Fly Fishing Gear On Test – Airflo Airtex Pro Clothing Review

If you are looking for a new set of waterproof, breathable fishing clothing then this review might be of use. Here Robbie Winram of Trout Fisherman magazine takes a closer look at the new Airtex Pro range of fly fishing clothing from tackle company Airflo.

Airflo’s new clothing range consists of three key elements: a wading jacket, three quarter length jacket and a bib and brace, and they are what I would class as ‘shell’ garments.

They are made from a three-layer nylon fabric and importantly there is no loose material or mesh linings, the layers are all formed into one. This makes them more durable and the fine backing layer on the inside enables them to slide and ride freely over your base and mid layers. They are also very quick-drying, and will shed water with one good shake. All three garments have a durable water-repellent finish, feature fully taped seams and are windproof, waterproof and breathable.

There’s nice attention to detail on the zips which all have high-vis yellow nylon cords with rubber pull tabs, and all tuck away into their own protective fabric housings.

Wading jacket

I had the large size for review and it sat comfortably at hip level. It has a main single zip opening with a good-size storm baffle behind it and the zip tucks away into a neat fleece lined chinguard that forms part of the high collar. The collar’s microfleece lining provides warmth and comfort around your neck.

Airflo Airtex pro wading jacket

Airflo Airtex pro wading jacket

The collar also houses the fold-away hood. When the hood is pulled out the collar can be folded down and secured in place with velcro fastenings. The hood itself is a very good design, giving excellent protection from the elements while also allowing for good peripheral vision. It has a reasonably stiff peak and an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjuster each side so it can be tightened around the face. The volume of the hood can be adjusted by another elasticated cord and toggle lock adjuster on the back of the head.

The sides of the hood can also be fastened to the collar with popper studs, helping to hold it in place. The jacket sleeves taper down to soft rubber cuffs with a tab and velcro fastening on the outside.There are no internal pockets, but on the outside there are plenty!

On the chest there are two large box pockets with vertical zips on their inside edges, protected by stormflaps. On the front of these pockets are smaller zipped accessory pockets, and set behind them are zipped pockets with a micro-fleece lining on one side to keep your hands warm. There’s also a small zipped pocket on the left arm.

Additional features include two rubber tool tabs located just above the right hand pocket, two D-rings set into fabric covers just below the chest pockets, and a larger D-ring on the back of the neck. The bottom hem has an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjusters and I notice that seams have been kept away from the vulnerable areas over the tops of the shoulders.

Airtex Pro jacket adjustable storm cuffs

Airtex Pro jacket adjustable storm cuffs

Bib & brace

The perfect garment to partner up with a wading jacket on the bank or in the boat as they provide maximum coverage, especially around the waist and the upper body. The high wear areas around the seat, crotch, knees and the inside of the ankles are further strengthened with extra fabric panels. An elasticated section at the back of the waist and a set of adjustable, elasticated webbing braces (fixed at the back and with quick-release
buckles at the front), ensure a snug and comfortable fit.

Airflo Airtex Pro bib and brace

Airflo Airtex Pro bib and brace

The main single zip opening is protected by a rain gutter and a large stormflap that secures with four popper studs. The legs are slightly contoured and articulated for
freedom of movement, and incorporate 10-inch zips that open up a gusset section at the ankles. This increases the leg opening by 3.5 inches, but I still wouldn’t try pulling them over your boots. The zips are protected by a stormflap with velcro fasteners. There’s an additional velcro tab adjustment on the bottom hem of the legs so you can cinch them up over your boots. There are four pockets – a small zipped pocket on the left chest, two zipped flat pockets on the waist and a thigh pocket with a large stormflap and velcro closure.

I had the medium size bib and brace with an inside leg seam of 33 inches and a waist of 38 inches. They were a good fit but just too long in the leg, so I had to pull them up slightly and secure them using the velcro tab at the ankles.

Airtex Pro B&B with detailing of storm flap and leg gusset

Airtex Pro B&B with detailing of storm flap and leg gusset

Three-quarter jacket

This is the perfect length to give good coverage over a set of thigh waders or waterproof trousers. It has the same sleeve, hood and collar design as the wading jacket, but the pocket layout is different. There are two chest pockets with vertical zips and two more at waist level that have micro-fleece linings on one side. There are no D-rings on this jacket, and because the yoke design is slightly different there is a seam running over the shoulders. I picked the large jacket which was a roomy fit in the body and sleeves, and it actually seemed at least half a size larger than the wading jacket.

