Airflo Airtec Switch Rods – Reviewed


As being part of the Airflo team I have the pleasure of being privy to new products before they are introduced to the general fishing public. One in particular that caught my eye was the introduction of the new range of Airflo Switch Fly Rods. I have had the pleasure of using many switch rods in the past for various fishing situations and was keen to see what the Airtec’s had to offer.

There’s been a lot of buzz in the past couple of years about switch rods – lightweight double-handed rods in the 10 to 12 foot range that are designed for both two-handed spey casting and single hand overhead casting. Traditionally these rods have been designed for fishing rivers for Salmon, steelhead and sea trout, of late, their ability has been rendered and switch rods have been set-up on smallwaters all around the UK.

Mainly, Im a river fisherman, but growing up in south Wales I’ve been lucky enough to fish many hill lakes and reservoirs where these switch rods would came in handy. When the first batch of Airflo Airtec Switch rods came into stock, I could not wait to get my hands on the 11′ 3″ 6# switch.

I had plans of teaming the rod with an Airflo Speydicator #6, to give that extra bit of distance on a river that averages 20 yards in width. You’d normally struggle to hit some of the spots using a traditional single handed rod because of the lack of back cast. With some knowledge on double handed rods I felt fairly competent with my roll casting, so pulled off some line and gave it a whirl. After just 30 minutes of casting and getting used to the rod and line combination, I was having some incredible fun and was lucky enough to hook into a decent trout from one of my favorite pools.

Having used it for a full day on the river and thoroughly enjoying my time with it, I decided to take it with me on my next lake trip. Many of the lakes I fish have a difficult back cast and often anglers will sacrifice distance because they struggle to get the best back cast. I decided to team up my 11’ 3” #6 Airflo Airtec Switch rod with one of my 7# Airflo 40+ fly line. Me and a colleague Ceri Thomas took a trip to one of our local reservoirs and when I pulled out the switch rod, he was skeptical to say the least.

I stripped out my 40+ and with a single false cast to get the 35ft head out I powered out more or less the whole fly line! Ceri’s skeptism changed slightly into awe. I knew from previous experience with these rods that they can really power out a line, and partnered with the 40+ you’ll be casting to distances only ever dreamed of. I handed Ceri the rod and he used it for the rest of the session. Not only does it handle the overhead cast well but also the switch style butt, you can create easy roll cast’s with maximum distance.

Even though the switch rods were created mainly for salmon, steelhead and sea trout I have used this across the board for most fly-fishing situations and am very impressed with how it handles. I’ve got some highland lake fishing planned for late spring, so will get another review on the site when I get chance.

In my opinion the next few years we will see an increase in the amount of anglers that will be using the switch rods. This rod does not only appeal to the river fisherman but to the whole fly fishing world as it offers diversity in it’s casting ability. I must say that these fishing rods take a lot of getting used to, if you do happen to purchase one and you’re struggling to get to grips with it, I’d recommend getting some casting tuition from a local instructor, im sure you’ll reap the rewards!

Lets go to Ireland!

Without a doubt you take a trip to Ireland Fly fishing and everyone automatically thinks that you are visiting the outstanding waters of Lough Corrib. But there are other locations in Ireland where you can go and experience some incredible Fishing…and not just in fresh water!

For most of his Fly Fishing life my father has been visiting the beautiful scenery of Lough Corrib and has loved every trip. But with me getting older we started looking for other options of fishing trips.  Obviously not looking for anything pricey, as this would be my first fishing holiday. But also in the year or so before we had started to take an interest in Saltwater Fly Fishing with varied success, fishing our local estuaries for bass and mullet. After a few trips it was fair to say that we were severely bit by the saltwater bug!

We decided to look around for a Saltwater fly fishing holiday, we were surprised at how little there was offered in this field. But after a while searching the Internet we finally found our destination. We stumbled across a local Irish guide who ran a guiding service around the South coast of Ireland.

By looking on his website we were captured by the fish and the scenery that was being offered. And with no hesitation we decided to book with John Quinlan. We had the package of 6 days guiding and B&B, you stay in his beautiful family home with his wife and sons. You get treated like an absolute king when you are there, the accommodation is incredible, sea fishing tackle is provided and the guiding is brilliant!

We enjoyed John’s operation to such extent as we visited him every year for a week for 4years after, enjoying every trip. We experienced some incredible fishing on our trips with John with bass coming to the fly of up to 5lbs, Pollock of up to 6lbs and mullet of up to 5lbs. There was incredible sport to be had on the fly and not just in the saltwater with John. There is also the option of taking a wander up the beautiful hill’s and try you’re hand at some wild brown trout fishing, or even popping over to the local river Inny for a spot of some of the best salmon fishing available.

But without a doubt the star attraction is the bass fishing. Its just the sheer excitement you get from fishing in the pitch black dead of night, waves braking on you’re chest and you fishing away not knowing when that express train like hit from the predatory bass is going to come.

There are a few patterns that I have come to learn, that are very successful for catching bass. The predatory instincts of the bass will make it hit anything that crosses its path. But also she can be very picky as to what they take. One of my favourite patterns for bass is just the standard Clouser pattern shown bellow.

