Top Five Water-loving Dogs

man and dog

Some dogs love a day’s fishing almost as much as their owners
Image source: Shutterstock

Some dogs have an innate love of water and, with patience, can be trained to be excellent fishing companions…and there are other mutts, incredibly annoying four legged fur balls whose presence on the riverbank is a blight on your day.

If you like a hound for company, here are five breeds which, with the right instruction, will enjoy a day’s fishing without driving you and your fellow anglers to distraction.

1. Standard Poodle

poodle

Poodles love to play in the water
Image source: Shutterstock

Originally bred to retrieve waterfowl, the poodle gets its name from the German word pudeln, “to splash in water.” Poodles are still used as hunting and retrieving dogs, their famous “poodle cut”, an 18th century invention designed to make them more buoyant.

Standard Poodles love to impress their human families and get along well with children and other dogs. Intelligent animals, they’re protective, love to be trained, and often excel at dog sports.

2. Newfoundland

newfoundland

Newfoundlands are extremely strong swimmers and can withstand cold water
Credit: Jeremy Tarling. Image source: Creative Commons

A big-hearted dog that’s gentle, protective and loves children, Newfoundlands also have an affinity with water that makes them excellent angling companions.

In J.M.Barrie’s Peter Pan, ‘Nana’ is the Newfoundland employed by the Darling family to look after the children. In reality, Newfoundlands were a tough working dog bred to help fishermen by hauling nets, towing mooring lines and moving loads by cart.

With their double-layered coat, webbed feet and immense strength, Newfoundlands are superb swimmers which are also known for their courage and determination. One Newfoundland called Whizz was recently posthumously awarded an OBE for saving the lives of nine people during its lifetime.

3. Portuguese Water Dog

water dog

Bo, the Obamas’ family dog outside the White House
Image source: Flickr Wikimedia

Remember Bo and Sunny, the Obamas’ White House pets? Portuguese Water Dogs weren’t originally bred for high office, but for herding shoals of fish into nets.

Portuguese Water Dogs also retrieved lost fishing gear and acted as boat-to-boat couriers, carrying messages between fishermen.

Closely related to the standard poodle, this intelligent breed has webbed toes for swimming, strong legs and a wavy coat that repels water. Portuguese Water Dogs are content to stay close to their masters and can be trained to follow complex commands.

4. Labrador Retriever

lab

Labrador Retrievers love to swim
Image source: Wikimedia creative commons

The modern Labrador Retriever is a descendent of the St John’s Water Dog, a Newfoundland breed famous for its swimming and retrieval abilities. Benefiting from a dense coat that repels water and keeps it warm, the modern Labrador is the UK’s most popular family dog.

A Labrador’s soft mouth means it can be trained to retrieve fowl and fish, and because it’s intuitive and responsive to body language and hand signals, giving your Lab’ orders needn’t disturb your fellow anglers.

Labradors can sometimes be very intense around water, but you can avoid this by beginning their water training while they’re young.

5. English Setter

english setter

A loyal English Setter will even help to carry your tackle
Image source: Pixabay.com

English Setters were originally bred as bird dogs to point and retrieve game on English moors. Known for being affectionate, gentle, intelligent and social, they excel at a wide variety of tasks including pointing, retrieving and tracking.

These beautiful water-loving dogs mellow from about the age of three years and love human company. In fact, even more than most dogs, English Setters need to be with people and part of their owners’ daily lives.

An ideal dog for those looking for companionship and affection, your English Setter will love you even if you never catch a thing.

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Top Ten New Fly Fishing Products

fly fishing tackle

New tackle to get your season off to a flying start

Which new fly-fishing products are turning heads and winning rave reviews as we enter the new 2017 season? Here is our quick guide to some of the best tackle out this year.

Reel value from Vision

fly reel

The Vision Deep Fly Reel

While it is easy to be wooed by the bling on show in any selection of modern fly fishing reels, those that give top performance and good looks at well under £100 are a rarer beast. Which is why we think the new Vision Deep Fly Reel is sure to be a big hit with anglers across the UK. Strong, light and with a high capacity, they also feature quick release spool system and a smooth, reliable drag. Find them in sizes from 5/6 to 11/12 at Fishtec from just £69.99.

