Winter On The Fisheries – Iain Barr Fly Fishing On Ellerdine Lakes

With the winter now setting in it can offer some of the best sport there is! Ellerdine is one fishery I visit once the frosts and snow appears as it sends the fish into a feeding frenzy! It’s bonanza time on the small waters as the warm waters of summer are long gone. Natural food is scarce and the fish have to feed which can make them a little easier.

Iain Barr with an Ellerdine lakes double

Iain Barr with an Ellerdine lakes double

They have to feed but they’re certainly not over active and the angler has to search them down. In this blog there will be some tips to increase your chances of enjoying some fantastic winter sport, aimed at the small waters.

Before we get to the water let’s have a think about what you wear as it can be nippy out there. Layers are key as opposed to several thick jumpers. It’s not usually the main body that gets cold but the feet tend to suffer so I load on 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair being thermal, and my new TF Gear Ultra Dri boots that have an internally fitted thermal stocking.

Most small waters are not too deep so usually a floating line to intermediate line will suffice.  Despite the cold there will still be small windows of fly life activity so don’t shy away from fishing small black buzzers or small nymphs.  Many anglers simply turn up and throw a lure at them and hope for all day action. They certainly have their time and place but I catch more fish on small waters with a small buzzer and small blob or egg fished static on a floating line.  The key is static as many small waters operate a catch and release policy so fish are used to the big lures and are used to the repetitive movement of the artificial flies we throw at them.

Iain Barr with an Ellerdine Tiger trout

Iain Barr with an Ellerdine Tiger trout

I tend to use Airflo’s 6lb G3 fluorocarbon for its thin diameter as winter waters are usually crystal clear also the finer tippet allows me to fish my size 14 small black buzzers with great presentation.  With this finer tippet I use my Airflo Streamtec 5/6 fly rod giving my arms a rest from my reservoir kit which is beefed up to #8 rods.

G3 Flourocarbon in 6lb

G3 Fluorocarbon in 6lb

Positioning of the buzzer is key to get that and the egg to the right depth. I place the buzzer just 4 foot above the egg or small original Iain Barr Candy Blob. The fish will be attracted to the egg or blob but if suspicious the buzzer is strategically placed to offer a more realistic meal. In many of the small waters I have fished with this combination I often watch the egg or blob descend and will often see it disappear without seeing the fish, strike instantly! Or going the other way, the egg or blob will start to move which indicates the fish has picked up the small buzzer. This is the warning to not just cast out and allow it to sink. Good polarised glasses are paramount for this and there is a good range available through Fishtec.

If you can’t see the flies dropping the next trick is to add mucilin grease to the last 2-3 feet of the fly line to make it ride high on the waters surface then simply watch this move. A small water favourite method is to fish an indicator or bung. This is where you suspend your flies under a buoyant fly or piece of foam and watch this dip under.  This certainly allows you to fish the flies static but you miss them tightening of the line in your finger tips which gives me the buzz!

Intermediates and lures certainly play their part! Small waters are often stocked frequently to keep active sport so a lure is always worth a try. White and Black and green lures are a must as are snake lures. What’s key is not to be too repetitive with your retrieve and to keep changing your flies and keep on the move. Don’t be tempted to fish two lures together as this could be too much for clear waters and pressured fish. I tend to find slowly moved lures will work better than those robotically thrown out and pulled back. Snakes have been a revolution in recent years and without doubt a medium figure of 8 is the best retrieve for hooking up.

A winter fishery trout

A winter fishery trout taken on a lure

Fish can be found in shallower water looking for any insect life hatching in this marginally warmer water, look for this preferably sloping off over a ledge. Many small waters have reeds along the edges, fish along these keeping a low profile. If the wind is not too strong it will pay dividends to fish straight into it. Don’t be put off by a head wind as the fish will be ‘up the banks’ so a far cast isn’t required. It’s more important to ensure the flies turnover and land straight than it is to get distance.  Keep low and bring your flies as close to the side as you can

Don’t be disappointed if the fish are not playing all day as you will find they feed in short periods and despite dipping temperatures , the last half an hour can be as busy as any part of the day!

