Fly Fishing For Pike With Airflo Fishing Tackle – By Ben Fox

If you fly fish for pike and predator species then you need serious tackle for the job. This fishing tackle review by all-round angler Ben Fox takes a look at  the great range of predator fly rods, lines and leaders available from Airflo.

Pike have always held a fascination with me, the biggest, basest, most beautiful predator in  UK freshwater and after years of targeting them on lures, deadbaits and the like I have finally ventured into pike on the fly. But I needed some specialist equipment. Luckily, Airflo are a one stop shop for all things fly fishing, pike included and I have now found my ideal set up.

Ben Fox Fly fishing for pike on a canal

Ben Fox Fly fishing for pike on a canal

After using the Forty Plus Expert lines from my trout fishing set up for the first few months with little to no issues, I did find I sometimes struggled to get out a longer line with a large heavier pattern into the air. I had assumed, wrongly, that this was just something I needed to work on.

Enter the Airflo Forty Plus Sniper fly line. An aggressive taper, short head, big fly specialist, predator line. Coupled with the excellent Airflo Bluetooth Nano 9” #8/9 weight fly rod, the 9 weight intermediate line was a dream to handle, the line matching with and loading the rod perfectly. I also had the Airflo titanium predator polyleader to replace my usual fluorocarbon leader to the wire trace, I’ll go into to more detail on this later.

Enter the Forty Plus Sniper fly line....

Enter the Forty Plus Sniper fly line….

The Sniper line range

The intermediate is an ideal all-round line for canals and smaller waters where fishing at great depth isn’t required (have a look at the Di3 and Di7 versions if you need to get deeper) so it was spot on for my test session on a local canal. There where two main areas I wanted to look at with the line, its ability to handle big, heavy, air resistant patterns and its ability to cast in tight spots (hoping the reduced head would help with this).

First however, I wanted to get an idea of how the set up handled with a pretty standard sized fly. A 2/0 perch pattern is one that has taken some sizeable pike for me in my short pike fly fishing career. My first impressions where good, the line didn’t struggle with the size and weight of the fly and the polyleader aided the turn over as I started to cover all the likely looking spots where pike like to lay in ambush.

Casting with the Forty Plus sniper line and Airflo Bluetooth fly rod

Casting with the Forty Plus sniper line and Airflo Bluetooth fly rod

The line behaved well with both standard and oval casting styles and only requires a short amount of the head to be outside the tip to sufficiently load the rod and shoot the running line. The line had ticked my first box – it can cover the distance required with minimum back cast making it ideal for the often cramped spots you find on UK canals and rivers.

Next for the big stuff. I had with me some tandem flies tied using two 5/0 hooks joined with a clip and a good heap of flash added to that. Heavy, wind resistant, big! Exactly what I usually hate and struggle to cast. No issues, the line didn’t struggle, feel unmanageable, loose contact with the fly or fail to turn the fly over. It felt like more than a good enough match and gave me the confidence to fish the larger heavier patterns I would usually shy away from. This has led me to buy both the floating and Di3 versions of the line and it won’t be long before the Di7 joins the ranks and I can confidently target pike in any situation!

The leader:

The Airflo titanium polyleaders feature a solid welded loop, a top quality wire trace and a strong, reliable snap swivel. The wire trace is welded expertly onto the leader with minimum disturbance to the taper and provides a strong connection which you can trust to hold.

Airflo titanium predator leader

Airflo titanium predator leader

The leader material is stiff which eliminates the possibility of kinking and aids turn over, something that for most is a must when it comes to pike on the fly. The clip used to attach the flies is solid, admittedly it did take me a while to figure it out but once you do it’s easy to use and seems impossible to split, bend or break, allowing for fast changes on the bank.

The quick change clip on the predator leader

The quick change clip on the predator leader

Kinks in leaders are a nightmare for any angler targeting toothy predators and especially while fly fishing, I believe a good wind knot would put a lasting kink in any leader. So of course after I add a few tailing loops to my cast one appears right next to the snap swivel. I expect this to be game over and another leader needed but the leader had barely changed and straightened well after being unknotted. The connection to the polyleader was solid, as tested by several sizeable snags, and the breaking strain (30lb) was more than enough to pull my fly out of the various detritus found in the canal. Sadly, I didn’t get to test it on a fish on the afternoon of the photo shoot for this review but I’m sure it will handle even the biggest pike comfortably.

