Airflo Skagit Scout Fly Lines – Casting Tips By Tom Larimer

The new Airflo Skagit scout heads are sure to be popular this year for UK Sea trout and salmon anglers looking to use a lighter set-up, such as single hand fly rod or lower line rated switch rod.

Scout heads are short and compact, meaning they are prefect for where back casting space is severely limited. They have just the right taper to punch out a heavy sink tip and a big fly if required. Above all, distance casting is made quick and supremely easy.

Tom Larimer, Airflo fly line designer and pro-spey caster has produced some great instructional videos featuring the new Scout heads. With superb tips for anglers looking to use shorter bellied shooting heads for their fishing, they are well worth checking out!

Scout Heads are available here.

Airflo Skagit scout

Airflo Skagit scout specs

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Waders – A Carp Fishing Essential

My friend Paul Forward and I have a little saying ‘sensible use of waders’ and it always brings a smile as it was a caption used on a photograph in a magazine photograph of him many years ago, and Paul practically lives in waders.

I too am a great advocate of rubber leg wear and I have many sets of various types. In fact, I currently have a set of wellington type boots, a pair of thigh waders and some of the new TF Gear Hardcore chest waders all in a pile in the back of my truck and I rarely leave home without all three.

Waders are a carp fishing essentail

Waders are a carp fishing essential.

Our sport is a wet one but there is really no need to suffer it by getting ourselves wet and many opportunities and circumstances will require that we get into the water to one degree or another.

Using waders to hand place baits into the margins is a method that has caught me countless fish over the years, scuffing my feet along the bottom to locate cleaned off gravel spots or little depressions in the lake bed.

Baiting up by hand in the margins

Baiting up by hand in the margins.

There have also been many occasions where I could not actually fish the areas I wanted without wading out with long bank sticks and having the rods out in the lake due to the lack of actual swims.

The safe retaining of fish is another area where chest waders are a ‘must have’ item as you often cannot just sack a fish in a shallow margin and a bit of depth needs to be found slightly further out into the lake.

Even on the bank a set of chest waders can be a huge advantage, particularly when dealing with a lively fish in cold and wet conditions for photography. A decent, flexible set of chest waders perform like a set of waterproofs and keep all your clothes nice and dry and warm, allowing you to return to bed in comfort rather than dripping wet.

I mentioned ‘flexible’ because there are, obviously, different types and grades of rubber used in waders and it is important to choose correctly.

TF Gear Hardcore waders are flexible and comfortable to wear

TF Gear Hardcore waders are flexible and comfortable to wear.

A thick or stiff set of waders will be uncomfortable and eventually crack whereas a nice soft and flexible pair like the premium TF Gear Hardcore waders, will be far more comfortable and allow you to wear them for longer periods of time.

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Winter Fly Fishing On Farmoor Reservoir

Winter is prime time for the smaller waters across the UK as many large reservoirs close, albeit for a much shorter period than some years ago.

For those who prefer a larger, more challenging venue then Farmoor Reservoir, hosting a World Bank Masters final sponsored by Airflo, continues to be open all year round. Occasionally closing during hotter summer months if water temperatures are too high.

7lb of Farmoor magic

7lb of Farmoor magic!

It is here where I ventured for a days guiding last week. Again, the fishing was simply amazing with cracking fish up to 7lb right off the top! Farmoor is associated by some as a deep booby water and this is simply not true in many aspects. It has some of the best buzzer fishing I have had, fry time can be explosive and the dry fly fishing some of the best I have had.

A happy client with a Farmoor cracker!

Last week wasn’t the warmest days but with light winds and buzzers hatching there were fish moving! Off came the fast sinkers as me and now a good friend Ron Howard came up on to floaters and midge tips. I opted for my infamous Iain Barr original candy fab and two nymphs, a woofta buzzer and cut throat cruncher. I had a few brief few casts with a Minkie Booby and 4 fish smacked it off the top but none connected so the tried and tested fab was offered.

My partner for the day was having joy with a white minkie booby as fish harrassed it across the top but the confident takes were definitely coming to the much slower fished Fab, in fact, almost static! In a frantic 15 minutes I had landed 3 crackers to 7lb right off the surface!! I had to pinch myself that it was still February!!

