Airflo Fly Dri Rucksack Review

Kieron Jenkins of Fulling Mill needed a portable fishing bag that was tough, reliable and totally waterproof for his fishing gear and camera. Here, he reviews the solution to his problem – the FlyDri back pack from Airflo.

The Fly Dri Rucksack from Airflo

The Fly Dri Rucksack from Airflo.

If you’re like me and fish a myriad of venues from small-waters to rivers with the occasional saltwater trip, you need a back pack which is not only big enough to take the necessities for the day, but tough enough to take anything the elements can throw at it. After much research and trawling the web, the obvious choice was the Airflo Flydri 30lt roll top back pack.

For me, one of the major factors in choosing this particular back pack was the price. The Flydri back pack incorporates features that are on par with other fishing brands, as well as being better than half the price…

100% Waterproof

The weather here in the U.K can be temperamental and getting caught in heavy downpours is a regular thing, and as a regular article contributor for various blogs and magazines I often carry a fair amount of camera equipment, it’s essential that the equipment stays dry. The Flydri back pack features a high frequency weld, boasting a unique seamless construction and a 2-way roll top sealing system which is 100% waterproof. This allows the pack to be submerged for a considerable amount of time without any leaks, perfect for those anglers prone to falling in! The roll top construction also ensures a fully air-tight seal, great for keeping out dust, sand and dirt, but also allowing the bag to float if accidentally dropped overboard.

The Airflo fly Dri back pack in action

The Airflo Fly Dri back pack in action

30lt Capacity with additional storage

The Airflo Flydri back pack has a 30lt capacity, which is more than enough to take a flask, waterproof jacket, a box of spare flies and a sandwich box. The back pack also features three exterior mesh pockets, one zip mesh pocket that features a bungee webbing (perfect for holding a fleece or buff that may be needed quickly). Adding to the functionality, a further interior pocket is ideal for storing car keys, cash or fishing permits.

Comfort, Safety and Support

To make your days on the water more comfortable, the Flydri back pack features padded shoulder straps with lumbar support, giving as much comfort as possible when carrying heavy loads. For extra support the waist and sternum straps are fully adjustable, I find these extremely useful when lugging lots of fishing tackle considerable distances. The back pack also features two reflective strips on the front and both shoulder straps, perfect for safety at night.

Additional features

When fishing from the shore on small-waters or along the coast, I tend to move frequently to new locations. The Flydri bag has multiple D-rings along the top and front panel that are perfect for attaching items such as net magnets, forceps or additional carabiner clips.

For those of you who may be in the market for a new back pack for fishing, I fully recommend taking a serious look at the Airflo Flydri 30lt Back Pack. Compared with other ‘fishing brand’ waterproof back packs that are more than double in price, the Flydri should certainly be top of your considerations.

Airflo Defender Clothing Review By Robbie Winram

Well known independent fly fishing tackle expert and Anglian Water employee Robbie Winram reviews the Defender waterproof clothing from Airflo – a range designed to combat the worst possible weather conditions.

There are three main elements to the new Defender clothing range: a wading jacket, three-quarter jacket and trousers, all at £69.99 each. They are made from a two-layer durable Taslan nylon shell fabric with reinforced ripstop nylon on the high wear areas such as the seat and knees of the trousers and across the shoulders, tops of the arms and the hoods on the jackets.

The fabric also has a DWR finish so water just beads off the outside, and all the garments are windproof, waterproof and breathable. The jackets have a polyester mesh lining except for the sleeves, which are lined with a smooth polyester fabric. The trousers have a polyester mesh lining from the waist to the knees and then the smooth fabric down to the ankles.

Wading jacket

The wading jacket has a single full-length zip with a double stormflap: one has a rain gutter and the other folds over the top and secures with four Velcro closures and a metal popper stud both top and bottom. The zip tucks into a neat fleece-lined chinguard to prevent chafing.

The nice high collar is fleece-lined and the fixed hood can be rolled up and held in place with a large tab and Velcro closure. The hood has a stiffened wired peak and an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjustment around the face and on the back of the head to give a really good fit.

The sleeves have an articulated shape for ease of movement when casting and end in a simple, lightly elasticated cuff with a Velcro closure. There are two pockets on the chest with large stormflaps and Velcro closures. These pockets are elasticated at the top and expand generously to take a good-sized fly box. There is also a fabric tab and D-ring under each stormflap for tool and accessory attachment. On the front of these pockets are small flat accessory pockets with water-resistant zips. Behind each cargo pocket is a handwarmer pocket, lined one side with micro fleece, and there is also a single zipped security pocket.

