Airflo Spring Invitational 2020

After the resounding success of the last couple of years, the 21 team Airflo spring Invitational fly fishing competition is back for 2020!!

Once again, it will be held at Rutland Water with dates confirmed as 16th & 17th May 2020.
HOW TO ENTER/QUALIFICATION METHODS

We are just opening up the books on the Airflo Spring Invitational for 2020.

The following teams are invited to the Airflo Spring International on May 16th & 17th 2020; they include last year’s winners the FNF NYMPHOMANIACS, together with qualifiers from the AWAI and the Angling Trust loch style event:

2020 INVITED TEAM LIST

FNF NYMPHOMANIACS, FLASH ATTACK/RES DOGS, PITSFORD PIRATES, ELINOR, GREENWELLS PERSUADERS, DRAYCOTE RIO MASTERS, MENTEITH OSPREYS, NORTHERN DRIFTERS, IB COSTA A, LINTRATHEN FF, WELSH HAWKS, SPOTTY HORS, MUNSTER MAVERICKS, NEILSTON FLY FISHERS, WELSH HAWKS B, RENEGADES, THE FRANCO BELGE’S TEAM, CORRIB HOPPERS, TEAM AIRFLO, CHANGE FF, TEAM VISION

Entry forms will be sent to the above teams. Team captains must confirm that they will be entering by the 15th January 2020. 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, any available spots will be open for entry.

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

  • 1stTeam – £1500 Cash, Trophy, Medals, plus tackle prizes
  • 2ndTeam – £750 Cash, Medals, plus tackle prizes
  • 3rdTeam – £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.

Rutland Water – A truly special venue!

Rutland Water - A special venue

Rutland Water

 

Airflo Stories River Adventure – Fly Fishing with Iain Barr on the Itchen

In this installment of ‘Airflo stories’ we join former world champion Iain Barr on the banks of the famous river Itchen, where he re-discovers his love of fly fishing with light tackle for trout and grayling.

Iain also reveals many useful tricks and tips for river fishing, including those that helped him become WFFC champion in 2009.

Cwellyn and Tal-y-llyn – Boat and bank fishing in North Wales

In this guest blog post angling writer Wynn Davies shares his experience of fly fishing in spectacular North Wales over two eventful days, where camaraderie, breathtaking views and great fishing figure highly…

There are encounters in your life that you regret and there are encounters you celebrate.  It is always a double-edge sword to meet other anglers for the first time, especially in the close confines of a boat. To share a boat can be very unforgiving, as it magnifies the divisions and differences and can be intolerable. However, it can be one of the greatest joys and experiences that you will forever treasure.

One such encounter occurred recently, when, as part of the Monnow Rivers Auction. I was guiding Dave Smith and Lee Evans on lakes in North Wales. Two very experienced anglers and avid wild trout fishermen. It does not matter how experienced you are, it can be daunting hosting anglers of this ability, but being on familiar territory is a huge advantage.

The glorious Llyn Cwellyn

The glorious Llyn Cwellyn

The first day was boat fishing on Llyn Cwellyn, this 215 acre lake is special, as it holds wild brown trout, char, sea-trout and salmon. Admittedly populations of the latter species am unsure of, but you never know what you might encounter and it has the added bonus of being in a stunning location, After a good evening in the Black Boy Hostelry in Caernarfon and an eventful time picking keys up from the Cwellyn Arms, we were finally afloat on Cwellyn.

The boat - ready for a days drifting on Cwellyn

The boat – ready for a days drifting on Cwellyn

The lake is an intriguing challenge. Each area has its own characteristics, the roadside bank holds the larger fish, the far bank has much smaller fish. Whilst the areas where the river enters, at this time of year could hold char, sea-trout and salmon, where they might pause before they run upstream. So, you never know what you might catch, which causes a strike timing conundrum.

It was a cloudless bright day with an easterly wind so the portents were not good. We started to drift from the boat jetty, fishing the classic short line loch style, and drifted through the top end of the lake and onto the roadside bank, we did not encounter a single fish or see one rise. Even though the conditions were not on our side, we had a good wave and I was surprised that we had not risen a fish.

As we drifted down tight to the far bank, things began to change Dave and Lee started rising and catching fish, it was not the frenetic action you sometimes see in Cwellyn, they were very localized, which is unusual , as the bank usually fishes well throughout the drift.  Once the productive areas were fished, they would not fish again, it seemed that the trout were sulking in the bright sun.