Try my new Micro Buzzer packs along with my new Jelly Blob and Fab packs and fish them together static. Keep changing the colour of fab or blob. The Dancer pack is worth a go giving a variety of colours of gold headed lures. Fishtec are soon to be selling my single flies so look out for my new snakes for 2019, coming soon!!

Next blog will prepare you for when the Reservoirs open!

The Shortest Month – Rene’ Harrop

Noted mainly as being the shortest month of our longest season, February is a continuation of deep winter on the Henry’s Fork. Precipitation mostly in the form of snow averages more than in January while temperatures in the early part of the month can be among the coldest of the year. Still, there is benefit to a fly fisherman when daylight stretches toward 6:00 P.m., an addition of 1 ¼ hours from the lowest point in mid-December to February first.

A Hope For Spring

A Hope For Spring

For much of the month ice will continue to chill the river and fishing is mainly limited to deep nymphing for bottom hugging trout still locked in winter’s lethargy. Eventually, however, the occurrence of severely frigid days begins to thin and the river enters a period of reawakening.

While midges exist almost exclusively as the basis for February dry fly opportunity, the days of rising fish increase proportionately to increasing air temperatures as the month progresses.  Though spring Baetis are a rare feature prior to early March, there are occasional years when the first mayflies can make a token appearance in late February. Usually, this uncommon event portends an early spring which in the high country can mean returning to our mountain cabin in April rather than May. However, in a place where general prosperity is measured by the abundance of snow, only a foolish person would welcome the temporary comfort of a short, dry winter.

February Brown

February Brown

Fortunately, we now approach February with snow continuing to accumulate and the expectation of that trend extending into the foreseeable future. Accessing the river will be come more not less difficult until average daytime highs rise well above the freezing mark and rain becomes the common form of precipitation.

In the interim, I will savor the incremental process of achieving spring while enjoying even small advancements in outdoor comfort.

Back on the water

Back on the water

As the water warms and winter releases its icy grip, the activity level of trout responds proportionately to the change. Hungry from winter’s dormancy, the big guys will go on the prowl and the methods of capitalizing of this new-found energy begin to expand.

By February’s end, I will be pulling a streamer at least as often as fishing a nymph and the dry fly rod will seldom be left at home.

While warm days and green grass lie well into the future, the shortest month will not be time wished away nor will it include long strings of days spent indoors away from the water. And at this point in winter, that is good enough.

February Distraction

February Distraction

5 Top Tips For Keeping Your Bivvy Warm In Winter

With winter at it’s worst keeping warm in your bivvy whilst waiting for that illusive run is key. Our tips explain how you can keep yourself comfortable in even the harshest conditions!

Tip 1. Insulate your floor – the ground is your worst enemy in winter. Moisture, cold and damp rises from the floor up. Always use a groundsheet, and if you can layer the floor of your bivvy with an insulator such as an old piece of carpet or a thermal blanket. You can also strategically place items of luggage around key areas of your bivvy to keep drafts down.

All set up for winter angling!

All set up for winter angling!

Tip 2. Keep dirt and moisture out – Ensure you keep your muddy and wet boots outside your bivvy. A bivvy mat really comes in handy for footwear storage and to help rid any excess dirt or mud.

Bivvy mat

Bivvy mat – a winter carpers best friend

Tip 3. Heating – Many anglers are using bivvy heaters in order to stay warm in winter. When using heaters, safety is a major concern as carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat. Some of these, like the candle powered Nash bank Life heater are perfectly safe and easy to use. A hot water bottle is another essential, again with no safety risk.

Nash bank life bivvy heater

Nash bank life bivvy heater

Tip 4.  Select your swim with care – Swim choice and the positioning of your bivvy within it are a major consideration. Unless it is the lake ‘hot spot’ a very exposed swim with the wind howling onto it may not be the best choice. A sheltered swim may also be a good spot to find carp holding in a thermal refuge. Make note of where the wind is blowing and angle the front of your bivvy away from any prevailing cold winds. Also make use of any trees and vegetation in your swim that could give you a wind break or potential shelter from rain.

