5 Fly Fishing Blogs To Follow In 2017

In this post we look at five great fly fishing blogs that we feel are worth following through 2017 and beyond…

The world of fly fishing blogging has shrunk a little in recent years, with the rise and increased use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets taking more prominence within the angling scene. There are however some really good fly fishing blogs still around on the internet, including some brand new ones that are regularly updated. Here we present 5 of the best.

1. Land of My Fathers …… A Fisherman’s Journey through Wales

Tony Mair has a mission. To catch a trout from every county in Wales. It doesn’t matter how big or small the fish are; as long as Tony catches one it counts and another Welsh county is ticked off the list.

Tony Mair with success in Rhondda Cynon Taff!

Tony Mair achieves success in Rhondda Cynon Taff!

Along the way Tony meets colorful characters and anglers from all walks of life who help him on his quest, whilst fishing Welsh rivers of natural beauty contrasted with the industrial urban waterways in the valleys of the south. Thoroughly enjoyable, this blog is as much about the people and places as fish and fishing itself.

We highly recommended you catch up on last years posts – there will be plenty more counties to tick off this year, so make sure you do your homework on the places where Tony has already cast a fly.

2. DK Fly fishing – A Nymphomaniac Down Under

Continuing the Welsh theme, former Wales river international Dean Kibble has a new fly fishing blog. Titled ‘A Nymphomaniac Down Under’. This is a reference to the infamous competition fly fishing team Dean was a member of for many years, winning numerous trophies along the way on the UK stillwater scene.

Dean Kibble enjoying life in NZ

Dean Kibble enjoying life in NZ

Dean is quite possibly ‘living the dream’. He recently emigrated to New Zealand’s South Island, with his wife Lisa (herself an avid fly fisher!) As a way of sharing the fishing experiences with the guys back home, this blog was set up to catalogue Dean and Lisa’s adventures in the anglers paradise of NZ.

With exploration and new venues in every post, this great blog captures a pioneer spirit of untapped fishing in a new land. Old habits die hard though – In a recent post, Dean gives us the low-down on how he won his first NZ fly fishing competition. Top angling Dean!

3. The Beardy Bros Fly Fishing

Beardy Neil and Beardy Paul are two brothers on a quest to become better fly fishermen.

The brothers don’t live near to each other, so the idea was to create a blog where they could share and store their knowledge of all the useful fly fishing info they came across whilst fishing and online.

The beardy brothers

The beardy brothers

As a result the blog has grown to became a great resource with no ulterior motive – just pure and simple fishing, with the ultimate aim of improving yourself on the water.

This stylish looking blog has everything from venue visits and fishery reports, to useful non biased fishing tackle reviews, videos and hints and tips. There really is something for everyone here.

Their fly fishing adventures look set to continue for 2017 in style, so make sure you keep up to date with this one, it’s cool.

4. Fulling Mill Blog

One of our favourite fly and accessory manufacturers, Fulling Mill have been running a blog for around two years now. In that time It’s rapidly become one of our most visited sites, with a diverse range of fly fishing subjects in it’s archives.

Fulling Mill flies ready for action

Fulling Mill flies ready for action

From fly tying and the history of the industry itself, to competition fly fishing in the UK, pike and saltwater action this blog has a lot of awesome stuff written by experts from all across the UK, Europe and beyond.

With a new post usually appearing at least once a week, this is one frequently evolving blog full of interesting fly fishing stuff – well worth a look.

5. The Unfamous Fly – Fly Fishing In Scotland and beyond…

A cracking, honest blog from Scotland full of useful stuff whether you fish the river or the lake. The Unfamous fly describes his blog as: ”The exploits of a nobody angler laid bare for all the world to see. The successes,the failures & the fun of fly fishing”

The unfamous fly

The unfamous fly

We can tell you that this is a superb blog indeed, with some seriously good wisdom and experience being passed on for all to enjoy.