A pretty wild Cwellyn trout

A pretty wild Cwellyn trout

Since the fish had gone quiet we decided to try the other bank, and yes fish were caught but they were smaller than before, which is typical of the lake, however, as is always the case with wild trout, what they lack in size they more than make up with their agility and energy. Then all of a sudden it was lunchtime, the bonhomie and laughter that ensued, is what makes fishing such a special sport, sharing great food with a nice glass of red wine on the bank of a beautiful Welsh lake is something that lingers long in the memory.

Lunch with a glass of fine wine!

Lunch with a glass of fine wine!

Dragging ourselves slightly reluctantly to the boat we finished  the drift and then decided to head back up to the top of the lake to see if we could encounter some of the lake’s other residents. Sadly we did not, though it no way detracted from the enjoyment of the day. Time had come to pack up and travel to our next location, Cwellyn, had given us a first day to remember.

Now the Llew Coch in Dinas Mawddwy is one of those no-nonsense country pubs I love, where we enjoyed great beer and food, before retiring happy and sated, to dream of what the next day might bring. The day dawned and I was high with anticipation, the lake would be, for me, something of an exploration of my past. Talyllyn or Llyn Mwyngil is a lake I have loved ever since I first set eyes on it many, many years ago, It was once one of Wales’ foremost wild brown trout waters, until it was taken over by Welsh Water and stocked.

Talyllyn or Llyn Mwyngil

Talyllyn or Llyn Mwyngil

After going through tumultuous times, the present owners are committed to restoring it’s fertile 220 acres as a wild trout fishery, therefore it has not been stocked for over 4 years. To fish it was going to be very interesting and to spice it up even further it has a good run of sea-trout and salmon and had hardly been fished. I also had the joy that my son, Huw was joining us for the day, the lake has captured his heart equally.

Although the owners only allow bank fishing at the moment, they are planning to allow boat fishing and float-tubing in the near future. Arriving at the lake and having a reconnoiter, two problems immediately become apparent, there are areas of the lake that has a significant weed problem, and the farmer on the far bank has erected  fence with double barbed wire, to within a yard of the waters edges. Not ideal but not insurmountable.

As the near bank borders the road we braved the far bank, climbing gingerly over the barbed wire, as one slip meant a ruined pair of waders, we walked down the bank to the areas Huw and I knew to be very productive, when it was a wild fishery.  As the day was cloudy with the occasional squall, I had a good feeling in my bones and so it proved. Dave, Lee and Huw were catching , with fish to 1 ½lb coming to the net.

Dave casting his line on Tal-y-llyn

Dave casting his line on Tal-y-llyn

As lunchtime beckoned, Lee gave a huge shout and the reason was all too apparent, his rod had a mighty bend. We rushed over to watch the battle, it was a great fish, Lee after a few anxious moments with the fish diving into the weed, finally netted a super fit wild brown trout of just 1oz short of 4lb, which was released with a flourish.

A superb wild trout from tal-y-llyn

A superb wild trout from tal-y-llyn

There was only one thing to do after such a great capture and that was to break for lunch. There is nothing and I mean nothing, that gives pleasure as much as like minded people enjoying beautiful scenery, and toasting the capture of a beautiful brown trout with a glass of red wine.

Lunch finished we resumed fishing and caught fish, but decided to pack up early as there was a long drive ahead.  For me it was a special weekend, met two great people, fished with my son, encountered superb wild fish and laughed, it does not get much better than that.

As for the flies we used they were mainly, Daddy Longlegs, Red Arsed Kate Hoppers, Sedgehogs and a Dirty Filthy Sooty (one of Dave’s flies), most tinged with some claret in the body. Fished on the surface they worked on both lakes, especially on Talyllyn, as with the weed present it would have been foolish to go sub-surface.

Author: Wynn Davies

Happiness personified - Lee Evans with a Tal-y-llyn special

Happiness personified – Lee Evans with a special Tal-y-llyn trout

The Quiet Time By Rene’ Harrop October, 2019

Short days often cold and damp are features that many find limiting and too uncomfortable for outdoor pursuits. These are among the influencing factors that bring change to the activity level on the waters of the Yellowstone region. Though far from deserted, premier lakes and rivers have largely lost their attraction to fair weather anglers at a time when fishing can be at its best.