Tip 5. Clothing and sleeping bags – Your own body heat goes a long way so ensure you have the correct thermal gear for the job. 4 and 5 season rated sleeping bags are a must. A good bedchair cover is another addition that you should not be without. Thermal underwear, hoodies and a waterproof jacket are also ‘must haves’. A great bit of winter kit for sleeping in is the extremely warm TF Gear onesie.

tfg-chillout-onesie

The TF Gear Chillout hoody – perfect for cold weather carping!

For more warm clothing tips, including layering, check out our blog post here.

New Gear – Airflo Thermotex Pro Puffa jacket

Fishing clothing review: Robbie Winram of Trout Fisherman magazine takes a closer look at the new thermal garment from Airflo – the Thermotex Pro Puffa jacket.

This jacket is one of the ‘insulated’ designs that is becoming so popular, not just for fishing, but a whole range of outdoor pursuits.

It comes in a stylish steel-grey with highlights of bright yellow and wouldn’t look out of place on the high street or in the pub. It is made of polyester with horizontal baffles throughout the body and sleeves, and although the face fabric does not have a DWR finish it did fend off a light shower. But this jacket is all about providing warmth and even if its synthetic insulation does get soaked, it will still keep you warm, unlike natural down or feather which don’t retain heat when wet.

Thermotex Pro Puffa

Thermotex Pro Puffa

A full-length single zip has a good size storm baffle behind it, and it tucks away into a neat fabric chin guard to prevent chafing. The fixed hood has a bright yellow lining and has an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjusters to fine-tune the fit around the face.

The tail ends of the cords are concealed inside the jacket so they don’t hang loose. There is also a cord/toggle system on the back of the hood although this gives minimal adjustment and in fact the hood works better over the top of a peaked cap or hat.

There is one chest pocket and two waist pockets, all with zips and decent size, bright yellow pull tabs and cords. The sleeves finish in simple elasticated cuffs and at the bottom of the jacket is an elasticated cord with double toggle lock adjusters. Again the cords are retained inside the jacket and don’t hang loose. On the inside there are two very deep open-top pouch pockets for light accessories.

Available in sizes M to XXXL.

Verdict: The jacket is windproof and very warm but also breathable so will vent off any heat before it builds up. It glides over base layers so doesn’t restrict your casting action.The perfect garment on those crisp cold winter days or can be used as a mid-layer underneath a light waterproof shell.

Thermotex Pro Puffa jackets from Airflo are available here.

The new Airflo puffa jacket

The new Airflo puffa jacket

5 New Years Fishing Resolution’s For 2019

2019 is going to be a great year for fishing!! We all have New Years resolution’s, but how about some fishing ones? As an angler, these suggestions should hopefully improve your fishing year to come.

1. Fish more often

Did you fish as much as you had hoped for last year? Probably not. So set aside a target number of days to spend on the bank this year. For example, a minimum of 5, 10 or 20. Tick them off as you go so you know how many you have done. Tip: Why not tell the other half about your target, whilst she’s still in a festive mood?

2. Visit a new venue

Visiting a new water can change your mindset and get you thinking outside of the box. It’s always worth making that long drive to a place you’ve always wanted to fish, but have never visited. Instead of ‘maybe next year.’ plan a day and get in the car and do it when the time comes.

Dedicate a day to visiting a new venue

Dedicate a day to visiting a new venue

3. Get somebody into fishing

Our sport needs new members, so why not take somebody with you? A friend, child or relative might appreciate fishing and it could lead to a life long passion. So why not dedicate a day or two for sharing and instruction this year rather than for yourself.

family fishing

Image source: Tide Lines
Letting the kids come with you is a great way to catch their interest.

4. Get involved with a clean up

Whether you area member of a carp syndicate, an angling club or simply on a day ticket our rivers and lakes need a bit of TLC. Even if its a few hours of your time sweeping the bank with a bin bag, a clean up makes your venue a much better place to fish and inspires respect from others.