On the back of the jacket is a full-width zipped cargo pocket with protective stormflap. Additional features include a large D-ring on the back of the neck and an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjuster around the bottom hem.

The three-quarter jacket has the same design features as the
wading version, but is longer and has a different pocket configuration and an extra waist drawcord.

The Defender clothing combo

The Defender clothing combo.

Comfortable trousers

The trousers have a nice high back for extra protection from the elements, and partly-elasticated sections each side of the waist for comfort.

They also have belt loops and an elasticated and adjustable webbing belt with a quick release bayonet fitting. There is a simple zip fly opening with a protective stormflap, and a metal popper stud at the top.

The legs have a slightly articulated cut for good range of movement and expandable gusseted ankle cuffs with side zips and Velcro tabs and fasteners.

Two hip pocket feature a water-resistant zip, while the two thigh pockets have stormflaps and Velcro fasteners.


The Defender jackets and trousers will keep out the wind and rain, and offer good breathability considering they have that extra polyester mesh lining. This lining also provides a bit of extra warmth on colder days. I liked the well-fitting hood and nice warm fleece collar. Excellent value for money, especially if you take advantage of Airflo’s special offer – buy any jacket and trousers for £119.99 and get the Airflo Defender fleece free.

Originally published in the December 2017 issue of Trout Fisherman Magazine, we have re-produced this review with their kind permission.

You can check out the Airflo Defender range of fly fishing clothing here.

Fly Fishing Stocking Fillers – Gift Ideas For Christmas

For the fly angler who has it all there is always room for just one more item of tackle….. right?

In this blog post we take a look at ten popular fly fishing tackle stocking fillers – perfect gifts for Christmas!

1) Airflo EVA fly box – £12.99

A nifty little pocket box that can accommodate 264 flies in both slotted and slitted foam inserts. The box uses secure magnetic corners to keep it closed; it also floats and is crush proof – what more do you need in a fly box?

A fly fishing box for all occasions

2) Dr Slick XBC Series forceps – £15.99

Good quality forceps from Doctor Slick – robust, useful and made of the best surgical alloy, coated in an attractive coloured gloss finish in your choice of blue or red. Dr Slick are our preferred fly fishing unhooking tools by a long margin!

Dr Slick accessories

Dr Slick XBC Accessories

3) Streamtec Wading staff – £44.99

Whether you fish a river or a reservoir, a wading staff is an extremely handy bit of gear. For crossing raging rivers to testing for soft spots in the lake-bed, a staff ensures you can fish in safety. Collapsible and supplied in its own sheath, this staff is a great gift for any fly angler who does a lot of wade fishing.

The Airflo Streamtec Staff

The Airflo Streamtec Staff

4) Mustad Filleting Knife – £6.99

A knife is a handy bit of kit for any angler – for cleaning fish or just general usefulness whilst out and about on the bank. This offering from Mustad also includes a sharpening block, representing superb value.

A knife is a handy thing!

A knife is a handy thing!

5) C & F Design 3 in 1 Clippers – £14.00

Not all nippers are created equal – these C & F design clippers are the Rolls Royce of the tippet severing world! Razor sharp, they feature a fly eye cleaner for stubborn varnish and also two sizes of fly threader, making attaching even tiny flies to your leader a complete doddle.

The best fly fishing nipper on the market?

The best fly fishing nipper on the market?

6) Tools and Vice Set – £29.99

A great little portable tyers kit including a vice and all the tools you will ever need, encapsulated within a solid wooden storage box. A perfect gift for a budding fly tyer or for somebody needing a travel fly tying kit.

Vice and tools set

Vice and tools set – a perfect gift for a fledgling fly tyer

7) Overboard Phone case – £18.99

The ever present danger of slipping into the water whilst fishing is a genuine peril that happens to even the best of us. This quality waterproof phone case will ensure your communication device remains in full working order – even if you are forced to retreat home from a dunking. An essential that no fly fisherman should be without!

Overboard phone cases

Overboard phone cases – protection guaranteed

8) 1080P HD Action Camera – £34.99

For capturing your fishing moments for eternity this superb value action camera is hard to beat. Fully waterproof and submersible, it has options for still images, as well as 720p and 1080p wide angle video capture. In addition, this camera also has WiFi connectivity, allowing you to stream recordings to your phone or activate it remotely.