Too summarise:

If you’re thinking of trying your hand at pike fly fishing I cannot recommend these lines and leaders enough, combined with the Bluetooth Nano rods and a selection of pike flies you really can’t go wrong. They’ve changed my pike fly fishing!

About the author

A qualified guide and fishing instructor, Ben Fox is based in Yorkshire but operates throughout the country. An all-round angler proficient in many disciplines, quality angling coaching or a guided fishing trips can be arranged via Ben’s website here.

Ben Fox with a magnificent fly caught pike!

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

Total Fishing Gear Now On Instagram

Carp and coarse fishing tackle innovators Total Fishing Gear (aka TF Gear) have recently created a new Instagram page!

Here you will find the latest TF Gear fishing tackle news, as well as fish catches by high profile sponsored angler Dave Lane and the rest of the Total Fishing Gear team. With an emphasis on high quality ‘on the bank’ images, the TF Gear Instagram page seeks to  inspire anglers to fish. If you are a fan of carp and coarse fishing why not give them a follow?

Follow them here: @totalfishinggear

TF Gear now on Instagram

TF Gear now on Instagram!

5 Top Tips For Keeping Your Bivvy Warm In Winter

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

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

All set up for winter angling!

All set up for winter angling!

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

Bivvy mat

Bivvy mat – a winter carpers best friend

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

Nash bank life bivvy heater

Nash bank life bivvy heater

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

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

tfg-chillout-onesie

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

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

New Gear – Airflo Thermotex Pro Puffa jacket

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

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

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

Thermotex Pro Puffa

Thermotex Pro Puffa

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

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

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

Available in sizes M to XXXL.

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

Thermotex Pro Puffa jackets from Airflo are available here.

The new Airflo puffa jacket

The new Airflo puffa jacket

5 New Years Fishing Resolution’s For 2019

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

1. Fish more often

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

2. Visit a new venue

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

Dedicate a day to visiting a new venue

Dedicate a day to visiting a new venue

3. Get somebody into fishing

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

family fishing

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

4. Get involved with a clean up

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

A river clean up. Image: Wandle trust

5. Take stock of your fishing tackle

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

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

Angling Trust And Fish Legal Fundraising Dinner

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

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

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

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

The Angling Trust 2019 Dinner Fundraiser

The Angling Trust 2019 Dinner Fundraiser

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

Airflo Spring Invitational 2019

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

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

HOW TO ENTER/QUALIFICATION METHODS

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

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

2019 INVITED TEAM LIST

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

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

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

ENTRY FEES

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

PRIZE FUND

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

FISHING TIMES (TBC)

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

FISHING RULES

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

APPLICATION

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

Rutland Water - A special venue

Rutland Water – A truly special venue

Christmas Gift Vouchers At Fishtec

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

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

Fishtec Fishing Tackle Gift Vouchers

Fishtec Fishing Tackle Gift Vouchers

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

Fishtec Online tackle vouchers are available here.

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

Fishtec Physical gift vouchers are available here.

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

Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots Review

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

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

Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots

Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots

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

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

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

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

Tough laces and corduroy eyelets will last a lifetime

Tough laces and corduroy eyelets will last the boots lifetime

Features:

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

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

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

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

Superb grip in slippery conditions guaranteed

Superb grip in slippery conditions guaranteed

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

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

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

Ben Fox with a magnificent fly caught pike!

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

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

Top 10 Christmas Carp Fishing Gifts for 2018

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

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

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

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

FishSpy Camera

Fishtec Fishspy Camera

BUY: FishSpy Camera from Fishtec – £129.95

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

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

Korda Mini Rigsafe Combi

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

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

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

TF Gear Banshee Carp Rods

Fishtec-carp-rod

BUY: TF Gear Banshee Carp Rods – from £29.99

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

TF Gear Airflo Bivvy

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

Ridgemonkey Compact Frying Pan

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

HD Waterproof Action Sports Camera

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

Trakker Waterproof Thermal Core Multi-Suit

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

Jag Hook Sharpening Kit

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

TF Gear Heavy duty carryall

 

TF Gear heavy duty carryall

TF Gear heavy duty carryall – £54.99

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

But if you still can’t quite decide…

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

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