Of particular note are the fishery reviews – some excellent info there for anglers living in or visiting Scotland looking for a nice venue. Plenty of Real life tackle reviews make for informative reading if you are  looking for at some new kit. A recent no-nonsense Czech nymphing video made for a very entertaining watch, with hopefully much more of the same ilk to come this year.

Want more fly fishing entertainment? Then why not check out our list of Fly Fishing E-Zines? Free quality online fishing magazines from all over the world.

Obscure & Unusual Flies

Box of artificial flies

Have you got any unusual flies in your box?
Image: Shutterstock

When it comes to fly patterns, the possibilities are endless and the choice can be overwhelming.

So it’s no surprise many anglers stick to tried and tested patterns, but are they missing out?

We asked some of the best fly aficionados to send us their favourite unusual fly patterns. Take a look at these unsung heroes and find a new secret weapon for your fly box.

Crab fly

From Chris Ogborne

artificial crab fly pattern

Mud Crab pattern
Image: Chris Ogborne

“Saltwater fly fishing isn’t all about sand eels and bait fish. At certain times of the year my local estuary has an influx of little shore crabs and whilst many are alive the majority die and come floating in on the tide.

The bass love them and will mop them up in great numbers, so a floating or suspended artificial can do the trick. It’s hardly mainstream fly fishing, but for a short time it can be spectacular sport in the brackish water of the salt marshes.”

Chris Ogborne has represented and captained his country on the international fly fishing stage for over twenty years.

He offers guided saltwater fly fishing and game fishing across Devon and Cornwall. Take a look at what you can expect…

The Clifton

from Nick Hart

clifton artificial fly pattern

The Clifton pattern
Image: Nick Hart

“According to legend, it was tied and used on a day when the fishing was so tough that the Bristol anglers in question were close to throwing themselves off the Clifton suspension bridge!”

“The Clifton can be found somewhere in the depths of my fly boxes and whenever it goes on the leader I am instantly confident. It’s got a bit of everything including the old Stick Fly, a little bit of Viva and the more modern day Cormorant, plus I love that trigger point red/orange head with so much movement. It’s also a top early season pattern and open to all kinds of variation, including adding a little flash to the wing or using a modern synthetic as a substitute for the seals fur head.”

Based in Somerset, Nick has been a fly fishing instructor for over 10 years. In addition to his tuition and advice, Nick offers complete fly fishing packages such as his “River 2 Rock” three day fishing holiday.

Visit Nick Hart Fly Fishing to find out more about Nick’s trips.

CDC Caddis

from Stuart Minnikin

CDC caddies artificial fly pattern

CDC Caddis pattern
Image: Stuart Minnikin

“My favourite obscure fly would have to be my CDC Caddis. It’s a fly tied with a dubbed brown body and two bunches of CDC for the wing, one tied half way along the body and the other just behind the head.

I complete the fly with a few turns of thread dubbed with CDC fibres to give a leggy appearance. I use the fly as a search pattern from early summer through to October and fish go mad for it, however, it must float very high to be effective.

If it starts to get damp and sit down it loses it’s effectiveness and should be dried or changed. It is of course good in a Caddis hatch too.”

Stuart is a fully qualified fly fishing instructor offering guided fishing trips for trout and grayling on lakes and rivers in North Yorkshire. Take a look at Stuart’s full profile here, or visit his website Yorkshire Dales Flyfishing for more information.

Gorgeous George

from James Harrold

Gorgeous George artificial fly pattern

Gorgeous George pattern
Image: James Harrold

“The Gorgeous George is a great Scottish loch pattern fished either as an out and out dry, or a pulled wet just sub surface. It also works well in this part of the world (Norfolk) and can be very effective for Stillwater Rainbows down South.

I like to tie a few slight variations, by either changing the tail colour or dressing it up with an extra hackle or two depending on the level of buoyancy required!

A very versatile and effective fly and one that is always in my box.”

James owns and runs Rocklands Mere Fishery with his wife, Katie. The fishery offers both coarse and trout fishing in Norfolk. James is a GAIA qualified instructor and offers tuition to anglers of all levels, both in the fishery and further afield. See James’ full profile here.