Action Camera - now with WiFi!

HD Action Camera – now with WiFi!

9) Airflo Pro Priest – £13.99

Dispatching the catch is a necessary thing, should you wish to retain a fish for the table. As well as being weighted for efficient stockie slaying, these aluminum priests are ergonomically designed for easy gripping. Three colours to choose from – silver, blue and red.

The Airflo Pro Priest -red

The Airflo Pro Priest -red

10) Fishtec Gift Vouchers

If in doubt, a gift voucher is a sure-fire festive gift. Available in online or physical formats, Fishtec gift vouchers are sold in £10 blocks and can be ordered right up to (and through!) the Christmas period for delivery to the recipients inbox.

Fishtec Gift vouchers

Fishtec Gift vouchers

Top 10 Carp Fishing Christmas Gifts for 2017

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.

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 Bite Alarms


BUY: Prologic Bite Alarms from Fishtec – £99.99 (Now £69.99)

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 less than £100 with this Prologic set. Great performance for the budget-conscious carper.

TF Gear Banshee Carp Rods


BUY: TF Gear Banshee Carp Rods – from £59.99 TWO FOR ONE!

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, even without the 2-for-1 deal. 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 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.

Shimano Tribal Compact Carryall

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 Shimano Tribal Compact 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!

Who’s the daddy? Fly-fishing crane flies for end-of-season trout

September is always a poignant time of the fly-fishing year. As the days grow noticeably shorter, the trout are the fattest and healthiest you’ll find them all season, but they often seem to be fixated on the very smallest and most technical food forms – like midges and pale wateries, presented totally drag-free, on gossamer-fine tippets.

Author, fisherman and environmentalist, Theo Pike discusses the exception to this rule and the secret weapon that shouldn’t be too far from your fly-box this September. It’s the daddy-long-legs. Here’s 6 top tips for landing yourself an end-of-season specimen.

crane fly

A crane fly, commonly known as the daddy long legs.
Image source: Shutterstock

Also known as crane flies (Tipulidae), these big insects will have spent the year as leatherjacket grubs, burrowing invisibly in the roots of the grasses and meadow flowers along our river banks. Now, as the air cools a little and turns humid after the long hot summer, they start to emerge and search for mates, to start their mostly-hidden life-cycle all over again.

For reasons best known to expert entomologists, some years are more prolific than others. Yet it’s no exaggeration to say that even in a sparse year, this can be the daddy of all seasonal hatches – at least as significant as the grannom or mayfly for the observant fly-fisher.

With cigar-shaped bodies, rambling legs that stick out in all directions, and wings that don’t seem nearly big enough to keep them airborne, daddy-long-legs look like Heath Robinson contraptions that fly badly, when they fly at all. The slightest puff of wind is usually enough to dump a few of them onto the nearest body of water, where they’ll struggle haplessly in the surface film, attracting attention from fish for yards around.

There’s no delicate sipping when these big mouthfuls are splashing down: trout and chub in particular will hit drowning daddies with real intent, sometimes even leaping out of the water, flattening them with a belly-flop, and circling back again to mop up the doomed insects.

If you think this sounds like some of the least technical fishing of the year, you may be right. But there are still a few useful things to remember if you really want to make the most of the early-autumn daddy-long-legs bonanza…

1 – Beef up your tackle

Daddy-feeding fish don’t tend to be too tippet shy, and the takes can be vicious, so this isn’t the time to take your tippet diameter much below 5lbs. Stiffer monofilament will help you avoid corkscrewed tippet when you’re turning over big, air-resistant flies into a headwind, and you may find a slightly heavier rod helpful, too.

2 – Match the hatch

daddy flies

Daddy long legs flies
Image source: Fishtec

Entomologists say there are around 300 species of crane flies in the UK, and while it’s hardly worth lugging around enough flies to match all of these, there are definitely times when the fish will respond better to one pattern than another. Carry a good selection wherever you’re fishing at this time of year, and stay alert for opportunities to try the nearest possible imitation.

3 – Chop and change

box of daddy long legs lures

A selection box of lures for variety
Featured product: Fulling Mill Daddies at Fishtec

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to fish when the weather is perfect, so having a tactical selection of patterns in your box will let you pick the best option for the conditions you’re facing. For example, a fully-hackled fly flutters lightly over a wave, while choosing a low-riding pattern, with hackles clipped off the underside, will help your imitation sit enticingly low in a flat calm.