Slick fly fishing accessories

scissors

Dr Slick XBC Accessories

Blending style with top quality, the new Dr Slick XBC Accessories are sure to win fans and wow those already in the know. When it comes to trimming knots, unhooking fish or debarbing flies, these new tools really excel, while the funky designs are sure to earn jealous glances from your pals! Get some on your zinger for the new season from £5.99 up.

Sure to polarize opinion!

sunglasses

Lightweight glasses with polycarbonate lenses

Fish spotting specs come in various guises these days, but few combine top quality polarization with style quite like this. Funky yet functional, these Tetra White Frame Polarising Glasses from Bolle (£99.99) would make a great buy, or indeed an eye-catching gift, for any style-conscious angler.

Waders to combat wear and tear

waders

Airflo’s Super Tough PVC Chest Waders

Are you one of those anglers who likes tackling the rough stuff? For anyone who puts their waders through a real test every season, the rigors of rocks and undergrowth can take their toll. Hence we like the approach of Airflo’s Super Tough PVC Chest Waders. Double stitched seams, reinforced knees and other features make these a tougher breed for the angler who doesn’t do manicured fishing. Taller folks will be pleased to see that they go up to a size 13, while the price is also very reasonable at just £79.99 to Fishtec customers.

Fly lines that deliver…

flyline

Greys Platinum Stealth Flyline

It’s always good policy to renew your fly lines every so often. Should you be looking for brilliant performance without breaking the bank, however, the new Greys Platinum Stealth Fly Lines are worth every penny. Already Trout Fisherman award-winners in 2017, they are super slick and perfectly tapered for easy casting, while the dual-colour finish is ideal to avoid spooking fish. Sure to be one of our best sellers this year, find them at Fishtec for the excellent price of £34.99.

Top notch wading jackets from Vision

Lohi jacket

Vision Lohi Jackets

For anglers who often get immersed in their local water, a quality waterproof jacket is a must. But with high street brands seldom cutting it for this type of use, perhaps it’s time to treat yourself to something built-for-purpose? The new Vision Lohi Jackets (£219.99) not only look the part but perform beautifully. Totally waterproof and breathable, they’ll keep you dry and comfortable for many seasons to come. Great quality and durability, in sizes M-XXL.

Take wading and walking in your stride

wading boots

Scierra X-Force Wading Boots

If you’re someone who often walks a fair distance in a day, typical wading boots are not always ideal. With trekking style soles that will tackle rough terrain on land as well as the river itself, the Scierra X-Force Wading Boots (from £169.99) look like winners. Reinforced toes and soles, along with superb ankle support, further add to durability too.

Fly fishing wear with classic appeal

jacket

Snowbee’s popular jacket

Ok, so it would be a little disingenuous of us to call Snowbee Prestige clothing completely “new” after several years of popularity. But you would struggle to fault the current range in terms of sheer comfort and practicality. Innovative, breathable designs are matched with traditional good looks and sound value throughout, from jackets to bibs and braces.

Get a “Grippa” on your flies

fly box

Airflo Grippa Silicone Fly Box

We all love a good-looking fly box, but the new Airflo Grippa Silicone Fly Box (£14.99) is one that stands out for other reasons too. Durable, shatterproof and water resistant, its silicone fly slots will never wear out, while it is also slim enough to be stowed away with ease.

All Weather Winners from Simms

bib and brace

Simms bib and brace

If you’re the type of angler who needs to feel comfortable in all weathers, all year round, the new Challenger Clothing from Simms sets an uncompromising standard in 2017. Available in both subtle and higher-vis colours, the new Challenger Jacket (£249.00) and Bib and Brace (£199.00) offer unrivalled quality to tackle the very worst of the British climate. Thoughtful features such as fleece-lined pockets and draw cord adjustments add an unrivalled level of comfort to keep you focused on the fishing rather than the weather.