A river clean up. Image: Wandle trust

5. Take stock of your fishing tackle

The New Year is the perfect time to check through your fishing gear. Make a resolution to give it a good sort out – be ruthless and sell or giveaway the stuff you never use, or if it is past it’s sell by date chuck it out. If find you need near fishing gear, then indulge yourself – it’s better to have everything ready for 2019 than not.

It’s 2019 – time to sort out this mess and treat yourself to some new gear! Image: Ifish.net

Angling Trust And Fish Legal Fundraising Dinner

Worried about the state of our freshwater environment? We are and so are The Angling Trust.

Did you know that half of all aquatic species including many fish are in decline and 13% are threatened with extinction?

To help turn this around, Angling Trust have launched a new joint initiative with The Rivers Trust and WWF. YOU can help them raise vital funds to protect our freshwater environment and fish.

There are lots of ways to get involved with this joint initiative  – join them at their fundraising dinner, donate an auction lot or take part in the auction itself which has a fantastic range of lots to suit all budgets and tastes.

The Angling Trust 2019 Dinner Fundraiser

The Angling Trust 2019 Dinner Fundraiser

More information on the Angling Trust dinner event can be found here.

Airflo Spring Invitational 2019

After the resounding success of the 2018 event, the 21 team Airflo spring Invitational fly fishing competition is back for 2019!!

Once again, it will be held at Rutland Water with dates confirmed as 18th & 19th May 2019.

HOW TO ENTER/QUALIFICATION METHODS

We are just opening up the books on the Airflo Spring Invitational for 2019.

The following teams are invited to the Airflo Spring International on May 18/19th next year, they include last year’s winners the FNF Falcons, together with qualifiers from the AWAI and the Angling Trust loch style event:

2019 INVITED TEAM LIST

FNF Falcons, FNF Nymphomaniacs, Flash Attack/Reservoir dogs, Fishhawks ‘A’, Elinor, BRFFA Team Cortland, Welsh Hawks, Team Airflo, Team Vision, Change FF, Northern Drifters, Melvin Devils, OTFA, Draycote Rio Masters, Leven fly Casters, The Renegades

Entry forms will be sent to the above teams. Team captains must confirm that they will be entering by the 15th January 2019. Entry is payable by the 15th of January to confirm the teams place, failure to do so will eliminate the teams guaranteed entry place and this will then be offered to the next team in line from the AWAI or AT competitions.

There is a maximum capacity of only 21 teams and after we have confirmed from the above who is attending, we will open up the other 6 spots for entry on the 1st of February 2019.

ENTRY FEES

Once again the entry fee will be £200 per team; all team members will receive a goody bag including an Airflo fly line and Airflo Baseball cap with a combined RRP of £57.98

PRIZE FUND

  • 1st Team – £1500 Cash, Trophy, Medals, plus tackle prizes
  • 2nd Team – £750 Cash, Medals, plus tackle prizes
  • 3rd Team – £500 Cash, Medals plus tackle prizes
  • Top Rod overall – Trophy, plus Airflo fly rod
  • Top Rod Day One – Airflo reel
  • Top Rod Day Two – Airflo reel
  • Biggest Fish Day One
  • Biggest Fish Day two

FISHING TIMES (TBC)

Saturday will be fished 10am-6pm and Sunday will be 10am -5pm, after which we will be holding the presentation at the Fishing lodge, complete with a Hog roast.

FISHING RULES

The event will follow Airflo Anglian Water rules and a copy of these is available HERE.

APPLICATION

After the 16 invited teams have been confirmed, 6 spots will be open for general entry from February 1st. Applications are to be made in writing. Details of how to apply will be announced 1st February.

Rutland Water - A special venue

Rutland Water – A truly special venue

Christmas Gift Vouchers At Fishtec

Can’t think what to get your friend or family member for Christmas? Why not get them a voucher for their favourite UK fishing tackle store!!

Easy to buy and use, you can select the amount, the date the recipient will be emailed their voucher, and even include a Christmas message. Price – you decide! From £10 increments upwards.