4 – Give it a twitch

After ditching in the drink, most daddies will fuss and struggle as though they’re trying to signal for help. Follow their lead by adding a little twitch to your presentation now and again, instead of focusing on a perfect dead drift, or just letting the fly float static. If the fish you’re targeting hasn’t been convinced so far, this may help to seal the deal.

5 – Go trophy hunting

The crane fly fall will often get the biggest fish in the river looking up for the first time since the mayfly hatch, so now’s your opportunity to target the really big beasts. Don’t be afraid to use the heft of these flies (and of course your heavier tippet) to fire them into places you’d normally assume are far too tight. After all, this is where the trophy trout, chub and even carp will be lurking.

6 – Don’t strike too soon

As mentioned above, some predators will deliberately swamp a struggling daddy, then come back and take it confidently under the surface. If you don’t feel the fish, try to ignore the impulse to pick up for another cast – just leave your fly in place. It sounds counterintuitive, but it often works.

large trout

September is the ideal time to land a large trophy trout
Image source: Shutterstock

Like Kieron in this article on how to fish daddy-long-legs, I do tie most of my own flies, but I tend to make an exception for daddy-long-legs and mayflies.

These are two hatches when having a flexible choice of different patterns is more important than having a whole row of clones in your fly-box, and it’s fun to let the designers show their paces with all the latest innovations. Grab yourself a generous handful of daddies from your favourite supplier – Fishtec stocks Fulling Mill, Iain Barr and Caledonia – and get out there to make the most of this end-of-season bonanza!

author profile

Theo Pike is a freelance environmental, fishing and marketing writer. He’s also Chair of Trustees of the South East Rivers Trust, and founding editor of, a website and eco-brand dedicated to the urban fly fishing and river restoration movements. His first book, Trout in Dirty Places, was published by Merlin Unwin Books in 2012, and his new Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing appeared in 2014.

10 Ways To Feed Your Swim More Effectively

The way you introduce bait when fishing can be absolutely key to success. Dom Garnett has 10 top tips and suggestions to boost your catches.


Smart, accurate feeding can make the difference between the odd fish and a full net.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

1. Keep it coming…

All too often, anglers dump a load of bait in, wait, and that’s it. Try feeding less but more often. The sight and smell of bait falling in regularly is attractive to fish. A steady supply gets them competing and entices new fish to come and explore.


If in doubt, feed little and often to draw fish and get them competing.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

2. Catapult happy

Catapults are very useful for pinging feed out, but do get the right one for the job. Try squeezing the pouch to concentrate your free offerings. Accuracy counts!

3. Pick a marker

Talking of accuracy, it’s no use throwing in bait everywhere. Pick a marker on the far bank, such as a tree or platform, to improve your aim.

4. Mix it right


Make groundbait into balls.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Groundbait is a superb way to get bait in a concentrated area. Don’t do it slapdash though. Consistent feeding calls for consistent groundbait. Make it evenly and thoroughly so it can be formed into balls. Wetting your hands at the end to make a “skin” on each ball helps keep balls of bait together.

5. Feeders for accuracy

Rather than throw your bait willy nilly, a feeder offers great accuracy at distance and does the regular feeding for you. If you’re fishing a bomb or carp rig, you could always unclip the lead and attach a feeder to give them a few payloads. If the water is deep, you can also try taping up the holes of your feeders to release the bait right on the bottom (as shown below).


Taping up your feeder will allow bait to get right to the bottom of deep water.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

6. Colours

As a rule, fish have less trouble finding bait in clear water- and can even spook if you go OTT, so try dark groundbaits and simple offerings like bread. If it’s murky and muddy, you can try brighter groundbaits, such as red or orange.

7. Don’t scare them

Occasionally, it’s better not to feed! If you suddenly see fish in your swim, avoid smashing free offerings down on their heads. It’s often better to cast just one bait or add a small handful rather than charging in.

8. Top droppers

If you regularly fish running water, especially deep rivers, a bait dropper is excellent for getting the feed to the fish without being swept all over the shop. That said, if you fish a stillwater full of “bits”, you might use one to get small baits like hemp and maggots straight to the bottom without getting picked off!