Catch the latest products and best tackle deals from Fishtec…

Did we miss your favourite new product? Or perhaps you were looking for something completely different? Fishtec stock a huge range of the best fly fishing gear, from great value starter outfits to top of the range rods and tackle and we always welcome your product reviews and queries of all kinds.

Keep an eye on the Fishtec Facebook Page for our latest fly fishing news and current tackle deals!

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Choices – April Field Report By Rene’ Harrop

There is much to celebrate as winter advances into spring, especially at high elevation. Here at St. Anthony, Idaho, the snow is now gone and I watch the budding of shrubbery that surrounds a greening lawn in my back yard.

As in past years, these official indicators of a new season represent more than just warmer temperatures and an increase in daylight hours.

While I have been fishing consistently for nearly a month, most of my time on the water has involved probing the lower Henry’s Fork with streamers and nymphs. There is no complaint with respect to these honorable methods and I enjoy them at any point of the year.  But as the days become more comfortable and the variety of aquatic insects expand, so too do the choices that are available.

April Rainbow

April Rainbow

By April, my dependence upon midges and an occasional showing of Baetis mayflies for an excuse to break out the dry rod becomes somewhat more relaxed. Conditions that permit the emergence of plant life from winter dormancy have a similar effect on water born organisms that average larger than size twenty two. Additionally, receding snow at higher elevation increases the variety of opportunities to fish water different than what I have been dependent upon for the past several weeks.

Warm April Day

Warm April Day

Caddis and March Brown mayflies can approach size fourteen, and these are the hatches I anticipate as April progresses along the lower river. While considerably smaller, the reliability and intensity of spring Baetis also increase the likelihood that I will be fishing dry flies on any given day.

Gareth -April On The Fork

Gareth -April On The Fork

Although a drive to Island Park in early April will yield only Baetis action and the likely presence of snow, a return to Last Chance Run always brings additional excitement as the time to be there full time draws near.

Of course, nymphs and streamers will not be forsaken in favor of strictly fishing dry flies because most of the bigger trout will still be found beneath the surface, but in April it will usually be a matter of choice rather than necessity.

April Streamer

April Streamer eater

 

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CHALK – A Fly Fishing Film Project

The producers of a new fly fishing film “CHALK” have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their project. The feature-length documentary will be a hymn to the chalkstreams of southern England, examining how an accident of geography helped to shape not only the landscape, but the sport of fly fishing.

The team behind the project have a strong pedigree, consisting as it does of fishingbreaks.co.uk owner and author of The Life of a Chalkstream, Simon Cooper, young filmmakers Chris Cooper and Leo Cinicolo, collectively known as Chalkstream Fly, and the Video on Demand platform FishingTV. The combination of Simon’s huge knowledge and connections, Chris and Leo’s skill behind the camera and in the editing suite, and FishingTV’s experience of making and marketing high quality fishing programmes should make this the definitive film about the chalkstreams, something that will stand the test of time.

Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper

The project arose from an idea that Ed Burgass, FishingTV’s Commercial director, had been thinking about for some time. “The chalkstreams are talked about all over the world in hushed tones, but very few people actually realise just how special they are, why they are, or the important role that they played in the development of fly fishing,” he said. “I thought it incredible that no one has made a film like this before, really explaining all this about Halford and Skues and the importance of the chalk for the water quality and all that.”

However he also explained that he had always felt that if it were going to be made it needed to be done just so: “It had to be really carefully planned, filmed on the right locations, well-funded. Using a crowdfunding model allows us to have total creative control.” Another appeal, according to Burgass, was the chance to engage with the audience.

Chalk Stream trout

Chalk Stream trout.

“Fly fishing, especially on chalkstreams, has a very elitist image, and we want to try to dispel that myth through this film. We want to reflect that anti-elitist message in the way we make this film, which is why we have some really cool rewards for anyone who chooses to contribute, with the chance to actually be in the film – fishing – or to see early edits and give feedback during the editing process.”

The rewards start from just £3 so anyone can contribute, but for those with deeper pockets there are also some fantastic fishing opportunities up for grabs, including a day of salmon fishing on the Hampshire Avon with FishingTV star Rae Borras, on his private beat, and a day of trout fishing with Orvis Ambassador Marina Gibson. These rewards are limited in number, so anyone keen to take advantage should act quickly.