Visit Rocklands Mere Fishery and take a look at the stunning species available in their idyllic Norfolk landscape.

(Rogan’s) Gadget

from Paul Kenyon

rogans gadget artificial fly pattern

Rogan’s Gadget pattern
Image: Norm Frechette

“The gadget was developed by the fly-tying legend Michael Rogan in the 1960’s. Originally used as a seatrout attractor pattern, it’s widely regarded as the first ever purpose designed saltwater pattern.

Over the years, anglers have caught on to the it’s versatility as a pattern. As an alternative to the original sea trout design, the gadget can be tied much smaller as a fry pattern – very effective in deep pockets of stillwater for fry-feeding trout.”

Paul Kenyon and his fly-fishing partner, Geoff Stephens, run Fly Fishing Devon. As registered fishing guides, Paul and Geoff help beginners and experienced anglers alike to make the most of fly fishing on Dartmoor and South Devon rivers.

The Polyfitus Olive

from Phil Ratcliffe

polyfitus olive artificial fly pattern

The Polyfitus Olive pattern
Image: Phil Ratcliffe

“This Polyfitus Olive has accounted for many a Grayling and the odd trout I must say. Ideal as a point or dropper fly when fishing deep faster sections of river as the heavy tungsten bead will get you down to target the fish.”

Phil operates out of the Cheshire area, as a fully qualified APGAI fly casting instructor & fly fishing rivers guide. When he’s not out instructing, Phil’s sharing his experiences and top tips on his fishing diary blog.

Take a look at Phil’s instructor profile, or visit his website to learn more about his casting lessons and guided trips.

The International Secret

from Andrew Cartwright

international secret artificial fly

The International Secret pattern
Image: Andrew Cartwright

“A fly that works well in all sizes and water conditions, it really does seem to glow in a river that the colour is dropping out, caught some very big grayling on it.”

Situated in the Upper Severn Valley at Caersws, Andrew has been fly fishing for more than 30 years. In addition to teaching children and adults in all types of fly casting, Andrew is also available for corporate sessions.

Visit acgameangling.com to book a session, or take a look at Andrew’s blog for the latest news from his fly fishing trips in Wales.

Wobbler Tube

from Rob Waddington

wobbler tube artificial fly

Wobbler Tube pattern
Image: Rob Waddington

“Rutland warden Paul Friend developed his own Tube Fly designed for rudder fishing. The foam body helps the fly rise and fall through the water levels so covering depth. When pulled, the fly stays on the same level as the sinking line, but when left static the pattern rises up.

This up-and-down motion attracts plenty of fish. According to Paul, the foam also makes the fly wobble slightly through the water. Its success rate is tremendous with Paul catching and returning a brown trout estimated between 12 and 14lb from Pitsford in Northamptonshire.

Many of his fishing pals, including Rutland’s Senior Warden John Seaton, have also taken big fish with Paul’s pattern.”

Founder of Rutland Water Fly Fishing, Rob boasts the Silver Award for best visitor experience in the East Midlands. Find all you need to know about Rob Waddington here.

(Harold’s) Grouse & Claret

from Stan Headley

Grouse and claret artificial fly

Grouse & Claret fly pattern
Image: Stan Headley

“This was a very popular fly in Western Isles back in the ‘80s, devised by Englishman Harold Howorth. It’s very effective for sea trout and salmon.”

Stan is a Scottish National Fly Fishing Champion, and has been a professional angler and guide since 1980.

Learn more about Stan Headley here, or you can buy some of his expertly tied trout patterns from Stan’s blog.

Take the Fishtec Fly Quiz

Test your knowledge of fly tying and take the Fishtec Fly Quiz. You’ll need to know more than the basics to score high with these flies.

“Marmite” Fishing Tackle

marmite

Dividing opinion. What’s your “marmite” fishing tackle?
Image source: David Hunt

For every angler who loves having the latest kit, another will be busy shaking their head at it. Fishing tackle innovations are seldom embraced equally by everyone in the angling community. Dominic Garnett takes us on a quick tour of the fishing gear that divides opinion  – the “Marmite” of the fishing tackle world.