9. Spombs away


A Spomb from Fishtec currently costs just £9.99.

Spods are great for launching loads of bait out quite accurately for carp, but are a bit big and unwieldy for other anglers. A spomb is the answer! These neat devices will cast on a regular barbel rod and are fantastic for fast, neat baiting. Also fun to use, they cost just a tenner from Fishtec.

10. Cheat!

Of course the ultimate way to feed accurately is to bend the rules a little. A pole cup is one excellent way to feed (even if you are not fishing the pole). PVA bags are another great shortcut to tight feeding (just see any carp magazine in the history of time). Heck, use a bait boat if you must!


A large bream on the method. Big catches of this species often depend on feeding accurately and generously to hold the shoal in your swim.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Read more from our blogger…

You can catch more from Dom Garnett in the Angling Times every week, or through his various books and regular blog at

A Beginners Guide to Fishing for Catfish

Ebro catfish

Fishing for cats is not for the faint-hearted.
Image courtesy of Simon Howells

With brute power and a bad attitude, catfish are an exciting target species. Fishing for cats is not for the faint-hearted. Wels fanatic and former Ebro guide Jim Sutherland offers some handy advice.

The Wels catfish


The Wels catfish could be the biggest fish you ever catch.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Whether it’s their sheer strength, or one for your bucket list, fishing for catfish is an exhilarating experience. They represent not only a mysterious, deadly quarry, but for many anglers, the chance to catch your biggest ever freshwater fish.

Of course there are many catfish species all over the world, but for the purposes of this article we are referring to the Wels, or European catfish (Silurus glanis). A voracious hunter and scavenger, these beasts can grow to a formidable size. On the River Ebro, Spain, where I used to guide for the species, they run to over 200lbs. But in the UK, many waters now hold fish to 40lbs and bigger.

Whatever your reasons for seeking catfish, they are a beast that demands a special, considered approach. There are not many fish that will strip line at such an alarming rate, or ask so much of your tackle. Here are a few golden rules to get you off the the right start.

Preparation, confidence and respect


Catfish are becoming more common right across the UK. Dom Garnett caught this one from Anglers Paradise, Devon. Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Preparation is essential for any successful angler. Where do you begin this challenge? Finding waters that hold a reasonable supply of catfish is the best start. It’s no use heading to a venue with just one or two rumoured monsters. You could have a long old wait and no doubt the novelty will dwindle after the second night and you’ll start to wonder why you bothered.

Initially at least, stick to a water that holds a good head of catfish that vary in size. Up to about 40lb would be a good start. But always be prepared for the unexpected, because catfish are often a bit of an unknown. I’ve fished waters and managed to winkle out monsters that the owners had forgotten about or didn’t even know existed!

One excellent source of information is the Catfish Conservation Group. They have a list of catfish waters. I would always pick one nearer to home before you think of venturing further afield. You may have to persevere for a while to catch your first cat, so targeting a fishing venue closer to home will allow you to focus your efforts.

Tackle for catfish


Catfish fight powerfully! Your tackle must be up to the job.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Catfish are a powerful species that will punish any weakness in your tackle, so you must have complete confidence in your gear. Carp tackle will often suffice, but you need to step up your lines and other gear to handle them.

Rods: Choose a rod that can double up for the larger carp, as most waters will hold a possible PB, so again, expect the unexpected! Go for a 13ft 3.5tc. There is a nice range on the market but remember, these rods do the job and you will have a lot more pleasure when fighting the battle. You don’t need a telegraph pole to catch cats!

Reels: I prefer big pit reels for catfishing. The simple reason being that these creatures can easily tear off 100m of line on one run. You have been warned! If you are night fishing, you can set your baitrunners a little tighter than for carp, to help set the hook. Be sure to set your drag carefully.

Line: It must be a robust braid, as they will take you to places on a lake that only they know. Behind trees, islands, gravel bars and the last thing you want is to lose your quarry because you opted for the cheap seats! Go for a 20-30lb breaking strain as a minimum.

The Business End: You have a choice between an inline lead or lead clip. I usually use both options on my two rods. Inline is better for distance casting I find, although cats are not always far from the bank. In fact, they will patrol close in at night.

When fishing to snags close in, a lead clip system that will dump your weight during the fight is the best system. This should help avoid getting weeded or smashed up. I tend to use 3.5 or 4oz leads for cats, as this weight tends to hook them straight away so there’s no need for a vicious strike on the rod – you can just lift into them.