To find out more about the project, please check out the Kickstarter page.

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To Infinity And Beyond – Simon Crow On Carp Fishing Gadgets!

There are lots of gadgets in carp fishing today which divide opinion, but I’m one of those anglers who embraces change, making use of the latest products if I think they are going to help me catch a few more fish.

I’m a short session angler whose time is very precious so I don’t see the point in making hard work of something if there’s a new tool which will make life easier.

Bite alarms

Bite alarm

It might seem hard to believe, but many years ago bite indicators were frowned upon by lots of anglers

When I was a lad I remember the older guys looking at my bite alarms and giving them a right slating. Now buzzers are viewed as an essential part of the carper’s kit, and there are upwards of a dozen companies making more than one model each.

Bite alarms now range from the very basic type which clip onto the line, to ones which operate with digital technology. We can now get different coloured LEDs on our alarms, vibration modes to assist deaf anglers, high and low pitch tones, as well as remote boxes which sound when we’re several yards away.

Bait boats

Bait boat

Bait boats aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they will certainly help you catch more fish

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard someone slag off bait boats, I’d be a rich man. One of the best excuses I hear from the moaners is that anglers use them to put baits in unsafe areas. Well the same could be said about line in trees and carp towing cracked off rigs because someone has just gone for the ‘big chuck’!

Who’s right and who’s wrong? My advice is to embrace them both. Casting allows us to use our judgement to ‘feel down’ a lead to the lake bed, while bait boating gets rigs quietly into position without excessive casting.

Echo sounders

Echo sounder

Echo sounders are brilliant for checking the depth but not so good at finding the fish

Echo sounders get a bit of stick because, apparently, they take away the skill of watercraft. I know where the detractors are coming from with this one because the day we’re told where our target fish is swimming is the day we become trappers not anglers.

But today’s echo sounders aren’t even very good at deciphering whether an echo is a snag or a fish, let alone capable of picking out individual carp, so we’re a long way off them being a substitute for traditional watercraft skills.

I use echo sounders for depth finding and looking for clear spots, mainly because they reduce the amount of casting (aka carp spooking) needed. They’re also great when I’m on a big water where boats are allowed and even the best casters in the world won’t get beyond the margins.

Underwater cameras

Underwater camera

Life below the marker float, what a great way of checking your baited spot

This moves me onto the underwater camera, a piece of kit which is fast becoming a common sight at venues where the water is nice and clear. You can attach them to bait boats or normal boats and even floats like FishSpy which then send the image back to your smartphone.

Using them for finding fish is a hassle, so their main advantage lies in helping you check out the bottom, especially once you’ve cast out and want to know that your hookbait is sitting right.

I really rate the cameras on floats although their cost needs to come down a bit before they turn into ‘must have’ items. Just the thought of cracking off with £150 on the end is enough to stop many an angler from becoming a convert. (Editors note: FishSpy underwater camera’s are now £129.95)

Droning on

drone

A bird’s-eye view without climbing a tree
Image: Shutterstock

Last but not least we come to the latest craze – drones. Yes folks, believe it or not, carp anglers are starting to use drones with cameras to help them find fish, as well as to identify features. Climbing trees to get a good view is a thing of the past as nothing quite compares to getting a proper bird’s-eye view.

You can even leave your drone hovering in the air while you cast out, keeping an eye on your phone screen to check that the cast has landed ‘spot on’. A decent drone with a camera and smartphone app will cost about £500 and believe me it’s worth every penny, unless that is, you end up dumping it in the lake when the connection cuts out!

So there you have it, a look at a few of the latest carpy gadgets on the market. You can take or leave them – fishing will always be a sport which leaves the choice entirely up to you.

Simon Crow

Thank you to Simon Crow for permission to use these images.

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Take a friend fishing for free this Easter

Do you have friends and family who have never tried fishing before? Encourage them to give it a go for free, as part of a new nationwide campaign to promote the sport.