The Bite Alarm

Bite-alarm

Bite alarms – Love or hate?

Many years after their widespread adoption by anglers, these little boxes of joy (or disturbance) continue to provoke debate.

It was none other than the great Richard Walker who invented the electronic bite alarm. The idea wasn’t to promote “lazy” fishing though, but to detect runs at night. 

Have we become hooked on them? Many specimen hunters wouldn’t be without theirs and sadly, not everyone seems to know where the volume control is.

Centrepin Reels

centrepin-reel

Is old-school best or should the centrepin reel be consigned to history?

Old-school romantics love them and in the hands of a master, a centrepin reel can be poetry in motion. But for the less skilled, not so silky smooth; we’re talking long trotting or a tangle every five minutes!

Fish Finders

Fish-finder

Fish finder – the ultimate cheat?

Struggling to get a bite? Worse, have you no idea where the fish even are? A fish finder could be the answer. On large waters, a lot of us use them to help us identify features we can’t otherwise see.

But more and more anglers are also using fish finders on rivers and lakes where they’re much quicker than traditional methods for plumbing the depth. But is using a fish finder to locate your prey a clever tactic or does it show a lack of watercraft? After all, just because you know where the fish are, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to persuade them to bite.

The Bait Boat

Bait-boat

Are you a bait boater or do bait boats give you a sinking feeling?

Faced with long distances and awkward casts, some clever so-and-so wondered if he might use a radio-controlled boat to place his bait and rigs to the exact inch. A few years later we have high-tech devices and a debate that just won’t lie down. Are bait boats genius or cheating?

Dropshot Gear

Drop-shot-gear

Drop shot gear – best thing since sliced bread or pastime for the brain dead?

Who saw the whole dropshot trend coming? In the past three years or so it’s become all the rage. But are you a convert or just plain confused? The technique does take some getting used to, that’s for sure. It takes a lot more patience than standard lure fishing, nor is acute concentration and vertical jigging for small perch everyone’s cup of tea.

Underwater Fishing Cameras

Fishing-camera

Fishing cameras: innovation or intrusion?

What exactly goes on under the water while you fish? Not content with centuries of crackpot theories, some clever clogs decided to cast out a little film camera to take away the guesswork.

Unlike many of angling’s more high-tech trends, the British did it first with the FishSpy camera, a product purely designed for carp anglers. But is this understanding the water better, or killing any remaining mystery?  

Split Cane Rods

Split-cane-rod

Split cane: old-world charm or obsolete?

“Simply wonderful,” the traditional angler sighs. “Look at that old-world craftsmanship; lovely to play a fish on too.” But split cane rods are also pretty heavy and slow-actioned.

Where you stand on vintage tackle is a very personal thing and while split cane certainly has its romance, would you really favour it over carbon? Is it a joy to use, or more akin to replacing your new car with a horse and cart?

Further Information

What’s your take on “Marmite” tackle? Tell us what fishing equipment you love or loath via Twitter and use #MarmiteTackle

For more talking points on a weekly basis, check out Dominic Garnett’s column “The Far Bank” in the Angling Times, or discover his books and regular blog at www.dgfishing.co.uk

Five Tips For Early Season Salmon Fishing

With over 20 salmon under his belt last season, Welsh all-rounder Tim Hughes certainly knows a thing or two about salmon fishing. In this blog post Tim shares his top 5 early season fly fishing tips for catching these elusive silver tourists. Read on to discover how best to bag yourself a springer!

An early season bar of silver

An early season bar of silver.

Tip 1: Get deep

Spring salmon like to rest up rather than travel rapidly, due to cold spring water temperatures, so it pays concentrate your efforts in deeper resting areas such as pool bodies and tail-outs. Deep and slow is often the key, salmon being cold blooded need the water to get up above 50 degrees before they start chasing flies higher in the water, but as temperatures increase be aware extra movement can help induce a take so it is worth carrying a streamside thermometer and checking the water throughout the day.