Don’t be caught out – have the right tackle.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Hook link and bait: You can use large boilies, or even small dead or live baits where permitted, but I tend to like pellets. I hair rig two 21mm halibut pellets on one rod and three on the other. Why, you may ask? As I’ve said, you should sometimes expect the unexpected, big carp! I use a catlink of about 23inches and 70lb breaking strain. The catfish have teeth like very coarse sandpaper and they will do their utmost to chew through your leader!

Should you be fortunate enough to capture a fish, do always double-check your rig for wear and tear before recasting. You’d be surprised at the number of fish lost due to blunt hooks or a frayed bit of hook link. Use about a 4inch hair, or even longer, as you can always take up the excess by wrapping it around the hook. The pellet can be hard up against the hook if need be.

I always like to have a few pellets soaking in halibut oil for hook bait. Soak these for a week, as you might have to rely on the aroma to attract your quarry. A 9-ply pva stringer with around 5-7 pellets around your hook bait usually works a treat.

In terms of other bait, I would always recommend groundbaiting for cats. Fishmeal based mixes are ideal, as are any crumb mixes that will also draw in small prey fish. Cats can eat a lot, so you can also introduce plenty of free offerings, such as large pellets and fishmeal boilies. Prebaiting can also be well worth the effort.


Catfish have poor eyesight and are avid night feeders.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Hooks: Use either a BP Special size 1 or 2, or an Eagle Claw size 4. Always make sure you are allowed to use these hooks on a venue. If there is a size restriction, a nice wide gape carp hook will do the job nicely.

Backleads: It’s always worth pinning the line down with captive back leads and these will drop off when you lean into the fish. It’s not that catfish are line shy, but more the case you want it pinned out of the way, because these are big, clumsy fish! You don’t want spaghetti junction at 3am.

Night fishing: A tidy rod pod or two bank sticks, fully alarmed, is ideal for catfishing. Bite alarms are very useful, given that I find late evening, night, and early morning the most productive time. You can’t beat the warm summer nights, when catfish will be at their most active in the year.



You’ll need a large landing net or a glove to land your fish.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

So you’ve hooked your catfish, the next question is how the heck are you going to land it? We come back to the golden rule of preparation. You have two choices here. A large landing net or a glove. I always opt for the glove method but it can feel a bit unnatural at first.

If using the glove method, make sure you have some idea of the hook hold. You don’t want to run the risk of a late night outing to A&E! The fish is likely to be tired so it will feel heavy. Don’t be fooled. Tap the cat on the head, should its mouth be shut, and it will oblige. Put your hand into the mouth and position your thumb under its chin. It will feel like a suitcase handle but stay alert. They can catch you out and it’s not unusual to get a broken wrist from 100lb+ fish.

For most beginners to catfishing, the net is the way. Pack an extra large triangular-headed net, fully anticipating a fish that could be six to eight feet long! A large, well-padded unhooking mat is also a must.

A strong, quality pair of long nosed forceps is a must for unhooking, In spite of their mean appearances, catfish can be quite docile on the bank. But you must take charge of the situation, so be positive and keep the fish under control.

Always have your mat and unhooking tools together, and a spot to take your picture worked out beforehand. It’s essential not to stress the fish in any way and get it back to where it belongs ASAP. When releasing, hold the fish and give it a couple of head rubs. You can even kiss it if you are that way inclined (just don’t tell the wife)! The fish will tell YOU when it is ready to swim off – and what a moment – to see that monster say goodbye with a sudden wrench of power. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but you simply can’t help respect a creature like that.

100lb plus river Ebro catfish!

Top 10 Fishing Gifts For Fathers’ Day


Don’t struggle for a Fathers’ day gift idea if you’ve got a fishing-mad dad.

Is your dad an angler? If the answer is a yes then you know what to do this Fathers’ Day (Sunday June 18th ). Aftershave won’t cut it. Novelty ties won’t cut it. Beer just might work, but it’ll be gone in no time. So why not give him what he wants?

Here are ten brilliant gift ideas for fisherman everywhere this Fathers’ Day.

1. Stylish sun protection


Fortis Aviator Sunglasses aren’t just for fishing

Every fishing father needs a decent pair of polarising glasses for the summer. They’ll protect his eyes and are as handy for driving as they are for fish spotting. They’ll also help him maintain the illusion that he is listening attentively to family chat, when he’s really daydreaming about fishing…

Stylish glasses needn’t cost the earth either. This Fortis Aviator pair are a chic example and cost less than £25.