Airtex Pro 34 Jacket - hood down and hood up

Airtex Pro Three-quarter jacket – hood down and hood up

VERDICT:

I think this is the best set of clothing that Airflo have produced to date, both in terms of value for money, comfort and design. They provide great coverage and protection from the elements and the hood design on the jackets is excellent.

The three Airtex Pro fly fishing garments are available in M to XXL and all cost £99.99 each, or buy any Airtex Pro jacket and the bib & brace for £179.99.

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE HERE

FishSpy Echo Pro – Review By Dave Lane Carp Angler

For the last few months I have been in possession of a new product from TF Gear, but I have been unable to add it to any of my carp fishing Vlogs or articles because it has been a little hush-hush, secret squirrel and all that cloak and dagger stuff.

Now however leading up to its imminent launch, the cat is well and truly out of the bag so I can tell you a little about it.

My new bit of kit is called the Fishspy Echo Pro, which is a castable floating echo sounder/sonar device but with a major added bonus of having an inbuilt camera! I was more than excited to get this new bit of tech out onto the water and trying to keep it under wraps has been difficult as you can imagine.

Dave Lane - with the Echo Pro

Dave Lane – with the Echo Pro

On a personal level it couldn’t have arrived at a better time as I am currently tackling a vast gravel pit that contains some ancient but very large carp, these fish know every inch of their environment and for me to get one step ahead of them I needed to know the lakebed in as much detail as those wise old carp.

So for my big water feature finding and carp hunting I simply attached the Echo Pro to the back of my boat and towed it as I motored and rowed my way around the wide expanse of a very special lake.

This, obviously, would be a real edge for those of you that use a bait-boat as it would be a simple job to attach the Echo Pro via a strong cord and instantly add not only a sonar but the ability to toggle over to a wireless camera to see the reality of what was below the boat.

Obviously the castable design makes the Echo Pro so versatile and I have been able to get accurate sonar data and live camera anywhere I have been able to cast it and with a range of 100 metres I have been plotting huge amounts of water very quickly, this information has, I am sure accounted for many of my captures already this year.

So, how does it work?

The device has two different frequencies on the sonar, one is a wide beam for shallower water and the other is a narrower beam that will give you a more defined reading in deeper water. The sonar would be the default mode that I normally employ to start a session with.

Simply attach the Echo Pro to a strong braided mainline via the side mounting ring and cast it into the desired area. Once connected to your phone or tablet it will give you a detailed sonar display of the bottom; depths, contours and any mid water objects, such as carp for example will be shown.

However, whereas a normal sounder will stop there, the Echo Pro can be remotely toggled from the bank using your phone or tablet into camera mode. You now have a floating camera that will live stream the images of what you have found, directly to your phone or tablet. You now have the best of both worlds Sonar and camera in one compact castable unit!

FishSpy Echo Pro - a compact castable unit

FishSpy Echo Pro – a compact castable unit

There are many little tricks and tips that you can adapt the Echo Pro to perform and one that has proved incredibly effective for me this year is to use it around snags, let me give you a little example.

On the lake I fish there are literally thousands of snags but, as is always the case, the fish prefer just the odd one or two and searching the snags first can answer a lot of questions about location.

As we all know, carp can be particularly spooky when they see an angler hanging out of a branch right above their heads but, with the Echo Pro, I have been able to cast it into position around the snags, set to camera mode and retire to a safe distance to watch the live footage of activity in and around the snag. I have even left it in there for an hour, pressed record on the camera and then returned to check the footage it really is amazing how quickly the fish return and become relaxed again once you are not present.

Sonar devices used as fish finders are notoriously unreliable, they cannot really differentiate between the species and, quite often, they will show a group of small fish such as roach as a lesser number of larger fish on the screen, even the really expensive boat mounted models will do this as it is just a beam that gets interrupted on its way to the bottom. For scoping the topography and showing bars, weed and features they are amazing, but the camera function on the Echo Pro adds a whole new dimension that will help to alleviate the false readings and for the first time we will be able to see the actual reality of what is down there in your swim.

ORDER FISHSPY ECHO PRO HERE

Echo Pro adds a whole new dimension to fish and feature finding

Echo Pro adds a whole new dimension to fish and feature finding

 

FishSpy Echo Pro – Sonar & Underwater Camera – Pre-Order Now!!!

For the first time ever, FishSpy Echo Pro combines cutting edge sonar and live stream video camera.

If that isn’t enough, Echo Pro also allows you produce bathymetric maps using its built in GPS chip.