Fishtec Fishing Tackle Gift Vouchers

Fishtec Fishing Tackle Gift Vouchers

If you have run out of time or cannot make a decision on a Christmas gift, Fishtec tackle gift online vouchers are an ideal present for the festive season. Fishtec gift vouchers have no expiration date and can be redeemed at any time you wish.

Fishtec Online tackle vouchers are available here.

For those who prefer to send vouchers in the post or present them in a Christmas card, paper gift vouchers are also available. These will be shipped to the recipient by Royal Mail. This service takes 2-3 working days.

Fishtec Physical gift vouchers are available here.

(Note: Physical vouchers need to be redeemed by post or in-store)

Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots Review

In this guest review fishing instructor and qualified guide Ben ‘Fly Guy’ Fox takes a look at a wading boot for all situations – the new Airtex 2 from Airflo!

With the latest Airflo kit impressing anglers up and down the country, including myself, I was pleased to get the opportunity to test out one of their latest additions, the Airflo Airtex 2 wading boots. Building on the excellent design and functionality of the original Airtex boots the new boots are a great example of modern features and materials.

Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots

Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots

When choosing wading boots it’s important to consider design and functionality.

Grip: The boot is the anchor you look too to keep yourself safe while wading through fast water, on slippy rocks and all manor of substrate. Do these boots do the above? Simply, yes. The boots have good strong stable soles (I had the Vibram) which offered good grip on the multitude of substrate I trekked across on my test session.  I had added Kold Kutter studs, available from the Fishtec website, which I would recommend doing as they do help grip on the trickiest conditions underfoot.

Support: When on your feet all day covering different gradients and often long distances its import that your boots support your feet, particularly the soles and ankles. I had no fear of going over on my ankle, thanks to the high sides, neoprene padding and strong rubberized heal and lower sides. As for covering long distances, after walking miles of river in them my feet didn’t ache, something that has often happened while wearing other boots or boot foot waders.

Cost: Built to last with top quality hard wearing fittings and materials were some boots fall short, the Airtex push the boundaries of what can be offered for the price point. I think they are great value for money.

Tough laces and corduroy eyelets will last a lifetime

Tough laces and corduroy eyelets will last the boots lifetime

Features:

Tough laces and corduroy eyelets should last the lifetime of the boot and the robust abrasion resistant outer ensure that it will be a long one.

Options to cover a wide range of foot sizes and with felt or Vibram soles available there’s a boot for all in the range.

Light weight despite the hard wearing components. Making them easy to walk in.

Drainage – wading boots can’t hold water for any length of time as the weight would become difficult to manage, drainage holes at strategic points allow this to happen quickly on the Airtex V2 boot.

Superb grip in slippery conditions guaranteed

Superb grip in slippery conditions guaranteed

To summerise: I was very impressed with the Airflo Airtex 2 boots. As a guide I rely on my gear to get me through both my own fishing, fishing with clients and competitions on running and stillwater. These wading boots will carry me through all conditions and situations and I recommend them to anyone looking for a high quality well priced boot that will last.

Airflo Airtex 2 wading boots retail at £119.99. They are available here.

About the author: Ben started his fishing career aged just 7. Progressing rapidly from coarse fishing, Ben soon became proficient at fly fishing and has taken part and triumphed in numerous competitions. He has represented England at youth level where he has 2 caps.

Ben Fox with a magnificent fly caught pike!

Ben Fox with a magnificent fly caught pike! Source Ben Fox Facebook page.

Based in Yorkshire but operating throughout the country, Ben spends his time as a qualified fishing guide and as an instructor with Fishing 4 Schools. Should you need quality angling coaching or a guided service be sure to check out Ben’s website here.

Top 10 Christmas Carp Fishing Gifts for 2018

Stuck on what to buy a carp fanatic for Christmas? Read on - we've got you covered.

Stuck on what to buy a carp fanatic for Christmas? Read on – we’ve got you covered.

As the festive season approaches, carp fanatics all over the country will be hoping their families forgo the socks and chocs for angling Christmas presents.