We traveled the full lake taking fish in most spots with most offers certainly coming in the top 4 feet. Its important to keep on the move this time of year as often you have to go to the fish, they wont come to you. We tried deep in several places and we did hook in to fish proving like on most reservoirs there are two layers of fish, those feeding deep and those searching the higher layers. This is worth remembering for any winter trips as it is very typical on most fisheries.

Rod bending action all day!

Rod bending action all day!

Slow retrieves out fished anything pulled which is paramount for this time of year. The buzzers and crunchers caught fish too up to 5lb! The water was clear so I generally stuck with a lure and nymph combination and caught steadily through the day. My partner was having great joy on a minkie booby fished off the top and down deep and landed some crackers including a double up! With these Farmoor fish in tip top condition and plenty of 4-5lb fish and many bigger, don’t shy down in tippet if visiting there, especially for the Bank Masters! I was on 11.2lb new Airflo G5 fluorocarbon on the midge tip and 13.1lb new G5 on the Di5. These fish are strong, big and hit hard!!

If venturing out through these winter months try lures with an imitative fly too, it brings great rewards. Having enjoyed most of my day fishing slow on the midge tip, I couldn’t resist trying some of my new snake flies and WOW! The response was explosive and certainly fast and furious!

Big snake flies work!

Big snake flies bring out an aggressive response!

With entries closing for the Farmoor Bank Masters on 24th Feb, there is still time to enter! There are over 200 anglers booked in for the weekend with top anglers from the UL and Europe including Spain, Norway, Poland and Belgium joining in. We also have beginners and people fishing competitions for the first time which is exactly what we wanted. They want to be part of something big and take in the experience and learn something along the way which is exactly where I started some 30 years ago now. Wow, that long! 😉

Fly packs to try this month:

Minkie Boobies
Black Buzzers sz 12
Crunchers sz 12
Snakes / Snake Boobies

A quality Farmoor rainbow – 4lb lump on a woofta!

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10 Great Reasons To Watch Fishing TV!!

If you’ve been watching the latest fishing series to hit the screens in the UK, Carp Wars, you’ll know that TF Gear’s pro angler Dave Lane has been putting in a strong performance!

What you may not know is that the programme was made by a new video on demand service seeking to shake up the world of fishing television in the same way that Netflix is challenging traditional TV channels – Fishing TV.  The service is available as an app for smartphone, tablet and SmartTV, as well as being available on a variety of other set-top boxes and devices, including Amazon Fire TV Sticks.

Fed up with the mediocre, lowest-common denominator programmes on TV, they not only make their own excellent shows and films, but also scour the planet for the very best fishing content available to mankind. There are channels dedicated to every major style of fishing, but in this ‘top 10’ we’ve chosen from The Carp Channel, Coarse and Match Fishing, and Predators.

Carp Wars

Carp Wars

As mentioned above, Carp Wars is one of the shows that Fishing TV have created and produced themselves, and it acts as a brilliant example of the way these guys think about fishing and how to present it on TV.

The concept is straightforward: five of the UK’s best carp anglers and one ‘unknown’ lock horns in a series of one-on-one carp fishing matches, held over 24 hours. After 15 matches the top two anglers go through to a grand final, held over 48 hours at the Etang le Fays fishery in France. Each match is one half hour episode, and with the likes of Ian Russell, Dave Lane and Ian Chillcott taking part it really is a who’s who of the carp fishing world. The series has been airing on Sky Sports, but every episode broadcast so far is available to stream from Fishing TV.

If you like this you’ll also like: Chilly on Carp 1 & 2

Carp Up Close
Join Tom ‘The Machine’ Maker as he embarks on a quest to bag himself a 40lb carp. With narration by Nick Hancock, this sixty minute documentary style film contains some great big fish action and features, among other fish, a huge UK-caught catfish.

If you like this you’ll also like: Year of the Compulsive Angler

The Tuition with Iain Macmillan
In this feature length film professional carp fishing tutor Iain Macmillan offers practical advice and answers to the most common questions that he get asked by his clients. He covers everything from spooling a reel to fish care and plenty in between. Filmed at a private lake and with lots of fish in the net over the course of the film, this is a great watch for anyone hoping to improve their carp fishing.