October Prize

October Prize

Despite its unpredictable weather, October is the month chosen by the most serious of fly fishers to ply their skills on waters like the Henry’s Fork or Henry’s Lake. This is the quiet time on these otherwise busy trout fisheries and many who are found on the water are professional river guides who finally find fishing time for themselves after a long season of assisting paying clients. Others from the fly-fishing industry may travel many miles to reunite with trout and friends that are visited only at this time of year.

October Snow

October Snow

October is a time of particular importance to me as it marks the final month of life in the mountains where I spend half of each year. Whether fishing a Baetis hatch on the river or stripping submerged flies on still water, I savor the last days in a place where winter arrives early and departs late. Many of those days are shared with friends whom I care for most and respect far beyond common acquaintance.

Stillwater Gem

Stillwater Gem

By month’s end, it is not uncommon to find the landscape of the upper Henry’s Fork Drainage strongly influenced by conditions resembling winter as much as fall. By then, I will have relocated thirty-five miles downstream where the weather generally remains more seasonable well into November. But before my attention turns to the lower Fork and its resident brown trout, there will be golden days of fly-fishing prosperity on the upper river.

Quiet Time

Quiet Time

It is in this treasured time that I reflect on a balanced life that does not require leaving my homeland or the river I love regardless of the season.

 

Gear Test – Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boot Review

In this article reproduced from Trout Fisherman Magazine Robbie Winram reviews the Airflo Airtex 2 fly fishing wading boots.

If weight is an important issue in your choice of wading boots check out these new Vibram-soled Airtex Pro boots that tip the scales at a mere 1lb 14oz for the pair of size 10’s that I had for review.

Gear on test - Airflo Airtex 2 Wading boots

Gear on test – Airflo Airtex 2 Wading boots

The uppers are made from a light but durable and abrasion-resistant synthetic material, and protection has been added in the form of a reinforced rubber toe, heel and side bumper that runs all the way around the boot. All this is bonded to the business part of the boot – the dense foam midsole and Vibram hydrogrip sole.

Although this particular sole design does not have an aggressive cleated pattern it does provide excellent grip over a range of slippery surfaces. If you find you need extra grip on very difficult terrain such as weed-covered boulders, you can add studs to give that extra bite.

The sole curves over the front of the boot to add a little more in the way of protection to the toe area. Second only in importance to the sole, for me anyway, is the quality of the toe box. There was sufficient reinforcement for it not to buckle over my toes when I was in deeper water, it offered good protection from toe strikes and there was plenty of wiggle room for my toes.

These are very easy boots to get in and out of with four sets of webbing eyelets and two pairs of quick-release metal lace hooks on the ankle. The thick laces tighten easily and although the tongue, which has reinforced abrasion panels, doesn’t have a lot of padding there’s sufficient to stop the laces from cutting down on top of your foot. While I was breaking the boots in I just used the webbing eyelets and the first set of metal hooks, which still gave sufficient comfort and support.

The boots are padded around the ankle and ankle cuff, have removable insoles, a pull tab on the heel and two drain holes on the inside edge of each boot.

Available in sizes 7-13. Also available with a felt sole in the same size range and price.

VERDICT:

The combination of the sole, fit and the lightness makes for a very comfortable and easy boot to walk in. Being synthetic they do dry quickly. Only a longer test will determine their durability.

Airflo Airtex 2 fly fishing wading boots are available here.

Airflo SuperFlo Fly Line Review- Phillipa Hake

For many fly fishing isn’t just a hobby, if you’re like me it’s a way of life. There isn’t a day I don’t think about something fishing or fly tying related! Which brings me onto fly fishing gear, if your out on the water week in week out you’ll want to be kitted out with the best gear that you can afford, In order to make to make your fishing trips that more easier.

Fishing with the Airflo SuperFlo fly line!

Fishing with the Airflo SuperFlo fly line!

With umpteen companies offering the best fly lines on the market, I’ll be hoping that this little review of the new Airflo SuperFlo fly line gives you some sort of helping hand!

Whether you’re looking for a new fly line for your river outfit or stillwater set up, look no further than the SuperFlo fly line series. The line comes in two forms, a presentation taper, from 3 to 7wt and a stillwater taper from 5 to 9 weight.

Which fly line do I choose?  When river fishing I’d opt for the presentation taper as when you need to get them flies exactly where you need them with precision and delicacy and the least disruption. This line lands like a feather on the water, just what you need when stalking them wild brown trout! If I was fishing for stocked fish on a Stillwater or reservoir I would look to the Stillwater taper, it Loads the rod quickly, casts beautifully and angles are able to achieve distance at ease.