Here are ten items to add to your wish list this year, from bargains at well under £50 to top of the range tackle, clothing and accessories. Start dropping hints early…

FishSpy Camera

Fishtec Fishspy Camera

BUY: FishSpy Camera from Fishtec – £129.95

Once upon a time, castable underwater cameras were the stuff of science fiction, or hideously expensive. Not any longer! Get a different view of your swim with this brilliant FishSpy Camera. As well as being fun to use, it’s a great way to find features, check your rig or even watch the fish close in on your feed! There’s some sample footage here if you want to see more.

For a limited time only: FishSpy camera’s are being supplied with a FREE carry case and a FREE device stick.

Korda Mini Rigsafe Combi

All those bits and pieces of rig that carp anglers love to carry have a nasty habit of getting lost on the bank. This tidy rig board plus accessory box comes in handy to store all your crucial components in a small space. An excellent product to keep everything safe and organised!

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

While the typical bite alarm has fallen steeply in price over the last few years, it still pays to invest a little more and buy quality. Three super-reliable alarms plus a receiver is great value at £199.99 with this superb Prologic set. Great performance for the mid range budget-conscious carper.

TF Gear Banshee Carp Rods

Fishtec-carp-rod

BUY: TF Gear Banshee Carp Rods – from £29.99

For beginners to carp fishing, or perhaps for a keen angler who wants to add a marker or spod rod to their set up, you won’t find better value than the TF Gear Banshee. Correct! You get twice the rod for your cash. Hundreds of happy customers will tell you the Banshee is a great carp fishing rod, with prices starting at just £29.99. Check out the options here.

TF Gear Airflo Bivvy

Is your bivvy looking tired or falling to bits? The cooler months are no time to be without a reliable shelter on the bank. This TF Gear Airflo MK2 Bivvy performs effortlessly well, with amazingly easy “air poles” for rapid set up, and rigid, dependable performance in the worst of weather.

Ridgemonkey Compact Frying Pan

Here’s a clever idea from Ridgemonkey. It’s a shallow “breakfast” pan in four sections that changes to a deeper pan with a single flip. It’s also durable and super portable. Whether you’re knocking up a breakfast fry up or a curry on a cold night, this space saver is just the job. Click here to order.

HD Waterproof Action Sports Camera

For those who fancy some underwater filming without breaking the bank, this little waterproof sports camera has specifications well above its price tag. It has various settings from 1080 pixel / 25 frames per second film, to stills and time lapse options. Add fittings such as a head mount and selfie set and you have a very versatile camera in the style of the classic GoPro, all for well under £50!

Trakker Waterproof Thermal Core Multi-Suit

For anglers who brave the worst conditions, a warm, comfortable all-weather suit is a must-have rather than a luxury. With features such as reinforced knees and seams, along with fleece-lined pockets, this Trakker Multi-Suit will keep you toasty even when the elements are fierce. A great gift for any fishing fanatic prone to catching colds or staying out too long in the wet!

Jag Hook Sharpening Kit

Carp anglers often get fussy about the sharpness of their hooks, and for good reason. The chances of a hooked fish are greatly increased by having a “sticky-sharp” point as opposed to a less than keen edge. This special Jag Hook kit has all you need to hone rigs to optimum efficiency in one tidy pouch, bringing even tired hook points back to their best.

TF Gear Heavy duty carryall

 

TF Gear heavy duty carryall

TF Gear heavy duty carryall – £54.99

With most carp anglers carrying a fair bit of kit for longer sessions, a tidy way of keeping it all in good order is a must. Designed to hold various accessory cases perfectly, this TF Gear carryall is built to last. Packed with well-thought out features it has an extra long pocket for rig storage and space up-top for your buzzer bars.

But if you still can’t quite decide…

Last but not least, if you can’t choose between these carping Christmas present ideas, why not buy some Fishtec vouchers? Available in multiples of £10, they allow anglers to choose their own treat. Available in paper or digital versions.

Whatever gifts you choose this year, we wish all you tight lines and a very Carpy Christmas!