If you like this you’ll also like: Carp Coach – Ian Russell

Improve your Coarse Fishing with Kev Green
The title says it all, really. The sadly departed Kev Green shares hints and tips to improve your success rate when coarse fishing in this 10-part series. He looks at a range of target species and tactics, and employs the help of a few friends along the way. In Kev’s own words “The series is all about helping people catch more and bigger fish on venues they can identify with. We are targeting many different species in many different ways”

If you like this you’ll also like: Duncan Charman’s Monthly Thoughts

Fishing with Des Taylor
Des is one of the best known angling journalists working at them moment. In this 10-part series he travels the UK to target some of our most popular species, including predators from the Thames, lake pike and, crucian carp and even grayling.

If you like this you’ll also like: Club Class

Fish of My Dreams
British angler Stu Walker has been dreaming of catching one particular fish, and it isn’t one you can find in your local lake. He’s been desperate to catch an ‘Indian Salmon’ or Golden Mahseer, to give it its proper name. And you can only find them if you’re prepared to go to… yes, India. Stu and his crew head to the Himalayas, to a roaring mountain river near the boarder with Nepal, trekking for hours, camping under the stars and risking attracting the attentions of the local leopards, all for a shot at a trophy mahseer.

If you like this you’ll also like: Welcome to Africa

The Truth about Feeder Fishing
England International match fisherman Alex Bones shares the secrets of feeder fishing, from bombs to PVA, cones to cages. He enlists the help of some of his fishing buddies – the likes of Alan Scotthorne and Darren Cox. Shhhh… the secret is out!

If you like this you’ll also like: The Truth about Pole Fishing

Hunky Dory
If predator fishing is your game then you’re sure to love Hunky Dory, a half hour examination of the strange breed of anglers who are prepared to endure sub-zero temperatures for the chance of catching a musky, the pike’s north American cousin.

If you like this you’ll also like: Musky Country

Dean Macey’s Fishing Adventures
Dean Macey is best known as an Olympic decathlete, but since hanging up the his running shoes he’s been able to focus on his other passion in life: fishing. In this 8 part series he travels the UK and the rest of the world in search of new fishing experiences, whether that’s hunting monster cats in the Mekong, Arapaima in Thailand or barbell on the River Wye.

If you like this you’ll also like: The FishingTV Show

Pike Secrets 1
Want to catch more pike? Then these films are for you. Over two hours expert angler Gordon P Henricksen covers all the things you need to know to improve your pike fishing, including examinations of different lures and baits, underwater footage and hints on how to use pike behaviour to your advantage.

If you like this you’ll also like: Lair of the Water Wolf

How to watch Fishing TV:

Fishtec in conjunction with Fishing TV are giving away a FREE Fishing TV gift card with every order over £20 this month!

The card is worth £5 and will have 20 tokens pre-loaded on it with a unique code – enough to watch plenty of fishing shows.

To get one, simply place an order for over £20 and claim the card in your basket as a free gift.

Fishing TV Gift card – Free with all orders over £20

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How to Make a Living out of Fishing

dominic garnett, professional angler

Could you cut it as a pro angler?

Ever considered turning your favourite pastime into a job? Fishing author and guide Dom Garnett presents a realistic rough guide to making your living from angling.

The good news is, there have never been more opportunities to make money from fishing, just don’t expect it to be easy because the sector has never been more competitive.

Here’s some advice to get you started.

What can you offer?

dominic garnett with big fish

You will need to be a passionate, competent angler to earn. Eye-opening catches can help, but the “professional big fish angler” is a complete myth!

Forget the myth of the “sponsored angler”, the guy who gets paid just to go fishing. If only it was that simple. You’re only going to make money from fishing by providing something that others want.

Professional angling isn’t just about catching big fish. A much better starting point is to ask: “What can I give to angling as a sport?”

Perhaps you take a great picture or can tell a great story. Do you have design or creative skills? Are you a dab hand with social media or digital marketing? Or maybe you have a deep understanding of the environment.

Guiding & Coaching

dominic garnett, fishing guide, with an angler

Guiding and coaching are the most realistic ways to earn from angling.

The most realistic and achievable way of making an income from angling is to take others fishing, by which I mean becoming a guide, gillie, skipper or coach.