This Easter is the start of the Take a Friend Fishing (TAFF) campaign. Run by the Angling Trades Association in partnership with the Environment Agency, the campaign is also supported by Angling Trust fisheries, clubs, coaches and individual fishery venues around the UK.

How many of you tried fishing once and became hooked for life? Share your love for this ancient sport by tempting children out from behind computer screens, enjoying fresh air with friends and watching someone you know experience that special feeling of a fish on the line?

The first Take a Friend Fishing event will run from Saturday 8th April until midnight on Sunday 23rd April 2017.

How to Take a Friend Fishing


It’s really straightforward.

Get a free one-day rod licence here

Print off the rod licence voucher, fill in your details and validate it here

In addition to a free rod licence, your friend can also fish for free at a number of participating venues

If your friend or family member enjoys their day and wants to carry on fishing, they need to buy an annual rod licence by visiting the government’s website.  For the first time, juniors aged 12-16 can get an annual licence for free.

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Introducing Hodgman Fly Fishing Products

Fishtec are pleased to announce we are stocking Hodgman fly fishing products for the 2017 season.

Hodgman are an American firm that have been producing premium fly fishing gear since 1838; renowned for their fly fishing clothing, breathable waders and innovative wading boot design, Hodgman offer first class fly fishing gear.

New to the UK for spring 2017, Fishtec have cherry picked a full range of Hodgman products that we feel offer tremendous value for money, with superior quality that only an American brand can offer.

What makes Hodgman garments so special in our opinion is attention to detail. Every product has been carefully thought out with the fly fisherman in mind. Packed full of features, we are sure this brand is going to be a major hit in the UK alongside the likes of Simms and Patagonia. Hodgman equipment isn’t low budget orientated, it’s quality. You really do get what you pay for when you invest in Hodgman equipment and their stuff is clearly built to last.

The following videos are a ”must watch” – our key Hodgman products are explained in detail!

Hodgman product videos:

Hodgman H5 Stocking Foot Wader

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Stocking Foot Wader

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Zip Front Stocking Foot Waders

Hodgman Core INS Wader Liner

Hodgman H-Lock Interchangeable Sole Wading Boots

Hodgman Aesis Shell Fly Fishing Jacket

Hodgman Aesis 3-In-1 Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Wadelite Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Hyperdry Down Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Softshell Fleece Jacket

The full range of Hodgman fly fishing equipment can be found here.

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What kind of coarse angler are you?

Take our coarse fishing quiz and find out which type of angler you are.

Some coarse and carp anglers can be found with 3 rods, a bbq loaded with food, and a weekend ‘pass’ from their better half. Others will rush down to the lake for an afternoon cast with nothing but their fishing rod, bait and a sarnie.

Are you a savvy specimen hunter, or a pleasure angler who simply enjoys the outdoors? It’s time to find out.

Not your discipline? Take our scenario quizzes for coarse or fly fishing instead.

Thanks to Dom Garnett for crafting the questions and permitting us to use his images. To read more from Dom, head over to his website D G Fishing.

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What kind of fly angler are you?

Take our fly fishing scenario quiz and find out which type of angler you are.

In the right hands, fly fishing tackle can be used to display ninja-like skill and poise; in the wrong hands it can become a rather clumsy way of decorating trees.

Where are you on the grand scale of fly fishing? It’s time to find out.

Not your speciality? Why not try our fishing scenario quizzes for carp or sea fishing instead?

Thanks to Dom Garnett for creating the questions and allowing us to use his excellent images.

You can catch more from writer and guide Dom Garnett, at his website DG Fishing or from his books including the Amazon bestseller ‘Flyfishing for Coarse Fish‘.

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What kind of sea angler are you?

Take our sea fishing quiz and find out which type of sea angler you are.

Over two million of us enjoy sea fishing in UK waters each year, but are you king of the seas or a sea fishing civilian? Time to find out…

Not your discipline? Take our scenario quizzes for coarse or fly fishing instead.

Thanks to Chris Middleton from British Sea Fishing for crafting the questions in our sea fishing scenario quiz.

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