Tip 2: Use a modern Shooting head set up

Years ago spring salmon fishing was a real chore – heavy duty 15 foot 12 weight rods, full double taper sinking lines and a lot of shoulder aching effort was required to fish. Today shorter 14 foot rods teamed up with the modern shooting head lines such as Airflo Skagit compact G2 with one of the T series sinking tips or polyleaders to match the flow regime allow you to cast further, with less effort.

A modern set-up makes salmon fishing so much easier

A modern set-up makes salmon fishing so much easier.

Tip 3: Fly density and colour

Pay special attention to fly weight. Consider how your fly will sink and behave. Heavy tubes made of brass with coneheads are often the ones to reach for in your early season fly box. Large colourful patterns in orange, yellow and black are ones that will show up well in dirtier spring water. If you get your fly to the correct level the takes will come!

My recommended early season salmon fly list:

Cascade Brass Tube
Willie Gunn Feelers Brass Tube
RS Super Snaelda Cascade Conehead
Francis Brass Tube

Early season salmon flies

Early season salmon flies.

Tip 4: Do your research

Choosing the right beat is half the battle. Regularly check the online fishing reports, social media, forums and sites such as FishPal. Look at long term beat records and work out which beats historically do better in the spring. Don’t be afraid to ring the fishery booking office or contact the gillie/river keeper for updates and advice on fish location. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast and as the river starts to drop after a spring down pour the fish will be running – so make sure you get out there and make the most of it; a week later might be too late!

Tip 5: Check your tippet materials

There is nothing worse than losing a salmon due to a dodgy leader. Check and renew your tippet selection at the start of your season. Strong fluorocarbon is my choice spring fish aren’t leader shy – Airflo G3 in 15lb or Airflo Platinum in 20lb is a dead cert for spring fishing.

Spring on the river Wye

Spring on the river Wye.

 

Wade Safe – Tips for better Wading

With spring rapidly approaching, the new trout and salmon fishing season is just round the corner. Early season river fly fishing naturally involves wading, but before you charge waist deep into the flow you should take a read of our essential river wading tips.

Wade safe - in deep but not in trouble.

Wade safe – in deep but not in trouble.

Think before you get in – Think about how you are going to get in AND out of the water. Visually survey the stretch before you climb into the river. If you have no safe exit point, you could be in for rough time.

Cross in the right way  – When crossing the river angle yourself so you move diagonally down stream, with the current helping you rather than fighting against it. Move slowly side on if possible, so the water force is pushing against a smaller surface area. Remember to slightly lean into the current as you cross. As you go use your arms to help you balance.

Take short steps – Slide and shuffle your way across the river. Don’t stride or lift your feet high as you step or the current could push your balance out. The key is don’t rush – take your time and be safe.

Pack your wading belt – Using a wading belt will help should you end up in the drink.  Flooded waders will make you struggle to get back up and out of the river safely.  Also rather than your fishing day be over instantly, you wont ship as much water and hopefully remain fairly comfortable. Another benefit is they can offer a great lumbar support – for example the Airflo or Simms wading belts.

Check your wading boots – A set of good boots are vital. Over the previous season your wader studs may have worn down so its well worth replacing these at the start. This could save you an early season dunking!

Consider a wading staff – For early season, the rivers are often swollen with rain. A staff is a god-send and well worth the investment, especially if you are not so strong on your feet. A wading staff can also be used to probe the depths and look for ledges and drop offs in coloured up water.

IF you fall in – Turn over onto your back, an get your feet facing downriver as soon as you can. Float downstream and paddle to the nearest bank ASAP.  An inflatable fly fishing vest is a safe option for peace of mind, especially if your river is particularly large or dangerous.

Keep to your limits – If you feel like the current is too much, and the wading is uncomfortable for you simply don’t do it. Why take the risk?

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 a 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

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

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.

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!