Folks who teach others to cast a fly, who can charter a boat or who can provide some other direct service can all generate an income of some kind. But remember, guiding is not about going fishing yourself, but putting others first.

Get qualified. Schemes run by bodies like the Angling Trust are excellent, and fishing clubs also offer events and pathways to training. Gaining a recognised qualification puts you above board with first aid and insurance, and learning to be a better teacher means you’ll be able to give your guests a great experience.

Most guides specialise. Perhaps you live near some top class barbel fishing, or live in an area with lots of fly fishing. Or maybe you have a specialist skill and can share it with others. Many professionals attach themselves to a venue like a fishery or hotel, while others, from pike specialists to sea fishing experts, are more mobile. Work out what your strengths are and play to them.

I also know a few angling pros who make their living from coaching kids, a task that takes patience and paperwork, but what a wonderful calling.

Writing

angling magazines

Various magazines will take articles, but you need quality and determination.

Articles and books have been my mainstay for ten years. Writing about fishing is not brilliantly paid, but there remains a decent market for it. The magazines and weeklies thrive on content provided by anglers like you.

The key to success as a writer is to compose good quality articles and get them to the right people. Print titles tend to be the way to go to get paid. Many websites don’t pay at all or offer a pittance, although they can still be very useful for getting your work out there.

You must always think of your target audience, remembering to adapt and tailor your work to different styles and formats. Editors want to hear from you, but they’ll be off-put by dodgy English or material that’s a headache to work with.

If you’re new to the game, be prepared to be rejected. The vast majority of us have the ability to write, but it’s a craft that must be honed. Organise your articles so that each is clear, logical and free of glaring errors. Come up with a strong title and a punchy opening sentence, pay attention to word count and always check your work.

Getting friends to read and critique your output is always helpful. Choose those who’ll highlight your mistakes and provide honest feedback. Give your work a fair chance by taking pride in it, or an editor might simply reject it without saying why.

Finally, do also pay close attention to your photography. Even the best-written piece won’t be accepted if it doesn’t have decent pictures. A really arresting main image can sell your work every bit as well as a great headline.

Blogging

fishing and blogging

If you love to fish and love to write, blogging could be a good start

Blogging is huge and though it’s difficult to make money directly from blog posts, I can’t stress how important this skill is. Tweets and Facebook posts become ancient history incredibly quickly, whereas popular blog posts can remain popular for years and show up on search results far better than do social media pages.

In today’s digital world, we’re invisible without an online presence. A blog puts you out there and gives you the freedom to talk about whatever you like, enabling you to build a relationship with readers and customers. Whether you’re a guide, a writer, a bait company or a photographer, your blog tells your story and engages with the people who use your services.

And don’t forget professional blogging. There are a huge number of companies and organisations now hiring bloggers, and the fishing world is quickly following suit. Well, you’re reading this aren’t you?

Fishing Books & E-Books

crooked lines by dominic garnett

Crooked Lines is my fifth book; but it has taken many years to develop my craft and build up a readership.

If words are truly your thing, the biggest single chunk of income you can make from writing about fishing is to produce a book; a daunting task and a subject in its own right. Suffice to say, you need a strong idea and a lot of willpower to make this happen.

I strongly believe the old saying that we all have a book in us. But the key to the success of any fishing book is how many readers it will appeal to. Whether it’s a great page-turning read or an insight into a special area of expertise, you need a solid theme and something compelling to capture the reader’s attention.

The most obvious route for the would-be-author is to try and get a publisher interested. Afterall, writing the text is only half the battle with any book. Design, layout, proofreading and marketing are just some of the other tasks you would otherwise have to take care of yourself.

Self-publishing is another option, but a major book project can be a nightmare without specialist knowledge and support. That said, if you do have an audience, along with the right skills and connections, you then have the advantage that you retain editorial control and keep more of the profits.

Last but by no means least, I should also mention ebooks. Kindle edition fishing books are still not vast in range, but times are changing and they do sell. You won’t get as many illustrations in a download and the writing has to really stand up to scrutiny, but ebooks can be great little earners. Once you’ve uploaded your book there are no printing costs, storage or overheads to consider either.

