bank, in my eyes, making them easy prey! If the fish was stationary, it would be pretty well camouflaged so a decent pair of polarised glasses would gain you an extra fish or two. Fishing the French leader with flies as small as 22′s unweighted, and 1.5mm tungsten beads was the way forward. Casting to spotted fish, not necessarily watching the fly, but the fishes actions; if it moved off station or lifted in the water he was yours, if it darted, it was spoked. Surprisingly many fish were spoked by the fly or nylon.
The takes were very slight, if you were watching the indicator in the leader and it moved, you were too slow! It was moving ever so slightly, maybe not even a CM! By the time the slack in your tippet (it was only 2 ft long!) was taken up with the flow+fish to move the indicator the fish would spit the fly out and spook. This is why watching the fish was so crucial, striking at any movement of the fish itself, as long as the fly was in that sort of area.
Nymping the deeper holes we caught a few trout, but nothing compared to the shallows. Judging by the takes we were getting in the slow water, more than likely we were missing the takes in the fast, with the leader not even registering with the slight takes.
The last session of the competition I was drawn on the Dry fly only section of the river, a cracking weir pool – perfect for nymphing!! Looking at the pool, I only had around 15 yards of fishable water, the back end of the run, were the water flattened out off the run slackened off.
I took 11 fish off that section on a variety of dries, but a spinner being one of the best patterns. It was a perfect copy of a crippled olive. Olives live and hatch in fast water, a weir pool being perfect. But the faster the water, the harder it is for the olive nymph to emerge, dry its wings and fly off. The turbulent water would trap the olive and ‘cripple’ it causing its wings break in a sense.
We fished this pool the day after, just for a few hours before the closing ceremony and prize giving. The boys all tackled up with nymphs and headed off up and down river to try and tempt some of the fish that hadn’t been caught on dries previously. Disappointingly, it didn’t seem to pay off! I tackled up with the dries and fished the same pool and approached it the same as the previous day in the comp.
Within a few minutes of waiting, 2 fish moved onto the gravel bar at the back end of the pool, not rising, but they were there.
These fish are super spooky, a cast from below covering the fish with the nylon and fly would spook the fish and cause them to stray off into a less accessible bit of water. The club which run the Tevere river, sell over 6000 tickets a year to guests, that’s 500 a month! So these fish knew flies and nylon!
I moved to above the fish, spooking the larger one in the picture. Sitting on the gravel, I changed my nylon to 0.80 kg.
Lets stop and talk about my kit.
Tackle was key! Light fly rods and fly lines were essential, the new Airflo Streamtec Nano 9ft 3/4 weight was my choice, the softness of the rod allowed me to use tipper as light as 1.5lb and not get broken off by big lunges off the fish. Accompanied by an Airflo Ridge supple technical fly line, it would allow me to cast 20yards plus, covering rising fish at distance with great presentation. The fly would seem to turn over however far I dare to cast, catching me bonus fish.
Another important aspect of my fishing gear were my waders. Purchasing a pair of Simms G3′s before heading out was one the best ideas I’ve had for a long time. The use of breathable material and Goretex, would allow the waders to breath, not causing me to sweat, which is a hard task in 30+ degrees! Sweat building up in the usual areas, around the ankles etc, would cause rubbing and itching and being out fishing all day, walking miles in blistering heat does become very uncomfortable! Thank’s to breathable waders I was very comfortable and could focus on the fishing. Imagine fishing in neoprenes in that heat?
Back to it.. I waited 5 minutes, and the larger fish appeared in the same lie. Giving it a few more minutes to settle, I threw my first cast over the fish, landing it around 5 feet above the first fish. The fly came down gently and drag free, up he rose in the water, getting a better look at the fly, it’s mouth opened sucked the fly in and gently lowered back down into the lie. I lifted and he was on. A pretty hefty fish of around 2lb, 45cm.
Each time I caught a fish, I changed the leader, the fishes teeth would rip shreds into the nylon and curl the end near the fly, not good on spooky fish, any fish in fact!
I sat in that same position for nearly an hour, taking the best part of 6-7 fish of that gravel bar, working the near and far side. Some cracking Italian trout.
This was my favourite fish of the whole trip. The day before, when I was on this stretch of the river in the competition, being modest I walked across the weir into the corner on the far left. Behind the small bush in the water in the slack, I spooked 2 fish, which I was pretty gutted about, but I thought I wouldn’t have caught them on a dry anyway, there were just milling around.
So now, I crossed the weir gently, and crept up behind the bush, to revel another fish lying in that same area! I swapped the dry for a 1.5mm tungsten nymph, dropped it in and up he came, taking the nymph at about mid level. Within seconds he was in the net, if he ran he would have come off!
Personally, I had a great competition, the years I’ve spent on the water in all different fishing situations seemed to have paid off getting me a 4th place Individually. Winning two of my sessions a 2nd a 5th and a 6th getting me just 15 place points in total, Just another two higher, and I would have been in with a medal! Maybe next time.
Below are the results of the whole competition.
Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did fishing it! Tightlines!