Priced at just £229.99, Echo Pro is now available to pre-order here.

A new era begins…. For the first time ever sonar depth sounder and underwater camera combine; the awesome new FishSpy Echo Pro is the complete fish and feature finder. Why settle for just sonar technology when you can have the power of two – Sonar AND live video? Packed with features including sonar, GPS, lake mapping, file storage and amazing high quality live video streaming and recording, Echo Pro can be cast with a rod or attached to a boat.

Uncover the secrets of the places you fish, discover underwater structures; reveal the composition of lake bottoms, riverbeds and floors, reveal the depths of your waters; Echo Pro uses powerful sonar and crystal clear video to locate features and fish. Wherever you fish, bank, boat or shore Echo Pro’s combined power of sonar and video guarantee you miss nothing. Echo Pro streams live lake information direct to your smartphone or tablet and is purpose made to be stored in your tackle box. Echo Pro is even compact enough to be carried in your pocket.

Features:

– Cutting edge Echo Sounder technology
– Live video streaming
– Record and download video footage
– Switch modes at the touch of a screen
– Offline Sonar plot history
– Built in GPS locator
– Build bathometric lake maps – study offline
– Locate features and find fish
– Huge 100m plus range
– Android & iOs compatible

PRE-ORDER HERE

FishSpy Echo Pro cameras - available to order now!!

FishSpy Echo Pro Sonar and Camera – available to order now!!

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!

New Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots In Stock!

New Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots

New Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots

The new Airflo Airtex 2 wading boots (Vibram sole) are now in stock!!

Built to last, with a solid construction that is deceptively light in weight, these rugged boots feature a robust quick drying upper that is highly abrasion resistant. With superior ankle support, access and comfort is aided by a neoprene lining and looped heel pull.

Available in both traditional felt sole and genuine rubber Vibram, Airflo Airtex 2 boots allow for sure footed wading – whatever the conditions.

  • Protective rubberised outer for durability
  • Two sole options for grip in any conditions
  • Neoprene ankle padding for comfort
  • Rugged cordura lace eyelets
  • Strategic drain holes
  • Easily studded with wader studs
  • Sizes 7-13 (felt), 7-13 (Vibram)

Priced at £119.99, Airtex 2 boots are available here.

Airflo Airtex 2 boots

Airflo Airtex 2 boots

Fly Fishing Tackle New Gear – Airflo Super Stik II Rod Review

If you are looking for a mid-level fly rod that is ‘just right’ in terms of action, feel, cosmetics and performance then the Airflo Super Stik II’s could be a safe bet. Here Robbie Winram of Trout Fisherman magazine gives the range a comprehensive review – read on to find out more.

The Airflo Super Stik II fly rod

The Airflo Super Stik II fly rod

Airflo Super Stik II rods from £139.99

AIRFLO have relaunched their Super Stik rods in two ranges – the standard range consists of seven dual rated three-piece models, and the competition specials are four piece 10ft rods in 6wt, 7wt and 8wt.

The standard Super Stik II’s are: 9ft 5/6wt and 9ft 6/7wt at £139.99; 9ft 6in 6/7wt and 9ft 6in 7/8wt at £149.99; and 10ft 6/7wt, 10ft 6/7wt and 10ft 6in 7/8 at £159.99.

While the old Super Stik’s featured bright red blanks, the new ones are a subtle olive-green colour. The other difference is in the cork handle which now has a ‘flexible’ 1.5-inch section of composite and natural cork rings, aimed at reducing wear in this high-pressure area.

I had the 9ft 6in 6/7wt rod on test which I set up with a 6wt floating line. Even with a relatively short length of line on the water the rod loaded smoothly, all the flex coming from the top quarter. I was able to generate some good line speeds and nice tight loops. As I started to get a feel for the rod, working longer head lengths outside the tip, the blank flexed a little deeper, almost to the midway section, living up to its rating as a middle-to-tip action rod. But it handled these longer lengths competently.

My casting stroke was quite long and I found it a very relaxed affair with the rod doing the majority of the work. With overhead and double hauling taken care of I moved onto continuous motion casts such as the roll and switch. Here, the softer flex in the blank really paid dividends with some nice casts going out onto the water.

Fishing and casting with midge-tips through to fast intermediate lines also saw good results and nice turnover. Only when I tried out some medium to fast sinkers did I feel the rod working a good deal harder to perform at the same level. I just had to shorten the head lengths and watch my timings for those distance casts.