Both of my own ebooks, Crooked Lines and Tangles with Pike sell at a nice steady trickle all year round and interestingly, those who enjoy the Kindle edition quite often buy the “real” hard copy after reading the digital version. Above all though, ebooks are an exciting and underexploited area. Why not be one of the pioneers and give it a try?

Sponsorships and Angling Companies

dominic garnett's flies

Ever had an idea for a new product? I had many ideas rejected, before Turrall began producing my various flies for coarse species.

Many anglers seem to believe that being sponsored is the easiest route to a career in fishing. Sadly, this is seldom true. There are, admittedly, a heck of a lot of sponsored anglers out there, but most get free kit and bait rather than a salary. But seeing as most landlords don’t accept boilies or lures in lieu of rent, how might you go about getting a proper paid role?

If you have specialist knowledge or business skills, a job with a tackle company is the obvious route to take. Do bear in mind though that these days, companies are looking for all-rounders and not just those who can catch big fish or make a sale.

There is also the possibility to endorse or design products for a commission. Again, not easy but possible if you have an idea with sales potential and a company willing to listen.

Digital marketing is hugely important now, and lots of companies are looking for people who can provide films, blogs and other digital media. The trick, as always, is to identify a need, then tailor your products and services to meet it. Be warned though, the tackle world can bite, so be careful, pick wisely, and if you have useful skills don’t give them away for nothing.

Film, TV Work & Talks

filming with NatGeo

My “lucky” break with National Geographic came after many rejected efforts.

Television is a very tough world to break into, but it never hurts to make contacts and ask questions. From the outside looking in, professional TV anglers appear lucky but most faced years of trial, error and rejection before getting any kind of break.

I shudder to think how many of my ideas and emails were ignored or rejected, but eventually I made progress. Not to stardom, but to appearances on Sky Sports and National Geographic, experiences that were lots of fun, paid money and helped my career.

Just like selling features and articles, you need something fresh to offer film and TV people. You also need to be able to handle rejection and keep going. Any practise you can get will serve you well, like making your own videos or giving talks and presentations. And if your videos get stacks of views on YouTube you might even make a small amount of advertising revenue.

Fisheries, Fishing Shops and the “Front Line”

There are a heck of a lot of jobs in the wider world that might not be “living the dream” but do mean getting closer to it! Those who run fisheries and tackle shops or who work in conservation or protecting the environment are all linked to the angling sector.

Realistically, the “superstar” angling celebrity is one in a hundred thousand, and the guy simply paid to go fishing is a myth. However, if you have passion and are prepared to work hard and give something to the sport there are many roles that might work out. I wish you the very best of luck.

Some Further Tips:

dominic garnett angling tips

It’s always good to have a niche; blurring the lines between fly and coarse fishing has definitely helped me to offer something different and enjoyable.

  • Identify your strengths. Ask yourself what you can contribute into the sport.
  • Get qualified.
  • Get insured.
  • Be licensed and above board at all times.
  • Never work for nothing. If you have a skill, don’t give it away for free.
  • Specialise. If you go down the big fish and PB route, you’ll be one of many. Do something original.
  • Be versatile. For most of us, the only way to make a reliable income is to juggle different roles and jobs.
  • Stay positive. Help others, serve the sport well and you will be helped in return.

Further Info:

You can read more on the highs and lows of a professional angler in Dom Garnett’s books and regular blog at www.dgfishing.co.uk

All images © Dominic Garnett.

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An Impressive Fly Line – The Airflo River and Stream

Testing fly lines for Airflo holds multiple pleasures, not the least of which is the excuse to fish more. However, sampling new technologies always seems to bring added excitement to an otherwise ordinary day on the water.

Admittedly, there are occasions when it takes a little time to warm up to a new design that might be intended to replace something that I have already found to be quite satisfactory. But this was not the case on a summer day spent with Airflo Sales Rep, Brandon Prince.

“Don’t let the name fool you”, he said as we spooled up the River and Stream Taper (aka the ‘lake pro’ in the UK) at the TroutHunter Fly Shop.  It was early August and we were headed for Sheridan Lake and a session with its beefy Kamloops rainbows.

Testing on still water

Testing on still water.

Rarely am I blown away by the first cast with any item of tackle but there is no better way to describe my response to the River and Stream.