2. A tonne of top fishing tales

Crooked Lines book

Crooked Lines by Dom Garnett is an entertaining bedtime read.

Most fishing dads like a good read. Trouble is, they’ve often read more than enough “how to” books over the years. So how about something entertaining instead? Dom Garnett’s Crooked Lines (£9.99) is packed full of brilliant, hilarious, page turning angling tales and original artwork. Whether dad is a coarse, carp or fly angler he’ll enjoy it – and at under a tenner it’s great value. Or for a totally unique fishing gift, you could get it in limited edition fish skin leather! Find out more at

3. Top of the drops

drop shot kit

The Savage Gear Drop Shot Kit is a great value gift.

Whether your father is an existing lure fanatic or new to the world of drop shotting, here’s a neat little box set of new toys. Coupled with a simple lure outfit, the Savage Gear Drop Shot Kit (£10.99) has all he needs to tangle with various predators.

4. Protect his neck!


The Nash Scope Bucket Hat will help protect dad from sunburn and heatstroke.

In terms of summer fishing gifts, a decent hat is another great offering. Dads often neglect to protect themselves from the sun. Baseball caps are all well and good but this Nash Scope Bucket Hat gives better all round protection for £19.99.

5. Caught in action

waterproof camera

The HD Waterproof Sports Camera is a great way to record the one that got away.

Even old dogs are learning new tricks with technology today. It’s great fun to make your own film clips and easier than you think, even for old-school dads. Not only that, prices have come right down. The HD Waterproof Sports Camera is just £34.99.

6. Upgrade his old baggage


The Korum Ruckbag is a quality gift that will stand the test of time.

Does your dad still drag around the oldest, scruffiest fishing bag? You know, the one that’s falling to bits, with gruesome bits of old bait in the pockets? Do him a favour by gifting a new model that’ll keep his tackle tidy. The Korum Ruckbag (£54.99) is so well made, it’ll last many Fathers’ Days to come!

7. On target to a tee…


The TF Gear Bullseye T-shirt is spot on if your dad’s a carper.

Dads love a stylish t-shirt, but not necessarily one of those ironic “Old guys are still cool, even if they smell funny” statements. Why not get him something sharper and fishing related. This stylish TF Gear Bullseye T-shirt for the serious carper is a good choice.

8. A healthier way to smoke!

Airflo Smoker Cooker

Foodie fishermen will love this Airflo Smoker Cooker.

If your old man is a keen trout or sea angler, he may well be the sort of dad who likes to get grilling in the summer. If so, how about the Airflo Smoker Cooker at £39.99 for a great gift idea? In no time at all he’ll be producing his own smoked trout or mackerel. You’ll probably never hear the end of it, but he’ll be happy and you’ll get to taste his smoked offerings too.

9. Sitting comfortably?

Korum X25 Accessory Chair

The Korum X25 Accessory Chair is a luxury gift for any angler.

You know what dads can be like as they put miles on the clock. Their joints ache, their backs creak and yet they still insist on using that crappy old fishing chair that wasn’t very comfortable in 1991. Why not spoil him with something better? At just under £100, the Korum X25 Accessory Chair is not just a great bit of kit, but will do wonders for his back.

10. Angling gift vouchers

gift voucher

Not sure what to choose? A gift voucher is always well received.

Still stuck for ideas when it comes to fishing treats for dad? Well there is a simple answer: let him choose for himself! Fishtec gift vouchers let him do exactly that – and he can order online directly from his favourite fishing chair.

To Infinity And Beyond – Simon Crow On Carp Fishing Gadgets!

There are lots of gadgets in carp fishing today which divide opinion, but I’m one of those anglers who embraces change, making use of the latest products if I think they are going to help me catch a few more fish.

I’m a short session angler whose time is very precious so I don’t see the point in making hard work of something if there’s a new tool which will make life easier.

Bite alarms

Bite alarm

It might seem hard to believe, but many years ago bite indicators were frowned upon by lots of anglers

When I was a lad I remember the older guys looking at my bite alarms and giving them a right slating. Now buzzers are viewed as an essential part of the carper’s kit, and there are upwards of a dozen companies making more than one model each.