VERDICT:

A great all-round rod for floating and sinking line work. The dual 6/7 rating means this rod will also take a 7wt line so I spent a good bit of time with the heavier floating and sinking density lines as well. The 6wt balanced the rod just right for my casting style but what the7wt gives you is a little bit more help with loading the rod, a real bonus if your casting isn’t quite up to scratch.

Airflo Super Stik II competition special rods £169.99

THE 10ft Super Stik II competition specials are available in 6wt, 7wt and 8wt, and are all four piece models so are easier to travel with and store out of the way in the boat.

Airflo say the rods have slightly more ‘steel’ in the butt section than the standard models, which not only helps to knock fish over so you can get them into the boat quickly, but also helps when striving for those distance casts to cover fish at range. This slightly different action really makes light work of sinking lines.

The 10ft 6wt that I tried out was also proficient with floating and intermediate lines, giving good turnover and presentation. When it came to roll and switch casts it was nowhere near as smooth as the standard 9ft 6in 6/7wt, but with overhead and double hauling it had a beautiful feel and I could aerialise very long casts with little effort.

Airflo Super Stik II Comp special

Airflo Super Stik II Comp special

VERDICT:

This is not a difficult rod to cast so will find favour with anglers of all abilities. It does have a bit more steel than the standard Super Stik II model so is very good at pulling fish quickly to the boat and also fishing a range of dense sinking lines.

Airflo Super Stik II fly rods – ‘Tackle testers choice’

How to Fit Wading Boot Studs

The addition of studs to the soles of your wading boots can make a huge difference to grip and traction on slippery surfaces.

In this blog post we look at how best to fit and install wading boot studs to felt sole wade boots.

Pick your studs

There are various wading boot studs on the market, including Simms, Greys and Kold Kutters. All work in the same principal way – you screw them into your boot sole. However, this seemingly simple process needs to be done with a bit of care and consideration.

We are going to use Kold Kutter studs in this guide. Kold Kutters are a DIY stud option that are massively popular in the USA. They were originally designed for tyres of vehicles used in ice racing and they provide brilliant grip in snow and ice. They also make perfect wading boot studs, being made of hardened steel with a 3/8 inch diameter thread.

How many studs per boot?

Adding too many studs is a bad idea because you still need flat areas to make contact with the river bed – or you could end up skating precariously on the tips of the studs. 10 studs per boot sole will be about right. This allows you to spread the studs out nicely. Our preferred pattern is 4 in the heel and 6 in the toe area, with the studs near the outside of the sole for best traction.

What do I need?

A packet of 20 studs, Stormsure or Aquasure glue, permanent pen.

Everything you need to fit studs to a wading boot

Everything you need to fit studs to a wading boot

Step 1. Mark your holes

Using a permanent marker, mark the soles of your wading boot with the pattern shown below.

Mark your soles with a permanent pen

Mark your soles with a permanent pen

Step 2. Apply glue

The addition of a small dab of wader glue (such as Aquasure or Stormsure)  this helps the stud lock into place and remain secure.

Add some glue to your wader stud

Add some glue to your wader stud

Step 3. Screw the studs in

No special tools are required!! You can use a standard flat head or socket screwdriver to install the stud. Ensure the stud goes into the sole perfectly straight, not at an angle. Do not over tighten the stud.

No special tools are required to fit Kold Kutter studs

No special tools are required to fit Kold Kutter wading boot studs

Screw your studs in nice and straight

Screw your studs in nice and straight

Step 5. Ready to fish!

When wading you need to be sure footed and safe – you have gone a long way to achieving this!

Wading boot studs fitted and ready for action

Wading boot studs fitted and ready for action

Kold Kutter wading boot studs are just £3.99 for a pack of 20. Available here.

For tips and hints on better wading practice and safety, check out our ‘Wade safe’ blog here: https://blog.fishtec.co.uk/wade-safe-tips-for-better-wading

Summer holiday fishing for mackerel

fishing for mackerel

A good sized mackerel caught from a small boat.
Image source: Shutterstock

Mackerel are one of the most popular fish for UK anglers to target and for good reason. They’re relatively easy to catch, put up a great fight once hooked, and taste great.

Mackerel fishing doesn’t require a great deal of equipment or complicated fishing tackle so it’s an ideal way to get children interested or for holiday-makers who want to try their hand at sea fishing. Here, Chris Middleton shares his top tips to give you the best chance of success.

Understand your quarry

Using a light rod and a spinner is one of the most common ways to catch mackerel.