And as modelled wonderfully by myself in my younger days, this is what you get from you’re first few cast in Ireland with John.

The quality of fishing you get and the experience with John it makes it a trip to remember, and every trip I can remember what, where and how we caught the fish purely because it is such an enjoyable and different experience. And throughout my 4 years of fishing with John I have truly had a lifetime experience. So much that I plan to visit again with my father this year! And have already made plans to go.

If you were looking for something different and some good fishing and better company then I would strongly recommend you visit John Quinlan at the Thatch Cottage it is truly a wonderful place to go and fish, I know I am extremely excited for my next trip there!

Welcome to Slovenia!

Throughout my short fly fishing career I have had the pleasure of fishing many beautiful and wild locations across the globe. But without a doubt the most breathtaking place was Slovenia.

With the stunning scenery and never-ending fishing possibilities you can find yourself in awe of the locals.

We travelled with one of Slovenia’s most prolific guides Rok Lustrik who was not only a very experienced guide but also a true gent. The fishing package consisted of 7 nights and 6 days guiding. The Flights were easy and Rok arranged all the transit between airport and destination.

To experience everything that Slovenia had to offer we split our time fishing both of the main river systems and its tributaries, the Soca and Sava. The Soca is probably the most famous alpine river in Slovenia, and rightly so, with its very different tributaries. Set in breathtaking scenery overlooking the Julian Alps, it is home to the most fascinating and elusive fish species in the world – the marble trout – as well as Adriatic grayling and rainbow trout.

The river Sava is the longest alpine river in Slovenia. It starts divided into two forks, the Sava Bohinjka and Sava Dolinjka rivers. The upper part is world-famous for its grayling as well as for large rainbows and good-sized browns. In the wintertime, it is ideal for fly-fishing for our land-locked Danube salmon.

During our time in Slovenia we managed to catch every species they had to offer. Gorgeous Golden brown trout, the slender Lady of the river the Arctic Grayling, the elusive monster of the river the Marble trout and the playground bully the Rainbow Trout.

Armed with excitement and enthusiasm we headed to the river. As soon as I was on the bank I knew we were in for a treat. Rok set me up with a simple cast of around 6ft of 3.1lb Airflo Ultra Strong Co-Polymer, with a single copper john size 16 and an indicator. Within 5 casts I was in to my first fish of the trip. As soon as I hooked up I knew what I had on, with the head down wiry fight I knew I was in to a Grayling. My 10ft #3/4 Streamtec Nantec fly rod was bent double and with a single lift of her dorsal fin more line came poring off my Vosseler RC L. And with a little determination I managed to land her.

Well worth the trip in its own don’t you think??

Through the days fishing it just got better and better with incredible river systems and stunning scenery. The quality of fish that we had was just incredible and the style of fishing for them is a whole different experience. Mainly Nymphing with an indicator seemed to be the most favoured plan of attack.

And boy was it affective!

 With this stunning PB River caught Rainbow of 5lb 3oz coming to a 16 Woven Nymph.

One of the days we experienced a heavy downfall of rain and with the rising river we started to admit defeat for the day……..But no, I could hear a splashing downstream and as I turned to look I could see Rok running back upstream and shouting  “MARBLES” witch I must admit at that point I thought that is precisely what he had lost !  But no as he came nearer he explained that when the river is starting to flood there is a strong possibility of getting the shy Marble Trout.

Rok then began taking out these flies of which I can only describe as being leaded bunnies! This fly was tied on a size 6 hook with a huge jig head and covered in white zonker strips; it resembled nothing I had ever seen before.  He then began to tie this fly onto my line, baring in mind I still have my river gear i.e 10ft #4. Rok then explained how you fish for these “Marbles” ‘just lob it out and strip as fast as you can!’ Now I did not hold high hopes for this method and must admit was slightly beaten before I started, thinking the pub is calling !. But I kid you not In the first three cast I had two fish hit the fly like a steam train. This is fishing like I have never seen. In that few hours of fishing I managed 6 Marble trout. It is the most savage and aggressive take I have ever experienced out of all the fish species I have caught. When you are stripping the “fly” back you just see the shadow of the Marble appear out of nowhere. Without a doubt one of the most heart stopping fishing I have ever done.  Now there is very little difference between a marble and a brown trout as you will see from the below picture.

The world of fishing in Slovenia had taken me by surprise and there was still one left hidden. I had not experienced this personally during the trip but my father Greg Cann managed to pull out another surprise. In the river systems when a Marble Trout and a Brown Trout breed it creates a Hybrid. Now this fish inherits both of its parents attributes, the turbo charges hunger of the Marble and the gorgeous colouration of the Brown. And this truly was a lovely fish.

Throughout my fishing in Slovenia I have been truly inspired by not only the fishing but also the landscape. How the rivers define the country and weave through it like veins. And I can honestly vouch for the superb quality and service you get with Rok Lustrik he truly makes the experience that more special. I have now been on two trips to Slovenia, once in 2009 and again in 2010. And am now planning another trip there!.

If you are looking for a fishing experience of a lifetime I strongly recommend you visit Slovenia.

Tight Lines !!