Fishing multiple wet flies on more than twenty feet of leader, I was instantly impressed by the smoothness of the line and its aerial stability as I shot a seventy foot cast with amazing ease toward a big cruising Kamloops.

A Nice Kamloops

A Nice Kamloops.

With a hand grip weakened by time and more than forty years of professional fly tying, I appreciated the reduced effort required to push long and accurate casts over a three hour period on the lake.

The versatility of the River and Stream came instantly into effect when the trout began sipping Callibaetis mayflies from the surface at around noon.

In this dry fly situation I was compelled to constantly adjust the casting distance from as close as twenty feet to as far as I could reach as the big cruisers fed erratically about the boat. The River and Stream shifted easily to this contrasting type of fishing as it consistently accommodated every requirement.

Long cast to a rise

Long cast to a rise.

I fished the River and Stream exclusively on still waters that also included Henry’s and Hebgen Lake through mid-October, and my affection only deepened for this impressive line.

It was nearly November when I finally began to apply the line toward its designated purpose. Adjusting the leader to a short, aggressive taper, I found the River and Stream to perform perfectly for streamer fishing on the lower Henry’s Fork, where I finished the season chasing big brown trout.

Test on moving water

Test on moving water.

The arrival of February places a return to the water only a few weeks away, when testing of the River and Stream will resume. Midges, Baetis and smaller nymphs will be the name of the game in the beginning, but more diversity on moving water will come as the season advances. Based on experience thus far, I do not expect to be disappointed.

In the interim, I will continue to stock up on still water flies for those days when I know what line I will be fishing. Brandon was right, the River and Stream is more than its descriptive title implies.

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Prehistoric fish and where to find them

Fossilised fish

Image: Shutterstock
A fossilised fish

Forget witches, wizards and suitcases full of fantastic beasts, the real world conjures up creatures so weird and wonderful they make your jaw drop. It’s from the oceans that the strangest of beings emerge, slimy and dripping; creatures that time forgot.

We’re talking prehistoric fish – swimmers that should be fossils. Here are some of the oddest and oldest fish ever found.

Coelacanth

Image: Everything dinosaur Fearsome but thick

Image: Everything dinosaur
Fearsome but thick

For a long time the Coelacanth was thought to be extinct 66 million years ago, but then in 1938 a fisherman caught one off the coast of South Africa. Thought to be the sole surviving member of a species dating back 400 million years, more recent studies have shown that the coelacanth has many more relatives than scientists realised.

A true living fossil this fish measures 2 metres in length and is a predator that lives in the deeps surviving off smaller fish and even sharks.

Considered critically endangered, the Coelacanth is armour plated and has a mouthful of sharp teeth, but for all its fearsome appearance, this is a fish of very little brain; its brain space being made up of 98.5% fat.

Alligator Gar

Alligator gar

Image: Flickr / FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
We’re not sure this alligator gar would fit on your plate

The 100 million year old Alligator Gar species can weigh in at a very substantial 300lbs, and it’s not for nothing that it’s called an alligator.

With its razor sharp teeth, jaws like a car crusher and a naturally aggressive personality, you’d want to be wearing reinforced waders if you ever landed one of these.

Found in the waterways of Texas and Florida, the locals say the Alligator Gar is good eating. We think we’ll take their word for it.

Sawfish

Image: Sawfish conservation society Their saw is more sensitive than it looks

Image: Sawfish conservation society
Their saw is more sensitive than it looks

A creature with its origins in the Eocene 56 million years ago, all species of sawfish are today classified as either endangered or critically endangered.

The sawfish is notable for its long spiny saw or ‘rostrum’, but what looks like a dangerous offensive weapon is also a very clever food-detecting device which, because it’s covered in thousands of tiny sensors, enables the sawfish to detect the movement of prey in the water.

Mind you, you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of a sawfish – a relative of the shark, this fish grows to 7 metres in length and will attack if provoked.

Frilled shark

Image: Sharksider Deep sea dwelling

Image: Sharksider
Deep sea dwelling

One bite from the frilled shark with its 300 teeth spread over 25 rows, and it’s game over for prey. One of the oddest looking fish we’ve ever seen, this denizen of the deep lives between 1000 and 5000 feet below the ocean waves.