A lovely brown trout captured on the SuperFlo presentation fly line!

A lovely brown trout captured on the SuperFlo presentation fly line!

After a couple of trips out with the presentation taper line from taking it out of the box to making the first couple of casts on the river, one of the first things I noticed was there was zero memory. I’ve had many lines in the past that have coiled up before even being used, unlike the SuperFlo this isn’t a problem! Another thing I like is many people don’t like the welded loops on fly lines however I am a fan of them and the Airflo welded loops are some of the best and smoothest on the market with them not being bulky.

With many brands on the market offering thin diameter fly lines for the cost of this line, in my eyes you cant go far wrong with the presentation SuperFlo fly line. It’s a line that is a perfect all rounder and  I certainly wont be changing my fly line anytime soon!

Tightlines,

Phillipa

River Focus: in the zone chasing trout and grayling

River Focus: in the zone chasing trout and grayling

The Season of Precision By Rene’ Harrop September, 2019

In the mountains, the change is gradual as the final days of summer weather begin to tail off in mid-August. In the meadows enclosing the Henry’s Fork, vegetation withers in response to a drying sun and the first mornings of frost. With daylight arriving later and departing earlier, fishing becomes compressed into progressively shorter periods as insect activity becomes mainly concentrated between the hours of nine a.m. and seven p.m.

September Rainbow

September Rainbow

By early September, streamflow becomes reduced to perhaps half of peak summer levels and the surface of the river becomes largely altered by the appearance of great banks of dense aquatic vegetation.

It is the effect of low water flowing over and around the vegetation that brings complicating change to the requirements of presenting a dry fly in a manner acceptable to trout that have been pressured by several months of intense angler attention.

Adding to the complexity of increased disruption to surface currents is a lowering in the average size of insects that gain attention from the trout. At this time of year, one is just as likely to be tying on a fly smaller than size twenty as one that is larger, and a 6X tippet is generally the maximum diameter that can be counted upon to do the job.

Rise In Thin Water

Rise In Thin Water

Low water with enhanced clarity commands a leader well in excess of twelve feet if spooking a trout is to be routinely avoided. And as with a leader that must perform with a high level of efficiency, performance of the line must be considered equally when precise accuracy and control become the most prominent requirement.

Complacency in rod selection can be the kiss of death when delicacy must accompany correct fly placement in equal proportion. While a four weight is my usual choice, I will often shift to a three weight to cushion a tippet finer than 6X, especially when the target may exceed twenty inches in length. It is also my opinion that choosing economy over efficiency in a reel might be the biggest mistake that can be made when the leader is fine and the trout are large.

Long Range Hook Up

Long Range Hook Up

While certainly including the most demanding of all fishing I will do in the course of a year, the season of precision also offers the most pleasure and satisfaction. It is a time when even modest success becomes a notable achievement as the big rainbows of the Henry’s Fork hold the advantage in every element of a September battle between man and trout.

Reward Of Precision

Reward Of Precision

Fly Fishing For Bass

The sun beams down as you begin to rethink if the clammy wading jacket was a good idea, you leave the giggles and shouts of eager summer beach goers behind. You navigate a labyrinth of gullies and boulders only separated by small patches of sand. The mellow thundering of lapping waves takes over. You take a few steps into the water and feel the cooling sensation as the first wave crashes against your side and the salty spray hits your face in the onshore breeze. Maybe the wading jacket was a good idea after all…. this can only mean one thing. Summer fly fishing for bass!

Fly fishing for bass

Fly fishing for bass

If there’s one thing I’m confident in my ability to fish for and understand it’s bass! Since the age of 13 when I first picked up a fishing rod. The species that sparked my teenage fishing obsession is bass.

I’ve since evolved and expanded my bass bait and lure fishing to include fly fishing, becoming obsessionally concerned with trout, salmon and sea trout.

However, despite a passion for fly fishing since being able to drive, fly fishing and bass fishing never crossed paths. They were two very distinct disciplines that I equally enjoyed. I would often tell myself catching bass up to 12lb on light lure tackle was plenty sport. Why should I make it harder?

Well, I guess as happens to some anglers. It becomes less and less about catching numbers, more about those moments that you will cherish and remember for many years to come. Therefore last year after many difficult nights in pursuit of sea trout. I took my usual #7 to the salt and begun putting the wealth of bass fishing knowledge I’ve spent my youth developing into the skills more recently built on in fly fishing. A romance of two true passions.

