Posts Tagged ‘fly rods’
Trout and Salmon magazine review – 9′ 6″ #7/8 Airflo Super Stik fly rod!
It is very hard to find anything wrong this three-piece fly rod. It offers a significant step up in ability over the less-expensive rods. It has a middle-to-tip action – perhaps a bit more tip than middle, and the looks are just superb – featuring a bright white, modern logo.
Excellent with the 7wt Rio Perception fly line, the Airflo Super Stik was very capable with the Di 5 sinking fly line, hauling nicely – perhaps the Sonik and Aleka have a little more spine for pulling fast-sinking lines but this is forgiving on timing, offering lots of feel in the hand. It picks up line easily and casts effortlessly. You can push it and cast a long way. A friendly, genuine reservoir all-rounder for both bank and boat fishing!
Trout and Salmon – Conclusion
With 20 rods in this fly rod review, it was easy to identify the many differences in action and performance. Some performed well in certain disciplines, while others showed true all-round potential with both floating and sinking fly lines.
Our favourites were the Daiwa Lexa at £235, the Hardy Jet at £379 and the Airflo Super Stik at £129.99. All available from www.fishtec.co.uk.
The Daiwa Lexa is an exceptional rod for the money and performed better than any other. It was instantly easy to cast, forgiving and just a dream to use with all lines. It was difficult to choose between the Hardy Jet and the Lexa – they were closely matched in terms of performance and action. The Jet delivered all lines with precision, felt balanced in the hand and was extremely trusting. It’s a superb all-rounderfor fishing from the bank or boat, given it’s pedegree will no doubt prove very popular among ordinary fishers and those who fish competitions.
The Airflo Super Stik is a great rod at a mere £129.99 – which is why it makes our top three placings, it’s also a whole £249 cheaper than the Jet. It is a genuine all-rounder that has such feel that is a pleasure to cast. It is great for distance casting even though it’s rated a 7/8 it was perfectly suited to the lighter floater and dry-fly fishing, or pulling teams of flies on a heavy sinker. Excellent value for money.
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.