Imagine how surprised commercial fishermen were when they caught one in waters off the coast of south eastern Victoria, Australia. At the time the fish, which evolved into its current form 80 million years ago, was thought to be the first live specimen ever seen. But in 2007, one was captured and transferred to a marine park in Japan, where it was filmed in captivity, though sadly it died within hours.

According to the Daily Mirror, a spokesman for the local fishing association commented that the catch was “Good for dentists, but it is a freaky thing. I don’t think you would want to show it to little children before they went to bed.”

Sturgeon

Image: Trout Unlimited An endangered sturgeon

Image: Trout Unlimited (under cc licence
An endangered sturgeon

Anyone for caviar? A prehistoric fish hailing from the the Triassic period, 248 – 208 million years ago, perhaps we should have spent more time preserving the sturgeon rather than harvesting it for its eggs.

Thanks to pollution and overfishing, Sturgeon are now more endangered than any other species of fish. Large specimens are rare, though if you were to find one, it could be quite big – the largest ever catch was made in 1827, a female measuring 24 feet.

But unless something is done to protect sturgeon from the poachers, the fish is doomed in Europe. Our advice – stick to eating lumpfish caviar with your Champagne.

What tackle do you think would work best for catching prehistoric fish? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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Float Tube Fishing

Float tubes can open a whole world to the fisherman, whether you are a flyfisher or a predator specialist. In this blog we take a look at the world of float tubing and the advantages they can bring to your fishing.

Float tube fishing - a great way to fish!!

Float tube fishing – a fun way to fish!!

What are they?

A float tube (aka belly boat) is an inflatable fishing craft originally based on a tractor tyre inner tube. These early ‘donut’ designs have long been replaced with much better U or V shaped hulls designed to cut through the water efficiently. Float tubes typically have an integrated seat and a bar across the lap with a mesh tray designed to keep you from slipping out.

You propel yourself about the lake by using a pair of fins attached to your fishing waders. These fins are much like those used by scuba divers, although specialist types are available. The paddling motion required is very much like cycling a bike – but backwards.

float tube with fins

Float tube, fins and life jacket – the essentials!

Are they safe?

Float tubes in our opinion are even safer than a boat. They feature multiple inflation bladders and a thick cordura covered hull; which when taunt is very resistant to punctures. Once inside the tube it is almost impossible to flip yourself out or go into the water.

There are however a few common sense safety concerns to address:

  • Ensure the tube is fully inflated and the valves securely tightened.
  • Never walk to the water with the flippers on, put them on at the edge.
  • Enter the water slowly backwards so you do not trip over head first.
  • Choose a gently sloping bank to access the water.
  • Wear an inflatable life jacket as a back up.
  • Wear warm waders – e.g neoprene, or a thermal undersuit even on summer days.
  • Be aware of sharp objects including your own hooks.
  • Stick to stillwater – never tube in a flowing river or the sea.

Float tube techniques – the advantages they bring.

Float tubes allow complete freedom of movement, giving you a huge advantage if a boat is not available on the venue. They allow you a silent, stealthy approach – for whatever reason fish simply do not fear float tubes like they do a boat or wading angler. This allows you to get very close to them and  fish shoreline shallows where bank angling would instantly spook fish. As well as conventional casting, float tubes allow you to troll your flies or lures allowing you to cover a vast area easily.

A wild brown trout caught on a float tube.

A wild brown trout caught on a float tube.

Float tubes are most popular for fly fishing for trout –  a 10 foot long fly rod will help keep the line off the surface on the back cast. A floating line is the best option, a short headed 6 or 7 weight is ideal. Although for trolling with flies a full sinking line like an Airflo Di5 or Di7 will really come in handy.

Float tubes are also becoming ever more popular with the pike and predator community, for pike fly fishing or lure fishing with spinning rods. Float tubes can give you access to areas pike love that are often inaccessible from the bank – for example outside edges of weedbeds, off thick reed banks and on drop offs where treading water allows you to hover in position, and present your lures effectively.

A pike caught from a float tube

A pike caught from a float tube.

Where can I use one?