Bass on the fly

Bass on the fly

Needless to say, I swallowed a slice of humble pie. I was understanding of why some anglers now spend hours driving to the coast to wave a fly rod about, and why some anglers solely chased them on fly. It was relaxing, skillful and strangely rewarding, yet the moment you feel the line tighten and spring off the water as the rod hoops over, you feel on top of the world with adrenaline and sense of achievement.

Saltwater fly fishing is not for the beginner. You must have a good base level of casting, line management and more so understanding of the saltwater environment and your target species.

Although my bass fishing is now being done with a #9, as I strive to throw a large fly a reasonable distance in proper open coast Bassy conditions. There is absolutely nothing to stop your average U.K. fly fisher turning their hand to this sport with their standard reservoir or sea trout outfit! In-fact, this is exactly how I started out fishing and on a beach or estuary where the bass can be caught under your feet and don’t require too much bullying this is still the perfect set up.

The Airflo Sniper fly line and V2 fly reel are a great bass combo!!

The Airflo Sniper fly line and V2 fly reel are a great bass combo!!

I found the Airflo Forty Plus sniper fly lines absolutely perfect for the salt and able to throw most Bass flies you’re likely to use. With the sniper being another more lazy but efficient line to cast, although I must admit when conditions allow I prefer being able to false cast a longer line than 30ft head. I will be experimenting with more of the wonderful Airflo fly lines before the season draws to an end and report back my findings and preferences!

Finding bass

Firstly unfortunately bass marks are small areas with narrow windows of opportunity. Bass fishermen are known for being secretive and with the commercial and angling pressure on them being high, good spots are often kept between sealed lips.

What I can tell you though, is finding Bass means finding “edges” and the more edges you can pair together the more likely you may be in catching them.

A stunning bass beach in september - not a soul in sight!

A stunning bass beach – now to find them!!

These edges include:

Drop offs, edges where sand meets rock, edges of rips, edges where day becomes night (or vice versa), edges of physical structures and edges of where fresh and saltwater meet.

Typical ground to hunt bass ranges from open stretches of rocky coastline, clean surf beaches, rocky edges and points of beaches and estuaries.

These will fish on all sizes and stages of tides and it really is a case of putting in the time and working out the window of opportunity at each mark. With experience you will begin to be able to tell from a glance (with an educated guess). However for rock marks, generally try the first or last two hours of the flooding tide, estuaries the last hour of high when at the tidal limit or last two of the ebb further down the estuary. Surf beaches are any state of tide, it’s just a case of figuring the pattern but begin to focus either side of high or low in short regular sessions until the trend emerges.

Suitable flies for bass fly fishing in the UK

Suitable flies for bass fly fishing in the UK

The beauty of the U.K. is that you’re never far from the coastline, nor bass that will take a fly. They live everywhere, but…most are caught in small windows of opportunity and the skill lies in deciphering this! I hope this encourages you to get out this month with a few 4-6 inch Sandeel flies (surf candies etc) and sink your teeth into one of the most exciting and challenging forms of fly fishing the U.K. has to offer. Don’t be daunted by the experience and start the learning curve. The satisfaction when it comes together will be worth it!

5 tips to remember for bass fly fishing in the sea:

  1. Be stubborn, believe it’s possible and don’t give up – it’s easy to be overwhelmed in a big ocean, but under the right conditions catching bass on the fly is more than possible.
  2. Change location not your fly – you’ll catch more bass by finding them then swapping flies for what isn’t there! Pick a fly that suits the water clarity and stick with it.
  3. Wash down your gear – You’ll quickly ruin your gear if you’re not washing it down after each session a little 5 minutes TLC goes a long way.
  4. Don’t be wrapped up in having to fish SW winds and big tides – yes some areas suit this but just as many produce in the complete opposite,especially for fly fishing. Experiment and don’t follow “rules”.
  5. Vary your retrieves! Bass will some days want a fly stripped FAST almost faster than you can manage, where as some days they’ll demand a fly crawled back slow or swung in the current.

Tightlines,

Nathanial James

About the author: Nathanial James is a passionate Surfer come somewhat obsessed angler from Swansea, South Wales, UK. Be sure to Check out his Hook’n’Surf blog for more bass fishing tips!