Using a light rod and a spinner is one of the most common ways to catch mackerel.
Image courtesy of Chris Middleton

Mackerel visit UK waters in the summer after spending the colder winter months in deeper offshore waters. They generally arrive around the British coastline in May and stay until late-September, although this can be later around southern England.

Mackerel are a relatively small fish – the UK shore caught record is 5lb 11oz but the average size for mackerel in the UK is only around 1lb or so. Despite this they are fast, active hunters which feed on smaller fish such as sprats and sandeels. For this reason the main method for catching mackerel is with artificial lures such as spinners, feathers and daylights.

Where to find mackerel

Piers are one of the most popular marks for mackerel anglers to fish from.

Piers are one of the most popular marks for mackerel anglers to fish from.
Image courtesy of Chris Middleton

Mackerel hunt for their prey in mid-water so fishing from places like piers, breakwaters, jetties and other artificial structures which extend out into the sea is the best way to access this deeper water. It’s also possible to catch mackerel from steeply sloping beaches. Indeed, Chesil beach in Dorset is one of the UK’s top mackerel fishing marks. However, shallow, sandy beaches are unlikely to offer water deep enough for mackerel to be present and are therefore best avoided.

Visual hunters, mackerel can be caught at any time of the day, but it’s worth noting that rough seas and choppy water can send them out of range into deeper water. Your best chance of success is usually during a steady spell of good weather and calm seas.

Best tackle for mackerel fishing

A mackerel caught with a spinner.

A mackerel caught with a spinner.
Image courtesy of Chris Middleton

Mackerel fishing doesn’t need to be complicated. Most anglers use a spinning rod of 8 – 10ft in length which can cast lures of 1 – 2oz coupled with a simple fixed spool reel. You can often buy rod, reel and line combination deals that give you the full setup for a reasonable price.

The main types of lures used in mackerel fishing are:

Spinners: These are solid metal imitation fish fitted with hooks. There’s a seemingly infinite number of spinners on the market but simple, traditional silver spinners seem to work best for mackerel. Alternatively, try this set of four of the most deadly coloured lures.

Feathers: These are hooks which have been fitted with brightly coloured feathers to make them resemble a small fish. They’re bought ready-made on rigs usually containing three to six feathers. Using feathers is an effective way to catch mackerel, and there’s always the chance of catching multiple mackerel if a shoal attacks the feathers.

Daylights: Similar to feathers, these lures are made with synthetic plastic material instead of feather. You’ll need to remember to buy weights if you’re casting feathers or daylights.

The best method for catching mackerel

Multiple mackerel caught on daylights.

Multiple mackerel caught on daylights.
Image courtesy of Chris Middleton

The great thing about fishing for mackerel is that the same method is used for spinners, feathers or daylights. Cast your lure out as far as you can and then reel it in through the water to tempt the fish to attack it and get hooked.

As mackerel are a shoaling species they can descend on an area very quickly. A spot which has produced nothing for a number of casts can suddenly become alive with mackerel, producing a fish every cast.

If you’re not having any luck, try varying the speed that you reel your lure in. Reeling in quickly will bring your lure back high in the water, while reeling slowly will retrieve it much deeper. Try various depths to give yourself the best chance of locating the feeding mackerel.

Another tip is to watch for sea birds diving into the sea (a sure sign that small fish are present and mackerel will be nearby) or bubbles appearing on the surface of the sea. This happens when mackerel chase small fish upwards through the water, causing them to panic at the surface and the sea to look as if it is bubbling. This is a clear sign that mackerel are present and a productive fishing session will follow.

Eating your catch

Hot mackerel straight from the barbecue is a real treat.

Hot mackerel straight from the barbecue is a real treat.
Image source: BravissimoS

Mackerel is a tasty fish which is full of healthy omega-3. Once gutted, it can be very simply barbecued, grilled or fried, although take care to avoid small bones which can be difficult to completely remove. There’s not much that tastes better than a fresh mackerel thrown on the barbecue on the beach within hours of being caught.

For more ambitious chefs mackerel makes excellent pate and can even be substituted for sausage meat in scotch eggs. If you have a bumper haul, gut, fillet and freeze your catch for another time. Try some of these recipes from Great British Chefs for inspiration.

More about the author…

Chris Middleton writes for British Sea Fishing where you can find find information and advice on all aspects of shore fishing around the UK with information on techniques, bait, tactics and fishing marks across the country. As well as this there are features and articles on wider issues such as commercial fishing, conservation and the sea fish species and other sea creatures found around the British Isles.