Bite alarms now range from the very basic type which clip onto the line, to ones which operate with digital technology. We can now get different coloured LEDs on our alarms, vibration modes to assist deaf anglers, high and low pitch tones, as well as remote boxes which sound when we’re several yards away.

Bait boats

Bait boat

Bait boats aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they will certainly help you catch more fish

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard someone slag off bait boats, I’d be a rich man. One of the best excuses I hear from the moaners is that anglers use them to put baits in unsafe areas. Well the same could be said about line in trees and carp towing cracked off rigs because someone has just gone for the ‘big chuck’!

Who’s right and who’s wrong? My advice is to embrace them both. Casting allows us to use our judgement to ‘feel down’ a lead to the lake bed, while bait boating gets rigs quietly into position without excessive casting.

Echo sounders

Echo sounder

Echo sounders are brilliant for checking the depth but not so good at finding the fish

Echo sounders get a bit of stick because, apparently, they take away the skill of watercraft. I know where the detractors are coming from with this one because the day we’re told where our target fish is swimming is the day we become trappers not anglers.

But today’s echo sounders aren’t even very good at deciphering whether an echo is a snag or a fish, let alone capable of picking out individual carp, so we’re a long way off them being a substitute for traditional watercraft skills.

I use echo sounders for depth finding and looking for clear spots, mainly because they reduce the amount of casting (aka carp spooking) needed. They’re also great when I’m on a big water where boats are allowed and even the best casters in the world won’t get beyond the margins.

Underwater cameras

Underwater camera

Life below the marker float, what a great way of checking your baited spot

This moves me onto the underwater camera, a piece of kit which is fast becoming a common sight at venues where the water is nice and clear. You can attach them to bait boats or normal boats and even floats like FishSpy which then send the image back to your smartphone.

Using them for finding fish is a hassle, so their main advantage lies in helping you check out the bottom, especially once you’ve cast out and want to know that your hookbait is sitting right.

I really rate the cameras on floats although their cost needs to come down a bit before they turn into ‘must have’ items. Just the thought of cracking off with £150 on the end is enough to stop many an angler from becoming a convert. (Editors note: FishSpy underwater camera’s are now £129.95)

Droning on


A bird’s-eye view without climbing a tree
Image: Shutterstock

Last but not least we come to the latest craze – drones. Yes folks, believe it or not, carp anglers are starting to use drones with cameras to help them find fish, as well as to identify features. Climbing trees to get a good view is a thing of the past as nothing quite compares to getting a proper bird’s-eye view.

You can even leave your drone hovering in the air while you cast out, keeping an eye on your phone screen to check that the cast has landed ‘spot on’. A decent drone with a camera and smartphone app will cost about £500 and believe me it’s worth every penny, unless that is, you end up dumping it in the lake when the connection cuts out!

So there you have it, a look at a few of the latest carpy gadgets on the market. You can take or leave them – fishing will always be a sport which leaves the choice entirely up to you.

Simon Crow

Thank you to Simon Crow for permission to use these images.

Introducing Hodgman Fly Fishing Products

Fishtec are pleased to announce we are stocking Hodgman fly fishing products for the 2017 season.

Hodgman are an American firm that have been producing premium fly fishing gear since 1838; renowned for their fly fishing clothing, breathable waders and innovative wading boot design, Hodgman offer first class fly fishing gear.

New to the UK for spring 2017, Fishtec have cherry picked a full range of Hodgman products that we feel offer tremendous value for money, with superior quality that only an American brand can offer.

What makes Hodgman garments so special in our opinion is attention to detail. Every product has been carefully thought out with the fly fisherman in mind. Packed full of features, we are sure this brand is going to be a major hit in the UK alongside the likes of Simms and Patagonia. Hodgman equipment isn’t low budget orientated, it’s quality. You really do get what you pay for when you invest in Hodgman equipment and their stuff is clearly built to last.

The following videos are a ”must watch” – our key Hodgman products are explained in detail!

Hodgman product videos:

Hodgman H5 Stocking Foot Wader

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Stocking Foot Wader

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Zip Front Stocking Foot Waders

Hodgman Core INS Wader Liner

Hodgman H-Lock Interchangeable Sole Wading Boots

Hodgman Aesis Shell Fly Fishing Jacket

Hodgman Aesis 3-In-1 Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Wadelite Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Hyperdry Down Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Softshell Fleece Jacket

The full range of Hodgman fly fishing equipment can be found here.