It would be great if you could use one anywhere, but you should always check fishery rules before you launch one. Generally natural venues such as the Lochs of Scotland, Pike loughs in Ireland and the Welsh mountain lakes are places where you can freely use a tube. For stocked trout fisheries the BFTA (British Float Tube Association) has a great list of float tube venues on their website. For predator anglers wherever you can use a kayak or launch your own boat to fish it should be a safe bet.

It’s great fun!!

Above all, the main draw with a float tube is the enjoyment factor. Nothing beats being out on the lake, fishing from what is essentially a comfortable armchair but with free mobility. For those who try, there is simply no looking back. So get out there and tube!

Fishtec stock the Ron Thompson Max float tube and also matching float tube fins. A great combination to help get you started on float tubing – available for just £164.98.

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Five Reasons To Live In Henry’s Fork Country

The temperature when I arose this morning was nearly twenty degrees below zero. From my second floor studio window I look out at a world buried in snow with the knowledge that it will likely remain this way for at least the next two months.

For many who have not experienced life in this kind of climate it is reasonable to question the judgment if not the sanity of a man whose life largely revolves around fly fishing.

While it is doubtful that any explanation will fully satisfy those skeptics, I believe there are some who can appreciate at least five of the reasons that I make my home in Henry’s Fork country.

Rainbow trout that reside in the Henry’s Fork grow large on a diet consisting mainly of aquatic insects, and I know of no other river where a twenty six incher will take a size 16 or even smaller dry fly.

Henry's Fork Rainbow

Henry’s Fork Rainbow trout.

About half the length of the Henry’s Fork holds a healthy population of brown trout. Though I am acquainted with others from similar origin, this European immigrant commands the highest respect and appreciation.

Henry's Fork Brown.

Henry’s Fork Brown

Fishing for smallish brook trout in tributary streams takes me fondly back to my youth, but the brookies of Henry’s Lake can exceed eight pounds. And though I am a nostalgic man at this point in life, I am far more likely to be found on the lake than some tiny creek.

Brook Trout

Brook Trout

The native trout of this region, Yellowstone Cutthroat have been reduced to a small percentage of their original habitat. The headwaters of the Henry’s Fork host a minor population of these natives but they thrive in Henry’s Lake where they grow especially large.

Native Yellowstone Cutt

Native Yellowstone Cutt.

Cut-bows are a mixture of cutthroat and rainbow trout. These hard fighting hybrids are quite common in the Henry’s Fork but it is Henry’s Lake where they have become most prominent. The largest known cut-bow from that amazing still water fishery exceeded seventeen pounds.

A Cutt-bow'

A Cutt-bow’

Yes, winter can be long in Henry’s Fork country but it will eventually pass. And while a significant separation from fly fishing must be endured as a result, the harshest of seasons provides the source of my happiness.

Snow that piles deep in the high country becomes the water that assures continued existence for the five big reasons for living here.

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How to fit a new rod tip eye

We are sure most carp and specialist anglers have broken either a rod tip or damaged a tip eye during their fishing career!

In this blog we look at how to fix a broken rod tip ring quickly and effectively.

What do you need?

1. Hot melt glue (available from any DIY shop)
2. A lighter.
3. Pair of forceps or pliers.
4. New rod tip ring.
5. Sandpaper or Stanley knife.

Step 1.
Separate the damaged tip eye from the rod blank by heating it with a lighter for about 4-5 seconds. This will allow the old glue to release. Once heated up, use the pliers or forceps to pull off the old eye.

Heating a rod tip eye to soften the glue

Heating a rod tip eye to soften the glue.

Once heated pull the old eye off with forceps

Once heated pull the old eye off with forceps.

Step 2.
Get the rod blank prepared for the new eye by sanding the tip section to smooth off any excess glue or graphite shards. This can also be done carefully with a stanley blade.

Step 3.
Use your lighter to melt the end of the glue stick for a few seconds.

Heating up hot melt glue

Heating up hot melt glue.

Step 4.
Apply a small amount of hot melt glue to the prepared tip section.

Step 5.
Slide the new eye into position. Ensure to line it up with the other eyes quickly before the glue hardens. Peel off any excess glue and you are good to hit the bank again!

Once coated in glue slide the new tip eye back on.

Once coated in glue slide the new tip eye on.

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